"In every other advanced nation, the idea that government has a central role in assuring basic health security was settled decades ago — a consensus that conservatives abroad embrace. Always remember: conservative icon Margaret Thatcher would have been chased from office if she had proposed anything as radically conservative as Obamacare — which relies on private docs to deliver the medicine, after all, and still leaves 20 million people uncovered."
As foreign students, we come to the US, we study hard, and we get our degrees. If we are lucky, at the end of our studies we can find a job, and stay in the country.
One thing we cannot do for sure is founding a company. We might be brilliant PhDs, but our immigration status forbids us to put our ideas in practice and create jobs.
This sounds like nonsense to many of us (probably not to the GOP, but that’s a different story), especially during such a crisis, in which we could create many jobs. For this reason, we signed a petition to ask president Obama to give a green card to foreign PhD graduates.
There’s still a long way to go, but there are encouraging signs.
The White House writes:
"We discussed the impact that existing immigration laws have on foreign students who have earned advanced degrees in American schools. As President Obama said during his State of the Union address, it makes no sense to allow these talented students to come to the U.S. and “to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.” That’s why the President supports legislative measures that would attract and retain immigrants who create jobs and boost competitiveness here in the U.S. – including "stapling" green cards to the diplomas of certain foreign-born graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields – as a part of his vision for building a 21st century immigration system"
“Higher education is not a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” Barack Obama”—"Economic imperative" sounds weird. Saying that education is a basic right was too hard, or is that a too revolutionary thought for the United States?
Joe’s Tips on Grad School Interviews … for the Natural Sciences
Hi Joe! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I really enjoy all of your posts. I actually had a couple of questions regarding grad school since I have a couple of interviews scheduled in February. How would you prepare for an interview? Up until now I have only read a couple of papers from professors whose research I am interested in, but other than that I don’t really know what to expect. Also, what influenced your decision to go to the school you are in now? Thanks! Elizabeth
Funny you mention grad school interviews. Blog’s been a little quiet today because we are hosting one of our recruitment weekends here in Austin! So anyone applying here can come drink with me. There are no hard and fast rules for grad school interviews. I can only tell you what I tell our own recruits, and you should take it with a grain of salt, because I am only one opinion:
Your recruiting visit is not a comprehensive examination of your scientific knowledge. If someone turns it into one, then that person is having a bad day, or is a real hardass. They know your grades, your GRE scores and your experience, and they have an idea of your abilities already. In a sense, they have a big “file” on you. They want to see curiosity, signs that you are aware of what differentiates fields (like knowing the value of a developmental lab vs a biochemistry lab), and a willingness to ask questions and pick up on the answers. I mean, they invited you there and are spending money to entertain you. Clearly they are interested.
When you’re meeting with faculty: It’s good to have a general idea of what they work on, but if you only interview with people you completely and totally understand, you can lose out on great opportunities in fields you haven’t been exposed to. Not to mention that even if you think you know everything about someone’s work, you really have no idea. You’re a n00b. So know in general what they do, but you don’t have to know their whole body of work.
ASK THEM STUFF! Faculty love to talk about themselves (it’s a rule), so I would often lead interviews with stuff like “I’ve never worked with _________, but I am interested in how you are applying them to __________. Can you tell me more about where your lab is going?” That will take half the interview right there. You can also ask them about non-science stuff, to prove you are a complete human being and not a science cyborg. I talked about football for an entire interview once.
You will run into people that come into grad school interviews saying “I am going to interview with X, Y and Z and I am going to work on this or that. Period.” These people are either rare geniuses (probably not) or they are afraid to think outside the box. Before grad school, chances are you havent really been that exposed to many subjects. So open your mind. Don’t be afraid to say “I want to try several fields, there’s so much opportunity out there.”
Don’t say things like “I’m really interested in cancer”, because that is a meaningless statement. Say things like “I am really interested in how viruses can cause cancer and how the immune system fights them.”
Talk to as many current students as possible. Find out what stipends are like, how often most of them TA, what insurance benefits are like, what average graduation times are, if there are any profs to avoid, how much does it cost to live there, are people social, are there programs to develop skills beyond the lab (presentations, writing, business), what do people do for fun? If “stipend” and “benefits” bring up confused looks, run away and do something else.
Imagine shopping for graduate school like shopping for a mail-order bride. Because you’re gonna be married to it for years, and you want to knoweverything that you’re getting into.
You don’t have to know all the answers on a visit, just prove that you are willing to find them out.
Lastly, a disclaimer: Remember that I do not have my PhD yet (but will soon) and I have not published in Science or Nature. I’m just a guy who talks about science on the internet.
Knowing a bot's true name, or how to find interesting malware samples
Folklore tells us that by knowing a creature’s true name one obtains great power over her. This is the reason why daemons and such usually don’t tell you their true name, and popstars often times go under pseudonyms.
In a lot more prosaic fashion, security researchers often times struggle in finding malware samples to run for their experiments. The reason is that, most of the time, antivirus companies don’t agree on a name for a malware family.
The way antivirus companies come up with names for malware is funny by itself, and it often generates laughter in the cybercrime community. An example is the Cutwail botnet, whose real name is “Psyche Evolution”. How people came up with Cutwail is a mistery.
Fact is that I was looking for samples for the “Donbot” bot to validate some novel research. According to m86, this botnet is responsible for about 20% of worldwide spam. I looked on anubis, our honeypot system that collects thousands of malware samples, with no results. I even started wondering if that bot really existed, or it was just a legend.
After losing hope, I was told that Donbot is also known as Buzus. No idea what the true name of the bot is, but by using the second name I was suddenly able to find working samples. Which, for a poor grad student struggling with experiments, is good enough.