Category Archives: meta

programmers who get respect

I was just re-reading this interesting rant from Zed Shaw, author of “Learn Python The Hard Way” and other “the hard way” books: The whole blurb is worth reading to see his point of view, although I disagree with some … Continue reading

Posted in meta, rant | Leave a comment

file formats for scientific data

I spent some time this last winter examining a variety of file formats for storing scientific data.  I also organized a “debate” in Los Alamos with people presenting various file formats.  I reached the following conclusions: For itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny data files, … Continue reading

Posted in data, meta | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

can anyone believe your results? (reproducibility)

Here are things I have heard working scientists say: I made the plot in excel I played with the plot in excel until it looked good I’m not sure how I got from the raw data to the plot I’m … Continue reading

Posted in meta, rant | Tagged | 1 Comment

should a scientist be a hacker?

I always enjoyed programming, so I’m inclined to think that all scientists should also be good hackers.  On the other hand many very good scientists are not, so my inclination is probably incorrect. Still, every scientist should know how to … Continue reading

Posted in meta, unix | 4 Comments

Should a scientist be a power user?

The answer is quite obvious: a scientist should have a mastery of her computer tools. A school curriculum in science should have a clear from user to power user progression for their students. It used to be that people studying … Continue reading

Posted in meta | Leave a comment

is there a curriculum problem in universities?

I have thought for a long time that most universities are neglecting at least one important part of preparing students for real research work: the confluence of mathematics, computing, and the specific scientific topic. A student’s first research project in … Continue reading

Posted in meta, rant | 2 Comments

new blog with thoughts, ideas, suggestions and even homework

I often have random thoughts, ideas and suggestions involving software development for scientific research. I sometimes pass these thoughts on to my students both as tips and as sometimes as tasks. I also sometimes share rants and philosophical considerations (both … Continue reading

Posted in meta | Tagged , , | Leave a comment