Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Posted 22 Oct 10 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics
Being on the academic job market so far produces the same feeling in me as riding a Drop Tower, a ride that drops you from a 23-story height.

It took me a long time to get the courage to ride Drop Zone, a Drop Tower in California. While standing in line, I was terrified. I kept thinking, "Why did I voluntarily agree to do this?”. But it was too late to back out at some point – I didn’t want to look like a coward in front of my friends and all the other people in line.

So there you are in this job market "line”. You know it’ll be ok in the end. You know that it’s just a ride and everyone standing in line comes out ok. You see the smiling people around you and imagine that you’re the only one this terrified.

You finally go on the ride. It lifts you up and now you KNOW there’s no getting down without that butterfly feeling in your stomach. All the seats rise at different rates so you don’t know exactly when the drop will begin. You don’t know whether to close your eyes or keep them open. And then it happens – your seat drops from underneath you and the fall begins.

Almost instantaneously, you’re back on the ground. You feel exhilarated. You thank your friends for convincing you to come. And you never want to do it again.



Posted 20 Jul 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

In legal jargon, the word for "child” is "issue”.

The reason you can tell different musical instruments apart is because of timbre. In other words, the notes played by different instruments aren’t "pure”; they contain other notes as well.



Posted 18 Jul 10 by Tatyana in News

Soon after the oil spill happened, I sold my BP stock as I saw it plunge below $50 a share (from $60 a share just a week ago). Sadly, I lost money, but I was pretty happy a few weeks later when it dipped below $40. As I saw it plunging further, I started wondering whether it made some sense to buy it back again. I decided that if it got below $30, I would buy more shares. Lo and behold, I am the proud owner of BP stock again (I bought it for a little under $31), and it’s looking like a good idea right now – BP closed at $37 on Friday and the oil spill looks kind of sort of contained. Now I just have to hope that (a) the cap stays in place and (b) there are no hurricanes coming through that region.

Of course, this is how I imagine amateur day traders are born. You make a few good calls and all of a sudden it seems like making money on the market is pretty easy. Luckily, my broker charges commission for trades. Otherwise, I would probably be trying to beat the market left and right and would most likely fail. Or would I?



Posted 08 Jul 10 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics

  1. Working is not always the most productive activity in the long run.
  2. Naps are almost always a good idea (see #1).
  3. Surfing the internet is almost never a good idea.
  4. No one will remember your grades after year 2, including you.
  5. Most of the work gets done last minute. Even after you’ve been repeatedly told that most of the work gets done last minute and have desperately tried to avoid this fate.
  6. You will learn a lot, whether you like it or not. And you will not really realize how much you’ve learned until you talk to people who aren’t yet in grad school.



Posted 05 Jun 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I was listening to "Believe” by Skillet, which I thought was a pretty awesome song until I started paying attention to the lyrics. Turns out the content is quite amusing.

It starts out like this:

"I’m still trying to figure out how
  to tell you I was wrong
  I can’t fill the emptiness inside
  since you’ve been gone”

Pretty good beginning. The singer made a mistake. Now he feels empty inside and wants to tell her he was wrong.

Next few lines:
  "So is it you or is it me?
  I know I said things that I didn’t mean
  But you should’ve known me by now
  You should’ve known me”

Translation: "is there any way I can blame it on you though? Maybe I don’t have to apologize after all. Maybe it’s all your fault.”

Chorus:

"If you believed
  When I said
  I’d be better off without you
  Then you never really knew me at all
  If you believed
  When I said
  That I wouldn’t be thinking about you
  You thought you knew the
  truth but you’re wrong”

Translation: it’s all your fault.



Posted 04 May 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

The tap water in Boston is now safe to drink again. The biggest disappointment through this whole thing has been MIT’s reaction to the state of emergency. Cambridge has its own water supply, so those living there were not affected. However, plenty of students live in Somerville or Boston, including some sorority and fraternity members.

Boston University sent its students tons of emails and made automated phone calls. MIT tested its emergency alert system the week before (and it seemed to be working well). It sent no emails about the water until Monday (the whole thing started Saturday). Monday’s email started with "If you were affected by the boiled water order…” Thanks for letting us know, MIT!



Posted 01 May 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I’ve never been in a situation where supplies might become scarce…until today. The governor has declared a state of emergency because of a broken pipe that has caused much of the water in and around Boston to be undrinkable.

We went to CVS to stock up on drinking water, wondering how many other people would have the same idea (a lot). Now the fun math problem is, how much do you buy? The water is leaking at a rate of 8 million gallons per hour, affecting drinking water in 700,000 households. That’s about the only number available. How long will this last? Are the shipments of bottled water enough to keep up with demand?

I definitely experienced what I always thought was crazy – wanting to buy as much was as I could carry. I resisted it, but still bought more water than I would have thought rational.



Posted 28 Apr 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

A few years ago, I heard someone say that weather forecasters always overstate the chances of rain. The reasoning is that people are REALLY unhappy if it rains when the forecast calls for sun and only slightly unhappy when it doesn’t rain although the forecast says otherwise.

I generally agree with that reasoning, but there is a limit. This week, the Boston forecasters overstepped it. They’ve forecasted rain starting on Sunday morning. There was no rain on Sunday or Monday. In fact, it was quite sunny. I brought my bike inside both nights, silently swearing as I maneuvered it up the stairs while trying to open the three sets of doors between the outdoors and my apartment. To be fair, it did rain Monday night, but by Tuesday morning it was clear again. Yet weather.com relentlessly kept forecasting rain.

Of course, by Tuesday afternoon, I didn’t really care what weather.com said. I decided that my method of looking at the sky in the distance was far more reliable. I jumped on my bike and went to play tennis (indoors, because we thought it was going to rain). As you can guess, when I came outside, the ground was wet and rain was coming down.

I hope these are not the same guys who are in charge of deciding whether or not there’s global warming.



Posted 27 Apr 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

Instead of telling kids that they can be "anything they want to be” (as the US stereotype goes) or to keep their expectations low, people should be telling them to keep things simple. My recent experiences confirm that this is the best attitude to have whether you’re trying to write a dissertation or improve your tennis skills.

I don’t want my dissertation to be simple. I want it to be the ultimate answer to several super important questions. But as it turns out, that’s neither feasible, nor desirable. Trying to answer a lot of general questions has so far led me to no answers. As it also turns out, the people who come up with lots of good answers write a lot of good but specific papers. I may not be exactly like those people, but I can imitate their methods instead of trying to be all I can be.

In an entirely different realm, I finally decided to work on my tennis technique. Following a friend’s advice, I went to yellowtennisballs.com (great site!) and watched some free instructional videos. The forehand basics consist of five parts. I thought that was manageable until I stepped onto the court and realized that I was completely incapable of hitting a ball. So I just decided to focus on parts 1 and 2, which worked pretty damn well.

The point is that you can’t have everything, you can’t be everything, and you shouldn’t keep your expectations low (at least I hope to do slightly better than graduate and master 2/5 components of the forehand). But, in case your mother never told you, you should focus on one thing at a time if you want to get anywhere.



Posted 01 Apr 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I remember when it was pretty easy to trick people on April Fool’s day. Or maybe I thought it was. The first joke I remember making is telling my mom I was pregnant. I think I was 7 or 8. She didn’t believe me or think it was funny (in retrospect I can see why).

Now it’s much harder to convince people of something ridiculous. If you can make them believe it, it’s usually not funny and if it’s funny, no one will believe you. Even Google’s "joke” of changing its name to Topeka for the day is not really a joke. It’s a really cute response to Topeka changing its name to Google, Kansas for a month. Writing about the pope being sued by Kentucky is a bit too far fetched. Oh, wait, that actually did happen.

I was really hoping something interesting/ridiculous would happen so that I could tell people about it and have them not believe me because it’s April Fool’s. But Wednesdays are just not that exciting. And now I’ll go and cash my $35 million lottery ticket.



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