Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Academic Rant

Tucson, Arizona. Not that anyone cares, but I have an Econometrics midterm in a couple hours. It will be exceedingly difficult. I cannot believe that as someone in his 40's, I did not have the wisdom to know that when you walk into a class and half of the students are from China with the other half from India, that one needs to immediately turn around and haul one's shiny white arse the hell out of there.

I cannot believe I was so stupid. Only idiots take courses this difficult. What the $#$@#$ was I thinking? I could have taken "Introduction to Student Life" or "Appreciation of Undergraduate Adjustment." But NO, not me, nuh-uh. This cocky, arrogant blogger takes Econometrics. Covariance becomes a inverted matrix and we take partial derivatives with respect to vectors of logarithms. We're expected to pick up SAS programming like it's popcorn.

Higher forces must be involved. I said something arrogant while "they" were listening and must be punished proper. Well, if utterly slaughtered today, a distinct possibility, then massive resources must go into the final, like I don't have anything else to do.

Should I be studying right now? Actually, no. It is too late. We've seen the stopped truck in front of us and have slammed on the brakes. All semblance of control has evaporated. The calm before the carnage is worse.

Uh, maybe not.


Blogger Dustin said...

ensure that your seats and traytables are in the fully upright and locked position. When the oxygen mask deploys, be sure to secure your own before assisting others. In the event of a water landing, your cushion may be used as a floatation device.

11/20/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous the doctor said...

Sorry, no sympathy here.

I think you secretly like the terror, the academic equivalent of those who jump off cliffs. The adrenaline flows, the problems are super hard, and afterwards, you talk to those Asian people, "How did you handle the R squared x theta cubed partial vector SAS thing?"

You love it. Ever since you started this blog you have doing hard things. At least you aren't in a corral with morons shooting at you.

It's just a test.

11/20/2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I feel bad for you, x4mr. The class sounds absolutely horrible and ultimately useless. Is there any real value to econometrics or is it just an academic requirement for Asian and Indian students getting a PhD in economics?

What happened to the video you posted this AM? I wrote a comment and then couldn't post it. All of
profound and insightful statements were cut loose in cyberspace.

11/20/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Make that "All of MY
profound and insightful statements were cut loose in cyberspace."

11/20/2007 2:03 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Econometrics, used properly, can have a lot of value. The problem is using them properly.

John Lott used econometrics in devoping his thesis that increased gun ownership leads to less crime in the book More Guns, Less Crime. Unfortunately, John Donohue and Ian Ayres have demonstrated convincingly he used econometrics incorrectly ...

What can I say, it's complex math and statistics. Really tedious stuff.

By the way, x4mr, I do care ... whenever I am irked over something complex at work, I think to myself "Well, at least I am not in x4mr's econometrics class".

11/20/2007 3:26 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Some posts that make sense at 11:30 PM do not make the cut at 8 AM, in particular those where all I do is complain about the impending Armageddon and how we're all going to perish in excruciating pain.

Speaking of pain, the exam was about as fun as a hemorrhoid operation. Not one individual finished early, not one, not even Chinese lady or dark Indian man.

The course I SHOULD have taken was SOC 570 Basic Quantitative Analysis for graduate students in Sociology. I could sail through that.

I ran into dark Indian man in the hall afterwards. He made a face.

It is time to don the black cape, my most powerful wand, and conduct a serious ritual paying homage to the Goddess of Partial Credit.

I can't stand the class because I'm sick of the "exam" environment, and I'm not particularly interested in mastering the mathematical operations to where I can do them by hand.

What's very important, as Sirocco notes, is using computers correctly and understanding what the results are truly saying.

The instructor's philosophy demands rigorous mathematical command of every assertion. Some might say, "This is true" and move on. This guy burned 90 minutes proving ONE result.

When you spend 90 minutes proving a result, you are in a MATH class. Perhaps my memory is tainted, but I recall all other courses consisting of "Know this and understand what it is saying well enough to use it in these kinds of problems."

I remember the math PhD prelims back in the 90's. Each exam had one problem per page that read at the top, "Prove_________"

If you couldn't prove it, you didn't know it. There's a certain irony that I would unwittingly take a math course as my final class for this degree.

11/20/2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Emmiyeh said...

So, you'd recommend me not taking it next semester, even at ASU? Oh well. Stupid me for majoring in Econ and having it be required...I'll be sure to come to someone who's already taken it if I have any issues.

It's also nice to know that I'm not the only economically inclined person who supported Giffords.

11/20/2007 5:31 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

There you have it. I KNEW it was just an academic requirement.

Is Bernanke using econometrics, do you think? There are some international economists who think he is mostly responding to political pressure.

x4mr, I've had about six classes in statistics and the course titles all started with "applied." Who needs to be able to do proofs? I am very willing to accept that people much better at mathematics than me have already done the proofs to the satisfaction of a lot of other really brilliant mathematicians.

I liked the post about the impending Armageddon. It was very close to what I have been thinking for the last couple of years.

11/20/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Your experience will vary dramatically depending on the instructor and the mission of the course. First of all, are you graduate or undergraduate?

If undergraduate, odds extremely favor a far less rigorous scope. There's a huge difference between grad and undergrad.

If at the graduate level in a room full of doctoral students, you might be in for some work. If everyone in the class is Asian, put your tray table in the upright and locked position.

11/20/2007 6:33 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...


If I recall, the video showed Trent Reznor dressed in black and running with lots of others dressed in black.

Is that the video you saw? I can repost it.

11/20/2007 6:36 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I saw this video on your blog this AM.

11/20/2007 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Zelph said...

Can anyone guess what Barack Obama studied at the U of Hawaii? Don't let this be a reason to vote against him!

11/20/2007 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Zelph said...

Oops, my bad. It was Barack's dad, Barack, Sr., who studied econometrics at the U of Hawaii.

11/20/2007 8:52 PM  

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