Just drifting


in Daily updates, Oxford, Rants

Inside the DPIR

After a month in Oxford, you begin to realize the extent to which this is nothing like a unified institution. I don’t have the foggiest idea about who coordinates the departments and the colleges, if anyone. I’ve never had to deal with them. The closest I’ve come is some vague contact with pan-university organizations, such as inter-college mail or the university computer services. Ultimately, this place is a million academic niches; a weird underwater ecosystem where it is equally possible to thrive and be eaten by a barracuda.

This morning, I headed over to the Manor Road Building to work on statistics. I ended up banging off a strongly worded letter to the people at the department responsible for course organization. The extent to which stats is interfering with everything else I am trying to do, while not conferring anything of value upon me, is just not tolerable anymore. I finished the second assignment but, after getting 58% on the first one for failure to use the right sort of graphs and label them as desired, I am not confident. I feel rather better about the paper for Dr. Hurrell, which has now been delivered to a Nuffield pigeon hole.

I finally met my college advisor today. I dropped by the tutorial office to say hello to Joanna – my favourite Wadham employee – and discovered that Dr. Paul Martin was in the room at the time. We’ve now exchanged a few emails. It seems that he will be organizing some kind of tea with his various neglected charges in the days ahead.

Soon, I hope, I will have the chance to head down to London. Getting out of the three kilometre circle that is defining and enclosing my life might be empowering. I don’t particularly have anything to do in London, or any money to do it with, but I am definitely open to suggestion.

On a completely different note, I’ve decided to try taking photographic requests. You post something from Oxford that you want to see, whether specific or more theoretical, and I will see what I can do to capture it on a digital sensor.1 Please keep in mind that this blog is meant to be the kind of thing that bright young eleven year olds who dream of going to Oxford one day can read. Well, almost.

[1] This idea has nothing at all to do with how boring photos of computers and libraries can be.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 3, 2005 at 12:02 am

Hey Milan,

Thanks for the birthday message, it was very thoughtful of you. =)

If you’re looking for suggestions on photos, I love the grotesques that jut out of the various buildings and would be interested in seeing some photos of those. The ones I took last time I was in Oxford just won’t compare.


Ben November 3, 2005 at 12:19 am

Yeah, gargoyles make good photos. Or architecture generally, we have a lot…

Otherwise just going to say I appreciate how hard it is to find someone in admin to deal with problems – members of the college, dept and uni will pass you around.

And research methods suck.

Anonymous November 3, 2005 at 12:51 am

please post a picture of any animals at some point. non-human, of course.

-reader who’s been around for a few years.

Anonymous November 3, 2005 at 1:21 pm

Here’s a follow up on the Sony story you posted a few days ago.

Milan November 3, 2005 at 1:30 pm

With no tripod and only very limited zoom and crop capabilities on my P&S digital camera, the grotesques will be a challenge.

Thank you for the suggestions. I will see what I can do.

Ruth Anne & Jake November 3, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Hi Milan!
It is not just IR people who are frustrated with the stats class. Your comments reflect what many in the MPhil Comp Gov program have been expressing over the last several weeks. I too have had multiple stats classes and feel this is a completely inappropriate way to teach the concepts. My STATA experience is similar but our assistant is downright rude to us when we ask questions or misinterpret the horribly worded questions (we were yelled at for being deaf this week). Don’t say 58% though, because your score is out of 75 (I think) and so an acceptable score is between 60 & 70 and above 70 shows distinction.
That’s enough…I could bitch all day about stats.

Milan November 3, 2005 at 7:00 pm

We’re fighting back on stats. Watch this space.

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