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February 27, 2011
Our family recently returned from a trip to Paris and London. At home, we have our share of stresses and strains, many of which I've documented here, but on vacation we mesh extraordinarily well. This is partly, of course, because we are removed from many potential sources of conflict, as we are all together 24/7, and so Bill and I don't have to worry about Ben's whereabouts, and we're not angsting over professional deadlines, overdue schoolwork, messy rooms and the like.
February 27, 2011
Sometimes, you can understand a problem or a process better if you focus (at least in part) on what it's not.For example, I'm deeply interested in some of the social problems of rural areas in North America. But the problems I'm interested in haven't been studied muchin rural areas -- that's part of what interests me. So I haven't found much in the way of published literature (scholarly or otherwise) that's on topic.
February 26, 2011
Review by Katya CumminsThe Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist (Harvard UP, 2010) is a series of six Charles Eliot Norton Lectures delivered at Harvard in 2009 by Turkish Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk. Together they're a semi-autobiographical exploration of the art of writing and, perhaps more uniquely, a glimpse into the psychology and art of reading.
February 25, 2011
Call me a gearhead, but I think transmissions are sexy. Always have done, since the first time I tore down an electric dryer. Then a garden tractor. Then one of those old Maytag washing machines that used to last pretty much forever.
February 24, 2011
I remember my first class as an undergraduate: Intro to Psychology. Wide-eyed and ready to vanquish the world from psychological trauma, I eagerly anticipated the first life-altering words to come from my professor’s illustrious lips. I waited with bated breath as he introduced himself and asked us all to settle in – and then? After a brief mention of the syllabus, he carried on about plagiarism and cheating and the like.
February 24, 2011
Been thinking about my media consumption diet. What I consume, and what I do not. Below is a quick estimation of the content, format, platform and sources of the media I consume. A couple of things stand out from these lists. No media through cable, satellite or broadcast TV. Almost never go to movies, Rarely purchase books at bookstores. Somewhat surprised how restricted my media diet looks, and how only a few "sources" (or providers) dominate.Books:
February 24, 2011
I have never been a huge fan of “time series regression”, as I usually use what is known as “cross sectional analysis” in my own work. The statistical technique of time series analysis allows one to calculate a trend line that professes to explain how something changes over time. As part of the process of calculating this, it is common to remove seasonal influences in the data, to better explain what is occuring. For example, wrapping paper may sell better around December than in June, while bathing suits sell better in July than in November.
February 24, 2011
Everything you’re hearing about us is true. Our state workers’ rights to collectively bargain are being threatened, our governor was easily punked by a left-wing journalist, and our mass protests have been genuinely civil. In short, Wisconsin is an interesting place to be right now.
February 24, 2011
It is not very common to see marches of tens of thousands of people in small cities like my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin (with a population of approximately 235,000 people).
February 24, 2011
When I happened to mention in passing to my acquaintance Rory that I was on a long, painful deathwatch for certain of my hopes and ambitions, he swung his booted feet off his desk, jabbed his finger at me and said:

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