Automatically translated survey?

Machine translations have come a long way, but are they any good for surveys? Obviously, it’s a hard problem because response categories can be short and there is little context — human translators sometimes get these wrong… So today I played around with automatic translation, and was left wondering what source texts they used so that “nope” is the default translation (register, anyone?)

“yes” and “nope” as default answers…

Can we be categorised by our DNA?

Here’s an accessible online post on how genetics (DNA) and ethnic groups relate. Using colours as an analogy, the post and the video do an excellent job in explaining why ethnic differences are socially constructed.

For further explanation around the video, check out the original post: by Kaustubh Adhikari where you can learn how scientist refuse to refer to human “races” despite seemingly conspicuous difference!

Reviewing activities on a 2-page CV

I’m a big fan of 2-page CV, but in the most recent template I have received from a funder, they also ask to list reviewing activities. On the one hand, I appreciate that they try to acknowledge reviewing activities, on the other hand, I wonder what selection criteria would be appropriate — listing everything would fill most of the 2 pages (and still not tell us much about the quality of the reviews); only listing activities for “prestigious” work kind of defeats the point of trying to acknowledge the less glorious parts of what we do.

Academic Spam, May 2022 Edition

I just got this gem…

Dear Dr. Ruedin,

This is a Call for the Appointment of Editors, to the journal [JOURNAL NAME REMOVED]. This is a new journal focused on all areas of Social Sciences. The journal publishes original letters (short articles), research articles, full-length/mini-reviews and thematic issues based on mini-reviews and short articles dealing with various topics related to Social Sciences.

Considering your contributions in the field, and based on your published article entitled [ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY ME SOME 5 YEARS AGO] we feel that your field of interest is related to our journal, and that you would be a good candidate for this position. We are therefore requesting your permission to communicate with you further on this matter.

Fantastic, this article must have impressed them, running a set of regression analyses with carefully selected variable to examine different social mechanisms… let’s have a closer look then:

The scope of the journal covers all topics related to social sciences and we will be appointing Editors in the fields given below, including but not limited to:

1.       Anthropology

2.       Area Studies


45.   Women’s Studies

46.   Other related fields

OK, I slightly abbreviated this list for the sake of this blog post… I don’t know, only 45 subfields of the social sciences, is this broad enough? Thankfully, we get #46 (“other related fields”), and recall the “but not limited to” just above the list…!

Then they ask me to contact them should I be interested, but the best comes last:

[If you prefer not to receive any further emails, please send us an email with the subject line “UNSUBSCRIBE”]

Yes, definitely not spam — I mean don’t we all have this line at the bottom of our e-mails??