Entries in bad math (4)


What's Old is What's New

It's been over a month since I've had time to post anything here. Work has been busy, the weather has sucked, and I've been sick so I haven't had time to get out to take any pictures. But there is some news on the photography (gear) front. With summer travel plans starting to come together, the opportunity to pick up a new camera body and lens couldn't be passed up!

Given my increasing infatuation with the Fujifilm X-series system, you're probably thinking I sprung for the new X-T1 or X-E2 (both of which look like an excellent cameras) or the forthcoming 10-24mm f/4 or 56mm f/1.2 lenses (both are on my wishlist). But no, I'm going old school. And by "old" I mean the one-year old X-E1, which has be replaced by the X-E2 i nthe Fuji lineup. Why would I spend money on a camera that has been discontinued? Because they are giving them away for $30.

The X-E1 originally sold for $1400 with the 18-55mm "kit" lens (which gets great ratings). A year after its release it has been replaced in the Fuji lineup with the X-E2 (which sells for $1300, with lens) and the remaining X-E1 stock is being discounted. I just found it for $729, including the lens. The lens goes for $699 when sold alone. So, if you were going to buy that lens, you can get the X-E1 for an additional $30 by buying the kit. Buying just a spare battery for my X-Pro1 (which uses the same battery as the X-E1) would cost more that $30!

Why do I need an X-E1 body. First, it will make a good backup body. When I'm traveling (alone) this summer, it will be nice to have a second, lightweight body to throw in my bag, and I can use it when I don't want to change lenses. Second, when Jen and I are traveling together, it will make a great camera for her. Although the Nikon D3100 she's been using takes nice pictures, it is comparatively bulky. And if I'm shooting with my X-Pro1, when we'd be carrying batteries, lenses, etc for two systems. The X-E1 is smaller and will fit her well, and can share all of the other gear I'd be taking anyways.


What recognition matters?

On the left is a screenshot from David Bromberg's Facebook page; I took a photo at his concert last night at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and sent it to my friend Mark Cosgrove, the guitar/mandolin player in David's band. Mark asked me if they could post it on their Facebook page. I gladly agreed; I'm honored that they liked the photo.* In the first 5 hours, 165 strangers had "liked" the photograph, 18 people had "shared" my photo on their Facebook walls, and there were a number of very complementary comments.

On the right is the PsycInfo information on my most well-cited article (Le & Agnew, 2003...Our Investment Model meta-analysis; PsycInfo is the primary database for psychology journal articles). This paper was published a decade ago (coincidentally, exactly 10 years ago this month), and to date has been cited 153 times. I haven't gone through to talley up how many of those citations came from (a) me (probably about 10-15 of those are me citing that paper in my newer work), (b) colleagues I have done research with (maybe another 40 of those citations?), or (c) researchers in my field that I know personally (another 40 of those?). My guess is that there are about 50-60 people in the world who have stumbled upon that paper in their own research, without knowing me, and decided they like that paper enough to cite it in their own work.

Fifty people in TEN YEARS. Or 165 people in 5 hours? It's no surprise which one is more satisfying...

Update #1: In the time it took me to write this post, 7 more strangers liked my photo, but, to my knowledge, no new papers citing my article were added to PsycInfo.

Update #2: After a couple of days, the photo has been shared around 35 times and liked over 345 times (as far as I can see). 

*As an aside, at the last minute, on the way out the door, it dawned on me that taking my camera might be a good idea. I didn't know if photography would be allowed at the Colonial, but after seeing all of those people trying to take shots with their phones, I realized that with my X-Pro1 I'd be much less annoying/disruptive than everyone else trying to snap shots...


Why I'm more special than (or at least as special as) Drew Brees

With the annual meeting of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) last week and the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I was wondering how rare or common are social psychologists compared to (American) football players?

  • There are approximately 1,700 active professional football players (32 teams x 53 players on each roster), more if you count those guys on injured reserve or practice squads. So maybe there are 2,000 guys getting paid to play football in this country in any given year.
  • SocialPsychology.org claims that it has an "interactive directory of over 1,800 professionals who specialize in social or personality psychology." Of course, not every social psychologist has a profile there (but most do); then again, some of the folks with profiles aren't currently active (e.g., retired or don't currently hold faculty positions).
  • There were 3,400 people at SPSP, but that includes some personality psychologists and a lot of grad students (I'm not counting post-docs and grad students in my estimate of social psychologists; I'm also not including college football players in these numbers). Of course not all social psychologists go to SPSP; my guess is that there were 1,000 social psychologists with faculty positions, at most, at SPSP.
  • I suppose I could get a pretty good sense of the number of social (and personality) psychologists by getting the membership records for SPSP (i.e., the non-student members); most social (and personality) psychologists are members there. But that seems like a lot of work to ask of someone just to satisfy my follies.
  • The career of the average football player is much shorter than that of academic social psychologists (a few years vs. a few decades). So even if at any point in time there are the same number of people employed as social psychologists as football players, across the last 50 years there would have been many more professional football players than social psychology professors.

So my best guess is that in any given year the number of professional football players and social psychologists is probably pretty similar. But over time there have been more football players than social psychologists.

Of course, Drew Brees isn't the average football player. I am definitely not the Drew Brees of social psychologists, although we were at Purdue at the same time. I'm more like a backup offensive lineman or a punter... :-) 

(Please note, in case it's not obvious, the title of this post was written with tongue firmly in cheek.)



image source: championdontstop.comWhen you think of all the things "other guys" are into, my one vice is relatively benign, isn't it? I don't have a cigarette (or cigar) habit, nor am I into beer, wine, or other types of alcohol. I don't golf, play poker, fish, or drive an expensive car (my ride is 10 years old and paid off, and gets 40mpg). I'd rather have a $5 burrito than a $30 steak; I don't wear suits or designer clothes. If you take that $3 y'all spend at Starbucks everyday, that starts to adds up to a pretty nice guitar every so often. Let's do the math for the year for the typically vices that most of you have (i.e., not including cigarettes; that would increase these numbers a lot):

  • 300 coffees (@ $3 each) = $900
  • A couple of six packs a month (@ ~$8 each, two per month) =  $200
  • A glass of wine or two per week (~1 bottle a month @ ~$20) = $240
  • A few rounds of golf a year (I have no idea how much a round costs; maybe $40?): $120
  • Haircuts at a barbershop (every other month @ $20 each): $120
  • Gym membership (@ ~$30 a month) = $360*

TOTAL = $1940

So, I'm good for about $2000 in guitars a year, right?

*Not that I go to the gym, but if I did I'd use the one at work for free.