Link love

Back alley abortions are back.

Historiann comments on race, guns, gender, and parenting.  All in one post.  wow, Arizona, wow

Wait, what? I guess she must have really taken to heart her reeducation after the Santa Claus is White thing

Hope Jaren with a dear colleague letter.

Black protests over the years.  Specifically.

They‘re a lot more fit than the usual open carry demonstrators…

A little bit of money means a lot to many people.

For profit colleges = high school.

I can’t believe that this entire series exists, but it is worth all 26 minutes!

Ask your Comradde is open for questions.  CPP also goes off on “pay it forward” at starbucks.

What to give the puritan valentine in your life.

what when and how ombailamos reads

Bulwer Lytton winners and runners up.

bad adviser is awesome

An update on a child’s elimination diet.

diseases doctors often get wrong

What do people in your state buy the most?

Texting onscreen.

A game where you insert only.

How assets hurt college aid eligibility on FAFSA and CSS

Cross ref is cool.

Ask the grumpies: How to best use credit card rewards?

CPP asks:

What is best to do with accumulated credit card reward points? The fact that AmEx keeps nudging me to use them to pay my bill makes me think that is the worst thing I could do with them.

That’s probably a better question for Holly at Club Thrifty.

I’m seriously lame with my CC points and don’t try to maximize them in any way.  I just take the cash back option, and not even the “correct” cash back option since I’d get more cash back if I switched to a card for “high spenders” rather than the citicard I have that limits to $300 cash back/year.  I like our citicards because they don’t have the ridiculous points system, they just give 1% cash back.  It’s easy with the lowest mental load.  Because really, my time is worth more doing real work than it is chasing the optimal credit rewards (which always eventually disapparate and then you have to chase the newest optimal system).

I have heard that the best use of points is usually for travel, but that’s going to depend a lot on your card’s specific situation.  You’ll need to sit down and see how much of a return they give you for points for each of the different options they provide you.  Cash back should be your baseline and then you should see if there’s an amount of travel that you prefer to same number of points for cash back, or whatever your other options are (do you get a bonus for applying the cash back to your bill rather than to them cutting a check?).

So, that’s really a non answer from us.  However, we know that some our readers must know better than we do.

What should CPP do with his AmEx CC rewards?

Ponderings on blogging pet peeves

Thankfully, Get off my internets has never heard of our tiny blog.  Why?  Because we hit a lot of their pet peeves…

Like, refusing to apologize for being awesome.  We think women do far too much of that these days, and even if overt self-confidence means powerful women are less liked (in myriad psychology studies), they still get more respect.  Sometimes fortune (and getting #$#@ done) is more important than being liked.

We’re successful.

We occasionally tell people that if they don’t like what they read here they can just stop reading– it’s not like we’re getting paid to do this.

One of us has children(!)  And her family life is perfect!  That can’t be real… can it?  (It can, though DC2 still occasionally bites even though now ze uses hir words first, and age 7 is still occasionally a bit obnoxious.  Other than that, we’re great.)

That said, when you’re feeling seriously grumpy and you want to read about people saying horrible hilarious things about people you don’t know and have never heard of, reading the GOMI forums is a great place to blow off steam.  I prefer the general topics (“What’s up with all the ‘soul’ stuff on mothering blogs”) to making fun of a specific blog… those can get pretty depressing.  And they’ve got some good taste… the first blog they mentioned that I recognized was wandering scientist and it was someone saying that it was a great example of a SOMI (stay on my internet?) working mother blog.  We agree!

We’re just really glad they don’t have a sub-forum on academic blogs.

Do you like reading schadenfreude/hate blogs and/or forums?  Do you still feel dirty for reading if you have no idea who people are making fun of?  And what are your blogging pet peeves?


  • Whoever is doing these special requests at daycare for things like “funny hat day” or “funny socks day” etc.  needs to stop.  Seriously.  And daycare, what is up with saying, “we have a special request for funny hat day so wear funny hats tomorrow”  TOMORROW?  We are working parents.  Our children go to daycare so we can WORK.  Not spending time finding or creating a funny hat.
  • DC2 has two rocket shirts.  One is red and one is blue.  Ze says, “One rocket, two rocket, red rocket, blue rocket.”  DH notes, “this one has a little star.”  My family is adorable.
  • DH recently did a road trip and saw lots of doughnut shops and churches next to each other.  He said they should be combined so they could have The Church of the Hol(e)y Doughnut.  I didn’t have anything to say in response to that.
  • I gave up on writing my NSF grant like an NSF grant and just wrote it like an NIH grant.  (I may not have used the words, “specific aims” but they were there, oh, they were there.)  That made it much easier.  The weird thing is that before I started writing NIH grants, getting into that specific aims mindset was really hard.  Now I apparently can’t write a grant without them.  I hope it’s ok– I’ve never sat on an NSF panel, but the funded NSF grant examples I have from colleagues don’t have specific aims.  [Update:  didn’t get it in to the deadline because of mess-ups.  We decided to collect some pilot data and aim for the next deadline.  At least it’s almost finished.]
  • I love my husband because when he called to ask if the plumber was coming, he asked for “him or her” without a thought.  (Similar props to David Laibson using “her” in his generic examples during talks, though my love for him is purely academic.)
  • I have now hit the point in my career in which editors send me personal emails asking if I’m willing to do a referee report and apologizing rather than sending them and assuming I’ll be happy about it.  I still got three new referee reports this week… not sure if it’s better or worse with the personal request.  Certainly harder to decline.
  • I had above average publication/service/teaching but got a below average merit raise this past year.  On the one hand, it’s nice getting a raise, but on the other hand, wtf?  This doesn’t even match inflation!
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Deaccessioning: A sad post

… Not actually that sad.

Last night we laid out the space and we estimate that between the two of us we can fit in about 11 bookcases in the new apartment.

Currently we have 16 bookcases and 2 built-ins.


We’re still working on deaccessioning the relatively easy stuff. I’m down under 1300 books, from a high well over 1500.  My partner has at least that many, too!

We’re going through by areas of the house. Some bookshelves are just full of stuff that can’t go. Others are full of chaff. So we start with the chaff.

Gonna be a lean mean LIVING IN PARADISE machine.

I discovered there are some books I was keeping out of guilt, and now I feel great about letting go of them.  I have some “I’m never going to read this” and “I read this but don’t ever ever want to read again” and “why do I have this?”  (note that it took YEARS into our relationship before I EVER felt ok about getting rid of a book he’d given me as a gift.  But now I know we just have love and a stable relationship, and there will be more gifts.)  There are also books that I realized I can get rid of because I’ve internalized the knowledge that I need from them after many years.

At some point we’re going to end up having to make hard choices. Probably what will happen is we’ll bring way too many books anyway and have to deal with it there in some way.  I’m totes gonna overfill the bookcases we have with double-stacking and all. It gonna be all jenga up inside.  And then who knows?

We could add something moralistic about minimalism or money spent or what have you, but that would just be patronizing, so we won’t bore you with that.  I HAVE NO REGRETS.  Except the regret that downsizing comes with deaccessioning, but sacrifices must be made, and there’s a good library in walking distance to our new apartment.  In the meantime, onto the next quadrant!

#2 notes that they have 13 bookcases, including built-ins, but that’s only because her partner tends to get rid of books after reading them rather than holding on to them.  (Sometimes he’ll be halfway through a new book he just bought and realize he bought it, read it, and got rid of it years ago.)  Also most of her newly purchased romance novels are on kindle.

Bibliophiles, how do you deal with not having enough space for books?

Link Love

Nobody ever talks about white on white crime

Well, gee, crazy white people stirring up trouble.  Whoda thunk.

resisting arrest and running, and yet didn’t get shot… what race do you think they are?”

police cannot stop you from videotaping, and if they do (assuming they don’t shoot you dead illegally because you don’t have that white privilege)…

Kinda sad that Jon Oliver was the first to point out where the police got all that military grade equipment (spoiler: from the military).

I was looking at a video of a baby elephant and then after that I clicked a link and got angrysad again

rewarding racist murderers with money?

this is beautiful and sad

I am a horrible person because I have done this twice to the same pair of guys.  And I am even more horrible because I have admitted that I’ve done this to other people because I can’t get over how awful I am.  And no, I don’t think I’ve been given absolution.  I just feel kind of cruddy.  And I am never ever going to make that mistake again even if I said that the first time I made it.

Historical thoughts about walking while black.

All children should have the same kind of privilege that mine have.

this is a fun (not fun!) one

tell ya what

And that’s just the first guy.

So #2 and I had a lengthy conversation about whether or not it’s a good thing for Huffington Post to spend space showing all the good things the people of Ferguson are doing for each other.   She argues that that’s nice and all but it doesn’t keep the police from being racist assholes.  My argument (and I’m right) is that by showing the humanity of the people, the real people of Ferguson, is much harder to “other” them and to paint them all with one racist brush.  The teachers, the librarians, the people giving rides to people because “it isn’t safe for a young black man to be out walking alone.”  There’s a lot of people in the CNN comments section (before they shut them off) blaming the riots on black people being bad.  Heck, there’s ARTICLES on CNN doing that.  The more we see of the humanity of people, the more we see that they’re individuals, the less people are able to do that.  Stories are important for public opinion and public opinion is important for policy.  Here, Cloud explains why it’s important.  And here’s how you can help.

This is wrong.  Actually, #2 and I had a lengthy conversation about that too and she says that it actually works in place of rice but it isn’t worth the effort.  Except not sushi rice.  I concede that any substitution for potatoes is probably fine (though not as good as the original potatoes) because cheese and deep frying make up for a wealth of deficiencies.  Of course, that sort of loses the point of being healthy.

Athena Scalzi is such a teenager

How to quickly decide whether or not to accept terms of service.

Guessing this won’t catch on like the ice water challenge is, but hey, tacos, beer, and funding choice!

Woo Fark!

Conditional on having the same research, who do you think is more likely to get tenure, men or women?  The answer will probably not surprise you.

this is cool for academic definitions of cool… it’s actually kind of horrible if you think about it

What books would you toss?

Flour sack clothing.

Did we link to this xykademiqz comic?  I think we did, but #2 sent it to me again because she never reads all the links I send her. If we didn’t, we should have.  And all the other ones too.  Everyone, just go to the blog and read them all if you’re not already a regular, which you should be.

I can do all this work that i have to do.  If not…

ha ha I love this

I like the second panel here, it makes me laugh

Just got a text message from DC1’s best friend:  [DC1] can come over tomorrow, but [ze] has to leave an hour early because I did not cooperate when it was time to clean the house.

Ask the grumpies: Class size research

Fiona McQuarrie asks:

Just curious whether you have any opinion on the Hoxby class size research (in Connecticut) that Gladwell discusses.

Here’s an interesting summary of class size research from Brookings.  It is worth reading if you’re interested in the topic.

There’s a lot of stuff going on with class size research (it is, in fact, the topic going through the Stock and Watson undergraduate econometrics textbook because it has been attacked through most standard econometrics methods).

A couple of important things to note about external validity for these studies:

1.  Natural experiments (and, indeed, standard experiments) are only as externally valid as the experiment itself.  That means that a study that finds an effect on kindergarteners is not going to necessarily say much about high school students.  We know a lot about class size and K-3, we don’t know so much about middle grades or higher.  This particular experiment is on 4th and 6th grade.  It argues that it gets cumulative effects of class size by cohort size, but when a cohort is expected to be a certain size, districts may plan differently by moving bad teachers to small cohorts and good teachers to larger cohorts etc.  They may do the same with aides when deciding where to make a class-size split, or they may make specific decisions about where to put the problem kids or whether to do tracking or clustering.  That kind of planning would completely wash out the effect in a way that you would not see if all classes were restricted to a certain size because of a policy change.  That kind of planning is more likely to be going on in the type of natural experiment that Hoxby examines in this study.

2.  Class size decisions are not made in isolation.  A policy asking for extra money from the federal government to reduce class size is going to provide different results than a policy that is forced to take that extra money out of another budget.  Generally, research suggests that, believe it or not, most schools are doing the best that they can with the budgets that they have.  When you give them an unfunded mandate, outcomes are hurt in ways that they wouldn’t be if you gave them a funded mandate.  Hiring more new teachers and buying portables while taking money away from other programs may end up having a negative effect even if smaller class-sizes are beneficial.  The type of natural experiment Hoxby is looking at is one of these situations– the budget isn’t changing based on class-sizes, they get the same $/kid whether they’re in a large cohort or a small cohort.  The only thing that changes is the expense from economies of scale (whether they need one teacher/classroom or two).  That’s a different situation than one in which expenses for everything else stays the same but the district gets extra money to hire more teachers and buy portables.

So, do Hoxby’s results mean that class size is unimportant?  No.  They just show that it seems to be unimportant in the type of situation that she’s studying, one in which variations in elementary school class-size are caused by variations in cohort size.  That’s why there’s a large literature on this topic– the answer is different in different situations.  We need a lot of experiments and natural experiments to get the full picture.

Side note:  Caroline Hoxby is one of my personal heroes.  If I ever decide to give up this academia thing, I’m totally going to beg her for an RA job.  She is an amazing economist.  Also, rumor has it (aka multiple of her coauthors has mentioned) that she is one of those people who sleeps 4 hours/night every night because of low sleep need.

Brag about your kids and/or pets!

We haven’t had one of these posts since January 2013.  There’s been growth since then!

What wonderful and adorable things are your kids/pets doing these days?  What makes you beam?  What makes you smile?


Makin up a song about email in a chat log

#1:  my brain is exploding with email, I don’t understand
whyyyyyyy so much email

#2:  why are you getting so much email?
who is sending it?

#1:  many peeps

#2:  networking peeps?

#1:  all sorts of peeps. Some is forwarded from [university]. Some is colleagues. Some is friends, some is listserv, some is “your order has shipped”, some is my mom

#2:  “your order has shipped” is always nice.  Does your mom have an unsubscribe button?

#1:  hahaha unsubscribe mom from sending me stuff she thought I might like that is either irrelevant or I thought about it 3 years ago. Sigh.

[begin music]

My password expires in 30 days…. would you please allow us to use your stimuli (sure!), would you like to read these books or attend this sale or be a co-author, the conference information has changed….. eeeeeemail.

The third co-author needs to talk to you, here is your lease, here is the name of a headhunter, our baby is cute….. eeeeeeemail.

(Bridge:  Here’s your receipt; would you mind taking this survey?)

Your review is due, someone’s changing their email address, times for riding….  eeeeeeeeemail.

Sing it with me, y’all!  (#2 also has 200+ emails to go through right now…)


Before and after: Housing edition

Before:  big, cheap, stupid, and located in hell

After:  small, expensive, smart, nice and in walking distance to everything– restaurants, parks, shopping, grocery stores, public transportation, THE LIBRARY

I think Imma need these.  You put them under your bed frame legs to get your bed up higher so you can store more stuff under there.   I have some plastic drawers that I can stick under there.  I might get some cardboard ones for sweaters (so they can breathe). or I might put books under there. Or general stuffas! I feel like “random crap” should maybe go in there rather than valuable shelving. Good times, good times

Downsizing sucks.  It’s work. Boring and tedious.

That’s it.

I refuse to talk anymore about apartments. You don’t even know how burned out I am.  It’s MY apartment and even I’m tired of it.

I have one.  It’s nice.  Though I won’t really know how nice it is until we’ve lived there for a while.

The end.

Next up:   I refuse to talk about moving.