The toll of a failed Ph.D.

Updates

  1. Originally published, April 1, 9:08 am.
  2. April 2, 1:44 am:
    • It is no longer unclear that any Brexit option commands majority support in the British parliament. We now know that none of them do.[1]
  3. April 2, 9:12 am:
    • At least I haven’t cornered you in a room with a slide projector and screen. As my planned departure date, April 15, for western Massachusetts nears, I am trying to view my present surroundings as if I will never see them again. Most of these photographs are taken in Marin County, but not all. I am preserving the metadata, so you should be able to find the locations. I expect this effort to continue up to my departure so it makes sense to check back.
    • Theresa May may be attempting to use the threat of a snap general election to bully her party into submission.[2] It does not appear to be working as Michel Barnier warns that a hard Brexit “becomes day after day more likely.”[3]
  4. April 2, 11:07 am:
    • In an article from last year, Katy Hayward explains what maximum facilitation (“max fac”) and technology (hard Brexiteers’ wet dream “answer” to the Irish border problem) would look like. Surprise, surprise: It’s still a border. There would still need to be customs checks. There would still need to be intrusive border surveillance. And people would suffer all this along a border that weaves through their personal and commercial lives.[4]
  5. April 2, 5:57 pm:
    • Brexit is a train wreck in progress and I’m just not seeing it get any better. Theresa May is now negotiating with Labor to try to find a path to passage for her deal, the same deal that Parliament rejected three—yes, three times and the same deal that everyone but her has said is dead on arrival from the beginning. Labor wants a customs union. She doesn’t. Her fellow Tories will likely want her head[5] so maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to see light at the end of the tunnel here.
    • Michel Barnier laid out options for avoiding a hard Brexit to the U.K. parliament. They include Theresa May’s deal, a Norway-style relationship, or a customs union.[6] There’s really nothing new here and I don’t see how it advances anything.
    • Having it your way at Burger King might soon include the Impossible Burger. The chain is testing the vegan burger patties,[7] but I’m guessing that, like Carl’s Jr. with the Beyond Burger,[8] it won’t be certified vegan because the fast food chains prepare the burgers using the same facilities and equipment used for the usual flesh-based versions.
  6. April 3, 12:40 am:
  7. April 3, 12:53 pm:
    • I guess I can’t imagine this being a surprise to anyone: Tories are furious about Theresa May’s overtures to Labour on passing her Brexit deal.[9] Meanwhile, European leaders seem more likely to offer a long extension than a short one.[10]
  8. April 4, 12:30 pm:
    • Electricity can be used to make lead pipes less dangerous.[11]
    • Such a surprise: It seems there may have been more to Robert Mueller’s report than William Barr let on. Supposedly, it moves us farther from Donald Trump’s alleged ‘exoneration.’[12]
  9. April 5, 11:42 am:
    • The New York Times got the scoop[13] but the Washington Post got the story on Mueller team discontent with William Barr’s summary.[14]
    • There were “[t]rees growing near the South Pole, sea levels [were] 20 metres higher than now, and global temperatures [were] 3C-4C warmer” the last time the earth “had as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today.”[15]
    • It isn’t that cats don’t recognize their name—they do—but that they don’t recognize it as referring to them. Rather, they may have a pleasant association with the sound of their name.[16] I’m hoping the cats that have been lost to me, especially Admiral Janeway, over the years can hear their names a lot.
    • Ecuador may be moving to expel Julian Assange from its London embassy. Then again, it might not.[17]
    • I’ve been inclined toward skepticism about fast food outlets offering products such as the Beyond Burger or the Impossible Burger. Because they can’t be certified vegan, the appeal to vegans will be limited. But here’s where I was wrong: It turns out that sales, largely to omnivores, are rising.[18]
  10. April 5, 1:25 pm:
    • Theresa May has ceased to make any sense whatsoever on Brexit as she now requests an extension to June 30 but hopes to get out before May 23 when European Union elections are due. That said, her government will prepare to participate in those elections.[19]
  11. April 5, 5:54 pm:
    • “Reefer madness,” best understood as a social panic opposing marijuana legalization, lives on as some California cities have filed suit against a state regulation permitting delivery even in jurisdictions that oppose legal businesses, which is to say these local governments prefer forcing even medical marijuana patients to seek out the black market.[20]
    • “Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he’s not sorry for his past actions that some women have said made them uncomfortable, but that he’s sorry he didn’t understand more at the time.”[21] To put it mildly, this is insufficient, as I explain in a new blog post, entitled, “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment.”
  12. April 6, 3:30 am:
    • Jeremy Corbyn’s talks with Theresa May on Brexit are going about as well as expected. Which is to say, not well at all.[22] We seem to be a point where it is impossible to be too pessimistic.
  13. April 6, 12:05 pm:
    • A third federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census.[23]

Lost Ph.D.’s

Somewhere in—I’m pretty sure—in a conservative publication, I saw the description of a “failed Ph.D.” as one who had failed to secure a tenure-track position within one year of the degree.

It’s been three years since I finished my Ph.D. The only interviews I have had (and a very paltry few at that) have been sham interviews—even intitutions I had been informed were “desperate” always managed to have (informally, of course) selected someone else over me; I was there so search committees could claim to have interviewed other candidates.

And understand that each application to a university I submit should be accompanied by individually written letters of reference from members of my dissertation committee: This isn’t just my hell; it is their’s as well and profoundly unfair to all concerned.

All this takes a toll and as Herb Childress notes, it is part of a larger pattern of commodified labor under neoliberalism. But the larger part of his article is psychological: Because adjuncts are often excluded from teaching graduate level courses, the process of earning a higher degree means that our reference group, the group of people we measure ourselves by, consists largely of successful professors (who indeed evaluate our work), the ones who made it, often before neoliberalism sunk its talons into higher education budgets. They are where we should be and where we are not; even as it happens to so many, an individual job search feels like personal failure. And even understanding the situation rationally barely if at all mitigates the shame and the stigma of low-level work following a high accomplishment that itself portends potential that not merely goes to waste but is positively rejected.[24]

Herb Childress, “This Is How You Kill a Profession,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/2019-03-27-childress

Chronicle of Higher Education, “‘This Was a Hell Not Unlike Anything Dante Conjured.’ Readers Share Their Stories of Fraught Academic Careers,” March 29, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/This-Was-a-Hell-Not-Unlike/246018


Brexit

Might we suspect, with Bob Moran’s cartoon, the Telegraph of feeling betrayed by Theresa May’s overtures to Labor?

Bob Moran, in the Telegraph, April 4, 2019, fair use.

Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735

Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May to Seek Further Brexit Extension, Talks With Labour,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-may-to-seek-talks-with-labour-further-brexit-extension-11554226292

Gordon Rayner et al., “Theresa May ignores Cabinet support for no-deal Brexit as she turns to Jeremy Corbyn for help,” Telegraph, April 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/04/02/brexit-vote-latest-news-philip-hammond-propose-putting-theresa/

Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn

Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Brexit: Britain preps for E.U. elections, three years after voting to leave the E.U.,” Washington Post, April 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/britain-to-take-part-in-european-parliament-elections-signaling-a-brexit-delay/2019/04/05/e7042028-577f-11e9-a047-748657a0a9d1_story.html

Max Colchester and Laurence Norman, “Theresa May Seeks Brexit Extension to June 30,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-seeks-brexit-extension-to-june-30-11554452422

Heather Stewart and Daniel Boffey, “Hopes of Brexit progress fade as Labour says May has failed to compromise,” Guardian, April 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/05/labour-says-may-unable-to-compromise-as-brexit-talks-stall


Fast food

Tara Duggan, “Burger King strikes a deal to test out the plant-based Impossible Burger,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Impossible-Foods-to-test-out-its-plant-based-13731103.php

Dee-Ann Durbin, “Is that wheat protein in your Whopper? Plant-based meat sales rising,” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2019, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-meat-substitutes-popularity-20190403-story.html


James Comey

Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html

Ellen Nakashima, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team,” Washington Post, April 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/limited-information-barr-has-shared-about-russia-investigation-frustrated-some-on-muellers-team/2019/04/03/c98e8a02-567a-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html


Lead Pipes

Electricity can be used to make lead pipes less dangerous.[25]

Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712


Climate Change

Damian Carrington, “Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole,” Guardian, April 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/03/south-pole-tree-fossils-indicate-impact-of-climate-change


Cats

Malcolm Ritter, “Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name,” Phys.org, April 4, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-04-meow-cats-react.html


Julian Assange

Clive Hammond, “Julian Assange to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy in London WITHIN HOURS say WikiLeaks,” Express, April 5, 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1110035/Julian-Assange-news-WikiLeaks-Ecuador-embassy-london-expelled-INA-paper-edward-snowden


Marijuana

Patrick McGreevy, “California cities sue state over home deliveries of pot,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-sued-pot-deliveries-20190405-story.html


Joe Biden

Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done


Unauthorized migration

Hansi Lo Wang, “Trump Administration’s Census Citizenship Question Plans Halted By 3rd Judge,” National Public Radio, April 5, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/04/05/700982993/trump-administrations-census-citizenship-question-plans-halted-by-third-judge


  1. [1]Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise
  2. [2]Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn
  3. [3]Michel Barnier, quoted in Bruno Waterfield et al., “No-deal Brexit ‘more likely by the day,’” Times, April 2, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mps-reject-brexit-plans-again-in-boost-for-may-pbzpfbhqn
  4. [4]Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735
  5. [5]Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May to Seek Further Brexit Extension, Talks With Labour,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-s-may-to-seek-talks-with-labour-further-brexit-extension-11554226292
  6. [6]Deutschewelle, “EU’s Barnier: May deal is the only path to orderly Brexit,” April 2, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/eus-barnier-may-deal-is-the-only-path-to-orderly-brexit/a-48157813
  7. [7]Tara Duggan, “Burger King strikes a deal to test out the plant-based Impossible Burger,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/Impossible-Foods-to-test-out-its-plant-based-13731103.php
  8. [8]Carls Jr., “Introducing the Beyond Famous Star with Cheese,” n.d., https://www.carlsjr.com/beyondburger
  9. [9]Gordon Rayner et al., “Theresa May ignores Cabinet support for no-deal Brexit as she turns to Jeremy Corbyn for help,” Telegraph, April 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/04/02/brexit-vote-latest-news-philip-hammond-propose-putting-theresa/
  10. [10]Bruno Waterfield and Adam Sage, “Brexit: EU leaders set to reject request for second short delay,” Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-eu-leaders-set-to-reject-request-for-second-short-delay-rxmpxxld2
  11. [11]Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712
  12. [12]Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html
  13. [13]Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Mark Mazzetti, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed,” New York Times, April 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/us/politics/william-barr-mueller-report.html
  14. [14]Ellen Nakashima, Carol D. Leonnig, and Rosalind S. Helderman, “Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team,” Washington Post, April 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/limited-information-barr-has-shared-about-russia-investigation-frustrated-some-on-muellers-team/2019/04/03/c98e8a02-567a-11e9-814f-e2f46684196e_story.html
  15. [15]Damian Carrington, “Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole,” Guardian, April 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/03/south-pole-tree-fossils-indicate-impact-of-climate-change
  16. [16]Malcolm Ritter, “Meow hear this: Study says cats react to sound of their name,” Phys.org, April 4, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-04-meow-cats-react.html
  17. [17]Clive Hammond, “Julian Assange to be expelled from Ecuadorian embassy in London WITHIN HOURS say WikiLeaks,” Express, April 5, 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1110035/Julian-Assange-news-WikiLeaks-Ecuador-embassy-london-expelled-INA-paper-edward-snowden
  18. [18]Dee-Ann Durbin, “Is that wheat protein in your Whopper? Plant-based meat sales rising,” Chicago Tribune, April 3, 2019, https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-meat-substitutes-popularity-20190403-story.html
  19. [19]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Brexit: Britain preps for E.U. elections, three years after voting to leave the E.U.,” Washington Post, April 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/britain-to-take-part-in-european-parliament-elections-signaling-a-brexit-delay/2019/04/05/e7042028-577f-11e9-a047-748657a0a9d1_story.html; Max Colchester and Laurence Norman, “Theresa May Seeks Brexit Extension to June 30,” Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-seeks-brexit-extension-to-june-30-11554452422
  20. [20]Patrick McGreevy, “California cities sue state over home deliveries of pot,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-sued-pot-deliveries-20190405-story.html
  21. [21]Brett Samuels, “Biden: ‘I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done,’” Hill, April 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/437582-biden-im-not-sorry-for-anything-that-i-have-ever-done
  22. [22]Heather Stewart and Daniel Boffey, “Hopes of Brexit progress fade as Labour says May has failed to compromise,” Guardian, April 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/05/labour-says-may-unable-to-compromise-as-brexit-talks-stall
  23. [23]Hansi Lo Wang, “Trump Administration’s Census Citizenship Question Plans Halted By 3rd Judge,” National Public Radio, April 5, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/04/05/700982993/trump-administrations-census-citizenship-question-plans-halted-by-third-judge
  24. [24]Herb Childress, “This Is How You Kill a Profession,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/2019-03-27-childress; Chronicle of Higher Education, “‘This Was a Hell Not Unlike Anything Dante Conjured.’ Readers Share Their Stories of Fraught Academic Careers,” March 29, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/This-Was-a-Hell-Not-Unlike/246018
  25. [25]Robert F. Service, “To seal off dangerous lead pipes, just add electricity,” Science, April 3, 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aax5712

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