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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Dismal States

If you're like me and stuck in the latest round of global warming (we're getting 8-10" - as usual, I blame Al Gore), you can use a chuckle. Here it is.

Every state is "special" for one reason or another. So, someone with far too much time on their hands put this together - the United States of Shame. Enjoy.

I will add that the Massachusetts distinction is absolutely correct.

HT: Ace of Spades.
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Englisizing The Paper

I'm in editing mode. Lately, I've been working with a couple of coauthors who are very, very good theorists. Their game theory/math chops are so much better than mine that I try not to discuss it. In addition, one of them is very connected with the top people in the accounting area (he was the other's chair, which is how we met).

They just dropped about a 40 page current version of a paper we've been working on for quite a while. The logic of the paper flows soundly, and the empirics are solid.

Unfortunately, neither of my coauthors has English as a mother tongue. So, I'm in charge of "Englishizing" the paper.

Oh my!

Update: I may have given the wrong impression (at least, based on a comment by Bob Jensen). My colleague and I have been working on this paper for quite some time, and we've all been involved with most parts of the paper (with the exception of the game-theoretic part, which is admittedly not my strength). My contributions have been primarily in the designing of the tests (my colleague is a game theorist, not an empiricist) and in the final editing of the paper.
Since I did my early education at Our Lady of the Bleeding Knuckles Elementary School (and yes, they did use the curtain rod), I received pretty good training in the fundamentals of what I call the "micro" part of writing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Don't Work Well Under Deadlines

"I don't work well under deadlines. But without them, I don't work at all."

I heard that line about 15 years ago from my dissertation chair, and it's stuck with me.

In the last three weeks, I've sent off three papers to conferences.
  • For one, I had to edit abut 40 pages or so. My coauthor (who is a theorist and non0native speaker) wrote the first draft. It's a good idea, but the writing needed a lot of work. We sent it off to the American Accounting Association Meeting. We also sent it off to a regional conference, because the school whee one of my coauthors works at counts these things.
  • A second is a paper that's been floating around for a while. It needed one final going over before submitting to a journal. We realized a week ago that the initial version had been submitted to the Financial Management Association (FMA) conference and rejected a year ago. This version has a lot more stuff in it and is much more polished. However, I hadn't gotten around to making the last few changes to it. So, I finished them and sent it off to the FMA conference. Now it just needs a little more work and we can submit it to a journal.
  • A third piece involved a paper we'd talked about with a graduate student. It involves a cross-breeding of his dissertation data and a previous paper done by the coauthor from the paper above. We got the dataset from the student with ten days to go before the deadline, and I started writing things up while my other coauthor started the data analysis. Somehow, we produced a 30 page paper with decent results in that time. It also got submitted to FMA. It still needs work, but I think we can have a journal-submittable version in a month or so.
Final tally - three papers submitted to 4 conferences in a span of about 2 weeks, followed by 12 hours of solid sleep.

Now I need to finish edits on a short piece that has a conditional acceptance. There's no deadline looming, but I'm in the groove from the last couple of weeks, so I'm here at the College on MLK day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Toilet Training the Unknown Baby Boy

This post is further proof that child rearing rots your brain. I'm actually posting on a finance blog about toilet training my kid. Ah well, it give me a break from madly working on the paper I'm trying to finish for the FMA deadline - I already sent one, but this one is insurance.

The Unknown Baby Boy (a.k.a. "Knucklehead") isn't toilet trained yet. He turns 2 in late March, so we're in no rush - if we make it to the warm weather, we'll probably use the time-honored approach of letting him run around outside with no pants on (yes, trees will be involved, and let the neighbors beware).

It's a time-honored tradition for guys to make a game out of their "liquidity management" (hey - it's a finance blog, so I have to at least make a pun in that direction. Some people advocate using little targets for the little guy when training (he can;t write cursive yet, so that's out...). But Sega has taken it to a whole other level. They've come out with game (called "Toylets") that's currently in selected locations in Tokyo where you can play video games by peeing in a urinal. Here's a short article:
In the early ’90s, Sega held 65% of the US video game console market, had millions of fans, and was considered one of the premier creators of modern gaming entertainment. Today, they are helping you play with your pee. The Japan branch of the multinational company recently announced that they are testing their Toylets male urinal video game at select locations around Tokyo. Toylets uses a pressure sensor located on the back of the urinal to measure the strength and location of your urine stream. A small LCD screen above the urinal allows you to play several simple video games including a simulator for erasing graffiti and a variation on a sumo wrestling match. At the end of a game, the screen displays advertisements.

... the four types of video games on the Toylets include:

“Mannekin Pis”: a simple measurement of the urine produced.
“Graffiti Eraser”: where you move your urine back and forth to remove paint
“The North Wind and Her”: a game where you play the wind, trying to blow a girl’s skirt up. The stronger you pee, the stronger the wind blows.
“Milk from Nose”: A variation on sumo wrestling, where you try to knock the other player out of the ring using the strength of your urine flow (shown as milk spraying from your nose). The record of your pee is saved and used as the opponent for the next player. So the game is sort of multiplayer. Toylets even lets you save information onto a USB drive! I fear the MMORPG that will arise from this.

Read the whole thing here.

To quote George Takei, Oh my!

I need some metal floss. Now back to work.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Ready To Start Classes

I'm still in the midst of hurriedly putting a paper together for the FMA deadline (Friday). So, it's pretty much been reading articles, writing, reading, writing, rewriting, rewriting, etc...

But during my breaks, I try to put a bit of time in on my next semester's classes. I'm teaching Investments again after a couple of years' break, so I'm redoing my syllabus (it['s a new edition of the text, too).

When this happens, my thoughts invariable turn to teaching (not just WHAT to teach, but HOW and WHY). Here's some good advice on the HOW: don't use Dilbert's approach to answering students' questions:
Dilbert.com

That is, unless you're tenured and don't care about evaluations. Of course, if you're tenured, you might often feel the need to use to respond to many of your colleagues. At least, that seems how it works in a few cases I've seen.

Ah well - I'm done with my workout and time to get to work (and it's not even 6:30 yet). Somehow, I've become a morning person over the last few months - The Unknown Wife works out at the Y from 6-7 with a friend (the friend has time constraints. So, if I'm going to get mine in , I have to be at the Y by 5 when it opens. This means getting up at 4:30 - I know at least one of my readers (Gerry) would approve.