Tag Archives: data

Links: Consumption; Space Travel; Academic Proof

singer-watches
Step 1: Write an article about how conspicuous consumption is immoral.
Step 2: Make the headline resemble a spam mail and advertise for luxury watches
  • Irrespective of the ironic choice of the headline and unfortunate ad placement (see above), I recommend Peter Singer’s thoughts on conspicuous consumption by public officials
  • John Quiggin pokes fun at the recent discovery of two Earth-like planets “a mere 1200 light years away”. So, time for space travel? Well we shouldn’t bet on getting there any time soon, since (assuming linear scaling) “the total cost comes out roughly equal to the value of current world GDP accumulated over the life of the universe”. Make sure to read the comments, unless you’re busy making travel plans…

Finally, I’d like to recommend two items that have nothing to do with International Relations, but everything with the nature of “proof” and “truth” in academia:

Links: Pop Culture; Data; Fossil Fuel

Happy Ascension Day! (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Happy Ascension Day! (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

To the surprise of some members of the team, it’s a holiday in Germany. A great chance to catch up on some links…

  • At ISA, I really enjoyed a panel on using popular media to teach International Relations. Rhonda Callaway and Julie Harrelson-Stephens talked about employing the Hunger Games to illustrate IR theory, and Marco Fey and colleagues (from Frankfurt’s Peace Research Institute) applied Tannenwald’s “nuclear taboo” to Battlestar Galactica.
  • Not everyone was convinced — shouldn’t we spend more time teaching actual history instead? Yet, pop culture and social science seem to mix well: Jane Austen was a game theorist, many IR scholars love their sci-fi, and the zombie question is well-established by now…¬†(BSG link via the Duck)
  • Oh, and of course this is not limited to political science. Economists, too, like to think about important topics like how to feed all those orcs in Lord of the Rings, or transactions involving ‘military assets’ in Game of Thrones (spoiler alert!) …
  • Well, at least every minute spent analyzing fictional events helps to avoid silly mistake with your large-n analyses… in any case, Alex Tabarrok has some tips for researchers and readers of quantitative work.
  • Speaking of data analysis: I’m really intrigued by recent developments regarding data-driven journalism as well as new data sources for social scientists. Jonathan Mayer (of “Do Not Track” fame) just published part 2 of a set of data on U.S. legal rulings in a machine-readable format, and the “Global Dataset on Events, Location, and Tone” (GDELT) looks fascinating – although Jay Ulfelder says it’s not easily accessible just yet.
  • Finally, in case you’ve missed it, please read Charles Mann’s article in the Atlantic on the future of fossil fuels. (Plus: replies by Dan Drezner and Erik Voeten.)