Re: Low-down dirty cheats

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Alternatively, simply use the camera on your cell phone to take a picture of the test and send it to your collaborators, who solve the problems with the help of Google, Mathematica, or the textbook. They send you a picture of the completed problem, and you copy it.

The thing I noticed about cheating when I was a TA is that there are basically two kinds of cheaters. There's the proficient ones who treat the whole thing as a big game and who seem to get real pleasure out of cheating, and then there's the desperate ones who cheat because they are freaking out. The latter are the ones who tend to get caught, as they are less practiced at deception and are often basically honest people who end up wracked by guilt over cheating. Catching the former is as close as I've come to experiencing pleasure at the misery of another person. Busting the latter just makes me sad.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:24 AM
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Does turning in the same paper in two different college courses count as cheating? I wrote the paper for one class, and then noticed that it satisfied an assignment in a different course the next semester, and was stricken with an attack of laziness. I figure that's got to be wrong, but I kept from feeling too bad about it because it wasn't exactly plagiarism, and I couldn't quite name what was wrong with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:32 AM
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Does turning in the same paper in two different college courses count as cheating?

Might depend on the college but it's explicitly disallowed at many.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:37 AM
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There was probably some kind of handbook I could have looked it up in. Oh well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:38 AM
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I don't remember ever cheating on anything at school, although I'm sure I must have looked too far to the side during a test or something. I did do something like your presentation where you avoided using the correct program on DNA data or whatever, but that doesn't sound like cheating.

My chosen project was to create a computer program that could play checkers against a person. I did a bit of a half-assed job of this, but even if I had been working a lot harder the task was still way beyond my skill level when I started the project. Halfway through, I downgraded the project to a computer program with which two people could play checkers against each other. By the end, it was a couple simple applets and a presentation about how hard programming is. Yes, I too was very embarrassed about this.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:42 AM
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2/4: This is wrong?? I really only wrote one major paper in college, and kept revising it slightly for different classes semester by semester. By graduation it was quite interdisciplinary.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:51 AM
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Does turning in the same paper in two different college courses count as cheating?

I don't know if we have an official policy on it, but I always figured it's okay so long as both professors know and give it the green light. In grad school I once wrote a paper that I turned in to two different classes in the same semester. It was a bit longer and wider in scope than what was required for either course; both profs thought it was a great idea.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:51 AM
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Says Steinford's honor code (or rather the official interpretation thereof): "No student may submit substantially similar work in more than one class without the approval of any instructors who might otherwise assume that the work has been undertaken in their classes alone. Thus, submitting work that was prepared for a previous class requires the approval of the current instructor. Submitting substantially similar work in concurrent classes requires approval, in advance, from each instructor."

Counterfactual Blume-at-Steinford is in the clear!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:57 AM
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Real world me, not so much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:58 AM
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Blume's grad school institution does have an official policy (at least for undergrads), but her obtaintenance of prior permission once again clears her name.

Curses!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 8:59 AM
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and he asked me to present my work to the class.

And then one of the students asked , "What's an eigenvalue matrix?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:01 AM
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I've probably told this here already, but I had a bilingual student Google around for essays in her other language that in some way spoke to her paper assignment, translate them, and cobble them together into a Frankenstein mishmash of non-topical paper. Unfortunately for her, I know that language also, reverse engineered her way-too-literal translations*, and found all the source material. She was entirely unrepentant and tried to brazen it out, but the proof was incontrovertible and I gave her an F for the class and probably (but I haven't checked) screwed up her transfer from a not-at-all prestigious school in my university to a very, very prestigious one. I felt a little bad even though she stalked me for a while and wrote amazingly hateful things (about my father who had died during the semester!) in the course evaluation.

*If you translate idiomatic figures super literally, it is easy to tell that said text didn't start out in English. Also, if attempting this kind of cheating, please be aware that proper names of mythological figures are not the same language to language. Thesée? Ariane? Not so much en anglais. Please also avoid several paragraphs on trimeters -- translated "trimesters" -- and their effect on the text, if you have been reading an English prose translation.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:07 AM
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I had no idea that different amounts of prestige attached to the schools in your university.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:10 AM
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13: One in particular is very, very famous and admission is very, very difficult to gain. The student was transferring to that school from the "gen/continuing ed" school which nearly anyone (I think) can attend and is regarded internally and externally as less prestigious than the liberal arts and science colleges.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:18 AM
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"obtaintenance" -- no hits on google.

noslow has coined another term! How long till it is recognized by dictionaries?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:28 AM
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12: What she did say about you? "That oudemia --she's too smart and too knowledgable. And she cares about academic standards! She's going to make the rest of you look bad, unless you get rid of her before she gets too powerful!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:32 AM
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...before she gets too powerful!

I, for one, welcome our Oudemic overlord!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:41 AM
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reverse engineered her way-too-literal translations

It is amazing how easy it is to reconstruct where a student was coming from in translation. When I find a word in a student's German essay that makes no sense whatsoever, if I can guess what English word s/he was going for, it turns out more often than not that the German word they used is the first translation on Leo. Learn how to use a dictionary, kiddos!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:46 AM
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One of my HS teachers, whose pedagogy I otherwise held in low esteem, had a nifty policy of allowing -- indeed, encouraging -- his pupils to write a cheat sheet for major tests. More precisely, it was a cheat card: you could record as much helpful information (formulas, values of constants, definitions, etc.) as you could fit on one side of a 3X5" index card.

I'm certain this practice must exist elsewhere, since I doubt my teacher was clever enough to invent it on his own.

OTOH, the fact that I remember exactly none of the relevant formulas 25 years later might militate against the idea.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:52 AM
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I think it's a standard technique -- my AP Physics teacher did the same. I remember ripping a flap into the corner of mine for a 3D representation of the right hand rule.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:55 AM
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16: I am definitely not very smart, because I told her that I had reported her to the Deans' office the day I handed out the course evaluation forms. She wrote basically that I was a bitter, nasty bitch who only cared about her dead father* and was taking it out on the students. More or less.

*I missed two classes total!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:55 AM
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I remember ripping a flap into the corner of mine for a 3D representation of the right hand rule.

This is very clever!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:56 AM
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My mother, Cuban immigrant and high school math teacher, has often told me how hard it is for her to be vigilant about watching for cheaters, because in her pre-college (still in Cuba) years it was just part of the accepted culture that students took on collective responsibility for getting each other through things like entrance and board exams (pre-Castro, fwiw). If you were a good student who didn't need help, it was just assumed that you had an obligation to put your talents to the benefit of the community or something. I'm not sure I ever bought that this was a cultural norm (and it's unclear to me whether the teachers also quietly accepted this understanding of the local social contract), but there is something to severity with which cheating/borrowing/plagiarizing is hated here as opposed to elsewhere.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:57 AM
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It is amazing how easy it is to reconstruct where a student was coming from in translation.

I used to work for a company where the official language was nominally English, but the mgmt was so dominated by old-school Germans that certain mistranslations of German words into English achieved the status of acceptable usage. Some of these were so endemic in internal communications that I found myself using them myself -- consciously, I might add -- because to use the correct word would have been confusing for everyone.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:58 AM
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I think it's a standard technique

Yep. And thanks to micrographia, I was able to include every necessary equation in the trig textbook.

The only time I actually cheated was in seventh grade, when I cribbed a plot for a story-writing assignment. I wouldn't have felt so bad about it if I'd known how common that was in literary history.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:08 AM
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19, 20: very standard; a number of my classes at my recent undergrad institution allowed them. They struck me as an odd concept for (say) a neuroscience course. Isn't the stuff on the sheet what you're supposed to have retained? I would scrawl a few quick notes to myself, generally, and remain alternately impressed with and confused by those students who would recopy the entire term's worth of notes in tiny, tiny handwriting, covering every centimeter of the paper. Yes, the information's there, but how the hell do you find it under pressure? Isn't it easy to just remember it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:09 AM
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"easier"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:09 AM
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24 needs examples!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:09 AM
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When I was teaching 10th graders how to code, you could always tell what was copied between students by looking at the whitespace. Kids would always change their variable names to cover their tracks, but never thought to remove the extraneous tabs or spaces at the end of lines that invariably matched up between the original and the copy.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:10 AM
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20: For my quals I drew an arrow on my left thumb pointing down from the fingernail to the base. That way I could use the right hand rule with my left hand, leaving the right free for writing, as long as I used the arrow to remind myself that the thumb vector goes opposite to the finger vectors. This was due to making many stupid errors in E&M due to absent-mindedly using my left hand because my right was busy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:12 AM
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When I saw three comments by Sifu in a row, I thought, "ah, there's a ne'er-do-well. He will have many examples of cheating to offer!". But no! Just the opposite!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:13 AM
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26: At the time, I speculated that the pedagogical point was that generating the cheat sheet was an excellent way of studying -- if you can boil down a class to a 3x5 card of what you really need to know, then you know the class material. I remember enjoying making mine, but not really using it.

Law school outlines are similar -- lots of people wrote 50-100 page outlines, which I thought were useless. Making a 5-8 page outline for a law school class took a while, but when I was done, I hardly needed to refer to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:13 AM
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31: I am the Williams Syndrome sufferer to the cheating autistics. Not only did I never cheat, I would be so ashamed at e.g. not getting an assignment done exactly on time that I would stop attending (and eventually fail) the class.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:15 AM
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32: that's plausible, and also provides a pedagogical impetus for restricting the sheets to longhand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:17 AM
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I speculated that the pedagogical point was that generating the cheat sheet was an excellent way of studying

Exactly. Making the cheat sheet was the most concentrated couple of hours of studying I did in that class the whole semester, and I used it mostly for checking my answers.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:21 AM
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I never really bothered to cheat because I didn't care much about getting shitty grades. Putting in the effort to cheat would have been like having to do a bunch of extra homework. And if I wanted to do that, I would have done my homework.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:21 AM
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I remember ripping a flap into the corner of mine for a 3D representation of the right hand rule.

did they not allow you to bring your right hand into the exam?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:22 AM
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LB went to a pirate-themed University.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:24 AM
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37: I blame my physics teacher. He taught us the right hand rule for current, and the left hand rule for the motion of electrons, and got me bollixed up enough that without a reference I had a 50/50 shot of getting the direction reversed on any EM problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:27 AM
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LB went to a pirate-themed University.

And yet right hook rule only has application at boxing-themed universities. How ironic.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:28 AM
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On the other hand, we were allowed to supplement our cheat sheets with parrots trained to repeat key formulae.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:33 AM
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On the other hand shoulder,


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:37 AM
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33: Hey, I did that too!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:50 AM
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I don't really get how you guys are exhibiting William's Syndrome in your approach to honesty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:52 AM
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44: canonically, you would point out that analogies are banned.

That said, Williams Syndrome is often (perhaps inexactly) thought of as being on the same spectrum as Autism, just on the other side of the normal range.

If you want to take the analogy into deeper and more fraught territory, the reason I behaved the way I did is not because I was so deeply honest, but because I overempathized with the teacher's presumed unhappiness with my class performance.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:55 AM
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parrots trained to repeat key formulae.

Ho ho ho and a bottle of Rumford Medals.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:56 AM
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Ho ho ho?

Is that you, pirate parrot Santa?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:57 AM
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Ho ho ho

We were allowed to bring in parrots. Reindeer were strictly forbidden.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:58 AM
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Drat you, Tweety.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 10:58 AM
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That said, Williams Syndrome is often (perhaps inexactly) thought of as being on the same spectrum as Autism, just on the other side of the normal range.

Huh. This does seem inexact. It's not like they're super perceptive of other people's emotions and affects.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 11:00 AM
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47-48: That's what happens when you take a break from commenting. You get all out of practice, make elementary mistakes.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 11:01 AM
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50: well, part of the confusion is that people don't really know the neurological basis for the problems with social cognition seen in autism. So there are some theories in which Williams Syndrome is interestingly opposed, and some where it is interestingly similar, and some (these might be the most plausible) where they really have nothing to do with each other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 11:05 AM
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people don't really know the neurological basis for the problems with social cognition seen in autism.

THEY'RE JUST TOO DAMN MANLY


Posted by: OPIONATED BARON-COHEN | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 11:11 AM
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53 s/b "IS IT 'COS THEY'RE TOO DAMN MANLY?"


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 11:13 AM
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I've had several cheat-sheet-allowed classes. I usually procrastinated and came up with a crappy cheat sheet and did fine on the tests anyway, because I'm a good test-taker and a poor homework-doer.

When I studied for the Series 7, the instructor had a preprinted cheat sheet that we were supposed to memorize so that we could write it all down on the legally-provided scratch paper at the testing center, and refer to it during the exam (the information consisted mostly of the little diagrams showing the relationships between bond yields and prices and option strategy expectations.) I think I wrote it all out, but barely referred to it. Because I'm a good test-taker. Laydeez.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:11 PM
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On the school front: What are the advantages for an attorney going back to school for a graduate degree in economics?


Posted by: Grace Coolidge | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:15 PM
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Like, what is your increased utility?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:17 PM
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Regarding cheating, my U likes to boast about its deep tradition of producing Honor Men, due, in part to its storied, single-sanction (you get booted if found guilty) student-run Honor System (three rules: no lying, no cheating, no stealing).

During my time there, there was a highly unusual "open Honor trial", which was always an option, but most students opted for the secretive closed trial. In any case, I covered the thing for a student magazine, and there was such a preponderance of evidence against the accused (big astro class; professor secretly numbers the back of each test; #227, say, never came back in; student later took make-up exam, turning in #227, which apparently he never realized had a number on and filled out at him; fool), that during an intermission, many in the public audience scratched our heads at why the student chosen to take on the professor in such a public fashion.

Anyway, he was found guilty and promptly drummed out of the school. Bit of a dim bulb, that student.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:17 PM
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What are the advantages for an attorney going back to school for a graduate degree in economics?

Does time off from being a lawyer count?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:18 PM
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"filled out at him" s/b "filled out at home"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:20 PM
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Actually, there's multiple typos in 58. But at least I didn't plagiarize it!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:22 PM
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I plagerized from Brock.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:24 PM
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Some colleges define turning in the same paper for different classes as a sort of self-plagiarism. Its kind of silly to call it that instead of just saying it's not allowed, but whatever. I guess having one policy to cover different types of potential* academic misbehavior is ok.

*Potential, because professors have latitude in what they'll accept. I once used the same research for different papers where they overlapped, but one paper got most of the detail out of that research and the other got only a few selected points in the middle of a longer paper about something else. Each was independently written (i.e. no copy and paste). I did not tell the professors since both papers were "original" and substantially different overall.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:30 PM
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57: Like, what career options (if any) would it open up for someone with 6 or 7 years of practice experience?


Posted by: Grace Coolidge | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:32 PM
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#2 is what I do a lot of at work, rewriting old test plans and such for new customers/projects/undsoweiter.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:33 PM
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I know programmers with MSs in economics.

Have you surveyed the job market, maybe by asking about current employers of recent grads? I know a few JD-accountant combinations who seem content, but maybe you've rejected that.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:36 PM
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Outside of being a student, lots of academics re-work papers/articles/book chapters/conference presentations again and again. I have the impression that if it's really really obvious, people grumble about it, but that otherwise it can be an effective way of upping one's publication numbers. Effective, that is, in a careerism way.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:47 PM
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64: I considered it, when I thought I was going to end up doing a bunch of antitrust defense work at my last firm, thinking that it might be useful in interacting with expert witnesses and such. I ended up getting pulled away from from the antitrust work to do tobacco work, and the idea of convincing the firm to let me go on half-time or whatever was necessary to do an econ degree didn't pan out, so the idea never got practical enough to even get a sense of whether it would have been a good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:51 PM
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64: I don't have any clue about an econ degree, but if you got an engineering or biochem degree, you could be a patent lawyer and make a million trillion dollars and always have a job. (Apparently.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:51 PM
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Not to be nosy, Grace, but why so presidential? Worried about employers reading, or just embarrassed by the whole idea of economics?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:53 PM
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I have heard the same thing about patent law. Seems like interesting work too. (Not that other legal work isn't interesting, but [sentence not completed].)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:54 PM
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I cheated once, on a multiple-choice quiz in seventh grade. I was stuck on one question, and when my friend (who sat next to me) got up to turn her quiz in, I whispered the question number to her; she checked en route to the front and mouthed the answer at me as she came back. It is completely bizarre to me that I did this; quite aside from my fully buying into cheating's being wrong, there was nothing riding on the quiz and I'm constitutionally almost incapable of rule-breaking, even when it would actually be a good idea. All I can say is that it honest to god did not occur to me until we got the quiz back that what I had done was cheating, at which point I felt the full weight of dismay and shame. And still do, which is why I feel bound to confess to you lot.

Anyway, even though I get rather hot under the collar about academic dishonesty, this experience makes me somewhat wary of the one-strike policy of Stanley's alma mater. I like the approach of placing a sealed letter in a student's file, to be opened in the event of a second offense.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:56 PM
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I think an econ degree is pretty worthless, unless you want to be a law professor (it might help a lot for that).

If you want to be a working lawyer, the antitrust division of the DOJ and the FTC are about the only places where I can imagine that folks would affirmatively value a practicing lawyer with an econ degree, as opposed to thinking that getting the degree was a weird waste of time, since you're already in practice. My two cents.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:57 PM
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69 and 71 are not actually true.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:58 PM
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71: Yeah, my good friend the patent lawyer loves it because he is a science nerd who loves to write. So he gets to keep his hand in every new thing and write all day about it and then depose warring biomed employees.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 12:58 PM
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74: In what way? It is true according to a friend who's a patent attorney, as in a member of the patent bar, not just someone who works on IP law.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:01 PM
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Worried about employers reading, or just embarrassed by the whole idea of economics?

She's dating Emerson IRL.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:01 PM
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Didn't want to make employers think I was considering leaving now (which I'm not). I do some patent work now but don't have a BS in something that's relevant/helpful/a good basis for a science master's and thus just handle the litigation parts and don't get into the weeds with the experts or anything.

An econ PhD would be helpful for becoming a law school professor but that's probably not a promising trajectory.


Posted by: Grace Coolidge | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:02 PM
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It's possible to work as a patent consultant without a JD but with technical and business knowledge. Even with a JD and technical knowledge, isn't there a specialized patent bar? People pay for IP LLMs, are those necessary or not?

No idea how important client relationships are, or how interesting the work is if you can't cultivate clients. Many patents are clearly carefully written to fulfill only minimal disclosure requirements.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:03 PM
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To be eligible to take the patent bar, an applicant must, in general, (l) hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in engineering or one of the sciences specified by the USPTO; (2) hold a bachelor's degree in another subject, and have taken a certain number of hours of specified science courses; or (3) have taken and passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) test.

Not an option.


Posted by: Grace Coolidge | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:05 PM
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Most transactional patent work is fairly low end and cheaply billed, and increasingly so, thus I was contesting the trillions of dollars point and the always having a job point. There are only a few places left that do the high end of transactional patent work.

There was also a long boom in patent litigation, which IMO is now coming to an end (not that there won't be plenty of work, but the boom period for patent lit is over).

None of this is to say that transactional patent work can't be really interesting for a certain kind of science type, and fairly renumerative. And very interesting and very renumerative for a few lawyers, but that's true of pretty much all areas of the law.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:06 PM
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78: Well, there are apparently post-bacc science and engineering programs specifically for folks who want to get a MA in the field, but never got a BA. (This is what said friend did, since he was an undergrad with me, which is like the opposite of an engineering degree.) But you probably don't care anyway!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:06 PM
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78: Yeah, Halford's probably right that the econ degree won't do much for you. I was in a spot where I was interacting with economics experts on a bunch of cases, and thinking that we, the lawyers, would be better off if there were lawyers who understood what the experts were saying a little better (I got put into that role on a number of cases because of my notorious skill with simple arithmetic, which put me way ahead of most lawyers on the technical stuff.) But no one in my firm, or in the other firms we were interacting with, actually did have an econ degree, which suggests that it wouldn't have helped you get a job.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:08 PM
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I was more thinking that it might open up some non-firm options (consulting?), but from what people have said, just an econ master's doesn't sound terribly useful. To take the patent bar I would need 10-12 more science courses, which is practically a master's in itself.


Posted by: Grace Coolidge | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:11 PM
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81: Huh, as far as I understand, the starting salaries for patent prosecutors in NYC are still much higher than general practice types, and when law firms have been letting folks go recently (and it is true, I think, that patent litigations are no where near their go-go heights), the members of the patent bar have been keeping their jobs and have still been getting recruiting letters/phone calls. But this isn't true for folks who just work in patent litigation.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:13 PM
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84: If you got a doctorate, I think the prior lawyering experience might make you an attractive expert (this is pulled out of my ass, of course, I'm just thinking that my life would have been easier if the experts I was dealing with were more comfortable with the lawyering.) But that seems pretty far off and tenuous -- mostly, I'd think of grad school in econ as a career change, rather than adding much to your marketability as a lawyer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:16 PM
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85 may well be true in NY -- remember that most of the law business in NY is directly tied to the financial industry, and to some extent IP work is countercyclical and attractive to NY firms. But if you're just interested in raking in the big bucks long term patent prosecution is probably not the way to go.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:16 PM
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86: Yes, I was gonna say! I have a friend who has a JD and an econ PhD and she works for an expert witness . . . uh, group? Whatever. Company? They hook people up with expert witnesses to testify to things like economic effects and losses, blah blah blah.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:18 PM
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87: Well, you know what you're talking about and I don't. I do know that most of said friend's firm's business is drug litigation and they go on forever and cost a mint, not because anyone is going to make a genius argument and "win" something, but rather to delay the rush to market of generics for as long as possible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:22 PM
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(3) have taken and passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) test.

Not an option.

The EIT is totally do-able for a good standardized test taker. I passed it without having taken most of the subjects (electrical, heat transfer, properties of materials and more). The test is on a straight-up curve. Bottom 30% fails; top 70% passes. Moreoever, there are lots of classes for EIT prep.

I've done all three of the options they give you, and I'd call the EIT a huge shortcut.



Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:23 PM
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Yes, drug lit is a big and lucrative practice, and one that's not going away any time soon. But it's not even close to looking like most of the patent work that gets done (and it's also not patent prosecution that requires one to be a member of the PB).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:24 PM
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Do you have to have gone to law school to take the bar exam? Is it possible to autodidact* yourself into legal practice?

*Yes, yes I did. Sue me.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:39 PM
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92: It varies from state to state, but many states do still allow it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:41 PM
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I think you have to apprentice with a lawyer in the states where you don't need to go to law school -- maybe not all, but most.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:42 PM
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A great-uncle of mine took, and passed, the bar after his second year of law school, but that was in the olden days.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:42 PM
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95: Was he paid in chickens?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:45 PM
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For taking the bar?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:46 PM
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My firm has narrow practice areas of securities litigation and antitrust litigation, similar to what Lizardbreath used to do but on the plaintiffs side, and we would consider a JD plus Masters in economics a small plus in hiring, but not a very large plus. There may be opportunities in expert witnessing/litigation consulting, but there the JD might count against you, because you don't look like a "real expert," and the MA isn't quite enough to make you completely authoritative. I vote with the "not much use at all" group. An MBA is both easier to obtain and more promising for various carreers, maybe not the careers you're interested in.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:50 PM
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97: My understanding is that in the olden days one bartered for professional services with chickens.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 1:59 PM
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99: That's ridiculous -- what sort of professional services could a chicken possibly provide? Sure, you can teach them to play tick tack toe, but litigation would be beyond all but a very few examples of the species.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:01 PM
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There is such a thing as chicken sexing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:03 PM
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Yes, and Buck still holds that post you put up about it against me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:04 PM
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So my legend will not die from this world.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:05 PM
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100: But they'll work for chicken feed.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:07 PM
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Further to 100, it's also rather hard to barter with a chicken.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:11 PM
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this experience makes me somewhat wary of the one-strike policy of Stanley's alma mater

It's hotly debated, and the so-called "single sanction" almost got tossed in a student referendum when I was a student.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:12 PM
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Oh, hello 104.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:12 PM
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In the olden days in London, some law professionals were known as "baroosters". True story.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:13 PM
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102: Pictures.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:23 PM
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In high school most of my non math/science exams were unproctored because of my inability to write legibly. In college I don't think a single one of my essay type exams were proctored, and they often came in the form of 'here's the exam, it's closed book, you can take three hours, drop it off in my box by the end of the day'. Never cheated on those. The only cheating I ever did was in a high school Chem class with a friend. Both of us would do the problems, compare answers, and if any of them were different we'd both recheck our work.
As a teacher I was pretty shocked by the universal cheating norms in the nice private school I was teaching at in Poland. My students were just as shocked by my penalties and my uncanny ability to detect cheating. It's amazing how trusting kids can be when you tell them you don't speak the local language, even if they've run into you in bookstores and with newspapers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:31 PM
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They struck me as an odd concept for (say) a neuroscience course. Isn't the stuff on the sheet what you're supposed to have retained? I would scrawl a few quick notes to myself, generally, and remain alternately impressed with and confused by those students who would recopy the entire term's worth of notes in tiny, tiny handwriting, covering every centimeter of the paper. Yes, the information's there, but how the hell do you find it under pressure? Isn't it easy to just remember it?

Noooooooo, it's not. That sheet contains all the arbitrary information. I know everything about the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes, but not which is which. I know everything about what the Herzsprung-Russell diagram means, but not which letter is where on the diagram. I know what the different parts of the fungal anatomy are, but the names are so hard to remember ("haustorium"? "gametangium"? "gametophyte"?" That sort of thing. If you actually remember all the oxidation states of all the metals, you must find them fascinating.

I still don't know which is a Type I error in statistics and which is a Type II error, and I've learned that in at least five classes so far. If you don't use it every week, it's so arbitrary that you forget it. It should be enough for it to make sense to us.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:41 PM
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)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:41 PM
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A Google image search for nosflow returns a curious mix of images.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:46 PM
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Including, should you persevere to the final page, Britney Spears' hoo-ha.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:48 PM
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I bet it's pretty easy to barter with chickens. They just don't have anything you want is all.

(For some reason put in mind of Fran Lebowitz's maxim: Children are the most desirable opponents at Scrabble, as they are both easy to beat and fun to cheat. Maybe this belonged in the "children: fer or agin?" thread, hm.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:50 PM
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I bet it's pretty easy to barter with chickens. They just don't have anything you want is all.

Titties! Breasts!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 2:54 PM
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Some places' honor codes actually say you cannot proctor the exams - you can only come in to distribute them, let people know how much time is left, and then collect them at the end of the period. You are also probably not supposed to wonder why, as you sit outside of the room waiting for the exam to be over, certain students have to use the restroom so often.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 3:01 PM
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I would wonder, too, since they can just cheat right out in the open.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 3:03 PM
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In theory, the students police each other with tepid glares but I don't know what happens in the exam room, not having been an undergrad at one of those places.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 3:08 PM
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111 gets it exactly right.

Past a certain difficulty level, the best exams were always take-home, open-book exams. They're just like unusually comprehensive homework assignments where no one else can bug you about the answers! What could be better?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 3:42 PM
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90 is giving me ideas...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 4:14 PM
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Taking a law school elective, I was amazed last week at the entitlement that's come with having a secure site that makes it possible for students to type and turn in exams on their laptops. The new professor asked students if they'd be okay with a paper-only test, and several complained it's so inconvenient not to be able to make outlines and fill them in progressively, and how their hands would get tired after an hour. This is my generation, so surely none of them had such a system in college. (Plus it's an open-note-and-book test.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:02 PM
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The poor dears!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-10 9:07 PM
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I know I've confessed this before, but the only thing I've ever shoplifted was a copy of the enchiridion. no cheating otherwise. although I did have a friend (the meth-making organic chemist, junkie one) who had slacked all semester in a Meso-American/South American art history class and was resigned to failing it the day before, and I said that with my outline I could coach him through it in a single (meth-fueled, needless to say) night--he did, in fact, pass.

I was freaked out in college when people whom I didn't know well would ask me for copies of my course review (as a form of studying I would make insanely detailed outlines). like, why the fuck would I give it to you? and in grad school a fellow first-year wanted me to just tell him the solution to this tricky epigraphical question (it boiled down to an old-school GRE logic puzzle and was a significant proportion of our grade). again, what's my motivation here? chicks are supposed to be nice and pity unmotivated boys?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 04-28-10 2:11 AM
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chicks are supposed to be nice and pity unmotivated boys?

Yes!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-29-10 12:30 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-29-10 12:31 PM
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