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Mar 30, 2007

“Where Should I Go for Graduate School?” PhDs.org Has the Data for Deciding

Logo “Where Should I Go for Graduate School?” PhDs.org Has the Data for Deciding

PhDs.org launches the Graduate School Guide(sm). Graduate students now have the tools needed to find potential career opportunities, and prospective graduates have the ability to select graduate programs based on their needs.

RALEIGH, NC (PRWeb) March 28, 2007 -- Thanks to funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Burroughs Welcome Fund through the Center for Science and Media, PhDs.org now provides the data and tools needed to find the best graduate programs and careers available. Based upon the needs of prospective graduate students, The Graduate School Guide(sm) provides free, custom rankings of potential career and educational opportunities for post graduates.

“Every graduate student is different,” says PhDs.org founder Geoff Davis, who earned his own Ph.D. in mathematics from New York University. “Other ranking systems assume that all graduate students are the same. In reality, some hope to become professors, whereas others want to work in industry or government. Some people may prefer to study in a small department that has a strong focus in one narrow area; others desire a large program with a broad range of research options. The unique benefit of the Graduate School Guide is that a student can use its ranking mechanism to select a program based on his or her educational priorities.”

The Graduate School Guide allows prospective students to query and weight various characteristics, such as placement rate at graduation, time required to earn a doctorate or percentage of women in the program. This customized ranking aid combines search flexibility with comprehensive and newly updated data from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Research Council. For the first time ever, users can rank programs based on post-graduation career outcomes as well as on other critical academic and demographic information.

“There's a black hole of ignorance among some students considering grad school,” says Sheila Curran, Fannie Mitchell Executive Director at the Duke University Career Center, “not because the data do not exist, but because the information is hard to find and evaluate. Too often, the result is that students make decisions based solely on general reputations, ones that may or may not be deserved.”

The Graduate School Guide includes comprehensive information for nearly 6,000 programs at 418 U.S. universities. The Guide is one of the first to incorporate the high standards of the 2006 Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions, which call for radical improvements in data transparency, accuracy and other measures of validity and usefulness.

“Current ranking systems have serious flaws,” says Davis. “Rankings based solely on programs’ reputations are of questionable validity.  And students are seldom able to examine the data in a way that yields the answers they consider most important in choosing where to apply.”

With the help of PhDs.org’s Graduate School Guide, students considering graduate study can finally select graduate programs on the basis of accurate data drawn entirely from impartial sources, sifted and weighted to reflect each student’s individual needs.


About PhDs.org and the Graduate School Guide(sm)

PhDs.org is a comprehensive web resource for graduate students, prospective graduate students, and recent graduates of doctoral programs.  Offerings at PhDs.org include the Graduate School Guide(sm), job listings for Ph.D.s, and an extensive collection of articles and advice on the graduate school and careers for Ph.D.s.

Dr. Geoff Davis created PhDs.org while a professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College. His current research is focused on graduate education and career options for students entering and emerging from Ph.D. programs. In 2005, Dr. Davis completed the most comprehensive survey to date of scientists in postdoctoral training in the US.


Geoff Davis, Ph.D.
(919) 345-4731


01:50 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, News | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 29, 2007

San Francisco Bay Area -- Dave on The Geography of Ideas

Seeds are invented in San Francisco, produced down the Peninsula, and planted in the ground in the East Bay.

-- Dave, closely paraphrased (and probably soon to be corrected)

02:27 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mar 28, 2007

Thanks, Ty!

Gas_guy Running on fumes, I pulled into a Hillsborough gas station late last night only to find... D'oh!  No wallet.

Hat in hand, I asked the guy pumping diesel into his truck if he might spot me $5.  "Oh sure!" he said.  "No problem." 

And no need to take his address so I could pay him back.  "Just glad I could do the favor.  Are you sure $5 is enough to get you home?"

Ty's the name.  If you see him, say "hey" and let him know I got home OK, and quite grateful.


pic from Diddams Costumes.

01:32 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 27, 2007

First Class on the Airbus A380

First Class on the Airbus A380.  Holy crack, that looks like a nice way to fly (even if you'll feel like you're traveling in a bath tub).

I've flown to the other side of the globe a few times, and it really sux.  My last trip from home to Jakarta was 40 hours, door-to-door.  That's 40 hours of crappy air, crappy sleep, never-ending noise, bad food, no shower, and did I mention the crampedness?  I can hardly imagine what it would be like if I were tall (or wide).  I continue to be amazed by the stamina of travelers older, larger, or less fit than myself.  Ugh.

Just to ballpark what kind of price one might pay for a long trip in an Airbus A380, I did a price comparison for First Class, Business Class, and Economy class tickets on a Singapore Airlines flight from JFK to SIN (Changi in Singapore).  Result?  $11k, $6.5k, and $1k.  Wow.  That's $10,000 to be (relatively) relaxed for much of a two-day journey.

There is a certain logic to spending money for better travel -- at least if it's for business.  The quality guru W. Edwards Deming wrote about a young woman whose company sent her to visit with him for a day to learn more about TQM.  Deming noted that the company flew her out economy class on red-eye, and that she arrived at his interview virtually exhausted.  "What kind of learning is she going to do in that condition?" Deming asked.  In another 1990s-era article about the luxury of a private business jet, one CEO said to another who was considering purchase, "who the hell's time is worth $1,000 an hour?!" (the per-seat cost of running a private jet.) The other CEO countered, "I'll pay you $1,000 an hour for the next year in exchange for all the profits you generate for your business."  The first CEO got the point.  But I still doubt that he bought a jet.

In any case, before you decide that First Class will never be for you, click for my favorite current TV commercial from State Farm.

01:16 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 22, 2007

Three Quotes on Favors -- One Pair and One Other

We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them.
-- Thucydides (460-400 bc) (funeral oration of Pericles) -- shared with me in 2002 by (L)EF(K)L

You want to know a great way to make relationships?  Ask people for favors.  You ask.  They do.  They get to know you and get interested in what you're doing.  And eventually, they ask for favors, too.  And you do them.  And then you're really connected.
-- Adam S.

If you want to do someone a favor, ask them to tell you a secret.
-- author unknown.

10:59 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (10)

Mar 21, 2007

Ingold Tire -- Car Maintenance Heaven


Ingold Tire in Durham continues to rock as the best place I've ever been for car maintenance.  Good service, unreasonably modest pricing, and very ethical people.

I have written about them before, but here is the latest list of praiseworthy thanks:

1.  Last month I drove over a brick and got an insta-flat.  I couldn't pull over for several blocks, so I naturally assumed that the tire was trashed and would need replacing for ~$70.  Took the car to Ingold Tire who fixed things pronto, and handed me an invoice for $25.  Huhn? $25?!  "We put a patch in it.  It's good as new."

Damn.  That was awesome.  It would have been so easy for them to have sold me a new tire, charged me a disposal fee for the old one, and then fixed the old one for re-sale at a profit.  But did they do that?  No way.  Not the guys at Ingold  Tire.

2.  Not long after, I found out that the sway bar on my van was missing a bushing.  The power steering had also been acting up, so I took the van back to Ingold Tire for a look-see.  Diagnosis? 

Bill:  Bad news -- everything is falling apart, and the badder news is that it would cost ~$650 to fix it all.

Me:  Damn.  That's more than the whole van is worth.  Should I fix it?  What would you advise?

Bill:  Tough call on a van that age.  You should definitely fix the sway bar bushing.  That's dangerous, and that'll be ~$125.  Other parts?  You can keep it running it you keep topping off the power steering fluid, but it's going to keep getting worse until it can't get better.

Me:  OK.  I'll fix the sway bar, but never mind the rest.  I'll just trade in the van when I get a new car.

Bill: Sounds smart to me.

3.  And today, the craziest thing:  I took my new (to me) car in for transmission service that was recommended by a reputable Chapel Hill garage that had done my pre-purchase check.  "You need to change the transmission fluid and filter," they said.  "Make sure to get the filter changed -- don't just change the fluid."

A little bit of web-research let me know that a standard transmission fluid change would be ~$110.  Add extra for a filter.  Plus tax and such, of course.  While I suspected it would be more convenient to go to a Jiffy Lube, I worried that a sketchy franchise* might charge me for the fluid and filter, but only change the fluid.  How would I know?

So... back to Ingold Tire where I knew I'd have to leave my car for a few hours, but where I also knew I would get the service that was promised.  As always, they called me when the car was ready -- earlier than promised (also as always).  Invoice: $56.26 including tax.  Huhn?!  What?!  Yep, that's what it was. 

Me:  But all the quickie places charge $110!

Karen:  I keep telling Rod we need to charge more...

Bill:  Do you want us to charge you more?  We could change our prices for you right now.

Me:  But what about the filter?  Did you change the filter?  Shouldn't there be more for the filter?

Rod:  Your car's transmission doesn't have a filter.

Me:  Oh.  Well I guess I'm glad you didn't charge me for one.  But still -- $56?!

Bill:  Look, are you just not going to leave happy until we charge you at least $100?

Me:  But... but...

Rod:  [Sigh.] We should have just sold you a filter.

This is why I go to Ingold Tire.


*In other news, I've read that Jiffy Lube has started a national "clean ourselves up" campaign.  In fact, 2007 may be the best year ever to bring your car to Jiffy Lube, since they're all on alert.  But not if you can go to Ingold Tire!

03:59 PM in Destination Durham, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (6)

Mar 19, 2007

My Own Personal Uncle Rico -- With Van


Above, my Uncle Rick (right) and my Uncle Abel, Phooshopped onto a jeepney -- the Filipino version of small-town bus service.

To my knowledge, we have no Napoleons, Pedros, or Tinas in our family, though I did a fine job of losing a student council president election in 8th grade.

Napoleon Dynamite fans -- go visit this Napoleon Dynamite Soundboard.  It's Sweet!  Yessss!

07:40 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 16, 2007

Soul Food


Brand extensions gone wild, as seen on Ninth Street at Barnes Supply -- a good place for raw peanuts, pet treats, and who knows what else.

02:00 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Mar 15, 2007

Wacky Broughton Sports Fan Dude With Guitar - video


This dude rocks.  Check out this video* if you need proof.

I saw the WBSFdude** last week at NB Broughton HS*** in Raleigh, cheering for the Broughton women's laxers as they took on Wilmington Hoggard HS.

The WBSFdude has a strong voice and plays guitar pretty well.  I'm certain that the players heard him loud and clear.  Among his slightly adjusted lyrics:  "I feel good!  Like a Broughton fan should, yeah!  So good, so good -- I'm a Broughton Cap!"  And "We need the ball.  Gotta have that ball (yeah).  We need the ball.  Gotta have that ball."

From his lyrics, I got the feeling he was a Broughton alum.  Or... could it be... perhaps a Broughton parent?  I looked around for a lacrosse player dying from shame but I didn't see any.  I do like how the other fans hadn't moved away on the bench.


*Video is in 3GP format which should play in Quicktime and various other players.

**Wacky Broughton Sports Fan Dude

***Crickey, that Broughton HS website is ugly.  If only they had some talented alumnae who could help them come up with something better...

12:26 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 14, 2007

Thomas Moore -- "The Soul of Sex"

Soulofsex "The philosophy characteristic of our culture, in which the body is treated as unrelated to our emotions, our sense of meaning, and our experiences, has deep implications for sexuality.  Not only do we deal with sexual problems mechanically, we may well approach our lovers mechanically--without the deep engagement of the soul and spirit that would give sex its depth and humanity.

Against this point of view, the eighteenth-century poet William Blake [wrote]:

Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld
Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses, the
chief inlets of Soul in this age.

...Unless we have lost imagination completely, when we look at the body we are seeing the soul, and when we have sex, we experience the body as a way to the most penetrating mysteries of the soul."

-- Thomas Moore, from The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love, chapter one.

I confess that I have only skimmed The Soul of Sex*, but I did read Moore's Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life in 1999 and Soul Mates in 2000.  While my memory keeps only a few details, I seem to remember these two points from both:

1.  The Greek teacher Epicurus taught that simple things, done well, gave us the greatest and deepest pleasure.  Not fancy recipes (like "epicure" has come to suggest in modern times), but simple foods.  Good friendship, deeply grounded.  These are the things that would give us the lives best lived.

2.  Love is first a verb, not a noun.  For a couple in disharmony, Moore would recommend beginning by simply loving each other -- doing good for each other, attending, being kind, and treating the other's happiness as one's own.  "Feeling" the love could never be a pre-condition.  "Doing" the loving would pave the road back to harmony.  "Doing" the loving was what married couples pledged.

Moore's writing isn't for everyone.  I find his style to be warm and clear -- but others might find his tone a little earnest.  In fact, I remember reading Tuesdays with Morrie alongside Care of the Soul, and thinking "Tuesdays with Morrie says the same thing as Care of the Soul, but a lot more quickly and without the pretension."  Now, I reckon that either teacher works.  I don't see so much pretension in Moore's work -- just honesty and hope.


*read into the phrasing what you will.


11:08 AM in Quotables, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 13, 2007

Introducing String Theory at Stringamajig

Some people can knit.  And some people can fiddle.  But how many do you know who can do both?

I only know one, but apparently she knows others and if you're like me, you'll be surprised to find out what happens in the pits at Jesus Christ Superstar.

Above, a detail from "Still Life With Sock and Viola" from my pal Lisa of "String Theory" at Stringamajig (I like her blog name and her URL, so you get both)-- friend from waaaaay long before blogland, and finally now on the blogroll.

03:26 PM in Links of Note | Permalink | Comments (5)

Mar 12, 2007

Photo Mosaics from AndreaMosaic

A jar of pens and pencils rendered with AndreaMosaic.  Click to increase from fine pt. to medium pt.

I've spent the last few weeks housesitting for my friend Geoff but soon I get the boot.  Today I snapped ~100 pix of things in his house (cabinet doors, the floor, artwork, shoes, family photos, etc.) with hopes of making a fun photomosaic as a memento.

To my happy surprise, there are several freeware programs for making photo mosaics.  AndreaMosaic is the first one I stumbled onto.  Fortunately, it's easy to use and pretty fast.  The one challenge is that photo mosaic outputs can be several MB large, which isn't so great for emailing to friends.  Thus the need for a photo resizer.

There are many options for photo resizing; I use Photo Gadget Picture Resizer (free edition) for most fast resizing tasks.  It rocks.  What's really neat about PGPR is that it's integrated into Windows so instead of importing your photo into some other program (like Photoshop Elements, which you have to wait on while it cranks up), you just right click on the file you want and PGPR shows up in the menu (right between "Open With" and "Send To").

12:01 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 09, 2007

"This morning, just after 11:00..."


Friday.  Early Fall, 1993.

This morning, just after 11:00, Michael locked himself in his office and he won't come out.  Bill (Bill!) sent Michael this totally wicked flame-mail from hell on the e-mail system --and he just wailed on a chunk of code Michael had written...  We figured it must have been a random quality check to keep the troops in line.  Bill's so smart.  Bill is wise.  Bill is kind.  Bill is benevolent.  Bill, Be My Friend...Please!  Actually, nobody on our floor has ever been flamed by Bill personally.  The episode was tinged with glamour and we were somewhat jealous.  I tried to tell Michael this, but he was crushed.

-- excerpt from opening paragraphs of microserfs by Douglas Coupland.

I have wondered why Coupland's microserfs didn't seem to get much of an audience, considering his importance in writing Generation X just a few years earlier.  Then again, I think that Generation X didn't get read that much, either.  A case of the title getting more play than what's in the box. 

That said, Coupland really did seem to nail the cultures that he wrote about.  microserfs was writing about tech and startup culture half a decade before the tech boom became fully palpable in the greater American culture.

I don't know as much as many, but I suspect that those who know would put microserfs in the informal canon of "books that described and defined the way things were at the beginning."  Kind of a lesser version of Silent Spring and its relationship with the birth of global environmental awareness.

*in addition to its greater reputation as igniter.


Did you notice that both of this week's quotes relate to the concept of Big Brother?  Coincidence.

12:52 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 08, 2007

Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk at Harris Teeter


Harris Teeter now has Brussels sprouts on the stalk!

Not to revive a topic discussed on somebody's blog sometime a couple of years ago, I really like Brussels sprouts when they're done nicely.

These on the stalk make me think of those jingle bell sticks that some bands/orchestras use.

09:38 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10)

Mar 07, 2007

"It Was a Bright Cold Day in April..."

1984 "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.  Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dusty from entering along with him."

-- 1984, George Orwell.  Chapter 1, paragraph 1.

This is not an original idea, but I've often wanted to do a Balderdash-like exercise in which I paired opening paragraphs from real novels with paragraphs I had just made up, to see if people could guess which ones were published and which ones were not.

Obviously (I hope), I couldn't use this Orwell example, which includes one of the most famous opening lines in English fiction. 

Speaking of which:

For proof that you can publish just about anything if someone else already wrote it, check out this book -- ABC: Opening Sentences of Famous Novels.  Leon Mazzella is listed as "author" but I wonder if "editor" would be more appropriate. 

Jon Winokur has no doubt gotten rich off of his various compilations including Zen to Go, The Portable Curmudgeon, The Portable Curmudgeon Redux, and The Big Curmudgeon.  It's a good thing that I read Zen to Go first, else I'd be pretty damned curmudgeonly about Winokur's success in publishing the other three.

11:20 AM in Quotables, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mar 06, 2007



2003 Pontiac Vibe.  Yeah, baby!

If anyone wants a beat-up Ford Aerostar, let me know.  It seems I no longer need mine.

12:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 05, 2007

It takes a village...

...of idiots.  It takes a village of idiots.  To raise another village of idiots.

-- Tom B., at an Arkansas Wal-Mart.

12:15 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mar 02, 2007

Pets and Their Children

Beezus These days I am cat sitting for the lovely Ruby and Chloe.  Snugglebuns Ruby has a wet nose, which makes me want to call her "Nosy", which was (of course) the name of Beezus and Ramona's cat.  Beverly Cleary wrote the greatest books -- such great stories and such great writing*.

We don't have any such storytelling here at the Archer Pelican, but I can offer you this short list of pets from fiction, and invite you to remember the names of their children (or in some cases, their adults) and the books or shows that tell their story.  I'm sure you know more of these pairs than I...

Loony and Miranda [I think that Marianne may have a leg up on these]
Old Yeller
Thomas Gray [Timmy, do you know this one?]

*extra-fitting, if you read about Beverly Cleary's childhood.

07:36 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 01, 2007

I Am The Captain of My Density

Captainobvious_1 Two recent conversations make me worry about my grasp of things:

Conversation 1.  From Tuesday dinner at Starlu with new acquaintances K2 and Ann (along with Joe V., Gina N., and Michael B.)

K2 was a Baltimore native who had done her undergrad work at NCCU.  She mentioned that she returned to Baltimore after graduation, "But then I came back."

Me:  What brought you back to Durham?

K2:  What's the reason anyone comes back to a place?

Me:  [thinking and searching for the obvious answer] local culture? Or just the way some towns get into your into your system and you have to come back?  Or maybe a job, or some community activity like a church or activist group or something? [continuing with blank look while processing...]

Ann:  Was it a guy?

K2:  Yes.  It was a guy.

Me:  [smacks forehead with hand.]

Conversation 2.  At work, in a meeting with biz-partner Adam as we talked about how the best-branded non-profits have Pavlov-programmed us on what to do when we hear their name.

Adam:  Like the Red Cross.  What do we instantly know we're supposed to do when we think about the Red Cross?

Me:  Give money?

Adam:  Um, OK.  But what else?

Me:  Volunteer during a disaster?  Like filling sandbags when the flood waters are rising?

Adam:  Um, OK.  But what else?  You know...

Me:  [blank look]

Adam:  Do....nate....?

Me:  [more blank look]

Adam:  Donate blood?

Me:  Huhn?  Oh, yeah!  Donate blood!

Adam:  [shakes head. sighs]

So who is the more lame marketing consultant?  Adam for assuming I'd get the answer right, or me for being in a different time zone?  Shh...  Don't tell our clients.


"Captain Obvious" image yoinked from this punkfest and/or this funny guy.

09:33 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)