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About Datepalm

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    Barbarism and Decadence, Fuck Yeah.
  • Birthday 02/22/1987

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  1. Tell me you're making up at least some of that. My impression was that everyone applying to good programs has excellent grades, stellar recommendations, relevant experience, well thought-through research proposals etc, etc. Then the networking becomes some kind of (crucial) way just to get remembered. (FWIW, my academic merits, while not flawless - my chaotic and middling BA - are, I think, OK. My MA grades are fine, the standardized tests I'm not too worried about, my CV has shiny stuff on it, I can put together a substantial proposal/statement/etc, and I think I can get strong recommendation letters. I wouldn't be thinking about applying to anything if I felt that I didn't have those basics reasonably covered, is my point.)
  2. I'd be ok with drinks, or one drink, since that will do it for me, for a first date if there's enough interest through chatting to meet in the first place. However, I've learned that guys I go for are such universal dorks anyway that I've yet to be worried about it. Actually, one thing I appreciate is someone setting an actual spot - most of my online-made dates end up being 'lets meet at such and such train station' or something, and then we wander about pointlessly for an hour trying to find a place and negotiate the whole drinks/coffee/food, etc, thing. Pick it in advance, if you're going to. (and yes, last date I was on, I picked a spot because he was waffling.) Also, since apparently OKC in India is a thing people use to just meet people, I gave it a go and the one person I swiped right on turned out to have a PhD in theoretical physics. How the hell do I manage that from a photo?
  3. OK, that's helpful, I guess. That makes sense to me. There's a procedure. It's relatively straightforward, and in most cases, seems comprehensive. CV, statements, grades, sample of work, etc, etc. Very good. BUT, apparently, there's this secondary norm - except in cases where it's not - of the behind-the-scenes networking, conference schmoozing, etc. This is either totally compulsary or entirely meaningless, and there appears to be no sure way to understand in which category a particular institution, department or individual falls into, nor what the protocol is once this has been (un)ascertained. I do not find such a system rational.
  4. Pretty much. I was an activist as a teenager, which led to a three year stretchy as a commune-dwelling radical anarcho-marxist community youth worker after I graduated HS (with an 18 month stint as a combat soldier stuck in the middle. Draft.) I got burned out and frustrated when I was 21-22, (more socially and intellectually than ideologically, to be honest.) Travelled some (organic farm in Germany, English school in China, Bedouin tours in Jordan), found it to be duller than expected, went home, worked as a security/medic on hiking trips for a while and started volunteering as a labour organizer. Planned to to do a tour guide license, signed up and everything - and then the course got cancelled on short notice. Meanwhile I'd signed up for the university entrance exams a month or so down the line (mostly to appease my parents or something - I had no concrete plans) so I couldn't really go travelling again. My (three years younger) sister was a semester into college that year and that led me to stopping by the university and toying with the idea of just taking some classes for the hell of it. As it turned out, that wasn't that simple, but a few departments did allow enrollement for the spring semester - Musicology and Geography, to be precise, and I'm really, really tone deaf. So I found myself doing a BA in Geography (seriously, I didn't realize I had actually signed up for the degree and not for just a couple classes for months,) and really enjoying it, except for various depressive episodes, a tendency not to show up to classes and a comically obvious (looking back) self-sabotaging habit of forgetting when my final exam were. (that dragged the degree out into an extra 2 years) I also had a bunch of NGOish and community work related jobs in parallel, kept volunteering with a number of social-justice type groups, and said fuck it all after a bad wave of violence in summer 2014 and went off to Burundi to do a development fellowship 2 credits shy of graduating. That was harsh and frustrating and we were hopelessly out of depth for it. I had some kind of shit-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life breakdown, got back to Israel, slept on people's couches for a while, went back to university and started an MA in urban planning, got a planning-for-social-justice job in the West Bank, got fired from it two months later, got a job at a consultancy doing transport planning in the Congo, got fired from that ten months later, and now I'm doing an internship in India (planning for slum development. They can't fire me, I'm temporary. I hope,) and looking at the idea of a PhD in the planning/transport/development/labour rights field. Which is a thing. So either it will all add up...or not.
  5. You don't need much math (or any, really) for basic GIS, thats the joy of it! did the process of getting in touch with ideal-supervisor-person go? Out-of-the-blue cold email? Relevant contacts? Number of coffee cups consumed? This is the kind of thing I am either actually objectively awful at, or just think I am and so stress myself out beyond all measure by worrying over, or most likely, some combination of both. Benchmarking is helpful! (I'm currently (and by currently, I mean over the last three weeks) constructing some weird function in my head to figure out when to email a new professor who may be a good potential MA thesis supervisor, variables of which include things like whether to use her previous-institution email, arrived at by stalking, or wait until the department updates it's website with a new one (which may be never), time to the beginning of the year, time after the end of the last year, level of completion of my thesis proposal, time after discussion of contacting her with seminar supervisor to balance enthusiasm/desperation, time to proposal-approval deadline, geographic coordinates of all involved and proximity to Jewish holidays.)
  6. You need to do a complete overview of this guy's SFF cred, with statistics. Stephenson is a very male writer, I think, or maybe he writes well for the male ego (deconstructively when he's good, blatanlty when he's bad) but Seveneves was just boring. Hmm, what would be the Stephenson book to find out someone had read that would be the biggest turn-on? Snow Crash? Baroque Cycle? Anathem? Not Cryptonomicon and definitely nor Reamde. (I once nearly went on an OKCupid date with someone who otherwise seemed like a total douchehat but had Ursula LeGuin listed in his profile. And Mad Economist Guy, I once found out, considered Daniel Kahneman light reading and also regarded Alexander McCall Smith the pinnacle of fine literature. I will never cease to try to draw conclusions from other people's taste in books...and, to be honest, marvel at how they manage to breathe and walk at the same time if it's not identical to mine.)
  7. Wait, is having read and loved Seveneves the indicator that he's interesting or the indicator that there's something wrong with him? I could see it going either way. Meanwhile, History PostDoc Guy, he of the strangely mixed yearnings (I can only assume there's an 80's music video level mixture of sex and religion going on in this guy's head at this point) texted again to say that he's leaving the country and did not mean to be flaky, flakily, after a week. People eh.
  8. Mazel Tov! Is he moving to Ohio?
  9. Out of curiousity, why does my adviser having tenure matter? (She's my seminar adviser, and probably won't be my thesis adviser, but I'm not sure non-tenured faculty can even be thesis supervisors. In short, isn't having a tenured advisor kind of standard?) And I do not take advice from Scott Bakker, you know that. ;-) Transport has a lot of mathematical modelling going into it, and my sense is that planers feel like we're approaching some threshold of available data in all sorts of spatial stuff, not just transit per se - all those people walking around with GPS in their phones 24/7 and tracking their runs and their pets and their coffee stops and all the information you could want about real estate costs and the location of jobs and everything else - and it's all going to come together into something vaguely magical that would revolutionize planning, but hasn't yet quite really. (Apropos MIT, they did a project to track all the informal transport in Nairobi with GPS, for example. But I did something very similar in Lubumbashi, and it was pretty much a lot of people with clipboards still.) ETA: What job is better than planning?
  10. The whole Oslo peace process - I remember the possibility of a Jordan peace treaty being something exciting (I would have been about 6-7,) and then the Rabin assassination. I also remember really caring, and following the news, about the 1997-8 Asian financial crisis. Beats me why.
  11. I love how these threads are always at their most useful when people disagree :-) Oh, awesome, 50% drop out not because they realize they want to something else with their lives, but because they are mentally broken by a cruel process of Darwinian survival? Excellent. A thesis or nine thousand :-) US cities today are relatively planned, sprawl and all. (Whether it was good planning is a whole other question...but they're not what you'd call informal or organic.) My interests are in the general direction of transit and landuse interactions in informal urban growth, ie the kind that happens (more or less) without zoning, land rights and infrastructure being laid down by a central authority, which is why I find it a bit sideways that the US is the place to go study that, but apparently it is. (I kind of assume anyone seriously applying for research in those areas has a bunch of relevant fieldwork experience, though.) Well, I've watched a lot of the PhD Comics Movie, because I'm procrastinating writing a thing, so yeah, reflective of my life for sure... I think my dilemma (because by and large I've made up my mind that it's something I want to pursue, (probably)) is where. Not the specific program, but in figuring out exactly what different places have and don't have to offer, both in long-term career prospects and in the experience of the thing itself, for five-to-ten-years, (50/50 mental breakdown.) So active relevant research projects and opportunities to work on them, connections with major organizations in the field, funding, actual location (I mean, it's a much higher chance than that 50% that I lose it if I move to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I'm sure it has a lot to offer a lot of people, but no.) etc, and understanding the tradeoffs and compromises i'd be willing to make - and then applying only to places that fit the bill, and if I don't get in, well, that's that, I'll go do something else. My instincts, however, kind of run to applying to absolutely anywhere that will likely have me and going with that - since if I want to do a PhD, the honorable thing (somehow, in my head) is to do it anywhere without account for such petty, self-centered considerations...or something. So I'm presently trying to understand how this system works really, and how I go about identifying those things from faculty websites that haven't been updated in two years, from the other side of the world, and where the cutoff between "This will mostly be an OK bunch of years of your life, that will also lead to other things you want to do" and "This will either be deeply miserable, or a huge loss in opportunity cost, or very possibly both, (with substantial chances of bona fide mental breakdowns on the way!)" is. I recall the snooty MBA thread somewhere, where some argued there's a very wide, clear, immovable line in MBA programs that are worth it, and those that aren't. I suppose I'm trying to identify if a similar concept exists in PhDs as well - or whether I'm thinking about it all wrong, or what. So...I should go to Portland?
  12. I think one my friends is applying to that one exactly next year. The world starts to really shrink at some point.
  13. College Style Petitions for change in the workplace

    I'm really sloppy, by personal habit, and it's something I genuinely have a hard time getting over even when I know I should, and I often don't know I should. I don't really have nice clothes, I don't own a single pair of shoes at the moment that would pass a formal dress code muster, etc. My self-described feminist, self-described 'somewhere on the spectrum' boss's face when he tried to sit me down and explain, excruciatingly, that, well, there's meetings with officials that need to happen, and well, i'm, you know, a girl type person, that has certain implications as comes to formality, and, well, um...could I please wear jeans that don't have holes in them? Just that once? That was a fun afternoon.
  14. Careerchat II

    Woah, wait - is that not the point of a cover letter?* *everything I know about cover letters I learned on this very board.
  15. College Style Petitions for change in the workplace

    It looks almost parodic to me...could anyone really be that naive? Not the aspect of wanting to change a semi-nonsensical dress code (I have a habit of wandering barefoot around workplaces and have been repeatedly told off. Obviously not a strongly held principle for me that I would want to be what my bosses remember me for, but nor do I respect the logic behind wearing shoes all day indoors,) but the clueless, underachieving-entitled attitude of well, we wrote the essay in a properly structured way, with, like, points and grammar and things! It's not our fault we had no convincing arguments or any relation to reality!