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Marketers package female empowerment to sell products

This article makes an excellent point. The essential connection between the positive message that makes the pro-girl ad worth sharing and the product being sold is tentative at best. In a recent ad for Always feminine hygiene products, women and men are asked to demonstrate how it looks to “run, throw and fight like a girl.” They all portray inept ditziness. Then a group of young girls is asked to…

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The 3 Scariest Words A Boy Can Hear (“Be a Man”)

Former NFL player and current pastor Joe Ehrmann reflects on the power coaches have over the identities of boys. There’s two kinds of coaches in America: You’re either transactional or you’re transformational. Transactional coaches basically use young people for their own identity, their own validation, their own ends. It’s always about them — the team first, players’ needs down the road. And then you have transformational coaches. They understand the…

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The Uses of Being Wrong

Unlike that of most physical and natural scientists, the ability of social scientists to conduct experiments or rely on high-quality data is often limited. In my field, international relations, even the most robust econometric analyses often explain a pathetically small amount of the data’s statistical variance. Indeed, from my first exposure to the philosopher of mathematics Imre Lakatos, I was taught that the goal of social science is falsification. By…

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The New American Man Doesn’t Look Like His Father

NPR has a story that should probably have run last weekend, for Fathers’ Day. It’s still an interesting exploration of how the traditional definition of masculinity in culture has changed, as more men are not only studying and working alongside women (and seeing them as peers) but also playing a larger part in childcare. Noguera also has seen men become much more involved with raising their children and general housework. “But…

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Millennials Shy Away from Voice Mail

I was happy a few years ago when Seton Hill got a new phone and email system that allowed me to get my voicemails directly via email, but I do so little work over the telephone that the feature is really not that useful. Having grown up in a texting-friendly culture, with unmediated cellphone access to their friends, they have had little formative experience leaving spoken or relayed messages over…

No Money, No Time

We tend to assume that pressure makes us more efficient. I work fastest when I’m on deadline. I stretch my grocery budget the most when my funds are running low. But in reality, it’s not that you’re working better when you’re stressed. It’s that the opposite situation, overabundance, often makes us less efficient. It’s a fine balancing act: Overabundance makes us less efficient, but we need to reach a certain…

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Criminal Code: Procedural Logic and Rhetorical Excess in Videogames

Great example of the application of well-established humanities critical processes to the analysis of a technological artifact. Of all the possible options in the real world — increasing funding for education, reducing overcrowded housing, building mixed use developments, creating employment opportunities, and so on — it’s the presence of the police that lowers crime in SimCity. This is the argument that game makes, its procedural rhetoric. Naïve though it may…

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Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say

Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. That’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier and 64 percent in the early 1980s. [...] If there were more college graduates than the economy needed, the pay gap would shrink. The gap’s recent growth is especially notable because it has come after a rise in…

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How professors use their time: faculty time allocation

Interesting social science approach to how university faculty spend their time. [O]n a recent trip abroad when an immigration officer asked how I could afford to be away from work for a month. I said simply that we were on winter break and the officer jokingly lamented about going into the wrong profession. I didn’t mention to him that I had busted my tail over the week (and weekend) before…