So Phoebe has a good, extended comment in the post below that deserves a lengthy reply (and I have some ideas). Unfortunately for the conversation on this topic, I am in Durham this week for a friend's dissertation defense. In practical terms, this means that my time until the defense will be spent a. taking care of and distracting her child b. talking to and distracting her husband (a long ago visiting student in the political science program) and c. providing general emotional and psychological support for my friend, as I am somehow only one of two people in our little group who has gone through a defense. The other is currently sick.
Oh yes, and I will probably be getting sick: everyone here has the same thing. I should know by tonight.