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Archive for the ‘Santa Barbara’ Category

Yesterday night I attended a reception for the international scholars to UCSB. This was the first time that such a celebration took place in Santa Barbara, thanks to an anonymous donor. It was a lively event, and various important people from the UCSB campus showed up. I won’t bore you with the details.

Amongst the interesting facts that I collected yesterday, was that most international students in the US come to study in the science and technology fields, while very few people from the US go out to study and when they do, the statistic is mostly on humanities. I also found out that there are about 640000 students from abroad in US Universities, and that US Universities graduate about 30000 PhD’s annually.

Not surprisingly, current cuts in US University funding (especially state Universities) will hurt the efforts to get the best (graduate) students to the US, with the consequent deterioration of the pool of people with talent contributing to the US economy. An interesting article regarding this issue can be found here.

If you couple all of this progressive lack of investment by the states into the education system, the future starts looking pretty bad, not just for education, but for the US economy.

This year I am working on a University committee in charge of international education. So I have to learn quite a bit about this stuff.

Simple observation: if you lose loose the people from abroad (who are extremely good students), and you lose loose the local people (because they can not afford to go to school any longer), where is the human capital investment in the future development of technology going to come from?

Remember, modern economies depend on having the best and most innovative modern technology in order to compete. And, new ideas for technology come from people who know what the current technologies are, what they can do and how to make them. Ideas are not born from thin air.

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So far I have not blogged about something that has a lot of impact on my life. Especially on my bottom line. Turns out the University of California system has lost a lot of state financing (California is in quite a mess right now) and painful cuts are on their way. It is clear that the University will not come out unscathed from this incident. Although it will survive.

This finally made it to the main news media centers recently, as you can see from the New York Times article.  Bottom line is it seems I will be getting some furlough days: these are so to speak ‘unpaid vacation’. There is little point in complaining too much about it as the budget shortfalls will not evaporate by doing so. We are not allowed to take those furlough days when we teach, or when we grade, so I’m wondering what needs to be sacrificed in order not to work for free (or just plain less).

The simplest thing to do is to stop researching, but that is a bad idea: no research, no grants. No grants, no summer salary. I’m looking for creative ways to do what I do in less time so that I can make a point of taking those furlough days off somehow.

There is also the issue of what to do with the extra `free time’. I probably should take up consulting, but I’m not sure what or whom I would be consulting for. Or maybe I should take up writing a novel. I also thought of becoming entrepenurial and writting some apps for  iphones in the hope of winning the app lotery and getting rich quick. Additional days spent just surfing the internet and watching television is not that appealing to me. So if you have any ideas about what to do, please drop them in this post.

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Santa Barbara Fire

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, if you live in the Santa Barbara area you might have noticed the Jesusita fire. Many people I know have already been evacuated from their houses, and the view of the fire from my house last night was rather impressive. I was hiking in the affected areas just two weekends ago. When I was there, the grasses were tall and the brush was rather dry. With the very high winds and hot temperatures of the last two days, it is not surprising that the fire has been out of control. It is rather frightening how bad it is instead.

While I was surfing for information about it today I ended up in some Blog agregator site that sent me straight to a ‘you have a virus mock up scan’.

In the interest of depriving some of the traffic for those sites, I thought I would connect you to the official site for information:

The Santa Barbara city safety website

Another very useful place to collect information is the Santa Barbara Independent.

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This will probably only interest the locals in santa Barbara, especially if you visit the farmers market frquently. Cherry season has started. I’m looking forward to pit-fruit season, when we get the peaches, appricots, etc. I also am looking forward to the figs and pears. Strawberries have been in season for a few weeks already. The tomatoes are not there yet. The root vegetables are looking great right now also.

Other than that, I’m still trying to catch up. I’m writing four papers in parallel with different collaborators, so I’m a bit overwhelmed. As the papers start to show up I will add information in the blog about them. There are a couple more in the pipeline after those that have been put on hold until I finish these.  I hope you understand if the blog suddenly feels like an empty room full of spiderwebs.

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