Monday, December 15, 2008

If I were a boy...

  • Nice use of the subjunctive in Beyonce's "If I were a Boy".
  • I'm sure this is a sign that I'm hanging out with the wrong people (i.e. administrators), but I've heard the term "silo-ing" a few times in the past few weeks.
  • Can I take the resurgence of old quarterbacks in the NFL (Favre, Collins, Warner, etc), as a good sign for my importance as I age?
  • I'm sick of going to big conferences and learning more news online than by attending.
  • So TV broadcasts are going all digital. They say that if you've got cable you've got nothing to worry about, but what if you don't want to rent one or more of their cable boxes for each of one's analog TVs? It would seem that the converter boxes would do one no good since they're meant for over the air. But if the cables change all their channels to digital, then analog TVs with their coax input won't get the signal. We're already running into this problem with our Series I Tivo having lost a few channels to digital already.
  • It's a bit ironic that the Iraqi reporter was trying to humiliate President Bush. Like Josh Marshall, I was impressed, and possibly even proud, of our President for his reaction.
  • Finances:

    • So the credit crunch has finally hit me. The other day I got the letter cutting off our HELOC. This line of credit was nice as a safety net in case we needed money. A bit ironic that the lender was mitigating their risk by cutting off the credit and thereby transferring the risk to me (since my risk is still theirs since they hold the mortgage as well). Also ironic was that they were cutting off a secured debt but yet were still offering me a 0% APR for twelve months credit card which is unsecured debt.
    • Every December, I like to run guesses for my final numbers through TurboTax or TaxAct online. That way if any gotchas come up, I have a few weeks to do something about it. So I plug in some numbers and it seems the AMT may be a problem and there's not much to be done. It seems TaxAct has an old amount for the AMT exemption, so I'm thinking I'll be safe. I suppose I should try TurboTax and see what it gives me....the problem is that final versions aren't out yet since the year isn't even over.

  • I've been meaning to comment on something Arjendu wrote recently. However, I've barely even skimmed it. In short, I agree. It's easy to lose confidence, and the business of physics takes all kinds. Similarly, even for those who persevere, it's hard to maintain one's confidence. I struggle a bit evaluating my own abilities. And for many professional physicists, the culture is one of talking down to others and seizing upon mistakes. There are numerous guilty physicists even among the popular physics blogs, and I'm not talking about their comments sections. Of course, a counter-argument to this, is that we don't want to pamper the incompetent, many of whom manage to thrive where meritocracy fails.


CarlBrannen said...

To me, "siloing" means to undergo anaerobic fermentation. I.e. rotting. Not what you'd want to hear about in academic meeting.

Anonymous said...

What? No conferences? You mean you're not going to avail yourself of the opportunity to dine at really nifty places on someone else's nickel? And in return for working only as hard as you want to, no less.

Angry said...

Carl: I'd rather hear about anaerobic fermentation than some made-up management buzzword!

Anonymous: Yeah, it's great that I can feel like some important business person for a few days with my elite airline status, reasonably nice hotels, and the like. But it's the same at the smaller conferences, meetings, and workshops. I only go to a big conference if the venue is in a nice place or I'm invited. I'd much rather go to a smaller, I do better socially with smaller groups.

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