Archive for: March 2014

Science and Technology: The Job Spectrum

scienceworldA biologist is thinking of branching out. He wrote his master’s thesis on self-replication of DNA, his doctoral dissertation on Darwin’s finches, and he now teaches graduate courses on evolutionary systems. He is working on a pet project after hours with a friend who works as a programmer. The goal is to build a self-replicating, self-correcting computer operating system designed for deployment on server farms to allow for simpler and faster meta-analyses of biological data.

Biologist’s Contribution 

The biologist’s contribution to the project is in his knowledge of self-correcting systems. He needs the programmer to translate that knowledge into the end product. A problem arises almost instantly, though, because of the lack of an operational definition.

The biologist lives in the world of Science. The programmer lives in the world of Technology. The difference in their jobs reveals the difference between the two fields. Though he may have an extensive knowledge of Darwin’s firsthand observation of the finches, the biologist deals in abstract concepts and ideas. The programmer is on the other end of the spectrum; he deals only with pragmatic translations and precise, almost mathematical, constructs.

Opposites

Science and Technology are on opposite ends of the spectrum in that regard. Both fields are based almost entirely on solving problems, but they go about it in different ways. People who find employment, education and training in “hard science” tend to deal with ideas. Technology-related jobs are more aimed toward practical applications. Programmers, in fact, even call a lot of their projects “applications.”

Middle Ground 

Luckily, though, there is almost always a middle ground between any arbitrarily chosen set of scientific and technological problems. The biologist and the programmer mentioned above might do well to find a Computer Scientist to serve as a translator. A Computer Scientist focuses more on the theory behind the practical applications of software and other technology. A lot of that deals with the formation of operational definitions.

An operational definition is a more specific and geared way to describe something abstract so that all parties can be sure they are discussing the exact same thing. If the biologist explained the scope and goal of the project to the computer scientist, the computer scientist would be able to understand exactly what processes are needed and what kind of logic is behind them. Self-replication and self-correction are key concepts in Computer Science. A programmer may not know about those concepts because they are largely theoretical and may be beyond the scope of his knowledge.

The Computer Scientist can then take the input from the biologist and explain it in terms that the programmer can understand. It is easier for a computer programmer to understand “we need incremental updates of the database” than to understand “we need the computer to learn.” Neither the programmer nor the biologist would even have any idea what the translated version of their thoughts would mean.

Therein is the key difference between Science and Technology: they use the same words but different lexicons. This is the reason they will always be at odds. It’s the same reason certain groups of people go to war over different religious texts. The biologist and programmer are fortunate in one respect: at least there is an intermediary who can facilitate communication between them.

The Best Retreats Away From The Big City Grind

In a bid to have an exciting vacation, a lot of families will look for a destination in another country or continent. While it is great to see the world, many forget about their own country. Not only is it easy to see a wonderful and fun destination, but a traveler can save money and help his or her own country recover from the poor economy. With this in mind, here are four countryside travel destinations to consider.

getaway

Kauai: With the island of Kauai, you can get away from it all and enjoy unspoiled paradise. This island is truly empty as 65,000 people call this place home. Since most of these people live in one or two towns, you can enjoy the place to yourself. Whether you like hiking, biking, fishing or relaxing, you can have a great time in many of the small towns dotting this beautiful island. While this is no easy place to get to, you will realize quickly how beautiful the island is. Simply put, if you want to escape the world and enjoy the stars, you should head to Kauai.

San Diego County: Believe it or not, there is much more to San Diego than beaches. In fact, if you head 30 minutes east, you can visit some tall mountains, beautiful lakes and plenty of great casinos. Since the area east of the beaches is relatively empty, you can have a great time exploring many outdoor areas. Furthermore, while most of the country deals with hot summers and cold winters, you can have a fun time in the mountains of San Diego most of the year. Of course, if you like snow, you can enjoy a rare southern California snowy day if you plan your trip at the right time. Either way, when thinking of a beach and mountain day, you should head to San Diego County.

Asheville: If you want to experience a hip and diverse city, you should consider Asheville, North Carolina. Then, after enjoying great beers and local food, you can sleep in a luxury hotel or camp on the river. During the day, visitors can head to the local lakes, rivers and streams. Here, you can party all day and relax in the shade. If you are adventurous, you can enjoy miles of unspoiled hiking trails. Either way you look at it, if you want to get away from it all and still enjoy the amenities, you should consider Asheville.

Chickasaw nation: If you want to check out a unique and fun area in Oklahoma, you should check out the Chickasaw area. Here, you can see plenty of natural and unspoiled lakes of Oklahoma. When visiting this area, you can head to a Las Vegas style casino. While you would pay a huge price to visit a casino in other cities, you can visit one here without breaking the bank. Simply put, if you are looking for a great Oklahoma destination, you should check out the Chickasaw area. When doing so, you and your family can have a great time.

With these four destinations, you can escape the world and have fun with your friends or family. Since it is not always easy to find the best place, you should do your research. When doing so, you can find the perfect destination for your needs.

Lost Under Your Company? When to Get Out

Business owners know that it takes every ounce of sweat and blood they have to make their business successful. However, once the enterprise is on solid ground, it can be a thrill to know that it was all worth it. Businesses tend to go through ups and downs that can shake the confidence of any entrepreneur. It’s important to know when the business is experiencing a small crisis and when it’s time to cash in and walk away.

money.grab

The Odds Aren’t Good

It’s a well-known fact that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year. As if that statistic weren’t bad enough, Bloomberg estimates 80 percent will fail in a year and a half. Businesses face enormous challenges whether the economy is doing well or not. Most businesses that end up failing will fail not because they weren’t a good idea, but because they run out of money. To keep money flowing, good businesses will focus on maintaining the following:

Financials – The fastest way to take the pulse of your business is to know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Keep accurate financial records and review them monthly, quarterly, and annually. They will be the first indicator that something may not be going as planned. You should have money set aside to weather temporary emergencies and know when your reserves are getting low.

Good Leadership – Problems in the business operation can be handled by capable supervisors. They can assess problems with customer services or product delivery. Surround yourself with experts in marketing, finance, insurance, and management to make sure that you give your business the best chance to succeed.

A Solid Business Model – You should be setting business goals and always seeking out new opportunities. If the market is not responding to your offering the way you had hoped, it might be because the business model needs to be tweaked. Included in your business plan should be an exit strategy.

When Things Still Don’t Work Out

If you are following the health of the business, you will know when things aren’t working out. Some potential exit strategies include:

Closing the Doors – If you can settle the debts, but still want to get out, you can make plans to simply lay off your staff and close the doors. This is the best way to get out of a business, but it requires that you do so long before you are in a position where you don’t have the money to pay off creditors.

Selling Out – Maybe you might not be able to make the company as profitable as you would like, but someone else may think they do have what it takes to do so. You can sell your business, even when it’s not a grand success, and move on to something better.

Declaring Bankruptcy – You will need to seek help for declaring bankruptcy once you’ve run out of money and your creditors are knocking down your door. If no one has an interest in buying, you may have no other choice than to declare bankruptcy.

Reference:

Wagner, E. (2013) 8 Out Of 10 Businesses Fail. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/