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May 21, 2012
As I suggested last week, the first couple of weeks of May were taken up with professional development of various sorts, necessitating large chunks of time out of the office and away from the computer. While that kind of change of pace is good, especially right at the end of the semester, it conflicts with the kind of change of pace I really want in May: the one where I get back to my research full time.
May 21, 2012
Imagine a small, developing country of perhaps 3 million people. Like many other small developing countries, our imaginary nation is rich in natural resources, its economy has prospered on the export of agricultural crops and benefited from the revenue generated by petroleum production, refining, and support services. Its history, like some of its counterparts in the developing world, reflects a constant structural economic weakness covered by a colorful culture, truly creative and charming people, and an often dramatic sequence of past events.
May 20, 2012
Marketing requires a balance of promoting general brand awareness and engaging specific target market segments.  
May 20, 2012
April is the cruellest month in (Anglo-North American) universities, given that the yearly academic cycle reaches its peak with final exams, which are in turn preceded by the crushing weight of major end-of-term assignments. Some students, worn out by the demands of the season, lapse into a state of caffeine-fuelled zombie-like vacancy. For those of us on the receiving end of their work, there is the prospect of a mountain of marking that forms the final obstacle to a brief breather before the summer term begins.
May 20, 2012
A new correspondent writes: "I'm writing in the hope that you can share your insights on the reasonableness of earning an M.A. in order to teach at a community college."
May 20, 2012
  Okay, here goes…I’m here to confess: I’m an 8th year doctoral student. I admit this in hopes other drifting graduate students will realize they are not alone, and perhaps summon the courage to accurately assess the situation and make needed changes. My first couple years were full of excitement—I welcomed any chance to talk about the Ph.D. program and my classes. As the years went by, I became reticent, hoping no one would ask how grad school was going. If asked, I would have to acknowledge my lack of progress. I avoided research conferences, knowing they meant encountering former classmates, now graduated and holding tenure-track professor positions.
May 20, 2012
How can you afford to pay upfront if there's no room on your credit cards (or you don't have one)?
May 20, 2012
How do you choose your books? We need to choose books that offer a high R.O.T. (return on time). The opportunity costs of reading are heavily weighted toward time rather than dollars.
May 20, 2012
My older daughter came home last week, after taking a New York State ELA (English Language Arts) statewide exam. Normally after she takes a test, she mentions whether the test was easy or hard and what, if any, were the areas that give her difficulty. This time it was different. She complained about a reading passage concerning a race between a pineapple (that did not move) and a hare. 
May 20, 2012
A few years ago, I took a 2-hour music improv workshop at the school where I was studying straight (acting) improv. The teacher, Rob, was first rate, fun and supportive, but were all terrified. (Of course there was no objective danger, but as we know, people tend to be more afraid of public speaking than of death, so imagine the terror involved in spontaneous singing in front of a group of strangers.) A few people abstained from singing through the entire class, which they had paid for, waiting for courage that never came. I forced myself to participate, but it was a real stretch. The payoff was enormous, though. I felt I was exploring areas of my brain that I had not known were there.

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