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Preface regarding articles from Princeton

September 1, 2008 Princeton writings
During my six years at Princeton (1999-2005) I had the pleasure of penning quite a few articles for the Daily Princetonian, the school newspaper, and oftentimes also known simply as the ‘Prince’ — actually, all the writings came in the latter half of my time at Princeton.  Anyhow, writing for the Daily Princetonian (and other forums) was an apt continuation of a long held personal tradition: I had written for the school newspaper as far back as grades 7 and 8 (at Earl Grey Senior School in Toronto, Canada); I also wrote some stuff for Riverdale Collegiate’s (Toronto, Canada) school newspaper in my last year of high school.  This anthology constitutes a collection of all the writings that I did while at Princeton which were published in some way, shape or form. (Although, looking back, I shudder at the thought that such hastily written pieces had made it to print!) In hindsight — which is always 20/20 — I cringe at how I wrote some of my pieces in such sloppy format or with lack of focus.  For others, my views may have even changed since I first offered my public opinion.  But some, even in retrospect, still ring true…

Acknowledgment from PhD dissertation

April 12, 2008 Princeton writings
First of all, I want to thank Paul Krugman for inspiration, many free books and fun conversations.  I often pinch myself, as a reality check, when noting that such a preeminent economist — and definite future Nobel laureate — is supervising my work.  I guess this is what makes Princeton so special.  Many thanks to all who have read this thesis, including (and especially) Alan Blinder, Hyun Song Shin, Gene Grossman, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, and Lars Svensson, as well as classmates and friends.  Also, much appreciation to Thijs van Rens and Vasco Cúrdia for help with SWP, and to Gene Grossman, who helped me secure funding when I was post-enrolled (the bane of the graduate student).  The usual caveat applies: All remaining errors in this dissertation are my own. The many years spent at Princeton have been unbelievable, eliciting from me a myriad of emotions.  I will cherish my experiences and especially my friends, who added much delight to times spent in Princeton.  There are too many people to thank individually for all the camaraderie that I have enjoyed, so I will instead begin by thanking groups that are dear to me.  Foremost, I must thank colleagues, faculty and staff from…

The graduate student’s long march

December 1, 2005 Articles, Princeton writings
Students of English literature might be acquainted with Alan Sillitoe's classic novel, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner."  In that story, the protagonist, Smith, gains relief from his chaotic schedule in a well-heeled boarding school and time to muse about life in his daily runs.  As a runner myself — having competed in track and field, cross-country and marathons — I empathize with Smith. One of the simple pleasures of long-distance running is the seclusion that Sillitoe notes.  The solitude of running provides an opportunity to appreciate, inter alia, the beauty of the sun setting over rolling hills while hearing the sound of leaves crunching under one's feet.  However, sometimes the solitude is simply lonesome. This is why I sometimes think that Sillitoe was in fact writing about the doctoral adventure.  The Ph.D. is a very lonely pursuit, and it goes without saying that it is a long race, metaphorically speaking.  (The median time from matriculation to receiving a Ph.D. is 6.0 years.)  And the isolation of the Princeton graduate experience has given me an epiphany about life: It really is stranger than fiction. Though I don't run on the beach, I often imagine leaving tracks in the sand…

The joys of adding insects to your daily diet

The food options at Princeton are rather threadbare:  The dining halls serve the same things day after day; Frist is simply atrocious; and the so-called eating clubs are places where I shudder to dine — but I'm happy to mooch a meal there if you care to invite me.  So what's a person in this one-tiger town to do if she's looking for a gastronomic adventure?  Before you shout "Go to Burger King!" let me say, "B.K. R.I.P."  Thus, we are left to grovel at the feet of the administration for a tastier menu selection. So what would I place on the menu?  Here's my idea:  I suggest that we start serving insects.  Think about it.  Remember all those cicadas from last year?  Well, if people would open up their minds — and stomachs — instead of viewing the swathes of cicadas as some biblical-proportion plague, one would instead see a smorgasbord of asparagus on wings (yes, they taste like asparagus).  And what a delicacy they are — they only come around once every 17 years! You can also take pride, when munching on a bug, in knowing that you are helping to control the pest population.  Plus, you'll never…

Religion can blind followers to the truth

April 6, 2005 Articles, Princeton writings
I am secular.  In a society that is very religious this is an invitation for scorn. I was not always secular, however.  I was once a devout Christian.  Up until my eighteenth birthday I would have described myself as a believer. I had started going to church as a young lad because my parents were too busy working to take me out.  So when local church officials came knocking on my door and asked if I wanted to go to Sunday School – where there would be other kids to play with and, best of all, free food – I acquiesced. I was a very committed Christian.  At one time I led the church youth group and headed a Bible study unit.  Just as much, my social values were conservative:  I summarily opposed abortions; I thought homosexuality was wrong.  These were the norms I was taught at church. Now I see religious intolerance as one of the great challenges for a pluralistic and compassionate society.  I say this because I see how religion is oftentimes used as a veil for hate:  How is denying human rights (i.e., marriage) to gays seen as moral?  Likewise, is it just to bring a…




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