Sunday, 28 March 2010

Hard copy book lover

Can we get rid of books made up of paper?
Honestly, I do not know, I reckon that is something really linked to your personal flavor.
Many technological solutions address the problem to store and retrieve information easily, reliably,
permanently and at low cost. Indeed one of the goals for the next years onwards is to reduce the amount of documents that are made up of papers, the so called "dematerialization" of the documents. A document in electronic format, let's say a "pdf document" has many nifty advantages over a document of paper:
  • portable. You just need a usb flash drive to store and bring it everywhere you want without wasting space!
  • deliverable. You can buy and get it within a few minutes, you can also pass it out by attaching to an email.
  • money saving. You don't need to take a car or bus to get to the library-> fuel not wasted. Additionally, It is not a hard copy made of papers,
  • time and energy saving. You just add it to your virtual chart with a click, you can attach it to your email and sending it to your friends without planning an appointment,
  • green. You do not increase your ecological footprint because you do not need to take a car or whatsoever to reach the bookshop. Additionally , cut the number of trees hacked up.
  • usable. You can write on it with "add comments" command of your pdf reader and change it over and over easier than using a pencil
  • copyable, if you hold the proper grant you can copy the text from the it to your document (the well known copy and paste) it 's quicker than typing.
  • safety. Less paper in your house harder it blazes :)
  • cleanness. You do not have shelfs and books to dust off :)
Despite all these advantages (some of them are really quirky e.g. cleanness but I think it makes sense in somehow) I still do believe that books of paper are far away from disappearing.
I consider myself "a true hard-copy book lover", I need to touch them, to sniff at them, to flip through them, to see them, to blend the upright side corner for reminding me the most relevant pages, to pile up them on my bedside table ... in a nutshell I cannot image a world with no hard copy books..
Are you a hard-copy book lover?

Friday, 26 March 2010

Marriage vs PhD


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dealing with the damned prepositions: "talk to" or "talk with"

What preposition follows the verb "to talk" when it means to speak, to communicate?
I was pretty convinced that the correct preposition was "to", therefore "talk to "is allowed and "talk with" is frowned upon... Now, I step back after discovering that on BBC they use "talk with"

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The copy and paste people

I was sitting on my barber's armchair, we were making small talks, interleaving them with a serious reflection, then a laugh and again this cycle.
All of sudden, he asked me, you have been working at university for some weeks, is it a good job?
I rolled my eyes around, thought for a while trying to answer in the best way avoiding bothering him with unpleasant grievances.
Finally, I manged to summed up what I had in my mind and I said to him:
"Currently I'm a PhD student, it means that the university is offering me the last educational stack.
Indeed I attend other courses like an ordinary student does, additionally I'm learning how to do, lead and present researches. After three years (that is the complete course) I'll be granted a PhD title and I'm prepared to work as a researcher.
Then the barber added: you'll be a sort of scientist...
Regrettably, in Italy the State does by no mean support the research!
In the past, every two-three years, Government called researchers for a national competition, the winners could get a full time position as researchers. Recently, some laws have been changed and it's not possible to hire a researcher for a permanent position, but only for three years. After these three years your contract might be renewed for other three years and then you are finished."
My hairdresser: it doesn't sound really good for your future. You are destined to a precarious condition.
Then I replied: it's not me, but the research is destined to an uncertain future and in long haul to disappear!
In the future other students will not be pushed to keep on studying, it's not worth doing or payoff (if you are not really animated by a strong passion and you were born with a tea spoon in your mouth).
My hairdresser: "What will it happen to Italy?"
me: maybe Italy is going to become an executive arm, just an arm without a brain to master it. Presumably, we will become the "copy and paste people" ... you know. when you do some researches and just copy someone's results/ideas and sell as yours...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

How many passwords do you have to remember?

  • 4 Bank accounts
  • 3 emails
  • 4 social networks
  • 2 computers
  • 1 internet connection
On the whole 14!!! it freaks out

Sunday, 7 March 2010

PhD equation

My PhD officially started off last week. Now, I'm eager to know what my research theme(s) will be...
At the moment I'm busy with my first publication, the firm that should sponsor my studies
and something that I have to study for the next European call.
What is a European call ?
The research needs fund, a way to get them is to submit a proposal to a call of the European Commission (EC).
EC periodically calls for new ideas, for solutions to new problems, in turn they fund researchers
that want to (and can) address their problems.
Well, I should also be involved in one of this European Project as part of my duties.
Summarizing my PhD equation is
EC projects + Firm + ? = PhD
I hope to replace the question mark as soon as it is possible with my research themes...

Monday, 1 March 2010

My first PhD school

A new life, a new School...
When you are a PhD student you should (or better it is warmly advised ) to attend some PhD Schools. A PhD school is a school (of course!) that lasts, generally, one week and the students are all graduated.
During the week, several professors have a talk, seminar. For instance, in the morning you can attend a course and in the afternoon another one. A university hosts these series of events, but there are also professors and students coming from other universities, in this sense it seems a sound occasion to meet other researchers, explorer new ideas, discuss a topic of common interest and learn a lot.
I adore this jubilant spirit, I met people who are really concerned about what they do... great!
In these moments I feel satisfied and I'm enthusiast for the decision that I made.
Stay tuned :)
PS in July and in Sept I should attend other school, I'm looking forward to being there :)

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