Actually, I’ve missed the mark of putting out OKR#5 by the end of 2021 Q1. I always want to have more time to write, but opportunities do not permit that. That led me thinking: maybe I should make this quarterly review every 6 months instead. It allows me to have more space to observe how is the progress as well as a longer period for me to compare between the current self and the old self 6 months ago. So, I am going to test make the OKR kind of like a middle pit shop of a year and then the end of year review. That sounds like a plan.
We still need to talk about Corona. Shortly after the last OKR, the so-called third wave kicked in here in Germany and Europe as a whole. The third wave hit its peak in late April. In most of the rich countries, new cases are declining; number of deaths are stabilizing. Vaccination drive is taking up pace. I, for example, will get my shot really soon.
However, if we look at the global picture, especially the global South, the situation is still very intense. The incidence of and number of deaths from corona barely drop. It is partly due to the poor infrastructure, e.g. the case in India. Also, the southern hemisphere is entering winter. Cases in Argentina skyrocket. In rich countries, some say they see the light at the end of the tunnel. They might be right. But corona is still there and will linger for longer. There are also a lot of people resisting vaccination. It is not pessimistic. I am just being rational.
Other than Corona, I don’t think there was any positive event in 2021 Q2: Myanmar coup d’état, Suez Canal blockage, Taroko Express train derailment, Israel-Palestine crisis, flight hijacking by the Lukashenko’s government… Well, democracy is in retreat. If you think the world is really getting better, you either 1) you don’t care about the people you don’t know, or 2) you choose not to believe the world is getting worse. I have not mentioned the underlying climate crisis.
Enuff about this dying world. In the Q1 and Q2, there were many changes in my life. Once again, there are many aspects that I can’t share here. There were several upheavals, both career-wise and health-wise. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I made several decisions in this period and I think it would make profound impact at least in the near-term future. The decisions related to my career can’t be share here, but will definitely share them after they have been materialized.
Also, I decided to use further less social media. In May 2018, I deleted my Facebook account. But I kept my Instagram and Twitter accounts. Now, I decided to stop updating my Instagram. Also, I want to tweet less. Granted, Twitter presence is important for one’s (academic) career. I think I am going to tweet only occasionally about my new papers or my new R packages. Occasionally I will also promote others’ works. Other than that, I want to sort of “self-censor” myself. It’s no point anymore to say more on social media. The world is noisy enough. I am not collegiate and popular on Twitter anyway.
It seems that I’ve chosen an incredibly dark path. It might be true, as life in itself is dark anyway. I am constantly falling into the self-doubt/impostor syndrome complex. But I decided also to go for a walk with my wife in the nearby area every day. There is a forest nearby. A really nice place to recharge myself. I see nice things every day: the Rhein, the Neckar, birds, plants, fungi, squirrels etc. The nature gives me hope to move on, not humanity. I also thank my wife for walking with me during these down times.
Before I delve into the OKR. I also want to list out the books I read in the first half of 2021. Unfortunately, my memory is starting to fade and I can’t write a “3-sentence” review for each of them as usual. But all of them are good.
- Atomic Habits (James Clear)
- The World (Richard Haass)
- Applied Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction (Alain Goriely)
- Code (Petzold Charles)
- The Scientists (John Gribbin)
The last book reignites my hunger for long boring history books. Now, I am reading another long history book. These books are dirt cheap and can provide many hours of reading time. Nice!
think out loud
I wrote significantly fewer blog posts. I could only manage to wrap up just one post. It’s sort of a book review of “Make it Clear” and “Science Fictions”. In the next few months, I am not so sure if I can have more time for long form writing. I will try to wrap up some more blog posts in the silo.
contribute to open source
I released the R package sweater on GitHub. Also, oolong has been heavily developed during the Q2. Hopefully, it will be on CRAN real soon.
publish top papers
I have published two papers since last time. But for both of them, I am more of a coauthor.
- Wozniak, A., Wessler, H., Chan, C. H., & Lück, J. (2021). The Event-Centered Nature of Global Public Spheres: The UN Climate Change Conferences, Fridays for Future, and the (Limited) Transnationalization of Media Debates. International Journal of Communication, 15, 27.
- Zeng, J., & Chan, C. H. (2021). A cross-national diagnosis of infodemics: comparing the topical and temporal features of misinformation around COVID-19 in China, India, the US, Germany and France. Online Information Review.
There are some rejections and new submissions. Some papers are still back-burnered. Let’s hope that in the second half, they are out.
Actually. I have also done an ICA presentation. As this is another year in a roll to be a virtual conference, I have done what I really want to do: do a slideless presentation. I have compiled some random videos I’ve taken while I was going for a walk as the visual. And then talk softly and as slowly as I can.
In this half year, I think I have master the science and art of testing software (now I know how to test Shiny apps in a package, for example), as well as writing better reproducible manuscripts.
I hope I can make improvement in my time management. Also, I would expect that in the 2nd half the world will gradually reopen. My wife and I have discussed what will happen after that. After all, I’ve been working from home for more than a year. I’ll need to adapt to that old style of working.
publish a book
It is many quarters in a roll that I have no progress. Having said that, in the first half our research team actually has discovered something that could potentially change the narrative of the whole automated content analysis book. Also, I am developing something else too.