Torturing data until it speaks
Saturday August 30th 2008, 8:08h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Education, Politics, Research

Three weeks ago I arrived in the US. You might wonder what I’m doing all the time, just lying around or really getting some stuff done?? Let’s report backwards two days:

I just came home from a dinner organized by nice people of Vineyard Seattle, the church right in front of my apartment. Before I was working at the university crunching numbers and running statistics with my freshly acquainted R-skills for a new research project on Eclipse. For lunch I was invited by Suresh Kotha inspiring me on how to ‘torture my data until it speaks’. After finding out that there is no reciprocity in the Eclipse community, I have now a new idea how to intersect the figures. In the morning I reciprocated by showing David Gomulya how he could parse the entire Wikipedia site by using cURL - quite ambitious ;)

Yesterday night I watched of course Obama’s big speech at the Democratic Nomination Convention. While the conservative media concluded with its usual cynical review, I really admired how he talked and what he said, e.g. “Let’s not make a big election about small things.” (which of course media doesn’t like) Before I was invited for a little beer in the apartment just next to my door by David von Oheimb, Jorge Cuellar and his family. In the afternoon I went with friends to visit Boeing’s huge main manufacturing facility in Everett, close to Seattle. For me it was fascinating: I always thought airplanes just exist and fly around, but now the blackbox opened up and I saw how these fat birds are constructed by thousands of (wo)men! Especially the big 747 and the new 787 were impressive to watch being glued together. For lunch I went out to a nice Indian restaurant with Stephan Siegel. He’s from Germany but lives in the U.S. for several years already doing tenure track at UW in finance.

That’s about it what my brain can store in detail. Unfortunately I’m not able to attend the West Coast Research Seminar therefore returning to Switzerland already next Friday, September 5th - which I don’t mind because despite all the nice people here I miss Anita and the boys a lot!

Ah, and last but not least a pic of lunch with Sonali Shah, my great host here at UW who inspired me for my research and helped me a lot with current and future papers!!

Barack Obama’s Position on Religious Issues
Saturday August 16th 2008, 10:00h
Filed under: Politics

When I bought Jim Wallis‘ book God’s Politics a month ago I didn’t think I’d blog about it again. Nevertheless, today’s interview of Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren’s with Barack Obama (and John McCain) is bringing some new actuality to the topic as even The Economist writes about it. Currently being close to the place myself (Palo Alto, close to San Francisco) I’m definitively going to watch the discussion on CNN at 5 p.m. tonight.

Update 2008-08-17: The discussion last night was very interesting - I hope Obama benefitted from it. The Washington Post published today a good review, the complete video is available on YouTube and CNN.

If I was an American, I'd vote for this guy.

Work and Fun in Anaheim
Wednesday August 13th 2008, 2:31h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Research

Here are some pics of AoM and Disneyland - presentation notes will follow later.

Pictures from AoM and Disney Land

One Month at the West Coast
Thursday August 07th 2008, 23:44h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, Private, Research

Ten years after being an high school exchange student in Belleville, Michigan, I finally get now the opportunity to see also the ‘bright side’ of the US, the West Coast. Here’s a little write down of the planned travel schedule so nowbody can complain if I don’t answer mails immediately during the next four weeks ;)

My trip starts today flying with Zeynep to Los Angeles (if United Airlines doesn’t get on strike as Lufthansa did forcing us to a bad flight schedule) to meet up with Stefan, Martin and Peter for the Academy of Management. We then do some pre-conference workshops, enhanced with a little bit of Disney Land, and start with the official conference program presenting an awful lot of papers.

Then on August 13th we’ll start the Highway 1 trip with our probably not really CO2-efficient SUV (…) from L.A. to San Francisco. After some siteseeing we’ll visit Leslie and Chris at the Googleplex on Monday. Then Stefan, Martin and Peter will leave me alone with this horribly large car which I’ve to drive down to Los Angeles again, hopefully meeting up briefly with my high school friend Andreas who’s doing his post doc in phyics in San Diego.

On Wednesday, August 20th I’ll then fly to Seattle to visit Sonali Shah at the University of Washington. As an expert in community research she gratefully accepted my request to continue my studies on open source communities at her university. Next to writing up my dissertation I hope to be able to see a little bit of the beautiful country side as well.

Already on September 3rd we’ll then fly back to San Francisco for the West Coast Research Symposium where I hope to be able to participate in the Doctoral Student Workshop and attend the conference itself.

Then, finally on September 8th I’ll fly back to Switzerland and arrive at 17.10h the day after in Zurich - happy to see Anita and my boys again!