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corydoras Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "corydoras" journal:

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October 4th, 2007
08:04 am

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Graduate school drags on
This NYTimes article is both comforting and depressing. In some ways it makes me feel ahead of the game, in other ways it gives me the sense that I'm a pawn in a system that is basically *universally* fucked-up.

"For those who attempt it, the doctoral dissertation can loom on the horizon like Everest, gleaming invitingly as a challenge but often turning into a masochistic exercise once the ascent is begun. The average student takes 8.2 years to get a Ph.D.; in education, that figure surpasses 13 years. Fifty percent of students drop out along the way, with dissertations the major stumbling block. At commencement, the typical doctoral holder is 33, an age when peers are well along in their professions, and 12 percent of graduates are saddled with more than $50,000 in debt."

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August 26th, 2007
12:58 pm

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Comments from "Experts"
Just little complaint here. Isn't it a little annoying when academics will appear in the popular press commenting on something they know practically NOTHING about???

This morning I read this semi-interesting NY Times article about how its becoming a fad to make lists of things to do before you die (like places to travel or adventures to have). Now I'll admit that this activity is something I've done for years because I'm inherently a daydreamer and like to imagine all the places I will travel and do and what not. I'm also geeky enough to get satisfaction from checking things off a list. However, the thing that popped out in the article was not that this is fad (duh - just go to Borders), but that there were a few quotes in the middle of this article from Gary Marcus about the psychology of reaching goals. Like this one:

“Evolution vested us with a carrot — happiness — and a stick — anxiety,” he explained. “We feel happy when we make progress toward our goals, anxious when we don’t.”

Now, last time I checked, Marcus was a researcher of language acquisition and learning systems, not goal attainment or motivation. Not that anyone is going to argue with the content of his comments in the article, they're actually somewhat obvious and banal. But am I crazy to think that if one is going to have the Times interview them about something it should be at least tangentially related to something they are actually an expert about?

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March 27th, 2007
04:49 pm

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bike definition
This was on the latest REI catalogue. Despite the fact that this is essentially used for promotional purposes, I still felt it sums up a very important truth in my life:

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November 12th, 2006
11:47 am

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Nerd Test
I am nerdier than 28% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Current Mood: lazylazy

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October 20th, 2006
07:05 pm

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Brown Bag Bashing
There has been discussion among some LJers about a recent cog lunch in which a researcher from another university came to talk about a controversial topic, and was basically creamed by the faculty. In my mind, the ludicrous part about it was not that people asked tough questions of her. That's expected, and can be constructive. Rather, it was that they all jumped on her at once and didn't give her a chance to present her own work before trying to make her look like a nincompoop.

I believe that if she had been coming from a viewpoint that was more accepted in our department, she would have been given a chance to give her talk and present her story before she was subjected to highly critical questioning. And that the tone of the questions would have had some semblance of respect in them. Which is exactly what happened when a grad student in our dept presented last week on a topic/viewpoint that people were sympathetic to.

At our lab meeting this week I brought up the fact that I had percieved the earlier brown bag as being "tough" and that I had felt uncomfortable about it. Four of the faculty members who'd been there, including most of those who had been most critical, were at that lab mtg. At that point, we (and by we I mean the faculty present) had several minutes of discussion (and by discussion I mean one-sided oration) on the topic. Basically, it seemed the faculty were all in agreement that the brown bag situation had been totally appropriate, and defended their behavior by saying such things as:

1) "It was appropriate in this case because the researcher is from Europe, and in Europe there is a higher level of criticism when people give talks." [...other faculty chimed in about how it's expected that people will attack your position if you give a talk in Europe and that really, this situation was totally tame and we Americans are just Too Darn Sensitive.]

2) "It was appropriate because the researcher already had set a context of casual-ness when she made a break in her talk to comment on an audience member's facial expression" [...here other faculty chimed in that if you don't keep a prefessional tone to your talk you are basically just inviting people to interrupt you and have a lot of off-track "discussion".]

3) "It was appropriate because you can't just expect that you can give a talk at a place and not get asked to defend your viewpoint [...faculty mention that actually some people would think our brown bag is TOO EASY on the presenters.]

Is this really what academia is like everywhere? Are these arguments at all valid? I guess I've always thought that we have particularly bloody group of individuals. Perhaps it just shows my naivety/idealism...

Incidentally, at no point was I actually asked WHY I might have thought the brown bag was inappropriate or disrespectful (though I did try to interject, like once). However, it was clear that the faculty thought it was o.k. to make cheap jabs at people that you disagree with.

Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable

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August 6th, 2006
03:19 pm

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Concerns about a possibly kidnapped friend
Today littlepurple and I were chatting on gmail.
After the usual bitching about grad school woes, the topic turned to our friend superwombatgirl, who has recently embarked on a trip to Ukraine. The only news that we have heard from her so far is that she was recently locked out of her apartment and (luckily??) encountered a nice drunk old man who was willing to bust down the door of her apartment with a hammer. Being as this did not seem to be an ordinary way to deal a situation of this kind, we began felt some concern for our friend...

me: so do you think superwombatgirl has been kidnapped and put up for ransom by now?
lp: hmm, well, maybe...who really knows.
lp: and really the kidnappers shouldn't come to us cuz we have no money.
me: that's true. but i'd trade in some stuff for superwombatgirl.
lp: like what?
me: well i don't think it is the kind of ransom sum the kidnappers would be looking for
lp: i think i'd be willing to trade in my dvds
me: hahaha
lp: besides i bet her dad would be so thankful he'd burn me new copies
me: i'd totally get rid of my couch
lp: oh thats nice of you
lp: with couch cover?
me: yup
lp: good friend.

Ms. superwombatgirl, come back home!! We miss you!

Current Mood: sillysilly

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July 13th, 2006
10:51 pm

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Chisago Half Ironman
If you:

a) want to support me, Matt, Asher and Karyn doing a half ironman triathlon (Asher is doing the whole race himself, the rest of us are forming a team),

b) know someone affected by breast cancer or otherwise care about the cause, or

c) want to learn about a really good charity,

then check this out:

http://www.firstgiving.com/ironteam

Please consider chipping in, even if just a few bucks...

Current Mood: determined

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June 12th, 2006
09:27 pm

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Teenage loss of all sense whatsoever
One of the weirdest parts of living at home in Minnesota this summer is sleeping in my old bedroom. The most baffling thing is the walls. They are painted ALL of the following colors at once: blue, purple and pinkish-orange. I painted them that way when I was 13. What was I thinking???

I will post pictures as soon as I can get the permissions right on the lab server.

Current Mood: dorky

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April 13th, 2006
03:12 pm

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Rally for fair immigration policy
Today I finally figured out my cell phone capabilities well enough to email myself a few photos!

These were take this Monday at the immigrant rights rally in Madison, one of  many such marches across the nation this week.  I'm becoming increasingly interested in this issue the more I learn about it.

My position is that criminalizing illegal immigrants and those who help them is simply preposterous, and the guest worker program promoted my Bush and others is also not ideal.  Some argue that it creates a legal, relatively safe and valid way for people to come here and work.  But I worry about the reality of a society built on inviting people to come do the tough cheap labor and then kicking them the hell out.

So what to do?  Offer a path to citizenship and legal amnesty to all?  Would an unrestricted immigration policy create unsurmountable burdens on the economy, schools, etc?  

If I knew I'd be glad to tell you.   For now I'm happy to rally with my friends and send the message that this country welcomes people of all nations:


               Rally sign                              Capitol square

               Parade                                      Friends

Anyone have interesting thoughts on this?

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

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March 19th, 2006
09:24 pm

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Bike stats
In the spirit of certain lj buddies who have taken to posting workout stats (ahem, certain psycho marathon-running friends), I release the following:

FIRST SPRING BIKE RIDE!!!!
3-19-2006

Workout stats~
Location: UW Arboretum
Weather: 43 degrees F and sunshine-y
Distance: ~10 miles
Time: 47.33 minutes
Riding Partner: Shawn

Cardio stats~
Average HR: 143 (whoa- Rene is outta shape)
Min HR: 83
Peak HR: 172
Total Calories: 552 (Dude- that's like 1.2 slices of pizza!)

Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated

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