US border control has new visa waiver forms that now also ask for a phone number and email address where you can be reached during your stay. Even if you have applied for a visa waiver through ESTA online, as is now required, you still have to fill out the paper form which seems very pointless to me. Meanwhile, the Americans don't only take photos of travellers and prints of both index fingers, but scan all fingers of both hands. I'm waiting for the day they will ask for a DNA sample and do a 3-d whole body scan. Or maybe I just haven't noticed they already do that. However, since I managed to not only cut my left index finger on Monday but basically tore off most of the skin, the all-finger scan probably saved me a frowned forehead hanging above a black uniform.
The hotel with the roof damage booked me into a residence for long-term stays. The room here has a completely equipped kitchen, and every evening there is a "social hour" in the community room. In my jetlagged condition, it took me half an hour to figure the reason why the internet connection didn't work was the absence of a power cable for the modem. By noon, room service had relocated the missing piece, and now a 30cm ethernet cable ties me to the wall, but yeah, as you notice, I can blog.
As previously mentioned, I am here for the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy that starts tomorrow. It will be held at Georgia Tech. This morning, I took a walk across campus. While the buildings aren't very remarkable, it is clean and nicely arranged with lots of green areas. Below a photo from the student center (click to enlarge).
Participants of the conference actually had to apply for a talk by submitting a paper already in February. I am quite excited my paper was accepted, since it's the first time I am at a conference on this topic.
Frequent readers know well about my interest in the working of the academic system. What you didn't know so far is that supported by a mini-grant from a generous sponsor called SubMeta (kindly pointed out to me by Garrett on this very blog) I was finally able to commission the survey I had first suggested about two years ago in the comments to my post The Trouble With Physics: Aftermath. The survey was conducted by the Social Science Survey Center at UCSB in April this year. If you are a physicist working on a non-profit institution in the USA or Canada, you might have received a survey invitation. A total of 1815 people filled out the survey, despite some of the questions admittedly being very lengthy and cumbersome. This corresponds to a response rate of 14.42%, which is not bad at all.
I've been sitting on the results since 2 months already, but due to my move I haven't had much time to look at them very carefully. At some point I will tell you more details about the results, some of which are very interesting, though I find them also bothersome. I have about 48 hours left to put together my talk, which means converting 350 pages of tables into pretty plots.
Thus, back to work...