My curriculum vitae - the Latin origin of "CV", a term so ubiquitous in academia and so rare outside (in the US) that it may serve as a shibboleth - slowly evolved out of a résumé that I began as an undergraduate. Trying to break out of the résumé mindset and accept that brevity required of a CV was a challenge. My one-page résumé - chock full of details and action verbs - was reduced to a paltry, unimpressive CV upon entering grad school. A lack of presentations and publications as an undergrad - items inappropriate for a résumé - were the cause. When I was reviewing my professors' CVs in a search for the optimal format for mine, I caught a case of CV-envy.
I know that I haven't really been keeping up with this blog, and I'm not making promises to myself to keep up with it in any sort of regularly-scheduled-posting way. I will, however, continue to make posts as they come.
The reason why I haven't been posting is that this blog is not (at the moment) a priority for me. Grad school has kept me busy, and there are always lots of projects and people clamoring for time. Making sure that my commitments to other people, projects, and myself are met means prioritizing what I do. If I felt myself swelling with ideas for this blog and wanted to make passionate posts, then this blog would become more of a priority in my personal, relaxation time. If this blog actually had a following and/or had some (even marginal) impact, then maybe I would start to see this blog as a professional commitment.
As it stands, it is neither. And that's okay. Some things are more important than others, and right now research, teaching, classes, and time for me are more important than this blog. I think being successful at school - grad and otherwise - depends on being realistic with priorities and commitments. I guess this could be summarized as:
Lesson 3: Some things are more important than others, and ignoring the less important things can be okay.
There are no deadlines, and this blog will still be here waiting for me when I have more to say.
Peer Review and Open Access on the Radio
The internal systems used by research and academia are not often the subject of discussion by members of the public. They are, after all, somewhat tedious and removed from the lives of a vast majority of people. Because of this, when I was listening to NPR on Friday morning and heard the words "peer review" and "open access", I immediately turned up the volume to listen in.
NPR was interviewing John Bohannon regarding a study he conducted wherein he sent an article that was written to be deliberately bad to several hundred open access journals. Bohannon wrote about this study for Science as "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?" In the end, a majority of the journals he submitted to ultimately accepted the paper despite the fundamental flaws (that were ostensibly obvious to anyone with some modicum of training in the field) it contained. NPR ran the story as "Some Online Journals Will Publish Fake Science, For A Fee" and describes the study as a "sting". Bohannon is quoted as saying that the sting revealed "the contours of an emerging Wild West in academic publishing."
One cannot be a prolific writer without the noun part of that, so I've got to get better about it. Here, there, everywhere. Spending time in a college of education is... interesting. Many of my colleagues are returning to school following periods of work as teachers. They've experienced public schools as students, teachers, and parents. They see the micro effects of macro issues. They see the macro issues, and to some extent, understand them. I do not share their perspective (having been raised in Catholic schools, taken no breaks in my education, and having no children), and I recognize this as a deficiency.
To that end, I'm trying to at least acquaint myself with macro issues facing the whole of the (US) educational system while I simultaneously thoroughly explore the field of statistics education. TED has furnished some good talks about issues facing education, as have documentaries on Netflix. TED talks are usually rather well done, and in the future I'll likely post some that would serve statistics courses well.
Of course, just writing for the sake of writing isn't all it is cracked up to be. I was discussing poor writing with a colleague and Mathgen came up. Mathgen creates mathematics papers that look professional but are actually just... randomly generated nonsense. Some have even been accepted to journals.
Lastly, I'll leave with a few thoughts I'm ruminating on due to the qualitative methods course I am taking (more for me to remember later on, but if you, the reader, want to chime in that, that'd be great):
- If one rejects a gender-binary in a philosophical (not political) sense, is it possible to still subscribe to a feminist epistemology/theoretical framework (again, in a philosophical not political sense)?
- Feyerabend seems to place Science on equal footing with Magic and Religion, but puts the onus on science to prove its claims in arguments. That is, a 'scientist' would be required to use science in an argument, but a religious devotee could participate validly in the same argument with 'because I believe' or something similar. Is this an accurate perspective? What role does critical introspection have in all philosophies such as science and religion?
Both of these ideas may have (reasonably) clear-cut answers of which I am not aware. I'm new to qualitative research and epistemologies and frameworks therein. Moreover, I'm still not through with Against Method yet, so there may be obvious answers in there. Just my thoughts for now, though.
I don't have anything exciting to post today, but I do want to keep up with my Monday/Thursday update cycle which dictates that something be posted today. So, here it goes:
- I'm currently just doing some minor work for my advisor's grant
- I'm working on a simulation study for class (quasi-experimental design)
- I'm working on a proposal for a simulation study for a class (item response theory)
- All of the other little side projects I'm always doing
- I had originally install WordPress into my website's root folder. I finally got around to reorganizing the public_html folder this weekend.
- I followed the instructions here and it worked pretty seamlessly. I was pleased
- I also created made the path public_html/www.douglaswhitaker.com/wordpress and was able to make things work pretty easily by changing subdomain options in cPanel.
- (Edit: I see some dead links and images now because wp-content is now at wordpress/wp-content. I'll update those later tonight.)
- I installed DokuWiki at logbook.douglaswhitaker.com as private research logbook (works in progress, notes, etc.). It seems to work pretty well so far. I went with this over something like MediaWiki because the idea of plain text files storing the content was appealing (as opposed to a not-easily-read-by-humans database such as MySQL).
Other Quick Thoughts
- I'm installing Cygwin with the hopes of being able to use curlftpfs+rsync to automatically backup my websites (I'm currently just periodically logging in via ftp and copying files over). We'll see how this goes. (Inspired by this thread on StackOverflow.)
- I really dislike how Cygwin doesn't have broad-but-not-every-package groups of packages to add. I keep having to re-launch the setup.exe and add things in that I overlooked because of my inexperience. Only way to learn I guess.
- Wikis are awesome. DokuWiki seems to work well for this goal (particularly because I might want to use it for collaborations in the foreseeable future), but for a single-user, offline Wiki I've had success with TiddlyWiki. I don't use it much now, but that's more for a lack of time to do the projects I was using it for and less to do with the software (which was quite good).
- I'm trying to use Mendeley Desktop to organize my references. So far it is promising, but I'm not sold yet. (Not thrilled that it isn't open source and that one needs an (albeit free) account to use it.)
- I judged a middle school science fair. It was... almost what I expected. Not many students seemed to understand variability or sampling error (about what I thought), but three of the 20 or so projects I looked at were really phenomenal. I'd love to keep doing this judging if I have time.
- I've got some larger posts in the works, and enough comic posts in a scratch file to keep me going for a while, but I prefer to do comics no more often than every-other-post. But still, whatever it takes to keep the Monday/Thursday update cycle going.