Author: Q.Z.

Kiyomizu-Dera

Kiyo-mizu-dera Gate

Really didn’t spend as much time in Kyōtō as I wanted – but at least I got to visit Kiyomizu-dera. There are so many beautiful temples and shrines in the city that I suspect it would take a couple of weeks to see them all.

Ph.Ds Data, National Science Foundation 2016

Sobering statistics from Laura McKenna at The Atlantic:

A Ph.D. who wins the rare job as a tenure-track professor earns on average about $60,000 per year, according to the NSF report. In contrast, post-doc positions—temporary research spots that are most common in the sciences and draw 39 percent of the Ph.D.s with post-graduation commitments at universities—pay a little over $40,000 per year. Incidentally, the median entrance-level salary for college graduates with a B.A. in 2014 was $45,478.

I love what I do and I know what my goals are, but I’m under no delusion about the difficulties involved in getting what I want.

On TextExpander

TextExpander has long been one of my most frequently used programs on the Mac – it allows for me to drastically cut down on the amount of time I spend writing common phrases, which is especially useful for quickly typing long foreign names in my field of work (history).

For example, for my paper on Malacca last year I set a snippet so

daq#

becomes

Afonso de Albuquerque. 

(Yes, I am horrible at Portuguese names). I also have longer and much more complicated snippets I use for journaling and writing personal reviews of media, as well as frequently typed pieces of information like emails or addresses.

However, Smile Software recently announced that they were transitioning the software to a subscription-only model which would cost the end-user $5 a month, or $60 a year, and also add a syncing service. Reactions have been mixed, and even a reduced subscription price for users of previous versions has done little to mollify miffed users, who have pummelled the iOS version with multiple 1-star reviews. Personally, I’m not happy about it either, not because I fundamentally disagree with software-as-a-service, but because the new features that come with the subscription pricing don’t readily justify its high price. Syncing via Dropbox has always been simple and consistent for me, and I don’t do long-form writing on my iOS devices so the included ability to use TextExpander on iOS is wasted on me. Lastly, there’s no academic pricing or version, which was a tremendous incentive for me when I purchased version 5 of their product.

I suppose we’ll have to see whether Smile changes their policy going forward in response to the torrent of negative feedback they’ve received. If they don’t, I will likely continue to use version 5 for as long as I possibly can, or switch to another application. It’s not like there’s a shortage of text expansion applications out there.

Ukiah Reflections

Ukiah_lake

Back in Ukiah, there’s this pond near by house. In truth, it’s not really a pond; it’s just a reservoir for the nearby vineyard. It’s been dry for most of the last few years, but this spring break when I returned I saw that it was incredibly full – almost overflowing! Such good news.

Churchill Learning Latin

I recently came upon Churchill’s account of his Latin-learning experience while reading a book on historical Japanese linguistics (what that has to do with Churchill, I’m still not sure), and it vaguely reminds me of my experiences learning Classical Chinese when I was young. At that time I had no clue (nor did my teachers) what 之乎也者 all meant, and getting a detailed explanation was also impossible.

Churchill’s Travails:

“What does it mean, sir?”

“It means what it says. Mensa, a table. Mensa is a noun of the First Declension. There are five declensions. You have learnt the singular of the First Declension.”

“But,” I repeated,” what does it mean?”

Mensa means a table,” he answered.

“Then why does mensa also mean ‘O table,'” I enquired, “and what does ‘O table’ mean?”

Mensa, ‘O table’, is the vocative case,” he replied.

“But why ‘O table?'” I persisted in genuine curiosity.

“O table – you would use that in addressing a table, in invoking a table.” And then seeing he was not carrying me with him, “You would use it in speaking to a table.”

“But I never do,” I blurted out in honest amazement.

“If you are impertinent, you will be punished, and punished, let me tell you, very severely,” was his conclusive rejoinder.

Such was my first introduction to the classics from which, I have been told, many of our cleverest men have derived so much solace and profit.

Rubio’s Concession Speech

I’m no fan of Marco Rubio. In many ways, his policies are even more extreme than the vast majority of the Republican Party, despite his favored position in the establishment (he opposes abortion even in the case of rape, for example). However, I thought he gave a very powerful (and surprisingly gracious) concession speech after losing Florida to Donald Trump in last night’s primary, particularly this line:

“In our veins runs the blood of people who gave it all up so we would have the chances they never did. We are all the descendants of someone who made our future the purpose of their lives.”

Interesting despite the fervent anti-immigration sentiment currently popular among people participating in the GOP primary this year, two of the three candidates left are children of immigrants and the third one is the grandchild of immigrants.

Technology Tuesday: Flightradar 24

Flightradar24

As an aviation geek, one of my favorite apps has been Flightradar24 – specifically, the ability to point to almost any plane passing in the sky and see what aircraft it is, which airline it belongs to, and where it’s going. It’s not as useful here in Santa Barbara compared to summer at LMU for CTY, where LAX’s close proximity allows you to see aircraft any time of the day. Pretty much all we get here at SBA are small regional craft.