raise your hand if you’re not here

Where is the usual energy of scatterplotters? A friend recently told me that a colleague wished her a good summer. This was disconcerting as it suggested that the colleague (or everyone?) in the department would be gone for the entire summer. Is that common? And just because one is not in the office, wouldn’t one still go scattering? Are you all vacationing or so deeply immersed in research that you don’t want to be disturbed even by fellow scatterbrains?

a question about service

I received a request from ASA to organize one of the regular sessions for the 2009 meetings. I was asked to do this just a few years ago and I’m not convinced it is something I want to do again so soon after. I understand the service part of our job, however, I’ve already committed to some major service obligations for next year when it comes to professional meetings. Given all this, is there any particular reason I should say yes to this request?

publishing q & a

I’ll be participating in a professionalization workshop on publishing and looking for ideas on the types of topics we should cover. When it comes to journal publishing in particular, what kinds of questions would you hope to have answered? This can range anywhere from how to select or approach a potential collaborator to deciding on a journal.

What are related questions you would have for such a panel? What are related issues you wish someone would have discussed with you before you sent off your first paper for review? From the perspective of an editor/reviewer, what are issues you wish more authors would keep in mind?


I have an old email account I check on occasion. Others sometimes mistype their own account and register for services using this email address. Most services ask for confirmation so there’s not much of a problem. In such cases I don’t confirm and that way the registration doesn’t really go through. Presumably the person eventually realizes this and registers with the correct address.

However, not all systems go through such verification. I just checked this account and noticed that someone has signed up on one of those social sites (you know, the ones like MySpace where you connect up with friends) and has since been accumulating numerous connections. I get a notification about both friend requests and friend acceptances requested by “me”. Continue reading “conflicted”

every talk is a job talk, especially ones called a job talk

People often say that every talk is a job talk. I think this is a reasonable approach. And to be clear, “job talk” refers to more than the presentation itself. It’s about the time spent at the host institution overall. You want to make a good impression when you go and visit a school. Making a good impression includes showing at least some level of interest in the department where you are giving a talk. I guess one could argue that in some cases a person can afford to be smug (e.g., seniority, fame, etc.), but personally, I see little reason for such behavior. Continue reading “every talk is a job talk, especially ones called a job talk”

way to perpetuate stereotypes

From a video by the Stanford Environmental Health and Safety group (actual video not available without an ID):

“So clean your toaster, or get your mom to come here and live with you.”

And no, it’s not just on some obscure video one can only view with a campus ID , it also got blasted to tens of thousands of people via the university’s monthly email newsletter as the featured “heard on campus” quote of the month.

ASA used to be ASS, officially

I would like to second Kieran’s idea that Jeremy’s potential donation be sent to ASA. There are a lot of stupid organizations out there, but if we had a contest, ASA would hold its own for sure.

I was just renewing my membership – call it voluntary punishment. I’ll refrain from going into how unfortunate, and in some cases even offensive, is the field classification section. Now I’ll just focus on the membership dues.

The ASA must think itself so sensitive to offer different dues depending on income. But how about updating this once in a while?

ASA Dues

Continue reading “ASA used to be ASS, officially”

where to draw the line?

The recent post about how background characteristics and former experiences shape people’s behavior reminded me of a case that raises questions about where we should draw the line in being sensitive to people’s various circumstances.

In a plagiarism case with a graduate student, a colleague once told me: “Well, this is cultural, where he is from [insert country], this is common and often allowed.” My colleague thought that therefore we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. I found this approach very frustrating. For one thing, the graduate student had already spent over four years at American institutions. Wouldn’t that amount of time be enough to teach someone that plagiarism is not okay at American universities?

How far can/should we stretch sensitivity to different types of behavior based on differences in background?

’tis the season

You don’t have to be an economic sociologist to understand that as a professor, it is not straight forward to get gifts from students. It’s that time of the year (or maybe one of those times in addition to the end of the academic year) when gifts might appear. What to do? I haven’t developed a formal policy about this, but maybe I should.

My preference is for students not to give me gifts. And if it were to come up, I would say no ahead of time. But it doesn’t usually come up (people don’t usually say: “I’ll be stopping by to give you a gift.”) and it’s awkward and rude to reject something when someone’s already giving it to you. So what to do? Continue reading “’tis the season”

how does this add up?

Why does one negative comment have so much power over all of the positive feedback one receives? Why can one negative response spoil so much positive in a matter of seconds? There must be tons out there on this, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

This applies in all sorts of areas and I suspect many people react similarly although I would love to hear if there are those who don’t. Possibly it’s related to self-esteem, but I’m not sure to what extent.

Examples can come from all sorts of areas. Continue reading “how does this add up?”