Friday, December 05, 2008


  • I am impressed at some of the smartphones coming out lately such as the G1, the iPhone, and new ones by Blackberry. I was an early adopter using my Sprint phone with their Vision service as a modem, tethered to my laptop. Back then, I paid an extra $10/month and got the first few months free. I quickly dropped it, and then dropped down to a prepaid phone so that my cell bill is under $10/month. What I don't understand is why so many people pay so much for their cell service. I suppose if one doesn't have a landline or broadband at home, possibly it makes some sense to spend $50-$100/month for voice/internet on your phone. However, I doubt that most people are in this situation. And for those who can use home services for an entire household, it seems even more difficult to justify huge cell expenses. I look forward to more integrated plans which cover your house, the various cell lines, and all data in one, reasonably priced plan.
  • I got my annual physical today. My current doctor is worse than the folks at the dealer where I get my car service. At least at the dealer, I decide what services I want for my car...picking only those listed in the service manual and not all the extras they push on me. However, with the doctor's office it seems much more difficult to provide input. Do I need an EKG every year if I've shown no circulatory problems? I used to go to the doctor so rarely. With my previous doc, I had what might have been a sinus infection and I had a trip coming up, so I went in asking for antibiotics. My doctor told me I hadn't been in to the office for four years.
  • A good explanation of the time Tivo saves you from Freakonomics.
  • If you were reading a recommendation letter for a postdoc, how would you rank the following: (i) support strongly (ii) sincerely support (iii) strongest support (iv) recommend (v) recommend as one of the best candidates (vi) recommend among the best graduate students I have seen, (vii) recommend without hesitation.
  • Saw the movie The Visitor recently. A socially awkward, senior professor gets thrust into a new situation with foreign immigrants. I enjoyed it, though one shouldn't expect too much, just a captivating story well done.
  • Talk tips: (i) Construct the first couple slides so that you can basically just read them. This gives you a chance to get over initial jitters, but make sure later slides encourage you to talk more freely once you're warmed up, (ii) Make sure your last slide clearly indicates to the audience that you're done so there's no awkward wondering when to start clapping.
  • I am not in favor of the automobile bailout. It's not clear it'll work, it's not clear that we need to, and it's not clear to me where the line should be drawn between industries that should be bailed out and those should not. More generally, however, I just don't get giving money to the top and assuming it'll help the all those workers who might otherwise lose their jobs. How many workers are we talking about? 100,000? What if let the Big Three fail, and then everyone who can show harm and who makes less than $100K/year can file and receive $10K. That may be as cheap as a single billion dollars and has the advantage that the money will almost certainly be spent helping the economy.


Kea said...

Recommend without hesitation sounds best to me. Options like strong support can sound a bit sinister, like they're playing boys' club politics.

Angry said...

Kea, Really? For most people I recommend for postdoctoral positions I do so without hesitation...they're good at what they do. But it certainly isn't my strongest recommendation since some people shows signs of greatness. Maybe I'll have to reevaluate my wording.

Kea said...

Oh, never mind my opinion. No doubt there is a standard etiquette with which I am entirely unfamiliar.

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