Ivory Tower Easy Street

Why does anyone want to get a PhD?

It’s TONS of hard work.  Usually means NO social life until your mid 30s.  Your ONLY friends are similar masochists who are NOT competing with you in your field.

Finally, IF you manage to get through the feudal slave system called graduate work, and are “awarded” your higher degree of philosophy, are your dreams realized?

NO.

The nightmare begins.

No matter what the discipline, you must now scamper for funding, for post-doc work, for anything related to your dream, your passion.

Yes, it’s why you started this crazy process back when you were SO YOUNG.  You dreamed.  You had a passion.  A passion for learning.  A passion for a subject.

WHY?

For a select few, the highest of the high, the luckiest of the luck, they land some form of academic job.  Not just any academic job, but a “tenured” job.  Of course, publishing and researching to the point of making tenure is yet another stressful round.  But once they make that benchmark, that holy grail, that nirvana, what does that academic do?

They can (mostly) relax.

And that’s the vision misleading our young, passionate, intensely curious dreamer who strives for the PhD.

And of all the PhD in academia, who has it the easiest?

Go ahead and guess.  I’ll wait.

…….

Mathematicians.

You never would have guessed, would you?

Of all the academic professions, mathematicians are allowed to operate in the realm of pure creativity.  No, not the creativity of oil paints or clay.  Not even the creativity of “post-reconstructionist-logical-positivism” or “economic drivers in the mid-level artificial carbon credit markets.”  No, their creativity is pure, and focused.

For in math, there is no ambiguity, there are no loopholes in logic or proofs that are allowed, as in every other possible profession.  In this sense, it makes things harder because you can’t get by merely by the force of your personality.  Mostly.

Your papers might take years before they are approved.  Or rejected.  And the only thing worse than having your enemies find a flaw in your work (and they will) is having your FRIENDS find them first.

But the work you do, the progress you make, and how you contribute to the sum total of knowledge that is Science will be solid.  That is something very difficult to do in any of the hard sciences, much harder in the biological sciences, and virtually impossible in ANY of the social “sciences.”

In sum, if you’re a dreamer who loves learning and wants to make a difference, but also wants to live on easy street the rest of your life, then math is your path.  Yes, it’ll be hard, and you will leave many bodies behind as you prove yourself, but that’s life.

But in the end, isn’t that much better than getting a PhD in, well, ANYTHING else?

Good luck!

 

Shivanomics

The time has come, as it must for all things weak and unproductive.

The old tree becomes dry, hollow, and falls to the ground, fertilizing the next generation of flowers.

Taking out the old, bringing in the new.

The old man leaves his home feet first, enabling a young couple to move in.

Who is at the bottom of all this change?

The pantheon of Hinduism has a great character for this, the god Shiva…

the destroyer.

For you must destroy in order to create anew.  Get rid of the old, bring in the young.

The time has come for that to happen to one of the oldest behavioral studies we have:

Economics.

Economists have failed us in so many ways that it’s difficult to describe.  In simplest form, consider these damning accusations:

  1. No economic model has any predictive value.
  2. After so many years and dollars of investment, there is yet to be a single (actual) statement that can be considered a LAW of economics.  Not one.

It’s best if we leave this simple.  And here’s the simple solution.

Shiva.

Yes, the destroyer must come and eliminate all things economic.  All tenured positions, all funded chairs, all areas of grant funding.

Shiva must visit the Nobel committee and get them to rescind the award, saving it for something more meaningful.

Shiva must erase every professional in government, banking, and finance house that carries the title of economist.  Shiva must come with her large eraser and make every journalist, every commentator, and every column that refers to economics go away.

That is what must happen for the situation to improve.  For now we spend so much time, energy, and money asking experts for their insights, and they have none.  For this they are never punished.

And for that, we must plead to Shiva.

It’s time to study Shivanomics.

 

 

Pornography on the Brain

Sorry guys, it’s not that kind of post.

A few porn stories caught my eye recently.

There’s a recent-ish movie about how young women are consumed by the porn industry.  The average 18 year old lasts about 3 months and only make a few thousand dollars in profit.  Meanwhile the producers make millions.

There was a story about a young Australian women, very religious, who discovered pornography on her fiance’s phone.  She was so appalled that she called off the wedding a week before the ceremony.  She had many things to say against the pornography.  She didn’t say anything about her lack of respect for his privacy.

Finally, an Australian report on how licensed brothels are being run out of business by illegal massage parlors that have “extra” items on the menu.  It seems that the illegal parlors charge about $160 (Aussie I’m guessing) an hour.  But the illegal parlors don’t have as much overhead.  The women only make a fraction of that anyway.  Most of it goes to the pimps.

As you can imagine, the pimps, the producers, and the vast majority of consumers are all men.  When society tries to contain any of these “evils,” the typical prisoner is going to be the prostitute or the actress.  Yes, sometimes a producer gets arrested, but it’s more likely they are major contributors to the local judges’s campaign coffers.  As for the pimp, they can afford lawyers.

Here’s a thought.

Make it all legal.  Pornography.  Prostitution.  Let men consume it.  Perhaps it will make them a bit less “handy” on real dates.  Of course, that is a another subject.

Here’s the other half of the twist.  Also make it totally illegal for men to have any part of the production or distribution of the material.  Women only, from start to stop, in only public corporations.  Even male actors, if they can’t be replaced by “man”-iquens or robot actors, must work for minimum wage.

Women actors get paid, fairly.  Women directors, stage hands, sound stage, stunt doubles, medical support, producers, marketing, communications, distribution, makeup, wardrobe, and even accounting and janitorial, all possible functions must be women.

Will you know it when you see it?

Now the “policing” function becomes easy.  The customers go free, they are paying.  The women go free, they are working.  Based on what I’ve read, they are mostly performing as psychologists anyway.  As for the pimps and every other male, arrest them.  Even if it’s a guy who owns the cameras that the women are using, it’s illegal.  His wife can own the cameras, so that when she gets paid it’s all her money.  But not him, not one little bit.

So, that’s the idea.  Play with it.  See if it has legs, or sticks to the wall, or whatever you want to do with it.  And the next time you see some porn, consider where that money is going.

If that doesn’t turn you off porn, nothing will.

Capsule Surfing

You’ve heard of couch-surfing, no doubt.  Heck, a lot of us were doing it way before there was a term for it.

In all fairness to the English language, there was a term for it.  Our parents called it free-loading.

It was quite a tradition amongst some folks.  In fact, a few very famous people lived their lives doing it.

Why don’t we take this to the next level?

For instance, there are lots of very high rent districts that feature very small apartments.  What if you could stay there?  Or if you live in one, start making some money without having to lose a room?  Or a couch?

What if you’re having a big party and have many friends wanting to stay the night, but all you own is a single bed?  Yes, you can all sleep on the floor, but that’s no fun.  (Yes, you need to SLEEP.)

Here’s an idea.  What if you could go to your local rental place and rent a sleep capsule?  They are already in use in many places throughout the world, especially Japan.

Instead of an inflatable mattress, you get a capsule.  Set it up, maybe even stack them up.  Slide your friends inside and let them get some rest.

They’d have their own ventilation with heating and cooling, so the temp would be their own.  It would be sound-proof so that their music doesn’t bother you, or the neighbors.  They could power their phone and laptop, the same as having their head propped up on a pillow.

Best yet, you don’t end up with a hugely messy room.  At the end of their stay, the capsules go back into storage, and you never notice the difference.

It’s all part of the trend to make things easier, more personal, smaller, and potentially profitable all the way around.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s coming.

Sleep on it.

 

Space isn’t big enough for: Soft Science

You’d think that living in infinite space with only a few other people on the entire surface of the moon meant you could do whatever you wanted, believe whatever you wished, and have no restrictions because there’s nothing around.

The further we look, the more galaxies we find.Here’s the rub.  There’s no room for mistakes, no room for wishy washy, no room for fuzzy and no room for ambiguity.

Am I making myself clear?

So, for all you wannabee spacers, think about what you’re going to take up there in terms of knowledge.  Because you want to be useful, what?

What are the soft sciences?  Anything that has to do behavior.  Economics comes to mind.  Psychology, sociology, even law and religion.  Go ahead, you can name a few.

What? you say.  How can you make such crazy outlandish claim?

I’m not.  I’m repeating something Richard Feynman once said.  He was a truly smart guy who thought about a lot of things.

Here’s what he said about understanding living things.  He came to this conclusion after spending hours watching paramecia under the microscope.  He decided its behavior was far more complicated than anybody recognized.  How then can we ever hope to understand humans if we cant even understand the behavior of such a simple animal.

Here’s a quote from his book, “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”

So my impression of these animals is that their behavior is much too simplified in the books. It is not so utterly mechanical or one-dimensional as they say.  They should describe the behavior of these simple animals correctly.  Until we see how many dimensions of behavior even a one-celled animal has, we wont be able to fully understand the behavior of more complicated animals.

So, if you plan to head for the great beyond, plan accordingly, pack light, and for heaven’s sake, take only hard science.  You’ll be glad you did.