Monday, 28 December 2009

What interested me in December

PS: I’m slightly early since I don’t know whether I will have time for blogging in the next few days.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Skipping Christmas?

I am in my office at the IDC in Herzliya, Israel, where I am currently visiting. Tomorrow (26 Dec) I am going to spend a day on the beach (since it's Shabbat and everything is closed). Does it mean I skip Christmas? Well, in the German tradition Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve – and yesterday I was even in a Church in Jerusalem … though not for a full service ….

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Chatham House v CELS Rule?

At mixed academic & practice conferences in the UK it is sometimes announced that under the Chatham House Rule the identity or affiliation of speakers should not be revealed. This is said to encourage openness and the sharing of information but I am wondering whether it is not one of the purposes of conferences to disseminate your research results. Yet, I would also be slightly uneasy if organisers just put videos with all presentations online, as recently done by the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (footnote: on CELS see also the posts at The Conglomerate, Ideoblog, and Truth on the Market).

Sunday, 13 December 2009

But I am mad now!

Recently, I was reminded of the following scene from The Simpsons:

Homer grabs for his gun, but the cashier holds onto it.
Cashier: Sorry, the law requires a five-day waiting period. We've got to run a background check.
Homer: Five days? But I'm mad now!

Why? Well, I have a nice idea for a research project. However, in order to implement it I would someone who could collect the data for me. In the UK this would mean that I would have to apply to one of the research councils for funding. This involves a lengthy application process (identify the appropriate funding scheme, draft application, send it to the university research office, get it approved by the head of department, submit it to the research council, wait until it’s evaluated, if successful advertise post for research assistant, shortlist candidates, etc). Of course, public resources are limited, but the point is that I am mad about this idea now – and I don’t know whether in a year’s time someone else may may not have done the same already...

Friday, 4 December 2009

The UEA Hockey Stick

A year ago, I blogged on how often people have googled for the University of East Anglia (UEA) since 2004 (using Google trends; blog post here). Below, an update (the red lines stand for UEA, and the blue one for University of East Anglia). The recent news reference volume shows a sharp increase.

Something related: As a way of procrastination, it’s nice to google for something like “Italians are famous for”, “Germans are famous for” etc. Of course, one can do the same for universities. So, according to google, what is UEA famous for? The results are that UEA/University of East Anglia is famous for “its unique ziggurats and environmentally friendly new buildings”, “its rabbits”, “its creative writing courses”, “its progressive teaching style”, and, then, “Prof Phil Jones” and “its world-leading school of Environmental Science”.