the plot thickens

Any thoughts on the new Scatterplot banner above versus the old one? I’ve been bothered that the blue in the old plot didn’t match the blue of the rest of the theme, and then while I was at it I also decided to try using smaller-sized points.

People have asked and, yes, the graphic is an actual scatterplot generated using Stata, although the data are random (and uniformly distributed on both the abscissa and ordinate.) Note the relatively large spaces of white adjacent to places where the points are densely bunched on top of one another. That’s what true randomness really looks like, and the reason people are bad when they try to fake random numbers (or coin flips, or financial transactions, or scatterplot points) is that they think randomness should be more evenly spread. Continue reading “the plot thickens”

privilege, choices, constraints

This post is a response primarily to the young academics and other young professionals or graduate students who wrote that my story inspired them to think about their priorities or to have hope that they, too, could achieve success despite the stresses of the work-home conflict. Many wrote that it reminded them of their own priorities, and that was my main point. But some people seemed to be trying to “do it all” and viewing me as a model of success. I am fearful that you will think that I was some kind of superwoman. Because I was not superwoman and you will draw the wrong lesson if you think I was. My last post was written from the perspective of privilege and this one will be, too. This is not because I do not know I have privilege. To the contrary. I still remember the young woman in my Lamaze class who was going back to work full time four weeks after her child’s birth. Continue reading “privilege, choices, constraints”

moneymoneymoneymoneymoney

I am working on an NSF proposal that will be my first grant proposal sent out from Northwestern with me as a listed (co-) Principal Investigator. Never mind what it’s about, for now. Part of the proposal right now is for an RA whose responsibilities will have a strong administrative component. I just got the numbers back from our grants person, and an 12-month half-time RA at Northwestern is more than $34,000 in direct costs–not counting fringe benefits–because it includes tuition as well as the stipend. You can hire a pretty competent staff person for the half-time equivalent of a $68,000 annual salary, especially given that there are still a lot of assistant professor positions in sociology that have a base starting salary lower than that. If I get the grant, I’m not sure what I will do. I’m not going to spend it on a graduate student who simply views working on the project as a job, that’s for sure, as that would make no economic sense. An advantage of my current employer is that my ability to recruit similarly-interested students to come here is not strongly tied to whether I can myself provide funding for them, as then I would probably feel compelled to use the money to invest in a student even if I didn’t feel the expenditure was in the best interest of the particular project.

another detractor!

We need a name for Our Detractors. My provisional nominee is “Scatterlings.” Anyway, we’ve got another skittish sociology Scatterling calling us out here. Skittish because this post first went up, then was taken down, and then was put back without links. Remember: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”? Not as catchy, but: “If you want to be pissy about other people online, you need to grow a freaking spine.” Especially if you are lobbing this stuff from behind a pseudonym to begin with. Come on!

Anyway, my favorite part of the new Scatterling’s post is this: Continue reading “another detractor!”