The 50th Anniversary episode of “Doctor Who” aired this week in theatres throughout the world. There was an interesting scene towards the end of the movie, which I would like to share. Below I give a very simplified version of the scene. There are two main characters in the scene, a human and a shape-shifting alien refugee that took on the human’s form. The human and the alien are located in a secret storage facility in London and it has the most dangerous alien weapons on Earth. The alien wants to take over the earth, and she plans to use Continue reading The Day of the Doctor and the Veil of Ignorance (Warning: Spoilers!)
It is a week before the American tradition of "Black Friday" starting on Thursday, and I have not done an updated list on "Gifts for Political Scientists" since 2010, so here is my proposed list for 2013. Trying to find gifts for that special poltiical scientist in your life can be quite difficult. Given the existing list from 2010 (that is, I am avoiding repeats) and inspiration from the source I originally stole the idea from, here is the supplement to the 2010 list. Board Games The games on my 2010 list are still my go-to suggestions for people considering Continue reading Gifts for Political Scientists, 2013
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
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
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains how to buy a car cheaply–something he mentioned on the Colbert Report this week: The Colbert interview can be found here.
Mind Your Decisions has done an annual gift list for economists for the last few years, and Presh just put together his 2010 list. Using his list as inspiration, I have compiled my own list of possible gifts for Political Scientists. Given my proclivity for strategic leisure, I believe I can construct this with some authority on the matter. Board Games – We attempt to host a fortnightly game night, sometimes the evening is started with an appropriate movie, but often the board game will be the center of it all. As political scientists, we have tried a few Continue reading Gift List for Political Scientists, 2010
This is a topic that I’ll probably expand on later, but I was just reading an article discussing the role of Hamid Karzai’s brother in the present Afghan conflict. This article gets at an issue that I’ve thought about before. From the FP article cited above: But he could not exist without the support of coalition forces. AWK has long worked closely with, and perhaps been paid by, the CIA, for whom he helps operate a paramilitary force, according to press reports. As some of my research interests deal with the role of bureaucratic agencies in foreign policy, I find this particular chunk Continue reading The War We Don’t See
Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy had a piece posted a couple of days ago that just caught my eye. It basically talks about the current status of terrorist training camps and what the itinerary for the typical attendee entails. It's pretty brief, but I think it covers some interesting subject matter. And let me preface the rest of my comments by also saying that I am no expert on terrorism. The following passage is the one that I focused on: Typically recruits are given lessons on how to handle small arms such as AK-47s and PK machine guns as well as Continue reading Economy of Force and Asymmetric Conflicts
A simple relink from Orgtheory. William Spaniel, a graduate student at the University of Rochester (and a fellow TCG player) has a set of 26 clips explaining basic game theory on youtube. The list can be found here. I've already passed this on to another instructor who will be using this for an online course and I imagine others will find it useful as well. The series includes several clips on bargaining models and can serve as a supplement to normal instruction or a fresh reminder for those studying for a test.
A friend outside of political science linked me this post asking if we deal with bargaining models in political science. For those of you who are not in the know, one of the mainstays of contemporary International Relations game theory treats war as a bargaining process between states. As such, the author argues that traditional bargaining models in economics are too simplistic to truly capture the moves that exist in a negotiation between two actors in the market (the two examples he provides deals with bargaining over small purchase). While scholars of the Cuban Missile crisis may vehemently obejct Continue reading Bargaining with Your Right Brain