Friday, November 20, 2015

Weirder and Weirder

The UGA whistleblower story gets weirder and weirder, including this most recent addition reported in today's Athens Banner-Herald.

Synopsis: accountant blows whistle on the UGA alumni relations director for all her "travel" which allegedly is charged to the university but is really for her personal use (and gets fired for it). You can read the story linked above for details. Quite a story.

So why do I bring this up here?

Because, my dear, there's data. And best I can tell, few if any news outlets have reported how much travel she actually did.

I dipped into the 2014 salary reports, which I have in Excel format for all UGA employees, to see where Deborah Dietzler, the former alumni person, stands in terms of travel dollars.

Her rank? She's 39th among all employees listed in the database, all 24,524 of them. Keep in mind that last number is inflated as it includes anyone who worked for UGA during that fiscal year, including student workers (work study, TAs, RAs, staff, faculty, admins, etc.). So there are a lot of $0 in this database. A whole lot.

But Dietzler, on top of her listed $123,900.96 salary, received $20,327.98 in travel monies. Sheesh.

I get about a thousand bucks a year for travel.

Who got the most UGA travel money that year? Here are the Top Five:
  1. Scott Jackson, a professor ($48,990)
  2. Caitlin Payne, a research assistant ($40,161)
  3. Michael Geller, professor ($37,416)
  4. William Eiland, a department head ($36,335)
  5. Fei Zhang, public service professional ($36,097).
A lot of the travel monies above are soft money from research or service grants and the like, so let's not get into an apples and oranges thing here compared to my measly travel budget. In other words, I can be bitter, but let's move on.

UGA Students: Countries of Origin

This odd and kinda sad incident earlier this week on the UGA campus about the cops being called on a kid with an Arabic flag got me wondering about where our international students come from. All we have to work with at present are the Fall 2014 data available in the UGA Factbook (2014 version, obviously). Work your way to Page 25 and you'll find a list of countries as well as how many undergrad and grad students come from there, or you can look at the bad screen shot below. Sorry, the Factbook is in stupid PDF format so I can't easily scrape the data at the moment for analysis, such as sort by number of students. We'll have to eyeball it and hope for the rest.

First off, China beats everyone (total of 829 students). Then again, it has a lot more people to work with. After that comes South Korea (total of 378 students), and India (262 students). After those well-peopled countries we downshift to the double digits and places like Canada (82) and Brazil (82), etc.

Yeah yeah, but the stupid scare earlier this week prompted by an overzealous and misinformed UGA administrative assistant had to do with a student with the Saudi Arabian flag. In Fall 2014, at least, I see no students listed from there. Perhaps his roots are there but he's a citizen of another country. Neither is Syria represented. However, given at least five of the terrorists who attacked Paris were from France, we do have 15 students from that country.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Search

I did a vanity book search via Google today. Ya know, when you search for your own name. In this case, a search for "barry hollander" found lots of interesting and old stuff. Most of it is academic books citing my research, but not all of it. Let's look at the fun stuff.

For example, there's this mediocre short story I wrote years ago for an anthology, or this mention of me having contributed "notable dark work" in the top summary of speculative fiction, or this damn good zombie story I wrote for a top anthology (cover to the left), or (sigh, not proud of this) a story I wrote in a moment of weakness for an erotic fantasy anthology. Got paid for all of them. Money is money.

In all, I sold maybe 50 short stories during my brief fling with fiction. I gave up. Too hard to write that stuff, and way more competitive than academic or journalistic writing, at least in getting acceptances (and a paycheck). Hell, for some of these anthologies they bought 10 or so stories out of 500 submissions, harder odds than getting published in an academic journal. Some magazines and anthologies I was in, they accepted only 1 percent of all submissions. Even JMCQ (the top academic journal in my field) isn't that tough to get in.

Line Edits

I rarely do this, but a story on Grady Newsource (which is a good catch, the local protest about the Syrian refugee thing) caught my eye. Here are my edits on a fairly short story.

Again, good story. I haven't seen it elsewhere, though I may have missed it. But if you're going to write online, you have to do it to correct style.

Monday, November 16, 2015

We're #33

Georgia's football team cracked the coveted "teams also receiving votes" in this week's AP poll. We're 7-3, after all. That's good, right? Let's look at those quality wins.

Opponent Record
South Carolina

Basically, UGA has not beaten a major college team that holds (so far) a winning record. We did beat Southern University, a small school that boasts a 6-4 record. Otherwise we've beaten a 1-9 ULM, a 4-6 Vandy, a 3-7 South Carolina, a 5-5 Missouri, a 4-6 Kentucky, and a 5-5 Auburn.


We've lost to all the teams with winning records (setting aside tiny Southern).

Or do the math this way. Our wins are against teams with a combined 28-42. Our losses are to teams with a combined record of of 24-6. If you set aside the small schools like Southern and ULM, no better.

Again, sigh.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Admitting to Entertainment Programming -- Mode Response

We know from loads of previous research that people answer survey questions differently if asked face-to-face as opposed to the phone or, especially, via the Internet. Let's have some fun and look at a few responses between national samples of the same questions asked F2F vs. over the Web, with the data weighted to account for demographic differences between the two samples.

Yes, I'm thinking of a study along these lines with these data. Consider this me thinking out loud.

Below I'm going to toss a few shows at you, with the F2F and Web percentages. My underlying assumption is people will more readily, in a F2F situation, to say yes to more prestigious answers, like news programming, and be less likely F2F to admit to entertainment programming. Let's see if my theory holds water. Below the table, I discuss briefly.

TV Program
 News Shows

   60 Minutes
   ABC News
   Meet the Press
   NBC News

   The Mentalist
   The Voice
   American Idol
   Big Bang Theory
   Dancing w Stars

These are selected programs, not all of them available, so a more comprehensive analysis of the data might find something different. Still, you kinda get the idea. Look at the news programming. The F2F percentages are uniformly higher than the web-based responses. And now look at the entertainment-based programming. It's generally higher as well. Two exceptions: The Mentalist and Dancing with the Stars.

So all in all, not a lot of support for my thesis. I'd have to generate a more complete list, create an index of each type of television programming, and then see if it held up. But it doesn't look good.

I hate it when data gets in the way of a good theory.

Methodological Stuff

This is from the 2012 ANES, which used random samples of both face-to-face and web-based surveys. You can find the study page here.

Twitter Polls

The people have unanimously spoken. Well, six of them have spoken.