Monthly Archives: March 2006

I don’t like this idea

It seems that it is going to be more expensive for foreign students to go to university in the US:


A communication from Senator Feinstein's office about this provision reads:

The immigration bill creates a new student visa category for foreign students who will pursue an education here in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology — fields in great need of graduates in this country.

Senator Feinstein's amendment doubles the application fee from $1,000 to $2,000 and the additional money will be pumped into scholarships and job training for Americans; as well as to combat fraud in the student visa program.

I don't like this plan. Why make it harder for talented foreign students to enter the US? What is the empirical evidence-how many stay and contribute to the US economy? .

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I downloaded a new blog editor: Qumana, and am going to see how well it works.

The first real day of spring here; a glorious day. The students were content, they laughed at my jokes in class, and they seem to be understanding the material. What more can I ask for?

I even enjoying reading working papers today, and I am learning a new technique that may be useful in future research.

I have the urge to purchase some new office supplies or a new office gadget. But soon. Real soon.

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I wrote about being first or second: here.

I should clarify what I meant. When you are in a race, its better to be first (ie, I bet that the first person who walked on the moon got most of the glory, etc.). But I meant that sometimes one paper has an idea and it does not catch on. The second paper that has that idea might use it in a slightly different way, but it's the second paper that seems to get the cites. Sometimes the papers are years apart.

There is an obvious statistical problem with this—I remember such cases because the second paper shows up in print in a good journal, meaning that the work passed some sort of hurdle. Many other 'second papers' probably never make it to a top journal anyway.

I am still puzzled, though.

Is it better to be first or second

with the new idea, model, or technique? I used to think first, but now I am convinced that second might be best. Consider the first MP3 players (Rio?, IRiver?) vs. Apple. I also see it in academic research. Some literatures in my field began with one paper, but it is the second paper that gets the cites–formally in writing and informally in seminars, discussions, and so on. Why does it work that way? There surely are some interesting statistical issues to be dealt with in thinking about the issue.

Of course

I paid for the big beer and airport food today. *ouch*

It's always funny when I talk to my relatives who don't travel for work, since business travel seems so glamorous to them. I simply have no credibility when I tell them that the hotel in X is pretty much like the hotel in Y, and that most of the time, all I see is the room, the conference room, the hotel bar, and bad late night TV. And why the heck do I always stay up late? I never, ever learn.

Random memories and thoughts

*the faint smell of vomit coming from the airplane seat and/or air blowers.
*the very noisy kids running around airports (although mainly cute).
*the deer in the headlights look everyone had when the gate agents could not tell us what was going on.
*relearning that good idea + good technical execution does not mean a good paper, unless the author can explain it clearly. And realizing that some people will never figure that out, but instead spend time complaining about how unfair it all is, because d*mn it, they have good ideas. Why can’t the d*mn referees understand them?
*realizing how interested I am in research, still.
*How much noise there is in academics.
*How much of it all is about getting into the right club, so that people will take you seriously. But I notice that most people do find a club—if they have good ideas+good execution+good explanations. Or at least at a similar level to the other people in their club. There are lots of clubs too.
*How much people use appearance to judge. And some people are as sholes about it, too.
*How much interesting research is being done, but also how much is uninteresting to me. But the joy of it all is that many people have different tastes than me.
*Why do I only eat crap food at airports. And enjoy it.


How I love thee. You make travel much more pleasant and calling home so much cheaper. I am going to get a bluetooth headset soon. Then I can move around the hotel room while I talk.