cge's recent activity

  1. Comment on Choosing a good e-reader for studying in ~tech

    cge
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    Of note here, most EMR pens work with both the rM1 and rM2, and different people prefer different pens. I have a Remarkable Marker Plus, and a Lamy Al-Star EMR, and I don't see any difference in...

    but that's kind of locked out as standard because you need to use one of their "markers" which doesn't actually come with the tablet.

    Of note here, most EMR pens work with both the rM1 and rM2, and different people prefer different pens. I have a Remarkable Marker Plus, and a Lamy Al-Star EMR, and I don't see any difference in quality that justifies the significantly higher price of Remarkable's pen, which is additionally annoying in lacking a cap for its comparatively fragile tip and fragile ring around its tip, lacking a clip or any way to attach one, and attaching magnetically in a way that's ultimately not very secure. There is a patch which allows the Lamy's button to function as an eraser selection. I generally prefer the pen-like Lamy, except for its appearance; I know there are others who prefer the very pencil-like Staedler. There is actually a reasonable selection of different EMR pens and inserts; you can also mix-and-match some of the tips (the Lamy and Remarkable tips seem interchangeable; Lamy's feel more like pens, Remarkable's feel more like pencils).

    I also have a ceramic-tip Supernote insert pen, which does function on the rM2, but I'm not confident that it wouldn't scratch the screen, and the pressure sensitivity does not work.

    There is a proper text highlighting annotation (with a tool that requires the Marker), but as far as I can tell there is no index of what you highlight. Highlights also don't come through very clearly so they're hard to see unless you're looking at the version on the app. PDFs can be very slow to load, especially if they are full of graphics (which textbooks frequently are!), and there is no DRM support so you will have to liberate any DRMed files you come across.

    The Remarkable supports other ereader software (Plato, KOReader) which may have better document, highlighting and text note support (and allows highlighting without a pen), though on the other hand, I don't think either of them have good pen-based annotation support.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~humanities

    cge
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I have an alternate perspective on this point. The argument that school was important for "the foundation of his social interactions in his peer groups for the rest of his life" was something that...

    I have an alternate perspective on this point. The argument that school was important for "the foundation of his social interactions in his peer groups for the rest of his life" was something that was often brought up as a reason why I should stay in school (one particularly malicious teacher made an entire lesson plan out of it), and it made me increasingly miserable.

    Most years I was in school, the students around me were not my peers in the sense of my having anything in common with them. We had entirely different perspectives, different interests, different thoughts around knowledge and learning. I tried to relate to them, and tried to have meaningful social interactions, but it was always forced and awkward. For most of this time, I was not in any special program, or seen as smart. I could just never relate, after a certain superficial point. We would interact in classes to the extent required, and we'd interact socially to some extent when we were together by circumstance, then I'd go home and think about things, and they would go do whatever they did outside of school. Any extracurricular thing I did would be largely similar. We never had meaningful interactions beyond this. We simply enjoyed completely different things, I think. There was very little for us to meaningfully do or talk about. Up to sixth grade, there was one person I have any memory of having meaningful social interactions with.

    In sixth and seventh grade, now in the top gifted and talented program in my city, and also in the midst of 90s anti-intellectualism in American popular culture, I did have some peers, but had them at the cost of being in an enormously hostile environment: I now had a handful of friends, in part out of adversity, and an entire school who despised us. I don't know how this misery helped any of us develop social or emotional maturity, beyond the experience of enduring constant abuse.

    When I went to college full-time, I was 13, and was also not around my peers. It's true that I also didn't really have much in the way of social interactions or development. But I wouldn't have had those in school either, and in college, I was at least happy. I had as much in common with the other students as I had had in school, and we had largely similar interactions around classes. At that point, I had tried, for eight years, to relate socially to people my age. From those years, there were a total of two people I had any interaction with after no longer being in classes with them. Both had, I think, somewhat similar experiences.

    From all this, I expect that there are some oddities to my social development, but I don't think they are necessarily crippling. In my early twenties, I think I became somewhat better at interacting with people my age. It is difficult for me to form close friendships, but it isn't impossible. My partner and I have lived together for years. Though it's perhaps a more conscious endeavour than for others, I have no great difficulty with more distant social interactions, and can reasonably hold together a contentious meeting or be convivial at dinner or host a party, for a few hundred people at times. I did not become a hermit or a pariah by lacking the social interactions in school that people argued were essential.

    7 votes
  3. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~humanities

    cge
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    I apologize for the extremely long comment: your question made me spent quite a while reminiscing. Going to a different school almost every year until college for various reasons, I had a wide...

    I apologize for the extremely long comment: your question made me spent quite a while reminiscing.

    Going to a different school almost every year until college for various reasons, I had a wide variety of experiences with different ways of handling gifted and talented students, from simply being sent to the library every day, to a standard mixed class with some G&T students and extra attention, to taking community college classes at night, to an experimental semi-independent/collaborative mixed-grade class, to the horror I explain in another comment. After that last horror, I found a way to take a high-school equivalency exam despite my age, dropped out of school at the beginning of eighth grade, and enrolled full-time at a community college with a guaranteed transfer program to a university, where I finished a degree in physics; I then went off to graduate school, and am now a researcher.

    I don't know the best advice to give. However, I also feel that, to the extent that there is advice to give, the advice should be more toward the child involved than the parent or the teacher. At least for me, and others I know like me, I feel that learning how to learn on one's own, and satiate one's own desire for knowledge, is important, as is having the freedom to do so. The latter, however, can often be the harder thing, because the work that is "too easy" still takes time, and can become a significant impediment.

    If you don't feel satisfied by material, you need to find ways of learning, yourself, that will satisfy you. You can't expect a school, or a teacher, to be able to individually tailor everything to make it challenging for you. You're going to be better at understanding what works and doesn't work for you than others are. There are an enormous number of options now, but even in the past there have been as well.

    If you find something "too easy", then figure why you are unsatisfied with it. Is it because you aren't satisfied by the explanations that are given, because they seem too simplified? Then find ways of learning the material more rigorously. Is it because you feel you understand the material already, but keep having it reiterated? Then find other things to learn, or, again, more rigorous or detailed treatments. Quite a bit of scholarly work is just thinking about the same topics at more and more rigorous and complex levels. When you don't understand something in your searches, that just provides more opportunities for learning about other things.

    There are countless books, sources, and references available. There are now vast troves of material online. I found community college and university classes wonderful; many university courses now have quite a bit of their material easily-available online as well. Find what works best for you. This isn't always obvious: I found that I was far more satisfied by terse physics textbooks like Landau, for example, and had an easier time understanding them, than understanding textbooks that tried to make the material more accessible. There are ample opportunities for discussions online now, too. University libraries used to be wonderful places, and at many universities, were practically open to everyone who used them respectfully: you could spend all your time in them, studying at the desks amongst the stacks (there's some name for them that I don't remember, the type of university library desk with side walls so you can entirely block out the outside world), and every time you read something you didn't understand, or wanted to know more about, there was another book waiting somewhere. Many of these spaces have now been destroyed, sadly, but if you can find them, they are wonderlands. I still love working in them, when I can find them.

    Or are you unsatisfied because you want to be challenged? Then search for things that do interest and challenge you. There's no point in trying to make things that aren't challenging for you challenging for the sake of being challenging: try to find ways of making those things take less time instead.

    The other side of this, however, and the part that does affect parents and teachers, is having the freedom to be able to satisfy one's desire to learn things.

    The problem with something being "too easy" is that easy things still take time. Additionally, the American school system ensures that students spend an enormous amount of time in classes (try comparing them to community college classes on the same topics), whether or not they find those classes intellectually satisfying, and have an enormous amount of homework on a daily basis. Often the easy and unsatisfying things can end up taking up so much time that they make it difficult to do actually satisfying things. I often just wanted to be left alone, and to have room to learn on my own rather than feeling trapped and stressed by work that was easy to understand but burdensome to do.

    I was able to take community college courses when I was around your son's age in part because the class I was in during the day was an open, mixed-grade classroom where we largely just did what we wanted. I could read and do work on my courses, and that replaced, rather than added to, the science curriculum I was learning in school; when I was unsatisfied by other material, I could just stop doing it, and show the teacher what I was doing instead. In sixth grade, I at one point just asked if I could be excused from needing to take science, and allowed to spend the class time with my own books in the library instead: it was one of the few times I was happy that year. For much of sixth and seventh grade, however, I simply had too much easy work, and too much time spent in unsatisfying classes, to allow me to learn, and it made me miserable. Even for the one class I actually felt satisfied by, Latin, I was unsatisfied with the amount of time I could spend on it, because the busy work of other classes simply took up too much time.

    University made me far happier in part because it didn't force me to waste time. Classes had reasonable lengths and frequency, unlike secondary school, and gave me far more time to study on my own, especially as my department pushed its more devoted students to take fewer classes for just this purpose, and would pad our credits with research and study courses. When I needed instruction, and help, it was there for me; when I felt unsatisfied by a course entirely, I could petition to take something more rigorous, or could petition out of a requirement entirely, if I could show that I already knew the material. There was the understanding that courses were meant to teach us, not force us to do work or show up. If I needed to skip a lecture because I needed the time for understanding the material from a different approach, that was fine, so long as I did well on tests. And usually, tests and assignments were meant to actually test us, not just give us work to do every day, or try to teach us the material.

    So: if your son is like me, it may be that he would benefit not from being given more to do, but less, so that he can have time to do things that he finds satisfying. There's no shortage of material he can find, but there can be a shortage of time. If he can convince his school that he should be given less work, and more time, in exchange, for example, for showing them, or you, what he is learning from time to time, he might be far happier.

    However, I think that all of this can be very different for different students: they have different interests, motivations, aspirations, and ways of learning. I have always simply been obsessed by knowledge. Given the choice of what to do as a child, I would always choose to learn more: being unable to do so would make me unhappy. I struggled with this when I started living by myself, and no longer had any outside influence to ensure that I ate and slept. The concerns that others point out about work ethic were different for me, because learning, and struggling to figure challenging things out, was not, and is not, work for me, but what I enjoy. I need a work ethic to do the things that keep me away from research, and I've found a number of researchers who feel similarly.

    There's also a question of what the point of gifted and talented education, or learning more, earlier, actually is. I went the route I did because it made me happier. I don't know that it made me a significantly better researcher, or more successful. For others I know who took similar routes on their own initiative, I think it was largely the same. But, in my traumatic sixth and seventh grade experience, there were three of us who were friends primarily because we were in the most advanced set of classes. Of the three, two of us were miserable, went the early college route, and were much happier as a result. The third left for a year, but went back to the high school connected to the program, got through it despite the unfulfilling work, and is, as far as I know, both happy and successful.

    But he, I think, turned out to be in the program because he was ambitious and competitive, not because of his desire for knowledge and interest in all the material (my other friend points out that our mutual friend always had better grades than the two of us in math, and yet was, in hindsight, inarguably the weakest of the three in understanding math, stopping at calculus while we both have math-adjacent publications: his ambition and competitiveness got him through, while we struggled with the unfulfilling nature of the classes). For him, I think, the diligence and work ethic was more important than the understanding. On the other side, I've known several people who were in G&T programs, or even at community college very early, more out of a desire to be successful, or because of pressure from their families, and I think that those sorts of students become lost when told to learn things on their own.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~humanities

    cge
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    That's a tricky problem. Some private schools can do better job trying to provide a better, more tailored education for most students, but there are limits to what they can offer for an individual...

    Short of an excellent private school I don't think you'll find a system that aims to form each mind into its best version.

    That's a tricky problem. Some private schools can do better job trying to provide a better, more tailored education for most students, but there are limits to what they can offer for an individual student. Smaller class sizes, and more individual attention, can help, but if the problem is that the curriculum is fundamentally too simple or slow for one or two students, that isn't easily addressed, even for private schools.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~humanities

    cge
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    I would advise caution with this sort of advice. Be especially careful with taking this approach in discussions with schools. I don't necessarily disagree with the intentions, but it is easy, and...
    • Exemplary

    I would advise caution with this sort of advice. Be especially careful with taking this approach in discussions with schools. I don't necessarily disagree with the intentions, but it is easy, and often convenient, for them to be be misinterpreted and implemented horribly. I went, for 6th and 7th grade, to a gifted program in a public school district that seemed built around implementing a warped understanding of the ideas in this comment by any means, and it was probably the most traumatic and abusive experience of my life.

    It is easy to ensure that students, no matter how talented, feel challenged by work. You simply give them more work to do, regardless of what that work is, until they are challenged not by the content but by the amount. This is far less work for teachers and schools than coming up with an intellectually stimulating curriculum, especially when those teachers are often given gifted and talented classes as an addition to their usual classes, meaning that they are forced to choose between increasing their own workload to satisfy often very demanding students, or taking the far easier route.

    In our case, if I recall correctly, we were in school for between 7 to 8 hours per day, five days a week, and had five classes, each of which told us we should expect to have about 2 hours of homework per night, almost none of which could be done at school. Objections that the overall schedule expected of us was not feasible were dismissed by noting that it was our choice to be in the program, that we needed to choose which classes to prioritize, or that other classes should reduce their homework.

    Homework was not intellectually challenging, it was just horrific busy work. In some classes, this quite literally meant just giving us more---often some multiple of questions---of the same homework assigned to other classes the teacher had: for example, giving questions 1-10 at the end of a lesson in a textbook to other classes, and questions 1-40 to gifted classes. In others, it meant bizarrely pointless rote work: the most absurd example that has always persisted in my mind was an assignment in English, which was quite simple: make a list of every simile and simple metaphor in a several hundred page novel. Don't analyse the use of metaphor or simile by the author: literally produce a spreadsheet reproducing every sentence in the novel that contains a simile or metaphor, and list what words it uses for comparison in the case of a simile. In yet other cases, homework was simply meant to be impossible: my mother once had a frustrated argument with a science teacher who would show educational videos to his classes on days when the gifted program sent its students elsewhere, and then assign all of his students, including the gifted students, worksheets asking questions specific to those videos. My mother argued, unsuccessfully, that we should be allowed to watch the videos we were assigned homework about.

    Classes were largely built around going through the homework of the previous night, or repeating the same material taught to everyone else, and then using the remaining time for rants about unrelated topics, or, in some cases, actual lesson plans built around telling students the horrors of dropping out and going to college earlier, seemingly built in response to my increasing discussion of this option.

    I often comment that when, after 7th grade, I dropped out of middle school, and went to college instead, I did so because college was easier. This is not untrue, in some sense: college classes had more intellectually challenging material, but were, of course, designed to teach the material, rather than being designed to keep students working as much as possible. I went from often getting B and C grades in middle school---simply as a result of being unable to complete all the work, and being physically and emotionally exhausted---to being toward the top of all of my classes. I also didn't feel like I was putting in that much actual work or effort, because the work I was being asked to do was work that I actually enjoyed doing, work that I had been crying out for years to be able to do.

    I think I'd actually argue against coming up with supplemental lesson plans: instead, especially with so much material being so easily accessible, helping him find material himself to learn, and instilling a sense of self-motivation and self-direction in learning, might be a better option.

    29 votes
  6. Comment on XDA Pro1-X phone announced with physical keyboard, available with Lineage and Ubuntu in ~tech

    cge
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    I've become increasingly sceptical of these small-manufacturer phones that seem to fit niche markets amazingly. They often seem to be built as essentially sham products that seem to excellently...

    It's basically my dream phone

    I've become increasingly sceptical of these small-manufacturer phones that seem to fit niche markets amazingly. They often seem to be built as essentially sham products that seem to excellently fit the needs of the niche market, but only do so superficially, and have defects, shortcomings, and cost-cutting that violate basic assumptions one would have about products fitting those markets. They hide this by heavily pushing preorders, and making it seem like the product may not even be easily available outside of preorders, or will be much more expensive otherwise.

    Thus I have the Cosmo Communicator here, the phone built around a seemingly fully-usable touch-typeable keyboard that, bafflingly, was implemented with two-key rollover with seemingly no software or firmware jamming to work around it (good luck touch typing on it, unless you're a very slow typist), and will fully support running Linux on it, by which the manufacturer means that some hobbyists will eventually get Linux somewhat running on it by the time the manufacturer moves on to the next preorder phone. It comes with official support for Dvorak (except that you can't type essentially any word beginning with "th" at any reasonable speed because of rollover) and Greek (except it appears the manufacturer just copied a photo of a keyboard they found somewhere, without realizing that the acute accent needs to be a dead key).

    I suspect this involves similar risks, as you suggest. Specs and design that seem perfect, and are likely actually legitimate, but can't be trusted because "quirks" and design flaws will likely exist that just completely violate basic assumptions one should be able to make about functionality, and, of course, horrible communication and support.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on As of Python 3.7, dictionary order is guaranteed to be insertion order in ~comp

    cge
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    Numpy is useful for types of programming that are distinct from what many people do, with different priorities. I think that there can be clashes and frustration when these different worlds...

    However if we really look into Numpy code, it is super verbose and ugly and in my opinion defeats the purpose of Python. I understand that sometimes projects have to piggyback other projects. But I'm tired of seeing people do horrific stuff in Python because they learned Numpy and Matplolib and Dataframes before really learning Python.

    Numpy is useful for types of programming that are distinct from what many people do, with different priorities. I think that there can be clashes and frustration when these different worlds intersect poorly. From my perspective: likely the majority of the Python code I write with Numpy (at least by volume) once it is finished and debugged, will be run once. Writing code that is very maintainable and readable isn't just unimportant in such situations, but wasteful. The algorithms also need to be fast, and, while I mention some problems with Numpy in that regard below, for run-once code, that often means the code is going to look a bit horrific. It's just a different use of the language.

    But for me, one of the best things about Numpy was that it was built on a well-supported general purpose programming language with an established ecosystem, rather than going the common research route of insisting on implementing something new and specific. I came from Matlab and Mathematica, but R, Octave, and others all have the same problem: for whatever support they have for numerical work, they aren't great programming languages. They make odd, idiosyncratic choices and limitations built around assumptions of how they're going to be used, often in the name of convenience, that end up being frustrating and confusing (eg, with variable scope, indexing, etc). They usually have great libraries for numerical work, but for nothing else. I can easily make nice plots in Mathematica. But what happens when I want to write a program that processes some data and has a convenient CLI? Or when a machine unhelpfully provides its data as a webpage in something that's supposedly HTML? Or when I want to take some of my code, clean it up, and make it into something others can easily install and use?

    To some extent, the research community tried the "each language focused on their use case domains and people used languages more like unix tools". It was awful. It's hard to guess what the bounds of those domains are, and the guesses were usually wrong, giving us many tools, each of which were poorly suited to what we were doing.

    Python is, as you note, a bit like "shell on steroids", and that's often what people doing numerical algorithms need. Numpy lets us use in that way. And yes, that means people are going to write some bad code, because they're writing quickly, and their code doesn't need to be good.

    There are some fundamental frustrations of Numpy, though. Python is an enormously sluggish language for the sort of tight-loop work numerical algorithms that is common. Numpy tries to address the problem through a very vectorized API, but this means that, in order for algorithms to be fast, they need to be wrangled into a completely vectorized form: a single tight loop will make everything hundreds of times slower. For algorithms that are complicated, while they often can be wrangled into Numpy-compatible forms, the code can end up being extremely hard to understand. In some cases, I have baffling series of numpy array operations with comments along the lines of "this code is actually equivalent to this loop". In others, when I've replaced Python+Numpy code with Numpy C code, the C code has been clearer.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~news

    cge
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    Yes: this appears to be a problem specific to Berkeley, and is the university's fault. While this loss of power is over an unusually large area for an unusually long time, more localized power...

    Yes: this appears to be a problem specific to Berkeley, and is the university's fault. While this loss of power is over an unusually large area for an unusually long time, more localized power outages happen with some frequency. If you have experiments that would be destroyed by a loss of power, or fortunes of samples and reagents in freezers that would be destroyed from short term power losses, you need to have backup power, as your needs are far outside what any electrical company can provide, and your potential losses are far higher than what an electrical company can be expected to anticipate. What happens if someone digs in the wrong place, for example, or a power line gets knocked over?

    As one scientist points out in the article, their grants actually required they have backup power, but it turns out Berkeley didn't have it. It's often something that university facilities will have on a large scale.

    Our university (Caltech) has generators sufficient to power our entire building, and I think all buildings with labs here are the same way. Individual instruments that would suffer from even momentary power loss also have individual UPSs.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on Pronunciation Help - Latin in ~humanities

    cge
    Link Parent
    "Correct" and "incorrect" is a less than ideal way of looking at the pronunciation of Latin, which changed enormously over millennia and split into several different pronunciations. I haven't...

    "Correct" and "incorrect" is a less than ideal way of looking at the pronunciation of Latin, which changed enormously over millennia and split into several different pronunciations.

    I haven't found great sources on the modern reconstructed pronunciation, but it is modern: I've found one suggestion that it dates to the 19th century, and another that it dates to the first half of the 20th century. While it is a scholarly reconstruction of Classical pronunciation, and there are actually reasonable sources that were available in order to make such a reconstruction accurate, it is not the pronunciation anyone was using, as far as I can tell, for the significant majority of the last 2000 years.

    Briefly looking at Wikipedia, for example, it appears that the /k/ for "c" in "Caesar," in French- and English-speaking regions, transitioned to /tʃ/ between the 6th and 12th centuries, and from /tʃ/ to /s/ in the 13th through 15th. No regional Latin pronunciation uses /k/ for "C" before "ae", with the exception of the reconstructed pronunciation, and I expect that the transition to /tʃ/, which persisted in most other pronunciations, took place at similar times.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Pronunciation Help - Latin in ~humanities

    cge
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    While there has been quite a bit of information already provided, I think it is important to provide a different perspective here (I'm somewhat a biophysicist, and so don't use binomial...
    • Exemplary

    While there has been quite a bit of information already provided, I think it is important to provide a different perspective here (I'm somewhat a biophysicist, and so don't use binomial nomenclature much, but am around people who do on occasion). While the pronunciations being explained here are reasonable pronunciations for Latin as a language, some of the advice being provided is likely to be unhelpful in your case, and could make you sound awkward or even outright obnoxious.

    Latin is a language that has been used for a very long time, for a variety of very different uses, by a variety of very different groups. Unsurprisingly, there are thus a number of different pronunciations, which can also have significantly different phonemes. These differences are not just historical or regional, and multiple different pronunciations exist amongst different groups. There's no single pronunciation that is appropriate for all circumstances.

    The pronunciation that Algernon_Asimov explains here is the standard modern reconstructed Classical Latin pronunciation. This is the pronunciation that is described toward the beginning of the Wikipedia page on Latin pronunciation, and is primarily used by modern Latin speakers, most Latin language courses, and modern scholarship.

    While I prefer this pronunciation, and use it, when speaking Latin as a language, I'd also argue that it's a bad choice, and arguably inappropriate, for your usage of Latin. Using reconstructed Classical pronunciation for binomial nomenclature has several significant disadvantages. For people in biology who don't know about it, it will sound bizarre and potentially hard to understand. For people in biology who do know about it, it may also sound obnoxious and inappropriate. But perhaps most importantly, it's not the pronunciation that was used for the construction of most of the names (1), and is not the pronunciation that is commonly used in the field. Names come from a variety of sources and languages, not simply Latin and Greek, and are often not intended to be pronounced as actual Latin, or even make sense as Latin-esque words in more than a cursory way. Some names will sound reasonable in the Classical pronunciation, while others will sound awkward ("th" as a t rather than θ, hard "c", etc), and many of the names, especially more modern ones, won't fit reasonably into Classical pronunciation at all. How would one pronounce Pantholops hodgsonii? dgs does not appear anywhere in the Classical corpus that I am aware of.

    I'd instead suggest not worrying much about the pronunciation, and not trying to study the pronunciation of Latin as a language: the pronunciation of species names is more related to the languages being spoken by the scientific community. Instead, just listen to your professors and colleagues, and try to copy their pronunciations: that will be the best resource, as those pronunciations will be the easiest and most comfortable for everyone around you to understand. If you're in an English-speaking community, for words in the nomenclature that actually seem like they come from Latin, it might be helpful to look at this Wikipedia page as well.

    If you're interested in pronunciation more generally, I'd also suggest, as other have, looking at IPA and learning a subset of it. It is very useful in learning pronunciation in a far more consistent way: trying to learn pronunciation by comparison to other words is dependent upon the sounds existing in your language, and on you actually using the same pronunciation for those words in your language as the person writing the comparison. I found this series of posts some time ago explaining it, which were quite helpful, as were the suggestions and resources in those posts for thinking about the symbols as referring to physical movements in your mouth, and actually comparing these to videos and images, rather than trying to match the sounds.

    I apologize for writing so much about this topic, and for strongly disagreeing with so many others here about how you should pronounce species names. I have a strong opinion on this topic because when I was young, knowing Latin and starting out in science, I used reconstructed pronunciation for species names, and I realize now that my doing so was quite obnoxious. The major effects of doing so are sounding less intelligible, and seeming as though you want to remind everyone that you know Latin.

    (1) While I know that it is not, and I know vaguely that the reconstructed Classical pronunciation is modern, I actually don't know much about the history of its development, and would enjoy references on that history if anyone has any suggestions.

    7 votes
  11. Comment on New groups added, more work still happening on rearranging, moving topics, etc. in ~tildes.official

    cge
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    I have to wonder where this categorization leaves interdisciplinary sciences. For example, where would the abstract computational power of molecular interactions go?

    I have to wonder where this categorization leaves interdisciplinary sciences. For example, where would the abstract computational power of molecular interactions go?

    1 vote
  12. Comment on New research finds that user affiliations on Reddit can be used to predict which subreddits will turn so toxic they eventually get banned in ~tech

    cge
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    Surprisingly, there is: string theory. I will refrain from speculating as to what this implies about the field.

    The statement is not misleading at all. There is no field where the majority of their publications are only in pre-print servers

    Surprisingly, there is: string theory. I will refrain from speculating as to what this implies about the field.

  13. Comment on Potential new groups, and general discussion about the purpose and organization of the group hierarchy in ~tildes.official

    cge
    Link Parent
    A problem here is that "computer science" has multiple, very different meanings to different people. That post looks to me like an engineering or programming topic, not a science topic, and...

    A problem here is that "computer science" has multiple, very different meanings to different people. That post looks to me like an engineering or programming topic, not a science topic, and looking at ~comp, none of the posts are what I'd consider to be computer science: eg, research on computability, algorithmic complexity, etc.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on New research finds that user affiliations on Reddit can be used to predict which subreddits will turn so toxic they eventually get banned in ~tech

    cge
    Link Parent
    I'm assuming Nithyanand is the PI here, as the names are not in alphabetical order; he's at University of Iowa. Habib and Bin Musa are (very recent, apparently) PhD students with Nithyanand. I'm...

    Here, what stands out to me is a lack of affiliations by any of the authors to any established institute, which would normally give credibility or at least provide a way to identify the authors previous work.

    I'm assuming Nithyanand is the PI here, as the names are not in alphabetical order; he's at University of Iowa. Habib and Bin Musa are (very recent, apparently) PhD students with Nithyanand.

    I'm not sure why this isn't in the paper. I'd suspect this had something to do with not wanting to be too closely linked to the work if it wasn't acknowledged on the authors' sites, but Nithyanand does include it in his CV. Perhaps this is a convention for preprints in that specific field, or a peculiarity of the authors?

    I know that I usually don't include affiliations on my title slides for talks, and several others in my field also omit them, but a paper is quite different, even a preprint.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Americanisms the British public can't bloody stand in ~humanities

    cge
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    Some of these appear simply ignorant. physicality: the OED lists non-American examples dating back to the early 1800s, and use with a different meaning dating back much further. It is not only a...

    Some of these appear simply ignorant.

    • physicality: the OED lists non-American examples dating back to the early 1800s, and use with a different meaning dating back much further. It is not only a word, but a word with a distinct meaning that would be difficult to capture with any other word.

    • transportation: as I explain elsewhere, the changing use of this word, much more common than transport until the 1660s. It became less common as a result of transportation being used to refer to the transportation of convicts.

    • expiration: "Thou art a banished man and here art come, before the expiration of thy time, in braving arms against thy sovereign."

    • alphabetize/alphabetise: has been in use since the 17th century, and underwent the same -ize to -ise change in British usage as other words of similar form. The OED does not describe it as chiefly US.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Americanisms the British public can't bloody stand in ~humanities

    cge
    Link Parent
    The story there is actually quite different. According to the OED, transportation, not transport, was the word most commonly used in English for the act of transporting, dating back to the 16th...

    The story there is actually quite different.

    According to the OED, transportation, not transport, was the word most commonly used in English for the act of transporting, dating back to the 16th century or earlier (though this is distinct from transport as a means of transportation). It remained the more common term, and "much used" in the 17th century, until the 1660s, at which point transport gradually became more common.

    In addition to the Restoration, the 1660s also saw the beginning of significant penal transportation, and discussions of this practice referred to it simply as "transportation." As the OED points out, this association of the word with a very specific, punitive action was likely the cause of its decline in favor of transport. However, transportation

    Amusingly, as transportation was presumably chosen to refer to the act of penal transportation because it was the word most commonly used at the time, if transport had instead been the most commonly used word, transportation would likely now be more common.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on People often complain that English is deteriorating under the influence of new technology, adolescent fads and loose grammar. Why does this nonsensical belief persist? in ~humanities

    cge
    (edited )
    Link
    I read this article expecting something very different. There are, I would argue, two different questions: Is the use of the English language as a whole deteriorating, particularly in published...

    I read this article expecting something very different.

    There are, I would argue, two different questions:

    • Is the use of the English language as a whole deteriorating, particularly in published works?
    • Is the use of the English language in everyday communication deteriorating?

    I would argue that the answer to both is no, and I expect that the author would agree. However, it is the second question that the title seems to allude to, mentioning technology, while it is the first question that the author largely addresses. For the most part, the examples of fears of deterioration throughout history that the author presents refer to the deterioration of language usage by literate writers of careful, and usually published, works. Here we see the evolution of language, and the tendency to be most comfortable with the styles we grew up around. Here we see the annoying complaints that are often quite ignorant.

    Yet I would argue that the reason for the answer to the second question being no could be quite different. Compared to published works, and careful written communications, quite a bit of everyday communication is rather bad, in a certain sense. This has just always been the case: look at quick letters from the past, for example, or exact transcriptions or recordings of something being said, particularly by someone not making an effort to speak carefully. There have always been confusing oddities, there have always been fads in usage and slang that have arisen and died off quickly, and there has always been grammar that is actually bad and confusing, beyond stylistic choices—though recalling 19th and early 20th century letters with less-educated authors, I suspect that grammar has gotten better with improved literacy and public education.

    What has changed, I feel, is that as a result of technology, quick, casual conversations which would previously have been largely spoken and ephemeral are now often both written and semi-permanent. Thus type of writing we see in texts, in quick comments online, and so on can't really be compared to written works of the past, but is instead a written analogue of spoken speech, written in circumstances much closer to spoken communication of the past: no one a hundred years ago for example, would have had a conversation entirely via written messages each composed over a few seconds—often in far less time than it would have taken to physically write the messages by hand.

    As a result, this writing does take on a rather different form than writing of the past. And in that, it is fascinating. The types of things that we would ordinarily see in casual spoken speech have counterparts in quick written communication, and people have developed ways of both writing quickly and trying to express in written conversation the nuances that would have been expressed by tone and expression in spoken conversation.

    As an aside, it is somewhat surprising to see the comment from the Plain English Campaign. I remember hearing about them years ago, and had thought that they were interested in the quite reasonable goal of fighting against overly complex and difficult to understand language in government and corporate documents.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on A modest proposal to make domestic air travel obsolete in ~enviro

    cge
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    Is it safe to assume that the authors of the article want to present this proposal as being ridiculous? If not, why would they refer to A Modest Proposal in the title? Or should we assume instead...

    Is it safe to assume that the authors of the article want to present this proposal as being ridiculous? If not, why would they refer to A Modest Proposal in the title?

    Or should we assume instead that the authors of the article want to completely misrepresent the proposal in a clickbait title? The paper they refer to, at least in an automated translation, states its goal as "By 2035 we want to make domestic flights largely obsolete." That is somewhat different that "make air travel obsolete," and would seem to entirely misrepresent what appears to be an actually rather modest and reasonable proposal of decreasing VAT on train tickets, introducing a CO2 tax of €40/ton, increasing train frequency and punctuality, aiming for time competitiveness between trains and domestic flights along high-traffic corridors, and simply increasing convenience of train travel (eg, by improving wifi). The article, of course, explains some of this this, but we are left with a title that presents something very different.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on Let us predict whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican in ~misc

    cge
    Link Parent
    It actually appears that this article specifically is somehow open access. It has worked in all conditions I've tried it (base Chromium from VPN through Sydney,...

    It actually appears that this article specifically is somehow open access. It has worked in all conditions I've tried it (base Chromium from VPN through Sydney, uMatrix+tracker-blocking+PrivacyBadger+uBlockOrigin Firefox from Sydney, Seattle, London, and Texas), while other articles have not.

    Private Browsing usually no longer works on WP or NYT. WP is actually far worse, and blocks anyone who blocks any tracking cookies, even if they aren't blocking ads.

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Let us predict whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican in ~misc

    cge
    Link Parent
    Ah - that makes sense, sorry. The unfortunate access problems with NYT and Washington Post are frustrating.

    Ah - that makes sense, sorry. The unfortunate access problems with NYT and Washington Post are frustrating.

    1 vote