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Offline Lukipela

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« Reply #45 on: May 15, 2008, 01:35:43 am »
Hey guys. I'm bumping this thread because I like it, and any complaints will be ignored. I suppose it is like Livejournal light in a way, but I feel a tad curious about what's happening with my favourite boarders.

Rider, how's school and living on your own going? Made more friends yet? Given up on the service industry?

Sedodes, I know you're busy with house and wife, how is that working out? Was the massage parlour a great success, or merely a happy ending? Regale us with your tales.

Eth, is vocational school treating you all right? How's that animation coming? Any more detailed plans on what to do once you've graduated?

FreakyM: Are you done with vocational school already? What is it you're studying to become exactly? And do you speak German fluently? Will you ever move out of the cold horrible north?

Bleeding Star: Well ,you're only going to answer with a short post anyhow so just let me know what is happening.

Any other members who feel inclined to share are welcome to as well of course.

In the interest of fairness, I might as well share a bit about myself. Currently the situation is looking good. After being with my company for one year, I was rented out to another company. This entailed certain bonuses, and didn't prolong my travel time unduly. It was a bit stressful at first (everyone around me is a client), but I've gotten used to it. My girlfriend hopes to finish her thesis by Christmas, and will then have to start looking for work. I'm sorta kinda maybe harbouring a plan to put in for a transfer request when she's done. It isn't too hard to get reassigned to another country for a year or two, which could be fun if we both managed to go. Question is where to go, and what she would do there. If not, we'll have to see where she finds work and play it from there.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 02:33:37 am by Lukipela »
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Offline Rider

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #46 on: May 15, 2008, 05:35:41 am »
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Rider, how’s school and living on your own going?

Well that school thing sort of had a history... it being it the past and all... anywho, at some point I decided that I was fed up with and I could feel the government instances closing in on my as the end of school drew closer and I was put into a position where I felt I had no other choice but to finish up, get a job and stop complaining. So I sort of snapper under pressure, threw up my arms and spent a month or so not going to school because I couldn't handle the prospect of having lost my choice in this.

Fast forward another month of talks with people, said government instances and the like...

I was made clear that there was NO pressure to do the job I already figured out I hated once I was done with school. Seeing how I really want to do something else, but wasn't sure of what to do, we decided that another plan would be set up come the end of my exams to at least keep the ball (meaning, the path to figuring out what to do, and actually doing it) rolling. I was surprised how layed back the guy from social security was when I talked to him. I had this image of the big corporation looking to get their moneys worth yesterday, but it turned out that they actually work with people so I didn't have to worry about losing my social security paycheck and being forced into a job I would hate.

So since then I've finished my school (in record time no less) and we're working on getting some short internships set up so I can check out different professions and see what I like and dislike about them. All-in-all I think things are going to work out fine.

Quote
Made more friends yet?

Not really, dropped by a local pub a few times, checked out the library and a few other things but it turns out that this city just isn't my kind of place to be. Fortunately, plans are already being worked on for another living place of a more semi-permanent nature a lot closer to home (say, 10 minutes with public transportation) and in a town that's actually alive! Not to mention it's also a lot closer to our capital which, needless to say, houses the most businesses in any concentrated area here.

I'm making more and more friends back "home" though... I guess I just belong there or something ;)

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I’m sorta kinda maybe harbouring a plan to put in for a transfer request when she’s done.

Wow, sounds like a big step! How did she react to that?

And now that I think about it, what did you say you did for a living again?
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Offline Bleeding Star

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #47 on: May 15, 2008, 07:10:05 am »
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Lukipela said:
I’m sorta kinda maybe harbouring a plan to put in for a transfer request when she’s done. It isn’t too hard to get reassigned to another country for a year or two, which could be fun if we both managed to go

Do it, if you can. International travel is one of the few perks of a science career: and now's the time to do it - before you get your girlfriend knocked up and get tied down with kids (or mortgage or other boring things).

I guess the EU is going to be pretty easy, immigration wise. The states is fantastic for both academic and industry work - San Diego has a nice biotech thing going and the weather is pretty sweet - though I'm sure most of the major cities will be good too. Visas can be a hassle but if you are interested in postdoccing it simplifies things somewhat - or if your company can pull strings over there then that could help too.

Offline Eth

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #48 on: May 15, 2008, 08:44:56 am »
  Dude!  Luki!  You should totally come visit us in the States!  You wouldn't believe how much food we waste here! 

  I'm just plugging away at my schooling right now.  I'm halfway through my internship with a small local animation studio, working on a music video.  Next term I will take "Advanced 3D Animation" and some sort of introductory Flash video-game authoring class.  The career services guy here at the school told me that my chances of getting a job doing Flash animation would double if I knew how to do actionscripting, so I'm trying to learn a bit of coding before I graduate.  I never thought I'd be making video games at the school!   :)

  Alek (my eldest) just got accepted at some sort of fancy alternative school, where he will receive academic challenges commensurate with his massive intellect.  So that's good.  I wouldn't want him to turn into a bored slacker like his old man. 

Offline Lukipela

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #49 on: May 15, 2008, 09:50:13 am »
Rider: So how are your internship experiences so far? What kind of internships have you liked? What do you think you could do for the rest of your life? As for what my girlfriend said, she liked the idea. It's just a question of if my salary will be able to provide for both of us abroad, or what kind of job she can find. I guess there's always some grocery store or something though, so I'm sure it'll work out. I'm a process design engineer, although I don't know if that tells you much. I'll be happy to give some examples if you're interested.

BS: My company has offices all over Europe which are easy to move around between (supposedly). Going further abroad would be much more difficult, so I'll settle for Europe for now at least. The other alternative is Russia, which doesn't really excite me much. The US, Canada or Australia could be fun in the future, although I'm not too crazy about your unit system.

Eth: Sounds exciting. How many terms do you have left? Lets hope for a nice job after you graduate. And congrats on your son, although I wouldn't call his father a bored slacker considering that he is providing fro a family, and studying at the same time.
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Offline Rider

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2008, 12:24:44 pm »
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So how are your internship experiences so far?

Well they're yet to begin so I can't say a lot yet... though I've done an initial day at the first company I'll be doing an internship at and that seems like a fun enough place. Lots of autistic people so that's going to be a hoot (maybe it's the megalomaniak in me that's enjoying all their little 'hurdles' of which I've mastered most already... most notably the social aspects) and the work is pretty diverse. Basically everything from sorting to Administration to photography/photoshop to standing in the store, so I'm really looking forward to that!

So then, what does a Process design engineer do exactly? Is it related to company processes (as found in ITIL oriented environments)?

Eth: Sounds awesome, animating for a living! Congrats on the kid too, I know how difficult it can be to have a kid for whom regular education doesn't quite cut it. :)
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Offline Eth

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2008, 04:22:17 pm »
Luki:  Three more terms after this one.  You're right.  I'm not a bored slacker any more, but I was all through primary school and the first three years of college (my previous degree). 

Rider:  Internships can be a lot of fun.  I've done several over the years.  It's a great chance to practice "living in the real world" without many of the risks.  Plus, you can ask a lot of questions that are considered sociallly unacceptable for a regular employee to ask.  I have an interview scheduled with my boss for next week; you can bet I'm going to ask a lot of good questions!

Offline Zeracles

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2008, 12:03:37 am »
Do it, if you can. International travel is one of the few perks of a science career: and now's the time to do it - before you get your girlfriend knocked up and get tied down with kids (or mortgage or other boring things).
I disagree, and I hope they never make me go to some far-flung mountaintop observatory. I'll take doing the science over talking about it any day. And if a science career only has ``few" perks for you, you don't belong there, though, I can only speak as a research student. If you do, then you know that as a researcher (which doesn't include all scientists) you
  • are at the cutting edge, say no more
  • have flexible hours (though for some these are many - if this is you, maybe you've made a bad choice somewhere)
  • get to read fascinating papers
  • are allowed to innovate and show off your skills - your job as a researcher is to do things no-one's ever done before
  • are part of a worldwide community which is a very real part of human progression - no better bunch of guys, I reckon
Although, each of these can vary a fair bit from discipline to discipline. Also, it depends on whether you're actually in research or you have a real job tied to industry. I'm gunning for the former, so that's what I'm talking about.

As for me, right now I'm a research student in astrophysics. My interests are in galaxy evolution (how did galaxies change from the dusty irregular blobs which we see in the early universe to the ``red and dead" ellipticals and grand design spirals we see in the local universe), large scale structure (how is the mass of the universe distributed, what can it tell us about dark matter, and what influence does it have on star formation). Unconventionally, I like philosophy of physics (working on a paper now) and of course a huge clandestine project ;)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 12:08:31 am by Zeracles »
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Offline Eth

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2008, 12:48:48 am »
Ah yes, the mysterious "Project X."  When will you publish something on that?

Offline Lukipela

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2008, 07:04:46 am »
Zer and BS, while I can't really take a stand on your discussion about he varying perks of doing science, I'd like to clear something up. I am not a scientist like you. I have neither the brains nor patience to do research, and my job does not involve  being "part of a worldwide community which is a very real part of human progression" unless you count the production of goods as progress. In fact, even my title sounds a bit pompous in English (Master of Science? Yeah right). A more direct and truthful translation would be "Diploma Engineer". I design things, I don't invent them.

So then, what does a Process design engineer do exactly? Is it related to company processes (as found in ITIL oriented environments)?

No, in my case the process in question refers to a process in a factory. How to explain this simply... Well, picture that you've come up with a great new way of purifying water. It involves running it through a great big reactor, where something happens and you get a stream of "better" water out. Your company has employed bright people like Bleeding Star and Zeracles to figure out this process, and now you want to build a factory to produce the stuff. Firrst you need to build a reactor that it can happen in. That's where tier one process engineers come in. They create the reactor in which the process can happen. For a junior guy like myself, that's far too complicated. But once the reactor is ready you have certain process requirements. You know that you want a certain amount of water (12 t/h) at a certain temperature (80C) and a certain pressure (7 Bar) for optimal performance. That's all fine and dandy, but now what?

That's where the second type of process engineers come in. We design the actual factory around the process parameters you need. In this case you can either take your water from a local network or from a tank that is refilled at regular intervals. Then you need a pump to raise the pressure (and move water) and a heater or heat exchanger to heat the water. You need to a check valve for the pump, and some shut off valves around critical equipment, maybe even some spares. You need to define pipe classes and make sure they apply. You need to check for possible problems (is there a regulation valve after the reactor to bring the pressure back down? In that case you might need a safety valve. You need to dimension the tanks, pumps, and heater as well as the pipes for throughput and design parameters such as maximum pressure/temperature. Do you need instruments? Maybe a pressure sensor, temperature indicators and the likes. Level gauge on the tank? Should these be connected to the pump (does it have an inverter?) or just to the system in general? Do we need local instruments?

Don't get me wrong, the process engineer doesn't do everything. In fact, after all these process parameters are defined and the dimensioning is done, other people take over. The piping engineer handles the actual physical planning of pipes. The layout designer looks at proper places to put things. The material engineer checks for trouble with the material classifications. The mechanical engineer defines the mechanical pump construction and the heater. The electrical engineer ensures that your equipment gets power. The automation engineer looks at the defined instruments and how to implement them. When the whole package is done, you have all the blueprints, flowsheets, PI-scheets, schematics and so on necessary. Then you send those out to your contractors, who handle the actual physical building of the plant.

This is a bit simplified as there is a lot of interaction between the different disciplines. But essentially the process engineer begins the work, and after that others take over. Oh ,and process engineering doesn't always mean building a new factory. Sometimes you renew a part, or look at an existing system to improve it somehow, or do something fairly different with help form the standards you know (like explosion risk classification).

ZER: So when you're done it's a career in research then? Do you have any specific plans as to where it's going to be? Any certain universities that interest you and so on?
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Offline Zeracles

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2008, 09:42:04 am »
Wow, my last post looks so pompous in retrospect - I guess I was trying to make a point.
I have neither the brains nor patience to do research
I really don't think one needs to be that clever to do research (there are some total dullards floating around), day-to-day it's not so grand, a lot of it is really monotonous, the perks I mentioned usually only get noticed when one takes a step back to admire the view. One of my supervisors told me that a problem is a problem be it theroetical or practical. Up to a point I think it's true, even though we all have things we're best at. The hardest industrial problems can be just as difficult as the hardest research problems. To be honest, researchers are not really smarter than others, they're possibly just more ivory tower. Because of this, having a PhD can actually count against one's employment prospects for jobs where one might have to do something real like helping to keep a factory running :)

And from that description of what you do, it's really no different to a lot of research - if a job is difficult, specialities are created to make individual jobs manageable. Someone else knows how the various infrared, optical and radio detectors and instruments work, someone else went to a far-flung mountaintop observatory to get data for me, someone else processed the data (did something to give me the neat tab-separated text files which I work with), and then I analyse it, and attempt to constrain models which someone else again worked out possibly involving simulations and fairly involved physical arguments.
Ah yes, the mysterious "Project X."  When will you publish something on that?
When you perceive, by the resoluteness of your choice, the X in all things . . .

Actually, I have something coming out soon - my first paper, based on my honours, which was actually a while ago. Satisfying the referee and getting it accepted was more than trivial, but

here it is

Unfortunately I was forced to write it in the most ugly way possible. All I did was find galaxies which are extremely red, many of which are massive elliptical galaxies (these are much bigger than our own galaxy, but could be considered ``red and dead", having little star formation - they mostly have old stars) at about half the lookback time to the big bang. Different models of galaxy evolution predict different properties for this population of galaxies. There are two main classes of theory for this. In one of them, massive elliptical galaxies form through the merging of other galaxies. In the other, these massive ellipticals have been around for as long as there have been galaxies. Common sense would suggest that in the former model, one should find fewer and fewer giant ellipticals as one looks further back in time/distance. So by counting the number densities of these objects, we can hopefully conclude in favour of one model over the other.

That's probably the simplest example of why these objects are interesting. On that point, our data wasn't broad enough to judge firmly. The main result of what we did was that we found that these massive ellipticals were associated with faint radio sources (signatures of star formation or black holes) in high redshift cluster environments, which wasn't unexpected, but by selecting specific cluster candidates, we suggest that the highest mass concentrations don't show this, because in the densest regions of the universe at this redshift, most star formation has already happened.

Also I introduce a smoothing algorithm I invented while I was in third year. Recently I used it to create my avatar 8)
ZER: So when you're done it's a career in research then? Do you have any specific plans as to where it's going to be? Any certain universities that interest you and so on?
Hopefully my PhD thesis will fool someone into taking me on in research (I might have to become a lecturer, always wondered if I'd be any good at that). I'm too lazy to think about where I might want to go just yet. I don't have a problem staying where I am, but maybe a bit of a change would be a good thing. Maybe overseas, but if so hopefully not in the West, somewhere more exotic could be nice. Staying in the same place forever can be frowned upon, mixing with other groups is encouraged.

I guess another thing for me is that I'd rather not do it full time. Call me lazy, but I really think a lot of people doing full time work burn out without realising it (not to mention losing sight of what they always wanted, ceasing to read, abandoning the SCDB, et cetera). I'd hate to simply go deeper and deeper into the research, endlessly trying to maximise my paper- and citation- counts, ending up as a world expert on something impossibly obscure, that's quite sad. Might try doing some casual programming work.
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Offline FreakyM

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2008, 10:02:45 am »
I have exactly one year and two weeks of school ahead of me, as of now.
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Offline Megagun

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #57 on: May 17, 2008, 11:40:35 am »
Failing Uni (going to drop out after this year; just trying to pass as many things as I can, though I can't say I'm very muchly so doing any real work on trying to succeed), going to attend something different (non-University) next year. Also trying to cope with not feeling very well at times due to various projects failing (mostly due to trying to get a proper development environment set up, with some working libraries, and then utterly failing to actually get those damned libraries to work (compile), etcetera)... But all in all, I'm pretty okayish.. Just living life, not really knowing where I'll end up yet..

Offline Bleeding Star

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2008, 12:15:29 pm »
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Zeracles said:
I disagree, and I hope they never make me go to some far-flung mountaintop observatory. I'll take doing the science over talking about it any day. And if a science career only has ``few" perks for you, you don't belong there, though, I can only speak as a research student. If you do, then you know that as a researcher (which doesn't include all scientists) you

are at the cutting edge, say no more
have flexible hours (though for some these are many - if this is you, maybe you've made a bad choice somewhere)
get to read fascinating papers
are allowed to innovate and show off your skills - your job as a researcher is to do things no-one's ever done before
are part of a worldwide community which is a very real part of human progression - no better bunch of guys, I reckon

Er, I was talking about working overseas, most of which does not occur on far-flung mountaintop observatories (though it may, in your line). And I did allow for other perks in science, such as some of those you mention above. I'll give a big "amen" on the intellectual stimulation - it's the main reason I'm in science, and the flexible working hours are also a blessing. I'm afraid the other two points are a bit too nebulous for me - though this is perhaps coloured by the fact that the institute director where I studied used the phrase "cutting edge" and other meaningless buzzwords ("world class", another favourite) to the point where you wanted to slit his damn throat with said cutting edge.

Quote
Wow, my last post looks so pompous in retrospect

You're not wrong. Your research topic sounds pretty fascinating, though a bit over my head. Maths and shit ain't my strong point.

Quote
Actually, I have something coming out soon - my first paper, based on my honours, which was actually a while ago.

Congrats. The first one's a nice hurdle to have cleared.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 01:06:39 pm by Bleeding Star »

Offline Scott_Irving

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Re: Where are you heading?
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2008, 12:41:11 pm »
Nobody want's to hear about my boring life with the polar bears and seal powered computers. unless your really bored.