I’m not lazy, I’m thinking!

I’m not lazy, I’m thinking!

I’ve heard often as a graduate student that it is important to set aside time to think. However, it seems like all of us struggle with actually following that advice, especially early in our career. As I’ve finished taking classes and have a much more flexible schedule this summer, it is prime time for me to make sure I sit and think enough to plan out my dissertation. However, I’ve found a couple of things are making it rather difficult for me to actually purposefully do nothing but think and I suspect most of us run into these problems.

Have a useful conversation about work/life balance

By Emily Dolson on August 11, 2015 in Work/Life Balance / 0 Comments
Have a useful conversation about work/life balance

It is a commonly acknowledged problem in academia that success often comes at the expense of having a life outside of work (or at least seems like it has to). As a result, there are many attempts to help academics improve their work/life balance. Unfortunately, these attempts often devolve into motivational platitudes and advice that most people have already heard. And understandably so – work/life balance is a tricky subject to confront! This difficulty results from the confluence of two major factors: Different people want different things out of their lives, so balance means different things to different people. These topics can be so personal that people often don’t feel comfortable discussing them in concrete terms.

An Introduction to Web Development with Emscripten

An Introduction to Web Development with Emscripten

As a professor, I am always trying to juggle more tasks than I can possibly handle, which means I usually end up focusing my time on “urgent” matters over things I find merely “important” or “satisfying”.  A bit over a year ago I started making sure that I take time to code every day (and am much happier for it).  A sizable majority of this time I’ve devoted to learning and using the Emscripten compiler. Emscripten compiles C or C++ code into high-efficiency JavaScript (using asm.js) that can run in any web browser, and is accelerated in newer browsers.  How efficient is it?  Well, in practice it tends to be half to two-thirds the speed of running a C++ application natively.  To put that in a more provocative way, it runs 8 to 10 times faster […]

After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon

By Anya Vostinar on July 21, 2015 in Review / 2 Comments
After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon

After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon is a fictional non-fiction book proposing possible evolutionary tracks for the species that remain 50 million years after the Age of Man. As a fan of sci-fi and evolution, I couldn’t resist asking Dr. Ofria if I could borrow it when I spotted After Man on his shelf. As with most popular audience books, After Man doesn’t do a perfect job describing evolutionary events, but it is highly entertaining to read through. I also suspect that a very fun unit could be created around After Man for a high school or intro biology course.