The nature of cyber discourse concerns me, and this is a point I have written about extensively with Ryan Maness (Valeriano and Maness 2012a, Valeriano and Maness 2012b, Valeriano and Maness 2014). The idea is that threats we see materialize from cyberspace seem to vastly outweigh any other threats we have faced, ever. Some argue this cyber threat is different, faster, and bigger. I question this conventional wisdom. Is the cyber threat really any different than any other threat we have faced?
Did you see the photos like the one above out of Shanghai? For the first time ever, Shanghai's air pollution, like Beijing's before it, exceeded the scale for particulate matter. For the past seven days, the air quality has been so bad that schools and flights were cancelled, cars were forced off the roads, industries were shut down (Though a marathon last Monday went on as planned. Runners complained that their lungs hurt. Go figure!).
This post follows up my previous one a couple of weeks ago on whether China can gets its air quality problems under control. That was essentially the text for my contribution to the first half of a webinar sponsored by the outstanding ChinaFAQS, an initiative sponsored by the World Resources Institute to provide U.S. policymakers on the latest state of play in China, energy, and the environment. This post is a revised version of the second set of remarks I made and deals with whether or not China is meeting its energy-related commitments under its 12th five year plan.
Have yourself a gender-neutral Christmas, let your toys be yellow. From now on our princess costumes and toy guns will be out of sight.... Well, you try to rhyme with this material. The Daily Mail asked yesterday "how to shop for gender neutral toys" noting the sea of blue and pink dividing stores like Toys R Us. But when Toys R Us introduced a gender-neutral toy catalog, in Sweden, France, Finland, Norway, Germany, Denmark and France- featuring Spider-Man pushing a pink pram and a young girl wielding a gun- conservatives bucked, calling the images brainwashing and 'male hatred.' Play Unlimited is a consumer action group that has been lobbying for more gender-neutral toys. Spokeswoman Thea Hughes argues that children need to be exposed to a diverse range of toys, noting "If a boy, for example, hasn't had experience carrying dolls around or pushing prams. We see fathers pushing prams around. Why is it OK for fathers to be involved in child rearing, but not OK for boys to play with dolls?" Some companies have capitalized on the debate- particularly with regard to the question 'what's good for girls'. Goldie Blocks, toys that are meant to inspire engineering skills within girls, has become an internet sensation (notwithstanding debate about it's own gender bias).
We're a few weeks into the call for nominations for the 2014 OAIS Awards. It's time to get serious. We've had a number of impressive nominations, but given the excellent content out there, we're looking for a much larger pool of nominees. We want to hear your suggestions. Post your nominations in the comments section below -- you may also email us a nomination directly. Please specify the award in the body of the text, provide the name of the blog, and a URL. Nominations close on 1 January 2014.
Remember, finalists will be selected by popular vote, which will run from 5 January-31 January 2014. We will conduct the vote via online survey. In order to register as a voter, email us. Last year's winners will judge the finalists and select the winners. We want to make this as difficult as possible for them. Winners will be announced at the ISA Blogging Awards Reception co-sponsored by our friends SAGE at ISA in Toronto next March.
Here are the categories again:
- Best Blog (Group) in International Studies;
- Best Blog (Individual) in International Studies;
- Best Blog Post in International Studies; and
- Most Promising New Blog (Group or Individual) in International Studies
The effort to develop a single 5th generation fighter plane has been a challenge for the US and its allies. The F-35 is very expensive and may underperform. The quality of debate about this plane has varied. So, we turn to the experts for a reasoned discussion of the F-35 and an alternative:
With the assumption of an ongoing global cyber arms race, Western governments signed an agreement to limit the sharing and selling of dangerous cyber technologies. David Livingstone notes, “[Cyber security technology] is a lot like the arms race. What you want to do is slow down how fast your foe develops equivalent technologies.”
One of the recurring subjects among folks using data is: why does person x not share their data with me? Mostly because they are fearful and ignorant. Fearful? That their work will get scooped and/or their data might be found to be problematic. Ignorant? That they don't know that they are obligated to share their data once they publish off of it and that it is in their interest to share their data. There is apparently a belief out there that data should be shared only after the big project is published, not after the initial work has been published. I will address this as well as the the converging logics of appropriateness and consequences here.
Congratulations to Jacques E.C. Hymans for winning the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. The award is administered by the University of Louisville's Department of Political Science. Disclosure: I'm currently the Department chair and for 17 years I directed the award (1994-2011). There's more on the local angle at the end of this post.
Hymans won the $100,000 prize for his 2012 book Achieving Nuclear Ambitions; Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation. Here's a brief description from the Cambridge University Press webpage:
Well it is officially December- and you know what that means...all the hipsters and single dudes can finally shave off their Movember moustaches (those are the only men who participate, right?). Movember is a fundraiser for testicular cancer that has gained traction (in 2012 the campaign raised 29 million in Australia, where the idea originated) to the point where the moustache has become a symbol for cancer awareness.
But is Movember racist and sexist?
According to Arianne Shahvis at the New Statesmen, Movember is not all it is cracked up to be. She notes that the campaign's call for "real men" to grow "real moustaches" is "divisive, gender normative, racist and ineffective against some very real health issues." Read more on the debate here and here.
There has been a heated debate on whether Michelle Obama should be seen as a feminist. A recent Politico article called 'Leaning out: how Michelle Obama became a feminist nightmare' (pretty clear title) calls feminists to 'get over' the idea that the First Lady will, or has done much for women. Author Michelle Cottle says "enough already with the pining for a Michelle Obama who simply doesn’t exist" and laments her focus on children, dancing, and fitness rather than women's rights. Brittney Cooper at the Salon responded with 'Lay off Michelle Obama: Why white feminists need to lean back.' Here she argues "Black women have never been the model for mainstream American womanhood, and to act as though she takes something away from the (white) feminist movement is intellectually disingenuous and historically dishonest." She goes on to note the value in the First Lady's role as a mother and wife, and agrees with Kirsten West Savali's statement that, "In my feminism, we understand that raising intelligent, confident Black children in a loving family is one of the most revolutionary acts a Black woman can commit in America."
Finally, the University of Vermont is leading the way in efforts to allow students to choose their preferred gender prounoun. University forms allow students to choose from 'she', 'he' and 'ze' as well as the option to be referred to only by their name.
Sunday, December 1st was World AIDS Day, the annual reminder of the state of the epidemic, a way to focus attention on a problem that is perhaps less visible than it was two or three years but not defeated, not by a long shot. To that end, this week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria will be convening its fourth replenishment conference in Washington, DC, where it is seeking $15 billion for the next three years.
Recall, in 2011 , the Global Fund canceled its 11th funding round in the midst of the global economic crisis and
If you haven’t yet seen the zone’s geography, here it is to the left, complete with its overlap with the Korean and Japanese zones. The most important conflict of course is over Senkaku, but Korea watchers will also note that the Ieodo submerged reef, which Korea claims, is also in the zone. Gotta wonder what the Chinese were thinking by giving Korea and Japan common cause over anything. Foolish.
Dan Drezner asked the question I think pretty much everyone is wondering now: did the PRC really expect the US, Japan, and SK to just accept this out of the blue? Obviously they’re not, and it’s hard to find anyone besides the
Fox News of Asia Global Times who thinks they should. The following are some quick ideas for where this suddenly came from. Each is more-or-less tied to a level of analysis, but the prose is laymen-style because it was originally written for media
1. Belligerence (anarchy, straight-up realism): the Chinese really are picking a fight with Japan. This is the worst possible reason. They may figure that the Hagel visit to Japan a couple months ago has made Japan into an open challenger to China now. And that is kinda true. America is hedging China, ducking and weaving, trying hard to avoid an open confrontation with it. But Japan is increasingly unabashed that is it balancing China directly as a threat. Abe is increasingly willing to call out China openly. So Asia is becoming a serious bipolar contest, and maybe the Chinese are thinking: 'to hell with it; Abe's playing tough; we have too also.' Certainly my Japanese colleagues in this area increasingly talk about China this way.
Given the intricacies of our job and the cushy lifestyle most academics live in, it disconcerting when academics use improper and incorrect analogies to describe the intricacies of their job. The latest is the idea that drug cartels and academia are similar enterprises. While I understand the spirit of the idea, the basic assumptions are insensitive and damaging. They represent the the pondering of a privileged academic stuck in the ivory tower.
What does any faculty member REALLY want for the holidays? It’s not a Lexus, it’s not jewelry, it’s a brand new revise-and-resubmit (R&R) manuscript. It’s really all that is on my list every year. That and, of course, world peace.
How can one get an R&R manuscript? So far, I think R&R decisions are the result of the following four conditions:
Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Rights groups criticize incendiary attacks in Syria.
Important new report on Syrian child casualties.
On corpse-counting in former war zones.
"Terminator ethics" discussions among autonomous weapons proponents.
Momentum among humanitarian stakeholders how to curb explosive violence.
972 Mag on tensions between animal rights and human rights movements. Time on how trauma journalism worsens relief efforts in the Phillipines. Killer Apps on US military basing and humanitarianism.
Obama Administration is under fire again on drones after drones hit a Pakistani seminary. Opposition forces in Pakistan are calling for the government to start shooting drones on sight. Former drone sensor operator Brandon Bryant on what's being a drone co-pilot is like. Meanwhile weaponized drones are proliferating: WAPO on Pakistan's new domestic drones; BBC on China's emerging drone arsenal.
via PolsciRumors: is scholarship broken?
Academia according to The Onion.
Berkeley professor's viral email on why he will not be canceling class tomorrow.
Maya Mikdashi on Thanksgiving as a teaching moment.
NASA: Comet Ison may hit a solar storm.
Humans can now touch things far away by reaching through their computer screens.
Short film portraying the other side of Ryan Stone's Gravity distress call is in running for an Oscar nomination.
Two steps forward, two steps back. Just as three women completed training in the Marines for the first time- and as the US Military works to integrate women in to the combat arms, a top female US Colonel has lost her job because she asked for "average looking women" to be used in communications.
Col. Lynette Arnhart had been leading the effort to open more infantry roles for women in the army by January 1 2016. Politico first broke this story, noting that Arnhart had recommended avoiding using attractive women in communications because: “In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead.” She
dug herself deeper went on to say “There is a general tendency to select nice looking women when we select a photo to go with an article (where the article does not reference a specific person). It might behoove us to select more average looking women for our comms strategy. For example, the attached article shows a pretty woman, wearing make-up while on deployed duty. Such photos undermine the rest of the message (and may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty),”
After numerous media reports on the gaffe, Col. Arnhart was removed from her post and replaced.
Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, weighed in on this....wait what?...ok she is also a National Guard soldier- declaring that the comments about attractiveness are "the unfortunate reality."