Interesting, thoughtful stories

But why would anyone apply to that many schools?


She talks about it in the article wanting to show that a kid with her background can get into whatever school they want. So, I guess to make a point?


I started my Ph.d. just after Eric Demaine finished; he was 20 (IIRC). It’s tricky. Waterloo has had a few young people finishing at that age and it can lead to a bit of burnout.

Fortunately, Eric continues to do really good (and fun) work and he’s a really likable guy. (I took courses from both of his supervisors when I was an undergrad; they were super teachers as well as superb researchers.)


But my assumption would be ‘oh sure, she’s some sort of special genius to get into all of the schools’. It would have been more inspiring to me if she’d gotten into 10 schools, you know? That would have been believable as being attainable.


Speaking of Judith Butler…new Philosophy Tube!


Ok, I missed this post back in March, so apologies, but I have thoughts as someone who is currently studying for the bar exam. And my thought is …way to go, Washington state! Please, every state in the country, start looking at alternatives to the bar exam. The bar exam is bullshit. So you want to be a lawyer? Well get ready for hurdles. The first one is the LSAT. A standardized test which had one section which was insane. Thankfully, they’re finally ditching that, but you basically had to take a prep course to pass the LSAT if you wanted to go to law school. And it was a lot harder than the GRE because of that one section. Now, by the time I took it, Khan Academy actually had a pretty good, and completely free, LSAT prep course, but for most of the history of the LSAT, doing well enough to get into a good law school meant spending money on a prep course. Ok, now you’re in law school. I didn’t, but many students, in addition to the course material you get in school, will fork over additional money for study aids while in law school. Because the law is mostly taught the same way it was taught 100 years ago and it’s a little antiquated. Law school itself is also very expensive. Now, you spend 3 or 4 years in law school, spending possibly as much as a couple hundred grand (in loans for most students), and you graduate. Great! Now you’re a lawyer! Oh wait, no you’re not. Now you have to take the bar exam. Ok, no sweat, surely law school prepares you to do well on the bar exam, right? No. Not at all. So now, after the LSAT, after law school, after all that time and money, you’re right at the finish line…and now you need to spend another $2000-$5000 on a good bar prep course if you actually want to pass the bar. Some people actually take sabbaticals from work to spend 8 hours a day for 2-3 months to study for the bar.

Well, ok, you say, but all those hurdles are to ensure we only have competent, ethical lawyers, right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…no. There is no evidence showing that a good score on the LSAT translates to good grades in law school. There is no evidence showing a connection between passing the bar and being a competent lawyer. But all of that shit takes time, and money. A lot of both. A lot a lot of both. And most lawyers today are still white men from privileged backgrounds. Shocking, huh?

Fuck the bar exam. Fuck the LSAT. Let applicants take the GRE like other grad students. It’s perfectly fine. And once you graduate law school, that should be sufficient to be licensed as an attorney. And if it isn’t, then we need to fix law schools. But really, it is sufficient. That article says that Washington is just the second state after Oregon to eliminate the bar exam requirement. But that’s not really true. Wisconsin has had diploma privilege for years. If you go to an ABA accredited law school in Wisconsin, then your diploma is sufficient to get you admitted to the bar. And that system has been fine for Wisconsin, and there’s no reason it won’t work everywhere. Ironically, the National Council for Bar Examiners, the organization that develops and helps administer the bar exam, is based in Wisconsin. Its President is an attorney herself. She went to law school in Wisconsin. She never took the bar exam.

Ok, it’s late, and I’ve been studying all day, and I have to get up early tomorrow and do it again. Fuck the bar exam.


The definition of loneliness today, in the social scientific literature, is about being physically isolated from others and having few or no close meaningful relationships. This corresponds nicely with Arendt’s understanding of loneliness as isolated thought. When a person feels isolated, a political movement offers them a sense of belonging, purpose and meaning.

This is why totalitarian movements have to first succeed in destroying the fabric of society by which we take our bearings of being in the world with one another. Because it is only then, when there is no longer basic kindness, trust and human decency, and people feel thrown into the world to make it on their own, that they will go looking for a movement to belong to. A movement invites one to not just belong to something bigger than themselves, but to become a part of history.


English sterilty vs. Sri Lankan fecundity:

I think of this as I’m in England, tactically nuking the toilet and banishing natural decomposition to special bags and special bins and putting it far away in dumpsters. England relentlessly others its entropy, as an Empire and even long after its fallen into decrepitude. Last year they sent containers of toxic waste to Sri Lanka (that’s what happens to much of their ‘recycling’) and our comprador rulers for once had the balls to send it back. The crashed ship Dali also contained toxic waste bound for Sri Lanka, from the new American Empire to the same old sacrifice zone. I’m glad that ship ran into the Baltimore bridge, fuck them (minus the migrant workers that died, unwarned, on the bridge, peace be with them). And yet there’s a Sri Lankan still stuck on the ship, disallowed to leave because they don’t have the right visas to set foot on White land. We’re just bugs to them, also. Useful as part of the digestive system of global capital, but otherwise irritations. White supremacism is just an extension of human supremacism. It’s a continuum which cannot continue much longer.

What they call progress is really the breaking of loops that bind us, the chains of garbage and shit and death that we avoid like the plague and try to bury underground. Meanwhile we furiously mine every damn thing and call it ‘mine’, ignoring the fact that some shit is buried for a reason. Every circle in the ecosystem must be bent into the one line called ‘the economy’ or else it literally doesn’t count. And then that line must go up and to the right forever or people freak out. But this is wrong. One creature’s shit is another creature’s manna. All the myriad creatures are trying to recycle the food that we leave out. Suppressing all the entropy while supercharging all the order doesn’t make entropy disappear. It just makes it into a time-bomb, unleashed upon future generations with the fury of a billion genies rubbed wrong.


Yeah, medicine is similar. MCAT was a stupid bubble test, with an essay section asking us to interpret the parable of the starfish thrower. (For any who wonder why I bring that story up repeatedly, now you know.) I am like savant level at taking bubble tests. Not everyone is, and the test material was only tangentially related to what we actually needed to know for med school. Get through med school, which is truly a bear, a study came out in NEJM when I was there, so late '80’s, that concluded that med students were expected to spend, between labs, classroom lectures, readings and supplemental material, roughly 46 hours per day on educational activities. Before eating or sleeping. Needless to say, the ability to skim the work was exceedingly important. Now, I was a scholarship kid, so my student debt was minimal, but most are not, and >$200k is common, now even more so. After that, you face National Boards. High pressure, but the thing is, the pass rate is >90%. I decided not to play the game, and spent the time we were given to prepare to build and outfit a 120 gal aquarium. Because. I’m not typical, and when I tell people that I refuse, on principal, to study for those kind of tests, they look at me like I have two heads. But honestly, at that point, I figure you either know it or you don’t. And, as I mentioned, bubble test savant. Lots has changed in the 35 years or so since I put my back to school, and I suspect the pressure is worse, I know the debt level is worse. And I am a privileged white guy, even if I did come from WV, and I know what government cheese tastes like. I don’t know, it seems looking back on it like it wasn’t that bad, even though at the time I wondered if I would make it through. Just reading what you are going through made me think of my own journey. And even though we are not doing at all the same thing, I gotta tell you, at this end of my life, yeah, it was worth it. Every bit of it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. At the risk of sounding trite, it really does get better. If my support means anything, you have it. Really and truly, it gets better.

Cookie Hug GIF by Sesame Street


I am assuming this to be a euphemism? 'Cause I have certainly been accused of WMD usage after a few bathroom adventures!


Münecat: I Debunked Evolutionary Psychology

It’s three hours twenty minutes long, so take it in stages maybe. But goddamn she brings receipts.


is med school reading like other sciences?

i know in CS, psych, and a few other fields at the graduate level, it’s more about understanding the conclusions and the methodology – i ran into a LOT of people who’d basically make a show of “doing work” (reading literally every thing assigned) then playing victim that they weren’t good at being a student.

(since we were being prepared to do research, much less focus on rote memorization but… i noticed that among the premeds back in undergrad ppl would often spend many hours memorizing things rather than arrive at fundemental understandings that make such memorization unneeded)


You are describing the two “flavors” of med students and, of course, doctors. There are those who memorize everything. And, to be fair, there is some of that that is absolutely manditory. But it can lead to overdependence on the textbook descriptions and inability to work with incomplete or conflicting data. You know, like every flipping human ever. Then there are the “pattern recognition” crew. This would be me, and most of the ones who were not star students, but made really good docs. We can see the pattern even if every box is not checked, and reach the proper conclusion when there are confusing or contradictory facts evident. I guess the difference is between memorizing and understanding. Just to be clear, IMHO, understanding is much better. Not sure if that answers the question, but there you go. I guess it comes down to “depends on how you do it.”


Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers


i can see how in medicine you rely on it more – need to know say… drug interactions off the top of your head. or the parts of the body, if a surgeon.

but what i noticed was people who basically… make a show of spending a lot of time nonproductively – reading entire research papers cover to cover, while struggling with things like “doing research” or “coding” which were kind of core to the field of information science.

i’m probably not articulating myself well, but basically they’d exhaust themselves doing nonproductive “work” while sneering at people like me on the way to the techno show as being “lazy” for basically… doing grad stuff ~8 to ~8 and keeping evenings to one self. (Still a 12 hour day!!)

(and tended to get downright angry if i pointed out i had more publications than them and their “business” is just poor time management)


One of you is saying there are naturally two different ‘takes’ on how to do the work to become (and then be) a doctor, and one of you is saying your way of doing it is superior.

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What the hell did I just read?

Does this thing qualify as an “interesting, thoughtful story”? Well, it sure was educational to me. In a creepy painful way.

TW: pretty much red flags all the way through this piece:

Now considering myself to be duly chastened, and duly warned.


… no economic model could possibly take decent care of old folks other than an infinitely expanding demographic pyramid scheme :roll_eyes:


I guess older people will just have to eat the rich.