Monthly Archives: January 2010

popos for sf peeps

Strangemaps offers up a map of privately owned public open spaces (POPOS) that you can hang out in when you’re in San Francisco. I recall someone telling me that New York had a city ordinance that required new buildings (all buildings?) to provide a certain square-footage of public space. If only they required public restrooms…now […]

what i wish he’d say tonight

Fair warning: this post is unabashedly partisan! It contains an “alternative” state of the union speech, one I wish President Obama would give tonight, though of course I know he won’t. I’ll put the text beyond the break for readers who don’t want to read my musings on politics.

lie to me

Great story on lying to your students as a way to teach  critical thinking. Imagine that, telling your students that one thing out of each lecture will be a lie, and it’s their job to figure out which thing. Brilliant! Remind me to take up this idea for next year’s intro course.

h1n1 and the vaccinated family

One of the reasons people give me for not getting the flu shot is that they might get the flu anyway. This is certainly the case. The flu shot is about 80% effective at preventing flu, so it’s not an absolute guarantee of keeping the flu away. But it’s flawed logic to think that this […]

“or corrupted”

“Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.” – New York Times, January 21, 2010 My research on technological change is guided by the actor-network theory approach, which holds that objects […]

new standards for tenure and promotion

A report last year commissioned by our provost’s office looks at the changing practices of academic work and calls for three major areas of change in evaluating faculty for promotion, both to associate with tenure and to full professor: Faculty engagement with the public outside the traditional scholarly community New forms of scholarly work and […]

discussion overload

I’m teaching honors introduction for the first time ever. A great group of 23 students, a small class for this place. Most say it is the smallest class they have been in here!  They have a lot to say. Not just empty BS. A lot of worthwhile, thought out things to say. They all wanted […]

pen vs. fingers vs. thumbs

Phil Gyford has a fascinating post on his home-grown experiment in the text entry speeds for his various devices. iPhone vs. Treo? He’s got that. But wait, there is more:

goldman sachs ends poverty!

Or at least they could end poverty in America’s largest city… with their bonus pool. It was reported today that Goldman made $13.2 billion this year; that’s after it set aside $16.2 billion for bonuses. 18.5% of NYC lives below the federal poverty line — that’s 1.5 million people. This means that a family of […]

coakley, brown, and health care

I’m not sure how to call today’s Coakley/Brown race in Massachusetts, largely because of the difficulty of predicting turnout and, even more so, the reactivity of polls based on turnout predictions. But I’m intrigued by the thread around talk radio and the ‘net that health care reform is “dead” if Coakley loses.

i think this is what my parents hear when i tell them about my research.

Seriously, I think I want this guy to write my next grant proposal.

more risk = bigger losses

Friend of the blog and Cornell grad student, Kyle Siler, has research that has been covered by Time magazine. Let that sink in for a moment: Time. Friggin. Magazine. In his research, he studied gazillions of internet poker games and found a fascinating result: the more hands you win, the less money you win. The […]


Friend: You saw “Avatar”? What’s it about? Me: Did you see “Dances with Wolves”? Friend: Yeah… why? Me: You’ve seen “Avatar.”

intro again

OK, fast question. Are there key ideas or concepts that are absolutely essential that people be taught in an intro sociology class or you would think the proffie wasn’t doing her job? I’ve already reviewed syllabi and can tell that folks teach radically different courses in intro — we do not have a standardized course […]

ugh. the paparazzi.

Signing up for my ASA membership and the conference. Is this new?: By attending the Annual Meeting, you give permission for images of you, captured during the conference through video, photo, and/or digital camera, to be used by the ASA in promotional materials, publications, and web site and waive any and all rights including, but […]


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