Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Day 20: Crashing faculty meetings

What went well?

  1. Got my paperwork in for music lessons for credit 2 hours before the deadline.
  2. Intro to Buddhism lecture. I think this is going to be a regularly recurring WWW, but seriously, it's that good. e.g. to illustrate the concept of "karma" as simply meaning chains of effect and causality, the professor suggested all the possible effects if he punched a student in the face: he'd probably get beaten up by his friends, get fired, students would post on twitter, it would get in the news, etc etc.
  3. Caught up with a new friend for coffee today, had a lovely chat, and it turned out that I was going to audit the lecture she was also going to afterwards.
  4. That said lecture was for positive psychology, and the professor was super efficient and absolutely clear even while talking super fast and going super fast in general. I think it'll be a great class to audit.

What did I learn?

  • Double-check anything you're putting into your calendar. So I turned up to the Solomon building (where the Psychology department lives) this afternoon for a colloquium, found the room, and was about to take a seat when I was informed that it was a faculty meeting. Checked the event page and turns out it was on Monday. WOOPSIES.
  • Religions edit their scriptures all the time to take out the bits they don't like, and Buddhism is no different. But with all the edits they did, they never removed the gruesome details about the Buddha's death - namely, getting food poisoning from eating rancid pig, getting bloody diarrhoea, and then dying from that. No wise and impressive final words, just deliriousness. Man, that is a depressing story. So why keep it? To show that the Buddha was a human - just like everyone else, he got old, got sick, and died. He was born a man, and died a man.
  • There's a U-shaped distribution for life satisfaction, declining from 18 years, at its lowest at 50-53 years, and then life gets consistently better from then onwards! You hear that, mum & dad? You can expect good things from now onwards! ;)
  • Graph from Stone, Schwartz, Broderick, & Deaton (2010)

Miscellaneous bits and pieces

Lecture hall for Sociology of Mental Illness.
Just FYI, it's ok to wear gumboots on campus. People do that here. I wasn't sure before I started seeing them everywhere, hence why I ended up buying better boots for the snow. But if you have tramping/hiking boots, you can wear those too! People do that too.


  1. Wow. U-shaped distribution? Curious as to how they measured and standardized life satisfaction, especially amongst younger children.

    Do you happen to know which paper/book this is cited from? Keen to read up more about this.

    An Ran

    1. Here it is (they only measured adults):

      I haven't read it, this was the paper cited in the lecture. Would love to hear your critical thoughts :)