[Beowulf] a postdoc in Canada

Geoff Jacobs gdjacobs at gmail.com
Fri Mar 28 14:57:52 EDT 2008


Jim Lux wrote:
> Quoting "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>, on Fri 28 Mar 2008
> 05:45:41 AM PDT:
> 
> Some tongue in cheek comments below
> 
> 
>> It is off topic so I manfully resisted, but I'm glad Jim or whoever
>> asked this question as I don't think one could live in the US on a
>> salary of $1500/month unless it were completely tax free.  Post tax this
>> is likely no more than $1100.  Driving a car is likely to cost $200-300
>> a month, assuming that you already own one and don't have to make either
>> payments or pay excessive taxes on it.
> 
> Off campus apartment in the student ghetto within walking/public transit
> distance?
> 
>  An apartment is perhaps
>> $600-1000/month unless you share it (far more in certain locales), and
>> postdocs shouldn't "have" to share to survive.
> 
> Why not?  The carwasheros working for tips and migrant farmworkers
> following the crops do it.  Research work and grants are just another
> crop, and your fingernails don't get as dirty, but you don't get to
> spend time in the healthy outdoors.  Adversity inspires creativity, or
> something like that.
> 
>   And then food, even for
>> a single person, is almost certainly going to cost $10/day or more.
> 
> Here, the migrant farmworker DOES have an advantage since they're
> standing in the midst of the food.  A 70 pound sack of oats runs about
> $15-20 at the feed store (2x-3x times that at the health food store),
> and I can speak from personal experience that one can eat oatmeal for
> many, many days from that sack. And what about Ramen noodles?
> 
> 
>   Add
>> it up and you're already spending your salary on room and board and
>> transportation, leaving one nothing for clothes,
> 
> One really needs to buy your bulk oats in cloth bags, so you can wear
> them to the lab.  The modern trend towards those sort of poly fabric
> materials is really putting a crimp in "dustbowl farm chic" clothing. No
> more soft muslin flour sacks or burlap sacks.
> 
> 
>  fees and taxes,
>> incidental expenses, car payments or repairs,
> 
> What car?
> 
>  entertainment (yes, even
>> postdocs need vacations and entertainment).
> 
> The sheer joy of research and creation aren't enough?  Back to the salt
> mines, you slacker.  At least you're not digging Emeralds in Colombia.
> 
>>
>> Honestly, I think it more likely that this posted salary is a typo of
>> some sort.
> 
> I thought the same.  that's why I asked.
> 
> 
> 
> 
>> I'm not sure this is truly irrelevant.  Non-technical, sure, but the
>> economics of clusters is a wholistic endeavor; one of the most often
>> omitted factors in the discussion of cluster cost-benefit is the human
>> cost of running it.  At $18K canadian (which is currently within a
>> percent or so exchange value with the USD) this is a low-water mark for
>> the estimated cost of a human to run a cluster, actually CHEAPER than a
>> graduate student who would have to make this plus (somewhere, even as a
>> bookkeeping entry ) the cost of tuition
> 
> 
>   This is order of magnitude of
>> $100/node/year for cluster sizes of 50-200 nodes for management, down
>> there with the cost of power and a maintenance contract, an even better
>> deal of the postdoc ever did any real "research" on the side. I'd be
>> very interested in whether or not they fill the position at this price.
> 
> And this is why a standard sort of "per desktop computer" fee of a
> couple hundred bucks a month in most companies isn't all that unreasonable.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>>
>>> Joe (a free-market capitalist)
>>
>>   rgb (ditto, but remember Adam Smith's invisible hand WILL just "work")
> 
> But not necessarily in a way that will be pleasant or desirable for YOU.
> And I don't know that Smith contemplated the concept of multiple hands
> with mutual interactions.
> 
> Jim

Have you ever considered a turn on the comedy circuit? This is brilliant
sardonic humour.

-- 
Geoffrey D. Jacobs

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