Fun in the Midlands (pictures from Vienna.)



I can't remember if I've told you that Will has got his contract extended a year at Nottingham. This is good because it means they have basically made him permanent (by the same wacky rules that are why Harvard couldn't find money for him after 36 months & then suddenly did again 6 months after that...) He is going to be able to teach political science and that apparently will really make him a political scientist. Somehow having done 7 years of postdocs with leaders in the discipline couldn't compensate for the fact his PhD was in cognitive science, at least not to Europeans. Americans seem more inclined to hire him, but we don't want to move...

Well, anyway it would be good news except I was hoping he would lose his job & come live with me again. But of course, even though he could write all the same papers he writes now & do the same research & that is the favorite part of his job, somehow he wouldn't feel the same about it if he weren't getting paid! And neither would any of his reviewers, since they really care about affiliations. Academia & psychology are both annoying sometimes.

The British Midlands is not thrilling, although there is one nice thing in it: Will. I've spent the last week here with him, more or less. I did go to Brighton and give a talk at the University of Sussex. The talk went well, I think I am really getting good at communicating my newest work & putting the big picture together. I have some challenges coming up though because I'm going to be speaking to social scientists in Budapest so I am thinking I will leave a lot more of the computational detail out & give more big picture. I guess I am getting old enough to pull this off :-) The students in Brighton said (when I told them) "hmmm... more pictures then" which I have to agree.

Giving talks is great. It makes you really think about what you are doing from more perspectives, and it lets you get immediate feedback on how you communicate it. Communicating is at least as big a part of science as actually discovering new information, so that's important.

There are a couple new papers on my publications page I'm quite excited about. I have other papers due & have been working a lot still on grants, and also on reviewing PhD student applicants for Bath.

I'll attach a few pictures from the KLI. There's a weird problem with the building at KLI, so we are working at home & from University of Vienna for a while. Though next week I will mostly be working in Budapest because I'm getting my travel paid to go attend a meeting on comparative cognition -- I'm giving a talk there too, but it will be short. The main problem is my laptop is broken & I'm having a lot of trouble getting it repaired, so I'm worried about how much work I can get done while I'm traveling. Hopefully tomorrow I can switch everything to one of my older laptops for the next week or so. I have been wasting a LOT of time trying to get this one fixed. My laptop is in one of the KLI pictures above, so this is not a completely crazy paragraph.

Lots of things are broken, actually. My laptop, the process that is supposed to fix it. Will's and my mobile phones don't reliably deliver messages even when we are both in the UK (they are both British phones.) The trains are not going to work tomorrow so I have to take a taxi to the airport -- two hours! I think that with the credit crisis a lot of companies may just be quietly firing people & then working less well than they used to. But who knows?

We went out last night with some of Will's Law coworkers, and tonight will be going out with some of his Politics ones. That reminds me, I don't think he bought enough food to give them! Guess I should get on that...

Oh, I have a third picture to upload which is not the KLI, but I think you'll all know what it is!
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