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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: In an academic context, which is a "higher" title: "Professor" or "Dr."? on: January 14, 2017, 04:12:31 pm
In an academic context, which is a "higher" title: "Professor" or "Dr."?

Professor, certainly.

I became Doctor angus the day I got my PhD, but it would be many years before I would become a Professor.  This is the case for most of my colleagues, who all did post-doctoral fellowships either with the government or universities, and sometimes in the private sector, for anywhere from two to four years. 

All the members of my department have PhD degrees, including all the adjunct professors.  This is true for all the departments in my university except in those cases in which the terminal degree in that field is not a PhD.  (There are also MD, EdD, ThD, DSC, etc., and some only have MS or MA degrees, but that's rare and limited to a few fields.)

I remember when I first started graduate school I asked my mentor whether I should call him Professor or Doctor, and he said, "Call me Dennis.  But if you must be awkward and formal, then call me Professor because I have earned it."  He, too, did several years of post-doctoral research after he got his PhD before becoming a member of the faculty.

That said, students don't always observe such rituals.  We are not very formal in the US.  I worked in Amsterdam for a while, and went to school in Germany as well, and I noticed that they are much more formal over there.  Also, I've been at conferences where there are Japanese and they are much, much more formal.  I've seen post-docs bowing and scraping before their professors.  We generally are on first-names bases with our faculty mentors when we are grad students and post-docs.  Also, students just call everybody Doctor Something without checking to see whether they are actually more appropriately called Professor.  I don't know any US professor who gets hung up on that sort of thing, though. 

But if someone actually has the title of Professor and you insist on being formal, then use that because it is "higher" than Doctor, and they would have had to jump through additional hoops after obtaining the doctoral degree to be appointed to a position that carries the title Professor.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Have you gotten snow yet this season? on: January 14, 2017, 03:58:38 pm
Just a little dusting today.  They were predicting one to three inches of a mix of snow and ice.  Fortunately that did not come to pass, as we are having dinner guests this evening.

It was pretty weird, though.  I bicycled to the gym around 12:30 pm and it was cold but clear at the time.  The streets were dry and the air, although moist, showed no signs of snow or rain.  Then, at about 1:30 I noticed that snow falling so I headed home quickly to avoid having to ride on slick streets.  The snowfall only lasted about 30 minutes and it's really just a covering, like a layer of dust.
3  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: January 2017 Fremont Special Election on: January 13, 2017, 08:35:20 pm

FOR GOVERNOR
ONE (1) Governor to be elected.

[ X ] Harry S Truman
Labor Party - North Dakota

[   ] Write-In: __________

FOR ASSEMBLY
THREE (3) Members to be elected.

[ 2 ] 1184AZ
Federalist Party - Washington

[ 1 ] RFayette
Federalist Party - California

[ 3 ] simossad
Labor Party - Minnesota

4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is dyeing your hair morally acceptable on: January 13, 2017, 08:55:02 am
I think it's morally acceptable, especially if you want to be an autocrat.  Saddam, for example, kept his hair jet black, same as Ronald Reagan.  You don't want people to see the white hair because it makes you look decrepit.  I guess bald is okay--Vladimir looks macho even though he has gone bald--but white hair is not a good look for autocrats.

I've never dyed mine.  I started noticing white hairs in my early 20s.  My hair is a yellowish color so it doesn't show as much as it would on Saddam or Reagan, but it started early.  By the time I was 40 I had quite a bit of white hair.  In five weeks I'll be 50 and my beard is almost completely white, and my sideburns are almost completely white.  I've learned to accept it.  Sometimes, when I see someone I haven't seen in years they exclaim, "man, you've gone grey!" or something like that then I get a little self-conscious about it, but generally it doesn't bother me.  At least I still have a full head of hair.

Our secretary dyed her hair green.  I think it kinda looks silly when people dye their hair green or purple or blue, but she was very proud of it.  She was bragging about how she paid lots of money for that look.  A hundred dollars or something like that.  I suggested to her that she could get a bottle of something at CVS for $9.99 to make her hair green but she said that those wash out after a few weeks.  Apparently when you pay a hundred dollars at a salon for green hair it stays green.  I suppose if her children were going hungry or without clothes so she could have green hair it would be a moral problem, but she has no children.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Jarosław Kaczyński on: January 13, 2017, 08:05:22 am
probably better than Ted Kaczyński
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What is your Nolan chart score? on: January 13, 2017, 08:01:49 am
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Worst political candidate in recent history? on: January 12, 2017, 06:46:13 pm
Unfortunately, his debate performance has caused the most lasting impression.

I guess it was the debate performance I was thinking about.  I was relatively young at the time, and had not heard much of Stockdale, and in any case was not under any circumstances enamored of Ross Perot, but what I remember most about Stockdale was his performance at the debate.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why do people take the Political Compass seriously? on: January 12, 2017, 11:56:31 am
Also, if you don't believe Astrology is accurate, your authoritarian score goes up.

That's a little surprising, and opposite my guess, so I looked into it.  I've uncovered some statistics and find that there apparently is little consistent correlation between belief in the ability of the stars to guide our fates and political ideology.  So it is probably based on a faulty assumption.  On the other hand, at least in the anglophone world, there is a correlation between gender and such beliefs.  This is from a 2005 Harris poll conducted in the US, the UK, and Canada.  The percentages are of those who responded positively to the question, "Can the position of the stars or planets affects people's lives?"

USA  Male  23
USA Female  28
Canada Male  17
Canada Female  33
UK Male  15
UK Female  30

And if you don't like abstract art, then it goes up too.

This may not be based on a faulty assumption, according to a large body of research.  A number of psychology papers concluded that the processing of abstract art correlates to an increase in alpha waves (8 - 12 Hz in frequency) of the brain.  These are associated with wakeful periods during sleep, and with Zen-trained meditation masters.  Totalitarian-minded leaders, both on the Left and on the Right, have generally required the afectation of charisma--Think of Hitler, Mussolini, and Pol Pot--which generally happens at the alpha-theta border (~7.5 Hz), thus requiring lower alpha and higher theta wave activity in the occipital lobe and hippocampus than would generally be associated with the analysis of abstract art.

All the questions are phrased so poorly, that it makes me want to slam my head into a wall.

On-line quiz questions are generally worded poorly.  They are not run through the usual editing process that print materials for scholarly purposes are.  But that's not really the point, is it?  If you're slamming your head into a wall, then you too are taking this quiz too seriously.

Like all quizzes, this one has its faults, but it is no more or less consistent than the rest.  It puts Reagan to the right of Marx, and above Gandhi.  It puts the SNP to the left of the Conservative Party and above the Green Party.  It puts me generally somewhere in between Jimmy Carter and Margaret Thatcher.  I'd say that results are fairly self-consistent.  

Try this one out for size:



Nothing very serious about this result--Do we really know how Trump, Clinton, Stein, or Johnson would answer all these questions?  Probably not--but I'd say that relatively speaking the result is spot on.  i.e., I have no trouble believing that Donald Trump is more authoritarian than Hillary Clinton, and that Hillary Clinton is more authoritarian that Gary Johnson, and that Jill Stein is about the same as Gary Johnson by that measure.  Moreover, I have no trouble believing that Jill stein is far, far to the left of the other three, Johnson is the rightmost economically, and that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fairly similar on the left/right scale, with different priorities, however.

9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why do people take the Political Compass seriously? on: January 12, 2017, 09:37:24 am
The test has stupid questions (astrology? really?

religion too.  It's really not so stupid, though.  I think it probably takes astrology, religion, etc., into its algorithm on the vertical axis.  I'd imagine that they correlate authority with the the idea that stars or gods or other mystical forces control our fate, and they correlate liberty with those who are less into religion, astrology, etc.  That'd be my guess.  It's probably not necessarily a valid proposition, because there are many people who are into religion or astrology or metaphysics who are quite libertarian.  

Just for fun, I picked Strongly Disagree on every question to see what happens.  I scored exactly in the middle:  

Economic Left/Right: 0.0
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.36

This makes me think that their questions were written in an attempt not to favor the left or the right.  If Strongly Disagree had given me a +10 or a -10 on the left/right axis, then I think some of the arguments here might be justified.  

I really don't think it's a conspiracy, and I think it's important not to take the political compass, the political matrix, SmartSelect, the Harvard political quiz, or any of the other little ideology quizzes too seriously.  They really are just for entertainment purposes.  It's somewhat ironic that the OP asks why people take them seriously.  Indeed, the creation of this thread evidences the fact that its author is taking it all very seriously.    

There are political tests that actually give you a label rather than a number.  Political matrix and political compass studiously attempt to avoid labels, preferring numbers.  (They are pretty consistent, you must admit.  I think it's hard to fault them in that regard.  Then again, it's just a mathematical algorithm so that's not surprising.)  Some of them give you a nifty label such as NeoLiberal or Anarcho-Capitalist or Nihilist or Marxist.  Those are fun as well.  I think there are links to many political quizzes in a thread on this forum in the Individual Politics board.  None are really better than any of the others.  They all follow pre-determined algorithms to match your answers up with a set of numbers or a label.  Well, the political matrix does have the advantage of allowing you to display your score under your username so you can advertise that you're a quiz nerd, but other than that they're all pretty similar:  gross oversimplifications of reality based on someone's brand of philosophical reductionism.  
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you been in a county that voted for Trump this year? on: January 10, 2017, 01:29:50 pm
Yes, in fact I have spent the entirety of the new year in a county that voted for Donald Trump.    

I have not been outside my county of residence this year.  In fact, until today I hadn't even left Manheim Township this year.  I started the car today for the first time since before Christmas and drove to the office.  Still in Trump County but a bit too far to walk.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why do people take the Political Compass seriously? on: January 10, 2017, 11:56:08 am
I generally score more to the left on the political compass test than on the political matrix test.  They're both for entertainment purposes only, BRTD.  Just for fun.  You should try not to take these things too seriously.

Here's what I got today on political compass:

Your Political Compass
Economic Left/Right: -2.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.69




Pretty close to Gandhi. 
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: If humans had to leave Earth and go live somewhere else in space, where/how? on: January 09, 2017, 08:47:28 pm
If humans had to leave Earth and go live somewhere else in space, where/how?

The sea floor is a better option.  Less expensive and closer to home.  We can build walls thick enough to withstand the pressure and we can collect oxygen, to breathe, and radiation from the sun, to grow plants, from the surface.  We won't need to grow cows and chickens, because we can eat fish and other sea animals.  Large domes can be built with redundant interlocks.  Submarines have taken humans to depths of 11000 meters.  We can build hemispheres of about one mile in diameter to hold ten thousand humans and grow fruits and other plants.  30 thousand of these domes could house the entire population of the United States.  They should be placed around the globe, in case tectonic disturbances arise only a small fraction of the population would be destroyed, but mostly in the tropics so as to avoid pricey heating bills.  I estimate the cost of constructing 30 thousand of these to be about 160 trillion US dollars, or about ten years worth of our national aggregate GDP.  This figure does not include maintenance. 
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of MY version of ProLife on: January 09, 2017, 07:51:50 pm
FF.
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Atlas's Favorite TV Show - Round 1A on: January 09, 2017, 07:30:05 pm
Third Rock, Archer, Star Trek, Star Trek:  the next generation, and NYPD Blue.  (No option for the last two.  What's that all about?) 

I also voted for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on a whim.  I enjoyed that for a season or two. 

15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: It is unfair to accuse social conservatives of waging a culture war. on: January 09, 2017, 07:22:38 pm
Neither.  It's a made-up thing.  The phrase "culture war" would not be around if it were not for the press (and Otto von Bismarck).   It certainly wouldn't have been propagated here, or, I suspect, even recognized as such, if it weren't for the press.

Ah, well.  You gotta sell ad space, and for that you need sensational topics.  Whether they're real is of no importance.  It's capitalism run amok, I suppose.
16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which defeat was tougher to take: Al Gore in 2000 or Hillary Clinton in 2016 on: January 09, 2017, 01:40:50 pm
Gore. 

Both were apparently taken aback.  Hillary certainly looked like she had been on a week-long bender when she re-emerged a week later from whatever cave she crawled into on election night, but at least her defeat was quick.  With Gore, it dragged on for six weeks.  We didn't know the winner of that election till December 12, after which Gore went into hiding, grew a beard, and holed up in his 10000-square-foot Belle Meade mansion with heated pool while he wrote about how we're warming up the globe by living large. 
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Lynyrd Skynyrd on: January 07, 2017, 08:20:25 pm
FF

And what's all this "minus the confederate flag sh**t"?  That's like saying, "Well, I like the Rolling Stones, minus all that big mouth with the tongue hanging out sh**t."

18  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: National Pig Day on: January 07, 2017, 08:17:18 pm
They prefer to be called police officers, thankyouverymuch.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Worst political candidate in recent history? on: January 07, 2017, 08:02:09 pm
Ross Perot's running mate, Admiral Stockdale.  Anybody remember that guy?  May he rest in peace.  I don't wish to impugn dead people, but he always came off confused and stoned, even more than Gary Johnson.  
20  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What is your opinion of Obama's performance as President? on: January 07, 2017, 07:46:22 pm
in 2010, calling republicans fascist was a "haha" thing.

Just as it was in 2000 and again in 1980, as I well remember.  I suspect it was like that even before then, but I wouldn't know personally.  Nothing was solemn about it then and nothing is solemn about it now.  Look up the word sometime, you'll find that calling Republicans fascist is, in fact, the opposite of solemnity.  It is sensationalism, just as calling Obama a socialist (or, better yet, a Muslim) is sensationalist.  Those who do it think it's cute, I suppose--and apparently some of those who hear or read it think it's cute as well, as you and AverroŽs and the Fox News Channel remind us--but solemn is what it is not. 
21  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Have you gotten snow yet this season? on: January 07, 2017, 01:21:09 pm
snowed again this morning.  Another ~4 cm to go on top of the 4 cm we got yesterday.  Easy pushing.  After cleaning the drive we took the sleds to the hill and played for about an hour.  Cold, though.  
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why are working class whites so often defined as "whites without a degree?" on: January 07, 2017, 10:53:45 am
Some define class more based on values and life style rather than money.

Of course.  Especially the middle class.  Those of us who call ourselves "middle-class families" span all five economic quintiles.   It has little to do with money, and everything to do with a value system.  I was surprised to learn some time ago that based on our household income, we are about midway in the highest quintile for a family of three.  Also, when I take the on-line "are you middle class" quiz I always get the answer "no, you are not middle class."  It's a silly quiz because it is based entirely on income.  I wash my own dishes, cook my own meals, book my own flights, drive myself in a car, I work for a living and if I didn't I would starve.  I always consider myself "middle class" and when I hear the term I know it applies to me and to my family.

Most terms involving "class" are bandied about, carelessly used, and are really context-specific.  No need to argue about their use, especially when considering the United States because we do not have, and have never had, "classes" in the historical sense.  We are not like India.  Nor are we like pre-Revolutionary Russia, nor like China before the Boxer rebellion, nor are we like England before the 1920s.  Those places all had classes, in the real sense, and it had little to do with money.  By and large, the aristocrats were richer than others, but this was not the case invariably.  Some in the Third Estate were quite wealthy, for example, and many aristocrats were very poor (in the sense of income) but each knew his place in society.

Also, the term "working class" has always been a bit of a misnomer for US people, especially given our lack of a historical aristocracy.  At least 98% of us work for a living, or depend upon someone who works for a living.  Very few are in the true leisure class so it doesn't make sense to use the phrase "working class" here and now.  In fact, 40 years ago it wasn't used much.  When I was young, and when you were young as you probably recall, we used the terms Blue-Collar worker and White-Collar worker.  These terms made sense at that time.  You and I would be considered White-Collar workers, but we still work.  Still, since manufacturing and heavy industry has all but left our shores owing to the cheaper labor elsewhere, those terms no longer make much sense either.  Most of the uneducated now work in retail or service-related industry, and as you point out, many people with graduate degrees in the humanities are serving drinks to drunks, so even blue- and white-collar workers are no longer easily identified.

Still, none of this has anything to do with the phrase "whites without a degree."  That term is self-explanatory and, as far as I can tell, does not attempt to subsume any other term and is used primarily by pollsters who want to be specific about the demographic group to which they are referring.  I don't see any problem with its use in that regard.

23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why are working class whites so often defined as "whites without a degree?" on: January 07, 2017, 08:17:05 am
Why are working class whites so often defined as "whites without a degree?"

I haven't noticed that they were.  I have seen the phrase "whites without a degree" in polling articles, etc., but I haven't seen articles that conflate that term with "working class whites."  I had always assumed that the phrase "whites without a degree" simply means people of Indo-Aryan (and perhaps Hamito-Semitic) stock who have not graduated from a four-year college or university.

Where have you seen articles that conflate those two phrases?
24  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What is your opinion of Obama's performance as President? on: January 06, 2017, 08:25:57 am
That description was not in reference to Lief, and I'm still struggling to understand your point.

It was only that solemnity is not the description that comes to my mind when I read the post you quoted, the one totally unrelated to this thread.
25  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Atlas's Favorite City in the Northeast on: January 06, 2017, 08:23:53 am
the maximum number of cities that a state can have is five.

That's rather arbitrary.  In New England you could have 30 cities in an area smaller than Montana, but Montana would still only be allowed 5 cities.  (and in fact probably only gets one due to the population restraint.)

I voted for Boston.  Mostly because it is the one with which I'm most familiar among those.  I lived in Boston five years, in New York one, and only visited or passed through the rest.  I have been to Philadelphia enough times to know that if you had a least-favorite choice it would get my vote.
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