[Interview]: Dason - that guy that isn't a bot

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#1
Welcome to the first interview thread! In this thread you have the chance to ask me (Dason) any question about myself that you want! I reserve the right to refuse to answer questions if they are inappropriate but I doubt that will happen. Any other question I will answer truthfully. This interview thread will be considered "active" for one week. After that, if things go well here, we will choose somebody else to interview and their thread will become "active". You can still ask questions in this thread directed to me after the initial week but we should try to focus our attention on whoever is being interviewed currently.

I am a graduate student studying statistics at Iowa State University. I mainly work with gene expression data and methods associated with analyzing this type of data. I've been married to my lovely wife Kelley for a little over a year. I enjoy using R. I guess I don't want to say too much and preempt any questions you might have.

So consider this interview thread open and feel free to start asking questions!

Questions don't have to be related to stats at all (and I might even prefer these types of questions). Some example questions: What is your favorite TV show? What was your favorite episode of Firefly? What is your favorite statistical method? PS3 or XBox 360? Who is your favorite Talk Stats member? Why do you hate raptors?
 

vinux

Dark Knight
#2
You’ve been most active MVC in TS. You have brought a new culture in this forum. Just wanted to know what’s a day in the life of Dason like?
 
#3
Dear Dason, first thank you for your kind contributions to the overall statistical knowledge of many people through this forum.

Second, I wish to know you more in person, for example could you plz attach a photo of you (I am bulleting my questions for easy referencing):

for example,
1. How old are you?
2. Are you married?
3. As someone with brilliant ideas, have you taken an IQ test? If so, could you please tell us what was your score? and the name of the test?
4. What is your main interest (of course after dismantling those bots called raptors)?
5. OK what is your second main interest? :D but seriously, and what is the third? :D
6. Putting so much time in here, how you find a way through your real life duties and tasks?
7. As an American guy, why didn't you find soccer boring?!
8. How did you end up studying your current field? Do you love it as your first choice, or given any other opportunity would you seek studying in other fields?
9. How you feel about your online activities? Are your life is balanced in terms of living in real life against virtual life (virtual friends, virtual activities, etc.). Do you have any clear line between these two worlds or (for example) you love your friends here as much as your friends who know in person? I think these worlds cannot be 100% the same, so if not, to which extent they differ?
10. How does it feel to be one of the Number 1s (if not "the" Number 1 [which I think can define you])? Are you proud of your positive reputation here? Do you enjoy helping and communicating with people who might never know in person? Does it have a good impact on your real-world life too?
11. To which extent do you consider yourself successful? To which extent are you satisfied with your current position and successes? I mean generally, excluding the short-term fluctuations.
 
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trinker

ggplot2orBust
#4
What were you like as a teenage kid? What were you into? Were you in the math club? What made you decide "yep stats is where I'm heading" and when did this happen?

In an Ideal world where do you see the future Dason 5 years from now?
 

SiBorg

New Member
#7
That's a shame, victor, it's a great pic.

As for your other questions, I'd be really interested to know his IQ as well, although, being a bot, it could well be in the 1000s.
 
#8
lol :D I agree about his (or maybe its) IQ :D

But about the picture, are you kidding me or there is really a photo of "real" Dason [not for example a terminator poster!]? your tone indicates the former ;)
 

SiBorg

New Member
#9
No, at the risk of hijacking this thread, it really is a 'real' picture (or at least I think it is...) and I would suggest downloading a new browser just for the sole purpose of looking at it. If you're really lucky, the big D might post another pic here too.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#10
You’ve been most active MVC in TS. You have brought a new culture in this forum.
Thanks! I really enjoyed TS when I first started but wanted to know everybody a little better so I've definitely tried to bring some new culture and help build a community here.
Just wanted to know what’s a day in the life of Dason like?
Well that certainly depends on the time of year. I had my PhD written prelim earlier this summer so for a good month before that my day was pretty much spent studying for that exam. I read through all my course notes several times, did all the old homework problems, and went through previous versions of the prelim. It was not a fun time. That was pretty much my life during that period (of course with short periods of showing up here and answering some threads - although I stayed away from some of the more technical ones during that time because I was sick of stats).

Recently my days have been focused more on my RA and some research. I've been taking it light since the prelim took a lot out of me. From what I hear most of the students that took the exam have been doing the same. I'm ready for my one course this semester to start though (Time Series).

So my typical day starts by sleeping in a little later than I would during the school year (When I don't have a set time to wake up I tend to stay up later and sleep in). I get some coffee (what would life be without coffee?) and take the dog out for a short walk. During my breakfast I catch up on threads here. After all of that on most days I head into the office - sometimes I stay home and do work from home instead. During that time I work on some of my research or whatever I need to do for the project I'm on for my RA. I try to find a good journal article to read most days so I'll print one off and see if I can follow what they did. I tend to keep an eye on TS during this time though. Depending on who is around the building I'll either stay in my office for lunch and watch an episode of Futurama or I'll head down to the grad student lounge and have lunch there. I do work for a while longer and then I head home around 4 or 5. I take the dog for a walk and spend some time with Kelley and then have some dinner. After that depending on how interesting I found what I was doing that day I'll either work on that for a while longer or do something completely unrelated (typically some fun type of coding in R). Kelley and I have been watching a bunch of movies lately too so that takes a chunk of my evening as well.

It's more fun than it sounds of course ;) and I was just trying to think of a 'typical' day.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#13
Dear Dason, first thank you for your kind contributions to the overall statistical knowledge of many people through this forum.

Second, I wish to know you more in person, for example could you plz attach a photo of you (I am bulleting my questions for easy referencing)
View attachment 2594

That's a picture of Kelley and I on our wedding day. She gave me permission to upload that one.

1. How old are you?
I am currently 25.

2. Are you married?
Yes! To my lovely bride Kelley. April 9, 2012 was the special day. We were originally planning on a July wedding but had to move it earlier due to some health issues we weren't sure if her dad would make it to July (he's doing fine now though so no worries!).

3. As someone with brilliant ideas, have you taken an IQ test? If so, could you please tell us what was your score? and the name of the test?
I might have taken an IQ test when I was younger but I don't remember. I don't particularly care for IQ tests though so I probably won't ever take one unless I'm required to for some strange reason.

4. What is your main interest (of course after dismantling those bots called raptors)?
Are we talking about main interest in general or statistically? I'll assume we're talking about in general and leave statistics out of it for the time being. If you meant statistically I'll be more than happy to answer that as well if you ask it later.

My main interest is in spending time with Kelley and Brutus (our beagle).

5. OK what is your second main interest? :D but seriously, and what is the third? :D
I enjoy coding in R for fun. I'm not talking about coding up stats stuff necessarily (although I do that too sometimes). For example I've made a minesweeper clone in R. I really need to rewrite the internals of that with respect to the GUI to make it faster though. I'm also working collaboratively with trinker (it's hard to think of me working with a raptor right?) on an R package that deals with managing other packages and tasks related to that.

I guess my third main interest would be reading. Lately I've been reading some of the books in the Ender's Game series.

6. Putting so much time in here, how you find a way through your real life duties and tasks?
Staying up late the night before I have to present results or turn homework in. Works like a charm ;)

7. As an American guy, why didn't you find soccer boring?!
Because soccer is awesome. I don't know how to answer this question? I've been playing soccer most of my life. I haven't been able to play quite as much as I would like to lately but I recently joined the city's soccer club so I've been getting some in. In middle school I played year round on various different teams but the best team during that time was the 3v3 team I was on. We were in the "recreation" league because honestly the competitive league was wayyyy too good for us but we ended up winning the U-13 national championships! In high school I played year round as well although our school team never did make it to the state tournament finals sadly. Winter was fun because we got to play indoor which is a lot different. The team I was on for that was kind of horrible but sometimes that's better too because you don't take it quite as serious so we just had lots of fun. In the spring I was a manager for the women's soccer team. Initially my friends make fun of me for that but once they realized I got to hang out with the girls soccer team all the time their attitudes changed quickly ;)

So I guess I just can't see how anybody finds soccer boring.

8. How did you end up studying your current field? Do you love it as your first choice, or given any other opportunity would you seek studying in other fields?
That's an interesting question. When I started as an undergrad I initially was going for mathematics education to be a high school math teacher. I think I would have enjoyed that if I stuck with it. However, sometime during my 2nd year I realized that I really really really liked math and didn't think I would be satisfied with just an undergraduate degree in math. So I dropped the education part of my major and was a full math major. I needed to pick up something else though so I decided to get a stats major as well. After taking more stats courses I realized that I really enjoyed statistics as well. It was a hard choice for me to decide between math and stats in terms of which I would go onto grad school for. Ultimately I decided stats because I liked the applied portion of the field. I know there is applied math but I really like working with data and statistics definitely has that portion going for it. My first course on regression is probably what hooked me initially (I actually hated my first stats course but I took regression after that and finally saw the beauty in stats). I was REALLY hooked when I took the mathematical statistics sequence of courses. Another reason I think I went with stats is just that I like stats people more than I like math people. I'm not saying anything bad against math people - just that I enjoy hanging out with stats people more. Of course once I decided that I would go for stats I also had to decide between biostats and general stats. I went with general stats because I didn't want to pidgeonhole myself into always doing biostats stuff if I didn't enjoy that as much. Of course I'm currently working on gene expression stuff so I'm kind of in that field anyways but I like that I'm getting a "Statistics" degree instead of a "biostatistics" degree.

I would say that statistics is definitely my first choice given the opportunity there are A LOT of other things I wouldn't mind studying more. Mathematics being one of them (of course). But I also did a minor in Computer Science during my undergrad and I really enjoyed that. I think I would have enjoyed going on to study that as well. Physics is clearly awesome as well and even though I didn't take too much physics I think I would have enjoyed it.


10. How does it feel to be one of the Number 1s (if not "the" Number 1 [which I think can define you])? Are you proud of your positive reputation here? Do you enjoy helping and communicating with people who might never know in person? Does it have a good impact on your real-world life too?
I don't really care about being "Number 1" as you put it. To be honest the only reason I was excited about getting to level 100 here was to find out what happens when somebody does actually reach level 100. If it was possible I wouldn't mind getting rid of the experience system and maybe even not displaying post count. It's a nice indicator of who is active in the community - but to be honest those of us that are active already know who else is active without needing a post count. If I have to describe how it feels... I would say it feels like I probably spend too much time here :s

I guess I'm proud of a positive reputation - if you say I have that. I'd like to think that I don't cause too much trouble and I help out and I'm proud of helping - but I wouldn't say the post count makes me proud. I do enjoy helping people even though I don't think I'll ever meet them in person. I don't see why that should matter too much. I did consulting for a year for the department and I helped out a lot of people during that too. But I'll probably never see them again either. I'm not sure helping out here has a big impact on my "real-world" life other than I spend quite a bit of time here. Reading other people's responses to threads and seeing how they would go about solving certain problems definitely has had an impact on me. It's changed the way I view some problems. I particularly enjoy when people argue with me over what I propose as a solution (noetsi I'm looking at you) because it really makes me think about what I've proposed and whether I actually think it's the best way to approach the problem at hand.


11. To which extent do you consider yourself successful? To which extent are you satisfied with your current position and successes? I mean generally, excluding the short-term fluctuations.
I'm married to the woman I love and I'm currently being paid to go to school. Sounds pretty great to me! Success! I am quite satisfied with the way things are going right now. Grad school is great but to be honest I can't wait to get an actual job...
 
#16
Thank you very much for your time on preparing this detailed response. Such a lovely couple, thanks for your pic and your bride's kind permission to put your marriage pic here. Please give my (our) kind regards to her too. And glad her father is perfectly fine.

I might have taken an IQ test when I was younger but I don't remember. I don't particularly care for IQ tests though so I probably won't ever take one unless I'm required to for some strange reason.
You see? Don't you particularly care for IQ, or are you a BOT in disguise???!!! :D

Are we talking about main interest in general or statistically? I'll assume we're talking about in general and leave statistics out of it for the time being. If you meant statistically I'll be more than happy to answer that as well if you ask it later.

My main interest is in spending time with Kelley and Brutus (our beagle).
Yes I meant in general :)

Staying up late the night before I have to present results or turn homework in. Works like a charm
You still leak information that shows you are a bot :D Because no human can bear this, and still fulfill the expectations. But congrats actually.

So I guess I just can't see how anybody finds soccer boring.
I agree that it is the best or one of the best sports. But had heard that American people somehow dislike soccer, and consider it a boring fake sport compared to their own football.

Also congratulations for winning the national competitions :tup: I had heard that mathematicians do not like sport, but apparently it was quite wrong.

My first course on regression is probably what hooked me initially (I actually hated my first stats course but I took regression after that and finally saw the beauty in stats). I was REALLY hooked when I took the mathematical statistics sequence of courses.
Sincerely glad that you have chosen the best option.

I do enjoy helping people even though I don't think I'll ever meet them in person. I don't see why that should matter too much.
I don't know either. As I asked before, sometimes I wonder what could be your motive in helping passionately some "virtual" friends (or imaginary friends, as trinker puts). Maybe a bot doesn't need motive :p

I'm married to the woman I love and I'm currently being paid to go to school. Sounds pretty great to me! Success! I am quite satisfied with the way things are going right now. Grad school is great but to be honest I can't wait to get an actual job...
:) SO GLAD FOR YOU THEN. WISH YOU ALL THE BEST. :)
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#18
What were you like as a teenage kid? What were you into?
I was very into soccer. It's what took up a lot of my free time. In middle school I actually skateboarded for a while (cause you know I'm totally badass like that) but gave that up after I sprained my ankle - I didn't want to keep injuring myself and ruin my chances of making the varsity team. My friends and I were a strange group though - we were all very nerdy and also into sports. We also were big into art. Visual Arts Classic (VAC) was an art "group" I guess you would call it (sort of like an art club that competes) that a lot of us were in during high school. I mostly made videos and did paintings. I loved drawing as well but it wasn't my strong point. I was also in a band with a few of my friends. We mainly did covers of Blink 182 and Green Day - that kind of stuff.

But like I said we were nerdy too. My friends played a lot of D&D but I never really got into that. I was more into video games. The N64 will always be the king of consoles to me - nothing can beat Goldeneye ;)

Were you in the math club? What made you decide "yep stats is where I'm heading" and when did this happen?
In high school I guess I was in the "math club" but we didn't really have club meetings. We went to math competitions but didn't have any "practices" or anything like that. Although I do remember we had a "conference meet" at our school one time and I ended up winning the individual portion of it (but our team only came in second) and I remember my teacher was just beaming with pride - it was a good day.

During undergrad I was very active with the math/stat club though. In my second semester of my first year I became the club secretary and held that position for a year and a half. Those were good times - the minutes I wrote up weren't terribly official but they were filled with nerd humour. I later became co-President with another member. Although to be honest I don't feel like I had as much fun as President as I did as secretary - there was too much boring stuff to take care of as president but as secretary I just got to make stupid jokes... those were the days.

I already sort of answered the question about when I decided to go with stats. But I'll mention some more that I hated my first stats course. The professor was this adorable old lady but she didn't speak very loud so it was hard to hear her. That and the fact that I felt like there were so many different types of tests and I didn't really 'get' the difference between them and why we needed so many... it wasn't good times. But the next year I took a course on Regression and that made a lot of sense to me. It started to click more and since we weren't introducing a new test every seven seconds it made much more sense and I understood the big picture much better. I wouldn't say there was really a defining moment when I finally knew that stats was what I was going to go for. I loved both mathematics and statistics. It wasn't really until I sat down and said "**** - I'm going to need to start applying places in the next couple of months" that I really put my foot down and said statistics is what I was going to do.

In an Ideal world where do you see the future Dason 5 years from now?
I would love to be teaching at a teaching university. I think I could work in industry for a while - but I don't think I want to end up at an R1 university where research is everything I do and teaching is just an annoyance on the side. But ultimately I want to end up teaching so if I could get there in 5 years that what I would love to be doing.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#19
So why do you love slimey lizards who have been extinct for tens of millions of years?
I'm assuming you're talking about my hatred of raptors. That is simple - they are pure evil. They are killing machines that will stop at nothing to destroy humanity. They also tell terrible gossip.

To be honest it's a mixture of being freaked out in the scene from Jurassic Park where the raptor jumps through the ventilation ducts unexpectedly and my former main online community being the xkcd forums. In case you didn't know: xkcd is notorious for raptor paranoia.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#20
As I asked before, sometimes I wonder what could be your motive in helping passionately some "virtual" friends (or imaginary friends, as trinker puts). Maybe a bot doesn't need motive :p
I am not a bot. I don't know how many times I need to say that for you peoples to believe it! :p

But I guess the reasons I help out have been outlined here. I'll just quote my response in that thread - the question being "Why are you here?":

Dason said:
1) I love teaching. I don't really get enough of it in my current position...
2) I know quite a bit about a few topics so I have the ability to help others.
3) I don't really know anything at all about stats (the more you learn the more you realize that you know nothing...) so I like seeing what other people suggest and have to say on certain issues.
4) I'll agree with CowboyBear... procrastination.
5) Now that I'm a mod I try to keep it nice and clean around here so it's not riddled with spam and questions are in sensible locations.
6) I don't ask many questions but there are quite a few very knowledgeable people around here that have some good insights.