Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So far, I love Google docs, with some limits. Like most faculty, I do a lot of work at home in the evenings and on weekends, so I end up schlepping computer files back and forth on a pen drive, or sending them through e-mail. The schlepping isn't a hassle, but inevitably there's something I forgot, and going back to campus to get it is a hassle. So, to the extent that Google docs allows you to work on a file anywhere and anytime you have internet access, it's a lovely thing.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
I met my research-related goals, although I did not write the @#$% report for EFC. Everyone was healthy this week (thank God!), but I've had to adjust for some last-minute major changes to my semester schedule, so even writing hour has fallen victim to my re-arranged priorities. It's all good stuff, but I'll be harried for the next few weeks.
My goals for this week are to finish the changes to the paper that my co-authors have suggested, finish the EFC report (which probably doesn't belong in this set of goals, since it's not research related), and I'm not sure what else I'll be able to do, because of an upcoming deadline.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
- History and evolutionary significance of important ethnobiological patterns, such as plant and animal domestication, food processing, hunting, environmental management, and the use of animals and plants in ceremony, crafts, and traditional medicine
- Application and integration of multiple lines of archaeological and paleoenvironmental evidence
- Incorporation of ethnographic and documentary information into studies of past relationships between humans and culturally important animals and plants
- Human paleoecology, including human impact on past environments
It sounds like a lot of fun, and I hope I can make it. The conference is May 4-7, 2011.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Inevitably, it reminds me of this:
"We live in a bloody swamp. We need all the land we can get!"
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I did not meet my writing goals. Why? Well, I lost most of Monday when Boo Too came down with a fever and couldn't go to daycare, so Dr. Mr. Palimpsest and I had to stay home with him, handing him off between classes. He doesn't have any other signs of sickness, so we think it may have been a teething fever. He's been fussy/demanding all week. Then I lost most of my productive time Friday because our daycare provider took the day off. I also had two non-standard meetings that ate up precious time, and Excruciating Faculty Committee has asked me to draft a report, further eroding my writing time. I'm going to go out on a feminist limb here and categorically state that being a mother really does make me less of a researcher. I think it makes me a better person overall, and my awareness/experience of reproduction may even make me a better archaeologist in terms of the quality of my work, but it sure doesn't help my productivity much. Anyway, I got the conclusions finished and edited most of the paper, but it's not yet in any condition to send out to my co-authors.
My writing goals for next week are to get the paper sent out to my co-authors, then outline and begin the changes to the next paper. I also need to finish the draft of the report for Excruciating Faculty Committee.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Well, of course it did. Those of us in post-industrial, high-cost, consumerist, economically and politically powerful societies often seem to forget that "going green" is not (only) some high-tech wave of the future, it's a necessity for people who don't have the luxury to waste energy or resources. Whether you're talking about the poorest people of the modern world, or ancient societies, most people's homes are/were much more in tune with their environments, much more likely to use recycled materials, and more energy efficient than the average member of the Sierra Club's.
Obviously, this isn't always the case. There are ancient societies that stripped their landscapes bare of trees for wood, for example, and modern peripheral societies that burn highly inefficient fuel. My point is that much of what we think of as "green technology" is actually just being careful with limited resources, and we should expect that many ancient societies knew a great deal more about that than modern academics.
For financial, environmental, and ethical reasons, I'm committed to having less stuff in the house. I don't want it, I don't need it, I shouldn't have it. But then I have a bad week, and all I want is a new pair of shoes. And some fancy French cheese with my whine.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I can't wrap my head around the 8-ton part of this story. I mean, how much equipment was needed to move an 8-ton boulder, out of a river, no less? The perpetrator was described as a "local historian" from the Ohio side. The story reminds me of medieval European cities poaching each others holy relics, although I have no idea what the motivation was of the Ohio historian, nor do I know the social, political, or economic meaning of the boulder.
8 tons. Holy cow.
Like my students, I should have turned to Wikipedia first for salvation. The Wikipedia article on the boulder shows the carving (definitely humanly-created, but I'd assume historic. Of course, what do I know about prehistoric petroglyphs of the Ohio Valley?) It also gives more details of who, what, when, and where, including the Kentucky House of Representative's proposal to send a raiding party into Ohio to reclaim the rock.
This just gets better and better.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
My favorite paragraph:
The Reformnation happened when German nobles resented the idea that tithes were going to Papal France or the Pope thus enriching Catholic coiffures. Traditions had become oppressive so they too were crushed in the wake of man's quest for resurrection above the not-just-social beast he had become. An angry Martin Luther nailed 95 theocrats to a church door. Theologically, Luthar was into reorientation mutation. Calvinism was the most convenient religion since the days of the ancients. Anabaptist services tended to be migratory. The Popes, of course, were usually Catholic. Monks went right on seeing themselves as worms. The last Jesuit priest died in the 19th century.Something about that line "The Popes, of course, were usually Catholic" just sends me into hysterics every time.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I am increasingly convinced that discipline is a key to life balance. No, not self-discipline - although that's good too - disciplining your children.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about training them to a whistle, like in the early scenes of The Sound of Music. I'm talking about teaching your children to be polite and obedient, for their own safety and for your sanity.
Teaching children to be obedient doesn't mean they turn into automatons. You're not an evil parent breaking the spirit of your child just because you expect to be listened to and cheerfully and promptly obeyed. Children can still ask "why?", and you should give them a reason for your request. Children should have the opportunity to discuss their objections and desires, and to change your mind if warranted. But once you've stated your reasons, and their serious arguments have been dealt with, you should not allow the whining and the delaying to continue. Think of it this way: your time and theirs is too valuable to be taken up in an endless whine of "But please, Mommy? Please, please, please?"
Discipline sucks in the short-term, because it involves a fight that can be avoided by just giving in. In the long-run, taking the time to install proper discipline will give you more and better time to spend with your child, running around outside, doing art projects, cooking together, reading books, talking about things that matter to your kid. And, frankly, when you say to your kid "Don't run across the street without holding my hand," they sure as hell should listen to you. If you haven't instilled in them a healthy respect for your commands, you aren't doing your job as a parent.
Obviously, kids don't always listen to us, no matter what we say or do. If I see you in the grocery store and your kid is acting like a brat, I'm not going to judge you. I've had enough melt-downs of my own in public (and so have the kids - ha!)
I'm not an expert on discipline, by any means. I'm only starting on that journey myself. Bunny turned four this past summer. She's been taught some basics of discipline from a very young age (obey Mommy on certain safety rules, and do age-appropriate tasks for herself). She's getting to an age where we can demand more, and start working on her attitude. I won't say her whining, crying, complaining days are behind her, but we're trying very hard to teach her prompt and cheerful compliance to important rules and requests. I'm sure it'll only take her another twenty years or so to master it.
Monday, November 1, 2010
1) “My philosophy of teaching” statements, usually 1-3 pages. These are often pretty routine, but occasionally one stands out as really thoughtful; and the absence of ANY such statement counts against an applicant. 2) Photocopies of student evaluations, plus relevant statistical data. Some of our faculty place more weight on the overall data, others on student written comments. 3) Comments by the applicants’ peers or graduate professors who visited the applicants’ classes. 4) Syllabi from courses the applicants have taught.
Further responders asked if the job ads actually specify that these items are required. If the absence of a teaching statement will count as evidence of no teaching philosophy whatsoever, I hope the ads tell candidates that such a statement is expected. Candidates are often told to follow the application guidelines to the letter, since sending more than is asked for could count against us. Alas, not surprisingly, the answer was:
Looking over several of our old ads, I see they vary a bit, and they definitely do not ask for all the six things I listed; but those things carry a lot of weight, and we tend to think that serious applicants should be able to figure out what unspecified items would enhance their chances. The ads have varied because search committee members have varied, and the committee writes the ad (except for the wording the university requires). One example:
Candidate should have teaching competence in XXX … must provide evidence both of proficiency in undergraduate teaching, including introductory level courses, and of potential for scholarly achievement … Finalists must successfully complete an interview and a teaching demonstration.
I love that line about "serious applicants should be able to figure out what unspecified items would enhance their chances." Yeah, because even highly educated academics believe that all people think like them, and there is only one right way to do things: the way it happens to be done at their institution. Therefore they don't have to be clear in their directions, because anyone who was the right fit (i.e. same background in academics, age, class, gender, and race) would know the unspoken code. And, hell, there is nothing capricious about assuming everyone can read their minds.
The commenter did say they would provide clarification if the candidates e-mailed, but it's hardly surprising that many won't. We don't want to annoy members of the search committee who may very well get 100 e-mails regarding the details of the application.
Reason #712 why the job market is a complete and utter crapshoot.