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Joerg Fliege
Attended Dortmund University
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Joerg Fliege

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"Professor T came to me in handcuffs."
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The Hunt incident: some Twitter forensics

Its not pretty. False statements from so-called journalists, academics actively scheming to get rid of a colleague, further journalists not being impartial, and good old evidence-free pre-judgement, broadly applied.

I could vomit.
Imagine the scene: you are a distinguished female scientist, a Professor and an employee of the college you work for, University College, London. You have a blameless employment record and have ser...
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Ah, I just noticed that it has been insinuated that I condone sexist remarks, because I am asking for due process. Nice attempt at character assassination, really cute.

I better close the comment section, before someone gets sued under UK libel law.

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Checks out.
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+Joerg Fliege This depends on the university.  It's quite fashionable to have at least one token conservative professor around in most departments.  He is both a court jester and a crocodile in the water, for the ranks of the uni administration and the boards of regents are usually filled with conservatives.  

The (American) press seizes upon every contretemps in academia as if such things were common - they're news, precisely because they aren't all that common.  The palaces of the Tudor and Habsburg kings have nothing on academia in terms of scheming, assbiting, flattery and avarice.

Ultimately, what goes on in the faculty lounges is as irrelevant as it is vicious and petty.  Want to make money in academia?  Stop teaching, get into administration.  
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On countering radicalism: the Aarhus approach.
 
BBC reports that Danish authorities can argue radicalised youth out of positions they were not argued into.
It's known as the Aarhus Model, a programme designed in Denmark's second city to dissuade young people from going on jihad. This is one man's story.
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For fucks sake, that could be me.

(Via +Jeffrey Ullman .)
 
LSU president F.King Alexander fires tenured professor for saying "F.King" too many times in front of the students. Via http://wonkette.com/590086/giant-pussies-at-lsu-fire-professor-for-saying-bad-bad-words
The top national organization of university professors on Tuesday urged LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander to reconsider the recent firing of associate professor Teresa Buchanan,
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LSU is all about Tigers football.  Beyond that, LSU Baton Rouge is an intellectual wasteland, afflicted with Baptists, rednecks and refineries.  
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UK  graduate employment rates.

Average: 93.6%.  Data is for 2013/14.

What is perhaps interesting to note is that several smaller, specialized institutions outperform the big hitters. The Arts University Bournemouth has an employment rate of 97.4%, and the Royal College of Music reports a whopping 100%. Poor Cambridge has only 95.3%. But then Cambridge had 2665 graduates that year, while Arts Bournemouth had 730 and the Royal College had 55.

So, if you can get a place in one of those smaller institutions that are well-known in their respective niches, you have it made. But you need to get in there first.
London Metropolitan University records biggest improvement in Hesa data
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Today I learned that one of our PhD students is nicknamed "Frodo", while another one goes by "Gollum".

I didn't dare to ask how they call me behind my back.
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Omg! I wonder what is my nickname.
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+Robert Rambusch Warning: I may just have to use brouteehee now that you've made me aware of it.
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Russian university fires US academic accused of harming national interests

And he is not the only one in trouble:

"At least half a dozen western academics have been fined or expelled from Russia over visa issues in the past year as tensions with the west have risen. In addition, three employees of the Danish Institute Against Torture taking part in a seminar were ordered to leave Russia in May, and Jennifer Gaspar, an American NGO employee, was deported in August as a “threat to national security”. Earlier in June, Scott Blacklin, the former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, was detained for two weeks and then expelled from Russia for a visa violation. Blacklin came to give a lecture at a technology conference at Lobachevsky University, an activity that migration authorities said was incompatible with the business visa he had received. Laura Sumner, a history graduate from the University of Nottingham, was ordered to leave Russia in April for conducting research in Nizhny Novgorod archives on a business visa, although a pro-Kremlin tabloid suggested she was a spy."
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On the best of the best, and some remarks on so-called top-tier schools.
 
Despite this article's title, it's about more than just women of color in technology: it's about recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented groups across the board. And that's something extremely important to the success of any technology company.

Why? There are three major reasons.

(1) Diverse groups avoid stupid product mistakes. This is in literally every sense of the word "diverse:" if you have people from different groups in your team, they'll notice – and you'll prioritize – problems that you never would have spotted otherwise. If your system doesn't work for the deaf and someone on your team is deaf, or if it requires hitting tiny affordances all the time and you have someone with a motion disability, you're never going to ship it that way, and that means more users. If your system has a price structure, or a branding, or a visual style that would never appeal to users outside of Silicon Valley, you'll catch that if people on your team are from a very different world. If women experience a different kind of abuse on your system than men do, then you'll build entirely different protections into your system if there are women in the room when you're making the design decisions.

The key point is that these are just examples: nobody can predict what an extra set of eyeballs, especially different eyeballs, will catch. The one thing that's reliable is that each set of eyeballs – not just working grunt jobs, but in the core decision-making process – means you don't make a mistake that shuts out a bunch of potential customers.

(2) Diversity interrupts groupthink. It's really easy for a room full of similar people to start to talk in similar ways. Not only do you not make the right decisions, you don't even realize there are decisions that you're implicitly making. More different eyes prevent that.

(3) You get to hire the best people. People who haven't been in this game very long think "Recruit minorities? You mean lower the bar!" People who have played this for a while hear that and think "Sucker."

The thing about structural racism/sexism/etc. is that a lot of people from the various underrepresented groups don't have the "traditional signifiers" of being good. They won't have gone to the top-tier schools, or they won't have any contacts, or their job history will be so-so. What you quickly learn in engineering, though, is that these signifiers are simply signals that you use when trying to find good people – and overall, as signals, they kind of suck. Terribly.

I've lost count of how many people I've interviewed who came from top-tier schools and had a glowing résumé and couldn't think an independent thought or design a system on their own to save their lives. Top-tier schools don't provide a systematically better education in CS; often, CS departments are so mathematically inclined that students that don't actively go the extra mile come out with a degree in theory and no ability to code. They used to claim that they were "filtering out the best of the best," but in practice, they do a lot of that filtering starting from "people with enough contacts to get in." 

Job histories are sometimes useful, sometimes not, especially in an era where so many people end up unable to find a job for months or years at a stretch anyway. 

References are great, but they're only a positive signal: the lack of references tells you nothing.

And the important thing is, that unless you're a tiny company hiring a temp, or hiring a senior specialist, you shouldn't be hiring for experience: you should be hiring for brains. You can teach CS; you can't teach smart.

What this means is that among these "underrepresented groups," there are a bunch of smart people out there who, lacking these traditional signifiers, aren't getting the right job offers. And that means smart people that you can hire. Lots of them. All you have to do is hire them and treat them with respect.

(As a side note: I attended GHC, the biggest annual conference for women in CS last year, for recruiting purposes. The quality of people looking for jobs there was insane compared to any other CS event.)


But.... if you want to hire and retain these people, you have to make an active effort. This open letter has a bunch of specific suggestions in it which I personally think are all individually excellent: I endorse these ideas wholeheartedly.

I will add: In my groups, people of all genders, races, and backgrounds are not only welcome but actively desired. This is the case now and will continue to be the case in every team I run in the future.

Thanks to +Erica Joy for pointing me at this great letter.

[DISCLAIMER: I am writing this post in my personal capacity and am not speaking on behalf of Google. I make no assertions as to the truth or falsity of any of the claims of fact made within the letter, nor of any conclusions of law. Those of you who have been in the field for a while know why I have to state this, too]
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The number of bright, luminous galaxies that the simulations predicted just about synced up with the data we can see from the Hubble. But the simulations indicated that number of faint galaxies, which the Hubble can’t see, wasn’t anywhere near what previous predictions had estimated.
It looks like we might have overestimated how many neighbors we have. New predictions show that the universe might be an emptier place than we imagined.
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A breakthrough! Another breakthrough! And another false alarm!
 
Tighten the requirements for declaring physics breakthroughs, says Jan Conrad.
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It's all the arXiv's fault!!1!
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Work
Occupation
Professor for Operational Research
Skills
Juggling research and students. And research grants.
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Standing on the shoulders of giants, mostly.
Introduction
Surprise:  I post, share, and discuss stuff that interests me. 

I also share stuff that I find interesting or thought provoking, even if I do not always agree with the sentiments of the original share itself.

The focus is usually around Mathematics and Operations Research, Science & Engineering (especially Space Science, Space Engineering and Telecommunications Engineering), Education, the politics of the above fields, and similar issues.

But really, it can get pretty eclectic.  Have a look at the stream of posts and +1, and build your own opinion.
Bragging rights
Worked for Umbrella Corporation, Weyland-Yutani, Ono-Sendai, and Tessier-Ashpool, after a brief stint at Miskatonic University. Still searching for Wintermute.
Education
  • Dortmund University
    Mathematik, 1987 - 1997
    Undergraduate studies, postgraduate studies, PhD. The whole shebang.
  • Dortmund University
    Mathematik, 1998 - 2001
    Habilitation. (At that time, there still was such a thing.)
Links
Joerg Fliege's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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