Archive for June, 2009


June 30, 2009

It is official now; I am leaving my current position in the Applied Mechanics Department of IIT-Delhi to join the Department of Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) at IIT-Bombay at Mumbai. There are several things about Delhi that we are going to miss: the concerts, the bird filled campus, a mentor whose calling is teaching, and our many good friends.

PS: By the way, there might be a lull in blogging till we settle down and get proper internet access.

Two books to my to be read list!

June 29, 2009

Via Maud: Is Shakespeare Dead? by Mark Twain and Mann’s The Magic mountain.

Publishing: is it all an insider’s game?

June 29, 2009

Academia, like any job, has its fair share of gaming the system. All older academics will regale you with stories of “such and such got published because the editor was a friend.” So what? That’s life. But academia is also remarkably open. In soc, we have our four lead general journals, about 5-10 high quality specialty journals, some excellent regional journals, and many more respected journals that don’t fit the mold (i.e., Theory & Society, Poetics, etc.) If you try really heard and put out your best work, I promise you’ll get good results

That is fabiorojas with the twenty second installment of his grad skool rulz.

A grain of that much sought-after actuality

June 29, 2009

A different point of view:

When I first heard the farcical story of the governor’s disappearance and then confession, I found it easy to laugh along with everyone else. I found it easy to agree with Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist as well as a journalist, that there was something bizarrely self-destructive in Sanford.

Now, having read the letters — or the excerpts running in the South Carolina papers — I’m not doing that anymore. The letters reveal nothing more nor less than true thunderbolt from the sky love. English professors tend to be people who love language, and who seek in language, more than in other places, the real. The Sanford/Maria letters have in them the grain of that sought-after actuality. Every word, every phrase, comes from the deep heart’s core.

Maria’s fractured English is as beautiful as Nora Barnacle’s in her love letters to James Joyce.
Perfection after all isn’t the real; Michael Jackson’s multiply knifed face was a horror. The flaw and the fracture that convey our humanity and its exertions toward expressivity is the real.

Sanford’s sincere, halting, emotional prose carries the impact upon him of his having been hit, and hit hard, by passionate love. Rather late in a very public life, Sanford has suddenly felt the bliss of utter enchantment with another human being.

Must read of the day, undoubtedly! One reason why I love English Professors!!

Umpires versus academics

June 29, 2009

Dean Dad could not help drawing the parallels:

I just finished Bruce Weber’s new book , As They See ‘Em, which is about professional umpires. As a longstanding baseball fan, it’s a hoot, but I couldn’t help but notice a few, oddly-comforting parallels to the academic world.

Take a look!

Microwave smelting

June 29, 2009

Tyler Cowen:

And how did he smelt the iron ore into steel? He used a microwave.

Thesis/dissertation writing: how long is too long?

June 28, 2009

From this must-read post of Reassigned time (via Jenny):

While I don’t think that an excessively long time to degree is desirable, I do think that the continued push toward shortening times to degree can get in the way of the foundation-laying that really does need to happen if one is to have a life as a scholar as one moves forward on an academic career path.

Discover weird and wonderful words

June 28, 2009

At Wordnik; via Language Log.

To know a city is to walk it

June 28, 2009

That is a sentiment that my father had passed on to me (and, I agree with him fully on this one). Here is Michael Chabon (link via Nicholas Carr):

The traveler soon learns that the only way to come to know a city, to form a mental map of it, however provisional, and begin to find his or her own way around it is to visit it alone, preferably on foot, and then become as lost as one possibly can. I have been to Chicago maybe a half-dozen times in my life, on book tours, and yet I still don’t know my North Shore from my North Side, because every time I’ve visited, I have been picked up and driven around, and taken to see the sights by someone far more versed than I in the city’s wonders and hazards. State Street, Halsted Street, the Loop—to me it’s all a vast jumbled lot of stage sets and backdrops passing by the window of a car.

A nice piece — also a must-read for the way Chabon writes!

Happy hours of flutes and fertility rites

June 27, 2009

John Hawks has a must-read post (By the way, the happy hours idea might only be a speculation: but I just could not resist the title!)