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lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 22, 2017


lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 22, 2017

I have a meeting this afternoon where I will hand my advisor the final draft of a 50+ page survey paper and thus close the door on a three-year chapter of my life. I'd say more but I have to finish writing the damn thing if that's going to happen...

EDIT: fuck academic publishers. How hard is it to put complete citation information somewhere online?

EDIT EDIT: or we could just add some more stuff instead, sure...

I was homeschooled in Missouri for my entire life (I guess not counting preschool). As ThurberMingus said, it's a states' rights issue here; Missouri I believe required homeschoolers to be in school for at least 1000 hours a year, of which 600 had to be spent on core (reading/writing/math/history/science) topics and the other 400 could be on electives, such as art or music (or Bible study). My mom religiously logged those hours and kept records of all our assignments in case the state audited us, but that was probably overkill.

I recall taking some standardized tests but I think pretty early on the law changed and we no longer were required to take them?

My parents were pretty heavily involved in the local homeschooler group, which organized events for socializing between both kiddos and their parents. Curricula choice was up to the parents; there is a pretty big market here for Christian homeschooling textbooks. For the most part I haven't got a problem with that, but it severely stunted my understanding of biology (my family are all young-earth creationists, so that's what I learned). Another big problem with curricula is that a lot of the popular math textbooks pretty much teach rote memorization of approaches (see Saxon math). Fortunately for me, my dad is an engineer (and a pretty smart one at that) and so he was able to pick out textbooks that explained the why of math, not just the what.

I did take some history and rhetoric classes at a private school during high school, which gave me experience with things like taking exams (never really had to do that at home) and public speaking. (Also with socializing with other people, which I never really figured out that well...oh well.) I also dual-enrolled and took some college classes, including chemistry and spanish.

The socialization aspect varies from family to family; some homeschooled students I know get on just fine with others, while others (myself included) end up being a little 'weird'. I don't really mind it now but it took me a while to become comfortable with that.

Some folks got a lot out of homeschooling--done right, you learn how to teach yourself stuff from books and other resources. I read a lot of library books on various topics growing up (this was before we got high-speed internet). I'm also the eldest child, so my mom was quite often busy with the rearing of my younger siblings and thus left me to learn on my own. Other homeschoolers got less out of it because they lacked the discipline to teach themselves.

What questions do you have? I've got plenty of opinions on the topic =]

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 15, 2017


This past Saturday the weather was very nice and my wife, a friend, and I consumed a substance, listened to some music, drew some stuff, went and looked at some plants, thought some thoughts, and generally had a rather relaxing time. I drew some really neat looking geometric things; maybe I'll get a tattoo of one of them.

The weekend lifted me out of a depressed spiral that had been going since about September or so. I got off my ass and went back downstairs and started working on stuff I'd set down months ago. I also finally pulled the trigger on an OA setup which I need to solder a vacuum hose nipple onto a pipe so I can get another one of my cars running.


Last week I helped my advisor with a grant proposal that's related to some of my undergrad research. I hope it gets funded--it's too much work for me to pick up at this point, but it'll be fun to help some new PhD students working on it.

There are only about 4 other moving parts in the whole compressor, and they're all in good shape--no axial play at all. A new con rod and one crank bearing (that I need to remove to install the conrod, plus it has a wee bit of wobble to it) is under $50. I think I can deal with that.

I can replace this pump new for about $300...$750 would get me into a very nice 2 stage pump. I'd love to do that but I have other things to spend that money on...

Here's a picture of the compressor in question:

Don't believe the 7 HP marketing bullshit; it's a 4 HP motor. The pump itself is an oiled iron-body USA-made model that's supposed to last a good long while. Nothing else in the pump has any axial play. The reason it was so cheap is it was sold to me in almost-running condition; the guy had robbed the pressure switch and some plumbing to fix up a beast of an old Qunicy 2-stage compressor. (I in turn robbed a pressure switch and some plumbing off another air compressor that well and truly shit the bed.)

I've been trying to figure out how the conrod failed; there's a burr on the crank journal, but I'm not sure if that's what caused the failure or if it's a side effect. The rod looks like it got twisted and then it grabbed the crank and shattered.

(Behind the compressor in the picture are two 25 gallon tanks that put me at 110 gallons of air storage, which is quite nice when running a die grinder or the like.)

Not overturned, yet. There's a stay of execution which, as I understand, applies to people already in the US (e.g., having arrived at an airport) or in flight to the US.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 25, 2017

Self-funded R&D would be the dream! I have thought of working in Europe, but haven't looked into it in detail--I should do that.

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 25, 2017

I'm increasingly less sure what I want to do once I finish up my Ph. D. I started it because I wanted to be able to do research. But the more time I spend in academia the more I realize that academia is where innovative research goes to die. I look at how my advisor spends her time, and most of it seems to be administrative stuff rather than anything interesting. Furthermore, professorships are few and far between, and I drew the short straw on several things in grad school, so I doubt I'll stand out from the crowd enough to count on landing one.

Conversely, the stuff I'm doing now is interesting but I doubt there's any immediate industry appeal for it. (Although I'm pretty sure I could angle myself into a position doing semi-related research.)

I was hoping to land a basic research position at some national lab, but it seems that those won't be exactly plentiful in a few years' time either.

Otherwise, research seems to be going better than it did in 2016 (i.e. I am actually able to spend time on it).

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Interview with Brian Eno

Absolutely. Anarchism is hardly a unified philosophical standpoint--many anarchists have vastly different ideas about how social coordination ought to happen (or if it ought to happen at all).

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Interview with Brian Eno

You might find anarchism interesting to read up on. There are a lot of smart people who realize that "no central force/authority" means that you need communal means for providing some sort of organization and have spent a lot of time writing about ways that might be achieved. (Sadly I don't have much in the way of suggested reading on this, as I've hardly scratched the surface myself.)

lm  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Interview with Brian Eno

I'm not sure that it's libertarianism per se, but Eno's philosophy definitely shares some ideas about decentralization &c. with it. (Namely, I don't think libertarianism does enough to protect against bad actors and long-term power accumulation, but in a band analogy, neither of these† are major problems.)

The fascinating thing I see with Eno is the focus on structures; I've long been interested in these as well, but mostly from a math and programming perspective, rather than music and people.

† with the possible exception of bad bandmates, but you can always kick 'em out...

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