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Chris Westcott
Works at Bamboo Auctions
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Chris Westcott

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"Systematically flawed forensic evidence" puts people on death row, kills 14.  "The FBI overstated forensic hair matches in nearly all trials up till 2000. 26 of their 28 examiners overstated forensic matches in ways that favoured prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far. 32 defendants were sentenced to death, of whom 14 were executed or died in prison."
"The article argues cogently that the USA lacks, and needs, a mechanism to deal with systematic failures of the justice system, particularly when these are related to its inability to cope with technology. The same holds here too. "
- https://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2015/04/19/another-scandal-about-forensics/
(Is this ignorance, or incompetence, or arrogance, or malice?)
Forensic hair matches were overstated in many cases heard before 2000, including those of 32 defendants sentenced to death, the FBI and the Justice Department acknowledged after a review.
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Prosecutors are only interested in obtaining convictions at all cost. The truth is not relevant.
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One of the projects, that I'm currently involved with, is trying to help make science more robust, in a number of different ways.  The other weekend, I knocked up a demo, based on some experimental applications that we've been working on.  

The result is Penelope, a manuscript checker that performs a number of tests, on an uploaded document, to ensure that it is of a good quality to submit to publication.  My demo is fairly simple, however, we have an NLP specialist working on more clever tests.

Scarily, today, I saw this: https://recode.net/2015/04/20/textio-spell-checks-for-gender-bias/ which has a remarkably similar interface, and product, for a different domain, although they've obviously spent a little more time on it!
Penelope. Penelope. Penelope suggests ways you can improve your manuscript before submitting to a journal. She'll help you meet journals' expectations so that your paper can be processed more quickly. Begin. © Research:Well 2015.
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Demo is working on a single document, however, originally it did accept any Word DOCX file.  It could easily support other formats too :)
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One of this Google story do-dats... I really should have taken photos as Llandudno, where we stayed overnight, which was a beautiful sea-side town we'll have to revisit!
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We really didn't have enough time there to have a proper look.  Really looking forward to going back though.  :)
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"Every second of 2014, on average, 8 trillion transistors were produced. That figure is about 25 times the number of stars in the Milky Way and some 75 times the number of galaxies in the known universe. The rate of growth has also been extraordinary. More transistors were made in 2014 than in all the years prior to 2011."
via http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2015/04/50-years-of-moores-law-ieee-spectrum-report/
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+Ed S I had to look that up... Every day is a learning day :)
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Nerdy Strutting

Some really good points here including some practical ways to deal with it.  Why is there so much egotism in tech?  It's certainly something I've struggled with, countless times, with comments made in jest, to me.  I also don't doubt I've done it myself, due to cultural influence or wanting to belong (or is that just an excuse?)

Personally I want a situation where I can pick from a pool of excellent candidates, to work alongside and to learn from.  Anything alienating potential groups from increasing that pool should be discouraged.

According to the article posted by +Jeff Erickson https://plus.google.com/u/1/+JeffErickson/posts/TsgVJgn92cc there is at least a feeling of improvement in CS uptake by women.  So at least that's a start.  Now to ensure that it isn't squashed by tech company cultures.
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Which is really good reading and where I found this ;)
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More excitement today!  

I recently took on the role of CTO for Bamboo Auctions, a property auction site where exchange of contracts occurs on completion of auction.  In itself this has been really exciting...

... we now have properties listed, which can be bid on!
Buyers. Buying through Bambooauctions.com is secure and simple. Learn more about how it works here. Read More. Sellers. Thinking of selling your home? Selling through our online property auction can save you time and money. Find out more here.
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Really interesting reading about fellow freelancer's working behaviours.  Of particular note was seeing how typical my experiences have been, as I've not really discussed this with others.

It has been an interesting time, however, I have been missing being involved in long-term projects and the fulfilment they bring.  So slowly, I'm winding things down, returning to full time employ, albeit in a slightly different capacity ;)

As with every step of my career path, freelancing has been an incredibly insightful process, as has running my own company and being my own accountant (at least initially).

As always, there are exciting times ahead!
Following up from last week's post covering what Freelancers charge, this week we want to look at what the Freelance Rates survey responses tell us about how freelancers work in the UK. Here, I wanted to get a clearer picture of working practices and particularly whether working freelance gave ...
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Quite a long day, yesterday, traveling to Wales to walk up Snowdon. We took the Pyg track on the way up but stupidly ended up on the route to Crib Gogh on the way back. Although we managed two of the peaks along we decided to abort where there was a fairly easy, but slow going, descent back to the Pyg track. After reading up this was absolutely the right decision and luckily we found other company in the same situation.

Really good day but as the local mountain rescue say "the route up Crib Goch and along the ridge is extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by novice walkers"

Crib Gogh: http://www.mountainwalk.co.uk/crib-goch.html

Photos below are in reverse order!
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Hahaha
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Inverse graphics, using the probabilistic programming language Picture, an extension of Julia. See also Picture: A Probabilistic Programming Language for Scene Perception (http://mrkulk.github.io/www_cvpr15/) and Inverse Graphics with Probabilistic CAD Models (http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.1339)
Probabilistic programming does in 50 lines of code what used to take thousands.
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"""
What can be frustrating about arguments against equality is that supporting and promoting women is not just about being “politically correct,” or fair – it makes sense from a business perspective. When it comes to product development or seeing potential in new firms, having a diversity of viewpoints allows you to think critically about the different uses and applications of a possible technology or tool set. Studies have shown that when you invest in women, they often reinvest in their communities. A recent study from McKinsey found that firms with increased diversity in leadership yielded an increase in annual profits. Denying women in technology is not solely about exclusion – it is unsustainable because bias is not a tenable business model
"""
The case is being defined by line-by-line readings of text messages from Pao's affair with a married peer, but the financial dirt is much more fascinating.
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Also, this presentation, from 2013, shows an increase of female students going to some Uni's to study CS in USA. If this trend continues (and in other countries too) then we'll have a more balanced talent pool.

http://katieirenec.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/let-me-tell-you-what-i-know-about.html?m=1

But we need to do our bit to make low-represented groups feel welcome in our industry to encourage them to study to go into it in the first place.
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Chris Westcott
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"Inspired by similar lists by Michaels Feathers and Fogus, I've compiled a timeline of papers that (for me) represent something of the spirit of the development of computer science over the past 100 years."
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Basic Information
Gender
Male
Looking for
Friends, Networking
Story
Tagline
Passionate about Software Development. Let me show you!
Introduction
I'm a Software Engineer with extensive experience creating applications of all shapes and sizes, for customers big and small.

I'm not keen on pigeon holes but if you want a guide to what to circle me under:
  • Geek
  • Developer
  • Programmer
  • Retro Computing
  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Roleplaying
  • Agile
Work
Occupation
Software Engineer
Skills
Certified ScrumMaster,C#, ASP.NET, JavaScript, Angular.js, Agile, Scrum, TDD
Employment
  • Bamboo Auctions
    Chief Technical Officer, 2015 - present
  • Pinewood Solutions Ltd
    Director, 2013 - present
    Freelance and consulting
  • Research:Well
    Software Engineer, 2014 - 2014
    Freelance
  • Sustainable Data Solutions
    Software Architect and Developer, 2014 - 2014
    Freelance
  • Isotrak
    Software Engineer, 2013 - 2014
    Contract
  • Jemmac Software Ltd
    Senior Software Engineer, 2006 - 2013
  • Cerulean
    Software Engineer, 2003 - 2006
  • Computair
    Software Developer, 2000 - 2003
  • BAE Systems
    Software Engineer, 2000 - 2000
  • BAE Systems
    Trainee Software Engineer, 1996 - 2000