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Showing posts from April, 2016

Flu + Deadline = Hurry

Due to flu, I am late of schedule. A conference deadline is today. And I just discovered that my current version of abstract is far from good enough. Somehow, I still believe that I'll finish on time. As I was struggling this morning with the abstract, I again searched for advices, The first one was good enough: How to Write An Abstract

Philip Koopman defines 5 fraction in the abstract:

Motivation - why should I read this paper?
Problem statements - what are you aiming to solve
Approach - HOW do you do it?
Results - what you found
Conclusions - implication


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Weekend is starting soon (except that there are still a lot of homework for the Writing better academic English class on Monday = work will follow me home)

My final (for now) version followed those for steps with one exception. The abstract doesn't present the method of estimation and instead it highlight…

The Birthday of An Emeritus Professor and Recent Surprises

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Our favorite emeritus professor Juha Tolonen turned 75 years last Friday. To celebrate, we surprised him with a cake and small gift yesterday. Professor Vesa Annola hold a speech that almost made Tolonen to cry. In the end, we tried to sum 7.5 points of Tolonen down but that turned on 10 amazing characteristics of him. First of all, he is interested in Russia, classics and relating multiple areas of study. He responded that the university of the sixties was notably better than the current university in one aspect. Students didn't need to hurry with graduation and they were encouraged to study multiple subjects. Nowaday, graduating fast and being expert in one small area are valued too much. Prof Annola also noted that Tolonen is additionally a professor educator: He has supervised many and acted as an opponent for many. 

And what was the gift? Ten lunch coupons that he may use only in our company. 

This morning, we were surprised by SNOW! Just when the spring started to remind us…

From Purpose to Paycheck - is a purpose really necessary?

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Benjamin Hardy wrote an article justifying a lifelong plan ("If You’re Too Busy For These 5 Things: Your Life Is More Off-Course Than You Think"). My first impression was that this sounds like what a control freak would do. The I read on, there are some cool advises and the article even inspired one person to form a blog about presented ideas (in Finnish though). Yet, I agree with Benjamin P. Hardy on that you should have a some kind of a plan. Hardy emphases that you should know your why by quoting Michael Jr: Know Your Why. It is also a nice video. But the point that he made in the video was: when singer knew how he wanted him to sing, he sang so beautifully that the audience stood up. It was not his own "why" (e.g. purpose of singing) but this video is used to emphases why over what.
Today, I found amazing TED talk about purpose. After listening to this, I felt relieved. "Purpose" is simply a feeling. Terri Trespicio tells a hint for financing decisio…

Work and Play - Balance for Efficiency

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It's Friday! Time to relax soon.

Have you tried different lengths of work days? The advantage of studying (and doctoral student  work partly) is that you can set your schedule freely. When I was studying for the bachelor degree, I discovered that studying each and every single day was the most efficient way to spend time. However, I had a bat habit of playing games that distracted. Once in awhile I gave them up for reading to exams - and then started again. Now, I have prohibited those kinds of games that run even when you're not playing. (So, I might spend time with games like Civilization -phone and computer- Carcassonne -phone and a board game- and little big planet - PS 3 and PS4).
When doing the masters degree, I found out that I cannot continue like that very long. I had no  many hobbies, I mostly studied. Thus, I started to go to gym three times a week and to have one day off once in week or two. This increased the amount learned while focusing to study. 
During the f…

Track Change Comments = Delete All and Rewrite

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Supervisor comments are sometimes... truly crushing. I knew this day would come but I couldn't prepare for it. What my supervisor did, was to delete, change a place of a sentence and then delete it. He wrote some sentences and some of them were really cool. But I felt crashed. I would prefer deleting it myself... Well, it is the draft of my first paper. It must have been horrible. Maybe the second draft produces less tiers. :) 
On the bright side, this is a good practice for negotiations and argumentation. There are many points where I believe that I'm right. I just need to learn to express myself clearer. To sum, the upper picture is not only a joke. It is reality. (Comic from PhD comics)
Luckily, tomorrow is Friday.

Personal Finance of a PhD Student

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The worst side of aiming to doctorate is the insecurity of funding. In a seminar of the doctoral school of Vaasa, we were encouraged to start to save. The dissertation is only the start if you're going to stay in academia and you should prepare for that, check for e.g. the Professor is In. The blog convinced me to buy the book and that was a money well spend. 


However, another strategy that I apply, is simply saving when I receive salary. 
I have automated a part of that saving by purchasing two different index funds in three parts. That is  9 - 10 % of my net wage. However, that is far from enough because in addition to preparing for possible period of funding I doubt the pension system that we have in Finland. And yes, my salary is not very high at the moment (and the taxation in Finland is high)! Thus, the amount that I automatically save is  too small. Given the current situation in the markets, it is good to allocate cash so that you can buy when the stock prices drop. 
I re…

Are You Ready for Doctoral Studies? There is still time to apply.

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Have you thought about starting doctoral studies but deadlines for next autumn already passed? 
Good news: there is still time to apply in Finland! The deadline for doctoral students is 29 April (31 October 2016 - although the previous link confusingly says 15th of November) in the university of Vaasa. Note: the exact deadline this year is 29.4.2016 even though the other link says 30. April. Here you can find more info regarding the intake. It is also noteworthy that there are other ways to fulfill the language requirement than the test only, see for more: admission
The most important part of your application is the connection to the prospective supervisor and your research plan. The researchers are divided into research groups that you can find here. I am part of Intangible Capital Research Group, but we research also macro/financial stability, time series, environmental economics and how people understand economic facts.  But like other universities, our web pages are a bit hard to…