Topic ask

LGBT in sports; will Michael Sam be drafted to the NFL?

in ask on (#3KA)
Forbes has an interesting article today reminding us about Michael Sam and his prospects for being drafted to the NFL . Michael Sam achieved considerable notoriety several months ago when he came out as a gay football player who happened to be the SEC defensive player of the year and who would become the first openly gay man to star in the NFL if drafted by a team this weekend.

My question for Pipedot: regardless of teams' decisions to draft Sam or not, will the decisions be accepted as based on his skills or football ability alone or will they be judged in terms of their support for or avoidance of support for homosexuality in American football? And, what are the central obstacles to people being judged on skills alone when competing for opportunities (I'm thinking about ageing programmers and so on as similar-type challenges)?

Programming ruining my memory?

in ask on (#3JW)
Over the past few months I've been successively spending more and more time working on developing a computer game. Now, it was hardly noticeable at the beginning, but as time has gone on, I've been having more and more trouble remembering things. Sometimes it's in my every day life, like, I forget where I'm going, but more often than not, I'll be working, and I'll switch between two files, and then completely forget why I did or what I'm doing in the new file.

Has anyone had this problem? Or do I just have a case of programmer's-island-fever?

The Solitude of the Internet

in ask on (#3JH)
The Globe and Mail (among many others) reports that Parks Canada will be adding wireless internet access to many of its wilderness Parks in the near future. The argument is that people still want to be able to connect when they are oot and ab- oot in remote nature.

It's a great dilemma. I know many families where TVs were banned from summer cottages because the point of going back yonder was to get away from all that. These bans are great because boredom leads to other activities when the default or habitual options are taken away. I also remember the first time I ordered off Ebay sitting next to a remote lake with only forests around for miles (okay, kilometers) -- it was exhilarating to think (with enough luck/wealth/etc.) that one could have the best of both worlds. What do Pipedot contributors think about mixing nature with the internet -- something to be embraced or guarded against?

Isaac Asimov's Vision of 50 Years Hence

in ask on (#3J7)
story imageVideo communication, decent but imperfect robots, psychotherapy, self-driving car technology, and processed food: these are some of the things Isaac Asimov predicted would make up modern life in 2014. The year was 1964, and his vision for 50 years into the future turned out to be surprisingly accurate. A few other predictions fell flat, like underwater colonies or human inhabitation of planets other than earth, but you can forgive the author his exuberance at the dawn of the space age. The BBC is running an interesting article looking at Asimov's vision and how it played out in real life .

These days, most teens favor dystopian visions of the future , modern life is resembling dystopia in more than one way , and the world of peace and unity seems farther off than ever.

Who today has the prescience that Asimov did in 1964? Who among the 21st century's authors, film-makers, and thinkers is most thoughtfully envisioning the world that awaits us in 2064? And what lessons do they provide for us to learn?

Where to find credible, interesting science and tech stories to submit?

in ask on (#3HE)
Ok, here's my dilemma: I do not use Linux (Gamer and moterhead, with a decent understanding of science and tech...but nobody would mistake me for technician) so I would not recognize a good story from bad there. However, I do understand Windows and the hardware side reasonably well.

I am well read, and understand the basics of most of the scientific topics. Where do you guys recommend (outside of, etc.) for good, topical, well written and interesting articles? I would like to find some reputable sources to post, preferably without all the hype that tends to surround the more common sites.

I would like to contribute more, but outside of gaming, I am concerned I might link to something incredibly stupid without recognizing it. I want to find interesting things for you to read, not drivel.

I doubt you want to hear about my adventures in a heavily modded Skyrim.....

Can a Requirement for Credentials Be Overcome in Science Today?

in ask on (#3H9)
story imageIn a wide-ranging interview on Wired , Freeman Dyson notes his pride in never having been awarded a PhD, despite having achieved world-reknown for bringing the mathematics of Richard Feynman's quantum theory to life. He suggests that the PhD system is: "...good for a very small number of people who are going to spend their lives being professors. But it has become now a kind of union card that you have to have in order to have a job, whether it's being a professor or other things, and it's quite inappropriate for that. It forces people to waste years and years of their lives sort of pretending to do research for which they're not at all well-suited. In the end, they have this piece of paper which says they're qualified, but it really doesn't mean anything. The Ph.D. takes far too long and discourages women from becoming scientists, which I consider a great tragedy. So I have opposed it all my life without any success at all."

I am interested in |. answers to the following question: Why has the PhD credential become so important for careers in science and research both inside and outside academia? My best CS professor only had an undergraduate degree, for example, and I never found cause to disrespect his authority on the subjects he taught because the basis of his authority was clear in his instruction.

What "news for nerds" sites should I use?

in ask on (#3ED)
I used to visit Slashdot quite often, but if Dice Holdings decide to switch the interface to what is currently known as "Beta", I'll have to find another site for my "stuff that matters"-fix.

So, Pipedot, what sites can you recommend for a "maybe-ex" /. user?