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Story about homeless Ph.D.
Old 03-04-2016, 04:53 AM   #1
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Story about homeless Ph.D.

A story by Jim Dwyer in NYT about a broke 60 yo Ph.D. living in his car. I know E-R.org has had threads on similar stories over the years, but this story may stand out as particularly sensitively written. I am curious to see if folks here have comments.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/04/ny...T.nav=top-news
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:40 AM   #2
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Looks like he wasn't prepared for sudden loss of income, and then you don't need much to go over the deep end.

And like many people here say (including myself), once you drop out of the corporate thing it is very hard to go back. Especially past 45 or so.

Also have a little nagging thing in my back mind "it might be me" (I have a Phd, without any patents ..), although living in a socialist country (Netherlands) it most likely won't be anything near that bad as he had it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:47 AM   #3
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Appears to me to just be another case of mental illness.
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:00 AM   #4
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That's a better outcome than so many of these stories. Wonderful that the neighbors decided to actually help him out rather than run him off.
Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:18 AM   #5
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I do not feel sorry for this guy at all.

He wasn't going to work for less than $115K a year, so he skipped work. When you are unemployed, you need to "keep the ball in the air" to keep current.

He probably did have some disability, but remember, laziness is NOT a disability.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:53 AM   #6
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........ but remember, laziness is NOT a disability.
And mental illness is not the same as laziness.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:20 AM   #7
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The Washington Post recently had a similar story about Debi Thomas, former U.S. and world figure skating champion, and Olympic medalist. Graduated from Stanford and went on to become an orthopedic surgeon. Now bankrupt and living in a trailer.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...561_story.html
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:14 AM   #8
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The Washington Post recently had a similar story about Debi Thomas, former U.S. and world figure skating champion, and Olympic medalist. Graduated from Stanford and went on to become an orthopedic surgeon. Now bankrupt and living in a trailer.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...561_story.html
Oh no! Debi Thomas was one of my heroines. This is so sad. Clearly she has bipolar disorder.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:30 AM   #9
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sad story
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:11 AM   #10
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And mental illness is not the same as laziness.
"Laziness" is to "mental illness" as "obesity" is to "health problem", and they have the same cure.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:20 AM   #11
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Many of the homeless in SF have obvious signs of mental / physical illness. I think the housing first programs have the right idea. Once homeless, people cannot eat healthy, shower or keep warm at night. That has to put their mental and physical health in a continuing downward spiral.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:25 AM   #12
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"Laziness" is to "mental illness" as "obesity" is to "health problem", and they have the same cure.
Methamphetamine?
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:42 AM   #13
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"Laziness" is to "mental illness" as "obesity" is to "health problem", and they have the same cure.
you're kidding right? obviously you haven't known anyone who is mentally ill




it's not a character flaw that you just "snap out of"


being fat, maybe, but not mentally ill
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:17 AM   #14
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It did not sound like he tried to do anything to help himself, even though he knew that the outcome would be bad. To me that sounds like depression. I am so glad that his neighbors did band together to help him. If they had not done so, this story would have probably went way downhill for him. It sounded like he had sunk down too low to be able to help himself. Kudos to his neighbors!
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:47 AM   #15
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I have worked with PhDs that were, shall we say, lacking in the social graces. Seems to be that way with some exceptionally gifted people that in the right situation can contribute immensely to society.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:10 PM   #16
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Half my graduating class went on to get their PhDs. About half of them were capable of operating normally in society. The other half seemed to get progressively isolated. At our 25th reunion, only some of the non-PhD half showed up (not surprising).
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:38 PM   #17
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"Laziness" is to "mental illness" as "obesity" is to "health problem", and they have the same cure.
Could you please elaborate on the cure, as I may have use for it one day.
Thank you.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #18
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I have worked with PhDs that were, shall we say, lacking in the social graces. Seems to be that way with some exceptionally gifted people that in the right situation can contribute immensely to society.
+1

I have worked with a dozen or so.

Funny story about one senior seismologist. A new director of Lamont Geological Observatory arrived, at a social reception the seismologist could not remember his girlfriend of 15 year's name, stumbling, he introduced her as The Woman. The director, India born wihout missing a beat said, Glad to meet you, Woman. And swiftly moved on.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:39 PM   #19
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Funny story about one senior seismologist. A new director of Lamont Geological Observatory arrived, at a social reception the seismologist could not remember his girlfriend of 15 year's name, stumbling, he introduced her as The Woman. The director, India born wihout missing a beat said, Glad to meet you, Woman. And swiftly moved on.
If GF had any self respect, I'm sure they didn't make it to year 16.
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:41 PM   #20
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If GF had any self respect, I'm sure they didn't make it to year 16.
Actually they got married a year later. Go Figure.
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