The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Hey! You! Yeah, You! What do you do?
The off-topic discussion thread was looking a little neglected, so I thought I'd post an off-topic thread to, you know, spruce it up a bit! Other sites I've been on have discussions about music, philosophy or whatever in their off-topic discussions, although I understand that we're a small community.

So, with this thread I thought I'd ask... what do you guys do IRL (if it's not too personal question, that is). Like, what's your profession, or are you in college, or (in my case) secondary school, or anything?
James Rogers, Professional Idiot
I'm an Instructional Designer for Xerox. Which means I design, create, and maintain training materials for both instructor led and computer based training classes. Usually for newly hired employees, but sometimes not.

Xerox recently announced that it is splitting into two companies, one focused on document and printing technology, the other doing services (generally call center related stuff, although we also do parking meters and electronic tolling, among other things). I'm on the services side, so will be splitting off with the new company - not sure what it will be called yet. That should all be done by the end of the year.

Anyway, that's what I do.

I'm halfway through a four year PhD in bionanotech (which is a very broad label I know but easiest way to describe it). I'm working on a biopolymer implant that would release nanocarriers which in turn carry antibiotics. The implant is intended for prophylactic treatment in artificial joint surgery (which can get very messy, painful and expensive if an infection arises).
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
In my current incarnation, I am a 25-year veteran teacher of Special Education in one of the local public school districts, specializing in the education of severely/profoundly disabled high school students. Before beginning this career, I earned a BSed degree with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Special Education. Before that, I was in the U.S. Army's Signal Corps, and before that I was a Radiological Laboratory Technician for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; this followed a stint as a Radiological Survey Technologist at the Nevada Test Site (hence the name and icon).

"I'd much rather see you on my side, than scattered into... atoms." Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe
I'm a bit of a mad scientist. I've got a couple of patents in (computer) natural language processing and my current work involves training recurrent neural networks to translate from one natural language to another. Usually I work on a contract basis, but I actually kind of suck at selling my services so I go for long-ish periods between bouts of paid employment.

During my most recent long-ish period of unemployment I've been experimenting and it turns out that one of my experiments works unexpectedly well. It's a technical advancement in neural network training that makes them less sensitive to mistakes in the initial parameters (self-adjusting, self-optimizing ... it's actually kind of a big deal). So I'm now trying to write several academic-type papers about it, as a bit of resume polishing.

There was some initial confusion, but my current client's attorney is now aware that they have no legit claim to it as intellectual property, as I did the primary work before they hired me and have solid evidence of the work done before the date (although I discovered the full extent of the effects after the date). So I'm applying it to their business requirements, but the intellectual property is mine. Yay me. But my paper will have to show an application in a different area because the thing I did for them is all tangled up with their IP.

So I'm demo'ing the technique in a vision application instead. Graphics and visual processing is kind of new ground for me, but for all that it's compute heavy, it doesn't have as many complicated fiddly bits as natural-language processing.
I'm currently on a one-year placement working in the development of genetic markers useful in the study of waxiness in wheat, in the hopes they'll be useful for breeding for drought resistance.

Then back for final year of my Biotechnology degree in September.
You're all bums.

Seriously though, man, you guys are smart. I mean, I'm sitting over here nursing my imaginary degree while you're off becoming the scientists of tomorrow xD
James Rogers, Professional Idiot
Actually, my plans are to take renunciation as customary in my religious tradition, to become a wandering monk. What we call a sadhu. (A bit more like an actual bum, I guess)

What's your imaginary degree?
I'm gonna be honest, buddy - I'm not religious or anything, but fuck me if being a wandering monk doesn't sound like an awesome life. I envy you, bruh.

As for my degree? I never really expected to live this long with my diet xD until recently I'd have happily worked some dead-end job the rest of my life, but in the last couple weeks I've been considering taking a course in history when I enter college (hopefully) late next year. I've recently taken a big interest in paleontology, but I'm not sure I could ever get a degree in something like that. Big Grin really though, I'm still not 100% sure what I'd like to do. I'm turning 17 in five days and still have no idea. Some life, eh? ;D
James Rogers, Professional Idiot
I think there are a lot more people who are seriously smart than generally believed - it's just that most of them don't wind up in (or don't pursue) situations where they get to develop and use their smarts to the full extent, or formally codify the things they've learned in a form that allows them to be passed along.

My dad was seriously smart. But he was a seriously smart *farmer*. Not a technician of any kind, but understood absolutely everything about weather, crops, soil, pests, etc. He never formalized it or codified it, but what he had understood and learned through experience, without even noticing the process of learning, was more than lots of degree programs cover.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)