Over at Bretterblog, a colleague has noted (in German) that many IR blogs seem to take a summer break. Might that have been directed at us? Well, here are some links to prove that not all of us are swimming in a lake right now… (I wish!)
PRISM / NSA surveillance, even though you’re sick and tired of it:
- Henry Farrell and Abe Newman have a great piece on the ramifications of the NSA revelations on the US-EU partnership [Foreign Affairs account needed]. Farrell also has a great post on this at the Monkey Cage.
- Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer now heading a think tank, argues that Edward Snowden is no traitor: “The damage he has inflicted is not against U.S. national security but rather on the politicians and senior bureaucrats who ordered, managed, condoned, and concealed the illegal activity.” Giraldi takes a pretty legal/technical point of view on this and draws on the U.S. Constitution, which I found interesting.
- Fun fact: In the 1920s, the U.S. government decided to disband a surveillance unit, because “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.” You can read the whole story about U.S. cryptographer Herbert Yardley on the NSA website (!), I found it through a post at Scot Stevenson’s blog [in German]…
In other news:
- Nauro F. Campos analyzes why people are protesting in Brazil, using a dataset from 1870 to 2003. The list of factors he and his colleagues have identified for the current wave of protest doesn’t sound too surprising: “corruption and inefficiency in public services delivery, political ineptitude and the electoral cycle.” Another interesting finding: The number of riots is decreasing over time, but there are more peaceful protests.
- There’s a great post at Scientific American by computer scientist Radhika Nagpal, who decided not to stress too much about tenure and instead treat her job as a “seven-year postdoc”. This means: don’t spend all your energy networking and sucking up to important people, but rather enjoy life and get good work done. Probably works best if you’re very smart and hard-working anyway; she’s now a professor at Harvard. Steven Saideman offers his comments at the Duck of Minerva.
- Are MOOCs (massive open online courses) a game-changer, or are we just being fooled by the “hype cycle”? Dan Drezner contrasts the two perspectives and ends up in the skeptical camp [Foreign Policy account needed].