Monday, November 28, 2005

Well, now that I've taken this quiz, I feel like I can legitimatley submit my grad school applications... haha

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

read it yourself

I think I am going to start talking about books I've never read on here and pretend to say interesting and insightful things about them.

You see, I just now looked at my statcounter (which I usually can't log into but for some reason allowed me to this time) and found that many people have been finding my blog by searching for things like "invisible heart by nancy folbre cliff notes," "little women cliff notes," "feminist novel," "left behind reading guide," or other silly stuff. So, in order to help these people out, I am going to start posting plausible yet completely untrue summaries and analyses of random books.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I hate poor causal reasoning... even when it's in the service of good

Radio spots. They're awful about it. I just got out of my car, where I heard a spot by United for Peace and Justice, a faith-based social justice group. They were pointing out that third grade test scores are exactly correlated with the number of incarcerations a few years on down the line, so why don't we focus on education and not building more prisons? I agree. Education > prisons. However, implicit in how they phrased the spot was "low test scores cause future criminality," or, at the very least, "low levels of education cause criminality." Now, undoubtedly, there is a connection. Criminals tend to have lower levels of education (depending on the crime, obviously). But that connection isn't necessarily causal. Could it be that there is a common cause, contributing to both low test scores and high incarceration rates? Poverty, for one. Maybe instead of building new prisons, we should focus on lifting people out of poverty?

Also, I keep hearing a PSA on the radio claiming that if you only have dinner with your family, your kids will be so many times less likely to do drugs. Now, I do not doubt that there is a correlation between having family together time and low rates of drug abuse. But, again, kids do not not use drugs because their family ate together. No, it's something else. Something about families that tend to eat together causes kids to be less likely to do drugs, some other characteristic(s) that are found in families that typically have family-time. Closeness? Openness? Who knows. (I'm sure someone has done the research.) But, while they are in the service of good, they are making claims that simply aren't backed up. Correlation doesn't equal causation.

Another example: MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has a radio spot telling parents not to give their kids alcohol because they younger that you give it to them, the more likely they are to have an alcohol problem when they grow up. This is based on research showing that the earlier that kids have their first encounter with alcohol, the more likely they are to have problems with it. The problem with their analysis is that when parents give their children alcohol, it's not necessarily the same situation as when a kid gets alcohol from a buddy. I know many parents who let their children sample alcohol at home so as not to create a problem of "forbidden fruit" or whatever. Those kids (I would bet) are less likely to go on to abuse alcohol. At least, that sort of reasoning is behind recent programs at colleges (sorry can't be bothered to find links, I'm lazy) which seek to introduce students to alcohol as a "normal" part of meals, so as to curb binge drinking. But for MADD to say that the earlier a parent gives a child alcohol, the more likely he or she is to abuse it, based on research showing that earlier first consumption leads to abuse, is kind of misleading.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. All of these ads: I agree with them. Well, maybe not the MADD one. But certainly the education>prisons and the family-time one. But it seems like it hurts more than helps when they use not-good-reasoning.

Happy Birthday!

Today "Random Rants and Ravings" is one year old!

It has gradually evolved. And been, at turns, neglected. But, through it all, I've kept it up. Well, despite that one 2-month-long summer hiatus.

Here's to another year!

*goes back to studying*

Friday, November 18, 2005

The semester is almost over

and I am about to tear my hair out.

This sensation will be much worse next weekend.

(note: this was my justification/excuse for lack of updating)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A feeble attempt at updating-without-actually-updating

You are Michel Foucault! You wrote groundbreaking
histories of prisons, hospitals, asylums, and
sex. Interestingly, you thought basically the
same thing about all of them. Your historical
accuracy is a bit dodgy, but that was never
really the point. You were very obsessed with
power roles - so obsessed that you frequented
gay S&M clubs, and died of AIDS in 1984.

What 20th Century Theorist are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 14, 2005

I have spent an obscene amount of money on printouts recently.

I am literally* swimming in ink and paper. My quarters and dimes are gone.

Pity me.

*Edit at 3:58am: I can't sleep. But I was looking at the post and am amused by the fact that I said I am "literally swimming in ink and paper." Obviously, the statement was metaphorical. Yet I said literal. But it doesn't seem weird, it sounds normal. I hear people use "literally" like that all the time. Interesting**. How did the word "literal" come to mean the opposite? (e.g., "I am literally going to explode," when a person is not actually about to explode.) Am I making any sense? Or are these thoughts that one can only have at 4:01am?

**arguable, granted.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Today was a sucky day.

We had a field trip for one of my classes today. I saw honking huge hogs being slaughtered. (It was a work & occupations sociology course.) Wonderful way to begin my morning. But it got better. Turns out I had locked my keys in my car. At the hog-slaughtering place. So, one of my classmates gave me a ride back to school, where my roommate (shout-out to Ema!) took me back, I got my car, and I came back to school.

Today is/was just a bleh-y day.

I am also theoretically confused. Quite literally. I am confused about theory. Not so much about theory itself, but what I think about it. That makes no sense. Oh well. We need a real feminist theory class at UTD.

I have so much to do this weekend. I procrastinate too much.

Honestly, and I'm not making excuses, one of the reasons I've not updated lately is that for some reason blogger wouldn't let me log in from my computer, saying something about cookies or some other nonsensical thing. So, yeah, I was totally going to update Tuesday night. I was going to whine about my theoretical confusion. I may do that later. Who knows.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

In case you care

So, I realize that I'm being an abysmally bad blogger as of late. But I have been busy. This weekend, for example, I have written. Lots. I have written three essays since Friday night. And am about to start another. And I intend to get my reading for next week done tonight as well. And I have talked to all of my letter of recommendation writers and given packets with forms and info to all but one of them (and I'll do that on Tuesday). Tomorrow morning I am going to go to Grayson County College and politely yet firmly demand that they send out my transcript. This is important on multiple fronts: in order to apply for graduation next semester, I need to have my stupid college algebra and Texas government credits. Also, I need them to send out copies to potential graduate schools. On time. This is very important. And kind of scary. For almost four years I have been submitting requests for my transcript to be sent to UTD. No luck. I kind of want to stay there and watch them do it. But that would be rude.

In case you care, here is where I am applying to graduate programs in sociology:

UC-Santa Barbara

Wish me luck! I still need to straighten out my statement of purpose. If anyone who is vaguely sociology-ish (or even if you're not!) wants to look it over and critique it for me, I would love you forever and ever. Just reply or send me an email or something.

Tommorow I get to register for classes next semester. This is exciting, as always, but presents somewhat of a dilemma. There are only two classes that I have to take to be able to graduate with my Sociology and my Gender Studies degrees. But there are lots of classes that I want to take. But classes invariably sound a lot more fun the semester before you take them than they do when you're in the middle of them. I guess I have tonight to figure that out. Oh. And I'm writing one or two senior honors theses next semester. I'm not sure if I'm going to do one in gender studies as well as sociology. Either way, I need to come up with topics and talk to potential advisors.

Anyway, I'm off to get some writing and reading done. I feel like I am on such a roll this weekend! (Whether any of it is any good, however, is an entirely different issue.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Excuses, excuses

So, for some reason my computer will not let me log into Blogger. Thus, that is going to be my excuse as to why it's taken me so long to update. Because, clearly, if my computer/the Blogger site was working properly, I would be updating like mad, at least twice a day. Yeah.

Anyway, as for general updates:

I am so over the GRE. I've taken it, it's done. I did really well on the verbal; I could have done better on the quantitative section. But, you know, I'm ok with that. None of this, "omg, I have to take it again!" I am just glad that it's finished, given how far behind I am on everything else.

I am so behind in writing. Guess what I get to spend the whole of this weekend doing?

I'm sitting in the computer lab here at UT-D, and I can't think of anything else to say. So I'm going to head off to a meeting with my advisor.