How Shoes You Wear Affect What Kind of Men You Date

And this is the most recent weird ad I found:

As strange as this ad is, I have to confess that in terms of shoes, I’m definitely number 3 from the top. I have very sensitive feet and prefer ballet flats to any other kind of shoe. And the guy that corresponds to those shoes on this graph is really my kind of guy. My eyes immediately go to him out of all these men. Hmmm. . .

Are you noticing any similarities between your preferences in shoes and in men?

Baby Pineapples

Have you ever seen anything like this? Baby pineapples! I think it’s the cutest fruit I’ve ever seen.

They are much pricklier than regular pineapples, though. I kept trying to place them into a plastic bag but they’d slice right through it. And you can’t hold them in your hands for long because it’s like holding a cactus.

I thought you don’t get many surprises at my age but I still can’t get over these baby pineapples.

Weird Hiring Practices

Jonathan writes:

A new trend I’ve noticed is that you write a recommendation for a PhD student, and then the school calls you with a list of questions to answer. They go down the list of questions mechanically and you just answer them out loud. Presumably the nice faculty member on the other side of the phone takes notes on what you say, probably including the most significant phrases.

I also have a weird hiring experience to share. When I was interviewing for academic positions, prospective employers would phone people from my department and ask questions as to what my personality is like and whether I’m a nice person.

That was a big department and they called a couple of people I’d had no interactions with. Those kind colleagues did all they could to sell me to the prospective employers pretty much sight unseen.

It was very weird to be approached by strangers who’d say, “I’m sorry, are you Clarissa? I was interviewed about you today. I said you had a great personality. I don’t know you, but I’m guessing your personality is good.”

Then, I’d start trying to prove to the kind stranger that I did, in fact, have a great personality.

So the lesson of the story is: make sure that everybody at your current department is aware of you and can say something positive about your personality.

Students on #OWS Protests

We were discussing Spain’s Indignados movement today and, of course, I simply couldn’t resist asking my students what they thought about the #Occupy protests.

Here are their responses:

“What’s #Occupy Wall Street?”

“Never heard of it.”

“I’m opposed because they are all corrupt.”

“I’m in favor because they want to stop the corruption in the government.”

“I’m in favor because they want to stick it to the big corporations.”

“I’m opposed because they keep whining how they are in debt. And if they took out all those credit cards to buy stuff, that’s their own fault.”

“They are OK, I guess.”

“Oh, that’s all just silly. I have no patience for those people.”

“I don’t care. I have more important things to think about.”


The other 55 students valiantly resisted my efforts to elicit their opinions on the subject. Many smiled enigmatically. I believe they didn’t want to share what they think because I made it impossible for them to guess what I thought of the #OWS.

And that’s a shame because I don’t grade on political opinions.

How Many People Voted in the Russian Elections Yesterday?

Can anybody guess which percentage of the population participated in the elections to the Russian Parliament (the Duma) in Rostov area?

A little over 146%! (The link is in Russian, but you can still see the numbers and add them up for yourself.) This is true civic consciousness for you. Here we barely get 60% of the population to vote while in Russia more voters come to the polls than actually live in the area.

This is either a case ofDead Souls immortalized by the great Russian writer Gogol, or the ruling party of Russia has become even more shameless than it used to be.