Data Collection Project: Songs that Mention Being a Specific Age

This complicated and strange project began innocently enough when I decided to make a mix CD for my friend’s birthday and went searching for relevant songs. But ‘songs about being xx’ turns out not to be a very straightforward thing to search for and so after burning the CD I was left with a burning question: why had I found so few songs? In this blog post, I look at which ages get sung about and which don’t, and I present a comprehensive list of 189 songs that mention being a specific age. You can download the list here, and Continue reading Data Collection Project: Songs that Mention Being a Specific Age

Political Words & Phrases in Hip Hop

Recently, my wife discovered the Rap Stats tool at Rap Genius, which plots the relative frequency of words and phrases in rap songs from 1988 to the present.  Of course, when she showed it to me, my immediate thought was to start plotting political words and phrases and see if we could pick up any patterns over time.  The first thing we did was take a look at the relative frequency of the names of U.S. presidents from 1988 to the present. As you can see, the patterns are basically as one would expect. Reagan isn’t mentioned much, possibly because Continue reading Political Words & Phrases in Hip Hop

War Songs

Blogging has been lite lately, but in response to Phil's subtle nudges, I've decided to offer up my own list of war songs.  I'm approaching this from a more general angle of "war songs" as opposed to songs that are strictly anti-war.  These songs are not necessarily supposed to reflect any particular personal views of war–they just happen to be drawn from the general body of music that I grew up listening to.  That said, there are most certainly some common themes.   As a general rule I will list songs by song title and then artist.  Some of these Continue reading War Songs

The International Relations Implications of Chinese Parenting Practices

By now I'm sure most people have come across Amy Chua's recent Wall Street Journal article.  After reading David Brooks' response to Chau's article, I've begun to think of some of some of the international relations implications of Chua's Chinese parenting style.  Specifically, I'm curious to see what her revelations imply for China's ascendency in the global community.  In spite of  her in-text caveats, I will assume that her described style indeed applies to all Chinese mothers and in no way, shape, or form is a blanket generalization that might not apply quite so broadly. Espionage — Historically espionage and Continue reading The International Relations Implications of Chinese Parenting Practices

Realist and Liberal takes on Diplomacy and Honor

For the better part of the past half-century the two most prominent theoretical approaches to the study of international relations have been realism and liberalism.  Realism, viewing the state as a unitary and rational actor, argues that states pursue their own interests in an anarchic international environment.  The ability to accomplish their goals, however, is curbed by the fact that other states are similarly engaged in the pursuit of their own interests.  Ultimately realists view the potential struggles generated over conflicting interests to be determined by the distribution of power in the international system.  Generally speaking, "stronger" states will prevail Continue reading Realist and Liberal takes on Diplomacy and Honor