Ice Breakers

I have posted a list of ice breaker questions below that can be fun to use during the first week of classes. Feel free to comment if you have any more suggestions! 1. If you could meet 3 people, real or fictional, who would they be? 2. Name a political event that has impacted your life. Explain how it has impacted your life. 3. What was your last Facebook status update? 4. Tell us something your parents do not know about you. 5. Write two truths about yourself and then a lie. (Then the class decides which facts are true Continue reading Ice Breakers

Monkey Cage APSA Survey

Given that there is a hurricane that is currently headed for the city of New Orleans—a city which also happens to be hosting the 2012 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association—this poll at the Monkey Cage may be of some interest to many of you out there. There currently seems to be a lot of uncertainty regarding whether or not it is worth attending. From my limited personal experience thus far, it seems that many panels are probably no longer meeting as individuals are opting out. In any event, this might be helpful in shedding some light on Continue reading Monkey Cage APSA Survey

Changing the Rules to Get the Outcome You Want

For the last 15 years, more Americans have opted to take advantage of early voting opportunities (either through early in-person voting or mail ballots). By 2008, early voting compromised one third of the vote. Early voting seemed to help Democrats more than Republicans in 2008, as Democrats were more likely to vote early than Republicans.  Since early voting tended to help Democrats more than Republicans in the last presidential election, it is not surprising that Republican lawmakers in several key states have tried to reduce early in-person voting in their states this year. Limiting this type of early voting could reduce Continue reading Changing the Rules to Get the Outcome You Want

Paul Ryan’s Foreign Policy Views

  Much has been made lately of the idea that Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as VP signals that he is doubling down on the economy for the election. Ryan is clearly known more for his activities on the House Budget Committee than anything else, and that’s fine, but just because it’s a major signal doesn’t mean there are no implications for foreign policy. That said, James Lindsay at the Water’s Edge has a brief post discussing some of Ryan’s foreign policy views/positions. It’s worth checking out.  

When losing is the winning strategy: Game Theory, Badminton, and the 2012 Summer Olympics

The Badminton World Federation disqualified four female badminton teams today from the London Olympics for unsportsmanlike behavior. These teams purposefully tried to lose their first match in a round robin event in order to be paired against easier teams in subsequent rounds (video recap here). These teams were obviously cheating as purposely losing in this manner is against the badminton rules. So why would so many teams blatantly cheat in a very public and very important sporting event? Because they thought they could get away with it. Prior to this mass banning of teams, several Chinese teams had a history Continue reading When losing is the winning strategy: Game Theory, Badminton, and the 2012 Summer Olympics