- 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:
- #1 is an article about Diederik Stapel, a Dutch social psychologist who made up results and became a star in his field. Tyler Cowen has a summary with the best quotes. A fascinating glimpse into the dangers of ‘publish or perish’ and the vulnerability of (social) science. Also: check out Retraction Watch, a blog to increase transparency in peer reviewed natural science journals.
- #2 is a piece about Shinichi Mochizuki, a Japanese matchematician who has apparently found a proof for the famous abc conjecture. Unfortunately, nobody understands it, and the man is not one who likes to elaborate (but he’s “certainly not a fraud”). I actually read about it last year, and if you feel really brave look at the papers linked in this Nature article.