nhaliday + career   293

Information Processing: Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent
Falling Behind? is a recent (March 2014) book by Michael Teitelbaum of the Sloan Foundation, a demographer and long time critic of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) shortage claims. Falling Behind? is an excellent book with a wealth of data and information on the history of booms and busts in science and engineering employment since World War II, STEM shortage claims in general, and lobbying for “high-skilled” immigration “reform”. Although I have been a student of these issues for many years, I encountered many facts and insights that I did not know or had not thought of. Nonetheless the book has a number of weakenesses which readers should keep in mind.

... The evidence assembled in this book leads inescapably to three core findings:

o First, that the alarms about widespread shortages or shortfalls in the number of U.S. scientists and engineers are quite inconsistent with nearly all available evidence;

o Second, that similar claims of the past were politically successful but resulted in a series of booms and busts that did harm to the U.S. science and engineering enterprise and made careers in these fields increasingly unattractive; and

o Third, that the clear signs of malaise in the U.S. science and engineering workforce are structural in origin and cannot be cured simply by providing additional funding. To the contrary, recent efforts of this kind have proved to be destabilizing, and advocates should be careful what they wish for. ...

- “In the academic job market, there is no noticeable shortage in any discipline. In fact, there are signs of an oversupply of Ph.D.’s vying for tenure-track faculty positions in many disciplines (e.g., biomedical sciences, physical sciences).”
- “In the government and government-related job sector, certain STEM disciplines have a shortage of positions at the Ph.D. level (e.g., materials science engineering, nuclear engineering) and in general (e.g., systems engineers, cybersecurity, and intelligence professionals) due to the U.S. citizenship requirement. In contrast, an oversupply of biomedical engineers is seen at the Ph.D. level, and there are transient shortages of electrical engineers and mechanical engineers at advanced-degree levels.”
- “In the private sector, software developers, petroleum engineers, data scientists, and those in skilled trades are in high demand; there is an abundant supply of biomedical, chemistry, and physics Ph.D.’s; and transient shortages and surpluses of electrical engineers occur from time to time.”

The STEM Crisis is a Myth: An Ongoing Discussion: http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth-an-ongoing-discussion

STEM: Still No Shortage: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/stem-still-no-shortage-c6f6eed505c1
- Freddie deBoer

Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/education/edlife/stem-jobs-industry-careers.html
The number of graduates with technical majors (shown: bachelor, master and Ph.D. degrees awarded in 2015-16) tends to outpace job openings (shown: 2014-24 projections, annualized). Computer science is the exception.

I don’t think anyone is prepared for how far off of reality the Higher-Ed/STEM/High-Tech/Immigration story is. Even Bannon.

This is arguably the steepest pyramid scheme in the US & in the strategic sector that can least afford it. Yet it has ZERO to do with merit or xenophobia.
As such it is defended by a single mega lie of such size that no one can afford to rethink it. Myself included. It‘s a lie that has defined who we are for 50 years. I’m 53 and know nothing other than the lie. And the lie plays on the best parts of our American soul & narrative.
Work backwards. You‘ll see that perhaps the top 5-10 and not the top 100 universities should be training most all PhDs. Administrators should be fired. Tuition slashed. Strategic rivals barred from our labs. Diversity decreased or addressed *radically* earlier. Debt forgiven.
More students discouraged from four year college and into higher stability occupations. Massive salaries paid in fields that could restart growth. Transparency and accountability decreased for researcher and jacked up for administrations. Sports scholarships and legacies removed.
It’s so crazy what we need to do, that it‘s just easier to call anyone who dares rethink it an elitist or a xenophobe or an idiot or a pessimist or a nationalist. So I’m obviously going to be called all those things. As I was when I talked about mortgage backed securities in ‘02.
hsu  scitariat  books  review  science  supply-demand  academia  phd  labor  cycles  quotes  malaise  rot  multi  career  planning  data  trends  macro  economics  org:rec  working-stiff  links  tech  sv  grad-school  compensation  long-term  uncertainty  news  org:sci  progression  wonkish  commentary  hn  hmm  org:med  unaffiliated  left-wing  education  higher-ed  regularizer  arbitrage  innovation  visualization  scale  human-capital  chart  twitter  social  discussion  speculation  rhetoric  contrarianism  policy  nascent-state  winner-take-all  science-anxiety 
january 2017 by nhaliday
Thing Finder: Avoid boring people
From Avoid Boring People by James D. Watson. He captures key lessons he learned at the end of each chapter. Some are banal, some are true but not original, some are true but only in particular circumstances, some are contradictory with others, etc. Watson is one of the pivotal scientists of the modern era and regardless of consistency or other critical criteria, it is useful to know what he thinks were the key lessons. From youth to mature age, I have captured all his lessons. Some are self-evident. Others, you need to read Avoid Boring People to see what he is getting at.
list  books  summary  spearhead  reflection  science  career  strategy  tactics  metabuch  habit  unaffiliated  giants 
december 2016 by nhaliday
Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data | Aline Lerner's Blog
- typos and grammatical errors matter more than anything else
[I feel like this is probably broadly applicable to other application processes, in the sense that it's more important than you might guess]
- having attended a top computer science school doesn’t matter
- listing side projects on your resume isn’t as advantageous as expected
- GPA doesn’t seem to matter
career  tech  sv  data  analysis  objektbuch  jobs  🖥  tactics  empirical  recruiting  working-stiff  transitions  progression  interview-prep 
december 2016 by nhaliday
- quantum supremacy [Scott Aaronson]
- gene drive
- gene editing/CRISPR
- carcinogen may be entropy
- differentiable programming
- quantitative biology
- antisocial punishment of pro-social cooperators
- "strongest prejudice" (politics) [Haidt]
- Europeans' origins [Cochran]
- "Anthropic Capitalism And The New Gimmick Economy" [Eric Weinstein]

There's an underdiscussed contradiction between the idea that our society would make almost all knowledge available freely and instantaneously to almost everyone and that almost everyone would find gainful employment as knowledge workers. Value is in scarcity not abundance.
You’d need to turn reputational-based systems into an income stream
technology  discussion  trends  gavisti  west-hunter  aaronson  haidt  list  expert  science  biotech  geoengineering  top-n  org:edge  frontier  multi  CRISPR  2016  big-picture  links  the-world-is-just-atoms  quantum  quantum-info  computation  metameta  🔬  scitariat  q-n-a  zeitgeist  speedometer  cancer  random  epidemiology  mutation  GT-101  cooperate-defect  cultural-dynamics  anthropology  expert-experience  tcs  volo-avolo  questions  thiel  capitalism  labor  supply-demand  internet  tech  economics  broad-econ  prediction  automation  realness  gnosis-logos  iteration-recursion  similarity  uniqueness  homo-hetero  education  duplication  creative  software  programming  degrees-of-freedom  futurism  order-disorder  flux-stasis  public-goodish  markets  market-failure  piracy  property-rights  free-riding  twitter  social  backup  ratty  unaffiliated  gnon  contradiction  career  planning  hmm  idk  knowledge  higher-ed  pro-rata  sociality  reinforcement  tribalism  us-them  politics  coalitions  prejudice  altruism  human-capital  engineering  unintended-consequences 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Information Processing: Advice to a new graduate student
first 3 points (tough/connected advisor, big picture, benchmarking) are key:

1. There is often a tradeoff between the advisor from whom you will learn the most vs the one who will help your career the most. Letters of recommendation are the most important factor in obtaining a postdoc/faculty job, and some professors are 10x as influential as others. However, the influential prof might be a jerk and not good at training students. The kind mentor with deep knowledge or the approachable junior faculty member might not be a mover and shaker.

2. Most grad students fail to grasp the big picture in their field and get too caught up in their narrowly defined dissertation project.

3. Benchmark yourself against senior scholars at a similar stage in their (earlier) careers. What should you have accomplished / mastered as a grad student or postdoc in order to keep pace with your benchmark?

4. Take the opportunity to interact with visitors and speakers. Don't assume that because you are a student they'll be uninterested in intellectual exchange with you. Even established scholars are pleased to be asked interesting questions by intelligent grad students. If you get to the stage where the local professors think you are really good, i.e., they sort of think of you as a peer intellect or colleague, you might get invited along to dinner with the speaker!

5. Understand the trends and bandwagons in your field. Most people cannot survive on the job market without chasing trends at least a little bit. But always save some brainpower for thinking about the big questions that most interest you.

6. Work your ass off. If you outwork the other guy by 10%, the compound effect over time could accumulate into a qualitative difference in capability or depth of knowledge.

7. Don't be afraid to seek out professors with questions. Occasionally you will get a gem of an explanation. Most things, even the most conceptually challenging, can be explained in a very clear and concise way after enough thought. A real expert in the field will have accumulated many such explanations, which are priceless.
grad-school  phd  advice  career  hi-order-bits  top-n  hsu  🎓  scholar  strategy  tactics  pre-2013  scitariat  long-term  success  tradeoffs  big-picture  scholar-pack  optimate  discipline  🦉  gtd  prioritizing  transitions  s:***  benchmarks  track-record  s-factor  progression  exposition  explanation 
november 2016 by nhaliday
How to do career planning properly - 80,000 Hours
- A/B/Z plans
- make a list of red flags and commit to reviewing at some point (and at some interval)
advice  strategy  career  planning  80000-hours  long-term  thinking  guide  summary  checklists  rat-pack  tactics  success  working-stiff  flexibility  wire-guided  progression  ratty 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Is developer compensation becoming bimodal?
interesting aside:
When I was at Google, one thing that was remarkable to me was that they'd pay you approximately the same thing in a small Midwestern town as in Silicon Valley, but they'd pay you much less in London. Whenever one of these discussions comes up, people always bring up the "fact" that SV salaries aren't really as good as they sound because the cost of living is so high, but companies will not only match SV offers in Seattle, they'll match them in places like Madison, Wisconsin. My best guess for why this happens is that someone in the Midwest can credibly threaten to move to SV and take a job at any company there, whereas someone in London can't2.
compensation  tech  data  long-term  career  planning  analysis  dan-luu  techtariat  empirical  working-stiff  google  sv  geography  within-group  usa  midwest  cost-benefit  pro-rata  britain  flux-stasis  homo-hetero  housing 
september 2016 by nhaliday
Overcoming Bias : Two Kinds Of Status
prestige and dominance

More here. I was skeptical at first, but now am convinced: humans see two kinds of status, and approve of prestige-status much more than domination-status. I’ll have much more to say about this in the coming days, but it is far from clear to me that prestige-status is as much better than domination-status as people seem to think. Efforts to achieve prestige-status also have serious negative side-effects.

Two Ways to the Top: Evidence That Dominance and Prestige Are Distinct Yet Viable Avenues to Social Rank and Influence: https://henrich.fas.harvard.edu/files/henrich/files/cheng_et_al_2013.pdf
Dominance (the use of force and intimidation to induce fear) and Prestige (the sharing of expertise or know-how to gain respect)


According to the model, Dominance initially arose in evolutionary history as a result of agonistic contests for material resources and mates that were common among nonhuman species, but continues to exist in contemporary human societies, largely in the form of psychological intimidation, coercion, and wielded control over costs and benefits (e.g., access to resources, mates, and well-being). In both humans and nonhumans, Dominance hierarchies are thought to emerge to help maintain patterns of submission directed from subordinates to Dominants, thereby minimizing agonistic battles and incurred costs.

In contrast, Prestige is likely unique to humans, because it is thought to have emerged from selection pressures to preferentially attend to and acquire cultural knowledge from highly skilled or successful others, a capacity considered to be less developed in other animals (Boyd & Richerson, 1985; Laland & Galef, 2009). In this view, social learning (i.e., copying others) evolved in humans as a low-cost fitness-maximizing, information-gathering mechanism (Boyd & Richerson, 1985). Once it became adaptive to copy skilled others, a preference for social models with better than average information would have emerged. This would promote competition for access to the highest quality models, and deference toward these models in exchange for copying and learning opportunities. Consequently, selection likely favored Prestige differentiation, with individuals possessing high-quality information or skills elevated to the top of the hierarchy. Meanwhile, other individuals may reach the highest ranks of their group’s hierarchy by wielding threat of force, regardless of the quality of their knowledge or skills. Thus, Dominance and Prestige can be thought of as coexisting avenues to attaining rank and influence within social groups, despite being underpinned by distinct motivations and behavioral patterns, and resulting in distinct patterns of imitation and deference from subordinates.

Importantly, both Dominance and Prestige are best conceptualized as cognitive and behavioral strategies (i.e., suites of subjective feelings, cognitions, motivations, and behavioral patterns that together produce certain outcomes) deployed in certain situations, and can be used (with more or less success) by any individual within a group. They are not types of individuals, or even, necessarily, traits within individuals. Instead, we assume that all situated dyadic relationships contain differential degrees of both Dominance and Prestige, such that each person is simultaneously Dominant and Prestigious to some extent, to some other individual. Thus, it is possible that a high degree of Dominance and a high degree of Prestige may be found within the same individual, and may depend on who is doing the judging. For example, by controlling students’ access to rewards and punishments, school teachers may exert Dominance in their relationships with some students, but simultaneously enjoy Prestige with others, if they are respected and deferred to for their competence and wisdom. Indeed, previous studies have shown that based on both self- and peer ratings, Dominance and Prestige are largely independent (mean r = -.03; Cheng et al., 2010).

Status Hypocrisy: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2017/01/status-hypocrisy.html
Today we tend to say that our leaders have prestige, while their leaders have dominance. That is, their leaders hold power via personal connections and the threat and practice of violence, bribes, sex, gossip, and conformity pressures. Our leaders, instead, mainly just have whatever abilities follow from our deepest respect and admiration regarding their wisdom and efforts on serious topics that matter for us all. Their leaders more seek power, while ours more have leadership thrust upon them. Because of this us/them split, we tend to try to use persuasion on us, but force on them, when seeking to to change behaviors.


Clearly, while there is some fact of the matter about how much a person gains their status via licit or illicit means, there is also a lot of impression management going on. We like to give others the impression that we personally mainly want prestige in ourselves and our associates, and that we only grant others status via the prestige they have earned. But let me suggest that, compared to this ideal, we actually want more dominance in ourselves and our associates than we like to admit, and we submit more often to dominance.

Cads, Dads, Doms: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/07/cads-dads-doms.html
"The proper dichotomy is not “virile vs. wimpy” as has been supposed, but “exciting vs. drab,” with the former having the two distinct sub-groups “macho man vs. pretty boy.” Another way to see that this is the right dichotomy is to look around the world: wherever girls really dig macho men, they also dig the peacocky musician type too, finding safe guys a bit boring. And conversely, where devoted dads do the best, it’s more difficult for macho men or in-town-for-a-day rockstars to make out like bandits. …

Whatever it is about high-pathogen-load areas that selects for greater polygynous behavior … will result in an increase in both gorilla-like and peacock-like males, since they’re two viable ways to pursue a polygynous mating strategy."

This fits with there being two kinds of status: dominance and prestige. Macho men, such as CEOs and athletes, have dominance, while musicians and artists have prestige. But women seek both short and long term mates. Since both kinds of status suggest good genes, both attract women seeking short term mates. This happens more when women are younger and richer, and when there is more disease. Foragers pretend they don’t respect dominance as much as they do, so prestigious men get more overt attention, while dominant men get more covert attention.

Women seeking long term mates also consider a man’s ability to supply resources, and may settle for poorer genes to get more resources. Dominant men tend to have more resources than prestigious men, so such men are more likely to fill both roles, being long term mates for some women and short term mates for others. Men who can offer only prestige must accept worse long term mates, while men who can offer only resources must accept few short term mates. Those low in prestige, resources, or dominance must accept no mates. A man who had prestige, dominance, and resources would get the best short and long term mates – what men are these?

Stories are biased toward dramatic events, and so are biased toward events with risky men; it is harder to tell a good story about the attraction of a resource-rich man. So stories naturally encourage short term mating. Shouldn’t this make long-term mates wary of strong mate attraction to dramatic stories?

Woman want three things: someone to fight for them (the Warrior), someone to provide for them (the Tycoon) and someone to excite their emotions or entertain them (the Wizard).

In this context,

Dad= Tycoon
Cad= Wizard

To repeat:

Dom (Cocky)+ Dad (Generous) + Cad (Exciting/Funny) = Laid

There is an old distinction between "proximate" and "ultimate" causes. Evolution is an ultimate cause, physiology (and psychology, here) is a proximate cause. The flower bends to follow the sun because it gathers more light that way, but the immediate mechanism of the bending involves hormones called auxins. I see a lot of speculation about, say, sexual cognitive dimorphism whose ultimate cause is evolutionary, but not so much speculation about the proximate cause - the "how" of the difference, rather than the "why". And here I think a visit to an older mode of explanation like Marsden's - one which is psychological rather than genetic - can sensitize us to the fact that the proximate causes of a behavioral tendency need not be a straightforward matter of being hardwired differently.

This leads to my second point, which is just that we should remember that human beings actually possess consciousness. This means not only that the proximate cause of a behavior may deeply involve subjectivity, self-awareness, and an existential situation. It also means that all of these propositions about what people do are susceptible to change once they have been spelled out and become part of the culture. It is rather like the stock market: once everyone knows (or believes) something, then that information provides no advantage, creating an incentive for novelty.

Finally, the consequences of new beliefs about the how and the why of human nature and human behavior. Right or wrong, theories already begin to have consequences once they are taken up and incorporated into subjectivity. We really need a new Foucault to take on this topic.

The Economics of Social Status: http://www.meltingasphalt.com/the-economics-of-social-status/
Prestige vs. dominance. Joseph Henrich (of WEIRD fame) distinguishes two types of status. Prestige is the kind of status we get from being an impressive human specimen (think Meryl Streep), and it's governed by our 'approach' instincts. Dominance, on the other hand, is … [more]
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september 2016 by nhaliday
Information Processing: Do advanced education and a challenging career make you smarter?
A: basically, no. don't worry about atrophying.

... the 100 most successful and 100 least successful men in the group, defining success as holding jobs that required their intellectual gifts. The successes, predictably, included professors, scientists, doctors and lawyers. The non-successes included electronics technicians, police, carpenters and pool cleaners, plus a smattering of failed lawyers, doctors and academics. But here's the catch: the successes and non-successes barely differed in average IQ. [All Termites had high childhood IQs as a consequence of the selection process.] The big differences turned out to be in confidence, persistence and early parental encouragement.
iq  career  data  planning  education  summary  long-term  hsu  evidence-based  regularizer  scitariat  working-stiff  biodet  behavioral-gen  progression  flux-stasis  volo-avolo  optimism 
september 2016 by nhaliday
Overcoming Bias : A Future Of Pipes
The future of computing, after about 2035, is adiabatic reservable hardware. When such hardware runs at a cost-minimizing speed, half of the total budget is spent on computer hardware, and the other half is spent on energy and cooling for that hardware. Thus after 2035 or so, about as much will be spent on computer hardware and a physical space to place it as will be spent on hardware and space for systems to generate and transport energy into the computers, and to absorb and transport heat away from those computers. So if you seek a career for a futuristic world dominated by computers, note that a career making or maintaining energy or cooling systems may be just as promising as a career making or maintaining computing hardware.

We can imagine lots of futuristic ways to cheaply and compactly make and transport energy. These include thorium reactors and superconducting power cables. It is harder to imagine futuristic ways to absorb and transport heat. So we are likely to stay stuck with existing approaches to cooling. And the best of these, at least on large scales, is to just push cool fluids past the hardware. And the main expense in this approach is for the pipes to transport those fluids, and the space to hold those pipes.

Thus in future cities crammed with computer hardware, roughly half of the volume is likely to be taken up by pipes that move cooling fluids in and out. And the tech for such pipes will probably be more stable than tech for energy or computers. So if you want a stable career managing something that will stay very valuable for a long time, consider plumbing.

Will this focus on cooling limit city sizes? After all, the surface area of a city, where cooling fluids can go in and out, goes as the square of city scale , while the volume to be cooled goes as the cube of city scale. The ratio of volume to surface area is thus linear in city scale. So does our ability to cool cities fall inversely with city scale?

Actually, no. We have good fractal pipe designs to efficiently import fluids like air or water from outside a city to near every point in that city, and to then export hot fluids from near every point to outside the city. These fractal designs require cost overheads that are only logarithmic in the total size of the city. That is, when you double the city size, such overheads increase by only a constant amount, instead of doubling.
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august 2016 by nhaliday
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