Top Lists of Nonsense

This is a compilation of some top ten (or some other number) lists that have passed my way and amused me. None of them are authored by me, and does not necessarily reflect my teaching style, outlook, or beliefs. However, I cannot help but find them amusing. Hopefully you do too.

Jump to:
[Peter's Laws]
[Herman's Laws]
[Graduate Student Lies]
[TA Lies]

Peter's Laws: The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive-Compulsive

1. If anything can go wrong, Fix It! (To hell with Murphy!)

2. When given a choice -- Take Both!

3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

4. Start at the top and work your way up.

5. Do it by the book... but be the author!

6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.

7. If you can't beat them, join them, then beat them.

8. If it's worth doing, it's go to be done right now.

9. If you can't win, change the rules.

10. If you can't change the rules, then ignore them.

11. Perfection is not optional.

12. When faced without a challenge, make one.

13. "No" simply means begin at one level higher.

14. Don't walk when you can run.

15. Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.

16. When in doubt: THINK!

17. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.

18. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

19. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

A poster with this list hangs proudly in the Wolynes group. Not all of them must be strictly followed. Just most. :)

Herman's Laws

1. Your vacation begins after you defend your thesis.

2. In research, what matters is what is right, and not who is right.

3. In research and other matters, your adviser is always right, most of the time.

4. Act as if your adviser is always right, almost all the time.

5. If you think you are right and you are able to convince your adviser, your adviser will be very happy.

6. Your productivity varies as (effective productive time spent per day)1,000.

7. Your productivity also varies as 1/(your delay in analysing acquired data)1,000.

8. Take data today as if you know that your equipment will break tomorrow.

9. If you would be unhappy to lose your data, make a permanent back-up copy of them within five minutes of acquiring them.

10. Your adviser expects your productivity to be low initially and then to be above threshold after a year or so.

11. You must become a bigger expert in your thesis area than your adviser.

12. When you cooperate, your adviser's blood pressure will go down a bit.

13. When you don't cooperate, your adviser's blood pressure either goes up a bit or it goes down to zero.

14. Usually, only when you can publish your results are they good enough to be part of your thesis.

15. The higher the quality, first, and quantity, second, of your publishable work, the better your thesis.

16. Remember, it's your thesis. You (!) need to do it.

17. Your adviser wants you to become famous, so that he/she can finally become famous.

18. Your adviser wants to write the best letter of recommendation for you that is possible.

19. Whatever is best for you is best for your adviser.

20. Whatever is best for your adviser is best for you.

Written by Irving P. Herman, professor of applied physics at Columbia University, in Nature, Jan 2007

Top Ten Lies Told by Graduate Students

10. It doesn't bother me at all that my college roommate is making $80,000 a year on Wall Street.

9. I'd be delighted to proofread your book/chapter/article.

8. My work has a lot of practical importance.

7. I will make a real difference in the world.

6. Your latest article was so inspiring.

5. I turned down a lot of great job offers to come here.

4. I just have one more book/chapter/article to read and then I'll start writing.

3. The department is giving me so much support.

2. My job prospects look really good.

1. No really, I'll be out of here in only two more years.

Top Five Lies Told by Teaching Assistants

5. I'm not going to grant any extensions.

4. Call me any time. I'm always available.

3. It doesn't matter what I think; write what you believe.

2. In life, your grade in this class doesn't matter -- only what you learn.

1. My other section is much better prepared than you guys.