On Your Waistline = Your Boss's Business

@A-M Quite a few of the things on that list are potentially free. I don't think there's really a cost argument to be made here.

Posted on August 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm 1

On Everyone's Born in the Summer Damn Them So What Do You Do?

@Wendy T My birthday is in the week before Christmas, too. I don't mind it so much as an adult, but as a kid it SUCKED -- all the weaknesses of a summer birthday (no in-school festivities, no one in town to attend a party, etc.), plus starting in high school half the time I would have a FINAL EXAM ON MY BIRTHDAY, which is clearly unfair.

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm 0

On How To Become a Math Person, Vol. 1

@Punk-assBookJockey Yeah, I think in other subjects there's often a clearer connection between the specific work you're doing ("Read The Scarlet Letter and write a paper explaining its themes") and the general skills you're practicing (reading for comprehension, academic writing), so you get less "UGH but when am I ever going to USE this, I'm not going to be a PROFESSIONAL SCARLET LETTER ANALYST when I grow up" -- everyone understands that The Scarlet Letter is just what you're practicing those skills on. But with math, that connection often isn't made explicit, so students focus more on the specific thing they're learning -- "When am I ever going to use the quadratic formula? Who cares!" -- than on the general skills of mathematical reasoning, data analysis, problem solving, etc.

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 9:16 am 1

On How To Become a Math Person, Vol. 1

I have always been a math person, in the sense that whatever math I was supposed to be doing in school always came easily to me; I was not a math person in the sense of liking math until high school, partly because I did well enough in math to be singled out by teachers, including a couple of total jerk teachers who would use my test score to shame kids (boys) who scored lower. I was eventually converted to liking math by a really, really great teacher in high school.

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm 0

On Equality /= Dystopia

@TheDoctorsCompanion Yes! I think what's really happening in a lot of these dystopias is a conflict of "sameness" vs. "fairness" as definitions of equality -- the authorities legislate sameness and think they're creating equality, but the protagonists see the enforced sameness as an enemy of fairness and rebel against it.

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm 0

On GOOD ENOUGH Homes & Destinations: What You Get For $490,000

They don't even have a picture of the drawbridge! You can't just CLAIM there's a drawbridge and not include a picture of it, NYT. Come on.

Posted on August 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm 1

On How To Do Money Before, During & After Grad School

@Lily Hudson@facebook Well, I don't know -- to move in/not move in with my dude was a relationship decision, but exactly when to do it was mostly a financial decision. (Same for getting married, actually.) Maybe "If you have a significant other who you already plan to live with eventually"?

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 6:08 pm 0

On The ABCs of Grad School Should Include "ABD"

@ThatJenn Ooh, yes, good point about the difference between disciplines. I have two friends in the ABD phase, both in about their 7th year of PhD work, one in the sciences and one in English, and they're in very different positions in spite of being at almost exactly the same point in their studies, for exactly this reason. "Go get a job and write your dissertation in your free time" is a shitty position for a program to put a student in, especially when "a job" means "a bunch of cobbled-together adjunct gigs," as is likely to be the case for an aspiring English professor with an ABD.

Posted on August 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm 0

On Printing & Crying

My household owns a printer mainly for reasons of art (my husband is an amateur bookbinder and decorates a lot of his covers with custom stencils, which he makes by creating a silhouette image, printing it on heavy paper, and cutting it out with an Xacto) and D&D (SO MANY CHARACTER SHEETS).

Posted on August 1, 2014 at 5:26 pm 0

On Concerning the Moral Obligations of the Wealthy

@Josh Michtom@facebook Maybe "work harder" isn't quite the right way to think of it, but I think there's a legitimate point there -- it changes the calculations behind people's pursuit of higher-paying jobs. Suppose my family gets to the point where our combined household income just hits your morality cap -- another dime and we'd be morally obligated to give that dime to charity -- and then I'm offered a promotion that comes with a raise. To what extent do I have a moral obligation to take the promotion, so that I can direct that extra money toward charity? How does the extra sacrifice of time and energy that the new job might require factor into that moral obligation? You said upthread that it would be immoral to turn it down "expressly to avoid some imagined charitable obligation" -- what about turning it down because I'd rather spend an extra 5 hours a week with my family than spend those 5 hours working toward a charitable cause? I guess essentially this is getting into the question of: is it moral to spend any time on leisure when you could, instead, be spending that time working toward the greater good?

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm 0