Cool Job of the Week: Pirate?

Ahoy, mateys! Once again, ’tis that time o’ year, when the expression of choice is “Yarrr!” (or is it “Arrrr”?): it be Talk Like A Pirate Day!

While we can’t condone modern-day piracy – particularly in the form of stealing creative work such as ebooks, movies and music – we’re here to hoist the Jolly Roger on these scurvy scalawags and prepare to make ’em walk the plank.

First off, ye landlubber, what makes a pirate?

The dictionary definition is “a person who attacks and robs ships at sea.” These folks still exist, and are typically armed and dangerous, so if you’re up for a life of seafaring, you may have to contend with real pirates.

Additionally, modern-day pirates steal all manner of digital files. More akin to hackers than sailors, these digital pirates can be just as dangerous with a keyboard as the ocean-going marauders are with their machetes and machine guns – particularly since their crimes are often difficult to detect and hard to prosecute.

To “pirate” work means “to use or reproduce another’s work for profit without permission, usually in contravention of patent or copyright,” and digital piracy is rampant online. Indeed, it’s so common that some copyright experts say that if you don’t want your creative work stolen, you ought to keep it off of the Internet altogether! (Though, honestly, even that won’t help, now that anyone and everyone can snap a photo and upload a copy of ANYTHING in seconds.)

So what, exactly, does Talk Like A Pirate Day celebrate, when pirates are such rancid thieves and chumlords?

The piracy game is certainly not new, and it’s unlikely to ever go away. As the digital frontier continues to expand, however, this opens up interesting new careers for those who wish to fight piracy, from copyright protecting software developers to copyright lawyers to lawmakers who can increase (or decrease) protection for the original creators of various work. There’s also plenty of work for forensic accountants and digital detectives who can crack cases concerning stolen cash, plagiarism of copyrighted written or recorded work, and more online crimes that involve unlicensed reproductions or unauthorized performances – like any time a political figure uses a popular band’s song to rally his or her supporters, without getting the band’s permission first!

In short, pirates will always be the bad guys (particularly in terms of their terrible sentence construction!), but they also open unique doors for crime-fighters of different sorts.

So, what say ye? Ready to cast off and crack down on the pirates? Set a course for a law degree to best combat these vitamin-deficient dogs, and let’s send ’em back to Davy Jones’ locker in the briny deep!

Friday Fun: She Blinded Me With Science

This week’s Friday Fun song has a direct correlation to this week’s Cool Job of the Week: “She Blinded Me With Science“!

This 1982 hit from Thomas Dolby has also been covered by – of all people – William Shatner.

Another fun fact: apparently Dolby created the idea for the music video before he’d even worked out the song! He also directed the video, which features various mad scientists in a Home for Deranged Scientists.

While it’s obvious that not all scientists are mad, as the old saying goes: “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!”

TGIF!

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Cool Job of the Week: Physicist

While you may think the coolest physicist in America is Neil deGrasse Tyson, you might be interested to learn that one of the U.S.’s most accomplished physicists is actually a 24-year-old student named Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski.

Currently a PhD candidate at Harvard, where she is billed as “the next Einstein,” Sabrina is originally from Chicago and studied at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Just one of her many impressive achievements is maintaining a perfect attendance record from kindergarten through her senior year at MIT. She also built her own single-engine airplane from scratch at age 14 and flew it at age 16. Sabrina maintains the website PhysicsGirl.com with a running list of her achievements, and doesn’t mess around with time-wasting social media. (Now that’s smart!)

So, at this point you might be wondering: What does a physicist actually do?

That’s an interesting question, since there are many different career paths for those interested in physics. From celebrities like deGrasse Tyson and comedian David X. Cohen (writer and producer of the TV series Futurama) to billionaire entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, there are plenty of high-profile career opportunities to be had.

Check out this list of accomplished physicists at APS Physics for more ideas about where a career in physics can take you.

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