Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Archive for September 2009

Effects of the Economy on Childbearing

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According to a survey discussed in this MSNBC article, American women are delaying pregnancy and planning to have fewer children because of economic concerns. Makes sense. Kids are expensive. But apparently, some women are also changing their contraceptive habits because of financial constraints. Some reported just going without. I suppose that’s a great way to save money if you’re not sexually active, but I wonder what the net effect of these two trends will be. Will there be any noticeable rise in unplanned pregnancies? Or will there be any noticeable decline in the number of births? And, of course, where are the men in this story? The decision to have a child often involves men in addition to women. And men do play a role in birth control use – even if women do shoulder most of the burden here.

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Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm

I want, I want that bod!

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I joined a gym today! We have an exercise room in our building, and I’ve worked out some there, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me. There isn’t much equipment, and what is there is old and pretty low-quality. Plus, the lighting is terrible, so it’s always dark and depressing. I was dreading going there, so I decided to bite the bullet and join the gym down the street. The location can’t be beat, and I was able to get a student discount. It’s not a big gym, but it doesn’t have very many members. I was there for about an hour today and was totally alone. It was nice to have the place to myself so I could get acquainted with all the machines. The equipment is really nice. For example, the treadmills and elliptical machines have their very own televisions! Pretty awesome. So now I just have to get in a routine of going, and I’ll be all set.

Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Activities

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With a smack smack here and a smack smack there.

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I chewed three pieces of gum today. And it wasn’t just in the privacy of my car. I chewed it while working on the computer at the library and while reading in the faculty/staff lounge and while walking around campus. In total, I may have exceeded three hours of chewing. As far as I know, there’s nothing unhealthy about chewing gum. It’s at least better than other habits like smoking or fingernail biting. Speaking of smoking, I saw a student on campus today smoking a pipe. I’ve never before seen anyone who wasn’t a grandfather smoke a pipe.

Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 2:01 am

Happy News

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Although we were lucky enough to recover from the flood in March of this year, the rest of Franklin, Indiana is just now seeing some relief. The FEMA money that will allow the city to buy flood-damaged houses has finally materialized. Yay Franklin!

Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 1:51 am

Sociology rocks!

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I am so excited to see that the most emailed article from nytimes.com today is Maureen Dowd’s “Blue Is the New Black.” Although I suppose there is a chance that all the sociologists of the world are responsible for this emailing frenzy, I am going to conclude instead that everyone loves sociology. Everyone, of course, being the people who are reading the NYT, which may be somewhat limited, but is certainly not limited to only sociologists. Anyway, there seems to be this ongoing debate in the discipline about how much sociologists should be engaging the public with their work, and I take this as a sign that the answer to this debate is that sociologists should be putting it out there as much as possible because people are really interested in hearing about it. How can people not be interested in other people? There’s a reason we continue to see reality tv show after reality tv show after reality tv show popping up. We are voyeurs, and we like to compare our experiences to others’, and we like to understand why our life is what it is.

Okay, you get my point. So, in this op-ed, Dowd discusses data from the General Social Survey that show that since the 1970’s women have been reporting lower levels of happiness, while men have been reporting higher levels of happiness. She goes on to mention some of the possible reasons for this trend. And she does not limit her discussion to considerations of change over time, but also talks about changes across the life course. It’s a complex issue, and she treats it that way. In my most humble opinion, I think it is very well done.

Written by Lisa

September 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Delightful.

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I’ve been in a crabby mood all day. Things just haven’t been going according to plan. But I just received a piece of news that has made me a bit more cheerier. A Panera is opening in our building on Wednesday. Delightful. And possibly very bad news for my wallet.

Written by Lisa

September 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Food, In the News, Indianapolis

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Alex & Me

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I just finished reading Alex & Me: How a Scientist and Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene Pepperberg. It was a quick, sad but also uplifting, and interesting read. It was the kind of book that you just don’t want to put down. It makes you question what you know about intelligence and language and the distinctions between humans and other animals. It’s also a powerful story about perseverance. Pepperberg faced so many challenges in her journey to teach people about Alex’s capabilities. Many people would just give up. But she believed that what she was doing was important, and she believed that she could succeed. Very inspiring story.

Written by Lisa

September 20, 2009 at 11:09 pm