posts in miscellaneous

illustration of a cv

I used to think of CVs as a relic of an antiquated system of prestige. But working on some software changed my mind. CVs are, it turns out, pretty complicated artifacts. They reveal a great deal about the professional life of academics and all of the systems on which they come to rely.

Like most academics, I found it difficult to keep my CV up to date. I was surprised to learn that there was not a straight-forward system for managing this information. I thought that there should be a better system. It turns out, I'm not alone. About a week ago, Daniel Laurison posted the following to Twitter ...

Example of location bar with lock indicating secure HTTPS connection

I have set up HTTPS on my website (see the closed lock in the address bar?). Webfaction hosts my websites and I set up the TSL certificates I did it using free security certificates from Let's Encrypt. I have done it several times now, but I continue to forget how to do it the next time that I try to set it up. The following are notes to myself that I hope might be helpful to someone else as well. (Note that these instructions work only for websites hosted on Webfaction.)

I did it! I finally updated my website from my state-of-the-art-in-2007 website to this new, shiny version. All of the same content from my old website should be on this one, including this here blog and my CV as well as additional content including descriptions of my projects, class webpages, and a page with tools that I use. In addition, I have made the interactive website of neighborhood trajectories from my paper with Siri Warkentien part of the main website as well (and hope to be adding new interactive content in the future).

Dora & Boots, "I Did It!" animated GIF

The redesign has been a work in progress for several years now, though that time was spent ...

Have a message. State it. Write nothing else.

Those are the first instructions to Demographic Research authors on their submission pages. I've heard variations on this theme before, but nothing as clearly stated as this. You might say that the Demographic Research editors had a message, stated it clearly, and wrote nothing else.

I started using this advice to reframe several papers that I have hanging around. What I have found in my first week using this advice is that the organization of papers has become easier. My writing becomes crisper. My papers are shorter. And I find them to be more compelling.

I noticed improvement in a couple ...

I was born in Northern Colorado and now live just outside the District of Columbia. I can attest from personal experience that these two places do not share much. Except, that is, for their desire to become states.1

I was curious what would happen if both became states as a modern-day [Missouri Compromise]. I wrote the following script to make the Amazing Apportionment Machine to reapportion seats and looked at two scenarios: the current distribution of congressional districts and the distribution if "Northern Colorado" and the "State of Columbia" were added as states.

The code has some useful tricks for general purpose in it. First, it defines a program ...

My friend and colleague, Danny Sheehan was interviewed on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show this week talking a map he designed that tracked the flow of residential mobility among Brian Lehrer listeners. Among 1,600 entries, his was selected as one of the 15 featured, and one of two people interviewed about his design on-air live. You can see a video his map here.

Since my research is about where people move, this is obviously more than of just passing interest to me and Danny's visualization of moves is an incredibly helpful tool to detect patterns of neighborhood change. I know this because Danny helped us with a project ...

It is rare when I find myself in agreement with Stanley Fish. But I think in his most recent column, I think that he finds such an unalienable truth among teachers that it is impossible, as someone interested in teaching, to disagree with. In his column, he discusses how disasterous a proposed Texas plan for higher education would be, if enacted, for the education of students.

No, it's not the Texas plan to teach elementary and high school students that Phyllis Schlafly is the second coming of George Washington. No, this plan involves the state's universities, particularly Texas A&M. Essentially, the plan wholeheartedly embraces the idea that students ...

“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill, 1947

I just received an e-mail inviting me to participate in the Second Annual International Symposium on Peer Review that seeks to examine the application -- and perceived failure -- of peer review in a scientific context. The aim of the conference is certainly a worthy goal, and I applaud the effort; however, it brings up ...

The American Prospect has a very interesting article this week by Courtney Martin entitled "Architecture's Diversity Problem" that describes a new building constructed by architect Jeanne Gang in Chicago. The building is constructed to look like undulating waves that echo the waves in Lake Michigan just to the east but reach skyward for 80 stories. Architecturally, the building is very interesting and, though I have to admit I wasn't too keen when I saw the The Prospect's photo, is very impressive when seen from a distance for how successfully it creates this illusion from both the form and the materials used. What is more amazing than the ...