February 2011

OS 10.7 (Lion) Will Bring Version Control, Application Resume, and More

by saurav February 25, 2011

Apple just seeded the developer’s preview for Mac OS 10.7 Lion and released more details about what Lion is going to bring. As OS 10.6 Snow Leopard was more of a cosmetic improvement, it has been a while since we got a “new” OS. Here are five reasons why I am really excited about OS […]


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Funding opportunities for graduate students

by Jane February 24, 2011

A new page on our wiki collects funding opportunities for graduate study.  We’ve got the big fellowships (NASA GSRP and NSF GRF), predoctoral programs at observatories, and travel grants for grad students to attend conferences.  What are we missing?  Please speak up in the comments!


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An easy way to encrypt sensitive folders

by Jane February 22, 2011

Many of our laptops containing sensitive information — proprietary proposals, student grades, a secret plan to take over the world through speckle interferometry.  We all know the security risk of stolen laptops and thumb drives.  But many of us don’t want to encrypt our entire home directory. Here’s an easy way to encrypt just the […]


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Should the Comment Feature on the Rumor Mill be Changed? [Poll]

by Kelle February 18, 2011

With the migration of the Rumor Mill to the AstroBetter wiki, a new feature was added, comments. Some of the comments have been useful questions, updates, and clarifications about jobs and fellowships while other threads have evolved to become (not completely unjustified) rants about the job market. These threads elicited this comment, Perhaps comments should […]


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A Tale of Two Budgets

by Planck February 17, 2011

I’m going to write a bit about science funding, both in the President’s FY 2012 budget and in the yet-to-be-passed FY 2011 budget. But before I go into that, let me preface this piece with my honest opinion on the much bigger budget picture: President Obama has made a tactical mistake in the budget cutting […]

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Best Astronomy Undergraduate Programs?

by Kelle February 16, 2011

I have recently been in contact with a high school student who wants to pursue Astronomy and he’s got me thinking: What are the best undergraduate programs for budding astronomers? Sure, any place that offers a physics major will suffice. And the places with top-notch PhD programs are probably also gonna have top-notch undergrad programs. […]


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Talks: Don’t be a laptop yo-yo

by Jane February 15, 2011

When you give talks or lectures, do you move around the room and point at the screen when required?   Does that cause you, like a yo-yo at string’s end,  to sproing back to your laptop every 2 minutes to advance the slide? Or do you have the opposite problem:  Do you give your talk while […]


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Mute noisy conversations in GMail

by Tom February 14, 2011

I occasionally get added to endless email conversations which I have no time to read and/or contribute to. If I archive the message, it will pop back into the inbox every time someone replies and sets off the GMail notifier. However, I recently discovered that GMail has a nice ‘mute’ feature, which archives the message […]


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Introducing Astrobites

by Kelle February 11, 2011

I’ve linked to a couple things from astrobites recently and added them to our blogroll a couple days ago. It’s a blog run by astro grad students intended for astro-curious undergrads. (But I enjoy reading it as well!) Here’s their announcement from the AAS Newsletter. ASTROBITES: LITERATURE JOURNAL AND WEBLOG FOR UNDERGRADUATES Do you know […]

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Guidelines for Refereeing Journal Articles [Wiki]

by Kelle February 8, 2011

In collaboration with a few colleagues, I have sketched out a wiki page with some guidelines for refereeing submitted journal articles. Nearly everyone has wildly different expectations of the goals, duties, and time expenditures expected of a referee. At times this leads to combative encounters, complaints to editors, editorial decisions thought to be bizarre by […]


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