Онлайн хулиганы

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А знаете, какое самое популярное по числу просмотров видео на YouTube? Вот это. 14 миллиардов просмотров за менее чем семь лет. И таких видео много. Задаюсь вопросом, о чем эта песня? Чему она учит? Какой вообще в ней смысл? С моей точки зрения, сформированной когда-то давно сказками Сергея Михалкова, Самуила Маршака и Агнии Барто, в этой песне смысла нет. Но ведь он должен быть, раз её посмотрели и оценили по достоинству сотни миллионов родителей и детей! Нет, не должен. Всё просто: что сейчас нравится миллионам, то и является эталоном качества. Но ведь так было не всегда.

Куликовы поля

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Я не историк и даже в школе историю не любил. Не любил, но верил, что так все и было: и Французская революция, и восстание Спартака, и война Аттилы с Римом, и охоты на мамонтов с последующими иллюстрациями на стенах древних пещер. Все это было именно так, как рассказывали нам учителя истории (они в моем детстве почему-то часто менялись). Позже, когда появился Internet, я узнал о Новой Хронологии и стал скептиком — перестал верить на слово тому, что говорят историки. Стал в любом описании событий прошлого искать альтернативные версии. Еще позже я узнал, что это называется конспирологией и в порядочном обществе осуждается, Пелевин не даст соврать.

Ping Me, Please!

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There is a big difference between distributed and collocated teams: the communication in distributed teams is asynchronous, which essentially means that when you ask something, a response doesn’t arrive immediately. Moreover, it may never arrive. This can be very uncomfortable for those who are used to the office work setup, where most communications are synchronous: any question is answered immediately, one way or another. In open-source repositories, everything is asynchronous. Here is a simple rule that may help you decrease the level of frustration in GitHub projects: ping them every time you need an answer or attention to be paid to your code.

Research Flow

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Say, you are a student, and I’m your teacher. Your task is to conduct an experiment or a study and then write a research paper about it. You can do it on your own and then present me with the results in the end. Sometimes it may work, but most probably it won’t. I will have many comments, suggestions, and plain simple disagreements with your research questions, results, or conclusions. Just like in software engineering, the Waterfall approach is not an effective one. Instead, an incremental and iterative workflow may yield way better results: you take a small step forward, we discuss it, you rewrite, we agree, and you take the next step. The ultimate objective is to write a paper that will be published in a good journal or presented at a decent conference. Well, yes, a passing grade is also an objective.

I can't speak

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Уже несколько лет мы проводим в России научную конференцию, приглашая в ее программный комитет ученых со всего мира. Последние два года, по понятным причинам, отказов много, особенно от западноевропейских ученых. Однако, интересно вот что: если раньше отказы содержали субъективный негатив вроде “I don’t want to participate in a Russian conference” (я не хочу участвовать в российской конференции), то последнее время они все звучат примерно так: “I can’t speak at your event” (я не могу выступать у вас на мероприятии). При всем уважении к драматизму ситуации, мне все же интересно, понимают ли уважаемые ученые, что те свободы, которыми так гордится европейская цивилизация, несовместимы с выражением “I can’t speak”, особенно из уст людей науки?

Defend Me Against ChatGPT

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I do enjoy ChatGPT a lot. The blog post you’re reading now was written by me and then given to ChatGPT to fix its grammar and polish the writing style. Until recently, since 2014, when I wrote my first blog post, I used the service of a few proofreaders, who charged me $20-40 per hour to rewrite all of my 350+ texts. Now, I pay a few dollars a month to OpenAI. However, while the value of this generative AI is obvious, I also experience serious harm from ChatGPT, especially when reading papers written by my students with its help.

Review a Research Paper: Constructive Critique in Five Steps

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I’m helping organize the ICCQ conference this year for the fourth time, with the in-cooperation support of the IEEE Computer Society. Based on this short-term experience, I can assert that reviewing research papers is a skill that even some reputable and experienced academicians either don’t possess or are too lazy to apply. We often encounter sketchy, subjective, and disputable reviews that don’t assist authors but only frustrate and discourage them. In this short blog post, as an absolute amateur in the subject matter, I will try to summarize how to review an academic research paper (thus mostly helping other newbies).

Results and Discussion: Facts and Interpretation

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Almost every empirical research paper contains two essential sections: Results and Discussion. The former presents the facts collected through the research method, while the latter interprets them to answer the research questions. When interpreting the data, you must address the most obvious concerns that readers may have. For example, in the Results section, you might state: “85% of respondents refused to participate in our survey” (this is a fact). Then, in the Discussion section, you might say: “We believe that programmers are innately lazy and irresponsible” (this is an interpretation). You might also add, “Perhaps not all of them were lazy, but just busy.” While the Results section leaves no room for doubt, summarizing findings “as is,” the Discussion section engages in an open debate with an imaginative reader.

Be Indirect in Your Research Questionnaire to Gain More Honesty

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Let’s say you are conducting research to discover programmers’ opinions about their work environments: whether they appreciate their office spaces or not. Preparing a survey with a few questions is essential. Their responses will reveal their thoughts and feelings. After working with several student groups, I’ve noticed a common mistake in questionnaire design—they are too obvious with their questions, simply asking, “How do you feel about this?” There’s a more effective approach.

Avoid Soft Line Breaks Inside a Paragraph

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An email, a document, a research paper, a presentation, and even a JavaDoc code block consist of paragraphs, which are “self-contained units of discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea.” Visually, paragraphs are supposed to be separated by a vertical space that is a bit larger than a vertical spacing between lines. To achieve this, for example, in HTML, we wrap paragraphs in the <p> tag, while in LaTeX, we use \par or just an empty line between them. However, some people insert what are calledsoft line breaks” inside paragraphs—this is a bad practice that I suggest you stay away from.

The Method Section: A Recipe for Research

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Every empirical research paper must have a section titled “Method” (or “Methodology,” or “Study Design”). In this section, you describe what was done to obtain the data presented in the following “Results” section. You explain the recipe, which may be replicated later by another researcher, leading to the same (or very similar) results. You tell the reader what ingredients you used, how you mixed them, and—most importantly—why.

Не такой как все!

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Кому из нас не хочется быть яркой индивидуальностью? По крайней мере, считать себя таковой. Однако не каждому это под силу. Современное развитое общество победившей свободы совести поощряет стремление каждой личности к индивидуальности, доводя этих несчастных личностей до психологов, коучей, психиатров и антидепрессантов.

Related Work: A Critical Taxonomy of Prior Art

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In almost any research paper, it is mandatory to have a section titled “Related Work” (or “Related Works”), where you refer to the results previously obtained by other authors or yourself. By including this section in your paper, you are not only paying respect to those who laid the foundation for your results, but also motivating and guiding your readers. Most of them may not be aware of existing studies or the importance of the problem you are solving. You must put these guys into context.

Five Ingredients of Tech Career

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A friend of mine recently asked me what five things he should do in order to grow his technical career in a big company. He is not interested in being a big manager, or a CEO. Rather, he wants to be a software expert, an architect, an owner of a technology, and eventually a “Fellow.” I’m not sure I was qualified to give such advice, but I did anyway. This is what I told him. Maybe this will also work for you.

Турбулентность, Made in Ukraine

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Служба Безопасности Украины (СБУ) арестовала Игоря Коломойского. Ему вменяют незаконный вывод более 500 млн гривен за границу в 2013–2020 гг. Коломойский — президент Объединенной еврейской общины Украины, вице-президент Федерации футбола Украины, экс-глава и член Европейского совета еврейских общин, президент Европейского еврейского союза (EJU), а также основатель Приватбанка, самого крупного банка Украины, имеющего свыше 22 млн клиентов. Что же происходит, какие версии?

Bibcop: Style Checker for BibTeX

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Almost every document you may write in LaTeX format will have a list of references at the end. Most likely, you will use BibTeX or BibLaTeX to print this list of references in a nicely formatted way. It is also highly probable that your .bib file will contain many typographic, stylistic, and logical mistakes. I’m fairly certain that you won’t find the time to identify and correct them. As a result, the “References” section in your paper may appear sloppy. I suggest using the bibcop package, which identifies mistakes in the .bib file and auto-fixes some of them.

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