Academic haiku

by Eszter Hargittai on February 21, 2007

Grad school pal Jim Gibbon launched an academic haiku contest a week ago. I only noticed it today (Wednesday),which happens to be the deadline for submissions. If you still have time, head on over and submit something. If it’s past Wednesday then feel free to add your creative output in the comments here.

The idea is that the haiku should represent some of your work (a paper, a book, a dissertation, etc.). Here are my two submissions:

I am an expert.
I am man, you are woman.
I exaggerate.

From: *Hargittai, E & S. Shafer. 2006. “Differences in Actual and Perceived Online Skills: The Role of Gender.” Social Science Quarterly. 87(2):432-448. June.

RSS, widgets,
Don’t know one from the other.
Average Web users.

From: Hargittai, E. 2007. “Wikis and Widgets: Differences in Young Adults’ Uses of the Internet” Paper to be presented at the 2007 ICA meetings.

[*] I have to add that it’s actually not possible to tell from the findings whether men overestimate or women underestimate their skills, but perhaps that amount of artistic freedom for the haiku is allowed.

Bombs, Israel and Iran

by Henry Farrell on February 21, 2007

“Garance Franke-Ruta”: accuses John Edwards of having no foreign policy principles.

Was it really just a month ago that John Edwards was speaking to an Israeli audience at Herzliya and saying [that Iran was at the top of the list of threats to the world and Israel]. … Because Variety’s Peter Bart reports that he has rather dramatically changed his tune [saying that perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities]. … How a serious presidential candidate could so rapidly go from taking a foreign policy position to saying that people who share that position are a grave threat to world peace is beyond me. … How is anyone supposed to trust that he means anything that he says now?

Now Edwards has been less than adept in talking about foreign policy issues, but not only is it clear to me that these points of view are compatible, but they arguably follow from each other. One of the arguments that I’ve heard repeatedly in informal discussions with Iran hawks is that the US needs to talk tough on Iran, and take direct action against it, because if it doesn’t, Israel will, perhaps provoking a major regional conflagration. In other words, you can both be in favour of (a) not taking the option of US bombing off the table, and (b) worry about what would happen if Israel decided to bomb Iran. To be clear, I’m vigorously opposed to bombing Iran myself (if nothing else, bombing is likely to be “useless in achieving its express aims”: I suspect that Edwards isn’t too keen on the idea either, and is more interested in rattling sabres to deter Iran’s nuclear efforts than in declaring war on Iran (although I suspect that his maladroitness has left some serious hostages to fortune if he gets the nomination and runs against a more hawkish Republican). But it’s clear to me that Franke-Ruta is flat out wrong in suggesting that this particular statement is evidence of untrustworthiness – it may attract political controversy (which is why the campaign seems to be back-peddling) but it’s a pretty unexceptionable claim. You don’t have to be either pro- or anti-Israel to recognize that Israeli action against Iran is likely to have pretty nasty consequences for the entire region. This is a broadly shared analysis, even if it isn’t often directly articulated; cf the first Gulf War, Hussein’s efforts to drag Israel in by lobbing Scuds, and Israel’s restraint, partly at the urging of the US, from retaliating.

Note to commenters: as usual, I will be policing comments and anything that drifts into a general discussion of the merits and demerits of Israel/Palestine etc will be ruthlessly deleted. I’ll be paying particular attention to the comments of past repeat offenders (yes, abb1; that means you).

One Night

by Jon Mandle on February 21, 2007

In 1956, Smiley Lewis scored a minor hit – #11 on the R&B charts – with a song written by Dave Bartholomew and Dave King called “One Night”. By 1957, Elvis Presley was a huge star. He had already had big hits with “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Love Me Tender”, “All Shook Up”, and 50 million people – over 80% of the viewing audience – had watched him on the Ed Sullivan Show. In January, 1957, he recorded a “One Night”. According Peter Guralnick, writing in the liner notes of The King of Rock and Roll: The Complete 50’s Masters:

‘One Night,’ by way of contrast [with ‘Teddy Bear’, which he recorded at the same session], … clearly stemmed from no other source but Elvis Presley’s passion for the music, and it was delivered with undiminished, and unexpurgated, force. Upon his return to the studio a month later to complete various album and single tracks, he re-cut ‘One Night’ with cleaned-up, more teen-oriented lyrics in a performance which, despite its lyrical compromise, actually matches the intensity of the original.

At the end of 1957, Elvis was drafted, so RCA began releasing previously recorded tracks, and they released “One Night” October, 1958. It hit #4 in the US and #1 in the UK. He played it during his 1968 comeback special, and it was re-released in the UK in 2005 and again hit #1. I believe his original recording (the one with the original lyrics) was first released only on The Complete 50’s Masters boxed set in 1992, under the title “One Night of Sin.” (It’s also included on the remastered version of his third album, Loving You.)
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Airset etc

by Henry Farrell on February 21, 2007

Eszter is the CT expert on life-enhancing information technologies, but I thought that some readers might be interested in a service, “Airset”:, that my wife and I have been using for the last several weeks. We’d been looking for a long while for some sort of scheduling software that would allow us to keep track of our respective obligations and to synch with Palm and Outlook, but hadn’t found anything very good. Yahoo! calendar synchs, if you’re prepared to beat some very badly documented software into submission, but the calendar isn’t very flexible. Google calendar is considerably better, but it doesn’t synch (there are some third party packages out there that allow synching with Google’s service, but for one reason or another, they weren’t what we were looking for). Airset synchs and does a lot more besides, allowing us to maintain separate calendars, to share events as needed, and really organize our lives. And (unless you want an optional service allowing you to maintain your calendar from your phone), it’s free. It’s straightforward, nicely designed, and incredibly easy to use – vastly better than any other competing product I’ve come across so far. Another worthwhile software package is “Foxit reader”: – a pdf reader which is smaller, neater, and much better behaved than Acrobat, and has recently been substantially upgraded. Other technology recommendations welcomed in comments (I discovered Foxit thanks to a similar thread at Jim Henley’s place back in the day).