I guess a tiny part of me still had some grain of hope that there were people in our government who actually cared about the poor and the unemployed. But we have decided that poor people's suffering is nothing in the face of the suffering of the wealthy paying a tiny bit more in taxes or the debt we were already going to be in anyway or not bombing the people we claim to be helping in Libya. It seems to me that we are now in such a mess and our elected officials have lost their way so utterly from the things they claimed to care about that I'm just not sure that things can get better.
It leaves me feeling bad for having a job and for helping to perpetuate the lie that the education I'm giving the next generation will help them find jobs. How can I tell them that at this point the only way to be financially secure in our country is to inherit wealth from your wealthiest 1% parents? _
11:22:49 AM, Saturday 9 April 2011
It hurts my brain to keep straight this Sean Carroll from this Sean Carroll, especially given that both are active in the online science blogging community and both are best known for their pop-science books. The biologist usually inserts the B initial in there, while the physicist doesn't use his middle initial commonly (I think it's M). But when people are talking casually, they just say "Sean Carroll was there" or "Sean Carroll said this thing that was cool" and we are left to infer from the subject matter which one it might be, which is surprisingly hard given their different interests.
08:51:46 AM, Thursday 7 April 2011
It's over. I passed and have a PhD now. I can't wait to get out of here and get on with my life!
05:59:26 PM, Wednesday 30 March 2011
Bob Herbert is leaving the New York Times, and the paper's relevancy to the actual world is declining quickly.
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely. _
10:03:06 AM, Tuesday 29 March 2011
Bashir says what I have been repeatedly telling myself, and will continue to say in my head until 5 pm on Wednesday, when it will all be over.
“This is essentially a parole hearing. Convince them that you’ve done a lot of hard work, that you’ve put in the time owed, been well behaved and done everything asked of you, that you’ve even changed as a person. And maybe, just maybe they’ll let you out.”
It's either that, or snake fights. _
02:28:38 PM, Monday 28 March 2011
Stepping away from the Metafilter. Oops. I don't really like it when internet libertarian atheist types question my religious sincerity. Or grownups in the 21st century who identify as Thomist (of all things) say it's better for me to die than to have an abortion. But still. Stepping away from the Metafilter.
02:30:17 PM, Thursday 24 March 2011
This may be an ad for a bank, but it's also a really neat story in a really cool place.
06:06:10 PM, Sunday 20 March 2011
Things that happened while Liz was in dissertation hell:
-Oh my God Japan. Those poor people. I can't quite believe that natural disasters of that magnitude can happen with no warning. Tides of human bodies. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of uninjured people in the snow without shelter, food, water, sanitation. How can this be happening in a developed country? Is this what it will be like in California one day?
-The Republican party has decided to repeal the 20th century. No more women's rights, labor rights, environmental regulations. The last generation to see this much unemployment was my Grandpa's generation in 1930. The last generation to see this (still increasing) income gap was under the robber barons. Will it take another Triangle Shirtwaist factory type disaster to make people understand that unions are good? Will we lose our weekends, our overtime, our worker's comp, our child labor laws? Will I be telling my students in 30 years about back in the day when women could get abortions and single women could get contraception and married women could get it without their husbands' permission? Or will I just be unemployed too? Or will we all have died of black lung?
Yes, it kind of puts dissertation hell in perspective. _
06:39:18 PM, Friday 18 March 2011
Disastrous tales of dissertation loss, past and present. Several of them are good, but the best one includes the line:
"Suddenly I felt this tug at my left hand," she says, "and then, whoosh! This monkey grabs the DVD and takes off running." _
10:01:17 AM, Friday 18 March 2011
The dissertation is submitted. I was expecting joy, or at least relief. All I've got now is exhaustion. Having worked 12 plus hour days for 2 weeks straight, after 6 years of doctoral work and 3 years of master's work and a year of work in between that was like grad school but I got paid more, I have no clue about what to do with myself between now and August 1.
09:31:51 AM, Thursday 17 March 2011
Suspect arrested in attempted bombing of Martin Luther King Day celebration.
Of course, he has been charged with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of knowingly possessing an improvised explosive device, and not terrorism, even though we've charged a lot of people with terrorism who were a lot farther from murdering large numbers of people. _
06:56:33 AM, Thursday 10 March 2011
This is what it means to be a Republican in this country and why Jon Stewart is talking nonsense when he insists that both sides are just as bad:
Newt Gingrich had an affair with a Congressional aide while he was in Congress. But it's okay, because it was just because he loves his country so much and was working too hard out of love of country. Which somehow led to him having an affair. And he divorced the woman he was married to then (his second wife, with his first wife being the one he served papers on while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer) and is now married to the former Congressional aide. And he's converted to Catholicism and God has forgiven him.
The best part about all of this of course is that he was having this affair with a Congressional aide while he was actively involved in the prosecution of President Clinton for having an affair with an intern. _
06:16:02 PM, Wednesday 9 March 2011
Our new self-designated Joe McCarthy has an interesting history: Rep. King Defends Past Support Of IRA; Current Focus On Muslims.
06:51:09 AM, Wednesday 9 March 2011
Happy International Women's Day with our awesome Secretary of State. As it's being announced that President Obama is rejecting one more of his major campaign platform points, the closing of Guantanamo, it's wonderful to see the Secretary of State remaining strong in her platform, even though she lost the election.
11:32:07 AM, Tuesday 8 March 2011
Another stupid evolutionary psychology theory is blown out of the water by actual science. It turns out, women tend to not accept propositions from random strangers not because they don't like sex, but because they are scared for their safety, and because their lifetime experience as a woman tells them that random men who walk up and proposition women are not usually the sort of men they want to have sex with. When researchers did their best to control for the many other effects of living life as a particular gender in our society, their research revealed that differences in desire for sex do not exist.
My favorite quote:
“In sum, when women conceptualized the unknown proposer, they appeared to be thinking of someone like Carrot Top. When men conceptualized the unknown proposer, they appeared to be thinking of someone like Jennifer Lopez.” _
04:10:43 PM, Thursday 3 March 2011
This is what democracy and solidarity look like. Several Democratic Wisconsin legislators have moved their desks outside to be with the protesters and to serve their constituents while the governor insists on locking down the people's government and selling his state to the Koch brothers. The weather in Madison: highs in the 30s, lows in the teens, with a chance of snow.
08:58:54 PM, Wednesday 2 March 2011
Academic Job Search Post-mortem
I did this last year and it was so depressing I didn't share it publicly. This year is not undepressing, but it has a happy ending. It also illustrates pretty clearly the differences between an academic job search and a regular-people job search.
Jobs Applied For: 20
Tenure Track (or equivalent): 15
Teaching Postdocs: 3
Visiting Assistant Professor: 2
States where jobs were located: 15
Expressions of initial interest: 7
Phone Interviews: 3
Campus Interviews: 3 (only 1 preceded by phone interview)
Job offer: 1
Withdrew before search was completed: 3
Official rejections: 10 (including 1 campus visit)
Unknown outcomes: 5 (including 2 phone interviews)
Job that was taken:
Application submitted: 10/4/2010
Phone interview: 10/26/2010
Campus interview: 11/29/2010
Offer made: 1/27/2011
Offer accepted: 2/28/2011 _
04:38:30 PM, Monday 28 February 2011
This is a surprisingly good series on couples' finances from Slate. And I say that as someone who usually despises Slate.
09:31:06 AM, Monday 28 February 2011
I have a job offer. In writing. Sitting next to me.
Also a loyalty oath to the state of Georgia.
Which is all to say that we're moving to Atlanta this summer and I'll be Assistant Professor of Biology here starting in August. _
06:10:52 PM, Saturday 26 February 2011
There are many things Aaron Sorkin did not see. Among them was Josh Lyman becoming mayor of Chicago.
09:21:19 AM, Wednesday 23 February 2011
So sick of Congress and the President talking about the deficit endlessly while this is going on.
The true extent of the economic devastation, and the enormous size of that portion of the population that is being left behind, has not yet been properly acknowledged. What is being allowed to happen to those being pushed out or left out of the American mainstream is the most important and potentially most dangerous issue facing the country.
Paul Krugman's proposal of bringing back the CCC might make some small dent in the problem. But rather than even consider actually creating jobs, the Republicans in Congress want to defund AmeriCorps. It makes as much sense as people who claim to hate abortion defunding Planned Parenthood, the number one organization in the country in the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, not to mention the source of healthcare for many desperate people.
They don't make sense. They are liars. And they are trying to destroy what's good about this country so that they can profit off of the ruins. _
07:02:13 PM, Tuesday 22 February 2011
Repairing disk permissions didn't fix the problem, so I am now reinstalling Office. It's one of those funny, funny jokes that the only thing that ever crashes a Mac is a Microsoft product.
05:40:17 PM, Thursday 10 February 2011
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Matt Saracen leaving Julie Taylor to go be a doctor in South America (yes, I am too attached to Friday Night Lights and I watch too many doctor shows).
08:20:33 PM, Wednesday 9 February 2011
One thing that keeps me Presbyterian is that we have a vocabulary of vocation that is not as common in the rest of the world. There is a dilemma about what I will do next in my life (and by definition where I will drag Remi along for the ride). Although they didn't know the story, the folks at the eponymous college where I just interviewed asked questions and offered advice using that language. And when folks at church this morning asked about my most recent interview, and the job I was offered last week, they used that language, too. It's just how we talk.
That very Presbyterian of modern writers, Frederick Buechner, said, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet."
And the Swedenborgian turned atheist Robert Frost said it too,
But yield who will to their separation
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one
And the work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed every truly done
For heaven and the future's sakes. _
08:13:42 PM, Sunday 6 February 2011
From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail:
...I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advised the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. _
08:51:30 AM, Sunday 6 February 2011
Drove a prospective student to the airport today. Gave him some of my viewpoint about grad school, and listened to his ideas. But none of that matters, because I'm not going to be here next year. I'm going to have a job. I will no longer be in grad school. I'm not going to be here next year.
At some point, I do want to write up my actual advice to grad students. My number one snarky advice is don't go to grad school and my number two is if you do don't get a chronic illness while you're there. But I do have some actual thoughts, and I think they're different from what the books tell you. _
06:45:13 PM, Saturday 5 February 2011
This is an honor code:
"On my honor, I will abstain from all deceit. I will neither give nor receive unacknowledged aid in my academic work, nor will I permit such action by any member of this community. I will respect the persons and property of the community, and will not condone discourteous or dishonest treatment of these by my peers. In my every act, I will seek to maintain a high standard of honesty and truthfulness for myself and for the College."
This is not
I will not lie, cheat, or steal in my academic endeavors;
I will conduct myself honorably in all my endeavors; and
I will act if the Standard is compromised. _
10:32:21 AM, Wednesday 2 February 2011
Random experience tonight: I was watching old episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Hulu, because that's how stressed-out-Liz rolls. I enjoyed the closing song of an episode, which turned out to be "Break Me Out" by The Rescues. I go to their wikipedia page and discover the band includes my grad school friend Laura's twin sister Kyler who I saw perform a million years ago in a solo show in Athens.
08:56:48 PM, Tuesday 1 February 2011
Those folks across the street did the right thing.
12:42:35 PM, Sunday 30 January 2011
An intelligent thing about using the iPad in the classroom.
09:47:06 AM, Thursday 27 January 2011