Monthly Archives: March 2012

is pink slime a moral panic?

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries a story about defenders of so-called “pink slime,” the mixture of beef scraps disinfected with ammonia that has been the subject of major derision since Jamie Oliver “exposed” it on his show. Important elements of the story: “lean finely-textured beef” (the technical identifier) has been used for a long time […]

sex work policy in canada is changing

Prostitution has had a strange legal status in Canada. Prostitution itself is not a crime, but there are a host of criminal penalties that apply to a number of activities surrounding prostitution, including soliciting clients, operating a “bawdy house” (how risqué!), and “living off the avails” of a prosititute. These provisions have been challenged in […]

eight observations on “biology” and social science

By this point, I am a longtime observer/participant in the effort to integrate genetic data into social science. So Andy’s post stirred up various convictions that I have. Not so much directed at Andy, but at lines of argument suggested by his post that are familiar to me by now. So, eight responses:

neuro folly: the quest for biological bases for politics

The sociological fad for seeking straightforward biological bases for complex social phenotypes has spread in recent years to political science. A recent collection of articles and blog posts rehashes the rhetoric that garnered widespread criticism in sociology. Essentially the scholarship establishes an entirely noncontroversial position–that biological influences on political ideology are “nonzero”–and spins this into […]

You know the old saying…

“A real man shoots his own physicist”:

wsj: 3x the income share is remarkable similarity

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an opinion piece by Allan Meltzer based on a 2006 study by Roine and Waldenstrom. The piece reprints a graph showing the income share of the top 1% in several countries between 1900 and 2000. (The graph is quite interesting in itself.) Meltzer’s interpretation: “…the share of income for the […]

gay men can play hockey

Has it really been four years since we pondered the number of closeted lesbians and gay men in sports? Where does the time go? In that post, I made the rather obvious claim that many sports, especially those with large audiences like baseball, football, and hockey, are particularly unwelcoming to gay men. I am not […]

mathematical sociology controversies?

Dear Scatterplotters: Would you say there are any “controversial issues” about or within mathematical sociology? This would be either debates inside the terrain of mathematical sociology OR debates between mathematical sociologists (or subsets of mathematical sociologists) and “others”? If you can point me to sources, that would be cool. Why am I asking? I’ve assigned […]

asa baseball is back

You might think that we have abandoned the scatterplot tradition of organizing a trip to a baseball game during the ASA, but no! The ASA’s move to Las Vegas foiled our plans last year, but we are back on track in 2012, and I am especially excited because I have never, ever been to Coors […]


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