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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:02 am 
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Sorry, couldn't resist a Firefly reference.

There's a fun meme going around -- you may have seen it already, especially if you're on Livejournal or read the Scientific American blog: can you describe your job, or some other complex concept, using only the ten hundred most commonly used words?

Helpful: The Up Goer Five Text Editor

It might also be fun to try to summarize a popular SFF book or movie and see if you can do it well enough so people recognize it.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:47 am 
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I am a person who writes stuff that tells computers what to do. I sit all day in a box and type and stare at a bright thing with words on it. When I type words on a thing with keys on it, the words show up on the bright thing I stare at. When I type the right words, the computer does the things I want it to. When I type the wrong words, the computer doesn't do the things I want it to, and I am sad.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:44 am 
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I give teachers the stuff they need so they can do their jobs.

(I'm a school science technician.)

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:26 pm 
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I write directions for computers so they can figure out how big groups of power lines work together, or just show how actual groups of lines are doing right now. (Power system simulation/visualization software developer)

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:54 pm 
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AlternateTorg wrote:
I am a person who writes stuff that tells computers what to do. I sit all day in a box and type and stare at a bright thing with words on it. When I type words on a thing with keys on it, the words show up on the bright thing I stare at. When I type the right words, the computer does the things I want it to. When I type the wrong words, the computer doesn't do the things I want it to, and I am sad.


I also work with a computer. My computer is not for people to use. My computer is used by other computers to answer a question. This is the question:

When rain comes, there is sometimes a loud sound and bright light. Sometimes the loud sound and bright light hits things and breaks them. People want to know where the loud sound and bright light broke things. Some people pay other people if their things break. These people know if a loud sound and bright light broke the thing and they have to pay. Other people think hard about loud sounds and bright lights. They need to know all about it. With it they can follow rain.

My computer is part of a bigger computer. The bigger computer finds all loud sounds and bright lights everywhere in the world. It knows where every loud sound and bright light that has happened for the past ten and ten and ten and more years has been. We remember where the loud sounds and bright lights were and when people ask, we tell them. They pay us for this.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:20 pm 
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I use a computer to tell airplanes where to go to get looked at and fixed if they are broken. I also tell people at the airports where we have people that fix planes what things to look at and to fix. I do this many days ahead of when these things would go past the time that they are supposed to be done.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:06 am 
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(I realized from other examples that I should be more explicit about what kind of programming I do.)

The words I type at a computer make it so that it can tell people who give us money about the things people say about their business. Some of those people say things about a business on the phone. Other people say things about a business through their computers talking to our computers. There are even people who say things about a business by typing on their phones. I tell the computer how to listen to the people who say things about a business, whether they call on the phone or type at their computers or phones. Then I tell the computer how to do number stuff to tell the people who pay us money what they should do different so that the people who pay them money are happy and keep paying them money. This makes the people who pay us money happy and they keep paying us money. That makes me happy because I can keep eating long pieces of animals that are pink and live in wet stuff and have funny noses.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:57 am 
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When things are very little, sometimes they go where you wouldn't think they should go. How much does go can tell you what was in that place it shouldn't have gone.

I am trying to find out how to build a very very little thing water can go through, with things on each side. I want to make it so little things can go from one thing to the other. How many little things go will tell me what was in the water.

(ETA: did anyone understand that?)


Last edited by drachefly on Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Too easy. I'm going to explain the frikkin' Higgs mechanism.

_____________

Stuff can be in many different states. One state is hard. One state is wet. One state is like air. There's another state most people don't know much about. That one is like air, but the stuff is in pieces. The big piece is most of the stuff. The little pieces can not stick to the big pieces, but instead dance around. They can not dance too far from the big pieces.

If light hits stuff in this state, it makes the little pieces dance. But remember, they can not dance too far from the big pieces! So they dance just a bit.

Now suppose light hits the stuff. If the light is dancing at about as fast as the little pieces, the light can not come in. The little pieces will catch the light and throw it back. If the light dances much faster than the little pieces, the little pieces can not catch the light and the light can go right through.

Do you remember the crazy hair thinking person? He stuck his tongue out at us once? He had an idea that stuff and how fast things can dance are the same. Remember that and look at what we just said. Light can not dance slower than the little pieces can dance. That means that light is now acting like stuff! It is heavy! Inside this stuff we are talking about, light becomes heavy.

There are many things that are a bit heavy, but we don't know why they are heavy. We thing they should not be, but they are. So a while ago, a thinking person thought, what if everything acted like this? Maybe everything acts like the stuff we're talking about. Maybe everything dances just a bit. That would mean all those things that are heavy but we think they should not be, would be heavy!

But is he right? Does the everything of everything dance a bit? If so, there should be a little piece of everything that is very heavy. People liked this idea and went looking for the little piece of everything. This past summer, they found the little piece. Everyone is very excited!

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