Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ABD-Roadblocks to a PhD

This is one of the cool comics I saw. Perfect for some entertainment and get my mind off work for a while.

My paper- to revise again.

Modifying your papers to get them published can be a pain.

Yes, revisions is very important.
It helps you to cover all your weaknesses and make your arguments water tight. However, I can't help but feeling the pain when a paper is returned with more revisions and queries. It is like someone is telling me my baby is ugly and needs cosmetic surgery. Or worse, my baby has defects and need to be operated one before it will be able to see the world. Fine. What could a mother do? I will just modify, and answer all the queries as requested. Full stop.

What are the revisions that are reasonable and what are not?
Sometimes I wonder how much time a reviewer actually spend on reviewing a paper. When they come across something unfamiliar to them (although they are experts, science grows so fast that it is not possible for everyone to know everything), do they dismiss it or do they read up about it. Are there are stages in one's academic life whereby you would say, "If I do not know, it does not exist" ?

Critisims are welcomed, if they are well thought out and constructive. However, they frusfration sets in reviewers defer greatly in their opinion, and each worded their "suggestion" strongly. Worse still are the occasions where you get the hunch that this guy is not that updated. He does not know the area well.

Whatever your misgivings are about this whole publication game, you just got to soldier on. Yeah, that is what I keep on reminding myself. This is a whole learning process. Whatever it is, it is still alot milder and more "genteel" that certain bosses are at work.

Statistically obsessed: The side effect of doing a PhD

One side effect that I have from doing a PhD is getting this habit of "documenting" and monitoring the development of any projects.

My poor blog did not escape from this fate. Just added a niffy little counter to it. Now I can know whether anyone is visiting my blog, when they are visiting and whether they are coming back.

Unfortunately, I am too broke to upgrade to a paid version. So, my site history is for all to see, just with a click of the button at the counter. I think I am quite ok with it, since these data are neither publishable or patentable. Lets be transparent about it.

monetising a blog?

There seems to be another advantage of blogging.
You can monetize it. I am copying these little buttons from Google to my page. Hope it works.

Yeah ABDs tend to have their funds at the lowest level, and any extra cents of income generated somewhere would help.

Monday, November 14, 2005

who on earth started statistics?

Who on earth started statistics? Statistics in the subjects that most students are confused about in their secondary/junior high schools and still confused when they go into the universities. The only students that will tell me statistics are simple belong to two groups:
  1. the real gurus... yes.. the usually bespectacled guy with a nerdy look

  2. the idiots. Sorry, this is indeed derogatory. I apologise. I think I am still seething with frusfurations. Please do not sue me, I do not have the money to pay you.
I really have full respect for the first type, but unfortunately they do not help me much. No.. no.. it is not that they are not helpful (they usually are!!) but there is something call a difference in wavelength. I usually cannot follow their rapid train of thoughts and they usually cannot understand why I cannot understand something so simple. But still, I try to remember every word that dropped out of the mouth of these gurus, and hope that enlightenment would come to me while I am..... eerrr.... blogging?
The second type always have me wishing that I am gifted with better EQ. I need to tell them in a diplomatic way '' Hey, thanks for offer to help and I admire your confidence, or rather OVER confidence. But you know... you know nothing, that is why you are not confused!''.
Yes, this is the group that try to tell me that it is bloody simple and why test A is a clear cut solution to the problem. It is usually very simple for them, as they are still figuring out what is parametric and non-parametric data and their only understanding of a ''normal spread'' is the usual way of spreading their butter and kaya on their toast, without any extras.
If you belong to the first group, start learning to teach statistics! You will cause a drop in hair care products for balding and grey hair, and at the same time earn tonnes of money. People like me will give up my bugdet for movies, coffee beans and even shoes (yes shoes..... that is a great sacrifice for ladies!) just to have 15 minutes of you time. Why are you still reading my blog? Shoo... start thinking about how to publish your first e-book or online consultancy firm. An if you do become famous and rich... do come back and tell me I told you this great idea and offer me a free consultancy. I might be still stuck with the same problem- ''my KMO is 0.515! Can I still do something to make my data workable for PCA? ''

Why blogging and not your trusty spiral notebook.

Why blogging and not your trusty spiral notebook, or even your word documents for that matter?

1) Someone is reading it-you better do not over do your crappy writing.
2) Commenting is easier for your supervisors and committees. They can comment on it, and yet not "mark it" or "revise it". Imagine your supervisor spending a few minutes day to "glance" through your entry at his or her leisure and putting a 3 worded comment like "Great, carry on" , "You are lost!" "Crap, see me!" This way, you get your paper and ideas checked every single entry!
3)DATES!!! Blogs display your date and time of entry prominently. So, if you have been slacking, eg no posts for a week, the whole world that you were willing to let in knew. There will be pressure, when concerned people ask you what is happening. On the other hand if you you have been posting at 3 am every morning, someone would remind you that PhD is a marathon, not short bursts of 3 am sprints.
4) Generate interest in your research? With so many corporate bloggers around, who know researcher-bloggers might be the next hip thing! If you have published in your blog, it has been "published". Who knows, you might attract some people who might be interested in your research and can ofer youth eall important first job after your phD.
5) Give you the confidence! How many PhD students held on tightly to their papers, even thought it is written up? Many! A common trait among PhD students and genuine researchers is perfectionism. And yes, the paper is our baby, produced after months and years of labour and heartaches. (Blood and sweat included too!)
6) Cheers and jeers! Similar to the commenting above, except that this is about friendship and emotional support.
7) It is free, If you use a free site like blogspot. And you can access it anywhere! No more excuse of not doing anything while you are taking the long break away from your books.
8) Almost ready made thesis in 3 years’ time. Yes, put these pieces together, edit them and you get the final product!
9) Have you heard of people leaving their blogs on a bench, or had water spilled on it?. Back up your blog entries. That is my only advice.
10) Save the environment. At times I felt that being not satisfied with a degree and pursuing a PhD had killed many trees. (it rhymes)