Archive for the ‘fabio’ Category

should you publish in PLoS One?

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My response to this question on Facebook:

  1. Do not publish in PLoS if you need a status boost for the job market or promotion.
  2. Do publish if journal prestige is not a factor. My case: good result but I was in a race against other computer scientists. Simply could not wait for a four year journal process.
  3. Reviewer quality: It is run mainly by physical and life scientists. Reviews for my paper were similar in quality to what CS people gave me on a similar paper submitted to CS conferences/journals.
  4. Personally, I was satisfied. Review process fair, fast publication, high citation count. Would not try to get promoted on the paper by itself, though.
  5. A lot of people at strong programs have PLoS One pubs but usually as part of a larger portfolio of work.
  6. A typical good paper in PLoS is from a strong line of work but the paper just bounced around or too idiosyncratic.
  7. PLoS One publishes some garbage.
  8. Summary: right tool for the right job. Use wisely.

Another person noted that many elite scientists use the “Science, Nature, or PLoS One model.” In other words, you want high impact or just get it out there. No sense wasting years of time with lesser journals.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

October 11, 2016 at 12:13 am

cuida tu espiritu

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From Marilyn Crispell.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

October 9, 2016 at 12:42 am

no complexity theory in economics

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Roger E. Farmer has a blog post on why economists should not use complexity theory. At first, I though he was going to argue that complexity models have been dis-proven or they use unreasonable assumptions. Instead, he simply says we don’t have enough data:

The obvious question that Buzz asked was: are economic systems like this? The answer is: we have no way of knowing given current data limitations. Physicists can generate potentially infinite amounts of data by experiment. Macroeconomists have a few hundred data points at most. In finance we have daily data and potentially very large data sets, but the evidence there is disappointing. It’s been a while since I looked at that literature, but as I recall, there is no evidence of low dimensional chaos in financial data.

Where does that leave non-linear theory and chaos theory in economics? Is the economic world chaotic? Perhaps. But there is currently not enough data to tell a low dimensional chaotic system apart from a linear model hit by random shocks. Until we have better data, Occam’s razor argues for the linear stochastic model.

If someone can write down a three equation model that describes economic data as well as the Lorentz equations describe physical systems: I’m all on board. But in the absence of experimental data, lots and lots of experimental data, how would we know if the theory was correct?

On one level, this is a fair point. Macro-economics is notorious for having sparse data. We can’t re-run the US economy under different conditions a million times. We have quarterly unemployment rates and that’s it. On another level, this is an extremely lame criticism. One thing that we’ve learned is that we have access to all kinds of data. For example, could we have m-turker participate in an online market a  million times? Or, could we mine eBay sales data? In other words, Farmer’s post doesn’t undermine the case for complexity. Rather, it suggests that we might search harder and build bigger tools. And, in the end, isn’t that how science progresses?

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

October 7, 2016 at 12:39 am

why do some states have higher mass incarceration than others? comment on pamela oliver’s blog

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Over at Race, Politics, and Justice, Pamela Oliver asks why her home state of Wisconsin has such high rates of Black imprisonment in comparison to other states, even in times when rates are falling:

Wisconsin has stayed at the top of the pile in Black incarceration even though its Black incarceration rate has been declining. How can this be? The answer is that all the other states have been declining faster. By putting a scatter plot of state imprisonment rates on consistent axes, I’ve been able to produce a really cool animation effect.  The data source is the\ National Corrections Reporting Program public “in custody” file. Rates are calculation on entire population (all ages). States voluntarily participate in this data collection program and appear and disappear from the plot depending on whether they reported for the appropriate year. States are also eliminated if more than 10% of their inmates are recorded as having unknown race. You’ll see if watch long enough that the relative positions of most states stay the same, but the whole distribution starts  moving downward (lower Black incarceration rates) and to the left (lower White incarceration rates) in the last few years. You may download both these images and explanatory material in PDF format  using this link.

Interesting. This is a classic example of the “dog that didn’t bark.” What happened in other states that did not happen in Wisconsin? A few hypotheses: Wisconsin reflects particularly bad conditions in segregated places like Milwaukee; fixed effects of prosecutors – Wisconsin district attorney’s are notoriously bad; police enforcement is unusually harsh. Add your hypotheses or explanation in the comments.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

October 6, 2016 at 12:29 am

book announcement: theory for the working sociologist

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Dear friends and readers,

This coming Winter, Columbia University Press will publish my next book, Theory for the Working Sociologist. The book is my attempt to present social theory in a way that is accessible to upper division social science students, graduate students, and any reader who just wants to know what sociology is up to these days.

The book has an intuitive organization. I choose four major themes of social theory and explain the general ideas (“theory”) that motivate concrete empirical studies and explanations (“mechanisms”). For example, the first section of the book is about power and inequality theory. I illustrate how theoretical ideas about habitus and intersectionality are represented in empirical research and how they grow from earlier approaches to power and inequality. I also have sections on social construction, values/structures/institutions, and strategic action theory (i.e., social capital, structural holes, rational choice and other ways sociologists talk about purposeful action).

The book is short and designed to be used in many contexts. In my  undergraduate theory course, I used the draft of the book to supplement original texts. After reading various inequality theorists from Marx to Patricia Hill-Collins, I assigned chapter 2 to provide an overview of how inequality theory has developed.

Due to its short length, it is also well suited for a quarter course on contemporary theory or as the text you read after you plow through the classics. I can also imagine that graduate students might enjoy it because it offers a brief survey of the major theories of sociology. Many sociologists start in related fields, like political science or economics, and need a “tour guide” to help them find their place.

Finally, I want to thank the readership of this blog. I acknowledgments list many readers who read the text and improved it and the readers who encouraged me to write it in the first place.

If you are thinking of assigning this book in your course, please email me and I will send you the (almost) final draft.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

October 4, 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in books, fabio, uncategorized

bernie in the street: how occupy wall street fits in the democratic party

Mobilizing Ideas has a new forum where a scholars are discussing movements and elections. I’ll start with a few snippets from “Bernie Sanders and the Occupy Wall Street Wing of the Democratic Library,” written by my dear friend Michael T. Heaney:

While it is impossible to definitively establish what fraction of Occupy supporters also supported Sanders, it is possible to look to social media for clues of this support. To this end, I gathered a list of 374 Twitter handles and hashtags associated with the Occupy movement that were in operation between 2011 and 2013. From this list, I randomly selected 150 pages for the purpose of content analysis and coded Twitter feeds for these pages from April 2012 and April 2016. The purpose of this exercise was to understand the extent and nature of movement involvement in Democratic Party politics during two identical periods in the presidential election cycle.

The results of the content analysis reveal significant differences in the activities of the Occupy movement between the April 2012 and April 2016 periods. First, the sites examined became significantly less active over time. In April 2012, 59 percent of sites were active, while this fraction fell to 18 percent by 2016. Second, the level of engagement in electoral politics significantly increased from 2012 to 2016 on the Occupy sites that remained active. Third, the tweets shifted significantly from a more negative perspective on politics in 2012 to a more positive perspective in 2016. In 2012, each site had an average of 0.14 positive tweets about candidates/parties, in comparison to an average of 1.16 negative tweets. In 2016, however, tweets had become more balanced, with an average of 8.70 exhibiting positive valance and an average of 6.62 indicating negative valence.

Read the whole thing.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street


Written by fabiorojas

October 3, 2016 at 12:17 am

you stepped out of a dream, diva big band

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street



Written by fabiorojas

October 2, 2016 at 12:02 am