CEU Intellectual Themes Initiative interdisciplinary project on text analysis

In addition to the Comparative Populism project, another ITI project I am involved with also got funded in the most recent round. With the leadership of Tijana Krstić and Jessie Labov, I am happy to announce that the Text Analysis Across Disciplines project starts on Monday.

Now, any advice for me where I can learn the ins and outs of the trade? Please send it on Twitter or Facebook (email also works). (Not that I don’t run a methods school, but on those exact days I tend to be pretty busy. So I need other options.)

More about the project:

Text analysis can mean different things to different audiences: from close reading of literary texts, to critical reflections on historical sources, to the computational analysis of big data using text mining techniques. The project seek to forge a continuum among these diverse disciplinary approaches to text analysis: from the analog to the digital, from the historical to the contemporary, from pure research to public outreach. This project has grown out of the work of the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI), an 18-month exploratory project funded by the Humanities Initiative. After surveying the CEU community and spending the 2016-2017 year consulting with faculty, staff, and students in virtually every department and program on campus, the project team has identified text analysis as the one area of digital research which is much in demand, but critically absent from CEU’s curricula and research profile. Therefore, the project will offer courses, master classes, project incubation, and several public events to demonstrate the crucial role of text analysis in ‘small,’ ‘medium’ and ‘big data’ research. In order to introduce the techniques and methodologies specific to text analysis at CEU, the team will draw on working partnerships that the DHI has established with several Hungarian institutions (ELTE, the Petofi Literary Museum, and the Institute for Literary Studies and the Institute for Historical Research at the Academy of Sciences), as well as the European-wide DARIAH network. The primary goals for the TANAD project is to successfully establish 2 university-wide courses and several grant-worthy projects which bridge the work of the Just Data initiative with ongoing text-based research in departments and programs across the university.

New project (rescued wood guitar build)

These… and some other stuff I have laying around: pickups, a rusted up string guide and jack input, lots of pots, pickup switch, a reliced Callaham Vintage Strat bridge I just ordered. The knobs will be these Remington shotgun shells. What else will I need? (Oh yeah, to figure out how to age the pickup covers. (I hear fine sand paper, tea or coffee work well for some plastics, brown shoe polish for others… probably should have gone with maroon just in case nothing works.) Body used to be a kitchen (or bathroom?) wall in a house built in 1976 and recently demolished in Omaha, Nebraska’s Dundee neighborhood.

Hello world!

It is my every intention to write a blog from now on. It will not be a daily activity but hopefully once (or a few times a week) you will find content here. (Anything you found before this post was a few back dated things I figured should be on here.)

I will start by a few posts to serve as a survival guide to the incoming MA students. I have received the honor and pleasure to become their Scopes and Methods instructor. I am sure they will hate it every bit as much as they always do, no matter who is teaching. But I also hope to serve them right.

CEU’s Intellectual Themes Initiative Funds Our Comparative Populism Project

We are grateful for CEU’s Intellectual Themes Initiative for funding our project. Now we have a lot of work to do over the next two years. Announcement penned by Erin Jenne:

We are excited to announce our two-year interdisciplinary CEU grant project, Comparative Populism, which will launch September 2017 and is conducted by Levente Littvay, Bruno Castanho E Silva, Rosario Aguilar Pariente, Constantin Iordachi, Nick Sitter, Zsolt Enyedi, Elissa Helms, Balazs Vedres, Judit Sandor, Matt Singer, Norbert Sabic, Federico Vegetti, several CEU students (hopefully) and with external support from multiple scholars including Team Populism.

This project brings together CEU and international scholars working on topics related to populism across different disciplinary traditions. The aim is to build up a comparative database on countries across Europe on the varieties of populist politics and policies across the region from the end of the Cold War to present and to explore the connections between populism on the one hand and gender, law, foreign policy, and party politics on the other. By joining the different methodological skills and perspectives across the different academic units, the project team can arrive at a multi-faceted understanding of why populism manifests more strongly in some countries than others in the same region, why it takes on social conservative dimension in some places and more nationalist/nativist dimension in others, and how all of this connects to gender, the law, foreign policy, public administration and party systems.

Find out more HERE!

Evaluation of English as a Medium Instruction Outcomes

Hanging with the good Jose L. Arco-Tirado in Granada, working on the impact of English as a Medium Instruction (EMI) on University GPA. It is kind of hard as the people who go into an English language instruction school in Spain are not exactly a random sample. (Spoiler alert, they are much better students and end up with a better GPAs than the average.) But what if we try to construct a reasonable comparison group? The results flip. Not so good news for EMI education, (though I still don’t care. My kid still gets three languages spoken to her at home and I still want to send her to a school where she can learn a fourth).

Not to bore anyone with the details but we used matching to get closer to a true causal inference (not that we expect to succeed – but at least get a more reasonable comparison). Propensity matching sucks (and no, we did not try higher order interactions and machine learning to find best model), as usual Coarsened Exact Matching (as implemented and without tweaking) throws away most of the treatment group (not exactly something we can afford to do now) and, as anyone could have predicted, Genetic Matching is still the method that saves the day with incredible balance and super interesting findings. (I guess findings were the same with a simple nearest neighbor propensity matching and tended in this direction with CEM as well but insignificant due to probably the very low sample size.)

I want to spend more time in Granada. Maybe next year when we’ll have enough data to try a regression discontinuity design. (Or any other time is fine…)

Bamba Marha Burger Budapest Experience: A Though Review

First, know that after living in Nebraska for a dozen years, I am extremely tough in this category. In fact, up to a few years ago I explicitly told everyone that all burgers in the country are uneatable. Friends always point me to new burger places, but I always come to the conclusion that unless you lived in Nebraska for a decade, you don’t know beef. No matter how good a burger seems to a fellow Hungarian, they don’t know shit. (Sorry.)

But since, few steak places ($$$$) and later Zing and We Love Burger convinced me that if one wants a decent burger, it is not anymore unobtainium in Budapest.

Then I saw an article on Index which I cannot find anymore. It must have been a blog. It was 5 new must try burger places. Bamba Marha was one of them. So when my wife asked me to bring a burger today, I went there instead of Zing, where I usually go.

Service: I asked them what I should eat. They looked at me like I was from Mars and pointed me to the menu. When I explained I was asking for a recommendation, it was still a struggle. First they recommended the Sloppy Joe Burger to which I told them I came for a burger and Sloppy Joes don’t fit that category. Then they explained they have this hybrid where sloppy joe is smothered on the burger patty. WTF. OK. Whatever. I got one of those (mistake – it was as weird as it sounded). They also told me to get some Hawaiian sounding something. Suspiciously I said yes. (I asked for recommendation.) I asked for the “menu”. Also a big mistakes. I got two sauces. After being informed that all but two sauces are mayo based I went with those two. (How do you say blasphemy in French?)

Order to go. They came and asked me how to pack stuff (like I work there). They aluminum foil wrapped two burgers with a stick a wood stuck in the middle to keep it together. I guess that looks good if you eat in, but… Then they handed me the two drinks with a coffee cup top. I asked if they have some ideas how I should transport. OK they tried. Put aluminum foil over the top so the one I dared to put in the >>paper<< (could have been cool) bag did not spill immediately, it was OK until I got to the bottom of the subway.

I can’t say much more about the sloppy joe burger than pepper bits should not be in sloppy joes. And sloppy joe should not be over a burger.

(Side note: most recent sloppy joe I had was at a Michelin star restaurant, Longman and Eagle in Chicago. Highly recommended. Best bar food ever in the best whiskey bar ever at a reasonable price with a Michelin star.)

The Hawaiian thing tasted like someone in Hawaii got creative (and should not have). Smothered in teriyaki sauce with a pineapple on top. Not cool.

Fries had this cheap flavoring spice all over that is a flavor I only ever tasted in this region (and one that should never have been created). My mother sometimes uses it on meat. We had fights about it. The coffee BBQ sauce had the same thing in it. (It may just be Vegeta or MSG.)

I can imagine that the basic burger is eatable if you yell at them to not overcook it. Given that both burgers were soaked in something awful, I don’t know if they are smothered in something when they are ordered clean. (Most common mistake with burgers. Meat is not clean.) If you still dare to try, just make sure you don’t want to take it to go or as a value meal.

As I said, I am a tough critic so ymmv. If you want to try, they are HERE. Next, I will return to Zing which makes an acceptable burger, even by Nebraska standards. And if I need a burger in this neighborhood, McDonald’s next door is just fine.