Friday, April 29, 2005
I KNOW this guy. I think he probably knows me too. We had class together. And now there is an article about him in Business week.
And here is where his website used to be, I hope it will be back soon.
The website was a parody of the Wal-mart Foundation website which according to Dan's new site :
The Wal-Mart Foundation's main purpose is to generate positive public relations for the Wal-Mart brand name and logo; it does so by donating small amounts here and there in an attempt to behave like a philanthropy.
As the Wal-Mart Foundation would never tell you that their goal was to help improve the brand name image of the stores, I figured I would "correct" this through parody. The site uncompromisingly promoted Wal-Mart, missing no opportunity to pretend that the sum total of Wal-Mart's impact on the communities they operate in is positive, and reminding consumers on nearly every page about Wal-Mart's low prices.
I agree with Dan on pricipal that we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by philanthropy divisions of corporations that are shutting down small businesses. After looking at the real website I do notice that there is an aweful lot about what the foundation does and has done, and not a lot about how to get this assistance. But you read it and decide for yourself.
''We really adjusted for everything under the sun that is related to dementia. We brought in stroke, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease -- everything that has been implicated -- and yet we still found this effect,'' said the study's leader, Dr. Rachel Whitmer, gerontological epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Foundation. ''That suggests that there's another pathway -- it's not just that being overweight raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes and that's why these people get dementia.''
So what they are saying is they don't know what causes dementia but that they have these issues in common. Could it be related to metabolism? Or related to something like an overall healthy lifestyle? How did individual behavior factor into this study? They mention all of these health occurances but they dont' tell me about what people ate, how they lived. Also what about genetics? Could their be a gene that makes dementia more likely?Also I think this article by the NYT should be required reading. It talks about the difference between probability and chance but I also think this excerpt below is relevant:
Innumeracy explains much of the public's confusion about the risks of various drugs and medical treatments. But not all of it. In a classic 1966 study, a group of subjects was told that a man had parked his car on a hill and that the car had rolled back into a hydrant after the man had left. The subjects were sympathetic to the man.
But a second group of subjects, told that the car had rolled into another person after the man walked away, held him responsible, even though the cause was the same.
People might chalk up a minor mishap to chance, but they are reluctant to blame a serious event on bad luck. Someone or something has to be held responsible.
But who is responsible for dementia, or even all of our health problems? It seems like we want to blame health problems on the individual, claiming that if they eat better, lose the weight, do crosswords, take this pill they will be able to live forever. And if that doesn't work we blame the doctors for not trying hard enough to save them.
But maybe some people just have another losing lottery ticket, this time in the genetic lottery.
(UPDATE: the math article link works now)
But today Hubris gave awards to all of the people on his blogroll. This is my favorite awards show ever.
I won the "Hubris" for Best Youthful Idealistic Outrage.
Obviously, I am outraged.
Seriously, I never would have started blogging if it weren't for cabal and Hubris's blog. So if you are reading my blog and you don't read his blog (that is sooo unlikely) you should go there right now, because he is a funny funny man. Though if you want to Ogle him you have to go to A Small Victory. Get out of here. Well, GO!
I had some really funny stuff I was going to post last night and now I can't remember what it was. Damnit. It's like when I go to the music store, and I can't remember one band on the very long list of bands whose CDs I still don't own. (The list is so long because every time I go to the music store I can't remember.... It's horrible.) But then I go to the grocery store and I'm all like, Oh yeah, I need to buy the new Daft Punk blah blah, what was it we were going to have for dinner? Oh yeah, food.
Did that sweater have buttons? Oh well, I should wrap this up before I start to ramble.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I can't really say why this article bothered me so much, except that maybe none of this is news, nor is any of it important. Maybe it is because it references a book that a old guy wrote about a young girl and that in itself is probably enough to make me feel naseous. I mean I don't think the article is wrong really.
Oral Sex is not sex, lots of hooking up, not a lot of dating blah blah. Maybe it just bothers me because I feel that college is a special place, and that people who aren't in college don't really need to know what is going on there. The second most important thing about college is being able to live your life without your parents. And I think the LAST thing any college student wants is their parents asking them about the "Hook-up" culture on their campus.
Let the kids go at it, they are almost adults, they can take care of themselves now, and if they can't then I'm sure there is still room at the trailer park.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
And now for AMAZING statistics that mean ABSOLUTELY nothing:
When asked how much my blog sucked
22% of you said Only when Asked Politely
and a whopping 77% told me to Shut up because I'm Fabulous.
Why thank you! Shutting up, now.
7 out of 9 of you said I should keep posting the Dumbass v. Ninja stuff. Fortunately for those other 2 people nothing interesting has happend lately but I will keep that in mind.
And 3 of 9 people were'nt listening when I asked if I should keep posting about stats. So they can just go back to sleep and I'll leave them alone.
You can still take the survey here if you still haven't, cause I have no reason to turn it off.
Jeff Jarvis is still calling for open source polling. Which is still a good idea, but unfortunately I still can't think of a way to get a representative sample. Ideas? (I totally need to start a business or something soon before I go insane.)
Monday, April 25, 2005
Why Hope? it's such a pretty word and it's so warm and fuzzy.... BLECH. I HATE IT. It only leads to dissappointment.
Example: I am STILL waiting to hear on a job that I interviewed for. I didn't go for a second interview, I KNOW they aren't going to hire me. But some part of my innards is saying "maybe, just maybe, wouldn't it be great." This is the part of me that is going to wail with despair when the fatefull e-mail comes, it will make me want to do nothing but wallow in my own misery for at least 24 hours. (My wallowing time is down from about 2 weeks since I started looking for jobs nearly 2 years ago.)
And now people will say to me But, you MIGHT still get the job, wouldn't that be great? And I will attempt to point out that my pessimism is a defence mechanims agains the gut wrenching dissappointment I will feel later on when I don't get the job. And they will say something innocuous and express that they don't think that's a very nice way to live a life. Then I will entertain visions of them suffering the dissapointment of no longer having a head.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The Claim: Fairy Tales (Cinderella etc) make girls submissive and more likely to be abuse victims.
The Research: Susan, who is studying for her Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy course at the University of Derby, interviewed domestic violence victims and parents of primary school children in Leicester for her research.Interviews with Domestic Abuse victims and the parents of pre school children.
Why it's Crap: All this study proves is that Domestic Violence Victims like stories about submissive women. (That there is a correlation) It does NOT prove that reading fairy stories to girls will turn them into submissive women. Just because there is a relationship does NOT mean that it is causal. Without conducting controlled experiments there is NO WAY to prove a causal link between the two.
Today's Bad Headline Award:CHILDHOOD: FAIRY TALES KEY TO VIOLENT ADULT RELATIONSHIPSAgenzia Giornalistica Italia, Italy. While most of them were bad, implying that it is the KEY and not a maybe possible contributing factor wins this Italian paper the honor.
A personal note: I have long lamented and will continue to lament the lack of strong female characters in popular literature. I am very picky about my literature for this exact reason. And while I do think that there is certainly an affect on girls from the total lack of female role models, I don't think that enjoying a good romance makes a woman more likely to be abused. All women want prince charming, the problem is some girls never realize that life is not LIKE the fairy tales they love, that's why they are Fiction!
The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry but important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week's meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda. At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry's 2004 campaign.
From Time Magazine
This strikes me as Anti-American. Though I guess it is their perrogative.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
That was awesome, except for those few creepy guys. Who knew that climbing out of a TINY window onto the scariest roof imaginable could be so much fun. I especially enjoyed the compound affect of the height of the house and the giant hill it was sitting on. If I didn't already feel nauseous....
Does anyone remember the name of that brazillian drink? And did anyone find my brain when they were on the roof, I think I left it there?
Someone should thank the hosts.
Anyway, I should wrap this up before I start to ramble.
Happy Hangover... I mean Saturday,
Friday, April 22, 2005
The TCS column seems to imply that the CDC is presenting us with "Junk Science" and possibly deliberately attempting to mislead us.
All of this raises the question of why the numbers have been so badly wrong. The CDC tells us that this is tricky, technical stuff and estimates are always that -- estimates. Of course the 400,000 deaths per year that has been the foundation of the obesity epidemic was never an estimate -- it was always a "fact". Part of the reason is that the 400,000 number was based, as the authors admit, not on actual weights and heights -- but estimates. And even in those surveys which supposedly used actual weights and heights about 30% of the participants never showed up to be measured.
So, if the CDC told us that these were estimates, who told you they were facts? Hmmmmmm? Because the CDC said it was an estimate apparently. The media is who made it a fact. Not the CDC, so don't blame the academics trying to "estimate" very tricky things. I truly deeply doubt that the CDC is trying to mislead the American people. In fact I bet they are pretty embarrassed that their first estimates were so terrible, and that they went ahead and published them.
But if you want to blame someone for stating the CDC's estimates as facts and scaring the bejeezus out of the American people, blame the media. The media has a history of taking what academics say and turning it into absolute facts. (Hence, why I even bothered starting this blog.) They read "The CDC estimates X" and turn this into, "HEY! X!" which, is not the same.
I think I know why there is this miscommunication. In Academics it is important to put your best foot forward, because everyone who reads your work will be doing their best to tear it to little tiny pieces. So you don't want to come right out and say "Hey, we estimated this so, it's pretty not accurate." because then they wont give credence to anything you have to say. So you hide it and make yourself sound good.
The problem is Journalists, are too busy (or too stupid, sorry) to be bothered critiquing and tearing apart studies. What they do is read the abstract and report on it, basically repeating whatever was said only in stronger language. This leads to the horrible overstatements of things that lead us to suddenly believe that Obesity is the leading cause of death in this country.
For the record I did think that the TCS article was very well written (Better than this one obviously) and factual, it was his seeming anger at the scientists that got me going. While I don't really think the CDC has been doing the greatest job, what they are doing is hard, and I know I couldn't do it so who am I to criticize. But I feel that his statements were misdirected, I really think that the media is more to blame for scaring the fatties than the CDC.
MEANWHILE: Bill at INDC has an amazing write up of how the new CDC study could be even MORE misleading than the old one! I am Shinobi's Joy. He points out possible failings of the study, like, the reasons why people might be over or underweight, and how these reasons could affect their lifespan. These reasons were not taken into account by the CDC. THIS is what I'm talking about people. This is what journalists should be doing, not just swallowing numbers whole and regurgitating them in boldface. YAY BILL!
- Pearson’s correlation coefficient relating position of statistics student’s surname in alphabet (46 students wrote the exam) with student’s exam grade: 0.466.
- Probability that the correlation in a simple random sample of size 46 would be so strong if there were, in general, no correlation between surname and exam grade: less than 1%
- Regression equation relating student’s grade y to first initial of student’s surname x: y=52+0.94x
- Predicted grade for Aaron Aaronson: 53%
- Predicted grade for Ziggy Zuckerman: 76%
So what this shows for the non stats folk is that there is a positive relationship between Last Initial and grades. This however doesn't necessarily prove any kind of causal relations hip, or anything at all since the sample is only 46 students. It would have to be done on a much larger scale to prove anything real. But it is pretty surprising.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Read it all here, Via Atrios
If I had any money I would go out and buy a mac right now.
Texas House says no to gays as foster parents. (via Owlish)
I am going to go find a room far away from everyone and scream right now.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Hope you had a good one.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Last week Jon Stewart made a good point about centrists. No one listens to us because we aren't standing in the middle of the streets with signs yelling "BE REASONABLE!" But this morning that is exactly what I feel like doing.
I read a variety of blogs, most of the blogs on my blogroll are conservative but I also read a few liberal type blogs as well (updates are needed but I can't remember my password). And this morning EVERYONE has managed to PISS me off. Why? Because they are so partisan. It's like racism, your opinion doesn't count cause you're a liberal, and your opinion doesn't count because you're a right wing moonbat. What's a good word for this, Partisanism? Closemindedjerkism? Idiocy? Wrongophobia?(The fear that you might be wrong about something but don't want to show weakness). I don't know, I'm not a clever wordsmith. I AM a pissed off centrist.
WHY? WHY!? do people continue to cling to parties that are clearly doing a shitty job. The Democrats can't do anything productive and the Republicans haven't kept their wingnuts screwed in and they have started to rattle. Screw party loyalty, seriously, take it out back, lube it up if you're feeling generous and SCREW IT! Have opinions, but enough of this left v. right crap. (Don't we get enough of that in professional sports?) Why does it all have to boil down into 2 options? Where's the middle option or even the reasonable option? The option that might actually work well for more than half the population?
Why, can't we have a reasonable discussion about anything anymore? Even I have trouble not blaming the republican party for being idiots and complaining about how the democrats are wimps. But I don't believe that any of that is true. I think that the Partisanists are just yelling louder than the rest of us.
I would like to blame the media, that would be easy. It's the medias fault for boiling it all down into left v right. In their efforts to be inclusive of all veiwpoints they have left out the reasonable viewpoints. (i.e. Not Ann Coulter)
Unfortunately, I am beginning to believe that this argument started because the American people are too stupid to handle a middle ground. And that the reason the media is the way it is is because that is how the American people want it. And that makes me feel suicidal.
I don't know whose fault it is, and I don't know how to fix it, but I do know that it really PISSES ME OFF. (I am so Lewis Black today)
(I just want everyone to know that I edited the F word out of this article like 50 times so that I wouldn't "offend" anyone. But then I realized that I don't care if I offend anyone, so FUCK FUCKING FUCKITTY FUCK. sadly I am too lazy to put the other 46 back in.)
Friday, April 15, 2005
Let's start with question 1, they are already showing bias because they assume that everyone has been to their stupid website. (The lowest option is infrequently.) HAH, well I never have until now so boo.
Questions 14-16 are about the Parents Television Seal of Approval. Interestingly they ask if you would be more likely to do something based on this seal. But they don't gauge HOW much more likely. Personally I would actually be LESS likely to get something with the PTC Seal, because I hate them. But this is not an option, I can only say Yes or No. This is great for the PTC because anyone who this would affect in the slightest is going to say yes, without any kind of measure of it's importance. Which, in reality isn't very useful, but I'm sure in PTC land it has all kinds of uses.
Also Question 24 assumes that you have tried to block cable channels. It then asks if you were succsessful at it. I tried to not answer it, but they wouldn't let me. So someone who has never blocked channels is honest they will have to say No or Somewhat to whether or not they were succsessful at doing so. This will jack up the percentage of people who say they weren't successful at blocking cable channels. This means that PTC will be able to take these results and complain that blocking cable channels is too difficult and therefore ineffective! (Do you see the evil? for here it lies)
Question 28 is interesting because none of those issues are important to me at all. So for me to rank them would be like me ranking which brussel sprouts I like more, I'm just going to put the small ones first. There are much better ways of asking this question.
I tried to create a new and improved one on surveymonkey, but I have a 10 question limit. Maybe I can do it as three surveys. We shall see. Or maybe I"ll shell out 20 bucks. (Unlikely)
UPDATE: OK kids, here is the Abridged Revised PTC survey. I left out the video game part, maybe I'll add it later, but I have to go work now.
Please take PART ONE first and then PART TWO! (Please take both or you will damage the already shakey integrity of my survey.)
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Website from my buddy Pat and some of his friends.
So you can help Miss Spears pick out a nice name for her baby. (Or a not so nice name) Whoever correctly guesses the name (or is the funniest) gets a PRIZE! You have 9 months give or take to be creative.
The academic growth that students experience in a given school year has apparently slowed since the passage of No Child Left Behind, the education law that was intended to achieve just the opposite, a new study has found.
In both reading and math, the study determined, test scores have gone up somewhat, as each class of students outdoes its predecessors. But within grades, students have made less academic progress during the school year than they did before No Child Left Behind went into effect in 2002, the researchers said.
I don't necessarily disagree with the NYT's take on this study. Although I do think they should have waved a big red flag about it not being representative and that the minority populations in particular were not representative. They do this very far down in the article. Overall this study had a number of caveats, so people should not begin burning the NCLB act in effigee or something.
But I think the reason that the results of this study were more negative is becaue they looked at it on a unique level, which is student growth. This will actually tell you a lot more about the individuals than just looking at the overall changes in scores. I couldn't find any of the other studies to compare , apparently I'm not good at googling. It would be interesting to see if these results could be replicated by a more representational study because after all we are interested in developing the individual students as well as the entire student body.
The findings of this study are consistant with concerns that I have heard from teachers and concerns that I myself would have. In pushing for passing tests, you neglect the growth of more advanced students and it becomes all about passing the test. But NORC is doing a longitutinal study that will hopefully give interesting results. Unfortunately it is still too early to tell.
(Via Eduwonk& Instapundit)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
An NBC/USA Network poll, published in Sports Illustrated, found that 86
percent of 949 people surveyed say they'd have no problem with an openly gay
male athlete. But when the question went another step -- would your team be hurt
by having a gay athlete? -- 24 percent answered yes.
Why is this article my favorite? Please see what follows
Which proves one of two things:
• People can't even figure out what they think, let alone how all of society should react.
• People aren't listening, and will say anything to get the telemarketers off the phone.
Researchers left out one important detail: how many times the pollees were heard saying, ``Not that there's anything wrong with that.''
But 365gay.com has no qualms about creating a very optimistic headline that
is not entirely accurate. (Okay, it's not accurate at all)Poll: Most Support Gay Pro Athletes Global Scan Canada is promoting the Gay Agenda as well Most Americans OK With Homosexual Athletes.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, hoping to hold support among fellow
Republicans, urged GOP senators Tuesday to blame Democrats if asked about
his ethics controversy and accused the news media of twisting supportive
comments so they sounded like criticism.
LOL Ohhhh My god. It's like a window into the strategy of Republicans. BLAME THE DEMOCRATS.
But why should I say again what someone else has already said-
"Democrats should save their money. Why murder someone who is committing
suicide?" said a senior GOP lawmaker, on condition of anonymity. (via Atrios)
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
What Gay Agenda you ask? Well, clearly all gays want everyone else to be gay! How could you have forgotten already. Remember Spongebob? He's all about turning everyone gay. Because if one person is gay, then everyone should be gay. And once everyone is gay then the human race will die out, the ultimate goal of the gays! First they are going to make it OK to be gay, and then they will brainwash you until you too are Gay! You have to be careful because the gays can so easily brainwash you. While reading this article be careful of the quotes from the GLSEN, you might catch THE GAY!
This article does bring up a good point though. If the gays get their day, so do the Homophobic Assholes. They don't have a right to expect us to agree with them, but they do have a right to make sure that everyone knows they are Homphobic Assholes.
Purchasing or adopting an animal means that you are assuming responsibility for that animal until the day it keils over from old age or it is so ill that it cannot be made better. And it infuriates me to no end that some people would be willing to just leave a helpless animal behind when they move because it is too difficult to take them along. And these dogs get surrendered, then spend ages in the shelter until they go cage crazy and have to be put down. Where is the culture of life now?
Monday, April 11, 2005
Thursday, April 07, 2005
More stats brewing for when I get back. Sorry for the lack of substance this week.
Finally, today, I have found out that I am right.
They are owned by the Cadbury Schweppes company, an english company which also distributes Orangina, Snapple, and yes boys and girls, CADBURY EGGS! Mmmmm this is my new favorite company!
Thank you, that is all.
Democrats Block Nomination Over Morning-After Pill
Let me state right now that I've never been really a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I'm glad she is doing this. It would be nice to have a decision. It would be even NICER to be able to get the Morning-After Pill at the drug store without a Dr.S Appt. Even though it isn't the kind of thing that should be used a lot.... birth control is much better for your system. And this Pill makes you CRAZY. (Not that I've ever used it..... or... ended up crying hysterically for 4 hours for no apparent reason.... nope.... not me.) Anyway, Yeah FDA, Get on this!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
But since I'm STUCK here, Atrios has some interesting posts highlighting GW's understanding of the US banking system which I found pretty entertaining. And another one about his Social Security campaign. I'm entertained.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
I hate corresponding with HR people though, I find myself over analyzing every single word and wondering if it is the one thing that will result in them not hiring me. But you know what, I'm fabulous and if they don't like that I said interview instead of appointment, or that I double checked the time of the interview then they can just Fuck Off. Seriously
Hey, have you taken my survey yet? Cause I'm up to 4 whole responders.... and I know only 10 people read this blog, but that leaves 6 people who haven't taken it. But it's 4 questions people, don't make me feel like a bigger loser.
Lefty blogs are up in arms over recent remarks by Sen Cornyn. The Washington Post has more on his remarks. Everyone is linking Mathew Yglesias's post, because it is pretty good. (via atrios) But I do wonder if there is some level of overreaction here. Is this really a call to arms?
The Instapundit makes a good point. Even if there was no threat before, any further violence against judges could potentially be blamed on Cornyn and Republicans! Oh dear. Maybe the Righty's should get on this too.
Here's an editorial from the NYT that makes soem good points, they are talking about Delay's remarks though, not Cornyn's.
I think some of the lefty's may be taking the Texas Militia conspiracy a leeeetle far. But I think Cornyn was definetly out of line, and if there are any attacks on judges in the near future I will want his head.
I have been and will continue to be disgusted by people who get up in arms when judicial decisions don't go their way. So here is my note for the wingnuts, moonbat, crazies who have the gall to get angry at judges,
Sir or Madam,
Surprise!!! Not everyone agrees with you! I know it is confusing because when you watch your news channel all the pundits on there are always talking about how dumb the people you disagree with are. But there is a reason we need judges. Their job is to protect the people who disagree
with you, and defend their right to disagree with you and do things that you might not like. And if you don't like it, then LEAVE! We don't want you in this country!
You make me sick, and if I could I would have you sterilized for being an idiot, but I can't, because the judges in this country wont let me. Even if I were President and all of my friends who agreed with me were Govorners and
Senators, I couldn't have you sterilized because the courts wouldn't let me. (Unless of course we turn them into puppets of the presiding party before then.... MWAHAHAHA) So, it might be in your best interest to respect the courts, lest I someday take power.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Young teens say oral sex not really sex.
About one in five ninth-graders report having had oral sex and almost
one-third say they intend to try it during the next six months, a small study of
teens at two California schools reports
The Press is clearly trying to terrify every parent of a highschool aged student because, especially fathers of girls. What, do you want all children grounded for life or something? (Over Easter I hung out with my sister and her friend, and her friend's parents were clearly PSYCHO they had her overmedicated, but were taking her anxiety medication away. I mean, I know teenage girls are rough, but come on! Let's not give psycho parents more opportunities to be psycho.)
And then let us examine the part of the excerpt that I have bolded. Not to go with the "people from california are crazy" motif, but, well uhm, California is not the same as the rest of the world, I'm sorry. Maybe if they did like 4 schools in different regions of the US. But 2 schools, both in California. What a completely worthless study. So what we've learned is that students at 2 schools in california think Oral sex is okay. This is NOT viable for the rest of the US population. AT ALL!
I also think that an important thing to examine in this study is who is having all this oral sex, is it the boys or the girls? Is it an even split? I tried to get to the study but I am poor and have no reason to subscribe to the journal of pediatrics. Anyway, there may be no difference, that would be interesting, any information along those lines would be interesting.
Bad Headline Award:Oral Sex Safe and Not Really Sex, Say US TeensABC News - 2 hours ago
This one was tough, because they were all about the same, but since ABC is so visible AND they imply in the title that it is all US Teens, they win. Congratulations ABC News. OO and they don't even mention how limited the study was. BOOOOO Reuters, you get an F.
Fifty-five percent said the next pope should allow women to become priests,
while 44 percent said he should not. The question's margin of error means the
difference is too close to draw strong conclusions
Stunned, I can't figure out who wrote this article to send them love letters, but I am gonna keep looking.
I miss you so much. It has only been an hour since I left but already I am thinking longingly of your cozy inviting softness. How are your pillows? I miss them a lot. Since I've been gone I have set up a new bloglines account so that I can read stuff without clicking billions of links, that was fun, but nothing compared to being near you. And no one has taken my survey, except Hubris. I fixed the link, but still... no love. I tried to make it funny and everything. Oh well. I will just sit here and think of when I can finally return to you at the end of the day. Hopefully it will help the day go faster.
Thinking of you fondly
Friday, April 01, 2005
He seems to have a very good idea of what would be necessary to having a polling system like this work. But I don't see how it would be possible to gather this much expertise without paying someone for it. I volunteer to help though.
Things I love,
Asking questions about issues to ascertain political identification. I LOVE this, and there already are methodologies to do this, in fact OK Cupid has a test that does a good job of identifying political ideologies. In general though it is much more accurate to use an index to get an idea of political ideology than it is to just ask. They used an index in the study I posted on earlier today. (It would be interesting to see how often self reported identification coincide with the index.)
Multiple versions of questions and transparency. More than one version of each question will help reduce the affects of bias within those questions. Asking three versions of a question instead of just one should give more accurate results. I don't think this is done very often.
And I love the idea of a free system. Though I think maybe to fund the free part you may have to charge businesses.
But I think that the ultimate killer of a system of this kind is that you could not get true samples of the US population. Since not everyone has internet and certainly not everyone will be included in the database there will be large amounts of bias present. If there were any kind of centralized way identify individuals on the internet it would be a much simpler problem.
But unfortunately any kind of membership driven program will systematically exclude people who don't know about it or aren't interested. I don't know how to overcome this and it seems to me to be a fatal flaw in the system. Possibly if the online surveys could be supplemented with phone surveys. Hmmm...
Anyway, in honor of this I have created my own survey about my blog on surveymonkey.com. Maybe if all 5 of my readers take it I'll know what they think.
Actually Working Survey link, TAKE ME!
8:31 Am- Allow pitiful demon to escape evil clutches.
9:10 Am- More demon meowing, this time the other one. Look at clock, lay in bed.
9:20 Am- Alarm goes off, get up, feed demons. Take shower, then lay in bed with towel on head.
9:45 Am- Get up, Get dressed, say good bye to sleeping boyfriend walk to work.
10:00 am- Enter work, checking to see if Dumbass has arrived, he has. Check gmail, then check work e-mail
10:30 am- E-mail from Dumbass makes no sense, one sentance e-mail for clarification.
10:45 am- "Clarification" arrives in which Dumbass continues to use the same term to discuss two COMPLETELY different issues for at least 2 paragraphs. Get Annoyed, Walk over to Dumbass and ask what he meant? After an agonizing process which takes around a half an hour get Dumbass to realize that he is in fact discussing 4 completely different issues, three of which are not issues at all but things that are working properly. Subtley guide him towards the conclusion that he needs to use better terminology.
11:30-12:30 - Read blogs, read CNN, read anything, call boyfriend make sure he woke up, post things on blog, contemplate suicide, check gmail, check gmail again.
12:45- Go to cafeteria and purchase "lunch" which consists of an overpriced salad from the salad bar and something sandwitch shaped. Spend at least 6 dollars. Get Ice for coke products hidden in desk. (Coke is no longer sold at the Company that shall not be Named Pepsi is the a client now)
1:00- Finish eating, read more blogs, post something on blog about how stupid Dumbass is
1:30- Visit CoolGirl in her cube, discuss Dumbass's dumbassness, talk to TallGuy about last night's episode of a tv show.
2:30 pm - Return to cell, send file to client. Check e-mail, check gmail, check horoscope. Look for jobs on job sites.
3:00 pm- Your kidding me, how is it only 3pm?
3:15 pm- OH MY GOD THIS DAY WILL NOT END. Dumbass forwards e-mail from makers of Cancer Sticks requesting data that it will be very difficult to get and that will add approximately 0 value to project. Get annoyed, wonder when you'll have to do the tedious work involved in setting it up. Procrastinate.
3:30 pm- Be really bored, really really really bored. Wish that had charged iPod last night.
4:00 pm- Take a feild trip downstairs to the mail room.
4:05 pm- You've got to be kidding me.... work on bad sci fi novel to pass the time.
4:30 pm Watch the steady stream of happy people leave the office, be annoyed. Check to see if Dumbass has left.
4:40 pm Check to see if Dumbass has left every 2 minutes from now on.
5:04 pm Dumbass Leaves- Tell CoolGirl, use stealth mode to exit building.
5:30 - 11:00 Hate the fact that time is passing and that every moment is one moment closer to having to go back to work.
11:30 watch Daily Show, Sleep.
So yeah, that's about my average day. Just thought I'd provide more Schadenfreude for you people. Oh a happy note I have an interview in NYC next friday. Now if only I could figure out how to get there/where to stay.
I think a more interesting question than Why is this bad?, is Why does this happen? This is the first step to discovering more about how to rectify the problem.
My initial thought about this study is that they used self report data. Someone who works at a more liberal school may be more likely to identify themselves as liberal regardless of actual political affiliation. (For instance, I would identify myself as fairly liberal, but I don't know if I actually am.) A belief system such as this is very subjective and it is difficult to measure someone's "liberalness" without first looking at their beliefs on individual topics and using that as an index of their beliefs. To just ask means you might not get accurate results.
Interestingly they did break down some issues and found that professors were mostly liberal on these issues (Abortion, homosexuality, the environment etc.). Using an index and found similar results to the self report data. Both models indicated that more conservative professors tended to teach at lower quality schools.
So now that I have looked at this study and found no fault with it (Disclaimer, I only have a BS and I'm lazy, so there still could be problems, but I'll leave that to the academics who get paid to review studies) we can discuss other reasons for why they would get these types of results.
I would like to point out that I am comparing Academics to non Academics and not Liberals to Conservatives. The proportion of liberals in Academia is much higher than that of the whole population, why is this?
Let's start with the conspiracy theory and have it out. Liberal academics hold the conservatives out of the academic world by refusing them tenure, not publishing them etc and so forth discrimination wah. I don't agree with this mostly because it is my experience that the higher up in a liberal university you go the more conservatives you find, the board of directors of most universities is made up of rich guys and I have trouble believing that all of them are liberals too. I could be wrong, but just as I refuse that there is some conspiracy keeping women out of scientific fields I refuse that there is a conspiracy keeping conservatives out of schools. It is just too easy.
My personal reaction is to say that that is because Academics are more likely to evaluate something critically and scientifically than non-academics, and that these evaluations lead more of them to a liberal conclusion. I would like to believe that this is wrong, so I will move on.
Another thought, maybe individuals who are more liberal are more attracted to academia. There is typically a lot of work, and not a lot of pay. There is no Christmas bonus, and on purely economic basis, being a professor sucks unless you get a lot of cushy consulting jobs. Are liberals more attracted to this kind of environment, my magic 8 ball says "Yes, Definitely" but it lies all the time.
This is my third thought, a self fulfilling prophecy. Because there are so many liberals, only other liberals are comfortable in academia. Just like there are few conservatives rushing to move to San Fransisco there are probably few conservatives dying to be on a faculty with gay men and feminazis.
And finally, all academics have been brainwashed by the academics that they learned from. I am a liberal zombie, me eat republican BRAaaaaaaaaaaains. GIVE ME BRAAAAAAAINS!