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June 12, 2014 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2014-06-12
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Thursday, June 12, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, June 12, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


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REL-AoS vAT-- .nursay","une 1,''
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS DOWN 45 Summercamp 52 First National
1F*Plae to cuddle 1 Like acold stare ight, and a hint Leaguer to
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13 Minnestaplayer 4 Med sch. class otanswemto 53 Game show
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15 False god 6 Benched player? graphically 55 "Star Wars"
16 Dcut symhols 7 Suhurban tree represent villain
18 Like some 81973 thrler 49 Mexican state or 57-esprit: wit
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From Page 6
direction, and if you have a semi-
observant eye or just watch a lot
of TV, you'll be able to map out the
trajectory of a lot of subplots as
soon as they appear. Case in point:
as soon as we see a frazzled Polly
walking topless around Larry and
bemoaning her absent husband,
it's inevitable that they're going
to get together. In other plot arcs,
this over-transparency is negated
by a strong cast that picks up the
predictable narrative structure's
slack, but since Larry and Polly
(especially together) offer no
redeemable characterization, it
was superfluous.
Especially since these scenes
take us out of the Lichtfield
microcosm: Season Two integrates
some ambitious commentary on
institutional corruption(especially
prescient with the recent news
on the atrocious conditions at
Riverhead correctional facility,
where OINTB is shot) that felt
absent last season. In one of the
most poignant character arcs, and
one that was constructed with
surprising subtlety and restraint,
Jimmy (Pat Squire) renders a
wholly moving portrait of the
dire mental health and geratric
care afforded to inmates. That
plotline feels more successful
than Figueroa's (Alysia Reiner)
money-laundering one, which falls
into the heavy-handed problem,
though it is reassuring to see the
writers are equal opportunists
about doling out cliches. However,
the theme of external bureaucratic
shuffling provides a smart foil
to the building racial tensions
that dominated Season Two, and
the adjoining prison politics. In
Season One, the prison milieu was
too vast at times, and it evaded any
interesting inter-group conflict
(or just contact). The looming
prison war that Season Two
steadily builds up to addresses that
On the entertainment side,
the show's comedic writing is
sharper than ever. Not only in the
acerbic prison one-liners (Piper's
memorable line, "He's a hitman?
I thought he was a rapist. I'm so
relieved!"), but also the acerbic and
far-reaching references peppered
throughout (The Fault in the Stars,
Louis Althusser, Big Pharma all get
funny mentions) make the show
undeniably watchable. But that
was never OINTB's weak point.

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he more data points, the
better - ask any gradu-
ate student. This is espe-
cially true
for statistical
studies that
draw infer-
ences about a
diverse popu-
lation from a
smaller subset
of N individu- M
als, where N YEE
is referred to
as the sample
size. All else
being equal, larger values of N
lead to concomitant increases in
the ability to detect the presence
of an effect in a particular experi-
ment. Intuitively, one might say
that having more information
available to the observer reduces
uncertainty, and allows for more
confidence in a conclusion well-
supported by
the evidence.
It should come as no surprise
then that just as we glorify stud-
ies where N is large, so too do we
demonize those with small N. As
the sample size decreases, the
faith we have in the experiment
as a whole diminishes rapidly.
Concerns mount about whether
the group in question is represen-
tative of the target population, as
well as whether the results could
have been due to chance alone.
And what of the case srudy,
the special situation where N=1?
Scientists look askance at any
attempt to generalize from a
single data point. When N=1, what
one has isn't an experiment at
all, but an anecdote, an observa-
tion which could just as easily be
a fluke, an aberration, a coinci-
Perhaps this inherent distrust
of low N is part of what makes
issues surrounding the abuse of
graduate students so hard to tack-
le. Sequestered for days on end
in lab, studio or office, away from
friends, family and loved ones,
the life of a graduate student can
be intensely isolating. Randomly
distributed across campus, blind-
ed to the conditions under which
their peers toil, graduate students
are constantly running parallel
experiments on themselves, with
N=1, attempting to gauge whether
the problems they must deal with
on a daily basis are a result of
extrinsic or intrinsic factors.
The graduate student has a

unique relationship with his or
her advisor. As one's principal
research investigator and some-
times sole source of funding, the
advisor is the hand that feeds,
the eyes that read and the way to
succeed, all at once. "Publish or
perish," the saying goes; without
clear delineation between work
and non-work, between the end of
one project and the beginning of
the next, there can be substantial
pressure on the graduate student
to spend more and more time and
effort in pursuit of an ever-mov-
ing and possibly illusory goal.
Where is the boundary
between keeping one's trainees
on task and overworking those
entrusted to one's supervision?
It's murky enough territory for
the faculty advisor, but for the
graduate student, that division
can be quite indistinct. Though
gathered en masse students often
degenerate into complaints and
commiseration, seldom do they
air those concerns which truly
trouble them, perhaps out of a
fear of revealing a deeply-rooted
intellectual or character flaw;
enough graduate students grapple
with "impostor syndrome" even
outside times of stress. Are the
difficulties that one encounters a
reflection of the research or the
researcher? For the individual,
with N=1, it can be downright
impossible to tell.
Graduate students may be
even more reluctant to speak up
if they perceive there's a chance
of retaliation, or if there is little
expectation that definitive action
will come of the complaint. What
is known for certain is that abuse
has far-reaching effects, contrib-
uting to the increasingly recog-
nized problem of depression on
college campuses as well as the
attrition and burnout that causes
many students to switch advisors
or leave their programs entirely.
Though we have made great
strides in combating exploitation,
ridicule and neglect, much work
remains to be done. For now, stu-
dents remain vulnerable to mis-
treatment, and small sample sizes
make it difficult to gauge whether
or not one's travails are "normal."
For now, ambiguity aids the abu-
sive and vagueness validates the
vindictive. For now, the N justi-
fies the mean.
- Mike Yee can be reached
at mayee@engin.umich.edu.

couple bikes past my
jangling in their
mouths. It's
summer-gray >
in Michigan, .
and the W
wind carries
tiny puffs of
fluorescent CARLINA
lights, past DUAN
baskets of
past the blue
recycle bins hunkered on East
Washington Street. I feel as
if it's going to rain. The air is
tight, and the wind - tighter,
brushing my lip dry. Cars flip
past. Dogs shout. A man holds
another man's hand. I press
my wrist to the glass, willing
everything to stay.
Recently, everything has been
reminding me of departure. I'm
graduating in one year, and as
each day pumps by, I want to get
out of this city, with its plastic
packages of tea and women in
thick wedge heels. I lift my face
and clouds roll, mosquitoes
spark. Friends I love graduate,
go away for the summers, don't
come back. Friends I love get
sick. My family sleeps in their
green-shuttered house. My
mother plants gardenias on the
back porch, and their petals
light up in the heat - shy, white
muscles lifting their frills to
meet grass. I get restless, caught
up in a sleeve of undergraduate
worry and panic. I eat grapefruit
and spend my money on cheap
comics and sticks of mint gum.
I feel like an imminent flunk.
Recently, at work, I was asked
why I chose to study English
in college. "What do you want
to do with that?" a co-worker
asked politely, biting the square
of her lip. It's a question most of
us have been asked repeatedly,
regardless of our field.
Yet despite three years of
intensive study in literature and

language, I still have n
want to do handstands
to make postcards. I,
touch diamonds of ched
the overpriced supe
down my street; I wan
other people's massiv
bite the basil plant, w
lipstick. I want, so badl
to graduate from this U
in one year and believ
degree in English is enou
I will feel confident and
enough to plug the worl
body, that I'll have the s
service and experience
to carve out space for m
But perhaps the trut
matter is: The classroom
prepare you for anythi
than a few intellectual
spurts. You read books.'
your hand shyly in class
wet in the rain.
When I started
University three yea
school was about stretc
brain to its brightest
I've always felt that as a
it's my own
to actively k
seek out thrill, I kr
discomfort yeas
- whether l
in punching
numbers into
a database,
or in piling my tray wit
hall cookies. But durin
I've also found that it'
increasingly important
to understand and come
face with moments of sb
rage. To slam sparks th
brain. To make eye co
craft assignments for m
times, the syllabus is no
If anything, I've fo
my classes in Engli
raised me to questi
is - and isn't - wi
textbook. As an i
senior, I'm hyper-awar
I'm unsettled by wi
classroom: what gets
or talked around, or

When N=1

The syllabus isn't enough

o idea. I over. As students, it becomes
. I want increasingly important to
want to not shy away. We need to
dar from take initiative for ourselves
ermarket and unearth the classroom
t to hold vocabulary. This doesn't mean
e hands, that what we learn in our
wear red classrooms is unimportant.
y, for me On the contrary, the syllabus
niversity becomes even more important
e that a in the context that we're
igh. That building upon and beyond it,
d capable seeking more. As students of
d into my the classroom and of the planet,
kills and we have to raise the stakes.
needed As an English major, I want
yself. to read about Chaucer, but also
h of the about sassy Chinese women. I
n doesn't want to read about daughters
ng other of immigrants. I want to talk
1 growth about shame, and inheritance,
You raise and the black hairs on my legs.
, you get I haven't necessarily found that
I've been able to read or discuss
at this these issues in my classes. So
irs ago, I read outside of school. So I
hing the write poems. So I build. When
shapes. I graduate in a year, it won't
student, necessarily be about all the
papers I've
written, or
the medieval
tow that in one English I've
r read. It'll be
r I want to still about pushing
be digging. out beyond the
curriculum -
which takes
th dining muscle. Going beyond the
g college, syllabus means that we do
s become not become stuck within it. It
t for me means we challenge ourselves,
e face-to- continuously, to lift and look
hiny fear, and ask.
rough the I still have no idea what I want
ntact. To to "do" with my English degree.
uyself. At But I know in one year, I want
t enough. to still be digging. I don't want
und that to constantly nod my head. I
sh have want to ask questions. I want to
on what remain restless. I want my brain
thin the to whir at high speeds. I want to
incoming learn, I want to celebrate. I want
e of what to create.
thin the
left out, - Carlina Duan can be reached
pushed at linaduan@umich.edu.

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