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Monday, April 10, 2006

The Effect of Cookies on Biostatistics Grad Students

One of my instructors, who has given his consent for me to blog this story only on condition of anonymity, is studying the effect of cookies on grad students of Biostatistics. Or so he claims. Halfway through the semester he started bringing a generous bowl of cookies to class, explaining that up until now we had been the subjects of a study (don't let the IRB get wind). Last year, he always brought cookies to class, this year never, and he was curious to see if his teaching evaluations were better in the cookie year. But, he explained, they were no longer independent events, as some of the 2nd-years had blabbed, and he was bound to be downgraded now if he didn't pony up.

As a secondary Specific Aim, he was trying to find the upper limit of cookie consumption among grad students, but he simply could not find it. He concluded that the grad student appetite for cookies was limitless. Last year when he brought oreos there was a scuffle, and when he brought double-stuf oreos there was a near riot. The week after that he brought regular cookies again and the students complained, "Hey, where's the double-stuf?"

He told us after class that he had discussed this with his boss, an eminent biostatistician.

"I'm studying the effects of cookies on grad student evaluations," he said.

"You'll never tease it apart from the secular trend," his boss rebuked him stonily.

I love Berkeley.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger autogato at April 11, 2006 2:59 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Upper limit for graduate student cookie consumption? Oh, doesn't your prof know that there is no upper limit for graduate student consumption of any food that is free? I know this because I have eaten stale Krispy Kreme donuts (which I consider to be an insult to donut-dom itself) just because they appeared and were free to graduate students. I'm convinced we would eat cardboard if someone offered it to us and engaged in even the slightest bit of convincing regarding its nutritive value.

    Clever story. Much enjoyed, by the way.

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