I want to thank all of the enemies that I had to destroy to achieve this
October 31, 2019 6:57 PM   Subscribe

James Mickens, Professor and Authority On All Things, has achieved tenure. If like me you missed the formal announcement and you have not yet received his glorious Wisdom, put aside all other tasks and peruse his modest announcement.

Previously on the blue

On Wikipedia

He also participated in a reddit AMA and emerged not just unscathed, but victorious, making clear his views on Black Sabbath's album Sabotage and his "[belief] in the relentless march of progress in the face of impossible odds".

Also, SYSTEMS HACKERS SOLVE THE BEAR MENACE.
posted by Gotanda (19 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Listen, regardless of which Byzantine fault tolerance protocol you pick, Twitter will still have fewer than two nines of availability."

Also, I announce my desire to congratulate James Mickens on his tenure.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:24 PM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Harvard should assign him to teach freshman rhetoric.
posted by ocschwar at 7:25 PM on October 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


Every time I read something he's done, I have to fight to resist the urge to forward it to every software person I know.

...even though most of them have almost certainly read that exact work, probably several years before I encountered it.
posted by aramaic at 7:28 PM on October 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


A national.. no.. global treasure of information and humor.
posted by nickggully at 7:36 PM on October 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


PhD in 2008, microsoft, harvard in 2015, Tenure in 4 years.......(harvard only tenures at full professor).....is pretty f*** impressive.....
posted by lalochezia at 7:36 PM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ah, I could have done that. If I had wanted to.
posted by thelonius at 7:41 PM on October 31, 2019 [6 favorites]


For context, Harvard has historically been known as a university that does not award tenure (you get it by being hired into a position with tenure, not by promotion). For many decades, it has been perfectly normal for Harvard to hire Assistant Professors and deny their tenure applications; it was just accepted and normal because (a) everyone knows about this and (b) once you have Harvard on your CV it doesn't really matter. I haven't looked at the statistics lately but I know that senior administrators and some faculty have been trying to change that to make the institution more supportive of assistant professors, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

So this is a hell of an achievement and he absolutely deserves to celebrate!
posted by ElKevbo at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2019 [12 favorites]


Huh. He got tenure. Excellent. Now he won't have to hold back.
posted by suetanvil at 8:35 PM on October 31, 2019 [22 favorites]


I've been back and forth between preparing a submission for a computational neuroscience conference and playing Sunless Skies. This is about the funniest possible thing I could read right now. Thank you.
posted by Alex404 at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


From the Byzantine fault tolerance link, it appears that Mickens is black. Which is awesome and makes his achievements and glorious wisdom even more awesome.
posted by medusa at 8:53 PM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Aramaic, I am not a software person so I had never read anything by him before, but damn he is a fine writer and this made my day. I resisted the urge to send it to every academic I know, but instead shared it with you all. And, like Alex404 I just thought it was hilarious and amazing and I needed that.
posted by Gotanda at 9:27 PM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


I’m still angling to be made a Galactic Viceroy sooner or later. I think he’s weakening.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:30 PM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well I guess he had to get it out of his system sometime.
posted by brambleboy at 10:01 PM on October 31, 2019


As a person who once wrote low level drivers for networks which used a packet switching protocol developed but never actually used by Canadian railways because it was only comprehensible to French speaking bears I should be in two minds about this.

But yer man is a genius and this is very well deserved.
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:38 AM on November 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Prof. Mickens, welcome to the tail end of your career, the part where you tell the same five stories over and over again every year to a new crop of undergraduates who never age, and who find those stories increasingly incomprehensible ("What's a 'Black Sabbath album'?").
posted by panglos at 3:08 AM on November 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


Prof. Mickens, welcome to the tail end of your career, the part where you tell the same five stories over and over again every year to a new crop of undergraduates who never age, and who find those stories increasingly incomprehensible ("What's a 'Black Sabbath album'?").

This hits a little too close to home.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:25 AM on November 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


"You can’t just place a LISP book on top of an x86 chip and hope that the hardware learns about lambda calculus by osmosis."

Why the hell not?
posted by Mogur at 4:57 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Because the absorption gradient is in the wrong direction.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:30 AM on November 1, 2019 [10 favorites]


a new crop of undergraduates who never age, and who find those stories increasingly incomprehensible ("What's a 'Black Sabbath album'?").

What's a:
  • "The Matrix movie"
  • "iPod music player"
  • "Seinfeld TV show"
posted by signal at 8:28 AM on November 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


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