1. Thromnambular
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    Thromnambular Member

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    Try to process this...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Thromnambular, Oct 22, 2012.

    I just translated an offensively boring 27-page document by some economist that could have been summarized as:

    "You can't base gas prices on local competition because some people commute; when people commute, they are exposed to gas stations outside of your 'pricing zone' which reduces the effectiveness of practices like 'zone pricing.' So don't do it."

    I mean, seriously...it seems like they don't teach people how to be succinct on their way to getting a PhD. The point the document tries to make is just common sense too. :rolleyes:
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the writer may just as well have been well-taught, but either didn't learn, or prefers to be over-wordy anyway...
     
  3. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Well, it wouldn't be much of a paper if he had just written it like you've got it lol. He probably was just basing his argument on common sense without much real backing to it, and so instead of putting actual content in, he just stretched what he had over 27 pages. The teacher in one of my english classes used this awesome example. You start out with, "Driving fast is dangerous." But then he showed how students try to beef up their word count and the end result was "In my humble opinion, it would seem that driving at high speeds is both unsafe and unsavory, and that the action of doing such, driving at high speeds, can result in injury not only to the perpetrator but also to any others unfortunate enough to be in his path while he is preforming the act of operating his vehicular transport at high speeds."

    I can't stand when people write like that... makes me feel like screaming "GET TO THE POINT DANGIT!"
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL. But given that this was written by an economist, and I assume it was some sort of scholarly paper, I he had to preemptively go through the entire analysis so that those who would argue he is incorrect would have to move on to other arguments. For every point, and for every assumption in his argument, someone is going to argue that it is somehow incorrect.
     
  5. littleshoe
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    littleshoe Member

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    What I have learned writing and reading articles is that the idea, the conclusion, the opinion of the author, is not important. Most of the time, they get it all wrong. What is useful from an article is the data, the sources and methods you used to obtain the data. Arguments, thesis and antithesis are also important because they open the door to different ways of thinking, different approaches.
    In my experience, PhD theses are boring. Writing quality is helpful but secondary. The value of a thesis is the new information it provides, either data or methods.
     
  6. lachesis77
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    lachesis77 Member

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    Reminds me of a quote from Calvin and Hobbes: The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning and inhibit clarity.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or, "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit."
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I've not seen the document, I don't know if it is in-depth and jargon-heavy or just flowery; but I must have missed the meeting that agreed an economics essay or doctoral thesis had to be a ripping read or a real page turner.
     
  9. Thromnambular
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    Thromnambular Member

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    Eh, I was just ranting about the way some things work. You know, how simple things have to be conveyed in complicated ways. The truth is that if every possibility regarding an idea or concept isn't debated, we would probably never fully understand it--so I understand why academic papers and academic research are the way they are.

    Just imagine though, if we lived in a world where everyone endeavored to splash some humor onto everything they do. Personally, I don't see any reason why a thesis or essay shouldn't convey its message in an entertaining way. But, you know, that's just me being idealistic.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    If every piece of writing had to have humor then a lot of the time it would come across as forced or misplaced. You might as well ask why there isn't a pie-throwing clown in Kafka's Metamorphosis.

    Some things are just not supposed to be light-hearted and 'entertaining', and some people just are not this way inclined either. Now, some academic essays are written with humor, and are very entertaining reads. Chinua Achebe's funny side comes out in his essays, others are just not like this and are more 'serious'. I don't see the problem.
     
  11. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    reminds me of a saying of one of my economics proffesors. "this is not a funny subject, Macro economics is serous shit."
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    One thing I always find is dark things can be interpreted in a funny way, Nineteen Eighty-Four is in part a Swiftian parody, Kafka's work is often very funny in a weird, Pynchon-esque way; but they are also very dark.

    I also know of a lot of people who have never read Karl Marx in detail because his critique of Capitalism - Das Capital - might just be the worst written book in the history of anything ever. It's so bad that Karl Marx has his reputation as a political revolutionary instead of what he actually was which was a philosopher who focused on industry and economics. Most so-called Marxists don't like to admit this, because quite frankly it's boring, so even with 'serious' topics like political and economic theory there does need to be some sort of standard of entertainment.
     

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