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

The Military and Competitive Sports

I missed my last post, but thankfully I'm on top of this week's edition.  Kyleanne Hunter and Oliver Kaplan have a piece at Political Violence @ a Glance discussing some of the military roots of the biathlon. I've never known much about the sport's history, but it certainly makes sense that its origins are so closely tied to the kinds of security needs that Hunter and Kaplan cite. This was particularly interesting to me as both my wife and I grew up close to Lake Placid, New York. Lake Placid hosted the winter Olympics twice—once in 1932 and again in 1980—and continues Continue reading The Military and Competitive Sports

Political Science and Scientists in the News

Just a quick link to this Atlantic article. It features several works by political scientists on why and when the public is likely to support military action. Complete with graphs and everything.    *Picture taken from the aforementioned and linked Atlantic article. 

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

Raising Taxes on Everyone but the Wealthiest Americans?

A few weeks ago, it appeared as though certain House Republicans would have rather seen the country go into default rather than raise taxes. Now it seems that the GOP is willing to let the temporary payroll tax cuts expire as planned. This is the same GOP who fought hard to make sure the Bush tax cuts did not expire (as that would have been a tax increase). It is interesting that the GOP suddenly had a change of heart over taxes. It is even more interesting that they support a tax increase that will mostly likely affect lower and Continue reading Raising Taxes on Everyone but the Wealthiest Americans?

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

Maps Maps Maps

Back in December I had a brief post about CRACK, a mapmaking software package for Macs.  The downside was that CRACK only worked for making maps of the United States.  As the need has arisen, Michael Allen and I began looking for something similar that could handle world maps.  This brings me to OpenHeatMap, an online platform for making those fancy looking thermal heat maps using data from a spreadsheet.  We were looking for something to visually display some data that we have on US Military Personnel abroad, and this seems to work pretty well.  Here’s an example: The program Continue reading Maps Maps Maps

The Domestic Side of Things

Clearly I'm trying to make up for a post drought from the past couple of months.  I'll leave the more in-depth commentary to someone who has been following this situation more closely, but it looks like the Wisconsin State Government is experiencing a wheeeeee-bit of a principal-agent problem (via Boing Boing). Wisconsin Police Have Joined Protest Inside State Capitol I will say that it's not immediately clear to me whether we're talking about off-duty cops only, or if we're talking about both on and off-duty police officers.  If the latter are protesting that would seem to be less of a Continue reading The Domestic Side of Things