scatterplot competition: guess the nra’s membership

You know what sounds fun? A Scatterplot competition! I know it’s not exactly a sequel to the epic Mario Kart races of 2009, but it might still be fun. This time it is a guessing game. How many members will the NRA have in June of 2013? Continue reading “scatterplot competition: guess the nra’s membership”

pressing asa question

Dearest Scatterbrains – I’ve been asked to help construct the ASA restaurant guide this year. I’m rather excited about the chance to write a snarky guide (“Are you sitting at the bar? No? Get up and move to the bar…”*). But in all seriousness, are there any elements you’d like to see in the dining guide? To a degree I think this is less than useful in these days of the interwebs. But I’m still happy to write in a dying medium (hell, I write books too!). I’m thinking of adding a “so you want…” section. As in “so you want a hamburger…” Shake Shack is nearby. It’s like fast food only a little better and much more expensive! “so you want to feel hip…” Go to Brooklyn. Say hi to your grad students at the next table. “so you want to go somewhere without sociologists…” I have four words for you (three places): Queens, Staten Island, Bronx. I will, of course, have vegetarian/vegan options. High end to budget (more of the latter). But any other requests ideas? And I may keep a secret place or two off the guide, for my own enjoyment. I love you all… but… well… sometimes you can overwhelm me.

* paraphrased/stolen from Frank Bruni’s review of Keen’s. Which will be on the guide. Especially if you want scotch. Or have a lot of money to pay for a steak. Don’t get the fish. Or the desserts.

snarky: what is it about a new century?

When I was book review editor at Social Forces, I developed a pet peeve: book titles that used phrases like “for a new century,” “for the 21st century,” and so on. If the only reason your book is of interest is because of the changing digits at the end of the year, you should probably find a new topic! Alternatively, how about:

Democratic Innovations for This Afternoon

Challenges for Inequality After Sunday

I just got word–about which I’m very excited–that Nikolas Rose will be visiting UNC in April:

Screenshot from 2013-02-12 15:34:40

I don’t particularly see why a new century requires a new sociology. But it’s not even a new century anymore! We’re over 12% done with the century. At least there’s a question mark at the end, which implies that the answer could be “no”.

session organizer bleg

I’m late doing my ASA session organizing work this year. Ugh. I still the hate the interface. It’s a Saturday, I can’t ask ASA. So questions for experienced Scatterplotters.

(1) Before sending a paper off to another session, I’d like to know whether that session organizer is already done. If they are, there is no way the paper is going to be accepted in that session. But there does not seem to be any way for me to get the list of other session organizers to communicate with them. Is that true?

(2) Apart from the submitter’s 1st and 2nd choices, I notice that when I’m the second choice organizer, down at the bottom  of the screen there seems to be an option for me to transfer the paper to another session. Is that right? Can I do that? Can I do it technically and should I do it? (It seems like that is really a bad idea unless I’ve consulted with the session organizer first to see if they want it. See problem #1.)

(3) Do I really have to choose what roundtable to send a rejected paper to? Does not the submitter get to choose? So far I have not rejected anybody, so I actually have not seen that menu yet.

Notes to all you folks out their anxiously awaiting results of ASA submissions: please remember that this is by no means a simple process of ranking all submitted papers by quality because the ratio of submissions to slots varies a lot across areas and part of forming a session is trying to put related papers together. And another part involves dealing with a klunky and unfriendly interface.

And another reminder to those who have submitted. Because the interface is so klunky and unfriendly, a session organizer may mis-handle your paper in some way through inadvertence. As I’ve mentioned often before, the most common problem is that an organizer, once she has done her work of processing papers and creating sessions, typically does not return to the interface to look for papers later “released” to her session and thus fails to forward them to roundtables. You have to keep your own eye on this ball if you want to make sure you end up somewhere on the program. And try not to curse the organizers too much for the mistakes they make.

it gets better, but only if you stay away from people like these

Happy Superbowl Sunday! My hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers, is in it this year, and they are my 3rd favorite hometown sports team (after the Giants, and the Sharks. In that order, if you must know). So, I’m hosting a gathering, and I’m cheering for my team, and then WTF–the 49ers go all homophobic on me:

Culliver was asked if there were any gay players on the 49ers.”We don’t have any gay guys on the team,” Culliver said. “They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”

Well, apparently the 49ers do, or at least did, have gay men on the team. Continue reading “it gets better, but only if you stay away from people like these”