Miscellany

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Coffee Table Books Meme

At least I hope it'll become a meme. What books are on your coffee table?

Coffee Table (and books)

That's mine. The books are (L-R):

1. Heavy Metal, by Mick St. Michael

2. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

3. Photo album with pictures from our wedding

4. Untitled Film Stills, by Cindy Sherman

No surprise there

Via PZ Myers:

Your results:
You are Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)

























Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
75%
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
65%
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
60%
Inara Serra (Companion)
60%
Wash (Ship Pilot)
60%
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
50%
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
50%
River (Stowaway)
45%
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
35%
A Reaver (Cannibal)
35%
Alliance
25%
You are good at fixing things.
You are usually cheerful.
You appreciate being treated
with delicacy and specialness.


Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test

Now in NY

Earlier this evening I arrived in New York and settled in at The Pod Hotel. It's one of those teeny tiny NYC hotel rooms, but at least I have a private bathroom, which I made sure to request:

Pod Hotel Room

Pod Hotel Room

Problem #1 with the room: no iron or ironing board -- not that there would be room for them anyway. I'm going to see if they'll bring me an iron.

Problem #2 with the room: no coffee maker! I had been somewhat panicky about this one, but tonight I ordered dinner from the Morning Star Café. As I was looking at the menu, I noticed that I could place my order using delivery.com. I did so, then I realized that I could place an advance order for breakfast, including coffee, and I did just that.

Much (|] Blogging Ahead

I'm on my way to Florence, AL, where I will be blogging from the public library and from Krystal: (|]

Posts planned include a review of The Freedom Writers Diary, a couple of posts about copyright and intellectual property, and a few others.

Jean Baudrillard, RIP

Baudrillard passed away at age 77. I (embarrassingly) hadn't been aware of his most recent book about the 9/11 attacks; I'm now interested in reading it.

Rewards card + coupon = online shopping

Nice clothes, suitable for teaching:

Frugally Insane

I'm big on money-saving tips, but I still thought this was funny (via). My favorites include these two, for their silly, imaginative, David Sedaris-like humor:

4. Foil pick-pockets by placing a freshly toasted "pop tart" in each pocket. Would-be thieves will quickly rupture the fragile pastry and receive nasty finger burns from the steaming hot jam inside.

5. A length of plastic drainpipe with a roller skate at each end makes an ideal home-made "car" for snakes.

And these, for their merciless skewering of the whole money-saving-tips-list genre and the tasks that can seem unnecessarily labor-intensive and counterintuitive:

10. Put a stop to car thieves by siphoning off all your gas whenever you park your car, and carrying it round with you in one or two plastic buckets.

19. When reading a book try tearing out the pages as you read them. This saves the expense of buying a bookmark.

And of course, how could I help but think about this tip from pops over at Derek's place a while back:

Carry a can of beans and a loaf of bread with you and savour a delightful veggie sandwich anytime you wish. They're hardy too :)

Two questions

1. What are the perceptions, advantages, disadvantages, etc. involved in putting ", PhD" after your name? I know some people do it and others don't, but why? I get the sense that Bitch PhD's pseudonym is intended to have a dramatic pause before the "PhD" part. I believe that when she started her blog, she had a period after "Bitch," and the "PhD" part is added (if you're reading it out loud) as a "Ms. Jackson if you're nasty"-style afterthought.

I ask because I just received business cards with my contact information. When ordering them, I looked at some samples from other professors in my department, and they had the ", PhD" after the names. I went ahead and put it on there, too, but I don't put the ", PhD" part on any other correspondence. I'm not sure why. I guess for some reason it seems more suited to an industry context, and I've also wondered in passing if putting the ", PhD" after the name carries a certain hint of insecurity -- like "I have a PhD, see?"

2. I've been thinking about job placement rate statistics. Let's say you have a graduate program, and they claim to have a 100% placement rate (as many in my field do). What would you need to know in order for that number to be really meaningful? I submit the following; anything else?

  1. Number of years searching: Say that 100% of the graduate students get jobs the first year on the market, or that 100% of the graduate students get jobs, but 80% of them have to search for five years or more -- two very different situations.
  2. Number of jobs applied for by candidates in the program: Are those 100% of the graduate students who are getting positions applying for ~140 jobs? Or is the program still able to claim a 100% placement rate even though some (or all) graduate students are being a little more selective -- doing regional searches, or only applying to certain kinds of schools?
  3. Kinds of institutions where the program is placing students: I'm not saying that some categories of institutions are automatically or necessarily better than others, and I suppose this question doesn't much matter from an administrative standpoint, but as a prospective graduate student trying to decide on a program, I'd want to know that. Are the students coming out of a given program successful in getting jobs at the kinds of institutions they want? For example, if they're interested in positions at small liberal arts colleges, HBCUs, schools overseas, schools in urban areas, etc., are they able to get those?
  4. Kinds of jobs: This is a pretty obvious one, but are all of these tenure-track jobs? Does a non-tenure-track or administrative job warrant a +1 in the placement category? That's fine as long as those are the jobs that the candidates wanted, but if not, it would be kind of misleading to put those as positives in the placement category. It would amount to saying, "We have a 100% placement rate! Not one of our graduates is unemployed *cough!--but some of them are underemployed--cough!*"
  5. Job candidates' options: I know there's the "you only need one job" argument, but as a prospective student, I'd also want to know if most folks coming out of a given program had multiple offers, or if they barely managed to get one.

I know there are all kinds of individual complexities and good reasons that some people coming out of the program should not be counted in either category: "successfully placed" or "unsuccessfully placed." Still, though, I think directors of graduate studies should always tell prospective students the whole story when it comes to placement. I'm sure most of them do, anyway; I only mention it because in my field, which is much less competitive than others when it comes to getting tenure-track jobs, many -- if not most -- of the PhD programs claim to have a 100% placement rate (jobs are so plentiful, in fact, that it's sort of bad if a program doesn't have 100% placement).

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