At the beginning of my doctoral workshops on academic writing, I start with a simple question: “when you sit down to compose your draft paper, what does the space look like around you? Is it covered with books and journals? Photocopies of papers and articles?” Most students confirm this description, but others say no, it’s just them and their computer. However, when I push them, it turns out that they have multiple files open on their computer, with digital copies of papers and articles
Every fall I look forward to the opening of the college sports season: football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, and so forth. People get so into it they go and look at the FanDuel betting odds to see how they could do if they participated in a bet. In particular, I enjoy the discussions in the sports press about the choices athletic directors and coaches have made in setting up their schedule of games. Unlike the professional sports leagues, where
How often has this happened to you? You sit down to work on a piece of writing for which the deadline is fast approaching. You feel energized and optimistic. Shortly after you begin, the notification alert on your smart phone goes off. Or, a colleague pokes her head in your open door and asks if you have a moment. Or, you look back at the previous sentence you’ve written and decide that it could be worded better. And so on. Taken in isolation, such small interruptions seem harmless. However,
At a conference, when you ask somebody to tell you about their current project, what do they typically say? I often get a puzzling response: instead of beginning by telling me about an idea, the person starts by describing their data. They tell me they are using survey data they have collected, or data from an archive, or data they’ve scraped from the web. As they go on at length about the nature of the data, I have to interrupt them and ask for what purpose the data will be used. Then,
A few days ago, I was sitting in my car at a stoplight, waiting for the light to change, when a thought suddenly popped into my head. In a flash, I recognized the relevance of a paper I’d read several decades ago for a current project on which I was working. I had been thinking about ways to justify the narrative I was trying to set up, and I’d been frustrated by my inability to find recent literature that could be cited to justify its importance.
Why did that idea suddenly occur to me? The
For the past decade or so, I have made presentations to groups of graduate students and junior faculty on how to write more effectively. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas that I can inject into my presentation. Thus, I was delighted to come across an essay by C. Neil Stewart Jr, on “Songwriting and Science,” in the July 24, 2015 issue of Science magazine. Frustrated by his low hit rate from grant submissions,
Boundary objects are arrangements that permit people to work together without needing to achieve consensus, as Susan Leigh Star explained. The figure below displays a collection of small dots that represent different manifestations of some phenomenon of interest, with three of them labeled with capital letters. Object A is clearly at the center – it is probably the central tendency in this group.
A few days ago, a colleague came to me for teaching advice. On his syllabus, he had written that he did not accept late assignments. One of the students, a young woman who was struggling in the class, had turned in a paper that was woefully incomplete and he told her that it did not meet the assignment requirements. However, rather than rejecting it outright, he took account of her struggles and accepted that she hadn’t decided to
A few weeks ago, I spent several days at a conference on a topic that holds great intrinsic interest for me. I signed up for the conference, eagerly anticipating meeting new people and being challenged with novel ideas. I had never attended the conference before and had few preconceived notions about the format for presentations. However, because most of the scholars were in the humanities, I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing many tables of numbers or hearing about esoteric statistics!
The death of Clark Terry (1920-2015) this past week brought back memories of watching him in concerts when I was teaching in Vienna several decades ago. He appeared at a small jazz venue called Jazz Land, run by Axel Melhardt, an Austrian man who clearly has a great love for American jazz. Somehow, he has been able to book great American jazz artists for his small club off Schwedenplatz, near the banks of the
Between 1970 and 1973, Anant Negandhi held a series of conferences at Kent State University, sponsored by the Comparative Administration Research Institute. The conference focus was on “the various conceptual problems encountered in studying the functioning of complex social organizations.” I took part in several of these, including one that led to the publication of a book on Interorganizational Theory, edited by Anant. These conferences attracted a stellar cast of organization scholars,
Do largemouth bass learn from experience or are they just naturally cleverer than us? Discussions with other anglers have confirmed that the experience I describe in this post is a common occurrence, but no one has come up with a satisfactory explanation. I invite your speculations.
My unplanned experiment in trying to outsmart the bass began when I decided to spend a morning at a local lake, practicing my casting and, along the way, catching a few bream. The water had finally cleared up, after
I’ve been haunted by the question of what sustains belief in success among the unsuccessful ever since I read Reinhard Bendix’ magisterial book, Work and Authority in Industry. Bendix wrote about the economic ideology that kept millions of people in England, the United States, and other Western
“My 4wt rod is not up to the job!” That’s the conclusion I came to after another losing battle with my tormentor, Vinnie, the LMB.
Down at my lake at night, I usually start up with a confidence builder — using either my 4wt or 5wt to fish for bream & crappie — and then when it starts to get dark, I switch over to the 7wt. I’m using the 7wt to cast poppers, Sneaky Pete’s, and the like, with the hope that something other than too-big-for-their-britches bream will attack. Some of those bream really do have delusions of grandeur — last night, I hooked a bream a bit smaller than my hand on a Sneaky Pete, which, if the fish had actually gotten into its mouth, would’ve throttled him.
As I’ve reported to the TFF Group, I’ve caught a couple of small LMB’s, but otherwise have only broken poppers, snapped hooks, and bitter disappointment to show for my efforts re Vinnie.
Tonight, I decided to start with the 7wt while it was still sunny & I could see where the poppers were actually splashing down. (I’m not the world’s smoothest caster.)
After a half hour wihout even getting a rise out of the overly ambitious bream, I decided to switch to the 4wt & console myself with battling a few scrappy bream. I tied on a copper john — a fly they’ll always take, when all else fails. I started by working the deeper side of the inlet, where I usually catch the bigger bream. Then, I decided to try the shallower waters, on the other side, where I sometimes have luck.
On my first cast into water that couldn’t have been more than 2 feet deep, a small bream hit the copper john. I was surprised when he jumped out of the water, without a tug from me, but then I saw why: right behind him was Vinnie, who scarfed up the bream and headed for the center of the lake. You may have heard a similar story before, but it never gets old, in my book. As always, I fantasied that Vinnie was so hungry that he’d swallowed the bream, hook & all. For about 30 seconds, I thought my fantasy had come true. Just like last May, when the battle lasted long enough for me to think I’d actually hooked him, he made several runs across the inlet, bending my 4wt like a twig and stripping line off like I’d greased the reel. I tried stopping him a couple of times, but couldn’t hold onto the line. He finally turned & headed again out into the lake. I felt the line go slack & he was gone. I reeled in the line and saw that he’d not only taken the bream with him, but also the hook. For the record, it was tied on with the best improved clinch knot I could muster, but I guess I need to go back to the fly shop for a refresher course.
I think I only had a chance at landing him if I could’ve worn him out before he wore me out and/or snapped the line on one of his runs.
So, what do you do when the only thing a LMB seems to want is live bream on a stick?