A Pop of Pop Culture

I have been a delinquent blogger as the semester hit me like a ton of bricks. Work has been good, if a touch too abundant, with three long papers recently submitted as a culmination of a summer of hard work. And now it’s proposal-writin’ time.

I must admit I don’t have much of an inspiration to blog, but I will share a few bits of pop culture that I have been enjoying at the fringes of a very busy life.



Fiction (these days, only sci-fi)

North, Claire

This book is really excellent.  It is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. A really compelling story, beautifully executed, with thoroughly described characters.

(Spoiler alert: Harry is one of the kalachakra, people who keep on being reborn into their life over and over again, but retain all their memories from times past.)

Ancillary Mercy 

I am looking forward to receiving a copy of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. It should arrive tomorrow!


(Note: I tend to start reading non-fiction kind of from the middle, jump around a little first, and then settle and read from the start. Or not).

Pinker, Steven
Ooooooh, it’s so delightful! It’s so happy, and bouncy, and just overfilling with joy! By the way, it’s a style manual. True to the title, it’s aimed at the thinking individual, basically applying the scientific method to analyze writing. Dissecting passages of different genres and trying to pinpoint what it is that makes them work or not, extracting common features that permeate fairly disparate pieces.

The book was beautifully written. Pinker deeply cares about the language and you can feel the love through his light, witty prose.

Schimel, Joshua

This one is objectively good. I think. If I try to be as dispassionate as I can, I admit it has all the needed parts and is definitely going to be useful to people, especially novice technical writers. It discusses the story arc, funneling, writing mostly with nouns and verbs, etc., all well-known tools that a good advisor would teach their students and postdocs about anyway. I guess it’s a good book if you are just starting out or are without much guidance. To be honest, it really irritated me. I found the writing patronizing and prescriptive. I suppose it was meant to be a textbook, but I found myself disagreeing with the author regarding some examples. Namely, Schimel would put up a bad piece of writing and then his own version that is supposedly much improved; I disliked quite strongly his improved versions a number of times. One trick for paring down text is to not overexplain what is assumed; yet I feel he assumes too much, and the text is often trimmed down to the point of obscurity. It may be the content of the examples, but being in a theoretical field, if I know one thing, it is that the writer ALWAYS assumes too much when discussing technical material. In one place he compacted a perfectly suitable syntagma into “this,” as in “… and the sky is blue because of this.” Longtime readers of the blog know that, at the sight of “this” or “that” without a noun following, I start twitching. So yeah. Objectively a good and useful book with a lot of examples, but I ended up very annoyed upon spot-reading it. Maybe I am not the intended audience. Or maybe the book just had the misfortune of me having read it after the beautiful “The Sense of Style.”


The Conflict: How Overzealous Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women

Badinter, Elisabeth
I bought this one based on a recommendation without knowing much about it. I spot-read it and thought to myself “The writing is so direct and unapologetic. I can’t believe the book was  written by an American woman.” Lo and behold, it wasn’t; Badinter is a French feminist and professor of philosophy. It was refreshing to read a book without endless qualifiers and softeners and apologies for every thought and every statement that American female writers have to make when writing about motherhood or feminism (or perhaps anything else); I remember all the crap flying around after Lean In, which was as heavily edited into inoffensiveness and as apologetic as they come.  Badinter basically says the following (paraphrasing):  Just after the first-wave feminists had managed to tear down the barriers to female advancement, their daughters rebelled against their tired feminist moms for being bad, neglectful mommies and vowed to be different and completely devoted to their families; apparently, this mother-daughter conflict is as old as time, but now it happened at a time of a major social change and resulted in a global shift towards tradition.

She basically states that natural motherhood — endless breastfeeding and baby-wearing and complete focus on the child at the expense of the woman’s individuality —  are very effective at keeping women at home, out of the work force, away from professional advancement and economic independence, and they remove the father from the child-rearing sphere. The kid is the new tyrant. She is very much not the fan of the La Leche League and  describes them in very strong language. It’s been a little while since I read the book, but it was well researched, with plenty of data on natality throughout the world over time, how government support didn’t do very much to raise the birth rate in the Scandinavian countries (Swedish women have fewer kids than Irish and American women where the society protections don’t exist), and effects of government and society support for motherhood. I found it to be a interesting read, but be aware that I am by no means a third-wave feminist, my views are much more old-school.



The Martian

A great movie. Very well paced, well shot, suspenseful. Go see it. (I do love SF in general, so calibrate accordingly.)

I wish NASA were as well funded as the movie depicts.


Yours, Dreamily

by The Arcs

The album is good, but I wouldn’t call it great. If you were expecting The Black Keys, this ain’t it. The whole album sound like we’re underwater, which I presume fits well with the “dreamily” in the title. Other than “Out of My Mind,” I liked “Everything You Do (You Do For You)” and “Nature’s Child;” DH liked also “Cold Companion.” It’s a good album for proposal writing, unobtrusive. I have a feeling it will grow on me.


How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

by Florence + The Machine

I have been listening to this one non-stop, it’s lovely. Florence Welch’s voice is amazing. She and Chrissy Hynde have the kind of voice that you can recognize in a million. The radio hits “Ship To Wreck” and “What Kind Of Man” are what made me get the album, which turned out great a whole. “Delilah,” How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” “Queen of Peace,”  “Mother” are thus far my favorites, but the entire collection is excellent.

Stupid Email

The semester has started. I hate it when semesters start, yet the bastards keep doing it.

Why the hate, you ask? Don’t you like teaching?

Actually, I love teaching. I don’t mind students returning one bit; students are cool and fun and make the campus alive and bubbly. I don’t object at all to the professing part of being a professor.

What I hate is the onslaught of crap, specifically email crap. There is so much service to be done, and so much information to be shared with everyone everywhere, that I could easily just teach, do service, and read emails, and I would fill up 40+ hours a week. It’s completely nuts.

There are all these people who start bombarding me (and presumably everyone else with a university address) on the first day of class with all sorts of notices (Webinar! Workshop! Yet another seminar series! Cookies with the janitor!), requests (Serve on yet another committee! Sure, you got time!), and queries (How’s the work-life balance? How’s your work climate? Are you sure you got enough service? Are you reeeeeeely sure?).

Where the fuck are all those email senders all summer? Faculty have 9-month appointments, so one could say that if they are not paid they don’t have to be there (although at a research institution all faculty are expected to do research full-steam all summer and, in the sciences and engineering, have their salary paid on grants); most faculty either work or travel for work all summer. But all staff have 12-month appointments, so they should technically be here and working. so what are all these prolific emailers up to all summer when they are not drowning everyone around them in emails? If all summer can go by without all this stupid email traffic, then I bet most of semester’s email activity is not actually critical for anything either, because most messages have nothing to do with students.

I am seriously thinking about all but abandoning my university email and checking it only once a week or so, because I don’t know how to handle the barrage of messages that are not technically spam (although they are in the sense ” I don’t want this information, leave me alone and take me off these goddamn lists”); I can’t just block the domain or subdomains or even specific people, because I work here and some stuff may actually be useful or important. The thing is, I want to be accessible, but this is just really disruptive and unbelievably annoying.

I am thinking of switching to a special Gmail account (to which I will NOT be forwarding from my university one) for communication with my students and a few trusted colleagues. Or maybe I should just be texting.

How did it come to this that I have to devise evasive maneuvers in order to have some time to actually do the work for which an advanced degree is required?

How Do You Like Your Conferences?

I just came back from yet another conference and am looking forward to staying put for a while.

Every graduate student should experience a several-thousand-attendee conference. However, I find these meetings to be generally a poor use of the large amounts of money that are needed to attend them. They are  held in expensive locales, with large conference centers and expensive hotels. They have high registration fees that don’t cover much, so one still has to pay for all the meals, which are also expensive because, again, the whole event in an expensive place.

These days, I like to go to small and focused conferences, with no more than ~200 attendees and a single-session format. At this size, you can make a personal connection and have real technical conversations, which can result in long-term collaborations and science friendships. With a relatively narrow topic and single-session format, you are actually interested in and following most of the talks, as opposed to checking email or browsing the web.

What do I like in a conference?

1. A well-made program, with interesting talks, especially invited ones.

At big conferences, the organizers usually bring in these big names for plenary or keynote talks, but seeing these prominent folks is cool in the same way in which seeing the Rolling Stones play live is cool — sure, you should do it once in your life, so you can see how the legends do it and can tell people about it, but it’s all entertainment and you won’t get to meet Jagger anyway. Indeed, these big names usually give their well-flowing, high-level (overview) talks and then leave shortly thereafter, so they don’t talk to many people and  don’t actually do much for the community that came to hear them.

The conference I just came back from  did a very good job with the selection of invited talks: many went to relatively junior and very active people in related subareas, assistant and associate professors who gave good and engaging talks, and actually stayed the whole time, listened to other talks and mingled with the other attendees. This is good for the speakers and good for the community, who could all now make real, lasting connections between somewhat different but related subareas.

2. The single-session format, with plenty of time to talk with people.

I like to go to a conference to listen to the talks and to talk to other attendees, largely about work.
Ideally, I want to be able to listen to all the talks, and not have to run around between rooms. A conference is a good use of my time and money if there are engaging talks in every session and I want to be there the whole time. Conferences where I end up spending most of my time in a hotel room because I don’t care to listen to the talks are a waste.

3. When I go to a conference, I go to work, I do not go to have a vacation.

This appears to be a difference between me and many people, also a difference between the young me and today’s me.

I don’t want an exciting or expensive place. I want cheap registration that provides a lot for the money, I want an affordable hotel that is close to the conference venue so I can easily go get something from my room if needed (like a sweater if the conference room is at a subzero temperature), I want an engaging technical program, and I want a lot of opportunity to interact with other attendees over food or coffee.

I do not want to skip the talks to go sunbathing or swimming or skiing or sightseeing. I want to work and think and extend my professional network, and honestly, boring but comfortable places where attendees end up spending a lot of time together (in no small part because there is not much else to do) work great for this.

My ideal conference is organized at a university campus in the US. Why? Large lecture halls are excellent auditoria for the talks, with appropriate video and audio equipment and with enough electrical outlets for all attendees, and with reliable internet access; usually the room can be booked for free or very cheaply by the organizers.  There is often cheap university lodging close to where the conference takes place, with plenty of restaurants and bars in the surroundings to briefly walk to and talk with people. University catering is usually affordable, and plenty of food (breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, dinner if possible) that is included in the registration cost makes for very, very happy attendees.

Finally, a conference is really successful if you come back with a whole bunch of new ideas.

What say you, blogosphere? How does your ideal conference look? 

Scientists As Non-Technical Writers

Occasionally it occurs to me that, in terms of my job as an academic scientist, I really still think of myself as junior. Intellectually, I know I am a full professor and I am not getting any younger, but I don’t really feel that I now truly belong to the most senior segment of the professoriate, the segment that produces the leaders of federally funded centers and the writers of textbooks.

A little while ago, I reviewed big center grants for a federal agency, and this is the first time I ever thought I could totally write this type of grant (which is not to say that I should or would). Center grants are really different beasts than single-investigator or small-team grants, and much hinges on the capability of the PI to bring everyone together (which I think I could); however, even more hinges on the perceived awesomeness of the PI. I am a theorist and a woman, yet any center (unless it’s one heavily focused on theory, and those are exceedingly rare) would involve me and a whole bunch of experimentalists.  People expect a senior male experimentalist at the helm, or  a male young-gun experimentalist, or perhaps a senior woman experimentalist. To lead most centers, I would probably have two if not three demerits as the PI — female, theorist and perhaps not sufficiently senior. Sure, this may be my impostor syndrome talking, but I don’t think I am imagining this.

Anyway, I think I will be trying my hand at leading some larger proposals in the next year or two, even though they are likely not to get funded. I will try hard to think of it as practice for bigger and better things, and not just as a ginormous waste of time.


For reasons of intradepartmental service, I recently had the pleasure of reading the CV of a senior colleague. The colleague wrote a well-regarded textbook a couple of decades ago, when he was about my age or perhaps even younger. He’s not in my subfield, so I don’t know if that text was really necessary and novel at the time, something much-needed to fill a void in the education of graduate students. What I know is that the book has been broadly adopted and has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

I teach courses from low-level undergrad to upper-level graduate, and I provide detailed hand-written lecture notes for all my courses. Occasionally, people ask if I plan on writing a textbook for the course.

As for the low-level undergraduate courses, I don’t think I have enough original to say about these basic and well-known topics that hasn’t been already said in one text or another. I certainly don’t see that there is a dearth of undergraduate texts in my field — on the contrary;  too many people have already spent time writing textbooks that very few students outside of their own classrooms will ever buy.

When it comes to graduate education, there is a small number of texts available and I have things to say, but I feel that my most original thoughts fit just as well into journal publications. I don’t feel that it’s worth my time to write a textbook, that there is a pressing need for it, or that there is a sufficiently large market for it. I am also fairly non-committal in terms of what I teach: I like changing up my lectures, especially at the graduate level, as I see fit, in response to both new field developments and to class composition and interest. New discoveries lead to new homework problems, projects, and additions to the course readings.

In other words, I could write a textbook or textbooks, but in all honesty I can’t say that the world really needs one (or three) from me, so I cannot justify spending time on this endeavor… Although I would probably really enjoy the writing.


Another thing I have been mulling over: scientists as non-technical writers, i.e., as writers of fiction or popular non-fiction.

I know a few successful examples off the top of my head. Daniel H. Wilson, the author or Robopocalypse (being presently adapted into a movie) and Robogenesis, has a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon (although he seems to write full time these days). Paul McEuen, an accomplished Cornell condensed-matter physicist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is also a recognized fiction writer, whose thriller Spiral was welcomed with positive reviews. Jennifer Rohn, who blogs at Occam’s Typewriter, is (to paraphrase her own words) a cell biologist at the University College London by day and a novelist, pundit, and editor by night. She has published two novels (Experimental Heart and The Honest Look) as well as shorter pieces. This year’s Hugo Award winner in the novel category, The Three-Body Problem (can’t wait to read it!) was written by Cixin Liu, who used to work as a computer  engineer at a power plant.

There are people who write non-fiction that is based on their experiences in their main line of work. There are Harvard’s well-known Stephen Pinker with The Sense of Style and a particle physicist Lisa Randall with Warped Passages. M.R. Nelson wrote the short and delightful Taming the Work Week and Navigating the Path to Industry based on her years of working as a manager in the biotech industry. Academic examples are also Joshua Schimel’s Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded and Karen Kelsky’s book, The Professor Is In, based on her blog (I admit to not being the biggest fan).

Clearly some people can be both gifted writers and accomplished professionls. I like writing, as evidenced by nearly 6 years of blogging (has it been that long?) and I have been enamored of the idea of even more writing. Sure, I have no time, but the lack of time never stopped me from doing anything; I do have ideas and zeal. It’s the fear of suckitude at a scale grander than my small blog and the fear of of contributing meaninglessly to the legions of the unread (and the undead) at a great sacrifice of time and energy — both of which should be channeled into my family and my day job — that generally serves as a powerful antidote to the impetus to write more.

I will say, though, that many books and publications related to the life in academia, like the CHE and IHE, don’t resonate with my experiences. For instance, while I understand and am sympathetic to the plights of adjuncts, we simply don’t have them in my college at all. We have a handful of full-time teaching staff with MS degrees. They have long-term contracts, good salaries, and benefits. They are beloved teachers who are involved in developing the curriculum and fully partake in faculty meetings. Once in a blue moon, when there is a need to staff a course last minute, those are covered either as teaching overload by a member of faculty or teaching staff, or by a highly qualified senior graduate student who’s mere months from graduation and who would like some teaching experience.

Academia is very heterogeneous and I understand the mainstream publications are tailored towards non-STEM folks and non-R1 universities and colleges. No one should shed a tear for a well-compensated tenured academic at a large research university.  But I will say that people reading about academia in mainstream outlets probably have almost no idea (or worse yet, have a very unrealistic one) about the world that my colleagues and I live and work in. Maybe that’s not a loss, but maybe it is.

Notes from the Road 7

** Oh, jet lag. You are such an a$$hole.

** Since I can’t sleep like a normal person, I have cleared my “to review” folder. I feel very virtuous. Accepted one paper after they had done an excellent job revising; recommended major revisions for the second paper in a first review; rejected the third, where I was referee No 4 brought in to see what’s what (the paper is steaming pile of crapola, and the first three referees said as much, I have no idea why it wasn’t rejected after that first round of review, as no one had a good thing to say about it; the authors went though the revision, which revealed some clearly nonsensical statements and possibly even made it worse).

** Why can’t we have awesome pastry in the US? Why?! The wonderful flaky-layer pastries that I am buying here at a local supermarket for pennies is better than I can get even at the fancy overpriced specialized bakeries in my neck of the woods.

Oh, pastry, how I love thee. How I miss thee. You might even be worthy of the horrible jet lag.

** Again, there is shit people work on here that they would never, ever be able to work on where I am. They would never get money for it. I feel a combination of self-righteousness, envy, and relief that at least somewhere someone gets to do the fun esoteric stuff that has been beaten out of me long ago by grant reviews.

** Sometimes (all the time) I think European colleagues think of me, and the few other Americans at this conference, as freakin’ baboons, prancing around, trying to animate the audience, having pretty figures and movies, trying to educate and entertain, not being serious scientists. Then you have a typical European presentation in my field, with slide after slide of a freakin’ derivation.

** In the interest of science, I have been (discreetly) oogling men in the streets and at the conference in order to answer the following two burning questions:

Burning Question 1:  What does it mean to be a casually well-dressed European man and why is it that a casually well-dressed European man sticks out in the US like a, well, not a sore thumb but more like a glorious shining beacon of style?

According to my observations, there are several elements to being a well-dressed European man.

a) First, physical fitness. It’s important, because some of what follows cannot be pulled off with a beer gut.

b) Good quality shoes and belt. Really, really nice shoes. Like these:

You know, shoes that are purchased for fun and whimsy and not just to be a workhorse. I rarely see American men wear anything other than black leather shoes even when they are dressed up. Why? Maybe because a pair of goddamned Guccis costs $950, that’s why.

c) Well-fitting pants. American men wear jeans or the “relaxed fit” slacks with a crease, that annoying staple of business attire. European men know to wear non-denim slim-fit pants, that look like the best of jeans, but are not jeans; rather, they are grey, or dark blue, or black, and in a soft fabric whose name I don’t know.

d) Button-down shirt, fitted and tucked in (that’s where the fitness comes into play), belt, and no tie.

The tucking-in seems to be a lost art in the US, unless one is going to the office or a wedding/funeral, and then the tucking in is applied to a button-down shirt and topped off with the inevitable tie. Apparently, no tie — no button down shirt or tucking anything into pants in the US. Which is a shame.

e) The really dressy dressers seem to be into having fancy watches (in case you miss he’s wearing the expensive Guccis, you can’t miss the 2-lb wrist watch that could pass for Thor’s hammer). I don’t care for the watches, but I understand it’s patriarchy-approved male jewelry that doubles as a status symbol.

Burning Question 2: Are US male geeks more or less or differently geeky than European geeks?

I would say European geeks are fitter on average, especially northern European and not-quite-middle-aged geeks. There are some very good looking colleagues aged 30-40 that I don’t think I have seen many counterparts of in the US; even those who are unmistakably geeky are still of normal weight. And everyone seems well rested, much better rested than the US counterparts. Maybe I am just catching everyone as they have returned from vacation; maybe they eat better; maybe they work less than US folks (perhaps, in part, because they have more administrative support).

Graduate students are on average also fitter, wear less facial hair, but for some reason more pony tails (!) than what I see in the US.

[I am really not a fashion snob (more like a fashion slob). I know Americans praise functionality and comfort over all else, and that’s a  thing I really like and embrace because I honestly hate shopping for clothes.]

**  Scalzi’s “The End of All Things” was enjoyable. For the fans of “The Old Man’s War” universe, it won’t disappoint. It features 4 novellas and unfolds via Scalzi’s recognizable push-plot-through-dialogue technique (I am sure there’s a name for said technique in literary theory, I just don’t know it). I loved all the political machinations.

I am currently reading “Robogenesis,” a sequel to the “Robopocalypse” that I quite liked. So far, I think “Robogenesis” will be even better, I am almost crapping myself with horror and anticipation.

Although it might just be all the pastry…

Notes from the Road 6

Oh, yes. I am overseas again.

This time in a lovely nordic country. Riding on a train earlier today, I noticed how much the landscape looks like the American midwest. But I had forgotten how much cobblestone is still beloved in many parts of the Old Continent.

On my return overseas trip a couple of weeks ago, I was upgraded to business class (yay!) but there was a couple across the aisle from me, and the woman (nearest me) was sneezing, blowing her nose, and coughing her lungs out for 10 hours straight. Of course, I got sick when I got back home, and was out for a week with jetlag and a bad cold.

This time, I sat next to a German gentleman, who had the misfortune of his touch-screen not working and the stewardess constantly overlooking him for refreshments! Poor guy.

But I am not looking forward to all the jetlag, again.

After I come back, I have two more trips and then I get to stay put for a while and write proposals.

But, for now, “The End of All Things“!

And curse you, Europe, and you eschewance of  air-conditioning.

Grouchy Academic Thoughts

Time flies.

An up-and-coming professor who had just made tenure when I started graduate school is now at the tail end of being mid-career and is starting to talk about what she will do when she retires.

A talented researcher employed at an institute, who, as a visiting scientist a little more than a decade ago was giving my male graduate-school contemporaries hilarious and largely misguided advice on dating, has recently purchased a small bachelor-sized house on the outskirts of a large European city and is counting days until retirement.

People go from up-and-coming to past-their-prime in the blink of an eye.

We are all working and thinking hard and the time goes by and then we’re done. I know so many smart people who will die not having left much behind them, not because they didn’t work hard or do everything that they were supposed to do, but because they are human and being human means being largely and inescapably irrelevant in almost every way imaginable.

The world I live in is full of very smart  and hard-working people, so full that it makes me think that being smart and hard-working is no big deal. I am afraid it is becoming more and more difficult to remind myself that people who are quite as smart and quite as driven are really relatively rare in the grand scheme of things. Even so, most of them don’t amount to much more than passing their genes along, just like their less-calculus-savvy brethren.


My kids are growing up fast. They will grow up soon and move away.

Kids start cute and magical and full of promise, and then become…  grownups. Grownups are neither cute nor magical. And they sure are full of… well, definitely not promise.

I wish they could stay cute and magical, always.


A little while ago I received a big grant, with what were the best reviews I have ever received in my life (you bet they are going straight into my feel good folder). And then yesterday I got a rejection of another grant (effing 13th of the month).

I have another trip, and then another, and then it’s the NSF fall proposal writing time again. Sigh.

Recently some of my students conveyed that I am terrifying, apparently for saying things such as “This introduction needs work,” and “Your axis labels are illegible. I told you last time that letters have to be at least this size so they are visible when the figure is reduced to 3 in width,” and “Cut all that text from the slide, no one is going to read all that. Replace it with these three bullet points and put this figure in. And don’t forget to look at the audience when you talk, you’ve been looking at the screen the whole time.” That’s some traumatizing feedback.

I wonder how they would take the relentless stream of rejections (punctuated by acceptances) that are the staple of professorial life at a major research university.

Honestly, sometimes I feel that, half the time, what I do is write papers and proposals and then read the dismissive reviews written about them; the other half, I read other people’s papers and proposals and then write the dismissive reviews myself. Whether receiving or handing out, there is only so much criticism that can pass through one’s system before one permanently turns into a cynic.

It’s not that bad, of course, especially not for papers. These days it’s very rare that I will get a really negative review of a paper, the most negative ones are of the kind “Sure, this is fine, just not scorching-hot enough for this prestigious Glossy Mag venue.” But grant rejections still hurt, always.

One reviewer said the proposal is too ambitious and reads as my wish list, as I have no actual experience doing similar work. Apparently, having done related work since 2008 and having a number of highly cited papers (referred to in the proposal, using my own published figures in the proposal) does not count. Maybe because at the end of the day it’s “not transformative.” (Most work is not transformative at all, or at least not any more transformative than a whole bunch of other unfunded ideas, but it’s such an awesomely passive-aggressive non-sequitur word of rejection to throw at someone whose proposal you don’t like just because.)


Never take something just because it’s free if you would never be willing to pay for it.

Words to live by… especially when it comes to student recruitment. I am advising a student who came in with their own external funds to do a terminal Master’s. I though I’d be able to get some useful research done with them; I was very, very wrong. Not only did nothing useful come out of it, they ended up being only a net drain on time, resources, and effort. Lesson learned.