How to cause drama on the internet

Step 1: Say something judgmental that gets people riled up.  Bonus points if it’s about motherhood.
Step 2:  Say you don’t want any more drama in a dramatic separate post.
Step 3: Point vague fingers at anonymous people who are accused of causing drama!  Leave just enough clues that some people will know what you’re talking about and others will be tantalized, but not enough that everyone knows what you’re talking about.
Step 4:  Profit

This works very well on forums.  If you’re really good the admin won’t wait a full day to shut you down.  However, it may take a little while for folks to do the appropriate detective work to make it really juicy.  Be patient.  Give more hints in the comments section if necessary.

It also works on blogs, of course.  Though it’s probably a little harder given the control that folks have over where the arguments are going.  On the plus side, blogs with advertising do get some of the profit rather than just the forum owners.

How do you cause drama on the internet?  Er, we mean, how do you see other people causing drama on the internet because we know, dear readers, that you would never do such a thing.


  • Happiness is your 6 year old watching the best movie ever made for the first time and liking it.  (The Princess Bride, obviously.)
  • Found out recently that one of our new tenured hires writes homophobic screeds under her married name on the internet.  Swell.
  • I have four papers under review.  I think this is a new record.  (And only one of those has been rejected from someplace already– three are first-time submissions.)
  • DH’s car got hit by a hit and run person while he and DC1 were inside a friend’s house on a playdate.  Now the bumper is all messed up.  People suck.  At least nobody got hurt.
  • I don’t want to write a novel, but I want to have written one!
  • Making a friend can take years.  Making an enemy can take minutes.
  • DC1 seems to be enjoying a subset of the 1980s things we keep forcing on hir.  I was just thinking that our parents didn’t seem to force stuff on us from their childhoods, but then I remembered Nick at Nite… The Adventures of Dobie Gillis, for example.
  • As one of the remaining singles in her social group, it is my sister’s job to throw parties… bridal showers, baby showers… and now a “gender reveal shower.”  Apparently that is now a thing.  And no, it isn’t because one of her friends has recently had gender reassignment surgery.  Because that would be a good reason to throw a party.
  • After a false start around a year ago, DC1 is now entranced with Harry Potter.
  • I have the Dangermouse theme song stuck in my head.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 32 Comments »

August monthly update: Month two of DH’s self-employment

Last month (July):
Balance: $76,350.80
Years left: 6.08333
P =$905.93, I = $308.47, Escrow = 613.58

This month (August):
Balance: $75,266.62
Years left: 6
P =$912.18, I = $302.22, Escrow = 613.58

One month’s prepayment savings: $0.68

Ah, what a dinky mortgage pre-payment savings.  What a difference $500 makes.  But we need that $500 for peace of mind and stuff.  *Sigh.*

What up in the land of self-employment?  So far just paperwork.

Week 1:  DH bought a website address.  He worked up an operating agreement.  I discovered that paying for his health insurance is $1,700/year on top of what we were paying before with him on his own insurance and the kids on mine.  We’ll be paying $4,200/year.  Realized he no longer has a long term disability option.  Took us off dental since our dentist doesn’t take it.  DH worked more on his game and his website.  DC2 got sick again (stomach bug).  Then DH and I got sick again.  Then DC1 got sick.  It’s amazing we survived the week.

Week 2:  DH did lots of programming.  Cleaned the bathrooms.  Fixed up more webpage stuff.  Got his LLC paperwork.  Went to another networking happy hour– he really enjoys those.   Sent some emails.  Met with DC1’s school’s finance committee.

Week 3:  Finalized the webpage, got an email address, made business cards.  DC2 got sick again (fever).  Scrambled to see if we could find a sitter so DH and I could both network at the same time in week 4.

Week 4:  We were out of town and DH took care of the kids.  He networked a little, including an informal interview for a job whose description hasn’t been written yet.

I’m curious to what next month is going to hold.

Blinketty linketty loverly

Hey grumpeteers, we’re traveling this week, so send us some link love to help us out!

The 7-year postdoc, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the tenure track: thanks to commenter J for pointing this out to us.  Food for thought!

Cashin in on the clickbait with totes adorbz baby animals from Cute Overload.

We support Janet Yellen for Fed chair.  Though #2 is irritated that someone essentially told her this week that Yellen’s style is not masculine enough.  Apparently she only speaks up when someone is wrong, and does so politely.

This guy is great.

Time magazine actually does some investigative reporting for a change– guess what, the so-called hook-up culture hasn’t changed since the 60s, and is still only a minority of people.  On the other hand, they have yet another badly researched story reporting that most people report they’re against late-term abortions.  The truth is that if you ask people “are you in favor of late term abortions” everybody says no because gosh, nobody is in favor of late term abortions.  But if you give a specific instance that is similar to what most women with late term abortions is going through– say a fetus with severe abnormalities who is likely to die shortly after birth… they change their minds, and the majority say it should be allowed in that case.   We’ll have a longer rant on this topic in the future.

Nothing to prove: an awesome video about female geeks (h/t Scalzi’s blog!)

Ask the grumpies: Demographic stats for the self-employed

Big little wolf asks:

As one of the “self-employed” who takes every damn project and task I can to never make  ends meet (overqualified, overeducated, over 50, and god knows… overtired)… I work tons of hours for a frighteningly small and erratic amount of revenues, and of course, without an employment relationship, no benefits.

I know a number of women, personally, who are in exactly the same boat. Ousted from corporate jobs in our 40s or at 50, often simultaneously ousted from marriages and unable to collect the child support monies due… it’s a spiral into debt and downward. Naturally, with kids involved, you take care of their needs before your own, including health. More spiral downward.

All the more reason to keep bringing up the issues, and presenting the dollars and cents (and sense) of addressing the problems rather than searching for bandaids.
Off my soapbox.

What I’d love to know:

Those that fall through the BLS employment statistics (because we don’t and cannot collect unemployment as contractors / independents) [the self-employed].
Age groups.
Average median earnings.
Comparison of men to women (numbers in age groups, and comparison of earnings).
Ideally, marital status (single, married, divorced, widowed) would be fantastic. I imagine that’s an entire project.

These stats are pretty easy to get if you’re good with Stata, SPSS, or SAS because the government is pretty awesome.  My dataset of choice for these kinds of demographics is the Current Population Survey or CPS, but sometimes I will use the Census (now the American Community Survey or ACS).  My dealer of choice is IPUMS, the Minnesota Population Center.  Back in the old days, I used to have to use Unicon and it cost money$ or I would have to get the incredibly raw (but free) data from various places that store the raw data.  The raw stuff is not pretty.  So shout out to our Midwestern data cleaning homies up North.  (Miriam King, Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Sarah Flood, Katie Genadek, Matthew B. Schroeder, Brandon Trampe, and Rebecca Vick. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 3.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.)  What I’m giving you today is all from the March 2012 CPS.

One limitation to the self-employed variable in most of these datasets is that self-employed is going to pick up people whose primary job is self-employment and who self-report as being self-employed.  It won’t get people with side jobs if they work 40 hours/week.  Another limitation is that the hourly wage data aren’t reported for the March CPS so they have to be imputed from annual data and hours worked.  This is generally a problem at the tails of the distribution, where you get people saying they work way less than minimum wage.  (High earnings also have a fairly low top-code, so you don’t get such a good measure of the best off.)  Today I’m sticking with annual earnings.

Ok, looking at those who claim to be self-employed, either incorporated or non-incorporated (2x as many are not incorporated as incorporated).  Note that this is people who claim self-employment as their primary occupation–it does not include people who are wage earners but have self-employment on the side.

By age:  The median age of self-employed workers is 48.  Compare that to the median age of wage/salaryearners (non gov’t) of 40.  Government workers’ median age is 45.  The youngest 10% of self-employed workers is 32 and younger, compared to 22 and younger by wage earners and 27 and younger for government workers.  The oldest 10% are age 65+ compared to 59+ for salary workers and 61+ for government workers.  Yes, self-employed workers skew older.

Average median earnings:  Note that income includes losses.
Median Total family income: for a self-employed worker: $70,007; for a wage-earner: $62,357.5; for a government worker: $80,000. So not too shabby for any of these employed groups. What about
Median Total individual earnings: for a self-employed worker: $34,000; for a wage-earner: $31,000; for a government worker: $44,200. Note that these numbers don’t provide the complete picture– wage earners and government workers will be getting benefits that self-employed workers will not. Sadly I didn’t download any benefits information and the CPS doesn’t have great info on benefits anyway. Another thing that’s hiding here is that government workers have higher education levels than wage earners on average, and that’s not being accounted for in these summary statistics. It’s just the raw data. (I also didn’t download the education variable, but should have.) From my own work I know that at least some subsets of self-employed are more educated than the average wage earner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that holds on average. Someone I was talking to recently told me that self-employed people are bifuricated into high earners and part-time housewives.
What about self-employment income all by its lonesome?  “Conceptually, the INCBUS figure should be the amount earned after subtracting business expenses from gross receipts.”  Median self-employment income for the self-employed:  $3,000.  That’s pretty awful.  The top 1% is $200,000.   If you limit to people who are at least making *something* after business expenses, then you get median income up to $22,000.  Median self-employment income after expenses is 0 for the other two groups, although the top 1% do make 1K and 2K respectively in self-employment.

By gender:  63.75% of self-employed folks are men.  The remaining 36.25% are women.  For those under the age of 50, 61.66% are men and 38.34% are women.  For those over the age of 50, 66.12% are men and 33.88% are women.  Looking at gross total individual income of the self-employed, median earnings for men are $41,105 while median earnings for women are $22,000.  Looking at business income minus expenses, men make $1 at the median and women make $5,002 at the median.  Men report lower lows and higher highs as well.  It could be that men are better at writing off business expenses or they take more risks.  If you limit to making any business income, men’s median rises to $30,000 while women’s is half that at $15,000.

Finally, by marital status:  73% of self-employed folks are married.  54% of wage-earners are married.  65% of government workers are married.  8.7% of married people are self-employed.  I threw in separated with divorced– not sure if that’s appropriate.  12.4% of self-employed people are divorced.  12.8% of wage earners are divorced.  13.2% of government workers are divorced.  6.7% of divorced people are self-employed.  2.2% of self-employed people are widowed.  1.7% of wage earners are widowed.  2.1% of government workers are widowed.  2.7% of widowed people are self-employed.   12.7% of self-employed people are single.  31.3% of wage earners are single.  20.1% of government workers are single.  1.3% of single people are self-employed.

So, those are the numbers you asked for.  I can run other stats pretty easily, and can download other variables too.

Feelings at work: Commenting on Dame Eleanor Hull

#2: DEH’s rant [a few days back] on her blog seems quite reasonable to me!
#1: yes, it is a reasonable rant :)
personally I just want people to do their jobs and leave me along
#2: I don’t want to talk about FEELINGS ever at work
we can talk about processes and professional interaction or something
#1: yeah, but what about that non-threatening language
“I feel…”
though I admit to not using it
it takes a lot of pre-meditation for me to use the nonthreatening language
#2: I could use that, maybe, but I’d still rather not talk about my feelings
at work!
#1: and I will say that I feel like I’m not valued when I don’t get raises
giving me additional money makes me feel valued
#2: YES
man I like money
man I wish I had more
#1: being told to teach a new prep of an awful gigantor first semester into class when I already teach the other awful gigantor first semester into class… that makes me feel like leaving
#2: “feel like” is cheating
#1: Well, it makes me feel upset, and that makes me feel like leaving.
I dunno though, “feel like a natural woman” seems to be talking about feelings and it is a “feel like”
#2: I don’ t even know what “feel like a natural woman” means. How would I know if I were feeling it?
#1: It always makes me think of being fresh out of the shower and ready for love
#2: showering isn’t “natural”
also showering makes me want to sleep
#1: maybe I’m an unnatural woman
#2: probably best not to talk about feeling like a natural woman at work anyway

Grumpy readership, how do you feel about discussing feelings at work?  (And what does feeling “like a natural woman” mean anyway?)

Recent trends we’ve been noticing

  • gelato!
  • bicycling
  • going to Italy
  • old-school mustaches
  • hybrid big cars and trucks
  • chia seeds for eating instead of pets
  • American pop that sounds like K-pop
  • rash guards instead of regular swim suits

What trends have you been noticing lately?

How much do sponsored guest posts pay?

We don’t actually know the answer to this question, but we’re super curious.

We get lots of offers for “free” guest posts from sketchy places, but we always delete them.  We’re guessing that “free” is less than many of these places are willing to pay for some exposure.

Save spend splurge mentioned the other day that she’d be making a lot more money if she accepted sponsored posts, and we’ve noticed that PF bloggers who post that they are making mint from the blogging tend to have bizarrely boring guest posts with links to random places. We’re guessing that’s connected, even though only a few bloggers actually put (sponsored) someplace in the title.

We did a little of the googling, and found this article from being reese discussing the question and another from babble that interviewed several bloggers about what they charge.

We’re not asking for us, of course. Our friend, um, Steve, he wants to know.

Link love

Delegar discusses actual evidence in evolutionary psychology.   Nurture ftw.

A comic:  if Ender were gay.

Insomniac lab rat talks about family and cultural influences that silence and don’t encourage women.

How many children has Jenny McCarthy killed so far?

Rhreality check suggests that feminists stop debating the minor stuff and focus on the important stuff.  Divide and conquer seems to be working for the patriarchy.

Media matters discusses why women need access to abortion after 20 weeks.

Jessica Valenti shows a nifty new ad campaign.

Slate talks about how Massachusetts is avoiding deaths from domestic violence.

NY Magazine with a generic “women you meet in stupid hookup culture articles.”  Ah media, why ya gotta be tools?  Historiann asks the question more broadly and points at a great Salon article.

PBS with some new showsRon Pickles has twitter.

The toast says you will be going to wizard summer camp.

Musey Me talks about life as chair, week 3.

Academic cog with some packing photos.

Hyperbole and 5/8ths coming soon.  Click here for a “special” offer.

Isis shows reviewer 3 hard at work.

Anthem of the sfwa fascists.

If a google googles a google googling through the rye…

Q:  is boredom useful

A:  as a torture device, yup!  Thankfully our agents are skilled at avoiding it.  Even during meetings…

Q:  what is the big word for peeing

A:  We like micturating.

Q:  what other name can i use to introduce my boyfriend

A:  how about International Man of Mystery

Q:  can money buy a lovely wife

A:  Not for our definition of lovely.

Q:  how much do i need to spend for a wedding present for a relative i hate

A:  Nothing.  Also you don’t have to go to the wedding.

Q:  why does mary & vincent price’s come into the kitchen cook book have so many different covers

A:  Some of them are different volumes of a 5-volume set or different cookbooks.  Some of them are reprints of the same book.

Q:  why do people need comfort

A:  Because people are social creatures and the world is a cold cruel place.

Q:  what happens when authoritative parenting kids rebel

A:  They sometimes do very stupid things, often to themselves.  And sometimes they go whole-hog the other direction and become kind and gentle parents with well-brought-up kids.

Q:  is equifax having computer problems today?

A:  probably

Q:  are children normal grumpy when potty training

A:  It depends on when you do it and how you’re doing it.  You are more likely to avoid the grumpy if you start early, before the terrible 2/3s set in, or, alternatively, if you wait until they’re interested.  You are also more likely to avoid grumpy if you are gentle with your approach, never get upset about messes or accidents or “willfully” not going in the potty, and you focus the idea that the kid is going potty for hirself, not for you.  (It sure feels good to go potty in the potty, doesn’t it?)