Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Posted 03 Mar 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

Although Google has perfected the search engine (or at least made it very very very good at finding exactly what you need), it’s still far from being able to suggest relevant ads on Gmail. I constantly see links inviting me to get a PhD online or to evaluate my chances of getting into MIT. Note that Gmail knows I have an MIT email address and my signature contains the words "PhD student”. Maybe they’re afraid of using that information for privacy concerns?

Also, I’ve been getting links to recipes using Spam (the meat) for a long time. I could not figure out why. I thought maybe Spam was launching some advertising campaign and paying Google tons of money to put links on Gmail. It’s only a few days ago that I realized the Spam recipes come up when I check the message in my spam folder. Really, Gmail? Really?

Posted 10 Feb 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

From the MIT student planner (there WILL be a quiz at the end):

  1. "The penguin is the only bird that can swim, but cannot fly.”
  3. "Stressed is desserts spelled backwards.” (…and "diet” is "die” with a "t”)
  5. "There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs six times: indivisibility.”
  7. "Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order.”
  9. "There are only four words in the English language which end in "-dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.”
  11. "‘Acre’ literally means the amount of land plowable in one day.”
  13. "Coca-Cola was never green.”
  15. "Any month that has a Friday the 13th also has a Wednesday the 25th.” (…and a Thu the 13th)

Quiz: (a) Who figures these things out?,  (b) How many starving children could be fed if we donated the money paid to people in part (a) to developing countries?, and (c) Who would ever think Coca-Cola used to be green and why?

Cool fact from MIT planner: "Al Gore’s roommate in college was Tommy Lee Jones”

Posted 09 Feb 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I thought that the spammers ran out of good jokes. But then I saw a few more cute ones:

  1. A JOKE! ) How do you get holy water? Boil the hell out of it.
  3. Wanna good joke? Where does a one-armed man shop? At a second hand store.
  5. Do you want a joke?  Why do turkeys eat so little? Because they are always stuffed!
  7. I have a fresh joke for you) Did you hear about the two men who walked into a bar? The third one ducked.
  9. Nice joke! What do you call Santa’s helpers? Subordinate Clauses.

Posted 02 Feb 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I thought snobbism in America was nearly dead (at least in public) until I saw this profile on Above The Law. I was shocked at the level of conceit when I read the blog comments of this "partner emeritus” (according to him, he’s a "legend in the legal profession”). I’m still not 100% convinced that this is a real person and not someone who made up a character for the fun of it, but his comments are entertaining to read.

Here are fun exerts:

"If you obtained an LLM degree from a peer law school, yet earned a JD from a non-peer institution, you are still a non-peer. It really irked me to meet some attorneys who thought they were in the same league as I was in because they earned an LLM from a top program.”

I’m not even sure what a "peer” law school is, but I would bet this guy went to Harvard.

"Marriage today is nothing but a contract which includes a pernicious penalty clause that will, in most cases, castigate the male for having fallen in love.”

"Try composing sentences after imbibing half a bottle of scotch before noon.”

"Practitioner’s tip for U. of Wisconsin Law grads: I have been to your state twice in my life. I would rather be marooned without food in Tierra del Fuego than set foot in your state again. No honorarium fee, 5 or 6 figures, would convince me to speak to your kind. Save your money for your life has seen the end game…yesterday.”

I really hope this guy is real!

Posted 31 Jan 10 by Tatyana in Books

From: Karl Marx’s Capital Volume One, Part III: The Production of Absolute Surplus-Value, CHAPTER TEN: THE WORKING-DAY

[66] l. c., p. xiii. The degree of culture of these "labour-powers”
  must naturally be such as appears in the following dialogues with one
  of the commissioners: Jeremiah Haynes, age 12 — "Four times four is 8;
  4 fours are 16. A king is him that has all the money and gold. We have
  a king (told it is a Queen), they call her the Princess Alexandra.
  Told that she married the Queen’s son. The Queen’s son is the Princess
  Alexandra. A Princess is a man.” William Turner, age 12 — "Don’t live
  in England. Think it is a country, but didn’t know before.” John
  Morris, age 14 — "Have heard say that God made the world, and that all
  the people was drownded but one, heard say that one was a little
  bird.” William Smith age 15 — "God made man, man made woman.” Edward
  Taylor, age 15 — "Do not know of London.” Henry Matthewman, age 17 —
  "Had been to chapel, but missed a good many times lately. One name
  that they preached about was Jesus Christ, but I cannot say any
  others, and I cannot tell anything about him. He was not killed, but
  died like other people. He was not the same as other people in some
  ways, because he was religious in some ways and others isn’t.” (l. c.,
  p. xv.) "The devil is a good person. I don’t know where he lives.”
  "Christ was a wicked man.” "This girl spelt God as dog, and did not
  know the name of the queen.” ("Ch. Employment Comm. V. Report, 1866 "
  p. 55, n. 278.) The same system obtains in the glass and paper works
  as in the metallurgical, already cited. In the paper factories, where
  the paper is made by machinery, night-work is the rule for all
  processes, except rag-sorting. In some cases night-work, by relays, is
  carried on incessantly through the whole week, usually from Sunday
  night until midnight of the following Saturday. Those who are on
  day-work work 5 days of 12, and 1 day of 18 hours; those on night-work
  5 nights of 12, and I of 6 hours in each week. In other cases each set
  works 24 hours consecutively on alternate days, one set working 6
  hours on Monday, and 18 on Saturday to make up the 24 hours. In other
  cases an intermediate system prevails, by which all employed on the
  paper-making machinery work 15 or 16 hours every day in the week. This
  system, says Commissioner Lord, "seems to combine all the evils of
  both the 12 hours’ and the 24 hours’ relays.” Children under 13, young
  persons under 18, and women, work under this night system. Sometimes
  under the 12 hours’ system they are obliged, on account of the
  non-appearance of those that ought to relieve them, to work a double
  turn of 24 hours. The evidence proves that boys and girls very often
  work overtime, which, not unfrequently, extends to 24 or even 36 hours
  of uninterrupted toil. In the continuous and unvarying process of
  glazing are found girls of 12 who work the whole month 14 hours a day,
  "without any regular relief or cessation beyond 2 or, at most, 3
  breaks of half an hour each for meals.” In some mills, where regular
  night-work has been entirely given up, over-work goes on to a terrible
  extent, "and that often in the dirtiest, and in the hottest, and in
  the most monotonous of the various processes.” ("Ch. Employment Comm.
  Report IV., 1865,” p. xxxviii, and xxxix.)

Posted 17 Jan 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

This will probably be the last "blog spammers jokes” publication, mostly because I’m tired of sorting through the spam comments to dig them out. And after a while, they do get kind of old and repetitive.

  1. Fresh joke! What do you call a dog with no legs? It doesn’t matter what you call him he ain’t gonna come. (I know, it’s mean)
  3. A joke for you! Where do polar bears vote? The North Poll.
  5. I have a nice joke for you) Why wouldn’t the bike move very fast?? It was too tired!!
  7. Wanna very nice joke?)) What would you get if you crossed a potato and a frog? A potatoad.
  9. I have a good fresh joke for you! Why do bagpipers walk when they play? They’re trying to get away from the noise.
  11. I have a fresh joke for you) Why did the bald man put a bunny on his head? He wanted a full head of hare.
  13. Wanna very nice joke?)) Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve? Because it SOOTS him!
  15. Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby” when babies wake up 10 times every hour?

My friends also suggested the following jokes. I’m pretty sure that the fact they’re both religious dyslexic jokes is a coincidence (please don’t be offended!):

1. What do dyslexic, agnostic insomniacs do?  They lay awake at night wondering if there really is a dog. (by TR)

2. Did you hear about the dyslexic devil-worshipper who made a deal with the devil and sold his soul to Santa? (by MP)

Posted 15 Jan 10 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

In college, one of my friends took a philosophy class where the professor didn’t adjust the grades based on which of the two TAs you had (they were responsible for grading the papers). One of the TAs was much tougher than the other one, but the professor’s reasoning was that people didn’t know this going into the class, so they had as much of a (random) chance to get the hard TA as the easy one. Because it wasn’t ex-ante unfair, he saw no need to adjust based on ex-post TA harshness.

At first, I thought the reasoning was kind of ridiculous. If you see that the highest grade one TA gave was a B and the other one gave out A’s to 60% of the class, do you really want to argue that nothing should be done about this outcome because of ex-ante equal probabilities of getting the harsh TA? Sure, you’ll be "redistributing” some of the good grades away from the people with the easy TA, but wouldn’t they have wanted that if they didn’t know which one they would get? By the way, this also happens with professors teaching the same class at very different difficulty levels and not adjusting for that when they give out grades.

Of course, the story can be a little more complicated. What if the "easy” TA’s session was at 8am and the "hard” TA’s session was at 2pm? Could it be that the TAs are the same, but the people signing up for the 8am session were smarter than the people who wanted to sleep in? And what if people knew about the TAs’ reputations going into the class?

In this case, of course, you can solve the problem somewhat by having the TAs grade random papers, not just their own students’ and then de-meaning the grade by each TA’s average. Or you can have them both grade each paper (not like they have anything else to do) and take the average grade. Or you can find out which one the easy one is and sign up for her section.

Posted 01 Jan 10 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics

Whenever surveys ask people whether they’re saving too much, too little, or not enough, the overwhelming majority claim to be saving too little. But you always get a few people who claim they’re saving too much. I’ve lately been wondering who those people are and how they manage to save too much. Do they not know what to spend their money on? Are they constrained by a controlling spouse? Did they read the question wrong?

If we allow people to make random mistakes, we would expect the proportion of people saving too much and too little to be similar. If anything, there should be more people saving too much if credit card companies realize people may borrow too much. Maybe there are people who are saving too much but don’t realize it.

An easy answer is that certain things like spending money are tempting and people’s long-run self conflicts with their short-run self, resulting in under-saving. But lately I’ve been wondering how social norms and expectations contribute to how much we think we should be saving. An interesting aspect of this is that social norms can make you save too little (because buying a house, a car, and an expensive vacation is something every American should be doing) AND make you think you should be saving more (because it’s good to prepare for the future).

Since it is January, a related question is why are New Year’s resolutions so one-sided?  Think about how the following sounds to you:

This year, I resolve to spend more money, eat more junk food, exercise less, gain weight, travel less, spend less time with loved ones and more time on facebook and on drugs…

Posted 19 Dec 09 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics

For some reason, I keep thinking of the analogy of having a baby when I this PhD thing.

If you think about it, the process is very similar, especially in the later years.

Year 3 = first trimester. You feel like you’re on top of the world (= like you just had sex). You have no responsibilities and face little or no expectations.

Year 4 = second trimester. The morning sickness/mood swings start. Periodically, you still remember why you’re doing this. Other times, you want to abort the whole thing.

Year 5 = third trimester. Life becomes difficult. Labor starts, and you’re in a lot of pain. You worry about whether your "baby” will have all its fingers and toes intact ( = whether you’ll realize there’s a defect in your code which invalidates all your findings).

Year 6…If you’re still in grad school by year 6, they’ll induce labor by cutting your funding.

Posted 26 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I wish I knew who these blog spammers were so I could give them credit for these and write angry emails. For now, I’ll just have to steal their jokes. I’m actually surprised by the quality of the word play. 5 is definitely my favorite.

  1. A joke for you peoples! Did you hear about the butcher who accidentally backed into the meat grinder? He got a little behind in his work.
  3. Wanna joke? What kind of shoes do lazy people wear? Loafers.
  5. I have a joke for you =) Which day of the week is the best for a dental appointment? Toothday.
  7. Good joke :) What did the robot have to do before she wore any earrings? She had to get her gears pierced.
  9. I have a joke for you =) Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist? He doesn’t believe in dogs.
  11. A JOKE! How many letters are in the alphabet? Nineteen. Because ET went home on a UFO and the FBI went after him.

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