Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some Things I've Learned So Far in the Doctoral Program

  • It's shocking how little I know about science, how much I thought I knew about science, and how much bad science is out there. Almost all of my classes have been about how to do good science, and it's been eye-opening. And obvious, in hindsight, but aren't most things?
  • Kerry is really smart.
  • I remember how in elementary school my teachers would warn me about how much more attention I'd need to pay in junior high school, and how the classes would be a lot harder. Then I got to junior high, and classes weren't really any harder... but I was warned that high school would be insanely difficult. Then high school wasn't a big deal at all... but I was warned that college would be ridiculously difficult. Then college wasn't really all that bad at all... but they all said how rough grad school would be. So far...? The pattern seems to be continuing.
  • I'm sure that in a month or two I'll look back at that last bullet point, cackle insanely, and ask for more cheese on my shirt, please. This will get tougher, no doubt.
  • There is little joy quite like reading a psychology textbook from inside a swimming pool.
  • If you wear headphones while walking down a city street or riding a train, panhandlers are far less likely to stop you to ask for something. Especially if you're bobbing your head.
  • It doesn't matter what root song you put into Pandora; regardless, it will recommend Nickelback. Evanescence? Nickelback. The Fratellis? Nickelback. Run-DMC? Nickelback. Hank Williams? Nickelback. Songs from Sesame Street? Nickelback. I imagine Kenny Chesney would work too, but I'm not about to try it.
  • I dislike Nickelback.
  • Some people care about you only so far as you can help them. If you're not in that position anymore, they seem to disappear.
  • Correlation does not imply causation, but it does indicate some relationship exists somewhere. For instance, my age and the winning record of the New Orleans Saints show near-perfect correlation on a statistical table... but my birthdays don't cause the Saints to get better. There is a relationship here... time is making the Saints get better, just as it's making me older (theoretically, anyway... my wife and half of my friends insist I'm some kind of genetic freak who doesn't age).
  • I can still pass for an undergraduate, whether I try to or not.
  • Nobody at Georgia Tech seems to know what FFA is, and there is no College of Agriculture to be found.
  • "Dumb as a volleyball" is not a scientifically valid quantifiable measurement.
  • Elliott is really smart.
  • Five Guys hamburgers are way overrated. They're not half as good as my poor lost Cheeburger Cheeburger (seriously, why aren't there any of these in Atlanta?!?).
  • Organizational perspectives can be neatly summed up by the Muppet Show.
  • It doesn't matter where you are in life: mad programming skills in Microsoft Excel always seem to be tremendously valuable.
  • The seminal business text Good to Great really is as overrated as I always suspected it was.
  • Dissertations do not, thus far, seem significantly different from LSU Honors College thesises...theseuses... thesii?
  • There is no real scientific evidence that talking on phones while driving is dangerous.
  • Going to school for the purpose of passing is very different from going to school for the purpose of actually learning everything that you're being taught.
  • Even if you've been speaking professionally for years, it's nice to just sit and listen. You don't even miss the speaking yourself.
  • Business Defined is written from an essentialist perspective, which is criticized in science as inefficient, bulky, and unusable for scientific discussion. I'm getting so many ideas for new books and research projects, far more than any man could reasonably expect to complete in one mere lifetime.
  • If you flip a coin an infinite number of times and separate those flips into groups, you will eventually draw a perfect normal distribution, sometime after you go clinically insane.
  • There is no significant statistical relationship between how big faculty members tell you your office will be, and the actual size of that office.
  • If you know how to program in Flash, you already know the basics of programming in statistical software.
  • It doesn't matter if you're in a small business or on the campus of one of the top technology schools in the world: Georgia Tech can figure out how to coat titanium implants with protein to approve attachment, but nobody can figure out Windows Vista and get a printer to work.
  • There is a theoretical relationship between a supervisor's ability/willingness to give an employee the things he or she wants, and that employee's perception of the supervisor's power. By manipulating the factors of this relationship, you can strengthen or crush team member's personal identities. Freaky.
  • Logic can merge two statements to draw a new and unexpected conclusion. To wit: (1) Georgia Tech is 65% male. (2) There are fraternities on Georgia Tech's campus. Thus, we can conclude that (3) Georgia Tech fraternity parties are pretty lame.
  • Nobody really understands me.


  1. Five Guys is okay, but not as good as the now-defunct Geaux Burger in Austin. It was delicious!

    I think one of the best decisions I've ever made was taking an online training on basic Excel. It's made me the Excel guru in my office -- and you can't get rid of the only person who knows who to do reports.

  2. I love your blog posts!

  3. This is my favorite post. I think I'll bookmark it for future reference. Just sayin' . . .

    P.S. I just found the subscribe by email link.