Google Questions: redux

Q:  my dad is lutheran but my mom is catholic, how do i reconcile these two very similar, but different views

A:  Why don’t you think hard about what it is that you believe and find a religion that fits your own beliefs.  Though a joke is that Catholic + Lutheran = Episcopalian, that may or may not be true for your case.  Heck, you might be a unitarian universalist but just don’t know it yet.  Or a Baptist.  Or an athiest.  Or anything else under the sun.  You get to choose.  You could be a Buddhist or agnostic.  There are options.

Q:  How do I sell my soul online

A:  . . .

Q:  does tv ruin your life

A:  Only if you’re on a reality show.  And in some cases your life was a mess anyway– that’s why they wanted to film it in the first place.

Q:  is my colleague’s behaviour normal

A:  Probably not.  I would keep my distance.  Stay professional, but don’t get too close.

Q:  can market efficiency evolve on its own without government intervention? what role do ethics play in market efficiency?

A:  I suspect this is someone’s take-home final exam question.  The answer to the first question is:  No.  That’s most likely the entire point of the class you’re taking.  I strongly encourage you to look at the headings of your textbook about sources of market failure.  In the second part, that question does not have a well-defined and agreed upon answer, so you should feel free to answer it as you believe, using the terminology you used in class.

Q:  why is housework/childcare not valued

A:  Two answers to this, both blaming the patriarchy.  First:  It is not valued because women do it.  Second:  It IS valued by the women who pay people to do it.  A good cleaner is worth his or her weight in gold and a good childcare provider is priceless.  It just seems not to be valued by say, many men, who are used to getting such services for free.  So, the idea that it is not valued is also coming from the patriarchy because even when they are the minority or it is not their sphere of influence, what men think is important is what we default on.  Research on women alone is considered a special topic, but research on white men is “of general interest” even when white men are only a small and unusual subset of the entire population in that subject area.

Q:  i’m 33 should i have a baby or work

A:  The two are not mutually exclusive.

Q:  what do you do if your husband is a grouchy boring asshole ?

A:  #1:  Don’t marry a douche.  #2:  If he hasn’t always been a douche, take him to the doctor to make sure it isn’t something physical.  #3:  Counseling, both individual and couples.  #4:  Divorce!

Q:  does depreciation waste money yes or no

A:  This sounds like another final exam question.  I’ll give you a hint:  The point of this question is to show that you understand what depreciation is and can explain it thoughtfully.  If you look through your class notes, your professor has probably told you his/her preferred yes/no, but what is important is the explanation.  (I would go with “no,” but the important thing is your explanation… you may even want to say, “yes in these respects” “no in these other respects.”)

Q:  how important is a career?

A:  This depends on your personality and the culture in which you live in.  For us, career is pretty important.  For others, only a distraction from the true purpose in life.  For others, finding a life purpose just gets in the way of actually living.

Picky eating stage: Passed! Level up!

Caution:  minimal science below.  If you want citations, good luck with that.  (Hungry Monkey does summarize and cite much of the research if you really want cites.)

So, supposedly kids whose moms eat varied diets while they’re pregnant or nursing are happy eating more different foods than moms with boring diets.  I believe the research that came to these conclusions involved carrots.

As we mentioned before, there’s no real science on what order to start foods.  Different cultures do things differently and the human race would probably have died out a long long time ago if there was only one way to get kids started on solid food.  People say things about starting rice cereal first or not starting rice cereal first or starting veggies but not fruit first etc.  I kind of doubt that it matters if a kid’s first taste of food is banana or broccoli, but some people think if you start with a veggie you’ll get a less-picky eater.  We didn’t start with rice cereal because refined grains aren’t allowed in our house (insulin problems).  (If you care, banana was our first food… DC was not interested in solid food one day, then next day ze stole my banana from my hand and ate it.)

All the baby stuff says to keep introducing things until kids like it.  Our kid started solids late and was only interested in things ze could pick up with hir pincer grasp, but ze would eat *anything* in that subset.  (The only mushy things we gave were naturally mushy things, ze did love applesauce and oatmeal and bananas.)  At this stage we got lots of compliments on what a great eater ze was.

Then suddenly, without warning, somewhere in the mid to late 2s, DC stopped eating vegetables entirely.  And anything green.  If you stuck a green apple lollypop in hir mouth, ze would totally eat it, but would not touch it unless you were sneaky about it.  Once-loved avocados were picked out and refused from everything (very sad, though we were always happy to take the leavings.  Nom.).  Fruit was hit and miss (except bananas, our go-to snack).

The internet was not helpful.  Lots of the same advice with no research behind it… don’t make a big deal of it, don’t let kids have separate meals, allow a boring back-up meal, etc.  Hungry Monkey totally was helpful!  Apparently the picky eating stage coincides with mental categorization.  Many green things are bitter and dangerous.  Therefore kids will mentally group all green things together and avoid them.  Don’t reinforce that grouping.  As the child gets older, the child will be better able to separate out that apples are not avocados are not broccoli are not turnip greens.  There may still be likes and dislikes, but the categories will be smaller.

And almost all kids go through the picky eating stage.  Even kids of food critics.  Even kids of famous chefs.  Most will grow out of it if just left alone.  Plus even the pickiest get enough vitamins and minerals throughout the week so long as they’re only offered healthy options.  (Processed foods designed to fool our palates like chicken nuggets or potato chips or soda can be a problem though.)  The Hungry Monkey guy told his daughter she would like more foods as she got older, and she believed him.  “I don’t like this now,” she would say.  So we did that too, “Auntie #1 didn’t like onions at your age either, and mommy didn’t like tomatoes, but we like them now!  Maybe one day when you’re older…”  I think that growth rather than fixed mindset about food helped everybody not stress or focus on the pickiness.  Temporary problems are easier to deal with.

By the end of the book, the author’s daughter was just starting to like a few more foods.

For us, the change was more immediate.  About 2 weeks before it happened, DC realized that avocados were actually quite tasty.  A miracle.  Then on day t-1, DC fussed about us adding onions to the food and having to pick them out, as usual.  It was such a PITA, that when DH made spaghetti the next day, ze kept the onions aside and only added them to the adult plates (I would never do this because I am a much lazier parent and perfectly happy to tell a fussy kid to either pick them out or leave the table if ze can’t stop fussing).  DH told DC that he hadn’t given hir any onions.  DC demanded onions.  Okay… you can have onions.  DC ate the onions.  We quietly contained our excitement.

Day t+1, DC ate everything offered to hir.  It was as if that entire 2-3 years of picky eating had never happened.  DC has been trying new foods and eating almost everything ever since.  Ze still has strong preferences (ze eats the yummy stuff first), but there’s no fussing, no refusals, no ages spent picking things out… an amazing change.

This change happened at the same time as lots of sleeping and a few potty accidents– signs that DC was undergoing either a growth spurt or developmental change.  So… as we say in our household, DC leveled up, and picked “eating a variety of food” as a new skill (also some math).

Oh, btw, even during the picky stage, little kids seem to LOVE sardines.  Like beg for them at the grocery store love.  I loved them too, even though I don’t care for them now.  Apparently they’re full of all sorts of good stuff for growing bodies (and, depending on the kind you get, are low on fish-related toxins).  We both love eel!  Also frozen peas, which are apparently magical.

Did you or your kids go through a picky eating stage?  Did it pass?  What do you suggest for someone with a picky eating 3 year old?

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 38 Comments »

What do you think about no-spend days?

A lot of PF bloggers do “no spend days,” or weekly or monthly no-spend challenges.

I’m always surprised at how frequently some (definitely not all!) of the folks who are doing the no-spend challenges actually spend during their challenge months.

Most of our days are no spend days, especially during the busy parts of the school year.  Though I’m going to track spending one of these months to see if that’s actually a true statement or if I’m just making that up via selective memory.

I think it’s true though.  I have scheduled all our bills to come at the beginning of the month.  We do grocery shopping about once a week (generally Saturday).  Some Saturdays we hit the city and spend a lot of money.  Sometimes we’ll go a week or two without any purchases if we haven’t had time to get to the grocery store.  We eat out once or twice a week, usually Saturday lunch or pizza on Friday or both.  Then we just don’t have time to go out and buy things and we don’t surf the internet for purchases much.  So we do spend quite a lot of money, but only over a few days each month.

I also hate shopping and put it off longer than I should.  I have a list of things that I need but haven’t gotten around to buying (new printer, black shoes, black sandals etc.)  I need more time (or to prefer shopping to blogging or reading Georgette Heyer novels).  When I do go out shopping for these kinds of items, I tend to spend literally hundreds of dollars in a single day just because a lot of purchases have been put off for days or weeks or months (or, embarrassingly, years).

Do you think limiting frequency of purchasing days helps?  Is it better to limit frequency, amount, both, neither?  Should one go all out and have a budget?

Or is this one of those things that different things work for different people?

What works for you?  How do you spend “the right amount”?

TV Shows

Here’s what we’ve been watching lately (effete as we are):

Season 5 of Psych.  So far, much better than Season 4 (which kind of sucked compared to the upward awesomeness of seasons 1-3, all of which I own and have watched at least 2x, including 1x with commentary).  Hilariously funny crime drama about a fake psychic detective and his partner, Gus.

Season 1 of Perry Mason.  A crime drama we can watch with a child in the room!

When I do mindless data tasks, I usually like to listen to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, but sadly they updated their flash thingy and work has not updated the necessary flash thingy and our IT person is a … person who will not let professors have administrative privileges on their laptops… so instead I’ve been listening to badly dubbed anime on Netflix Streaming.  Currently season 2 of Claanad.  Yes, one of my vices is harem anime.

Season 1 of Fringe.  Silly, silly science here but ok drama and some occasional humor.

HGTV:  all of it, basically.  I love that channel.

I would like to watch more Big Bang Theory, but I need this season to finish so I can watch it on DVD… I got behind on the internet episodes this season and like to watch it in order.

What have you been watching?  What are your favorite shows?

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 24 Comments »

Link it all

We’ve never met one of those mythical she-monsters, but thus spake zuska reminds us that nobody is a sexist bastard because she is female, though one may be sexist despite being female.  And that female sexist bastards are also a product of the patriarchy and to be pitied.

Mutant Super Model explains why you don’t have to be Sarah Palin in order to be a feminist.


Please do not use electronic devices until told it is safe to do so, first day of class instructions by Not of General Interest.

Texas isn’t the only state attacking education these days, but we really do not want this guy for president.

Thank you for this post, Kate Clancy.  Also Micro Dr. O reiterates a post she’d made before that we agreed with then and agree with now.  And we wonder if the attackers are pro-life because they don’t seem to believe that pregnant women should be allowed to make educated decisions about their own bodies.  I always thought the ability to choose (what to do with her own body) is a feminist statement even if the choice made is irrelevant to the subject of feminism (or at least second order, as obviously all choices are influenced by environment).  I wonder if the attackers would argue that home births should be illegal, since that seems to be the direction their arguments point (included with:  should we also lock up pregnant women who smoke or drink, two activities that aren’t as ambiguous in terms of fetal and maternal health?).

Also, I would be betraying my social science if I didn’t point out that the choice to vaccinate or not is nothing like the choice to home vs. hospital birth.  (Chapter topic:  Potential Reasons for Government Intervention:  Negative Spillovers.)  The vaccination choice strongly affects herd immunity which has negative consequences not just on parent and child but also on the elderly, other children, people with weakened immune systems etc.  The birth choice at most hurts mother and unborn child.  Possibly there may be stresses on public finance systems later, but it is unclear whether those costs will be larger for the unnecessary interventions and increases in prematurity due to over-medicalization (which are less likely in the European countries whose comparative statistics are discussed) vs. home-birth mistakes.  It is hard to say and I doubt anyone has done a good cost-benefit analysis.  We care about vaccination because it has these large spillover effects.  We should allow individual choice (with full information) in the birthing decision.  NPR did a really neat story recently about how just forcing doctors to document when they scheduled a birth before 39 weeks and why decreased neonatal intensive care usage.  We might think government intervention would be justified in that case because doctors are often making the choice for women based on their vacation or Superbowl schedules (Amitabh Chandra has a fantastic paper on that topic), and this is a “nudge” intervention– not actually outlawing <39 week interventions or even saying the justification has to be a good one, just that they have to write down the justification.

Mutant SuperMeme

We were tagged in this post over at Mutant SuperModel.  Because we promised, we shall answer it.  But we reserve the right to make up answers or change the questions, whichever amuses us most.

For more of our favorites, see our one-year blogiversary post.

Our Most Beautiful Post:
Well this one has beautiful right in the title: Beautiful Pictures

Our Most Controversial Post:
Judging by number of comments and ire aroused, it’s probably this one: Education and Kids These Days: A cranky rant.

Our Most Helpful Post:  I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting the Your Money or Your Life pre-tenure angst post.  I don’t know if it’s actually helped any academic readers, but I was happy to see a little blip up in *other* academics recommending the book.  That seems to have died down a bit, but I also haven’t read many angsty trapped academic blogger posts recently.

Post Whose Success Surprised Us:  Probably one of the short ones where people commented a lot…  Or maybe the stop feeling guilty and relax posts we talk about in this post.  Oh!  I remember… this one on is it ok for personal finance bloggers to be balanced was reblogged all over the place.

Post We Feel Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved:
How about this one?  Also, we’re constantly doing stuff on our monthly challenge page, which is updated semi-regularly.

Post We Are Most Proud Of:

I’m not sure we can pick just one.  We are proud of the blog as a whole…  Yes, we refuse to apologize for being awesome.

Instead of Calling On Other Bloggers:

#1 and #2 shall “duke it out”, as requested in the original tagging post, for your enjoyment.  Tell us in the comments what we should do.  Fling Jello at each other?  Dance battle?  Rap battle?  Bake-off?  Come on, be creative.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 7 Comments »

Moar video games

I have written before about enjoying video games even though I don’t play them.  In that post I said Kingdom Hearts was pretty.  Well lemmee tell you, those days seem to be over because I can’t stand whatever new/current version of KH my partner is playing right now.  Here’s what’s been going around the #1 household lately, in case you care…

Bastion: pretty decent.  Highlight is the musical score, which the composer describes as “acoustic frontier trip-hop”, which is really very accurate.

More fun than that: Infamous 2.  (Still not on my all-time high list)

Games like Vanquish bore the hell outta me.

Alan Wake: Are you SURE Stephen King didn’t write this game?  A writer encounters zombies.

This video is AWESOME:
pitching a video game to Cookie Monster

(unrelated but: new podcast I’ve been enjoying recently: Dead Robots Society.)

#2 is hoping her partner will get Portal 2 one of these days.  Sure, she can listen to the new ending credits song on Youtube, but is that really the same?  #1’s partner has beaten Portal 2 and gifted a copy of the original Portal to me so I can improve my terrible video-game skills.  This was a triumph.

Do you play video games? What are your favs?

(#2 likes to listen to her partner sing along)

When a mom says she’d love to stay at home but she needs the money

She might be lying because it’s easier than politely telling you to STFU.*

Sometimes working mom wants to work, regardless of her husband’s goals for income.  Some women do, even mothers.  Unnatural, I know.

When her husband says he can’t have more kids because they can’t afford them, well, he might not be telling the truth either.  I imagine the wife also has some say in the additional children question… she may even not want more kids!  But when a woman says she’s done with kids, that never goes over well.  People always feel like they have to say, “Oh, you’ll change your mind” or “I’m sure if you had another one you’d be happier.”

I find the question really intrusive (although we do plan to have a second some day) and wish people would stop asking me about my fertility plans at work.  Nothing I say ever satisfies them.  Finally one well-meaning gentleman has stopped pressuring me (about 4 years of this, including in front of job candidates) to have another kid when I explained in detail the kinds of infertility treatment I had to go through to get the first one.   Much easier to say it’s about money than whatever is actually going on, especially when it’s none of the questioner’s business in the first place.

Same thing with the working mom, we’re allowed to say we’d love to stay at home but we need the money but we’re not allowed to say we love our children to pieces but staying home with them would DRIVE US CRAZY.  Coming off a week with DC in daycare and DH at a conference, I know that would definitely be true in my case.

The woman in question might not even realize that she prefers working and having a smaller number of kids because we’re so brainwashed into believing that the ideal of womanhood is staying at home and sacrificing ourselves for the Victorian ideal of the next generation.  All those little boy chillin’s we ought to be martyring ourselves for (and boy grandbabies our daughters will be raising).  So we say one thing to people who need to mind their own business, but deep down in our heart of hearts, may actually feel another, even if we don’t realize it ourselves.  Oh, if only we didn’t have this mortgage, these schooling expenses etc, then we’d love to have 15 kids and no job other than to watch after them.  Maybe not.

Not to say that there aren’t people who really would choose to stay at home or have more children if they had more money, but I bet those folks make a lot less money than most folks who answer the question in exactly the same way.  (Not because of any SES reason, but because people who  genuinely need 2 incomes to make ends meet are a subset of the people who say they do.)

Are you ever asked intrusive questions?  Do you always answer them honestly?

*This is paraphrased from a reply I made on someone’s blog post I can’t find again.  The point of the post was the blogger knows this guy who isn’t having any more kids and his wife works instead of staying home because the husband wants additional income.  If they just lived super-frugal lives then they could instead have a SAHM and a dozen kids.  Because that’s everybody’s ideal goal.

Round 2: Childfree women’s posts answered

From The Hermitage.  And we’re special because we do Social Science.

1. Are there any suggestions about how to look professorial as a young (and young looking and smallish) TT faculty?

Here’s our post on dressing the academic.  Bottom line though:  the younger you look, the more professionally you need to dress.  Also, get an expensive haircut– ask the hairdresser specifically to make you look older.

2. For those of us who like things like pink, skirts, baking, sewing, knitting, heels, makeup, and other things girlie, how important is it to not do / wear / talk about these things lest we be seen as fluffy girls who can’t do Science?

A.  #1  Well, I’m not at a top 10 school, and I’m not into most of those “girlie” things so I can’t say.  I will say that many of my male colleagues are into food, so we talk about food, including baking, a lot.  Don’t bore your colleagues.  If they’re not into such things, don’t talk about them.  I don’t talk about my nerd hobbies to people who aren’t nerds.  I’m not hiding them, but nobody wants to be around that person.

#2  Hey, knitting is trendy these days!  All the hipsters are doing it.  Food is always good to talk about.  I think you can wear whatever you want, as long as it’s work-appropriate.  Heels aren’t practical for many parts of my job.  One of the reasons I don’t talk that much about my hobbies at work is because I like some separation between work and the rest of my life.  But like #1, I’m not hiding them and will talk about them if the conversation comes around to it.

3. What can we do when other women deny there are problems being a woman in science?

A.  #1  Well, I’m always into the facts.  There are good controlled studies (done by psychologists usually).  But many of my male colleagues will deny said facts because they have blinders on when it comes to issues of gender.  So if such women exist, I assume that they probably have blinders on too.  So … no idea.  Thank God my social science doesn’t seem to have any of these women I hear about in other professions.  Our Grand Old Dames are amazing in every aspect.  Possibly because their careers were spent studying gender.

#2  I do what I can to educate with data, like #1 said.  Then I just sigh and move on, blaming the patriarchy.  I wish I had the superpower to force insight into people’s brains, but I only have so much energy in the day.  I make a mental note to never work with that person in the future and try to let it go.

4. It seems to me that often women don’t have as strong professional networks as men – the kind that gets built over shared interests (sports or drinking). People seem to gravitate towards others like them. What specific advice do you have for establishing and maintaining network with men as well as other women?

A.  #1  My early networks were predominately female.  Only recently have I branched out to more male networks.  One thing that is important to do is to share your work with the people you cite.  In a male-dominated field, these folks will predominately be male (even if you work in gender studies!)

#2  Likewise, lots of my network is women — I was very fortunate to work in a lab of strong, supportive, and very intelligent female scientists in grad school, and they are still a large part of my network.  My adviser did an amazing job making sure her students got introduced to other successful female role models.  Only after I graduated and got a job did I work up the courage to contact big names in the field, a lot of whom are men.  I have been given some opportunities to network with leaders in the field and I’m trying not to mess it up.

Our panel-mates are: Geek Mommy Prof, Professor in Training, Dr. Sneetch, KJHaxton, Micro Dr. O

Living on one salary?

I’m worried with putting so much away to DH’s retirement this year (maxing out the 403(b) and the 457, possibly a Roth) that we’re setting ourselves up so we won’t be able to save enough to live on next summer meaning a very tight August or September.  The requests have already been made so going back would be difficult.  (In retrospect, given the US problems, perhaps the 457 was not the best choice and we should have gone for the mortgage… more on that decision Oct 1st.)

The rationale is that if he loses his job, we’ll have to live on my salary alone.  We might as well get used to it now, so it doesn’t hurt so much then and the sacrifices to fund retirement, pay off the house etc. won’t be as deep because we’ll have done a lot already.

Is it ridiculous?

DH loses job… then what?

Should we just assume it will be short term unemployment and have a larger emergency fund?  (I can’t figure out if he would be covered by unemployment… I kind of assume not as he’ll be given a year contract after being denied tenure.)

Will he really be bringing in no money?

We’d really like to allow him to use the time as an opportunity to try things out.  Maybe work on entrepreneurial or consulting projects that might not pay out in the short term (and that don’t have their own retirement plans) rather than having to take any job he can get in this small town.

What if we use the job loss as an opportunity to move to a city?  Our salaries will probably go up, but of course the cost of living will as well.  But on net, we would probably be making more money.

At the latest round of conferences, I was strongly encouraged to apply to a couple of jobs close to family (but away from the weather I prefer).  I wasn’t expecting that.  A job offer would mean a nice raise for me, whether we ended up moving or staying.  We could go the other direction and DH could find an industry job, while I follow for a soft money position.

So I don’t know… worst case scenario we drop down to just my (raise-free) salary (and perhaps have small start-up costs for DH’s next career stage)… but is that worst case scenario really what we should be planning for?

On the one hand, planning for the worst allows us freedom.  We won’t be stuck if the house doesn’t sell or DH can’t find a job he likes in town.  On the other hand, perhaps we’re cutting things down too much for an unlikely future.  Or perhaps it is all too likely.

A final question is what are we sacrificing… what are we cutting that we would otherwise not need to cut.  The short answer is, I don’t really know.  The easy answer from our financial fire drill is savings and charitable contributions.  But that answer is still not satisfying.  And also isn’t sustainable long-run.

What do you think?  What do/would you do when you see a potential jobloss for one partner on the horizon?