Jane

Solid state drives – a geekout

by Jane November 7, 2011

Today I’m going to geek out about solid-state drives. I recently purchased a 120 GB solid-state drive for a desktop.  It doesn’t hold my data; just the operating system and frequently-used programs.  It cost about $200. The speed difference is striking.  The computer boots in only a few seconds, but the biggest difference is the […]

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What about MS Word?

by Jane November 2, 2011

I wish I lived in a world without Word.  But I’ve finally accepted that, outside our little corner of academia, when you need to send 100 words of information, you send a Word document.  Every office party flyer, every travel authorization form, gets sent as 10 MB of Microsoft bloatware. (Why?) I used to complain.  […]

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Update on grad student unionizing

by Jane June 22, 2011

New developments over at NYU with larger potential impact:  an NLRB official says that grad students trying may actually be employees: In a decision issued last week, Elbert F. Tellem, acting director of the NLRB’s regional office in Manhattan, said the graduate assistants, practically speaking, have “a dual relationship” with the university that is “both academic […]

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Terminal bake-off

by Jane June 10, 2011

Linux and OS X users:  what terminal do you use, and why? Choices include (but are not limited to) xterm, iterm2, & Terminal. I suspect that many of use the defaults because they’re the default. I’m one of them. Please tell me what I’m missing. Update—Kelle took the liberty of adding a poll:

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Got the time? [Ask AstroBetter]

by Jane June 2, 2011

A reader asks:  “I am looking for a small Mac program that can be put in the top bar to show LST/UT and Local time. Is there something like that that you are aware of?” Readers, chime in!  (I would probably just open Jskycalc and hit the “Set to Now” and “Auto Step” buttons.  But I’m sure there’s […]

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Roundup: Communicating Science

by Jane May 20, 2011

Three loosely-related links about science communication: Jeff Masters’ (Wunder Blog) synopsis of flood control along the Mississippi is fascinating, and perfectly illustrated by the diagram below, one of the best scientific illustrations I’ve yet seen.  It’s a typical “before-and-after” two-part figure, but each is so detailed, and so fundamentally different in world-view, that it conveys […]

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Post-doc self-organizing [Ask AstroBetter]

by Jane May 11, 2011

“Could someone please summarize activities the postdocs have in your own institute, and ask the community to share their own initiatives?” Jane:  Sure!  At my institution, the postdocs run an astro-postdoc email list, a semi-regular lunch outing, and a new career seminar with speakers ranging from the deputy administrator of NASA to humble junior faculty […]

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What are the best iphone apps for astronomers?

by Jane April 4, 2011

I got my first iphone yesterday and am playing catch-up.  Please laugh at me.  In the meantime, let’s compile a list of the best smartphone applications for astronomers, shall we? The AstroBetter Wiki has a stubby page on iphone apps for astronomers. What’s missing? Obviously astro-ph tools and APOD are missing — what else? Also, […]

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What’s the best tool to annotate PDFs?

by Jane March 23, 2011

We all know the workflow:  a collaborator sends a draft proposal or paper; we carefully read it; bleed all over it; and send it back.  I admit that until last year, I used a Big Red Pen on hardcopy, which I then returned to the lead author by scanning with the xerox machine. Recently I […]

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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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