Archive for June, 2009

Fool’s gambit

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

My optimal strategy for applying to graduate schools could have used work.  I didn’t think about what subfield of economics I wanted to study. I just aimed at the top programs.

I dunno, I think it worked out pretty well. I mean, none of the top programs accepted me, but that wasn’t really the point. I mean it kind of was. And I don’t mean to engage in excessive revisionist history, or seem like a sore winner.

More than anything, my philosophy about these things is that you must push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of. In Texas Hold’em, if you’re not being caught bluffing half the time, you’re not bluffing enough. I say if you are not failing consistently, you are not aiming high enough. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to make sure you’re always doing your best.

If you only apply to safety schools you don’t know your limits. On the other hand, if you only apply to first-tier schools, you don’t know how far down the second tier you stand. All I know is that I’m in the best econ program in the District, at one of the swankiest universities I’ve visited, in arguably the most happening place for econmic policy in the world. At least I tried, right?

Mostly unironically

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I love nerdy bands, so it makes sense that I’d love Freezepop. Yes, I was introduced to them via Rock Band. My friends and I would have freeze pop parties where playing their song “Brain Power” was required.

The great thing about nerdy bands is their lyrics. My favorite is the first song on their Futurefuturefutureperfect album. I am convinced Freezepop wrote “Less Talk More Rokk” for one amazing line at the end: “Someone yells ‘less talk more rokk’ / mostly unironically”. The implication that someone could be ironic, but at the same time be partially unironic, is incredible to me.

Check it out, I implore you:

Web Ecology

Friday, June 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago I got involved in a fledgling research group in Boston. We’re doing research on the internets. But this isn’t just any lame internet research! No no. See, too many times you get people drawing conclusions about a social network like they know what’s what, but really they’re just making things up. “Well I use Facebook sometimes and I read some of my friends’ profiles so clearly I can pontificate about broad generalizations with no data to back up my claims.”

Friends, that isn’t science. Science is about testing hypotheses with empirical data. And who has the data? We have the data. Let me introduce the Web Ecology Project.  This project is, among other things, about basing qualitative analysis on firm quantitative footing. Check out our first report on the election in Iran to see some real Twitter research.

Already we’re getting some sweet press. It’s only going to get more awesome from here, folks. Stay tuned.

Catsup: solved

Friday, June 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago I found myself lacking catsup. This put me in the awkward position of having to purchase some. Ketchup is the kind of thing you shouldn’t have to worry about buying; it should always just be there, ready to apply to your hot dogs or easy mac.

As luck would have it, I got my friend Rob to pick some up for me. And when I saw it, it blew my mind. Catsup has been solved. Bottles are now upside down, so you don’t have to shake it up or wait for ketchup to pour out. They’re plastic so you can squeeze them, instead of relying on gravity to do your work for you. The top (bottom?) even has a no-drip mechanism to keep ketchup off your cap.  Brilliant.

It makes me really happy that we’ve advanced to the point, as a civilization, where we no longer need to spend time and energy worrying about the best way to package, distribute, and utilize our ketchup resources. Heinz, you’ve done it again.

Hail packaging science.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.