Archive for the ‘meta’ Category

I’m coming towards the end of my first year in a PhD program. That’s almost entirely accurate. I’ve been in another program that would have eventually resulted in a PhD in philosophy, but since I left with a Master’s degree, it doesn’t count. But now I’m 15 hours into a PhD in rhetoric and scientific and technical communication, with just two papers to write for the remainder of the semester, and then I have a summer to recover/get ahead on my exam readings.

So thinking about that, I figured it would be helpful to go back through the year and think about what I’ve learned. Maybe it’ll be helpful for those not yet in a PhD program, maybe it’ll just be helpful for me a few years down the line when I look back to how naive I was. (more…)

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The semester is thankfully nearly over. While I do have about 150 pages of grading to do, I get to start that on Friday, giving me plenty of time to work it all out. And while I do have two major papers, drafts for both are finished (thanks to me forgoing Thanksgiving). There will also be a take home exam, but I’ve seen the questions and they are interesting and thought provoking. Plus I have time to gather quotations and write outline before I know which question I’m answering.

So semester break is rapidly approaching. Only it won’t be a break. Yeah, I’ll take a few days off, and take it pretty easy most of the rest of the time, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. (more…)

This week I read, among other things, “Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research” by Charney, “Working Memory in an Editing Task” by Hayes and Chenowith, and caught up on my reading about Empirical research. In reading all this, the major conclusion I’ve come to is that while Empirical research is interesting, and while the conclusions this research can draw are important, reading about them is, to put it mildly, difficult.

I’m not going to review these articles here. This week, I am more reflecting on these works in and of themselves and as representations/lessons for the semester thus far. (more…)

The Burning Question

Posted: September 9, 2008 in Brainstorm, Futurism, meta, Methods, writing

When I was in college, I came to the conclusion that the only way to really go through with a PhD was to have a burning question, something that kept me up at night, that demanded my constant consideration. I should say that by ‘came to this conclusion,’ I mostly mean that I was told this by people who I trusted, and it rang true to me.

Thankfully, at that time I had a burning question: Does personal identity depend on outside forces? This leads to questions about downloading the brain into a computer, about virtual persons, about cloning, and all the other great sci-fi geek questions. That question kept me going through my BA, and, though I wasn’t cut out for the Philosophy PhD program at the research university where I was at the time, the question still burned bright enough to get me an MA.

Yesterday, I was asked what my research question was. What do I want to research about? It was in class for Research Methods, so it makes total sense that I would be asked. I wrote something down, the first question that came to my head.

Last night, it kept me up. (more…)

On starting again

Posted: August 21, 2008 in Brainstorm, meta, School

I’ve finally started getting back to work. Apparently, I needed more of a break than I thought I did. Between moving house, getting to know a new town, starting to build a network of friends, and learning my way around the campus, there hasn’t been all that much time for real work.

Thankfully, that’s starting to change.

Of course, I haven’t been ignoring work. (more…)

There is not as much research being done as I had hoped there would be. I wanted to get back into academic reading, and start posting regularly to this blog. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my brain decided, as it often does over the summer, that I need time off. So I haven’t been able to read anything that isn’t strictly for pleasure, and I’m even having difficulty at that.

Part of it is the move. I’m now in Minneapolis, still settling in and getting to know the city. But that’s neither here nor there.

One of the ways I’ve been spending (wasting?) my time has been with Stumble Upon, which pretty much drains productivity. I like to imagine it’s collecting all that lost productivity somewhere. While stumbling, I have often come across articles about life extension. As science fiction is a passion of mine (especially as it becomes more predictive), I’ve found myself thinking about life extension and immortality quite a bit.

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I’m very nearly finished my thesis. I achieved the non-content goals (4 pages of citations, more than 40 pages of text) without problem, and I believe I’ve answered all (or most) of the comments I was given on an older draft. Point is, I’m feeling like it’s almost over. The End is Nigh! but in a good way. (more…)