Monthly Archives: June 2006

I decided to play around

with my header. It was fun.

My summer grading is done. I am down to just a few referee reports. And I resubmitted a paper recently. It’s time to start a new project. But what? And with whom? Solo or with a co-author? What topic? I think that I will work with a good PhD student, if I can be convince the student to do so.
All pleasant things to ponder over a long weekend.

Also, time also to get back on track and do my GTD review.

I had a PhD student come by worried that someone else was working on a similar problem to the student’s thesis. I had trouble convincing the student that it is a good sign, not a disaster. Usually people come up with different papers, and if the student’s work is good, then there will be interest. But I could not convince the student.

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Today

was a reading group day. We are working on a graduate textbook I have long wanted to read. It’s great to learn/think about stuff not directly related to a paper I am writing. I am going to go to the library next week and just skim recent issues of journals—-in my field and related fields—-to find out what is going on. I like learning, and thinking about ideas. Now I have time, so now it is time to do it.

God knows if the reading will be useful in one of my own problems. But I don’t care. It is why I have the job.

A useful and overlooked skill

is constructive criticism. The smiley people are often the best at it.

I would have like to learn a bit more of how to do it in grad school. Nothing worse than the whiny critics. ‘I could have done that.’ or ‘That is not a big deal.’ or ‘Obvious result.’ Whiny critics are everywhere, at every seminar and conference session.

(I have been traveling, with more to traveling to come. You would think I could figure out some interesting things to write. But noooo. Not now.)

I knew research was a drug

Here is some research from USC: ‘Thirst for knowledge’ may be opium craving

The brain’s reward for getting a concept is a shot of natural opiates

Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix. The “click” of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances, said Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California. He presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.

“While you’re trying to understand a difficult theorem, it’s not fun,” said Biederman, professor of neuroscience in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“But once you get it, you just feel fabulous.”

The brain’s craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge, he said.

<snip>

via: digg

Perhaps having a scotch after working late on research is not such a good idea. Kind of an intellectual speedball (wikipedia link).

The linked post is why I like the web

Some useful management tips: The Company Bitch: When I Am A Manager I Will…
I would quote, but reading the entire thing is worthwhile.

End of day rules, that I break and pay for

every time.

  • Don’t leave the office with a messy stack of papers/notes on the desk. It slows down work the next day arriving to a messy desk.
  • Leave on a high note.
  • Don’t forget to write down what I need to do when the task arrives. Otherwise, puff, won’t get done in time. Or at all.
  • Don’t work too late at night. I cannot sleep anymore without a few hour buffer from work. So, I need to have some alcohol to relax me and get me to sleep. It never works. And sleeping in generally is not an option when you have kids.
  • Don’t answer the phone close to the end of the day. Also, don’t hastily write any emails then.
  • The end of the day is not the right time to lock your keys in the office.

A band

I can get behind: Canada (link to their myspace page).

Found through The Hype Machine