(mainly) Papers and hot beverages

I’ve been thinking about starting my own blog now for a while. I’ve been blogging in many places on the social sciences with other people since I was much younger than I’m now. Most of it was what we may call “public social science”, meaning, trying to communicate the implication that research-informed analysis has for  politics and policy analysis.

Although that was a very rewarding experience, I have been missing for a while a place where to think out loud, keep some record of my workflow and share my learning process just as one of my friends has. I recently was on my way to Damascus  home when I had an epiphany: the news cycle is terribly boring. Communicating ideas in an sexy fashion usually implies simplifying, forcing yourself to put them in a format that makes them interesting, provocative and accessible, writing short pieces and short sentences, justifying why they are immediately relevant or useful for the policy process. In fact, most interesting ideas do not fit in the news cycle or they evolve at a different level. It was while I was looking at a textbook I’m using to teach myself python and computer science, when I realized how exciting most of the concepts I’m learning ideas are for their own sake, not just as a tool for data analysis. Eventually, I was looking at my old real analysis and other math books that I bought with the hope of reading them at some point, and felt melancholic when I realized that my skills in the field were mucho below what I would like them to be and, at the same time, I was unlikely to take any serious math course in the future.

A couple of months ago I appeared in Spanish TV, talking about gender equality. It was interesting. My mother, and many of my friends and acquaintances, for the first time, congratulated me for something -vaguely- related to my academic career; so did many other people who used to still ask me when would I get a real job –meaning, stop being a student. I don’t blame them. However, I really missed my ivory tower with my books, pdf’s and my teapot. I’m now about to start a new stage in my career where this will be my standard environment and I routinely encounter ideas that I would like to think about. I intent to keep a record of these here. 

A non-neglectable motivation to start a blog is to improve my writing skills. A reader of Ms. McCloskey, I am aware of the role that persuasion and rhetoric plays in the scientific process. Have always thought of formal and empirical models, and explanations more generally, as just stories with particular persuasive power. I don’t think I can anticipate what I’ll be writing here. The only expectable leitmotiv will be my life as PhD student addicted to tea and coffee. Part of it will just be a record of books I use, papers I read, and other resources. I will also, maybe, write thinking speculatively about sensitive subjects. I won’t, generally, write about about politics -political philosophy is not considered part of it.

If you have kept reading until here,  welcome 🙂 .

(mainly) Papers and hot beverages

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