Stephen Hsu on the advantages of attending an elite university. And a follow-up
Wired on 7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College
Female Science Professor on Working With Jerks.
Bonus: SMBC cartoon on Communicating With Academics: A Guide.
The "working with jerks" article serves to remind me why I'm happy to work in India. There are certainly jerks here, but it's easy to avoid them. The female professor says: "Why work with jerks? There are two answers: Because you have no choice. Or because, although you have a choice, you see some benefit in working with a particular jerk."Luckily, answer 1 doesn't apply to me. As for answer 2, I see a real danger in working with jerks: I can't trust the jerk's data. How do I know he/she isn't fudging results? One should distinguish unpleasant demeanour or rudeness, which is common and often nothing personal, from actual nastiness, manipulativeness, vituperativeness. People who are merely rude are in fact usually honest, in my experience: such people may be considered "jerks" in real life, but the rudeness comes from forthrightness, and moreover, they are rude to everyone. But people capable of doing the things she describes -- demanding research money in exchange for a favourable review, etc -- are capable of faking their data too.
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