Sunday, April 22, 2007


Things overheard at a party I recently attended which confirmed that it had a high computer scientist attendance.

I just learned about algebraic multigrids. They're really cool.

We met in our formal verification class.

Don't look at me, I study fish ears.

It's useful, not like formal methods or anything.

No not that one. What's the name of that other guy who is dropping out of the PhD program?

So what's with Malaysia?

I think that some of the folks at this party are the target audience for this McSweeny's List about first dates.

Friday, April 06, 2007

How much further?

A cool article on "Inside Higher Ed" highlights Princeton's recent family leave policy for its graduate students.

A comment by "Science Prof" shows how so very much further we have to go.

The fact that women have a “biological clock” means nothing. The issue is still one of people making choices and accepting the consequences.

In my graduate program, I would much prefer to have grad students who have no children. They are willing to work harder and will not be whining about having to be home by 5 p.m. Graduate school is extremely demanding — my graduate program often requires an 80+ hour/week commitment. Grad students who have children are often unwilling to make that sort of a time commitment and they often fall behind or flunk out.

This is simply the nature of graduate school. Attempting to make it more “family friendly” will 1.) Reduce the academic standards of the program to accomodate students who cannot make the required time commitment and, 2.) Raise the costs on everyone else — especially students without children, who will likely end up paying more in tuition to subsidize those who do have children.

In 30 seconds, I thought of 11 faculty members at my university who could have written this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Scientiae Carnival, A Logo

There's been a neat blog carnivale going on these past few weeks. It's called "Scientiae" and it features "Women in Science" blogs. They made a call for a logo, and I've got a first draft:

I didn't so much emphasize the "Science" part as I did the "Women Blogger" part. Given that it's a carnivale, and we are masked bloggers...Ok, I'll admit the result is a little cliche.

But I'm not playing!

Walking back from lunch, I tell the boyfriend the good news about my friend K.

"K. is defending on Monday."
He thinks about it, "Because the best offense is a good defense."
He thinks about it more, "And we know that CS majors are offensive."

* * *

I was a mean big sister. Was. In 1992, my brother puberty-ed up to 6 feet, and I became the nice big sister that I am today.

Back when I was a mean big sister, I played competitive games without my brother's knowledge. We'd be walking to the car, and I would quietly walk a little bit faster, knowing I'd reach the car (store, house, tree) first. "I WIN!" I would declare. He'd cry, "But I'm not playiiiinggg!!" And I would laugh in my mean big sister way. Horrible. I realize that I deserve the bad things that happen to me.


The University of GradShitTownVille is exacting my brother's revenge. They are playing a competitive game against me. Unlike my brother, I know they are playing. Thing is, I just don't want to play. There's a variety of names for this game,

Publish! Get the biggest pile of publications and work at a Top 10 school!
Buzz! Lie to your colleagues about your accomplishments, and make people think you are better than you are!
Plagarize! Steal from old publications and put them in your own!
Intellectual Starvation! Need things other than CS Research to make you happy? Forget about it! You need to focus to get that Top 10 job!!

[ages 22 and up]

Because I'm not playing, people often tell me, "You are losing. You aren't good at this game. You aren't going to win if you keep this up."

Well, that's not exactly what they say. Their messages sound more like, "You don't have enough publications to get a good job. You aren't going to get a good academic job with this publication record. You can't prelim with this few publications."

And yet, I get all these recruiter e-mails. Google. Lockheed Martin. Wind River (which is a funny one, since they laid me off in 2002). They tell me they are interested in me. They tell me that my skills are a good match. They say nice things about me. I feel like that 13 year old girl with low self-esteem sought out by the 26 year old man. Perhaps you know her. She makes public phone calls to Dr. Drew Pinskey.