Monthly Archives: November 2010

lemming watch

Check out these edits to the mission statement proposed by the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (HT: SS). Goodbye “science”! And, goodbye the use of anthropology “to solve human problems.” In its place: a whole lot of “understanding.” Says a former NSF program officer for anthropology: “another step in the conversion of Anthropology […]

does this count as public sociology?

Certainly the strangest question I’ve been asked by a reporter or writer: Can a Fat Man Be President?

ask a scatterbrain: departmental colloquia

What do your departments do for departmental colloquia? I have seen various different models; I’d love to hear: Are presenters mostly internal to your department/institution or from outside? Do you have funding for the colloquium? How much? How often does the colloquium happen? Who attends? (Grad students? Faculty? Others?) Is food provided? Does the series […]

best day of the year?

I have a hard copy of my book in my hands! Amazing feeling. [edit: New photo! Thanks to Kieran for his photoshop skills in making the text read correctly!]

shadow scholar

For those of you who didn’t catch it, there’s a great article in the Chronicle by someone who writes papers for students (including a sociology dissertation). Definitely worth a read.

the whole university

I’ve been worrying a lot about how public universities will survive in tough political and economic times like these, and associated with that I’m concerned that universities (like UNC) are often “sold” to the public as: Low-cost undergraduate education; Exciting athletics; and/or “Innovation machines” for producing technical advances. I do not dispute that  universities are […]

better than i should be

I used to play the violin pretty seriously. I don’t play much at all anymore, in part because of time, and in part because of my vision. But recently I agreed to help a friend play through a piece he had to learn for an upcoming concert. As usual, I was swamped and put off […]


Greetings from Vancouver!*  It’s that time again: racism! Always a fun topic on scatterplot. Anyway, here’s the deal: I read bwog — a student blog at Columbia every now and then. Given that I’m stuck in a hotel room, this is one of the “now” times. They have a recent post, part of a series […]

as American as …. stealing apple pie

Thought this would be an interesting example for teaching students – and magazine editors, apparently – the perils of copying from the Internet.   The web, as we know, is not public domain, and copyright laws apply.  The editor of Cooks Source magazine, after a self-proclaimed 30 years of magazine work, thought otherwise, and now a […]

not sure she gets it

“I’m the least racist of anyone. Some of my greatest friends are black.” That is what Tennessee state rep Terri Lynn Weaver said after news broke that she posted a picture of her Halloween costume on Facebook: her in black face with the caption “Aunt Jemima, you is so sweet.” Not sure what definition of […]

data visualization

Yesterday, Kid came home from school with this graph that he made, displaying the results of his poll of the favorite drinks of the elementary class: Note that the color of the graph bar (sort of) matches the beverage color. No, I don’t usually serve him lemon lime juice, but maybe I’ll start now. For […]

dancing with them who brung you

I think that Jeremy is right: if you feel like working at McDonald’s is better than graduate school, then you should leave.  And it is offensive to people who hear graduate students and professors whining about our lives. Beyond just the offense, I think that we do ourselves a great disservice by continuing the meme […]


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