September 8th, 2004

MSc project - final presentation

This morning was my final presentation for the MSc project. It went ok - certainly better than last year's (I turned up early rather than late, wasn't gasping for breath, had slides prepared, and an application to demonstrate). A few minor hiccups though...

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Ah well, barring viva it's all over now, so I just need to wait for the results. (Last year they came out on October 9th.) I've got the rest of the day off, and I'll hang around to keep an eye on my email in case there are any more complications about my supervisor running the application. Aside from that, I think that an 80s film is called for...

Speaking of projects, I came across this site a few weeks ago:
http://www.ukessays.com/
The basic idea is that you pay them money, and they'll write a thesis/dissertation for you, of 2:1/1st quality. They claim that this isn't to help people cheat - the idea is that you commission a custom essay that you can then refer to, in the same way that you would read existing journal articles during your literature review. I'm not entirely convinced; that sounds much like the disclaimers used by people selling radar detectors ("it's not to help you break the speed limit, it's just for novelty value"). However, taking it at face value, it does actually sound like an interesting idea, similar to the travelling teachers in one of the Discworld novels (a lesson for an egg). I think it's legitimate to refer to unpublished work in a report, e.g. I've seen Dawkins cite "private correspondence" in his books. And for non-students, the question of cheating doesn't arise, so it's more like hiring a contractor. E.g. "We're interested in agent based modelling - do an assessment of what's available, and write up a report on it". Could even be an interesting career path.