Google + grumpy = good

Q:  is there a penalty for paying off a mohela student loan earl

A:  Check with Mohela.  (#2 didn’t get a penalty, but YMMV.)

Q:  what happens if i pay my student loan off early

A:  You don’t have to make monthly student loan payments anymore and you can direct that money towards other things.  (We suggest other debt payment or retirement savings.  But YMMV.)

Q:  how does the government play a role in the used car market

A:  We’re thinking you got this question mixed up a little bit.  Your prof is probably trying to teach you about adverse selection.  However, if this is the correct question, we suggest looking at the state level of government for your answer, as different states have different regulations.

Q:  why would someone eat store bought baked goods over homemade

A:  Because they’re my sister’s friends and they have no taste-buds?  (Also I knew a germophobe who would only eat things prepared in industrial kitchens.  Also it’s possible the person making the homemade goods is a terrible cook.)

Q:  what happens if you attend an award ceremony not dressed up

A:  The world ends.  The fires of Hell rain down upon the nation.  And it is all your fault.

Q:  when your cooking are you really cooking

A:  Yes, because we’re just that awesome.

Q:  is it mean not wanting 2nd child

A:  absolutely not

Q:  how many holidays do university professors get in the us

A:  Depends on the school.  Some only do MLK, Thanksgiving and Spring Break.  Others have a holiday each month so the kids don’t commit suicide.

Q:  why dont financial advisors recommend tiaa-cref

A:  The only ones who don’t want you to pay higher fees using their own services so they get a kick-back.  Or you have access to Vanguard which has lower fees.

Q:  how call a guy? babe pr honey or sweetie?

A:  Any of the above or none of the above.  You have to work it out with him.  Note, none of the above is the correct answer if the gentleman is not romantically involved with you and is not your child.  Particularly if he is a coworker.

How do you deal with student complaints about colleagues?

Not like harassment complaints or anything (which I haven’t gotten but would personally take seriously and bump up an administrative level), just teaching kinds of complaints (which meansomething considers a litmus test).

Often my students complain about their other professors to me.  These kind of complaints tend to come in two flavors:  Ones where it’s obvious that the student doesn’t realize that the teacher is doing something for hir own good, and ones where I kind of agree with the student.

For the former, it’s easy, you just explain what the professor is getting at.  R^2 is important when you’re trying to predict Y, but it isn’t important when you’re trying to figure out what the effect of X on Y is.  Group work is unpleasant, but learning to deal with groups of people is important in many professions.  Presentation skills are important and student presentations don’t mean the professor isn’t teaching the material.  That sort of thing.  Sometimes I’ll mention to my colleague of students aren’t getting something that they need to know and then the colleague gets bonus points from the students for going over it again in class.

The latter, when I kind of agree, is a little more difficult.  I will sometimes sympathize and say something like, “I probably wouldn’t do well in that class either, but X is very good for other learning styles,” or “X does that so that you learn to learn on your own,” or even “Because X is an under-represented minority and a woman, she gets a lot more criticism for her teaching and has to keep tighter control of her class– Dr. Fullwhitemale can get away with things that she can’t, and he can get away with more than I can and I can get away with more than she can.  People automatically give him respect, and I don’t have to work as hard for respect as she does.”  Generally I try not to ever trash one of my colleagues even if I disagree with their styles.

Of course, my colleagues do take their jobs seriously.  There are valid reasons for allowing or not allowing students to do homework in groups.  There are valid reasons for different types of lecture/classwork modalities.  I don’t hear about my colleagues failing to show up for class or never getting back homework (except in rare cases in which I can say that my colleague has been having a family emergency, which is totally understandable).  I think in those cases I would probably just frown and not say anything.  Because if one can’t say anything nice, one doesn’t say anything at all.

all about my tiny purple fist

When I am frustrated with something, I often shake my tiny fist at it, in defiance and rage.  I think this started in grad school, and I’m pretty sure “I shake my tiny fist at you!” got pulled out over statistics problem sets.  (Graduate-level statistics: bleah.)  My awesome friend L thought that my phrase was funny, and one day, she got me my very own tiny fist to shake at the world.  Behold its glory, below.

Purple power!  Ready to shake:


It also happens to be purple, which is a fantastic color.  As you can see, I keep it handy [see what I did there?] on my desk, perched on the end of a pencil, for when I might need it.

#2 asks:  Do you shake it at the patriarchy?

YES.  YES I DO.  The patriarchy is only one of many things at which I shake this awesome fist.

Grumpeteers, what (or whom) do you shake your tiny fist at?

Food deserts and produce portfolios

We had a guest speaker who talked about food deserts.  Food deserts are areas of cities where people live, but there aren’t any grocery stores with easy access.  At best, people’s food needs are met at the local 7-11, but these convenience stores charge more than grocery stores would and don’t carry fresh produce.  People who live in these areas eat a lot of junk food and canned food because that’s what’s available, and they tend to get way too much sodium because even “healthy” canned food tends to be higher in sodium than its fresh or frozen counterparts.

The guest speaker claimed that food deserts don’t really exist, or at least that the problem is much smaller in magnitude than it has been made out to be in the media.  He didn’t show a map or anything, and I haven’t looked up the original research so I can’t verify that claim.

He then said that when low SES and middle SES people shop at the same grocery store, they buy different food portfolios.  Middle SES people tend to buy a lot more variety of food, and they’re more likely to buy the seasonal produce–the fruits and veggies that are cheap because they’re in season.  Lower SES people at the same grocery store tend to buy the same bundles of food every month with far less variety.

He attributed this difference to lack of knowledge about how to cook different foods, but we could easily assume that there are differences in ability to carry the food home or to process and store the food so that it doesn’t go bad (and the downside to food going bad is worse when you have less money).  It could also be a difference in time– working 2 or 3 minimum wage part-time jobs doesn’t leave much time to be creative about cooking or shopping, especially if you have to take several buses to get to the grocery store.

The bottom-line though, is that if we want to help people to eat more healthily and more inexpensively, we can’t just provide access to fresh produce.  We probably can’t also, as he suggests (and WIC is doing), just provide cooking classes.  There are many reasons that lower SES people in cities turn towards convenience foods rather than a variety of seasonal produce.

Most of the stuff left on my cheap eats list is pretty bready, and we can’t have that much bread and still feed the baby so no biscuits and gravy, bruschetta, or pancakes this week.  Also we’ve been too sick and exhausted to make casseroles, so no tamale pie, even though that’s a great cheap eat.  In reality we’d probably have chili and spaghetti once a week rather than once (or twice, if you count meat and veggie chili together) a month if we were trying to keep costs low.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup: We make the soup from scratch because the canned stuff is too sweet.  But with a can, this is a $4 meal, give or take.

lentils:  depends on what you put in it, the lentils themselves are <$1.  You could add a couple slices of bacon from your bacon stash, but we’re probably gonna go veggie with spices.  So some onion and garlic and mustard seeds… probably a $3 or $4 meal.

stir fry veggies over rice:  This’ll be different than the last stirfry, but the cost will be about the same.

taco salad:  This can get pricey– but the lettuce will be $2, the beans $1, then probably a jar of salsa for $2.  Meat will add another $2-$6.

quiche:  Same as an omelete, but add another $1 or 2 for the crust.

noodles with olive oil and garlic and cheese (don’t worry, OMDG, we’ll probably have a side salad with it):  YMMV.

leftovers!:  Free!

And that should be it.  Next week I’m totally going back to the Thai cookbook for stuff.  (If you have the exotic stuff on hand because you eat a lot of it, the Thai food isn’t so bad, but if you don’t, it gets pricey.)

link love – kyriarchy edition

Newsweek tells us how America hates its gifted kids.

Presented without comment:  Low IQ and conservative beliefs linked to prejudice.

An amazing story of a wonderful and kind medical professional.

Fascinating comments on the women we don’t see (authors).  Related: Wanksplaining.

In between’s TA’s teaching evals.

An article in Mother Jones points out 21 things you can’t do while black [and hope to live].

This is bad:  Kansas: Making South Carolina look cultured since 1861.   (I’m not angry because I’m a feminist.  I’m a feminist because I’m angry!)

Update:  Kansas comes to its senses.  next up: racist, homophobic Idaho!

On the killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn.

This is my job:


And finally: holy crap, tumblr keeps on giving:  Why is there a meerkat on that capybara?  The world may never know.

Ask the grumpies: longest owned item

Debbie M. asks

What one thing have you owned the longest? How have you maintained it?

Hm, I have some of my mom’s books (children’s classics) back from when she was a child.  They maintain pretty well in bookcases or boxed up.  I also have a couple of child-sized wooden rocking chairs.  DH refinished one of them when DC1 accidentally left some water on the seat of one of them.  Embarrassingly I have some white socks from middle school PE.  I know they’re from middle school because they have my name across the toes.  I maintain them by never exercising.

#2 says:

Something I have owned the longest would probably be things I have had since I was a baby, like a blanket and a teddy bear.  These things aren’t “maintained” as such, and they are well-loved.  Somewhere is a picture that my mom’s friend made for me upon the occasion of my birth.  I also have things that belonged to ancestors (such as my great-grandmother’s costume jewelry from 1900s), but I didn’t get these things until I was older.

What about rest of you grumpeteers? 

What are we reading: special edition

I read this book, and it is so great: Blind to Betrayal: Why We Fool Ourselves We Aren’t Being Fooled, by Jennifer Freyd and Pamela Birrell.  Authors’ page for the book here, where you can read the preface and a sample chapter.

One thing I love about this book is the authors’ voices.  The two authors are long-time collaborators, and their friendship comes through in the writing.  The cover is kind of dumb, but ignore that — this isn’t a romance book or even necessarily about romantic relationships (though they are in there).

The idea behind this book is to look at how we fool ourselves, in all sorts of relationships, into being unaware of the bad things we “should” know are going on.  This includes spouses not knowing their partners are cheating on them, but it also includes employees not being aware of how badly their companies are screwing over the employees legally and financially (see: Enron).  Through easy-to-read, nonacademic summaries of science and also through numerous personal stories, the authors lay out many situations in which it is adaptive and necessary for people to be unaware of being cheated: to be blind to betrayal.  The tone has a lot of sympathy for people who find themselves struggling to explain this situation in themselves, and even includes some of the authors’ own experiences.  This book sheds a light on what we can do as individuals who are dependent on institutions (marriages, governments, workplaces) that may not act in our best interests.  I appreciate the hopeful ending.

You should really read this book, and tell your friends.  It’s very readable and would even make a good gift.  It’s available on kindle and audible too.  Check it out of the library, buy it, ILL it.

Try reading the samples and tell us what you think in the comments?