Wiki Contributions


How to estimate my probability of getting a (competitive) job in Academia

Can’t you staple three papers together with filler/linking material and call it “Essays in Political Science” or a narrower topic if you’ve been focused?

I suggest emailing Chris Blattman and Bryan Caplan and asking for advice. Greet, be brief and to the point. I suggest Blattman because he works as a political scientist though he was trained as an economist. If your statistical skills are good you can do very well outside academia. Amazon Economists (PhD required) are getting over $175K starting. Bryan Caplan I suggest because he suggests academia is a truly amazing job for some and the competition isn’t that high.

How to estimate my probability of getting a (competitive) job in Academia

Surely this calls for data analysis? I’ve seen Economics papers on publication and placement for PhD students by programme, and I think for Sociology. There are almost certainly relevant publications for your field and if there aren’t you could probably get a publishable paper out of writing up your own research.

If you’re in Year 2 of your programs and on track to have three publications by Year 5 your personal probability of getting a tenure track position must be 50% or higher, not 25%. Again, this calls for data. The 25% of your programme’s graduates do get placed; what kind of publication records did they have on graduation? Compare yourself to the reference class you want to be in. I am almost certain PhD graduates in PS’s top programme have on average less publications than you do already. Most Harvard/MIT Economics PhD graduates never publish a paper. I don’t know what Political Science is like but if it’s similar your publication record is going to look pretty good.

If you’re considering industry why not look for the skills they like and try to publish something that would use those skills? Look up Economist jobs at Amazon, or read Susan Athey’s advice for people who want those jobs.

Where are the quick, easy wins?

If you are in that position surely the economically rational thing to do would be to juice your returns by borrowing to invest more?

Where are the quick, easy wins?

The consultants aren’t parasites. They offer something extremely valuable, on call, disposable expertise without requiring you to hire another full time employee. If you have a month’s work for someone but that someone needs to actually know what they’re doing right now then paying a large premium can make sense very quickly. Convenience and lack of expectation of continued employment are part of what contractors generally provide.

I see the appeal of actually making a thing but the thing can equally be an info-product like a book or course that also serves as proof of expertise. That serves as a casing card for consulting services too. Margins are better on services and information products than on physical objects.

Young Scientists

Do you have any experience teaching, interacting with or mentoring 14-18 year olds that makes you confident some small minority of them can do this? If you please give details.

Open Thread August 31 - September 6

Based on my own experience I strongly suspect the only way to do this is to fail repeatedly until you succeed. That said the following rules are very, very good.

If you really, really want an example I can send you my Developmental Psychology and Learning and Behaviour Deck. It consists of the entirety of a Cliff's Notes kind of Developmental Psychology book, a better dev psych's summary section and an L&B book's summary section. In retrospect the Cliff's Notes book was a mistake but I've invested enough in it now that I may as well continue it, most of the cards are mature anyway. I would recommend finding a decent book on the topic you're learning, and writing your own summaries or heavily rewording their summaries and using lots and lots of cloze deletions.

I just found this guide to using Anki.

It's possible it may be worth looking at.

If you really want my deck pm me your email address.


Here again are the twenty rules of formulating knowledge. You will notice that the first 16 rules revolve around making memories simple! Some of the rules strongly overlap. For example: do not learn if you do not understand is a form of applying the minimum information principle which again is a way of making things simple:

Do not learn if you do not understand Learn before you memorize - build the picture of the whole before you dismember it into simple items in SuperMemo. If the whole shows holes, review it again! Build upon the basics - never jump both feet into a complex manual because you may never see the end. Well remembered basics will help the remaining knowledge easily fit in Stick to the minimum information principle - if you continue forgetting an item, try to make it as simple as possible. If it does not help, see the remaining rules (cloze deletion, graphics, mnemonic techniques, converting sets into enumerations, etc.) Cloze deletion is easy and effective - completing a deleted word or phrase is not only an effective way of learning. Most of all, it greatly speeds up formulating knowledge and is highly recommended for beginners Use imagery - a picture is worth a thousand words Use mnemonic techniques - read about peg lists and mind maps. Study the books by Tony Buzan. Learn how to convert memories into funny pictures. You won't have problems with phone numbers and complex figures Graphic deletion is as good as cloze deletion - obstructing parts of a picture is great for learning anatomy, geography and more Avoid sets - larger sets are virtually un-memorizable unless you convert them into enumerations! Avoid enumerations - enumerations are also hard to remember but can be dealt with using cloze deletion Combat interference - even the simplest items can be completely intractable if they are similar to other items. Use examples, context cues, vivid illustrations, refer to emotions, and to your personal life Optimize wording - like you reduce mathematical equations, you can reduce complex sentences into smart, compact and enjoyable maxims Refer to other memories - building memories on other memories generates a coherent and hermetic structure that forgetting is less likely to affect. Build upon the basics and use planned redundancy to fill in the gaps Personalize and provide examples - personalization might be the most effective way of building upon other memories. Your personal life is a gold mine of facts and events to refer to. As long as you build a collection for yourself, use personalization richly to build upon well established memories Rely on emotional states - emotions are related to memories. If you learn a fact in the sate of sadness, you are more likely to recall it if when you are sad. Some memories can induce emotions and help you employ this property of the brain in remembering Context cues simplify wording - providing context is a way of simplifying memories, building upon earlier knowledge and avoiding interference Redundancy does not contradict minimum information principle - some forms of redundancy are welcome. There is little harm in memorizing the same fact as viewed from different angles. Passive and active approach is particularly practicable in learning word-pairs. Memorizing derivation steps in problem solving is a way towards boosting your intellectual powers! Provide sources - sources help you manage the learning process, updating your knowledge, judging its reliability, or importance Provide date stamping - time stamping is useful for volatile knowledge that changes in time Prioritize - effective learning is all about prioritizing. In incremental reading you can start from badly formulated knowledge and improve its shape as you proceed with learning (in proportion to the cost of inappropriate formulation). If need be, you can review pieces of knowledge again, split it into parts, reformulate, reprioritize, or delete. See also: Incremental reading, Devouring knowledge, Flow of knowledge, Using tasklists

Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

It may not be an effective way to help people but it sure as hell helps you up to do it up to three times a year. All hail longevity! I regret I am in a rush so I can't link but I believe RomeoSteverns' post on optimising your health has the references.

Open thread, Jan. 12 - Jan. 18, 2015

I have heard that in economics and possibly other social sciences Ph.D. students can staple together three journal articles, call it a dissertation and get awarded their doctorate. But I've recently read "Publication, Publication" by Gary King, which I interpret as saying a very bright and hardworking undergraduate can write a quantitative political science article in the space of a semester, while carrying a normal class load.

This is confusing. Now, Dr. King teaches at Harvard so all his students are smart and it's two students writing one paper but this still seems insane. I'm guessing a full course load is around 6 classes a term and people are to write a journal article or close approximation thereof in a semester when three of them will suffice to get a Ph.D. and many people fail out of said degree who are very, very smart.

Where am I confused? Is research not that hard, a stapler thesis a myth or these class projects not strictly comparable to real papers?

Abstract: I show herein how to write a publishable paper by beginning with the replication of a published article. This strategy seems to work well for class projects in producing papers that ultimately get published, helping to professionalize students into the discipline, and teaching them the scientific norms of the free exchange of academic information. I begin by briefly revisiting the prominent debate on replication our discipline had a decade ago and some of the progress made in data sharing since.

Citation: King, Gary. 2006. Publication, Publication, PS: Political Science and Politics 39: 119–125. Copy at

Munchkining for Fun and Profit, Ideas, Experience, Successes, Failures

They have examination centres in many, many countries, the USA included.

Centres in the United Kingdom Belfast, Darlington, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Newport (Gwent), Sheffield, Southport, Titchfield, York.

Centres outside the UK Alphabetical list of current non-UK centres, including some that have not been used for a few years.

Our professional exams are not offered in Hong Kong. Instead, the Hong Kong Statistical Society provides professional exams of an equivalent standard.

Anguilla: The Valley Australia: Perth; Sydney Austria: Vienna Barbados: St Michael Bermuda: Paget Brunei: Darussalam Canada: Montreal; Victoria, BC; Yukon College Cyprus: Nicosia Germany: Cologne Ghana: Accra Gibraltar: Gibraltar Greece: Athens Grenada: St Georges Guyana: Georgetown India: Mumbai Ireland: Dublin Italy: Rome Jamaica: Kingston Japan: Tokyo Kenya: Nairobi Korea (South): Seoul Lithuania: Vilnius Malawi: Lilongwe Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur; Kuching Malta: Valletta Mauritius: Port Louis Montserrat: Brades Netherlands: Amsterdam New Zealand: Wellington Nigeria: Lagos Philippines: Pasig City Poland: Katowice St Helena: Prince Andrew School St Kitts: Basseterre St Lucia: Castries Singapore: Singapore South Africa: Johannesburg Spain: Barcelona; Madrid Switzerland: Baden Tanzania: Dar es Salaam The Gambia: Banjul Trinidad: Port of Spain USA: Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; San Diego, California; Washington, DC Zambia: Lusaka Zimbabwe: Harare

Non-standard politics

(Friedman, among other things, supported a version of guaranteed basic income. To which today's GOP mainstream would probably say, "but if we do that, it will just make poor people even lazier!")

He supported a large negative income tax for those on the lowest (earned) incomes, tapering off to zero, then positive as earned income increased. This is really very far from a guaranteed basic income.

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