Beware the vortex of wasted time….

March 9, 2007


Rolling Stone has clips of the 25 best South Park moments of all time.

I’ve helpfully linked to the best one.

Bwa ha ha haaaa.

Changing the world

March 9, 2007

It gives one a measure of hope when we can find three people from different walks of life who have made amazing contributions toward improving life on this tiny blue planet.

And that one of them is an evolutionary biologist.

Congratulations to James Nachtwey, Bill Clinton, and E. O. Wilson.

Why you should manage your dissertation like a stock portfolio

March 9, 2007

We conclude our discussion of Ira Glass’s excellent podcast on broadcasting.

The message here is simple. Any person who wants to be innovative must try a lot of things that don’t work. Which is to say, you will frequently find yourself  one minute, one hour, one month into a project that in the end doesn’t pan out.  If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

This also applies, on a longer time scale, to your dissertation.

The great thing about science as a way of knowing is that failure, properly managed, is still success. The more hypotheses you test in a given project, the greater the variety of evidence you bring to bear, the more interesting the paper will even if your supercool hypothesis bites the dust. And, at the same time, you have given yourself every opportunity to see why it did or didn’t work. You’ll know more than when you started.

So make sure you build the chapters of your dissertation with the eye of an investor who is in it for the long haul. Combine sure fire, more conservative and descriptive work, with projects where you shoot for the moon.  Because, rest assured, some of those gambles will pay off.