Off the line

I do not like to be serious. papers…papers…papers. Off from papers for bridging two, allow me to talk about something relevant to the cultural difference between astronomers and statisticians. I hope this could generate a series of comments. :)

Because of my desperate search for expansions and educations of statistical strategies into astronomy, the main reason for boring titled posts, I surf websites, hoping for extra information. Almost always, the websites of astronomers contain pictures of himself/herself (but most likely male) posed against mountains, endless sky, giant telescope, rocks (rock climbing), desert, or some exotic and serene landscape. Otherwise, no personal picture but a few images of their own having similar qualities like the ones from astronomy picture of the day. Statisticians’ websites are more likely functional. Almost no images but text. Computer scientists tend to put some java applets of the utility they are developing or use a fancy html (xhtml, css, php) stuffs that make the website look nice. I’m not saying these are mutually exclusive phenomenon. Seldom statisticians put their own pictures with unusual landscapes but I assure you that the frequency is way far less.

I’m don’t know how this trend began. I hope statisticians have more distinct fashion, though. What so ever, It makes me smile whenever I see astronomers’ websites with personal pictures, in which his face is hardly visible to be protected from the nature but his clothing has great contrast against the nature.

  1. vlk:

    I suspect that you will find a strong positive correlation between professional looking web pages (texty, wordy, sober portraitures) and possessing business cards.

    10-13-2008, 1:24 pm
  2. hlee:

    Facebook, LinkedIn, hi5, etc… in addition to personal blogs. However, these have some age bias, not profession bias.

    10-14-2008, 6:21 pm
  3. hlee:

    A couple of good friends advised/helped me when I was pursuing a minor degree in EE from PSU and one of them said the following:

    Many of signal processing researchers are like the statisticians you describe. Even though what they are dealing with are images and videos in many cases, they are ‘frugal’ to make use of visual effect, color, image, or fancy decoration. For example, my dissertation advisor once asked me “Is there any special reason for you to use the boundary box in your slides? If not, why don’t you remove it?”
    I feel like they try to “encode” their ideas and results in most “efficient” ways “in the sense of information theory” and if images or fancy stuff does not increase the amount of information enough to compensate for their “redundancy” they are reluctant to add them. This is the “rate-distortion theorem” for presentation style of signal processing researchers.
    To the contrary, I was impressed by many brilliant talks from natural scientists, which demonstrated effectiveness of visual stuff.

    He’s one of not many brilliant people that I know.

    10-19-2008, 12:41 pm
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