rumor has it

…That there is a bush-league sociology department out there that is telling prospective students that they must accept admission to their graduate program by March 27 or lose their offer, as opposed to the agreed-upon April 15 deadline (see resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools here; yes, the institution is one of the signatories of the resolution listed here).  If this turns out to be true, I think the faculty from this institution should all have little scarlet letters printed on their ASA nametags.

I’m trying to decide if this is worth my time to investigate further.  Well, it is definitely not worth my time–especially because it is such a gorgeous day outside–but I might investigate it anyway.

UPDATE: I sent an e-mail to the department and graduate school in question that says: “I have been told that [the sociology department at your allegedly sneaky, allegedly second-rate university] has provided prospective graduate students a deadline of March 27th or the student’s offer would be retracted. Given that this would be a plain violation of the Council of Graduate Schools April 15th policy, I presume this information must be in error, but I write to let you know that a misconception is circulating about your university’s funding practices that makes your program look bad.”

UPDATE-TO-UPDATE: Well, that got a response. I have been told a clarification has now been sent to prospective students for the department in question. I hereby withdraw my advocacy for returning unopened any applications for graduate study or faculty positions from anyone associated with this university.

stars

My lovely mother had a resolution last year in which she was walking every day, either outside or on a treadmill. Every day. She did this for eleven months, and then she had to travel to a family wedding. She missed a day of her walking, and as far as I know she hasn’t walked since. My whole family, we are highly autocorrelated people, what we do today strongly influencing what we do tomorrow.

Remember how in 2008 I resolved I was going to work out 200 days or would send $25 to the George W. Bush Presidential Library? Continue reading “stars”

there is a revolution in pakistan

In case you missed it, there really is a massive social movement going on in Pakistan. It’s enormously heartening. It’s a “lawyers movement” that is attempting to restore the chief justice of the supreme court and make Pakistani law something formal, rather than the whim of whoever is in power. I have some worries about what is going on, as former (corrupt) leader Nawaz Sharif is a major force behind it, and will likely use to movement to gain power. But to see people in the streets, protesting, engaging in civil disobedience, to see the media of Pakistan cover this, to see police officers recognize this movement as a real, legitimate form of protest and not respond with violence (as directed) is something special. I know the US is in a tough position here, but they might encourage the people of Pakistan: this protest – and not, say, the murder of politicans – is what we mean by democracy. There is a great blog covering all of this, along with primers on what the “Long March” is all about. They have a great combination of personal commentary, links to other media, and on-the-ground accounts of this social movement as it unfolds. I suspect the Pakistani government will fall soon. But a people’s coup would be a massive change for Pakistan (not a military coup!) – and in my view, a welcome one.

quiz feature: fill in the blank

From a blog post elsewhere on the financial crisis:

Why [should we] blame _______? A reason, again, is that _______ control the mass media corporations, and thus control how _______ and their corruption get portrayed in society. They are the ones who force portrayals of this second depression as an economic reality for which “we are all responsible,” a crisis “no particular group” created. Yet, there are real people, real _______ actors, who did in fact create this horrific reality the world now faces.

the concept of hypocricy is un-sociological. discuss.

I’ve been emailing with someone I know who is rather more conservative than I (though he still calls himself “very liberal”). I’ve noticed that in many of his arguments he returns essentially to a concept of hypocrisy. A favorite line of his is that for liberals, “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.” Recent examples have included Tom Daschle, anti-voucher people who send their own kids to private school, Chapel Hill liberals who opposed a proposed merger with the county school board, and well-off Obama supporters who don’t make quite enough money to be subject to Obama’s proposed tax “hike” (such as it is) for those making over $250K/year.

I rarely find these arguments convincing, if for no other reason than that they are essentially <i>ad hominem</i>. But it’s got me thinking: is the very concept of hypocrisy–that is, living a life in which one makes choices that don’t reflect one’s vision of how the world ought to be–an essentially un-sociological concept? In other words: if, ontologically, we maintain that behavior is conditioned, if not entirely caused, by the contexts in which it takes place, does not hypocrisy take place at a level of action at which there are too few degrees of freedom to make empirical sense?

help judge the tess logo contest!

One of the main things I’m working on nowadays is the relaunch of the Social Science (TESS) project. TESS is an NSF-funded project that accepts proposals for internet-based experiments and fields successful proposals for free using a nationally representative sample.* Anyway, TESS was started in 2002 by Arthur Lupia and Diana Mutz, and Penny Visser and I are the co-PIs for its renewal.

I will probably prattle on more about TESS sometime soon, but, if you’ve an idea for an internet-based survey experiment, feel free to contact me about its possible TESS-ability. Proposals are peer-reviewed.

A major part of what we are doing for the re-launch is a complete redesign of the TESS website. And, if you are going to re-do a website, you need a logo. After some unsuccessful efforts to develop a logo in-house, we followed a tip from Eszter and ran a contest using the online site worth1000. Continue reading “help judge the tess logo contest!”

the best journalism on tv

If you didn’t see Jon Stewart last night, you should. His interview with Jim Cramer is fantastic. Although a lot of folks are excited about the “take-down” I think what’s more impressive is Stewart’s discussion of what happened and how journalism really was at best asleep, and at worst complicit. You can see the full episode here. Some highlights: Continue reading “the best journalism on tv”