Thanks, Paddy. I’m very sad to hear that Paddy O’Carroll died this weekend in Cork. He was one of my first teachers in Sociology, and a man of deep intelligence, humanity, and insight into Irish society and especially its political community. Famously disorganized in lecture, he was nevertheless sharp as a pin in conversation. I can’t count the number of times he brought me up short with some observation or anecdote that I’d spend the rest of the day thinking about.
Last Thursday I gave a talk at the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division meetings about patterns in publication and citation in some of the field’s major journals. I have a more extensive analysis of the data that’s almost done, but that deserves a paper of its own rather than a post. Here I’ll confine myself mostly to descriptive material about some broad trends, together with a bit of discussion at the end.
Update: Updated to identify Catholic schools. (And again later, with more Catholic schools ID’d.) I took another look at the vaccination exemption data I discussed the other day. This time I was interested in getting a closer look at the range of variation between different sorts of schools. My goal was to extract a bit more information about the different sorts of elementary schools in the state, just using the data from the Health Department spreadsheet.
California Kindergarten PBE Rates by Type of School, 2014-15. (PDF available.) I came across a report this afternoon, via Eric Rauchway, about high rates of vaccination exemption in Sacramento schools. As you are surely aware, this is a serious political and public health problem at the moment. Like Eric, I was struck by just how high some of the rates were. So I went and got the data from the California Department of Public Health, just wanting to take a quick look at it.
Update, January 22nd: Now with plots standardized per thousand films released that year. It’s time for another episode of Data Analysis on the Bus. This one follows from an exchange on Twitter, prompted by the coverage of American Sniper about the tendency to use the word “American” in film titles, especially when you want things to sound terribly serious. This led to a bit of freewheeling and it has to be said perhaps tendentious cultural theorizing on my part.
After listening to the hosts discuss probability on ATP this week, I was most of the way through writing something that, had I finished it, would have been this Dr Drang post only not nearly as good. (I will confess that my motivation was exactly the same as his: “People believe John”.) In fairness I don’t blame them for getting confused, because probability really is confusing and I’m terrible at it myself.
The new Philosophical Gourmet Report Rankings are out today. The report ranks a selection of Ph.D programs in English-speaking Philosophy departments, both overall and for various subfields, on the basis of the judgments of professional philosophers. The report (and its editor) has been controversial in the past, and of course many people dislike the idea of rankings altogether. But as these things go the PGR is pretty good. It’s a straightforward reputational assessment made by a panel of experts from within the field.
FADE FROM BLACK: PROF. CORLEONE’S OFFICE. DAY. BONASENIOR: … But the Associate Dean said it was out of his hands. And then my Mom texted me and said, “For extra credit opportunities, we must go to Professor Corleone.” PROF. CORLEONE: Why did you go to the Associate Dean? Why didn’t you come to me first? BONASENIOR: What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But do what I beg you to do.
The other day at OrgTheory, Beth Berman had a very nice discussion on “inequality in the skies” about how much of space on planes is given over to different classes of passenger. Using seating charts, she calculated some rough Gini coefficients of inequality on board. For example, on a transatlantic flight in a three-class configuration with fancy lie-flat beds up front, if we look again at how the space is distributed, we now have 21% of the people using about 40% of the plane, 27% using another 20%, and the final 52% using the last 40%.
My colleague Jim Moody sent along some interesting data this morning. Using the Web of Science database, he took the most-cited papers in Sociology and produced a Top 10 list for each decade going back to the 1950s. Not a table of which papers were most popular in those decades, but a table of which papers are now the most-cited from those decades. Note that the 1950s category is really “1950s and before”.