Monday, May 16, 2011

Daily Updates

Getting slowly back into blogging, some happenings from the day.

I've gotten a couple of nice notes from students saying they learned a lot from my class this semester.  To any students reading the blog, I encourage you to send such notes.  It will make your prof feel maybe it's all worthwhile.

A colleague pointed me to a nice example of a real-world application of Bloom filters.  

I hosted a large dinner at my house a while back as part of recruiting our new faculty.  Now I'm being told that as Harvard is tax-exempt I was supposed to give the caterer a form with Harvard's tax-exempt status and I need to get them to refund the tax (or I won't get the tax reimbursed).  It's not a big deal, but I just love university financial offices and their fun rules.  (How I'm supposed to know this, I don't know.  When we take a candidate to dinner, we don't get to claim tax-exempt status, but apparently for a meal catered in your home... sigh.)  I'm sure it will get worked out.


Anonymous said...

I'm not at Harvard, but at another Ivy League institution. My school suggests claiming tax-exempt status during a normal dinner at a restaurant for a candidate, and doing this for large seminar dinners frequently saves a fair bit of money. I'm not sure the degree to which this is required, as I've been reimbursed either way.

Mike Freedman said...

When we take out candidates or visitors for dinner at Princeton (and use a departmental credit card), we can and do exempt the sales tax from the meal. I know that happened at Cornell as well.

Are you sure you can't, or if it's just an issue of demonstrating official university business (presumably what the CC allows, as it has a tax exempt id number printed on the front)?

Anonymous said...

To any students reading the blog, I encourage you to send such notes.

Interesting. You wouldn't ever interpret such a note as self-serving?

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anon/Mike: I've never been told to claim tax-exempt status, and I don't have a departmental credit card. I'd have been happy to oblige if the requirements had been spelled out to me, but they're the sort of thing the financial office springs on you afterward.

Anon #3: I'm well aware the comments might be self-serving. In my case, they won't affect the student grade, they'll still make me (and I imagine other profs) feel good, and they'll help me remember the student in future interactions. So still a win all around.