Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Posted 27 Feb 11 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I’ve been flying a lot in the past couple of months. Luckily, I tolerate it pretty well. I’m short enough to have plenty of leg room and I can sleep just fine. My pet peeve about flying has turned out to be overhead bin space. I hate checking luggage, so I fly with a carry-on suitcase and a backpack. I dutifully put the latter under the seat in front of me.

However, many people do not appear to exhibit altruism toward total strangers. On many of the flights, the attendants announced that the overhead bins would likely fill up and asked people to refrain from putting their second item and jackets up there until everyone has boarded. I can confidently declare this to be one of the most violated rules in flying. You would think that if people were generally altruistic toward others, more of them would comply. Even though not putting your jacket in the overhead bin probably helps less than donating money to a good charity, it’s also less costly.
  There are two possibilities here: most charitable behavior is warm glow (I doubt there’s warm glow from not putting your jacket in the bin) or people really don’t understand the annoyance of having to check your carry-on. Or I don’t understand the annoyance of having your jacket on your lap.

Posted 24 Feb 11 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics

…me! I have officially confirmed that I will be starting as Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign next year. The job market was a truly unique and surprisingly fun experience, but I am glad it’s over for many reasons:

  1. I have a great job with great colleagues!
  2. I get to catch up with my classmates and others I haven’t seen in months.
  3. I started running regressions again this week, for the first time since December or so.
  4. Yesterday, I went to the gym for the first time in about a month. It hurt.
  5. I get to eat my own food in my own home. I never thought I’d say this, but by the end of it all, eating out was no longer exciting.
  6. I can focus on this whole graduation business now.

Good luck to everyone who’s still in the process of figuring out where they’ll be next year!

Posted 05 Jan 11 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics
 I’m staying in an undisclosed hotel in Denver. When I arrived, there was a door tag on my bed that asked me to "make a green choice”. Specifically, it offered me a $5 voucher to the hotel stores/restaurants for each day I forgo housekeeping services. Being somewhat of an environmentalist and not seeing a huge benefit in clean sheets every day, I went for it. As it turns out, forgoing housekeeping services also means that no one takes out your trash or replenishes your shampoo and toilet paper. In fact, the housekeepers don’t come to your room at all. Not sure what keeping the trash in the (unlined) basket for one more day does for the  planet, but I bet these "green” tags save the hotel a lot of money.  

Posted 17 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Travels

You know you’ve been traveling too much when:

(a) You see that lady in front of you hand the TSA agent a Massachusetts driver’s license, think "What a coincidence that she’s from Massachusetts as well!”, then realize that you’re at Logan airport and not in SFO.

(b) You scan the departures screen for your flight to Chicago, don’t find it listed, then realize you’re in Chicago on your way to Boston.

(c) Your watch and your computer are set to two different time zones. And neither is set to the time zone you’re in.

(d) You start recognizing flight attendants and flight numbers

I’ve been traveling too much, although I haven’t reached (d) yet.

Posted 28 Oct 09 by Tatyana in Travels

In case you’re wondering why Chicago’s making an appearance all of a sudden, it’s because I’m visiting the University for the semester.

I’m sure everyone’s heard that Chicago is known as the "Windy City” and heard people talk about how windy it is here. A few years ago, someone told me that this is not actually because of the wind, but because of Chicago politics (i.e. politicians bragging and being full of empty talk in general). Since I love "You know, that’s not actually true” moments, I remembered that. This weekend, the tour guide on the architecture tour said the same thing and added that the name originated before the 1893 World Fair when the boasting related to getting the World Fair bid became outrageous.

You know, neither story is actually true. I looked up the windiest US city this morning. There’s some debate as to what the windiest actually is, depending on whether you exclude Alaska (the weather service did when they published their list), but it most definitely isn’t Chicago. It isn’t even in the top 10 (Boston ranks number 9 if you exclude Alaska). You can find this and lots of other "weather lists” here.

As far as the politics, a historian in American slang wrote that he found references to Chicago being called the "Windy City” in 1885, way before the World Fair bid (he also found a reference to it being called "The Garden City”). He couldn’t find the reason for this nickname, however. This USA Today Q&A archive has this and more.

It does feel very windy here though. My own (unverified) hypothesis is that Chicago might have a high variance in wind speeds relative to other places. If there are a lot of windless days in Chicago and a few REALLY windy days, it might feel windier than a city that has steady winds with the same average.