You’re very well read, it’s well known…

March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Finally the post you have been waiting for with bated breath… a post on the first use of the term bated breath!

First cite in the Oxford English Dictionary: “1596 Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice i. iii. 125 ‘With bated breath, and whispring humblenesse.'”

Just kidding– that will not be the sole content of this post, I just got curious when I wrote bated breath and was wondering when it was first used. In actuality, this post will be about my classes.

As you probably know if you are reading this blog, i USA, studerer jeg biologi. However, since I easily have enough biology credits at CMU, I’m taking courses in other subjects that interest me while I’m here, including courses I would not have the opportunity to take at CMU. Without further ado:

Scandinavian Model of Welfare: The topic of this course is exactly what you would expect from the name. We are looking at the Scandinavian model of welfare, including its origins, how it has changed, how it compares to other models, its effect on women, etc etc. Basically this course is a constant reminder of how incredibly conservative the welfare system (if you could even call it that) is in the United States. Today we got into an interesting discussion about what it takes to obtain a residence permit in Denmark. Essentially, it works on a points system and you need to acquire at least 100 points to be eligible. “Points are given for: educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability, and age.” Some interesting points:

On education:

  • If your education is on a level lower than a Danish Bachelor’s degree, you will not be able to obtain enough points to be granted a residence permit under the greencard scheme.
  • Please note that a Master’s degree from e.g. a Pakistani university will often be assessed as equivalent to two years’ studies at a Danish university…
  • Bachelor’s degree/Graduated from medium-length education: 30 points; Bachelor’s degree followed by one-year Master’s degree: 50 points; Master’s degree: 60 points; PhD: 80 points
  • You will be given bonus points if you graduated from a university which is internationally recognised for its high academic level
  • You will be given 10 bonus points if your education qualifies you to work in a field where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals.

So if you get a PhD from a top 100 school, you are already at 95 points, and if the PhD is in a field for which there is a shortage in Denmark, you are at 105. Not too shabby. But if your degree is from Pakistan, forget it. The idea of the immigration system being such a meritocracy is very weird. As stated, you can also get points for languages you know, being young, if you’ve lived in an EU country, and if you’ve worked in a field for which Denmark has a shortage of professionals.

Food and Identity: This class is kind of a mixed bag. There are four lecturers that rotate by week: one talks about religion, two about anthropology, and one about archeology. I wish the class had a little more forest and fewer trees, especially because I have absolutely no background in archeology, for instance. There have been some interesting ideas to think about, and I think I may write my final paper on why Jews love Chinese food so much (yes, there have been publications about this). Maybe I am just going into Asian withdrawal being away from CMU, haha.

Theory of Mind and the Social Man: I’ve actually only had two of these classes because it started a week later and last week was canceled. This class starts at 10am, which means I have to get up way earlier than I do any other day of the week. Last week, after dragging my lazy self out of bed, taking the train, and walking to class, I got there only to find it was canceled. By that time I was of course completely awake and so I worked on some job applications. This class seems like it will be OK, it is a lot more social psychology that I am used to, considering the last psychology course I took was “biological basis of behavior,” which was basically a biology/anatomy/neuroscience class. For instance, we haven’t even made reference to a single part of the brain yet.

I feel a little out of my element not taking any biology this semester (in a way I weep for any mention of g protein receptor kinases or Holiday junctions or any reference to the molecular….)

Still happily loving it here though 🙂

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