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Common Misconceptions About Binary Options
College apps suck, good luck to anyone currently applying!
Hey all! I know this time of year is really tough for anyone applying to college. Stick in there! Demographics
Residence: Midwestern US
Income Bracket: Low
Type of School: Public
Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): First-Gen, Geographic (from a low-population state with few Ivy applicants), idk if being trans is a hook
Intended Major(s): Classics Academics
GPA (UW/W): 3.9/4.2
Rank (or percentile): 6/250
# of Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.: 12 APs and 2 Dual Enrollment art/design classes at a local community college
Senior Year Course Load: AP Stats, AP Econ, AP Environmental Science, AP Literature, Latin 4, Orchestra
SAT I: 1590 (790RW, 800M)
ACT: 35 (35E, 35M, 36R, 33S)
SAT II: Math 2 (800), Literature (720)
AP/IB: Human Geography (5), European History (4), Chemistry (3), United States History (4), US Gov/Politics (4), Physics 1 (4), English Lang and Comp (5), Calc AB (5), Statistics (4), Microeconomics (4), Environmental Science (5), English Lit and Comp (5)
Other (ex. IELTS, TOEFL, etc.): N/A
Local chapter of Junior Classical League (4 years), President
Orchestra (4 years), Concertmaster
Debate (4 years), Team Captain, won state in my senior year
Teaching Assistant at Chinese camp (4 years)
Science Olympiad (4 years), Team Captain
Pit Orchestra (3 years)
Congressional Debate (2 years)
Quiz Bowl (4 years)
Environmental Club (3 years)
Private Violin Tutor (1 year)
Questbridge National College Match Scholarship Finalist
National Merit Scholar
National Speech and Debate Association Superior Distinction
Letters of Recommendation I had really good relationships with both of my recommenders. One was my Latin teacher who I had been taking classes from all 4 years, and was the mentor to JCL, an activity that I was really involved in. The other was my APUSH teacher who coached Quiz Bowl, which I was involved in for all four years of high school. I also chatted with both teachers pretty regularly about non-class stuff. In the end, both of their recommendations were... just fine. Not bad by any means, but nothing about them stands out, they were just generic. (I was able to see them bc I had to request pdf versions from the teachers for a scholarship later.) Interviews My Yale interview was amazing, it was a phone interview with an AO that wasn't in charge of my area. It was meant to be ~30 minutes but we talked for over an hour, and it was a really fun conversation! Since I applied REA, it was my first college interview experience and I was so relieved that it felt like a natural conversation. We talked about history and classics (my intended major at the time) and random small historical things that I was passionate about. My other interviews... not so great. I had interviews for Harvard and Princeton, and they were both just with unenthused alumni that lived in my area. The interviewers just asked me questions about test scores and extracurriculars that would've already been covered by my application. Harvard interviewer did let me know that the interview is one of the least-considered parts of your application. Essays My personal statement was a mediocre child-of-immigrants essay. There is truly so little to say about it. I think my supplementals and short answers were much better written, and I really liked my optional essay for Harvard, which was about mythology and gender, how I related old myths to problems in my personal life. Decisions (indicate ED/EA/REA/SCEA/RD) Acceptances:
Yale (REA) -- attending
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (RD but it was rolling so I knew around the same time as EA)
Waitlists/Rejections: N/A *I applied to only top schools in RD bc I had already gotten into Yale REA and got good fin aid from them, so I didn't end up applying to any more targets or safeties. Additional Information: Feel free to comment or pm me with any questions! I remember how stressful and soul-sucking this process is and would love to be of help! Edit: I'm already a year into college (not a prefrosh) so feel free to ask me questions about Yale student life too! I'm pretty involved in activist and queer circles :)
The motion to delay and revise the re-entry plan is not a binary issue. Don't buy the politics.
TLDR: People are being goaded into taking sides on whether or not we should open schools. This is not the issue at hand when considering the motions made by Mr. Shurr at the most recent Special Session of the school board. The issue at hand is whether the current plan (Published June 30) is the most inventive solution we can offer that minimizes the risk of lifelong disability and/or death for the students and, more immediately, the many high-risk adults who work in the public schools around the country. If you’ve ever been in an American workplace, you know that leaders (especially exhausted ones) can find running out the clock on a decision period more desirable than engaging in critical discussion. With stakes as high as they are, the motions are meant to ensure this does not happen with our public schools. Here is a link to the most critical 20 minutes of the Special Session of the school board meeting from Tuesday, July 21st. The Details: This is a throwaway account, and an attempt at a complete statement of my opinion. This does not reflect anyone’s opinion but my own based on public information. Feel free to share any and all of this if you’d like. I don’t plan to respond to comments or DMs. A considerable number of parents, students, and teachers (many of whom are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or live with an elder who is) feel the traditional school model poses too much risk and that we need to pause and revise the plan. Fairly, many people who need the child care/specialized services provided by the schools have voiced their frustration and unwillingness to support such a measure because they believe this must mean that schools will be closed for an extended period of time. This fabricated binary allows an outdated plan to look preferable to pausing and revising because:
Alotof work went into this
This should be irrelevant. If you spent a year developing plans for your dream home, then figured out you had picked a spot with terrible drainage and stability, would you really plow ahead with the plan because you'd sunk so much time into it? Even knowing that the foundation would eventually fail?)
“Everyone is taking the same risk and has a choice”
Teachers are taking on much more risk than students, parents, administrators, and central administration.
Here are office policies laid out in the publicly published back to school plans at each high school:
The main office will be restricted. Item drop-off or pick-up will be done in the school vestibule. Video or teleconferencing will be utilized for parent meetings. Students will request meetings electronically via emails or Canvas to meet with administrators or counselors.
While we cannot have visitors and families into the main office at this time, we are happy to assist you via phone or video conferencing. Any drop offs/picks up will occur at our secure building entrance. We look forward to safely seeing our teachers and students, so Main Office doors will be clearly marked Entry/Exit for flow and social distancing marked as well. -Forms will be digitized and hard copies will be available, when necessary, in teacher rooms to reduce traffic flow in hallways and offices.
Building size is a major determiner in how effective sanitation efforts can/will be.
A lot of peoplewanta 5 day schedule fortheirchild.
This makes total sense on an individual family level. You want your child to have as normal a year and as much opportunity for support as possible.
The motion for a five-day option was rushed through at the end of the special school board meeting, and no one asked whether they had discussed it with teachers & buildings (unlike some of the other motions). Why? Someone who works in a school would tell you that the accurate and authentic way to phrase that question would be some combination of the following:
HIGH SCHOOL: Would you prefer your student to attend with over 1000 (1600 minus the estimated 20% online and off-day hybrid students) or 500 students?
Do you want students, teachers and staff to be able to stay six feet apart in a classroom, or three feet apart in a classroom?
Should class size remain near the low 30s/high 20s, or is a smaller size more appropriate?
Do you want students to be able to have 6 feet of distance in hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, cafeteria, and other common areas? Are you willing to accept the risk of students being shoulder-to-shoulder during every class transition period?
There is no point to the hybrid model when it does nothing to meaningfully reduce the number of people in the building each day. The five day option cripples schools’ ability to have smaller class sizes and appropriate social distancing.
Parents with high-need situations driven by exceptional needs, socioeconomic restraints, etc. have been led to believe that the only conceivable options for childcare/support is the traditional 5-day schedule we've always used.
This misguided notion is connected to the first bullet point and protecting the pride connected to the initial plan.
Schools have the following resources at their disposal:
Rationales and models for doing online instruction without locking down the building so as to allow our students with extra needs the support and socialization they deserve. Edit: This has been referred to as using the school as a "Learning Center".
Well-educated, willing, low-risk staff who can and do help students with all subject areas. This already happens every day in the traditional model via student-selected remediation/help-session/enrichment periods and after-school tutoring programs.
These faculty members should have immediate access to other teachers via school communication infrastructure to immediately contact another teacher when there is confusion or frustration.
Electronic infrastructure for students who don’t have reliable internet access
Large common areas where students could socially distance (gymnasiums, library, cafeteria, auditorium, large group instruction rooms, and monitored classrooms where teachers would be coordinating and delivering online instruction
Edit: This would minimize the need for students and staff to come into close contact in "choke points" like stairwells, narrow hallways, classroom entrances, etc. and allow high-risk teachers to focus on digital curriculum.
This would greatly reduce the number of students using school transportation, as many would utilize the bus only on days they choose to enter the building for additional support. EDIT: Yes, for some students this may mean 5 days a week!
This also would allow students who utilize the Free and Reduced Lunch program to access morning and afternoon meals.
This would not result in the elimination/furlough of custodian, security, or other hourly positions (many of whom, if social media is to believed, may have people fleeing due to their concerns about personal health).
All this said, the parents who need their students in school are justified in their attitudes and arguments. At one of the large high schools
30.9% of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged,
2.5% of students are English Language Learners (ELL)
Even if you ignore the certain occurrence of some crossover within these categories, this is still less than half of the total student population. A number of these students may still choose to stay home with the online option. Similarly, there are probably students who do not fall into these categories but still need to come to school sometimes for some reason or another. Either way, this suggests that there is an opportunity to serve a MUCH smaller number of students in the building and reduce risk to everyone involved. I will admit this would be harder to organize at the elementary level, where districting decisions have left some schools in a more difficult situation than others in terms of student needs because some schools have:
Perhaps the lesser risk in general at the elementary level doesn’t demand an alternative-to-traditional model. Perhaps identifying students who need to be in a learning center and finding a way to get them to a less crowded school should be part of the conversation. Regardless, I imagine that some schools will already be operating at a much lower capacity than normal due to the online option while others will be close to full. All of this should show that this is:
A terrible situation for everyone involved
One that appears to have two options: Full online or plow ahead
One that actually has plenty of unresolved questions, potential solutions, and the opportunity to give students the opportunity to learn in a way that is both better than spring e-learning AND interested in keeping high-risk teachers and other staff out of caskets.
This article provides insights into the ethnicity of people employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s publicly-funded scientific workforce, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika scientists. We show that between 2008 and 2018, Māori and Pasifika scientists were severely under-represented in Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities and crown-research institutes. Despite espousals by these institutions of valuing diversity, te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori research, there have been very little changes in the overall percentage of Māori and Pasifika scientists employed for a period of at least 11 years. Notably, one university reported having not employed a single Māori or Pasifika academic in their science department from 2008 to 2018. We highlight the urgent need for institutions to improve how they collect and disseminate data that speaks to the diversity of their employees. We present data that illustrate that universities and crown-research institutes are failing to build a sustainable Māori and Pasifika scientific workforce and that these institutions need to begin to recruit, retain and promote Māori and Pasifika scientists.
In 2018, Dr Megan Woods (Minister of Research, Science and Innovation) launched the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) diversity in science statement, which states that ‘Diversity is vital for our science system to realise its full potential’ (MBIE 2018). Whilst this statement is a step towards raising awareness of the importance of diversity in science it needs to be followed by institutional changes, targeted programmes and directed responses from institutions. A vital component of achieving the aspirations espoused in this statement includes open reporting on diversity of ‘applicants, award holders, and advisory, assessment and decision making bodies’ (MBIE 2018). In two recent papers, McAllister et al. (2019) and Naepi (2019) spoke to the lack of diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand 1 ’s eight universities and provided evidence of the severe under-representation of Māori and Pasifika scholars, who comprise 16.5% and 7.5% respectively of the total population of Aotearoa. The authors showed that Māori and Pasifika comprise 4.8% and 1.7% respectively of academics, despite the espousals by universities of valuing diversity and their obligations to equity as outlined in te Tiriti o Waitangi (McAllister et al. 2019; Naepi 2019). The data used in these two studies, obtained from the Ministry of Education (MoE), provided information on the ethnicity of academic staff university wide and was not disaggregated by faculty. Consequently, data on the number of Māori and Pasifika academics in each faculty or department is currently not openly available. Previous research has shown that very few Māori academics exist outside of Māori departments and it remains difficult to access quantitative data on their lived experience as universities continue to silence reports (Kidman et al. 2015; UoO date unknown). To ensure that the aspirations championed within MBIE’s diversity statement can be met, we first need open and accurate reporting on the diversity of people employed within Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific workforce and there is currently a significant gap of openly available data that investigate this. Some annual reports and equity profiles of crown-research institutes (CRIs) and universities do contain selected ethnicity data (i.e. MWLR 2018; UoA 2018). However, these reports do not always present data in a meaningful and consistent way and are not always publically available. For example, the University of Otago’s annual report does not contain any information on the ethnicity of staff and instead focuses only on gender of staff and the ethnicity of students (UoO 2018). Instead, the ethnicity data for staff is presented in the equity report, which is only available to staff and access must be requested from the Head of Organisational Development (UoO date unknown). A survey of Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientists and technologists in 2008 provides the most recent quantitative indication of the diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific workforce, despite being conducted 12 years ago (Sommer 2010). The author indicated that there was very little change in ethnicity of Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific workforce between the 1996 and 2008 surveys, with ‘European’ scientists making up 82.3% and 80.9% respectively (Sommer 2010). According to the author, there was a ‘modest increase’ in Māori scientists from 0.7% (1996) to 1.7% (2008) and this increase ‘represents a glimmer of success for those who have sought to develop policies to bring more Māori into the science and technology workforce’ (Sommer 2010, p. 10). However, an increase of 1% over a period of 15 years (i.e. an average increase of 0.07% per year) should be viewed as a significant failure. The percentage of Pasifika scientists also increased very slightly from 0.5% in 1996 to 0.6% in 2010 (Sommer 2010). McKinley (2002, p. 109) provided an insight into the extremely low numbers of Māori women employed by CRIs in 1998: ‘Of the 3,839 people employed by seven Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) in New Zealand, 57 women or approximately 1.5% of the total identified as Māori women. At the time these data were collected in 1998 there were no Māori women in management positions, two were categorised as scientists, 15 as science technicians, and 40 as ‘support’ staff that includes cafeteria staff, administration staff and cleaners’ The data presented by both McKinley (2002) and Sommer (2010) highlight the urgent need for institutions and government to move away from ‘business as usual’ and make a serious commitment to firstly collecting data on diversity, openly and transparently presenting it and secondly increasing the hiring, promoting and retention of Māori and Pasifika scientists. The present paper aims to begin to address the gap in knowledge by collating data and investigating how diverse Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific workforce is. An intersectional lens must be applied when thinking critically about diversity and equity, however policies, actions and research often privilege gender (i.e. Bhopal and Henderson 2019; Brower and James 2020) over ethnicity whilst ignoring other intersectional identities that go beyond white, cis women. Here, we focus on the intersectional identities of Māori and Pasifika scientists, while acknowledging that people who have other intersectional identities including those with disabilities, LGBTQIA, non-binary and women of colour are likely to be disproportionately affected and disadvantaged within Aotearoa New Zealand’s science system, which like universities, was arguably created by and made for white, cis men (Ahmed 2012; Osei-Kofi 2012; Naepi et al. 2017; Akenahew and Naepi 2015). This paper examines the current diversity of Aotearoa New Zealand’s scientific workforce, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika. We will address the following questions:
How many Māori and Pasifika scientists are employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities and CRIs?
How has the percentage of Māori and Pasifika scientists in these institutions changed between 2008 and 2018?
Data was requested from universities and CRIs by emailing key individuals within each organisation in 2019. Data from 2008 to 2018 on the percentage of scientists, relative to both the total headcount and the total number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) for each recorded ethnicity employed was requested from CRIs and universities. Both the nature of responses to this request and the time it took to receive a response varied among institutions. Responses from institutions ranged from an openness and willingness to contribute data to this project to hostility and racist remarks. Several institutions did not respond to multiple email requests. A subsequent email sent by a Principal Advisor from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor elicited a prompt response from all remaining institutions. After initial conversations with staff from HR departments and university management, it was agreed that all institutions would remain anonymous and we believe that this contributed significantly to increasing the willingness of institutions to contribute data. Overall, data was obtained from 14 out of 15 of Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities and CRIs. At most of these institutions staff self-declare their ethnicities and are given multiple choices, where data was provided for multiple ethnicities we used the first reported ethnicity,
Data from universities
Seven out of eight universities contributed data directly to this project, whereas data for university B was extracted from annual reports. Ethnicity data in the form of FTEs and headcount data was provided by most universities. Māori and Pasifika academics are more likely to be employed on contracts of less than one FTE compared to Pākehā academics (unpublished data). We therefore present the percentage of FTEs of staff for each recorded ethnicity, rather than headcount data as it is likely to be a more accurate measure of diversity. Recorded ethnicity groups differed among some universities, mainly in the fact that some distinguished between ‘European’ and ‘NZ European/Pākehā’, whereas at others these two ethnicities were combined. It is important to note that the data from universities presented in this paper includes academic staff and excludes research staff, including post-doctoral fellows and laboratory technicians. Data on the number of scientists employed at universities also only includes scientists employed in science departments (i.e. excludes Māori scientists in health departments). However, a recent paper published by Naepi et al. (2020) showed that in 2017, there were only 55 Māori and 20 Pasifika postdoctoral fellows across all faculties in all of Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities. The number of Māori and Pasifika postdoctoral fellows employed in science faculties is, therefore, likely to be very small. Academic staff includes other academic staff, senior tutors, tutors, tutorial assistants, lecturers, senior lecturers, associate professors and professors. Previous research has shown that a large proportion of Māori and Pasifika academics are employed as tutors and other academic staff rather than in permanent senior academic positions (see Naepi 2019), so this is also likely to be the case within science faculties. Concerningly, two universities (university E and H) were unable to provide data for the requested 11-year period (i.e. from 2008 to 2018). Upon querying this with human resource (HR) departments, their reasons included but were not limited to the following:
Issues with data quality as ethnicity and nationality were incorrectly used interchangeably
Changes in HR systems
Some data (including ethnicity) are overwritten each year (i.e. so there was no historic record)
Staff ‘change their ethnicity’
Changes in the way FTEs were calculated
Data from crown-research institutes
Data, in some shape or form, was obtained from six out of seven of Aotearoa New Zealand’s CRIs. Obtaining accurate and consistent temporal data from CRIs was, despite their willingness, much more difficult than from universities. The MoE requires certain ethnicity data from universities in a particular format (see MoE date unknown), however the diversity of staff employed at Aotearoa New Zealand’s seven CRIs is currently not required by an external organisation. Most CRIs were unable to provide FTE data but were able to provide headcount data, consequently we present the headcount data in this report. Because the data from CRIs was highly variable, we were not prescriptive about how they defined a scientist, however at most institutions this included post-doctoral fellows and scientists. Data on the percentage of Māori and Pasifika scientists employed from 2008 to 2018 could only be obtained from four out of seven of the CRIs. CRI F could only provide ethnicity for staff that were recent hires from 2016 to 2018, meaning we are unable to differentiate between science and non-science staff and data on staff employed prior to 2016 was unavailable. CRI E could only provide data for 2019, the year that we had asked for it, due to their HR system overwriting data and therefore having no historical record of staff ethnicity. The ethnicity data from CRIs, with the exception of CRI B, can only be viewed as indicative due to inconsistencies in how CRIs collect data. Data from most institutions was therefore not conducive to any temporal or statistical analyses. For example, at CRI A over the 11-year period, the ethnicity categories offered to staff changed four times. Māori and Pasifika were consistently given as options, which provides some level of confidence in CRI A’s ethnicity data.
Māori scientists employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities
Before even considering the data presented below, we must acknowledge and highlight that science faculties within universities are generally not safe and inclusive environments for Māori and Pasifika academic staff. Reasons for this include that being the only Indigenous person in a faculty puts that one under extreme pressure to help colleagues, indigenise curriculum, support Indigenous students while also advancing their own career (Mercier et al. 2011; Kidman et al. 2015). It is well established that the job satisfaction of Māori academics is influenced by their proximity to other Māori academics (Mercier et al. 2011; Kidman et al. 2015). The interdisciplinary work of Māori scientists also often does not align with what the academy and their Pākehā counterparts define as ‘science’ and many scholars have explored this (see for example, McKinley 2005; Mercier 2014; Hikuroa 2017). Consequently, of the few Māori scientists that exist and survive within academia, several are employed outside of science faculties (see for example, Mercier 2014). This data therefore is likely to very slightly underestimate the numbers of Māori scientists within the academy. Furthermore, in the present paper we focus on Māori and Pasifika scientists in science faculties but there will also be Māori and Pasifika scientists in social science and humanities and health faculties, which will not be captured by the data reported below. Māori are under-represented in science faculties at all of Aotearoa New Zealand’s eight universities (Table 1). University A had the highest level of representation, which may be attributed to the science faculty being combined with another discipline at this particular university (Table 1). From 2008 to 2018, University D has never employed a Māori academic in their science faculty (Table 1). Māori comprised less than 5% of the total FTEs in science faculties at all other universities between 2008 and 2018, the averages were 4.3, 1.4, 1.6, 3.7 and 0.6% respectively at University B, C, E, F and H (Table 1). Importantly, there were no significant differences between the percentage of Māori FTEs in 2008 and 2018 (paired t-test: t10 = −0.24, p = 0.82). Thus, meaning that over 11 years there has been no improvement in Māori representation in science faculties (Table 1).
Table 1. The percentage of Māori and Pasifika full-time equivalents (FTEs) of academic staff in science faculties at each of Aotearoa New Zealand’s eight universities. University A and G both have a combined faculty (i.e. science and another discipline) whereas all other universities have separate faculties and data is solely for science faculties. University E was unable to provide FTE data prior to 2011 and university H was only able to provide data from 2015.
Māori scientists employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s crown-research institutes
Promisingly, and in contrast with patterns of Māori scientists at universities the percentage of Māori scientists (i.e. of the total headcount) employed by CRIs has increased from 2008 to 2018 at half (2/4) of the CRIs that were able to provide temporal data (Table 2). At CRI A, Māori comprised 1.8% of the scientists employed in 2008 and this steadily increased to 3.8% in 2018 (Table 2). Similarly at CRI B, the percentage of Māori scientists have increased from 3.4% to 7.8% respectively (Table 2). At CRI C, Māori have comprised between 0.01% and 0.03% of scientists employed over a period of 11 years and at CRI D it has varied between 0% and 0.6% (Table 2).
Table 2. The percentage of Māori and Pasifika scientists of the total headcount employed by each of Aotearoa New Zealand’s crown-research institutes. CRI E could only provide data for 2019 and CRI F only had data for new recruits from 2016–2018. CRI G did not contribute data to this research.
CSVDisplay Table Certain CRIs are doing better than others, it is however important to note, particularly given CRIs outward espousals of commitments to and valuing ‘Māori research’ and mātauranga (i.e. GNS 2018), that Māori remain under-represented in all CRIs in Aotearoa New Zealand, including CRI A and B (Table 2). Additionally, the fact that three out of seven of the CRIs could not provide sufficient data suggests that these institutions have a lot of work to do in collecting data on the diversity of the staff that they employ.
Pasifika scientists employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities and crown-research institutes
There is currently an absence of research into the experiences of Pasifika scientists in Aotearoa-New Zealand’s science system. However like Māori scientists, Pasifika scientists are likely to be marginalised and under-valued within the current science system. Pasifika scientists in both universities and CRIs are extremely under-represented (Tables 1 and 2). Notably of the 11 institutions (inclusive of universities and CRIs) that provided data only three reported having Pasifika representation exceeding 1% of either the total headcount or total number of FTEs in more than one year (Tables 1 and 2). Four institutions (one university and three CRIs) reported having employed zero Pasifika scientists for 11 consecutive years (Tables 1 and 2). Importantly, there were no significant differences between the percentage of Pasifika FTEs in universities in 2008 and 2018 (paired t-test: t8 = 0.36, p = 0.73). Thus, meaning that over 11 years there has been no improvement in Pasifika representation in science faculties (Table 2). The patterns in the percentage of both Māori and Pasifika scientists employed at university G were very different from all other institutions (Table 1). Firstly, university G was the only university that in some years employed more Pasifika than Māori scientists (Table 1). In 2008, 7.4% of FTEs in the science faculty of university G belonged to Pasifika scientists, which was the highest recorded in all eight institutions over 11 years (Table 1). However, Pasifika scientists in this faculty had only 4.4 FTEs in 2008, meaning that 7.4% equated to five Pasifika staff (data not shown).
The diversity of scientists employed in science faculties in Aotearoa New Zealand’s universities
Between 2008 and 2018, the majority of academics in the Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Engineering and Science departments at university D were European comprising between 58.7% and 85.2% of the total FTEs (Figure 1(A)). University D distinguishes between ‘European’ and ‘New Zealand European/Pākehā’ and the data presented in Figure 1(A) suggests that not many academics in these departments associate with the latter group. Thus, suggesting that most academics employed within these departments are from overseas. In these departments (i.e. Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Engineering and Science) between 2008 and 2018 there was a consistent increase in the percentage of FTEs of Asian ethnicities (12.3% increase in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, 6.8% in Engineering, 2.4% in Science; Figure 1(A)). Figure 1. (A) The percentage of full-time equivalents (FTEs) for each recorded ethnicity in three science faculties at university D in2008 and 2018 and (B) the percentage of Māori and Pasifika FTEs in those three faculties for academic staff from 2008–2018. Note: In both the Engineering and Science departments there were no Māori or Pasifika employed between 2008 and 2018. 📷Display full size The data provided by university D clearly illustrates a severe lack of Māori and Pasifika academic staff representation in sciences faculties (Figure 1(B)). It shows that in two of the three departments, there have never been any Māori academics employed (Figure 1(B)). Furthermore, in those three departments no Pasifika academic staff have been employed in 11 years (2008–2018). Māori academics have comprised 4.1%–7.5% of the total FTEs in the Computing and Mathematical Science department (Figure 1). NZ European/Pākehā formed the majority (52.8%–63.6%) of academic staff employed in the science faculty of university B and this percentage has decreased by 11.8% between 2008 and 2018 (Figure 2). People who did not declare their ethnicity (unknown) comprised a small percentage (average = 3.2% of the total FTEs; Figure 2). European academics made up on average 20% of the total FTEs employed in this faculty between 2008 and 2018 (Figure 2). Māori and Pasifika scientists were under-represented, comprising on average 6.0% and 2.6% respectively (Figure 2). The percentage of Māori FTEs has decreased from 7.3% (2008) to 6.4% (2018), whereas the percentage Pasifika FTEs has increased from 2.0% to 4.8% over the 11-year period (2008–2018; Figure 2). However, there was no statistically significant difference between both Māori and Pasifika FTEs over time (p > 0.05). Figure 2. The percentage offull-time equivalents (FTEs) for each recorded ethnicity at university B from 2008 to 2018. Note: University B has a combined science faculty (i.e. science and another discipline). 📷Display full size The importance of department by department analysis of universities ethnicity data is highlighted when comparing the percentage of Māori FTEs university-wide and the science faculty (Figure 3). The average percentage of Māori FTEs university wide at university F was 4.7% from 2008 to 2018, whereas it was consistently lower within the science faculty (Figure 3). Similarly, representation of Pasifika academics in the science faculty at university F was much lower compared to the entire university (Figure 4). The average between 2008 and 2018 was 1.5% of Pasifika FTEs across the university whereas it was only 0.4% in the science faculty (Figure 4). Figure 3. The percentage of Māori full-time equivalents (FTEs) of academics in both the science facultyand across the entire university at university F. Note: y axis is limited to 15%. 📷Display full size Figure 4. The percentage of Pasifika full-time equivalents (FTEs) for academic staff in both the science faculty across the entire university at university F. Note: The y axis is limited to 15%. 📷Display full size
The diversity of scientists employed in Aotearoa New Zealand’s crown-research institutes
CRI B was the only CRI that was able to provide relatively good quality, temporal data. Data from this institution indicated that African scientists made up approximately 1% of scientists employed from 2016 to 2018 and both Asian and Australian scientists have made up on average 5.4% and 5.0% respectively of the total headcount from 2008 to 2018 (Figure 5). The percentage of European scientists has increased steadily from 16.1% in 2008 to 23.5% in 2018 (Figure 5). The percentage of Māori scientists employed has also increased from 3.4% in 2008 to 7.8% in 2018 (Figure 5). Although this increase is promising, Māori remain under-represented within this institution. Interestingly, the percentage of NZ European/Pākehā employed at CRI B has decreased from 64.9% (2008) to 45.3% (2018; Figure 5). This may speak to the increasing value the science system places on international expertise, whereby scientists from overseas or with international experience are valued more than those from Aotearoa, which is driven in a large part by global ranking systems that value international staff recruitment (Stack 2016). This is driven largely by the increasing importance placed on international university ranking systems. Importantly, scientists coming from overseas will likely have very little understanding of things that are highly important within the context of Aotearoa (e.g. te Tiriti o Waitangi). Considering the data presented, urgent action is required to address this apparent selection of international scientists over Māori and Pasifika scientists. Rather than copying and pasting a blanket statement in job advertisements of empty words like the following: ‘The University of Canterbury actively seeks to meet its obligation under the Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ (UoC date unknown), CRIs and universities need to be actively recruiting Māori and Pasifika scientists and hence need to consider the following questions when hiring new staff:
How is this person likely to contribute to the uplifting of Māori communities in a meaningful way?
Do they have any experience working with Indigenous communities?
What is their understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi?
How do you see your role as supporting our institution's commitments to Pasifika communities?
Figure 5. Percentage of the total headcount for each recorded ethnicity at crown-research institute (CRI) B from 2008 to 2018. Note: Ethnicity groups in this graph differ from previous graphs. 📷Display full size CRI E were only able to supply data in the year that it was requested (i.e. 2019) due to their HR systems. In 2019, this particular CRI employed zero Pasifika scientists and 1.6% of scientists were Māori (Figure 6). The majority of scientists employed at CRI E in 2019 were NZ European/Pākehā (55.0% NZ European) and 21.5% were ‘European’ (Figure 6). Figure 6. The percentage of the total headcount of each recorded ethnicity at crown-research institute (CRI) E in 2019. Note: Ethnicity groupings differ from previous graphs. 📷Display full size CRI F only began collecting ethnicity data, despite previously collecting gender data, in 2016. Their data was also only collected for new recruits. We were, therefore, unable to disaggregate science staff from general and non-science staff. From 2016 to 2018 the majority (59%–66%) of new recruits were ‘NZ Europeans’. In 2017, 14% of new recruits were Pasifika whereas in 2016 and 2018 there were no Pasifika recruits. Māori comprised between 2% of new recruits in 2017 and 2018 but 8% in 2016 (data not shown)...."
After three years of being part of a really chill form, I received news of the class I will endure my GCSEs with for the next two years. To say I am disappointed is an understatement....
In case you couldn't tell from the title of the post, I am from the UK, but dont worry I will try to explain my situation as American-friendly as I can. I finished year 9 (8th grade/aged 14) on Friday and I am anxiously awaiting two years of stress and angst that are GCSEs: sh*ttingly-difficult courses in 11+ subjects that end in national exams which will either make you or mess up your future in less than two hours. Recently we were asked to submit three names of students we would like to carry on with next year over MS Teams. Now, I found this difficult. Not because I have loads of friends, not because I have no friends. I am one of those people who talks with lots of groups - has friends but no close ones - and flits on the outskirts of many friendship circles. I am aware this is sort of my own doing - nobody wants to seriously engage with a consistently A* student, not even at a grammar school (selective based on academic ability). I describe myself as an ambivert. Neither socially outgoing nor socially awkward/phobic. I am just a "tryhard". A nerd. Eventually I just texted my teacher with the names of two people who I talked with more than most and thought nothing of it for a few weeks. Then I attended a socially-distanced Physical Education session, despite not being athletic. I was grouped with some friends who were happy to have a laugh with me whilst also excluding me from plans to meet up soon. The last rotation we had was with my form tutor (who was leaving the school) and he asked who I had put down for the form preference. Embarrassed, I said I couldnt remember like most of the others. He then asked me which tutor I wanted most, which he didnt do for anybody else. I guess this is because of the endless hours I wasted worrying my balls off about homework which the teachers took seconds to mark? I knew straight away what my answer was: the cheery, kind DT (design and technology/STEM) teacher who really liked me and who really understood me. I knew this wouldnt be guaranteed, but the way my now ex-form tutor responded made me somewhat hopeful. Fast-forward to today, and we finally received the news of which form we would be stuck in for the next few years, a week after we were promised. I know for a fact that my Head of Year tried her hardest to wrangle between subject choices, friendship groups etc. to settle on classes that would suit the majority. As a usually anxious person, this calmed me. It turns out my new form tutor is going to be my biology and PSHE (physical, social and health education/ citizeship/ how to function in society/fun lesson) teacher from Year 8 (7th grade/aged 13). He is one of the most boring teachers ever. Not necessarily strict or horrible and I even think he likes me as I hand in my assignments on time, he is just horrendously dull. Like, he could send 1000 insomniacs to sleep in less than a minute. Boring fact in a nasal voice after boring fact in a nasal voice. Copy out this. Do yet another worksheet that you will all forget to stick in to your books. The thing is, we weren't shown which other students will be our fellow classmates. Annoying af. So I popped over to our form group chat for probably one of the last conversations I will have on there, and asked who else would be in my form. It seems like the "cool" clique are in 10:5. I am in 10:3. The weebish memesters are in 10:1 and the gamers-who-come-to-school-on-the-same-train are in 10:2. But nobody is with me... that is until two people pipe up and reveal they will continue to be my classmates. And great, it is the depressed dudes. The non-binary guy who self-harms and is out of school more than in, as well as the kid who hates his mum, who also hates him. Don't get me wrong, these two aren't terrible. They aren't bullies and both can be quite funny. I just don't socialise with them that much. I've already had to sit next to one of them having panic attacks for a year. (Every time I tried to help, he would just tell me piss off, that I would never understand his pain, that I was ever so lucky to live a perfect life, so eventually I decided you can't help somebody who doesnt want to be helped). I infiltrated the other year 9 forms' group chats and try to find out who else is with me. Some A-team rugby muscle-mountains too busy flexing their guns; some troublemakers busy vaping in lessons and some weebs reciting whole episodes of random anime series I have never even heard of. I didnt even know some of their names, and our year is only 160! This is not the end of the world, but I still can't be exactly happy. Lots of children can't even go to school for various reasons and I recognise I am one of the luckiest people alive. I also got all my GCSE options, better than some, yet landed in a group of people who don't give a flip about me or share anything in common with me. Form period only accounts for 30 mins of the school day, but its limits reach much further than that. Especially as during this global pandemic our school is adopting the policy that we can only interact with our forms/subject groups. Tbh, I just feel like my years of effort have not paid off. I should probs quit moaning now? I mean it is not like I am going to have to endure my GCSEs by myself or anything... Just some words of encouragement? Idk, maybe you guys won't care.
I don't know anyone else who plays Choices, let's get an intro thread started!
Hi all! I've been playing Choices since it came out but I don't know anyone else who plays. I've tried getting my friends into it but they're really put off by the clickbait-y ads. So let's get to know each other! Post as much info as you feel comfortable giving: Name Pronouns Age Region Work/School/Other Hopes & Dreams Fun fact about you Favorite Choices stories Favorite love interest Favorite friendship Something you love about PB/Choices Something you'd like PB to change ...and anything else you'd like to tell us about! I'll start! Name: Abby or Mab (I answer to either) Pronouns: they/them/theirs Age: 24 Region: northeastern U.S. Work: university admission counselor School: getting my masters of history Hopes & Dreams: after I finish my masters next year, I want to become a professor of history and get published in some journals, maybe even write a book! i also have a youtube channel, make webcomics, and sell stuff i crochet/needlepoint on etsy, so i'd like to do more with that once grad school hell is over with! Fun fact: during my junior and senior years of undergrad, i always had at least 3 jobs. at my peak, i was a resident assistant, spanish tutor, tour guide, visitor center representative, museum docent, AND a stagehand. i do not recommend this. Favorite Choices stories: It Lives in the Woods and The Haunting of Braidwood Manor Favorite love interest: this is a tough one because there are SO MANY. but i gotta say, it's ultimately a toss-up between Mona from Ride or Die and Eva from Hero. Though if Adder from TC&TF was an option, she would be my number one. Favorite friendship: i just really love how supportive everyone in It Lives is to Andy and Lily, they're my faves <3 Something you love about PB/Choices: I really love how the writers keep things open. Like in Save the Date where you can say Dale was your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend. I also love that they're inching toward greater representation, like casually having characters who are non-binary or wheelchair users. It's not ignored but it's not the focus of every story which is such a cool breath of air compared to a lot of popular media. Something you'd like PB to change: I wish their faces had more diversity. Not just in the MCs, but in side characters too. Everyone is like, supermodel-beautiful. My favorites are characters like Lily from It Lives or Lester from Bloodbound, because their faces are so distinct and visually captivating! I also wish that you had more choices than just being Handsome Buff Man or Small Skinny Woman. Now tell me more about yall! This thread is meant to be a FUN and RESPECTFUL discussion to help members get to know each other. If you take issue with someone's opinion, please don't be harassing or abusive.
[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself
Intro. This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read. Childhood. I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well. My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude. I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship. High School. Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income. Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market. Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors. US Community College and Return Back. In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me. By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression. Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud. Brief Explanation of My Discoveries. In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility. In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention. Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all. You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month. A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is! The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in. The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything. Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data. They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit. Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't. Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy. Back to me. My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next. The future. With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time. Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight. As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea. I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy. So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age. Outro. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
I really want my friend(s) to drop out/change majors.
Throwaway because obvious. We're CS students. I'm the "smart" one(and I hate saying that...). I've kind of gotten pulled into a group of other students that I guess I consider friends. We only talk at school or over Discord. All Discord interactions are them asking me for help on labs/homework/studying/etc. Starting with Data Structures Friends- bKid1 - First time taker; bKid2 - First time taker; bKid3 - Second time taker; bKid4 - Second time taker (Sorry for the cheesy nicknames, just got out of MASM and couldn't be creative) There's 5 of us in this situation including myself, so 4 people are of concern, listed above. Last semester we all took Data Structures, and there's only one section for it every semester, which meant I didn't get to hide in my corner in the back of the room, not talk, and get my A as I do in every class. Another thing to point out is two of them were retaking the class, this was my first time in the class. They surrounded me. I sat in the middle of everyone, as far back as I could because I demanded to sit far back. After the first week of this seating arrangement, I decided I'm not letting people on both sides of me, I sat against the wall(to my left) and the motherfuckers sat at the unpowered rows behind me so they could once again surround me. Keep in mind, this is a lecture hall with well over 100 powered seats, probably 80-90 students in the class. During lectures, of an older quiet teacher, they would be asking me questions, distracting me, stressing me out, etc. Luckily this class was easy for me, and it got to a point I was so stressed while sitting in class because I could not pay attention with someone asking me a question(instead of the teacher who is still lecturing) that I just started playing video games. Every day, I would show up to class and just play games. I found that if I was playing a game, bKid1 and bKid3 would start playing games because they figured it would be fine. I knew it wasn't, and I also knew I didn't need to pay attention in class because I had studied for this class the entire summer. The class's grades consisted of only projects(coding) and tests(theory/paper). The first test came around, I passed it with a mid B(grade), class average a D(grade). Out of my friends, I was the only one to even pass it, and I think only bKid4 got higher than an F of the group. This led to not only questions in class, but them asking me to stay after class to help them study. Being that I always just sit in the library anyway, and didn't have a class after, I didn't care. Project 1 was posted, and I helped everyone with that, though did not give them any code, but had everyone write out the plan for their project on pape"run" the program logically on papeetc before they started coding, as I figured that'd help them understand how I do projects, and it'd be a one time "This is how I do it, it makes the project a lot easier" situation. Nope, they still were asking questions so much that it was interfering with my ability to do work the rest of the time they were in the class. It was to a point where 9AM-midnight every day was devoted to helping people last semester because they just could not grasp the concepts of fucking data structures. This was easy shit too, we weren't even into searching algos yet, we were going over things like objects/inheritance/comp sci 1-2 bullshit still. It was at this point in the semester I knew it was going to be a painful semester. Test 2 was two weeks later. Again, I was the only one who passed. bKid1 and bKid2 both got super low scores, like sub 20s, which made me cheer inside my head when I found out because I knew what it meant, they'd drop the course. This was kind of my plan with them... this sounds super mean but it's one of those "had to be done" things. By playing games in the class, I knew bKid1 would play games as well, and I knew him not paying attention, taking notes, and trying to code the concepts as the teacher went over them, he wouldn't grasp the concepts enough to do well on the tests, and once he got passed that point of no return(failing 2/5 tests pretty bad, and tests were 80% of the grade), he'd stop showing up. And he did. bKid2 also stopped showing up shortly after, as she wanted to spend the rest of the semester studying for this class because she knew she'd have to retake it. bKid3 and 4, both retaking the class, were still struggling but they're the more respectful/less annoying of the four and I knew we had a group project which only allowed for groups of three later in the semester. So skip ahead some, projects 2,3,4 as well as test 3 went by. I made over 100% on all 3 projects(+2% every day you turn it in early for up to 5 days), 110%, 108%, 110%. Test 3 I made an A on. bKid3 failed two of the projects as well as the test, despite me saying I was willing to help her with absolutely anything, but only getting hostile remarks ever since 1 and 2 left. She kind of caught on to my purposeful messing around in class because I stopped playing games as much in class after 1 and 2 left, only playing them on days I was obviously having a bad day(which I had done in every class I had with her). Because these two were her close, out of class friends, she was not happy with me. bKid4 didn't care, he continued to be him, which only got annoying the night before tests/project due dates. But once 1 and 2 left, everything got so much better. Project 5, the group project. This is the project I was afraid of up until 1 and 2 left. I have done group projects with all four of them, and large capstone projects with 1, 3, and 4. I really did not want it to be an argument about whose group I was going to be in. This is an argument I'd have no say in unless I went to the teacher, or convinced a cute girl in class to work with 1. To weigh in the options: Go with 1 and 2: This would have been the best case scenario socially, but it would mean I did 100% of the work. It was a project that required multi-threading, priority queue implementation, and binary tree implementation, and I'm willing to bet every dollar I'll ever make that I would have been the only one of the three of us who knew what "multi-threaded" meant, let alone had ever written multi-threaded programs. This situation would have played out as I work my ass off because I'm not letting my grade suffer -> I have no socially acceptable choice but to write all of our names on the project -> me be internally mad for a while that I had to do the entire project. Go with 3 and 4: For reasons, convincing 3 and 4 to not work together would be hard, mostly it's convincing 3 to work with 1 that would be impossible. I'll get into my other option as well, but for working with 3 and 4. This is the one I preferred and luckily got to do because 1 and 2 stopped coming to class before this project. It wasn't bad, I still did most, but 4 helped while 3 was just confused the whole time. Go with 2 and 3: This wouldn't have happened most likely, the only way it would have is if I had asked the cute girl 1 had goggled over all semester to work with 1 and 4, this would have resulted in her and 4 doing all the work while 4 getting input from me, and 1 not complaining because he got to work with the cute girl. As for my group, I would have done 95% of the coding, where 2 and 3 would have done whatever else I needed and I would have gotten as much free food as I wanted. Not the worst case, but the least likely to have happened. Let's just say, 1 and 2 not being in the situation for the group project was one of the luckiest feelings I have ever had. There were only like 3 weeks left in the semester after that project, and 3 and 4 had pretty much figured out the only way they'd pass is to ace the final, which no one in that class does. The average grade on the final(of about 20 students) was less that 60%. But they at least tried until the end, and having only the two of them wasn't bad, as I've said, they're way less rude, and try not to ask questions out loud to me while the teacher is lecturing. I ended with a B, and am pissed because I could have gotten an A if it weren't for having bKid1 and 2 asking me questions during class/quizes/first two tests. Very few get an A in that class.... Now comes to this semester. I had two choices due to scheduling, I could have either done Assembly and Advanced Database and Server Side Programming, or Algorithms and Ethical Hacking(Plus my 3 gen eds). Being that I love database work, I really wanted to get to take this database class as my upper level elective, and it allows me to go into software engineering 1 a semester earlier. So I went with Assembly and Database. Well, Assembly only takes Org, where Algos took data structures. Because all five of us had Org already(we took it when it was an easier course), whoever wanted to could go into ASM. Again, only one section for the class. bKid2 and 3 decided to change majors after the first day of class, both of them having signed up for Data Structures again and decided they did not want to take that class again. Where 1 and 4 came to ASM with me, since they wanted a break from Data Structures. This class isn't hard. It isn't easy, but it isn't hard. It just takes going through the labs, we're using MASM so the syntax isn't as bad as it could be to learn, the teacher is freaking amazing though and, though making the class challenging and expecting you to put in effort into learning and understanding, is making it super easy to put in that effort. I'm loving this class, except for one thing. bKid1 and bKid4. 4 has already started giving up, three weeks into the semester, and is showing up and just not even paying attention. 1 is determined to pass, which I applaud and really want him to try as hard as he can, but I REALLY need to figure out a way to tell him he cannot mooch off me this semester. If he passes ASM through using me, it means he's in algos or architecture with me next semester. I know he will never pass those classes, at least not with his mindset now. He won't put in the time outside of class, or even inside of class, to learn the material and pass. I have yet to play games at all in class this semester because I know this is a class I need to pay attention to, and cannot be distracted from. He's been playing games, shopping on Amazon, doing anything but paying attention to lecture to, while still in lecture, then ask me to explain what the teacher is going over. He has also missed three of the six classes so far in the three weeks, and the only reason he has gotten any of the homework done is because I walked him through it. I was still learning the syntax for the first lab, and spent hours making sure I understood it because I knew I would have to teach it to him, in which I did. Now that we're a few weeks in, the class is picking up fast. And the teacher expects us to remember a lot, not just understand. My ability to remember is horrible, and I know it. I know that it takes extra work for me to do things like memorize the push-to-stack order, the values he wants us to know by head from ASCII, and just stuff like that. It's all simple, and I can learn it easily, I just need to take time to actually work with the information enough to have it in my head. I have to study. And I do, a lot. I've taken time to even get ahead in coding, all of that. The kind of thing I feel is starting to be expected of near senior Comp Sci majors. Well today in class, while the teacher was going over super complex stuff. bKid1 was absolutely ignoring lecture playing Final Fantasy. I told him several times to pay attention, and he would log out and pay attention for a few minutes, and then start right back up, or go onto Amazon, or just in general not pay attention in class. He then starts asking me about "Which Switch case should I buy?", "Is this game on Steam a good deal?", stuff like that. I understand the addiction to games, I'm a life long MMO player, and am way guilty of playing games in class, but I'm also not failing and bothering those around me because I was too busy playing when I should be paying attention. I'm noticing my grade dropping because I'm having to stop paying attention in a class I should be paying attention in because he is asking me irrelevant questions, or even relevant ones about what the teacher said 30 seconds prior, while the teacher is still talking. I'm having to stay extra hours preparing little tutor plans about material I'm figuring out myself because I know bKid1 will bug me until I go over it with him. I know if I tell bKid1 that he needs to do it on his own and that I'm not going to help anymore, bKid4(who 1 started dating this break) will get mad and I'll be left friendless completely. I really wish someone in the library would come up and make friends with me(God knows I'm sure as hell not going to go up to anyone randomly though, task for thee and not for me), because it'd make me feel more comfortable being a bit of an asshole directly to him, and others in the group. If I piss them off, not only am I in class with people who hate me now, I'm left with no friends again. It really is me just realizing I have to start caring about myself, and pay attention though. It just isn't beneficial to anyone that I get them through these classes, because if I do, it just makes my life harder, it will make theirs harder, and putting my foot down just makes them hate me. Now I'm thinking of all of this because I know we have a test next week in ASM and part of me wants to study my ass off this weekend, get so far ahead and confident that I can ignore lecture and play games on Tuesday, the lecture before the test, and just leave campus and ignore everyone prior to the test, making bKid1 think I'm not worried(bKid4 is already going to drop the class), which will make 1 play games, which will make him fail the test. I'll pass the test no problem, and I'll just study at home where no one will see me. If I can do that for the first two tests of this class, the rest of the semester will be easy. I'm seriously contemplating trying to dissuade him into taking this class as seriously as he should in hopes he gives up so I can be at mental peace while in class. Being direct without being a complete asshole just has not worked. And trying to help him on track isn't working either, he won't put in the effort he needs to. I'd feel like a dick for doing it to him again, I feel like a dick for the first time, but at what point is it justified to be a dick in this situation? It's really hurting my own mental health because I do not want to go to these classes, I'm so annoyed while I'm in them. TL;DR - Indirectly influenced a friend to make bad choices last semester so he'd drop a class because I can't stand being in class with him. He doesn't pay attention and tries to talk to me, asks me questions during quizzes/exams, and expects me to teach him after sitting through lecture, if he even shows up for lecture. Got another, way harder class with him this semester, am contemplating trying to do it again for my own sake in the class. Am also contemplating trying to convince him to drop out.
A short list of retirement activities as an alternative to "sitting around being bored"
There are so many posts and comments on this subreddit to the effect of “I could never stop working, I’d be so bored just sitting around on a beach/watching tv/on the porch.” It always confuses me that so many people think life is a set of two binary options: 1) work full time at a job or 2) sit around doing nothing and be bored. As if there isn’t an entire world of opportunity in between there. I’ve been keeping a mental list of all the activities I plan to devote my time to once I’m retired, and I thought I’d share it here to give people a little jolt of imagination. Note for the “build the life you want” crowd: I’m already doing (or have done) most of these activities now, it’s just that my spouse and I both have demanding corporate jobs and a young child that don’t leave us enough time to explore everything we want to do. My push to retire early is not even necessarily that I don’t like my job. It’s just that my job isn’t the only thing I like. There is an entire vast world of other people, places, and activities that I would like to experience as well. So here’s just a sample of what we want to retire to, in no particular order: • Family and Friends: Look, you can love your job, but your job is never going to love you back. You know who will? Your friends and family. But one thing that has always frustrated me it how hard it is to find time to get together when we’re all working and running errands and shuttling the kids around. We all want to see each other more but are always short on time and energy to make it happen often enough. Retiring would mean I could have extra time for planning and hosting dinners, weekends, and events with friends and family. Those that are still working wouldn’t have to worry about doing the heavy lifting of social planning – they just need to show up. • Roadtripping: as an extension of the first point – we’ve moved several times and have friends and family all over the country (not to mention all the places I just want to visit). It would be great to have all the time we need to travel out to see people and interesting places. • Backpacking: we try to go out a few times a season now, but limited vacation time means we can only go out for long weekends. We would love to be able to take off several months to hike long trails: John Muir, PCT, or AT. I love the idea of researching, planning, gearing up, and taking off into the woods for an extended stretch. • Volunteering: there is always desperate need for people who not only show up, but who actually have time to get things done for local organizations. School boards, community committees, libraries, tutoring, Meals on Wheels, voter drives, helping out at community events, the list is endless. There’s a cool group in my community where you volunteer to have coffee with people trying to learn English so they can converse with native speakers. I've served on the Board for several organizations (child's daycare, writer's group, community association) but never have enough time for it all. There are soooo many opportunities to be involved and engaged with your community – we could do entire posts on just this! • Classes: I never want to stop learning and exploring. I’ve found time to take a dance class here or an art class there – but think of everything out there! Language classes, more dance classes, cooking, astronomy, tennis lessons, pottery. There are always city parks, community art centers, or community colleges offering classes (often cheap or even free!) and I would love to take advantage of as much as possible. • Writing: I’ve already published a few books and I like to say I still write in my “spare time” which is practically zero lately. I dream of mornings where instead of rushing around to get ready for work and get the kid off to school, I can sit with a cup of coffee on my back deck and let the creative juices flow once more. • Sewing: I love sewing, but only impractical costumes and historical garb. I love researching the history of the clothes, the fabrics and construction methods, and then spending days or weeks (or more) creating big, beautiful, dresses. This is yet another interest that has been pushed aside by the demands of corporate life that I would love to get back to. • DIY house projects: Spouse and I love to work on small projects around the house together. Or find the perfect piece of old, damaged furniture we can restore or revamp. Or design and build a piece ourselves. • Cooking: I’d love to be able to devote time to growing my own herbs and vegetables, to sourcing local meat and food, to more thoughtfully planning meals and cooking them from scratch. We do the best we can, but dinner right now is often another thing we just try to cram in between getting home from work, wrapping up emails, homework, and evening chores. • Adventure travel: we both travel a fair bit for work and pleasure, but I’d love to kick it up a notch with some more exotic trips. Trekking to Mount Everest basecamp. Hiking through Patagonia. Riding horses through the Mongolian steppes. Again, there is a whole wide world out there and I’ve only seen tiny pieces of it. • Rock Climbing: I love the outdoors, I love mountains, and I love climbing things. I’ve tried rock climbing once or twice, but I would really like to get more into it. Not with the expectation that I'll be any good at it at this stage in my life, but just for the pure joy of it. • Music: I played cello for many years and have taken lessons on and off. Haven’t picked it up in awhile and would love to take lessons again. • RVing: I want to rent an RV for a season and travel to as many National Parks as we can. • Sailing: I crewed a racing sailboat one summer and caught the sailing bug. Would love to get out on the water more. • Sitting around: So yes, I’ll admit it. There is actually is a need in my life to just sit around once in awhile. Watch tv. Read a book. Just relax. Drink wine. • Fitness: I try to fit in a few workouts a week, but I’d love to have more time to really work on myself and my fitness. Maybe train for and run a marathon. • And more! Book clubs, discussion groups, gardening clubs…. There is so much more on my ever-expanding list, but I’ll stop here. What about you all? What are the things you’ll be doing once you retire? Post some ideas we can all add to our mental lists! And, hey, if your answer is that you're one of those people that really does want to keep working, that's cool too!
Some collected advice/tips/answered questions from a recent CS alum
I recently decided I was going to switch the account I use to comment on this subreddit. In the process, I've gone and deleted everything I'd written about BU on my old account. But it seemed a shame to have all that stuff -- questions answered, tips given, etc. lost forever. With the semester starting up soon and freshmen descending on campus, I figured it'd be a good time to collect the useful bits (lightly edited) into one mega post here. It's mostly CS major related stuff, but I've tried to separate out the universally applicable parts at the top. It is a lot. I've tried to update minor things in italics if they have since changed. If you have any additional questions I might be able to answer (especially about the CS major), I'm happy to answer in comments or via PM/chat. (For background, I was a CS major at BU, graduating this past May, and I did the BA/MS program.) Universally applicable
How easy is it to find tutors/how helpful is the career office?
It varies a lot per department/major. I was CS, and I was presented with ample opportunities to network and get an internship via career days, professor networks, etc -- and all those resources were through the CS department or clubs. I never once used the official career office. In all likelihood, my experience is unique to the CS major. A business student would likely have a very different set of resources; likewise with COM or CFA, or even different majors in CAS. You shouldn't be afraid to ask specifics about your own major -- people with relevant experience will probably chime in.
How does the meal plan loophole work?
Also referred to as the 330 -> 250 "hack". For newcomers or those out of the loop, here's some info: The 330 and 250 plans both have a fixed number of meals and dining points. Both cost the same, but the 330 has fewer dining points than the 250 (which makes sense, since you have more dining hall swipes). There is an undocumented (but very popular among those who know about it) loophole you can use to effectively "convert" some of the meals on your dining plan into extra dining points. It's perfectly legal -- you aren't "exploiting the system" or anything, at least to my knowledge -- you're just getting your value in a different way (some of your meals are being converted into their dining point-equivalent value). People like this because dining points can be used at more places around campus like the GSU (food court with places like Panda Express), Late Night, and the West Campus market. Here's the way it works (it's pretty simple):
Start the year (in the fall) signed up for the 330 plan, and use it as normal. DO NOT switch plans at any point during the fall semester.
Once the spring semester starts, go on Student Link and switch from the 330 to the 250 plan.
Once done, you'll find that, with no extra charge, you'll end up with an absurd amount of dining points -- usually over 1000 to spend through the spring semester. (For comparison, the largest amount you can get on a standard plan is something like 800, and that's spread out over the whole year.) It's usually enough that you don't ever have to visit the dining halls at all during the spring semester if you don't want to. (Though you will still have 125 swipes for that semester regardless of whether you choose to use them or not.) There are a few things to keep in mind with this:
Any dining points you don't end up using at the end of the semester will be refunded back to you as Convenience Points at 50 cents on the dollar. This means it's in your best interest to use as many of them as possible: if you have 300 points left over, you'll only get 150 back -- a loss of 150 dollars. But, if you only have 50 left over, you'll get 25 back -- a loss of only 25 in comparison.
If you're an incoming freshman, I'm not sure how strongly I'd recommend doing this. Some of my best memories from freshman year were made with friends in the dining halls, and you shouldn't shy away from eating with friends just because you feel like you have to use your dining points. BUT, it's always good to have additional options, and you're still able to use the dining hall anyway. It's just probably a good thing to keep in mind.
If anyone is, for some reason, curious how this works in terms of actual numbers, here's how I understand it: Meals on the 330 and 250 plans are split halfway between semesters. For example, if you're on the 250 plan, you have an allowance of 125 meals for the fall and 125 for the spring. If you're on the 330 plan, you have 165 meals per semester. When you switch from 330 to 250, the per-semester allowance needs to go down from whatever you currently have to 125 (for the 250 plan). That means 40 meals (the difference between 165 and 125), plus whatever meals you didn't use from the last semester's allowance of 165, automatically get converted to dining points at a rate of $10 (possibly more, can't remember exactly) per meal. This means, in addition to the larger amount of dining points you get from switching to 250, you also get at least 400 more dining points on top of it. Usually, this yields at least 1000, though I've seen far higher than that. Computer Science specific
What's the first CS class I should take?
CS111. It's a great introduction to programming in Python (a good beginner language) and computer science overall; it tries to cover the basics of a lot of different sub-topics like low-level programming, logic, and algorithms. It counts for both the major and minor and is usually the first thing people take. If you're considering a major, it's a great jumping off point--highly recommended and a lot of fun. Plus Sullivan is one of the best professors at BU (but you'll hear me say that about a lot of CS professors 🙂)
How hard is CS112 compared to CS111?
(Author's note: This is a significantly older reply -- about 4 years old -- and I'm not sure I agree with myself anymore. CS112 is not unreasonably difficult, but it is a step up from 111. I think that's what I was trying to convey. Additionally -- I took 112 with Wayne Snyder; different people teach it nowadays, and the curriculum will probably be different. Take this with a grain of salt.) 112 is significantly more difficult, especially later in the semester. You'll start out learning the basics of Java and diving deeper into object-oriented programming. (The OOP you learned in 111 is really only scratching the surface; Python wasn't really designed to be object-oriented, and Java is far more robust in that area.) Later you'll get into data structures like linked lists and hash tables; towards the end of the semester, you'll be doing some really cool projects like an article search engine. It's really the first class that's representative of the true difficulty of later CS classes--111 is a joke compared to later stuff in the major. If you manage 112 okay, you'll be fine for the rest of the major. In that sense, you could call it a weed-out class, but it's not really the same as like Chem 101. It's a perfectly fair class that not everybody can manage.
Who is the best CS professor you've had at BU?
Andrei Lapets -- anything he teaches
Sharon Goldberg -- NetSec
Mayank Varia -- Applied Crypto
Leonid Reyzin -- Intro to Crypto
John Byers -- Algorithms
How much programming will I learn? Will I need to do independent learning to ensure I'm up to speed?
CS111/112/210 are the only CS classes where learning programming is the explicit focus of the class, but that doesn't mean that you don't program in other classes--quite the opposite, in fact. With the exception of the really theory-oriented classes like 131 and 330, you can expect to be programming all the time as part of your work. It's just that you're working in the context of applying some theory or algorithm instead of just programming for the sake of learning how to program. You might build something that applies RSA encryption to a message for CS235, or an M/M/1 queuing simulator for CS350, or a simplified machine language compiler in CS320 (all actual examples from those classes). All of those are very substantive programming projects. You certainly don't need to worry about forgetting how to code, that's for sure. Regarding independent learning: to learn specific platforms like Android or web, you will largely need to take that on yourself. BUCS assumes that you're intelligent enough to figure out "specifics" on your own and instead focuses on teaching you the more abstract theoretical bits that (in my opinion) are much harder to learn outside of an academic environment. Understanding theory allows you to learn things quicker, which is (to me) far, far more valuable than studying some web framework that's going to be irrelevant in six months anyway. With that said, however, we do have a few very practical-skill-oriented classes: CS411 (the software engineering class) is probably the best way to learn web development as part of a class. We have a CS591 that's been going for two semesters now about Android app development. (Author's note: this 591 may have since changed to a permanent numbered class. It's been going on for years at this point.) You should also look into the CS-oriented clubs. Global App Initiative and Open Web are focused on doing things with mobile and web, respectively, and BUILDS/Women in CS/Make BU do workshops for this kind of stuff all the time. BUILDS and Make BU are great environments for working on a personal project -- BUILDS has a makerspace that's open 24/7, and Make BU hosts weekly hack nights. Finally--consider getting involved with the hackathon scene. They're a great way to really get your feet wet with something new, plus you'll have something to show off at the end of it. Make BU organizes trips to the big ones around the Boston area (author's note: at least they did in the past... not sure about now), and there are always at least a few smaller hackathons at BU throughout the year (BUILDS/BostonHacks usually hosts Local Hack Day, for example).
Which programming languages are taught at BU?
We don't end up doing a lot of specific language learning in BUCS; I've heard professors say the goal is to provide you the tools and mindset to be able to pick up a language in a few weeks, max. With that said, the (rough) language breakdown for the CS curriculum at BU is as follows:
CS 111: Python (used to be Java)
210: C and Assembly
131: none (usually--it's the proofs class, so there's basically no programming, although Lapets gave Python assignments when he taught it)
132: varies depending on professor, but Python is most common (since it's great for data analysis and math)
320: since this is a programming languages course, you'll get exposure to a wide array of languages, but it varies depending on professor. Lapets taught in Python and Haskell, while Xi (who will probably be teaching it from here on out) teaches in ATS, the language he defined as part of his work.
330: depends on professor; Byers specified "any high-level language" which I suppose could mean C++ in theory, but I don't know why you'd want to. (And 330 is Algorithms anyway; programming isn't really the main focus, nor should it be.)
That's more or less all the required curriculum classes. The upper-level courses (400+) vary a bit more, especially the 591s as those are project courses.
How easy is it to get recruited or to get an internship?
That's mostly on you and the effort you put into the job hunt. BUCS won't spoonfeed you an internship, but there are ample opportunities to connect with companies through the department (for example, we have our own CS-specific career day), Spark/Hariri Institute, and things like clubs/hackathons. If you take advantage of them, you will find something. In terms of specific companies? I know a number of people that have gone to the Big Four (Facebook, Google/YouTube, Microsoft, Amazon); Facebook and Google have showed up to CS Day two years running, though I'd say actually getting an offer at one of these is no guarantee. You definitely need to be a very good student and interview well. Red Hat has a significant presence on campus (they're collaborating with the Hariri Institute on a number of things, and they have an Engineer in Residence at Spark) and they hire quite a lot of BUCS students. Yelp and Bloomberg do recruiting events with BUILDS every year, and others will usually do similar things (I think MakeBU does stuff with GitHub and Microsoft too, and I think Women in CS does office tours of some Cambridge tech companies like Google) Both of BU's major hackathons (BostonHacks and TechTogether) will have a huge amount of engineers from many different companies on-site -- great opportunity to connect, you should go to BostonHacks for sure and TechTogether if you're female/femme non-binary Otherwise, you'll see a lot of one-offs. LinkedIn, Fidelity, VMware, Wayfair, Twitter, Uber, others I'm forgetting -- people go all over. Some go to startups, some try to start their own startups (sometimes with the help of Spark). It runs the gamut. Though, like I said, it's all on you and what you put into the job hunt. You won't go anywhere without effort on your part.
What is the general vibe in CS?
I think that depends a lot on which "part" you end up getting involved with. The department is enormous now, with somewhere around 800 undergrads -- which means a lot of diversity in terms of attitude, personality, etc. Some people will just show up to class and live the rest of their life outside the department. Others will end up being super involved with the department and extracurriculars -- attending six different CS-related clubs, going to hackathons, TFing a class, etc. A lot end up somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Either approach can probably be fine, though personally (as someone who was much closer to the latter) I think it'd be a tremendous waste to attend BUCS and not get involved with the extracurriculars. They really are fantastic here, and the people you'll meet will shape your experience for the better. They were very personable, eager to help, supportive, and generally great people. I think that sentiment kind of extends to the CS department as a whole -- professors were kind, and genuinely made you feel like they cared about your individual success. (I really enjoyed my time here.) I've also heard polar opposite experiences from mine -- they hated the professors, didn't like the students, didn't feel their experience was worth it, etc. Somehow, I get the feeling those opinions come from people that just showed up to class and didn't do much else. Most of the people I knew that attended clubs/other things had a great time here.
Regarding the Math/CS joint major:1. Would it be better to major in just one of these subject areas because a joint major might not go as in depth into either field?2. Would I be able to get a job in computer science with this degree or would I need an actual degree in CS? 3. How demanding is this program?
For 2 (and sort of 1): you'll absolutely be qualified for a job on CS; perhaps more so than pure CS majors, depending on the subfield (quantitative finance, for example, loves joint majors). Even then, you shouldn't be getting a lesser education than most CS majors; you should still have some free rein to take the electives you want in the CS major. If I recall correctly, most of the difference with the joint major (from the CS side) comes down to the mid-level math/theoretical background. You'll take those classes with the Math department instead of CS; all other CS courses remain unchanged. (If I'm mistaken, someone please correct me). For 3: can't speak for the rigor of the joint major, but I can say that CS is usually challenging but rewarding. It's certainly no cakewalk, and you'll be busy, but the work tends to be interesting (even fun) and the community/your classmates will make things even better. I would imagine the addition of math would make things a bit more difficult, and I can't say I know the workload of those classes, but if you're up for it, it's certainly a great program. Random stuff that didn't really fit anywhere else, all CS related
Certain CS classes may be taught by different professors between semesters, and usually there is a distinct difference in the quality of the class depending on the professor--you may want to postpone or accelerate your schedule based on that. A good example is CS330: one of the most important classes you're going to take as a CS major (you learn everything companies will ask you in an interview in CS330). If you can, you should take it with Byers; he's by far the best person to learn algorithms from compared to others that teach it. (This isn't to say that others are bad; just that Byers is so much better.)
It's not entirely necessary to take all the Group B math courses; IMO, you should do at least 132 and 237. That said, if you know you're interested in doing crypto or security, it may be worthwhile to do 235. Then again, I took both 235 and 538, and I felt like if I had gone into 538 without doing 235 I could have made it work. Depends on what kind of student you are though. I say make your decision based on who teaches 235.
I consider 558 a must-take class. Sharon Goldberg is awesome.
Try and sign up for the CS591s at some point in your time at BU, and don't be afraid to take them early. They aren't necessarily insanely difficult classes.
And that's all I have. I hope this was helpful to someone!
Dear Reader (including the poor Biden staffers who have to white-knuckle their armrests when not sucking down unfiltered Marlboros every time Joe Biden gives an interview), If you’ve never heard the Milton Friedman shovels and spoons story, you will (and I don’t just mean here). Because everyone on the right tells some version of it at some point. The other Uncle Miltie (i.e., not the epically endowed comedic genius) goes to Asia or Africa or South America and is taken on a tour of some public works project in a developing country. Hundreds of laborers are digging with shovels. Milton asks the official in charge something like, “Why use shovels when earth moving equipment would be so much more efficient?” The official replies that this is a jobs program and using shovels creates more jobs. Friedman guffaws and asks, “In that case: Why not use spoons?” The story might not be true, but the insight is timeless. Here’s another story: When I was in college, we were debating in intro to philosophy the differences between treating men and women “equally” versus treating them the “same.” At first blush, the two things sound synonymous, but they’re not (indeed the difference illuminates the chasm of difference between classical liberalism and socialism, but that’s a topic for another day). I pointed out that there were some firefighter programs that had different physical requirements for male applicants and female ones (this was before it was particularly controversial—outside discussions of Foucault—to assume there were clear differences between sexes). Female applicants had to complete an obstacle course carrying a 100-pound dummy, but men had to carry a 200-pound dummy, or something like that. A puckish freshperson named Jonah Goldberg said: “I don’t really care if a firefighter is a man, a woman, or a gorilla, I’d just like them to be able to rescue me from a fire.” A woman sitting in front of me wheeled around and womansplained to me that “you can always just hire two women.” I shot back something like, “You could also hire 17 midgets, that’s not the point.” (I apologize for using the word midget, which wasn’t on the proscribed terms list at the time.) But here’s the thing: Sometimes it is the point. Whether you’re talking about spoons or little people, the case for efficiency is just one case among many. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an important one, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes older children are told to bring their little brothers or sisters along on some trip. They’ll complain, “But they’ll just slow us down!” or, “But they aren’t allowed on the big kid rides.” Parents understand the point, but they are not prioritizing efficiency over love. Or, they’re prioritizing a different efficiency: Not being stuck with a little kid who’s crying all day because he or she was left behind. One of my favorite scenes in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer is when the chess tutor Bruce Pandolfini, played by Ben Kingsley, tells the chess prodigy’s parents that they have to forbid their son from playing pickup chess in the park because he learns bad chess habits there. The mom says “Not playing in the park would kill him. He loves it.” Kingsley replies, accurately, that it “just makes my job harder.” And the mom says, “Then your job is harder.” I love that. I love it precisely because it recognizes that good parents recognize that there are trade-offs in life and that the best option isn’t always the most efficient one. This is one of those places where you can see how wisdom and expertise can diverge from one another. The Unity of Goodness Efficiency can mean different things in different contexts. In business, it means profit maximization (or cost reduction, which is often the same thing). In sports, it means winning. Always giving the ball to the best player annoys the other players who want their own shot at glory, but so long as he can be counted on to score, most coaches will err on the side of winning. Starting one-legged players will wildly improve a basketball team’s diversity score, but it’s unlikely to improve the score that matters to coaches—or fans. I’ve long argued that there’s something in the progressive mind that dislikes this whole line of thinking. They often tend to find the idea of trade-offs to be immoral or offensive. I call it the “unity of goodness” worldview. Once you develop an ear for it, you can hear it everywhere. “I refuse to believe that economic growth has to come at the expense of the environment.” “There’s no downside to putting women in combat.” “I don’t want to live in a society where families have to choose between X and Y,” or “I for one reject the idea that we have to sacrifice security for freedom—or freedom for security.” Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were masters at declaring that all hard choices were “false choices”—as if only mean-spirited people would say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Saint Greta Nowhere is this mindset more on display in environmentalism. Everyone hawking the Green New Deal insists that it’s win-win all the way down. It’s Bastiat’s broken window parable on an industrialized scale. Spending trillions to switch to less efficient forms of energy will boost economic growth and create jobs, they insist. I’d have much more respect for these arguments if they simply acknowledged that doing a fraction of what they want will come at considerable cost. Consider Greta Thunberg, the latest child redeemer of the climate change movement. She hates planes because they spew CO2. That’s why she sailed from Sweden to a conference in New York. As symbolism, it worked, at least for the people who already agree with her. But in economic terms, she might as well have raised the Spoon Banner off the main mast of her multi-million-dollar craft (that may have a minimal carbon footprint now, but required an enormous carbon down-payment to create). The organizers of this stunt had to fly two people to New York to bring the ship back across the Atlantic. And scores of reporters flew across the Atlantic to cover her heroic act of self-denial. Her nautical virtue signaling came at a price. The organizers insist that they will buy carbon offsets to compensate for the damage done. But that’s just clever accounting. The cost is still real. And that’s not the only cost. It took her fifteen days to get to America. In other words, she actually proved the point of many of her critics. Fossil fuels come with costs all their own—geopolitical, environmental, etc.—but the upside of those downsides is far greater efficiency. If you want to get across the Atlantic in seven hours instead of two weeks, you need fossil fuels. The efficiency of modern technology reduces costs by giving human beings more time to do other stuff. The Conservative Planners The unity of goodness mindset has been spreading to the right these days as well. The new conservative critics of the free market see the efficiency of the market as a threat to other good things. And they’re right, as Joseph Schumpeter explained decades ago. For instance, just as earth-moving equipment replaces ditch-diggers in the name of efficiency, robots replace crane operators, and the communities that depended on those jobs often suffer as a result. I have no quarrel with this observation. My problem is with the way they either sell their program as cost-free, or pretend that the right experts can run things better from Washington. They know which jobs or industries need the state to protect them from the market. They know how to run Facebook or Google to improve the Gross National Virtue Index. Many of the same people who once chuckled at the Spoons story now nod sagely. I don’t mean to say that there’s no room for government to regulate economic affairs. But I am at a loss as to why I should suspend my skepticism for right-wingers when they work from the same assumptions of the left-wingers I’ve been arguing with for decades. Embracing Trumpism to Own Trump Instead I want—or I guess need—to talk about another trade-off. I’ve been very reluctant to weigh in on the Joe Walsh project for a bunch of reasons. The biggest is that I am friends with some of the people cheering it on. But I think I have to offer my take. I don’t get it. Oh, I certainly understand the desire to see a primary challenger to Trump. I share that desire. And I understand the political calculation behind the effort. It’s like when one little league team brings in some dismayingly brawny and hirsute player from Costa Rica as a ringer. The other teams feel like they have to get their own 22-year-olds with photoshopped birth certificates in order to compete. My friend Bill Kristol is convinced that Trump must be defeated and that Walsh is just the mongoose to take on the Cobra-in-Chief. I try not to recycle metaphors or analogies too much, but this seems like another example of a Col. Nicholson move. As I’ve written before, Col. Nicholson was the Alec Guinness character in The Bridge Over the River Kwai. The commanding officer of a contingent of mostly British POWs being held by the Japanese, Nicholson at first follows the rules and refuses to cooperate with his captors in their effort to use British captives as slave labor for a bridge project. But then his pride kicks in and he decides he will show the Japanese what real soldiering is like, agreeing to build the bridge as a demonstration of British superiority in civil engineering. [Spoiler alert] It’s only at the end of the film that he realizes that building the bridge may have been a kind of short-sighted moral victory, but in reality he was helping the Japanese kill allied troops because the bridge was going to be used for shipping Japanese troops and ammunition. When this realization finally arrives, he exclaims, “My God, what have I done?” Walsh’s primary brief against Trump is that Trump is temperamentally unfit for office and a con man. Fair enough. But he has to focus his indictment on Trump’s erratic behavior. Why? Because he’s a terrible spokesman for much of the rest of the case against Trump. I may not call myself “Never Trump” any more, but I was in 2016. And back then, the argument against Trump wasn’t simply that he was erratic. It was also that he wasn’t a conservative, that he happily dabbled in racism and bigotry, and that he was crude, ill-informed, and narcissistically incapable of putting his personal interests and ego aside for the good of the country. I’m sure I’m leaving a few other things out. But you get the point. Walsh may be sincere in his remorse over all the racist and incendiary things he said in the very recent past. He may regret supporting his anti-Semitic friend Paul Nehlen, though I haven’t found evidence of that. But none of that history should be seen as qualifications for the presidency, the Republican nomination, or support from conservatives. And yet, it is precisely these things that make him attractive to his conservative supporters. Trump is an entertainer who trolls his enemies with offensive statements for attention, so let’s find someone who does the exact same thing! Walsh may have been a one-term congressman, but his true vocation was as a shock-jock trolling provocateur. It’s ironic. As I’ve argued countless times, much of Trump’s bigotry in 2016 stemmed less from any core convictions than from a deep belief that the GOP’s base voters were bigoted and he needed to feed them red meat. Trump's reluctance to repudiate David Duke derived primarily from his ridiculous assumption that Duke had a large constituency he didn’t want to offend. He may have believed the Birther stuff, but he peddled it because that’s what his fans wanted. And Joe Walsh was one of those fans. It may also be true that Walsh never really believed most of the bilge he was peddling and that he was doing the same thing Trump did—feeding the trolls—on a smaller scale. But if that’s the case, then he’s a con man, too. I don’t want to beat up on Walsh too much because, again, his epiphany may be sincere. There are lots of people who pushed certain arguments too far only to recognize that the payoff was Trump and the transformation of conservatism into a form of right-wing identity politics. There are a lot of Col. Nicholsons out there. And I have too much respect for Bill Kristol to believe that he would lend his support to someone he believed to be as bigoted as the man Walsh seemed to be a few years ago. But from where I sit, the prize we should keep our eyes on isn’t defeating Trump; it’s keeping conservatism from succumbing to Trumpism after he’s gone. This isn’t easy, and no tactic is guaranteed to be successful. We’ve never been here before. My own approach is to agree with Trump policies when I think they’re right—judges, buying Greenland, etc.—and disagreeing when they’re wrong. My own crutch is to simply tell the truth as I see it, regardless of whether it fits into some larger political agenda or strategy. Truth is always a legitimate defense of any statement. But for those who see themselves as political players as well as public intellectuals, I think this is a terrible mistake. Intellectually and morally, the case for continued opposition to—or skepticism about, Trump cannot—or rather must not—be reduced to simple Trump hatred. But by rallying around Walsh—instead of, say, Mark Sanford, or Justin Amash, or, heh, General Mattis—that’s what it looks like. Because you can’t say, “I’m standing on principle in my opposition to a bigoted troll and con man as the leader of my party and my country and that’s why I am supporting a less successful bigoted troll and con man for president.” Walsh isn’t a conservative alternative to Trump; he’s an alternative version of Trump. And his candidacy only makes sense if you take the “binary choice” and “Flight 93” logic of 2016 and cast Trump in the role of Hillary. Let’s imagine the Walsh gambit works beyond anyone’s dreams and Joe Walsh ends up getting the GOP nomination (a fairly ludicrous thought experiment, I know). If so, I have no doubt that my friend Bill Kristol will say, a la Col. Nicholson, “My God, what have I done.” Various & Sundry Canine Update: It’s good to be home. The beasts were delighted to see us. Everything is settling back to normal, except for one intriguing development. I think Zoë has finally had enough with Pippa’s tennis ball routine. The other day on the midday walk with the pack, Kirsten managed to film Zoë putting an end to the tennis ball shenanigans. She took the ball and buried it. It was, to use an inapt phrase, a baller move—and she was unapologetic about it. Maybe she just didn’t like all the commotion with the other dogs, because she’s tolerant of the tennis ball stuff again. Or maybe she was being protective of her sister given that many of the other dogs in the pack are known thieves. Regardless, they’re doing well and having fun. If you haven’t tuned into The Remnant lately, please give it another try. The first episode of the week was with Niall Ferguson and the feedback has been great. The latest episode is with my friend and AEI colleague Adam White on all things constitutional. Word of mouth is really important in building up audiences, so if you can spread the word about The Remnant or this “news”letter, I’d be grateful.
With another month over, it’s time for another release, and MAME 0.209 is sure to have something to interest everyone. We’ve cracked the encryption on the Fun World CPU blocks, making Fun World Quiz, Joker Card, Mega Card, Power Card, Multi Win, Saloon and Nevada playable. Regular contributor shattered has added Кузьмич-Егорыч (Kuzmich-Egorych), a Russian Mario Brothers bootleg running on heavily modified Apple II hardware. In other Apple II news, CD-ROM drives now work with the Apple II SCSI card, and another batch of cleanly cracked floppies has been added to the software list. The NES SimCity prototype has been added to the software list, along with MMC5 improvements to support it, and better emulation for Famicom cartridges with on-board sound chips. Henrik Algestam has continued his Game & Watch work, bringing Popeye (wide screen) and Zelda to MAME. Chess computer support has been expanded with Fidelity Chess Challenger 3, and additional versions of Applied Concepts Boris, and Novag Super Expert and Super Forte. Newly supported arcade games include Akka Arrh (an Atari title that failed location testing), Little Casino II, a French version of Empire City: 1931, and additional versions of Dock Man and Street Heat. A better LM3900 op-amp model means Money Money and Jack Rabbit are no longer missing the cassa (bass drum) channel, and mixing between music and speech is improved. Bug fixes include the Rockwell AIM 65 being returned to working order, working support for multiple light guns on Linux from Kiall, corrected screen freeze behaviour on Deniam hardware from cam900, and better flashing characters on the Sinclair QL from vilcans. You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.
MAMETesters Bugs Fixed
03122: [DIP/Input] (ltcasino.cpp) mv4in1, ltcasino, ltcasinn: Service Mode DIP switch does not work. (Dirk Best)
05291: [Sound] (coco3.cpp) All drivers in coco.c: ORC90 emulation has no sound output. (Nigel Barnes)
apple2_flop_orig: Apple-oids and Chipout, Arcade Album #1, Arkanoid, The Blade of Blackpoole, BurgerTime, Dig Dug, Escape From Rungistan, Fantavision, The Flockland Island Crisis, Kabul Spy, Lazer Silk, Maze Craze Construction Set, Peeping Tom, The Print Shop Color, Robots of Dawn, Rocky's Boots (version 4.0), Spider Raid, Star Blazer, Star Warrior, Super Bunny, Type Attack, Warp Destroyer, Wizardry III: Legacy of Llylgamyn (version 4, 20-Aug-1983 update), Zaxxon, Zork I: The Great Underground Empire (revision 5) [4am, Firehawke]
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