Monthly Archives: December 2009

inverse correlation, or causality

Headline at Megan Fox voted worst – but sexiest – actress of 2009

best of alternative 2009

It’s time again for the year-in-review lists, and here is my fave of faves, Husband’s 2009 Best of Alternative Music list (iTunes link–should take you to the Canadian store*). I’ve mentioned before that Husband is a long-time list maker, and this was a good year for this genre. I was also going to point out […]

ask a scatterbrain: when to give up?

I hate to post another ask a scatterbrain so soon after Andrew’s rather solid example, but I have a related issue. When my students prepare for their final exams I often tabulate how well each would have to do on the final in order to get an A, B, C, or D for the course […]

ask a scatterbrain: what is adequate?

Feeling grumpy this morning…. a student came to me after the final exam to complain that s/he hadn’t received a B- for his/her work, which was generally pretty poor. Apparently s/he and “a lot of others in the class” were confused by the following language in my syllabus: Completing these requirements adequately will earn you […]

old friend found too late

My spouse spotted the NYT obit for Dennis DeLeon, an old friend from high school we have not seen since our wedding reception in 1970. Our last communication from him was a note saying he’d get our wedding present to us later. It’s a common name so we wouldn’t know it was him without the […]

more on the ontology of public opinion

I’ve written before (here, here, here, and more)  on how we think about public opinion and where (and what) the “public” is in all this. Recently the best-respected North Carolina polling firm, Public Policy Polling, conducted a poll asking Americans if they thought President Obama should be impeached for what he’s done thus far. 20% […]

films and cartoons in social theory classes

My undergrad social theory class is organized around a modernity => postmodernity schema, with modern social theory merging to postmodern social theory. I like to show a movie or two to demonstrate elements of these themes; in the past I’ve used Star Trek for high modern theory and Blade Runner for postmodernism (pace David Harvey). […]

grades: inflation, compression, systematic inequalities

I chair UNC’s Educational Policy Committee, and we are in the process of seeking some new policy initiatives to address grading. A reporter for the Daily Tar Heel asked me a while ago why I am such a grading “hawk”, meaning that I worry about grading problems (more on the identification of these problems below […]

when you are called racist

For those who may find it useful for teaching or awareness, I have posted a longish memo when you are called racist over on my own blog.  I sent it to my students after a class discussion. In it I sketch two alternative world views, the minority/Black person who is sensitive to discrimination and racism […]

the depressed grinch

One of the posts I’ve been meaning to write for a while is on using cartoons in teaching social theory, specifically a couple I’ve used this semester. But I haven’t had time to write it up. Meanwhile, though, a friend and colleague in UNC’s med school put together this analysis of the Grinch: I thought […]

extended family

(Note: This does turn into a “professional” post as well as a “personal” one, and a sociological one as well, if you hang in there. This was written last week but I didn’t have time to post it from the road. Today’s snow emergency gives me the time to finish it.) We’ve been here all […]

sexuality + sociology = awesome

Are you reading the new-ish Contexts blog Sexuality & Society? It’s 31 flavors of awesome, with posts by Kari Lerum, Shari Dworkin, Adina Nack and other fantabulous sociologists of sexuality. Today’s post exposing the connection between Uganda’s recent anti-gay crusades and U.S. evangelical missionary work there is exactly the sort of thing about which I […]

holiday cards are in my sight

Last year, I wrote that December is the month of fail for academic women. Much is different this time around. For the first time in forever, I haven’t planned any travel in December. We’re just staying home, and we’re not having anyone over, either. Just a tiny, little nuclear family holiday sounds like a dream […]

half truths

I was teaching about concepts and essentialism today–social constructivism and all that–and giving a Marxian “we make the world, but not in circumstances of our own choosing” gloss on it. And then, on my way home, I stopped by my local grocer. And I saw “fat free” half & half on the shelf. I am […]


So researchers have recently advanced the claim that one reason why males in many societies have shorter life spans than females is because males have genes that kill us off quicker. And you always thought it was our love of chili fries! The basic outline seems to be that males are evolved to expend more […]


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