Link Love

There’s a law in TX that says that any poster donated to a school that says “In God we trust” must be displayed (separation of church and state doesn’t seem to exist in TX?).  Here’s a go-fund-me to get those signs in Arabic and rainbow.

How to incentivize teams when the members are of different ability levels.

Still working on opening a Roth IRA for DC1.  Will report back if/when we’re successful.

My new favorite economics paper.

Household Income Percentile Calculator for the United States

Ask the grumpies: Where do I find family activities

First Gen American asks:

Where can I find new ideas for enrichment activities for my family. I have gone to every museum, zoo, etc in my driving radius.

Sometimes there are mommy forums that share this kind of information.  I have a friend who is from China and she finds things on the local WeChat and then passes them on to me.

There’s a lot of stuff available online these days.  We have been enjoying Outschool for DC2.

You might be interested in looking into things like the the Vanderbilt Mentorship Immersion program that DC1 did the other year and really enjoyed.   (They have other Programs for Talented Youth too, but some of them require residency.)  And of course, lots of summer camps and things like that that you can google.

Your kids might be able to do community college classes.  Or online classes at other schools.

In terms of one-offs, I’m not so sure, but maybe Grumpy Nation can help?


  • Some of DC1’s friends from programming class two years ago are starting an AI club.  They’ve asked hir to be an officer (though zie doesn’t know which position yet– not president or vice president).  They had a hard time finding a faculty sponsor and I think ended up with a foreign language teacher.  They also have to have 10 members whereas previously they only needed 5.
  • I’ve noticed over the past year or two that admin people at my university have started to become way less helpful and much more bitchy in every single interaction.  Previously everything seemed like it was coming from a place in which they wanted to help their constituencies (exception:  the grants office and the IRB, both of which have always been pretty awful) and now it’s borderline hostile and they don’t have suggestions for who to talk to next whenever there’s a small problem.  DH says that it was always like this for him at the engineering college and it’s just now spilling over to liberal arts.  Though I don’t think he ever had a problem with his IT like I have problems with IT.  Assuming that it’s not just random:  Is it inflation causing people in customer facing occupations to be underpaid?  Is it pandemic fatigue (though we’ve been ignoring the pandemic for a year and a half at least now)?  Is it Trumpism saying that the idea that we’re all in this together is only for idiots and helping people should be avoided at all costs?
  • If you know you’re not going to referee a paper, just decline right away!  There is no reason to drag it out!
  • Recently I have often felt like the only full professor in the faculty who actually remembers anything ever.  A part of me wonders if this might have something to do with me being possibly the only full professor in the department who didn’t get Covid Alpha.  (I got probably BA5 post-vaccination + booster.)  It’s driving me a little bit crazy.  (Example, department head who was hired 2 years before I was asked for committee volunteers to create alternative measures of excellence given that the university measure doesn’t fit well outside of grant-heavy sciences.  And I was like… didn’t we do that 5 years ago?  Wasn’t X on that committee.  And then X was like, oh yeah, I WAS on that committee.  I should be able to dig up our report.  And Bam!  no need to reinvent the wheel.  But it’s also stuff like remembering that we need to do teaching observation for promotion and tenure cases.  Or that we agreed to certain action items at the last curriculum committee meeting.)
  • DC1’s economics/government teacher told students not to fill out the American Community Survey if they get it (I got one recently!  That makes it 2x I’ve done the equivalent of the Census long form.  I am represented!) because it is a violation of your freedom.  He also told them that they say they will fine you for not doing it, but they don’t actually fine you, because after a while they just give up.
  • Word is correcting “Once sufficient data are gathered…” to “…is gathered…”  DH says this is a sign of the end times.
  • DC1:  My government teacher said he didn’t understand why economists think sunlight cannot be a scarce resource.
    Me (after much twitchy silence): It’s not that sunlight can’t be a scare resource, just that it wasn’t in England in like the 18th century
    DC1: Right, because the sun never set
    Me (after a pause where the wheels in my head turned): I am so proud.
  • Harvey Mudd changed their essay questions for the first time in years.  That means DC1’s wonderfully written, “Why Mudd?” essay from this summer is completely axed.  They only have two questions instead of three now.  I wonder why.  Maybe the lack of SAT scores means they’ve been getting too many applications?  DC1 thinks zie can cobble together different pieces of discarded HMC essays and state flagship essays to answer their “how have your experiences led to what you want to do with your life” question.  But it’s a bit of a setback.

Co-Pilot update

The first month of co-pilot (not sponsored– if you want a discount, wheezy waiter is sponsored) seems to be going fine. I’m doing exercise exercises for 15 minutes 3 days a week and stretching for 15 minutes 3 days a week and I take Sundays off.

I started out with two weeks of calisthenics because I was traveling the first week and I needed another week to get used to the new program (also my person likes doing two week sets).  These were two days of cardio and full body strength and one day that I would term “leg day.”  The first two workouts were about the right level– I was left sweaty and breathless but didn’t feel like dying.  My first time I did leg day it was too easy, I guess because my legs are in better shape (from walking) than the rest of me, so I let her know.  She calibrated a bit too much in the other direction to fix it the next week but it was still doable.  Each task is ~30 seconds (a few are longer if they’re based on number of reps, and some of my stretches are a full minute) with a 20-30 second break in between.  It keeps things interesting and doable.  (Note:  YMMV– DH does things longer for longer because he started out in better shape!)

Then I had two weeks with weights.  This time I had a full body day, an arm day, and a leg day.  These were a bit harder than the calisthenics were, but still doable.  My arms definitely felt much weaker after doing these exercises, but by the end of the two week set, the exercises had gotten easier and my arms had gotten stronger.  But it wasn’t like I was feeling stronger right away– I definitely was feeling weaker and more tired with the exercise, even on days I didn’t exercise.  I assume this is the whole muscles tearing and rebuilding thing going on.  For all of these, I would do some warmup (always including arm circles for some reason), then a set of exercises, then I would repeat that set, and then I would end with stretches.

I currently have a 4 week set going where she’s breaking up things a bit differently.  I have a day of upper body then lower body, then full body, then the next week it’s a different upper body, lower body, and full body.  These also don’t have the thing where I do a set of exercises followed by a repeat– instead it’s a longer single set in the middle of warmup and stretching.  The first arm day was a little too hard so she adjusted one of the exercises to make it doable for me.

DH’s trainer and my trainer have different personalities.  DH’s is very business-y and pushes him.  Everything is very matter-of-fact.  Mine is more chit-chatty and doesn’t want me to ever feel bad exercising.  She came late to exercising and understands that I don’t know what I’m doing.  Any pushes for me are gentle.

I have not yet gotten any magical increases to willpower.  Exercising is not a real habit yet even though it’s the first thing I do in the morning, and it does seem to take some of my willpower away from other things I would normally do in the morning.  Infinite things cannot be added to my day.  If something goes in, something else goes out.  That may change as it becomes an actual habit and I start doing it without thinking, but for now it becoming a priority has displaced other things that had been priorities.

One thing that does seem to be magically working better– she asked if I had any stretches that I wanted to do on alternating days, and I was like, what do you have for people who spend their days sitting at the computer?  And she was like, I’ve got you covered.  So now I’m doing a set of really great stretches, including this leg thing where I roll my knees to one side and then the other that “loosens my hips” — I did not know my hips were tight until said exercise.  DH also told me to suggest that she add another back exercise where you alternate toe touches while lying on your back, which she did because that’s supposed to be really good for strengthening your back for people who sit at the computer a lot.  And I do seem to be able to sit at the computer without my back hurting.  I think my posture is a little better too, though I don’t know if that’s a side effect or just coincidence.

If you’re wondering if I’ve had any weight-loss, the answer is no.  I am currently weighing more than I did any time in my life except when 9 months pregnant.  Fortunately weight-loss isn’t a very good measure of health, and as they say, muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space.  I don’t know that I’ve done anything spectacular in the muscle area (unlike DH whose 40 min 3x/week for over a year has given him lovely definition from his shoulders to his calves), but it’s a good reminder that health and weight are not equivalent.

How’s your exercise routine going (or not going)?

Link love

Go Fund Me for Librarian who is suing people who are slandering her after she spoke up about censorship.

Brookings report suggests long covid is keeping as many as 4 million people out of work.

The Effect of College and University Endowments on Financial Aid, Admissions, and Student Composition

Hyundai accused of using child labor at Alabama factory

Inside a million dollar fake musician scheme

The COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupted Both School Bullying and Cyberbullying

Remember that teacher who was but then wasn’t fired and then quit after she provided a link to the Brooklyn Free library card program? Education Secretary Ryan Walters has asked the state board of education to revoke former Norman Public Schools teacher Summer Boismier’s teaching license immediately.

BA5 Covid boosters will be ready later this week. Here’s where to find them!

I have been doing activisms, I just have been forgetting to post. This past week’s was mainly just donations. I gave $25/each to 4 local candidates. Next week I intend to give $25/each to state candidates. I also have been giving a LOT to donors choose in Red states for books about marginalized kids– basically I have a rule that I give $25 every time I see a news story about censorship and there have been a lot of stories about censorship in the news. Because the Fascists are making real in-roads.

Ask the Grumpies: Forcing professional women out of red states

Anony asks:

I see people saying on to not send female college students to red state institutions….. and I wonder if that is part of the GOP plan to remove women from professional jobs, return them to only raising children and taking care of men, removing the right to vote and own property/money in their own right and let lower preforming white men be the only ones with ‘college’ degrees and therefore less competition for jobs and…..
OR am I now paranoid?

It’s hard to say if there’s wealthy super-villains thinking about all of these aspects who are guiding these changes for these reasons, or if it’s just a feature of their overall evil plans.  I don’t even know anyone who owns a single normal sized yacht, so there’s no way I know what’s in the hearts and minds of these awful people.

But yeah, these red states are going to get less productive by shutting off talent and not attracting men married to professional women.  Sure, a white dude may become marginally more productive than he was without a servant at home, but so much of the woman’s ability to increase GSP (like GDP but State instead of Domestic) is just shot.

When did you or your children stop believing in the literal interpretation of folk figures?

Here’s another post from 2011.  I’ve updated it!

Dean Dad’s fifth grader has questioned Santa Claus.

When did you or your children stop believing (if at all)?

I don’t remember ever literally believing in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy.  I remember always thinking about it like the Land of Make Believe on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  I would never be so gauche as to stop pretending (especially since that might mean the cessation of gifts/money), but always in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sort of way.  I remember being disgusted when a fellow second grader announced to the class that Santa Claus is just your parents… duh! but you don’t SAY that out loud.  Magic isn’t real, but it’s fun to make believe.

DC[1] was just getting around to the concept of Santa last Christmas [age 3 or 4 back in 2011]… not sure how ze escaped it for so many years… possibly because Santa is overshadowed by grandparents in the gift department.  This year ze’s been reading a LOT of magic books, and we’ve had a lot of conversations about magic not being real but pretend… so I imagine this Christmas ze’ll make the connection, especially in conjunction with learning about Saint Nicholas at school.


DC2 didn’t get the concept and then vehemently didn’t believe at age 3, and then around age 4 we moved back from paradise for a last year of preschool and was completely indoctrinated by one of the preschool teachers regarding the Easter Bunny.  I believe at some point in this age 4 range zie asked us point blank if the Easter Bunny was real or if Santa was real and we asked what zie thought instead of answering.  DC2 only had a year of religious education (age 3) so none of that connection to the Catholic/Anglican saints thing.  I think once got to kindergarten we were back at the “not real” stage.

We’ve never really told our children either way.  We don’t really talk about Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy doing things, though I guess we do say “leave teeth for the tooth fairy” (DC2 response:  Daddy is the tooth fairy, and I’d rather keep my teeth).  But we also never contradicted people saying such things.  And we have been careful about making sure they know not to spoil it for other kids.

Grumpy Nation, When did you or your children (if applicable) stop believing in creatures like the Tooth Fairy et al.?

Myths about the value of college

ARGH, I’m seeing so much misinformation going around in twitter because of student loan forgiveness.  It’s driving me crazy.

Myth:  The value of a college degree is not worth it.
Reality (based on recent work of David Autor, but also many many other people): Even with the high costs of a degree and student loans, the additional earnings make it worth it for most college graduates.
Sub-Reality (I don’t remember a big name on this one, but lots of people are studying it with mixed results): The benefit of going to college and not finishing– we’re not as sure about that. Depending on the loans that you take out, it may not be worth it to spend a couple years in college and then not have a degree (though 2 years at community college with a degree is worth it). And lots of people go to college, take out loans, and don’t finish. That is a problem that lots of people are studying.
Sub-Reality (David Denning and several other papers): Even a degree from a for-profit college usually does result in higher earnings, but you are no better off with a for-profit degree than you would have been with a community college degree (worse given student loans, though the worst offenders have thankfully been addressed in the new Biden thing). They provide the same benefits, it’s just the for-profit degree is stupidly expensive by comparison.

Myth: It is better to go to a low tuition regional school (or community college) than to the best school that you can get into.
Reality (Hoxby and Turner in an amazing RCT, and other papers that are not experiments but use clever regression discontinuity designs): Schools with better endowments 1. Give more and better financial aid, meaning that for poor kids who can get into them, a state flagship or a highly endowed private prestige school will cost less. And 2. More prestigious schools do a better job of retaining low income kids– this seems to be through a variety of methods– better financial aid means working fewer hours, but also they just have a lot more resources devoted to keeping low SES kids, offices, sometimes mentorship programs, short-term loans etc. That means for low income kids, the more prestigious school means that they’re more likely to actually *graduate.* And, we also know among graduates (through a lot of different papers, though no RCT to my knowledge), prestigious schools help low SES kids make more money as grownups than do less prestigious schools.
Sub-Reality: For middle/upper middle/rich class kids, it doesn’t matter. They just need a degree.  (And the rich probably don’t need a degree.)

Myth:  The skyrocketing cost of college is caused by financial aid accessibility.
Reality: The skyrocketing cost of college is caused by decreased federal and especially state investment in state schools. (And to a much smaller extent: better quality education, gambling on fancy sports programs that don’t pay out, fancy dorms at private schools, etc. But this is like nothing compared to the effect of how much the government has stopped subsidizing higher education.)

And some stupid Republican propaganda:

Myth:  Non-college training is free.
Reality: Truck driving requires CDL training. Hairdressing requires training. Nursing requires training. Plumbing requires a TON of training. So many professions that don’t require a college degree still require technical training which still costs money.

Myth: Working class people don’t have student loans
Reality: A lot of people drop out of college and have student loans. A lot of people get student loans to pay for technical training.  Plenty of working class people have student loans.

It still boggles my mind that only 30-35% of US adults have college degrees.  But a big percent start but then drop out without an additional degree.  (You can get exact numbers from

Link love

Information about the evil super-villain Barre Seid who has spent at least 1.6 Billion dollars on the ultra-right-wing agenda, including the Supreme Court takeover.

A teacher in Oklahoma was removed for providing the QR code to the Brooklyn Public Library Free library cards .  (She was then reinstated after outcry and they denied they actually fired her or suspended her but then she quit.)

I guess one of the “benefits” of having been in a mostly maskless society for the past two+ years is that we’re all used to wearing masks and being in the minority doing so. Plus other people in the same situation have scattered masking. It no longer seems weird because this has been how it’s been for a long time. I no longer immediately notice whether people are masked or not, which is weird.

Officer-Involved: The Media Language of Police Killings

How Hybrid Working From Home Works Out

Ask the grumpies: What’s something that seems basic in your field that others outside your field don’t know

Leah asks:

What’s something in (insert comment authors field here) that seems basic or important to you but others outside your field don’t know?

Marginal tax rates is a big one.  A lot of people think that if you make more money, all of a sudden all of your previous money is taxed at a higher rate and you could actually lose money.  That’s not true.  Only your new money above the tax bracket gets taxed more.  The money you earn below that bracket gets taxed at the exact same amount.  The only way you would lose money is if you had a tax rate higher than 100%, which we don’t.

How insurance works is another.   That’s a bit more complicated, but it’s also magical.  See the linked post if you want to learn more.

Then there’s just standard stuff like sunk costs.

Grumpy Nation, what’s basic in your field that people outside don’t know?