- My talk at Yale went all right. I was complimented by a couple people on being willing to present null findings, which is a mixed compliment to receive since of course when I collected the data for the project I wasn't expecting null findings.
- I stayed in the New Haven Lawn Club after my talk at Yale. I was given a key with a giant plastic keychain that said ROOM #8 in huge letters. When I unlocked the door to my room, I saw that someone else's stuff was still there. Then I looked at the door and realized it was room 9 instead of 8. I wonder if the giant keychains were just a ruse to throw people off the trick that the hotel actually had the same key for every room.
- One of the things I did in Cambridge this weekend was go to CSI: The Experience at the Museum of Science. I had fun, but am not sure I would recommend it to anyone else just because most of my fun was from resolutely not sticking to the way the designers intended the exhibition to be done. As one thing: you are given one of three crimes to "solve," do not fall for that. Just do all the stuff for all the crimes, as even if you do not have the little sheets for the other crimes you will have no problem "solving" them as well, and only one of them has an interesting plot twist.
- I am contemplating a hunger strike to call attention to the need for Northwestern sociology to change its front webpage to something more elegant and less busy.
- Obtaining Office 2007 is all that remains for me to have my computer set up so that I don't have any glaring barriers--other than, well, myself--to being productive in my office. (I use Outlook 2007 for work e-mail and OneNote 2007 as my note-taking platform.) It's unclear how protracted a stumbling block this will be--technically my Northwestern machine has an Office 2007 license but Northwestern does not have the Office 2007 media to install it on any machines. Whatever. I'm not happy about it being my ninth week here and still not feeling like I have my basic computer needs set up.
- Hooray for Genarlow Wilson being free! I'll confess that the Jena 6 have failed to rouse much outrage within me, but Wilson: there is the victim of a clear injustice. Added bonus hooray for Wilson saying that he plans not only to go to college but to major in sociology "because I feel like I've been living my major" (story here)
- Following the recommendation of a certain clandestine blogger, I've watched all 50 or so episodes of How I Met Your Mother via iTunes the past few weeks. I'm so surprisingly pleased to see that life can go on after Doogie Howser, MD. I feel somewhat guilty/melancholic about the extent to which I feel empathy with certain aspects of the protagonist given that he is supposed to be 8-9 years younger than me, although not as guilty/melancholic as I do about the extent to which I feel empathy with the 18-year-old girl protagonist of Ghost World.
- Two thumbs up for Ian Ayres' book Super Crunchers. The chapter on all the evidence about the failure of expert qualitative judgment to surpass simple quantitative algorithms will cause one to wonder what purpose is served by having academics spend so much time pouring over junior-search-candidate and graduate-admissions files.
- One-and-a-half-or-so thumbs up for Cass Sunstein's book Infotopia. The chapter on all the evidence about the failure of deliberating groups to surpass the judgment obtained by just averaging individual opinions will cause one to wonder what purpose is served by academics spending so much time discussing issues in faculty meetings (Or, well, it's relatively easy to see various purposes served, but it's less clear how much making better decisions is one of them.)
- Oh, and, further evidence of the vanishing cognizance of wringers from american culture, from ESPN.com: "These guys were put through the ringer," he said from Tampa, Fla. "I think we're ready to make an informed decision." (see previous post on subject here)
Monday, October 29, 2007
I have not been blogging steadily lately and will confess to some uncertainty about the future of the JFW enterprise, but, here, let me get you caught up: