animal traditions

There is some interesting research on Meerkats. Basically, some groups sleep in, and others get up late. But this activity can’t be explained by habitat (where their burrow is) or genetics (particularly as new comers get up at the same time as the group). Instead, the explanation of the behavior seems to be highly cultural. As the Kalahari Meerkat Project team argued in Proceedings of the Royal Society, it seems that groups of animals develop patters of behavior on the basis of their own local culture (in this instance, highly local — as we’re talking about burrows quite near one another). These cultures could last for generations. Interesting stuff. Cute pictures hereAlex Thornton led this project, under the larger team of Tim Clutton-Brock.

like it’s 1999

From Prince (the artist formerly known by an ungooglable symbol):

The Internet’s completely over… The Internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

your dues at work!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the job market hasn’t exactly been great for sociologists the past couple of years. Say you get an e-mail from an acquaintance in a professional school who asks if you can help alert [area] sociologists to a multidisciplinary search they are doing. Hiring a sociologist is just one of several directions in which the search might go.

You send the e-mail to the president of the [area] sociology section, but the president tells you that jobs cannot be sent out on ASA listserv unless they are listed in the ASA job bank. (Indeed, the section president emphasizes that ASA’s leadership has become aggressive in enforcing the policy.) The ASA job bank won’t list the search unless the unit pays ASA ~$200/month, which doesn’t make sense to the unit since (1) they are only maybe interested in a sociologist and (2) they were just trying to get the announcement sent out to a listserv in the first place.

So, well, either you can e-mail the announcement to [area] sociologists you know and ask them to spread the word. Which I’ll probably do. But should ASA really be spending energy to restrict use of their listservs in ways that work to reduce sociologists’ awareness of jobs?

asa blog party

Who is invited to the 7th annual ASA Blog Party? Well, you are, of course! Lurkers and commenters, readers and writers alike are welcome to meet up at the ASA Blog Party, Monday August 16 at 8:30pm at Max Lager’s Brewpub at 320 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, just a short (but smokin’ hot) walk from the conference hotels.

It is tradition, despite our best intentions, for us to meet up at a somewhat awkward space, perhaps too loud, or too crowded, or otherwise not quite right, but we always seem to have a good time anyway. Maybe Max Weber’s Lager’s pub will be just right. At the very least least, there will be beer and friendly faces. What more can we ask for? We are looking forward to seeing you there.