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Ralphie

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About Ralphie

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    Ab@theplace.com
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    http://www.aboulton.net

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    Bristol, England

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  1. Ralphie

    Geography

    Thank you very much that anonymom. I now have a list of some sort to guide me (rather than the "think of a state, add the word 'university', add the word 'geography' and type it into Google" approach!!). I wonder how they arrived at those rankings... I know it's a few years ago, but my (uninformed) impression was that places like Maryland and particularly Georgia and UNC (and Kentucky for that matter) would have ranked a little higher. Who knows though... I wonder if there's much correlation between ranking and competition for admission. I guess probably not, but what do I know? Just looking at the websites, Indiana and Kansas seem pretty good in terms of covering a range of my (potential) areas of interest. They can be added to my tentative list of possibilities as I wait to see to what extent I have to revise my aims/expectations downwards! At least in amongst everything else I have sufficient time to spend "crafting" those aspects of my applications (personal statements) that I have control over and may have some influence -- and I will now have a list to work through, c. June 24, for inspiration. So thank you for the help! Congratulations to your son! It must be pretty exciting coming to geography "fresh", as it were. What's his background? At least (human) geography is not about learning, memorizing and regurgitating a fixed body of facts (although exam time feels different). So, in that sense nobody (geography major or not) can (claim to) have mastered "Geography". Because individuals' prior exposure to specific narrow themes/approaches ranges so widely (I mean, geography is virtually unrecognizable as the same subject between departments), everybody is in the same boat to some extent. Britt, I'm glad to hear you're making yourself at home, staking your claim on the most desirable desk (alliteration, you see). So I take it you've already finished your degree (and/or graduated)? Here, there are still finals going on next week, and Judgment/results day comes the following week... This is going to be one much needed summer break... followed by autumn... winter... then hopefully I'll be "good to go" (as they say).
  2. Ralphie

    Geography

    Anonymom (clever name ), Thank you for your advice (and for your good wishes -- they're really appreciated). I will certainly see what (if any) external sources of funding are available. In terms of which other schools to apply to, I take your point absolutely about choosing places that are a "good match" rather than simply a "lower" standard. Although I really hope Kentucky will offer me funding again next time, the fact is, I might have to end up elsewhere, so it's certainly sensible to apply to places where I have something in common with them interests-wise. I do also have to consider, however, that this time round my grades may not be looking as good as they did last year (although I have no idea how they convert them to a US GPA equivalent, or even what they're looking for when they do). I will know the answer to how (much worse) I've done at the end of the month. I suspect (but don't know for sure) that the quantitative aspects of the application (GPA and GRE) are, perhaps, weighted more heavily for funding decisions, at least compared with admissions decisions which, I agree, are probably based more around the question of "fit". Therefore, putting the vagarires of the GPA conversion to one side, I'm slightly paranoid that my GRE scores, although reasonably strong (with no real possibility of my improving on them), might not stand out sufficiently to "qualify" me for funding from the more competitive departments (even if - a big if - I were to get admission). For that reason, I imagine I will apply to several places -- places, like you say, that are a reasonable match, but also places I have a fair chance of receiving funding from. One year's enforcedhiatus I can just about get my head around, but I need to do everything in my power to make sure I can move forward next year... So, what is your son's current situation?... Did he apply to UIUC? I hope things are working out.
  3. Ralphie

    Geography

    I don't know if you want/need/expect funding, but that could be a problem with applying for Spring admission if they divide up their budgets on an academic year basis. I don't know much about economic geography, but ASU and USC are two others that seemed to have their fair share of faculty/courses in that area. I don't know about whether your undergraduate institution will necessarily hurt -- isn't a 3.7 GPA a 3.7 GPA regardless of where you got it? I'm not sure... in the UK they try to standardize the level of degree grades nationally, but the reality is very different of course. Sorry I can't be of more help. In other news -- it looks like I'll be doing the whole application thing all over again for Fall 2007. Thanks to a nice, unexpected illness that I need 9 months of treatment for, my doctor said I shouldn't/couldn't go (to Kentucky). Kentucky has said that the admission offer still stands for next year, but the funding (which is crucial for me) is a new "competition" each year, which I will have to wait to hear about. So, in reality I need to apply to other ("lesser") programs for back-up in case I am unable to go to Kentucky. So, my finals, which two weeks ago were going to be irrelevant (I already had my place), and I had treated as irrelevant for months, are suddenly important again. And yet studying isn't the easiest thing to concentrate on when you've heard what I've heard from my doctor right in the middle of them . Oh well, 4 down, 1 to go, but god knows what, if anything, I can salvage from them. I'll know on June 21. I doubt my GRE scores will compensate either. Isn't (my) life great? I trust the doctor/medicine for one half of the problem, but if anyone wants to offer any variant of prayer for the academic part, it would be much appreciated! Just in case you didn't get the impression already, I am extremely jealous of everyone starting this year... but mainly happy for you. I wish you the best of luck. I'm also in the market for some suggestions of sub-Kentucky programs to apply to if anyone has any ideas. Thanks.
  4. Ralphie

    Geography

    Sonny, I think you're right: the skills and training issues are central, and not just the infrastructure which is itself relatively inexpensive. It certainly needed the support of the local government, and access is based around the public library. The community section of their website explains how it is being implemented. My home city has loads of good points. I just can't think of what they are
  5. [Just to clear one thing up first -- I did not suggest that teaching abstinence is necessarily effective or desirable. So no "false information" there, nor even an opinion for that matter.] I don't want to do a Bill O'Reilly and claim that because you brand me "extremist" I win automatically -- although he's got a point about that being a fairly common reflex position -- but it is tempting . I'm not even a conservative for God's sake! You're against kicking puppies for fun? Well, we can agree on that :shock: Leaving any rhetoric aside -- which part of this is wrong?: 1. You stated that the majority view on whether research is acceptable should determine whether it receives public funding. No doubt. 2. You gave examples [in your links] of where funding was being withheld from (or at least opposed for) particular types of projects: the differential responses of lesbian/straight women to porn, and "experimenting" with liberal sex education programs in schools. You may have chosen different words, but substantively, that''s uncontroversial. 3. I suggested that the majority would probably oppose their money being spent on research into the differential responses of lesbian/straight women to porn. Additionally, I suggested that the majority would probably oppose "experimenting" with liberal sex education programs on their children. Almost certainly the case. 4. If you accept 1-3, I suggest, logically, that you should oppose such research. Personally I don't buy the value-for-money argument (particularly as it would render virtually all geography [my subject]research dead). I do, however, draw a moral line in the sand when it comes to "what if?" questions about whether new forms of permissive indoctrination "work". You flinch at age 11, but that's precisely how it is here, so hardly an horrific exaggeration.
  6. Ralphie

    Geography

    haha, I'm glad you knew that! I'm sorry to admit that I had no idea where Kentucky was before I applied there; I thought it was further south to be honest... about where Tennessee is. It just shows though... all that exists of the US according to the British media is NYC, Washington, California and Disneyland, Florida. I won't be a teaching assistant right away. I have a fellowship for the first year at least, but after that I'm not certain; either the fellowship renews or I will get an assistantship. So, are you looking forward to teaching (or operating the photcopier and grading exams maybe )? Personally, I'm glad I'm not a TA for the first year at least. 21 and trying to teach?! If it's anything like England -- where half the upper class ***** [nothing against the upper classes in general] take about 2 gap years -- most of the undergrads are probably older than that.
  7. Yes, sorry -- the "antiscientific" comment referred to the title of the thread. Anyways, I dragged it way off-topic. Have a moral victory I haven't read through those links too thoroughly, but so far as I can see the objections are largely based on the utility of the research rather than ideology. I haven't asked "most Americans" what they think, but I wouldn't mind betting that they would oppose having their tax money spent on seeing if pornography arouses people. I'm glad it doesn't work in that way though. If majority rule were the only criterion, I should think the only publicly-funded research that would ever take place would be to cure cancer. Remember, with reference to the evolution/ID issue "the majority" believes literally in the bible's account of creationism. Additionally, the majority probably opposes -- rightly I would say -- having its children used to test "the effects of different types of sex education". I wouldn't want any child of mine randomly assigned to the "let's see what happens when we have an amoral "health educator" dolling out free contraceptives like sweeties from age 11" group [for the results of that trial, see British sex education, and teen pregnancy rates, since c. 1960]. As to the question, whether it would put off international students -- I doubt it. Unlesss, in the case of the UK, they read The Guardian or watch the BBC they wouldn't be aware of this "issue". But such people hate America and everything it stands for anyway, so I'm sure it would not be the deciding factor.
  8. To be anything more than logically sound, you'd have to demonstrate that funding is being withheld from research on issues such as sexuality for "policy" reasons. I find that unlikely. Even within geography queer theory (not to mention queer theorists) flourish -- good research projects are funded irrespective of the "Bush administration" (or whatever malevolent homophobic force is being blamed). I'd love to know what sexuality-based research we're all missing out on because of the Dark Forces of Conservatism. Stem cell research is a different matter, I can accept. The US has chosen largely not to participate in what many see as a global market in commoditized human life, so presumably anyone interested in nurturing and destroying stem cells would be unlikely to feed their desires in the US. (In the same way, the US government has chosen not to participate in the lucrative process of training the next generation of Jihadists at taxpayers' expense.) I think the position on stem cell research is confused at best. How that is extrapolated to "America" being "antiscientific" though I'll never know.
  9. Ralphie

    Geography

    I think the difference between sociology and geography is the frequency with which the word "space" (as a noun or a verb) is peppered into otherwise identical accounts. That, and the way geographers name-drop Foucault -- never having read him -- whether he's relevant to their question or not. Talking of which, on the "medical" question -- Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic. An inherently geographical (i.e. spatial) account of power, discourse and their embodiment. I know there's various "geographical" research on spaces of therapy, alternative therapy, healing, etc. It doesn't interest me in the slightest, but each to his/her own!
  10. I have to rise to the bait... I'm just wondering if the questioner is serious? I think "America" has probably come to terms with the existence of evolution theory by now. I know a lot of lefties just love the idea that the US is some kind of fundamentalist Christian state in which their "enligtened" views are quashed (usually by some unholy alliance of capitalists and/or "the religious right" and/or "the Jewish lobby" and/or "the oil industry" and/or "rightwing pressure groups"), but the reality is that the world of academia is almost exclusively leftwing and secular. I have no problem with that. And in a country with literally 100s of top drawer universities, I'm sure anyone can find a niche in which their ideological dogma (whether that's evolution or ID) wouldn't be questioned. By the way, which country is it that teaches both evolution and intelligent design in science and religious education lessons? Which country is it that has compulsory daily collective worship in state schools? No, not the Evil Empire, but the enlightened, secular, progressive United Kingdom. Religious tolerance. Open debate. All good reasons to be proud of my country, and I'm atheist.
  11. Nothing as bad as that, although I was told "you will definitely get funding" on three occasions from December right up until mid-March, when I got the default "such was the strength of this year's applicants..." rejection. It's just lucky I didn't turn down any other offers on the basis of trusting their word. Mind you, weird as it is, it must give you some satisfaction to be so wanted . But seriously, if they can screw up -- and probably lie -- that badly about your admission imagine what fun they'd have organizing something tricky. Like a piss-up in a brewery.
  12. Ralphie

    Geography

    Congratulations, Sonny, on making your decision -- I just looked at the faculty stuff on their website and, given your interests, it looks like you made a great choice. --- Good luck with the dissertations . And, Miami has to be appealing to anybody -- doesn't it? I mean Will Smith made it sound so cool 8) back before I became a country music bore c. 12 months ago.
  13. Ralphie

    Geography

    Sounds like really interesting stuff. I was reading today in Antipode about the way in which the concentration of "development" in urban centres impacts on and often displaces the urban poor. For example, in Sao Paulo (and many other "third world" cities), the distances between the wealthy "transnational" elites and the majority is huge, both literally and metaphorically; the average commuting time for workers was 4 hours each way. So many interesting questions tied up in that. I haven't been to the Philippines yet, but I've been working as a volunteer on a website for an NGO (HotCity Wireless) which provides free wireless access to disadvantaged Barangays in the areas around Lucena City. The founder of that charity is originally from that area -- and his family still lives there -- but he lives in Edison, New Jersey, USA. I think their work is fantastic, because for all the cliches, the digital divide is a real issue in a globalized world based increasingly on information rather than other kinds of production. Yes, I've decided on Kentucky for my master's, and hopefully PhD thereafter. By the way, Duran Duran is/are from my home city (Birmingham, UK) -- one of its few claims to fame, along with the Bullring, canals and (cough) street crime.
  14. If you're thinking of the University of Wales at Aberystwyth (which, if you like beaches, scenery and sheep you should!), they have some pretty good funding opportunities. The Aberystwyth Postgraduate Research Studentship competition provides fairly big stipends, and is open to international students. Other than that, ESRC studentships linked to specific research projects look like they only provide tuition remission unless you're British. This page has a list of funding opportunities within the university, but they're explained more clearly on the geography site; presumably "your" department would be a good place to ask.
  15. Ralphie

    Geography

    guesty, that sounds really cool -- the way that the experience of real (whether "actual" or immanent/imaginary) places is mediated both through the author's descriptions, and through his characters' "experiences". I've seen a similar idea done badly. It was about the way in which Wessex (Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire [?] in England) is represented in Thomas Hardy's novels. This person's main argument was premised on the idea that not only could (s)he 'get at' the "real" Wessex landscape, but that (s)he could get at the real (i.e. prior-to-langauge) Wessex of Hardy's day, and therefore compare the "reality" with Hardy's representation. A touch "problematic" as they say. The reason I read that person's thesis: for my undergraduate dissertation, I really wanted to do something about "Rebus's Edinburgh" in the novels of Ian Rankin, but I realized I would really struggle to do justice to it. Without any kind of literary background, and with so many possible angles/emphases, I'd tie myself in knots trying to work around all those real/imaginary, language/meaning-type questions, and a bit of half-baked "use" of poststructural ideas. In the end I did just that, but in the area of 'popular geopolitics': "Shock'n'yall in the wor(l)ds of country music: the war on terror and the politics of popular geopolitics". And yes, the rest of it was as badly written as the title :cry:
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