Sunday Selection 2012-12-09

Around the Web

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Academia

As my third semester as a PhD student draws to an end, I’m starting to think about what to do in the long term: what kind of a career I want to have, what kind of problems I want to focus on, etc. This piece is an interesting look at how research in computer science can coexist with making an impact in the real world today.

Trouble at Code School

I’ve been a Teaching Assistant for two semesters, but I haven’t really been on the front lines of teaching students. That being said, from what little experience I have introducing newcomers to programming that both teaching and learning beginning programming is no easy task. Luckily, with the growth of education-based startups and the resurgence in academic CS programs we’ll probably see interesting approaches in the near future.

GitHub vs Skyrim

Giles Bowkett manages to come up with interesting perspectives on a regular basis. This article talks about about GitHub and Skyrim and how the way they encourage team dynamics may lay the foundation for a new way of organizing companies and teams. Perhaps the most insightful idea is that the very definition of an office or workspace is not only changing, but gradually becoming irrelevant as work becomes increasingly distributed.

From the Bookshelf

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman

I first read this book years ago in school and it was probably the first book to show me that you can fill a life with equal parts work and fun. This book probably played an important, though subconscious part in my decision to stay in academia for the time being. Even if you’re not a scientist or and academic, this book is worth reading and learning from. Life is supposed to be fun.

Sunday Selection 2012-06-24

Around the Web

Dr. Peter Whybrow Says We’re Addicted to Stress

As much as I love technology and connectivity, it’s very easy to let it consume your life, to feel as your’re required to be connected 24/7. This is even more true if your job doesn’t have strict timings (like being a graduate student). It’s best to set boundaries and stick to them, for our own sanity.

How to Do What You Love

This is a Paul Graham classic that I think is worth reading every few months. It’s nominally about finding work that you love but it’s also a sharp critique of how we trick ourselves into doing things we don’t want and really don’t have to do.

Humanity: Not an Immutable State

This post is from the excellent Terminally Incoherent blog. It captures a lot of what I’ve thinking about humanity’s continued technologically-catalyzed evolution. We are changing as a race and a culture and I think that’s a good thing – as long as we actively acknowledge, accept and direct that change.

From the Bookshelf

A PhD is not enough

A PhD is often considered a stepping stone on the path to an academic career. This book provides a sobering look at the reality of academic careers (especially in the pre-tenure stage) and shows how getting a PhD is just the first step on the path. If you’re considering a PhD or life in academia consider this required reading.


Aalto talk with Linus Torvalds

Classic Linus on the birth and continued evolution of Linux, the spread of open source ideas beyond software and the problem of troublesome hardware vendors.