Fictional Political Scientists

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Carla Martinez Machain. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. In having a recent conversation with one of my colleagues in the English department, she noted (with much regret), that the most common characteristic of English professors in fiction is a wish (fulfilled or not) to sleep with their students.  I ran through a few examples in my head (here and here, just to name two); she clearly had a point.  Soon after that, I spoke with someone in the Anthropology department, who decried the Continue reading Fictional Political Scientists

Star Wars as Civil War

Wookieepedia It should come as no surprise that, in addition to gaming (board, video, and card), enjoying comics and comic book movies, and about everything else that is nerdy, I enjoy speculative fiction (and fantasy) and that includes the high fantasy in space that is Star Wars.  The past six months or so have been a good time to be a Star Wars fan as the takeover by Disney has allowed us to speculate as to what they will do with the franchise, enjoy the news that they are continuing the saga, and encourage some debate as to whether the prequels Continue reading Star Wars as Civil War

The Dark Knight Rises and the Economic Impact of Bane’s Occupation of Gotham

I started working on this post a long time ago and, for whatever reason, never got around to finishing it. So please keep in mind that this was largely written shortly after the film first came out. I should also disclose at the outset that this post will contain spoilers, so if there is some sort of unbelievably powerful force that has kept you from seeing this fantastic movie, please be warned. For those still interested, there’s more after the jump.

Links Galore

It's been a while since my last post, so I thought it was time to put up at least a little something: Senate Republicans are, for the moment, blocking Chuck Hagel's nomination as Defense Secretary. Admittedly, my attention to current events has been spotty over the past couple of months, but it seems that every time I turn my attention back to this the basic rationale for opposing Hagel has changed. Initially it concerned his comments regarding Israel, then it morphed to include a means of obtaining more information about the attacks on Benghazi, and now it seems to have evolved Continue reading Links Galore

Gotham City as the Paris Commune

A spoiler warning before I get to the heart of the discussion: This blog entry is being posted the Monday after the release of The Dark Knight Rises.  The blog post deals with material presented in the film, plot elements, as well as some dialogue, so consider this a warning.  While I am not going to go out of my way to spoil parts of the plot intentionally, some revelations about the film is inevitable.  So, if you still have not seen the movie, you probably do not want to read this discussion. The Batman trilogy has concluded. The trilogy satisfied Continue reading Gotham City as the Paris Commune

Using private information to beat Death

    In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (not to be confused with their most Excellent Adventure), the duo are killed and sent to Hell.  On their way to an eternity of punishment, Death gives them the ability to escape their fate if they can best him in a game of their choosing.  The wager seems to be an obvious one to take: If you lose, you are stuck in hell for eternity; if you win, you can leave.  However, if you do not play the game, then you are still stuck in Hell without the ability to leave. In a previous Continue reading Using private information to beat Death

Hunger Games: Civil Wars, Victory, and Repression

The movie version of the book The Hunger Games (Paperback, Kindle) is being released this week; the movie is expected to draw a large crowd and is already drawing superb ratings from critics. As such, given that there are both political and economic themes that run in the book that are ripe for political scientists and economists, I figured I would touch upon at least one of those interesting threads related to the study of international relations. Now, what I am drawing upon is purely from the first chapter of the book and can be easily gleaned from the trailer of the Continue reading Hunger Games: Civil Wars, Victory, and Repression

Linear Time and Games

I am glad to see someone has taken the opening episode of Deep Space 9 and created a clip of one of the more theoretically interesting segments of the episode.  Granted, this was uploaded 4 years ago, but I had not come across a short version of the clip until now.  I watched the show when I was in middle/high school and had the opportunity to rewatch it all the way through when we picked up the complete series a few years ago.  While the longer story arcs are compelling and the show gains some decent steam in the 4 Continue reading Linear Time and Games

Sci-Fi Poli Sci, Episode I: Regime Types Across Sci-Fi Universes

Assuming that one is looking for them, it is fairly easy to find internet arguments that stem from comparisons among and between science fiction universes, and a great many of these arguments center on comparing governments within those universes. Which government is more democratic: Star Wars’ Galactic Republic or Star Trek’s United Federation? Who is more repressive: Firefly’s Alliance or Star Wars’ Galactic Empire? How do the military assets of the Stargate universe stack up against those found in all of the other sci-fi universes? Indeed, given that nerd culture is now nearly synonymous with pop culture, these conversations seem to be quite common, Continue reading Sci-Fi Poli Sci, Episode I: Regime Types Across Sci-Fi Universes

A Rare Glimpse Inside North Korea

In 2006 National Geographic produced a documentary that gives viewers a rare glimpse into everyday life in North Korea. In the documentary, Inside North Korea, an eye doctor travels to the isolationist country to perform surgery on 1,000 patients in 10 days. The doctor convinces the government to allow a camera crew to document his work. However, the camera crew really wanted to document everyday life in the country. Once inside, the crew took every opportunity they got to film the everyday lives of ordinary North Koreans. The film is really compelling, as it demonstrates how much control the North Korean government Continue reading A Rare Glimpse Inside North Korea