Monthly Archives: October 2016

Book Review- Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird
by Anne Lamott, 1994


Great little book about writing. Contains tips for staying motivated and writing well, along with a lot of funny anecdotes about the author’s personal journey. Focused on fiction writing, but useful nonetheless. The following paragraph, about saving ideas on index cards, is fairly representative of the book at large:

I eventually throw away a lot of my index cards, either because I use what’s on them in a paragraph somewhere or because it turns out that the thought wasn’t all that interesting. Many index cards on which I write in the middle of the night tend to be incoherent, like some incredibly bright math major thinking about oranges or truth while on LSD. Some contain great quotes that I sharew with my students, although I unfortunately often forget to write down whose quote it is. Like this one, for instance: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” Now, I”m almost positive Ralph Waldo Emerson said this, but with my luck some critic will point out that it was really Georgette Mosbacher. (Who was it that said, “A critic is someone who comes onto the battlefield after the battle is over and shoots the wounded”? I have it written on an index card somewhere…) Other cards just sort of live with me, in little piles and drifts. My son will probably have to deal with them someday, after my death. They are my equivalent of all the cats that those nutty Bouvier aunts own. But my cards do not smell or shed or go wee-wee on the floors, and I think [my son] should be aware that he is getting off easy. Most of them will not make much sense to him. There are many with just one or two words on them that would have reminded me of entire scenes and empires, but he will have to stand there scratching his head.

Links 20161007

Two cool demand-side energy startups:

SolPad will offer a modular solar+storage solution for both homeowners and renters. Will be an especially big win for renters who cannot put panels on their house. From what I can tell, the only downside appears to be the fact that you have to designate which outlet the power goes to, instead of it just flowing to your entire house.

Ice Cub offers a combo A/C+thermal storage unit. The A/C can be run as a conventional air conditioner, or a tank can freeze ice and then run the A/C during times of high electricity price without using electricity. Projected to save customers who have time-varying rates up to $500/year, without much of a difference in install price.

NFL Picks- Week 5 of 2016

As of Friday morning, still no update on the Panthers line. Whenever the line comes out, bet on the side that makes the Panthers winning by 7.6 make sense.

Overall Against the Spread: 24-23
Week 2: 8-8
Week 3: 10-6
Week 4: 6-9

Here are my week 5 predictions, with the current line in parentheses:
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (+4.0): Predicting 22.9-24.1. Bet on the San Francisco 49ers.
Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5): Predicting 14.7-23.0. Bet on the Minnesota Vikings.
Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts (-5.0): Predicting 21.8-26.1. Bet on the Chicago Bears.
New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.0): Predicting 19.3-27.9. Bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns (+10.5): Predicting 22.1-20.6. Bet on the Cleveland Browns.
Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens (-4.0): Predicting 19.9-25.6. Bet on the Baltimore Ravens.
Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions (+3.0): Predicting 24.5-20.1. Bet on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins (-3.5): Predicting 18.4-22.2. Bet on the Miami Dolphins.
Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos (-4.5): Predicting 23.5-28.3. Bet on the Denver Broncos.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (-3.5): Predicting 24.1-27.4. Bet on the San Diego Chargers.
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys (+2.0): Predicting 18.9-23.6. Bet on the Dallas Cowboys.
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams (-2.0): Predicting 19.4-19.3. Bet on the Buffalo Bills.
New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (-7.0): Predicting 19.0-24.3. Bet on the New York Giants.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: Predicting 22.0-29.6.

On the Operations Job Market: Reflections and Insights

The pdf is available here. Written by Renyu (Philip) Zhang in April 2016 after receiving placement at NYU Shanghai. The discussion is tuned for students looking for placement in OM departments of business schools. The advice is not overly surprising, but rings true. One snippet:

Compared to the need and connection attributes, the communication attribute is more controllable by a PhD student. I want to emphasize again that, in order to excel on the OM job market, you have to be a great communicator to convince schools that you have the potential to become a good colleague, a good researcher, and a good teacher. You need to train yourself to become a great communicator through continuous practices, both in casual small talks and in formal seminar presentations/teaching/public speaking. To improve the communication skill in small talks, it is advised that you regularly attend some social events (including the ones during conferences) to practice talking with others. You should also learn from the great small-talkers. Your school may also offer some communication classes that you can take. Your objective should be that, after years of practices, any stranger that speaks with you would find you a delightful person to talk with. For presentation skills, I would recommend you take as many opportunities as possible to present in classes, seminars, and conferences. You can also learn some presentation skills by taking presentation classes and/or watching videos of great presentations in, e.g., YouTube or TED Talks. Your objective of the year-long presentation skill practice is that your presentation will be clear, engaging, technically solid, and broadly appealing to the audience not familiar with your work or even your area of study.

Thanks to Xuan Feng for sharing.