This weekend marks the debut of the next Star Trek movie: So Dark, Oh So Dark 2.
To mark the occasion:
Two years to go!
Daryl Morini, an IR PhD candidate at the University of Queensland whom I know, has put together an interesting global survey for undergraduate and graduate
In between making organic cupcakes for my daughters’ school, completing a grant application, tending my organic vegetables, and finishing an R&R for a journal, I came across this little gem of a working paper (thanks to Freakonomics Blog). This new research shows the following:
"Couples where the wife earns more than the husband are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. Finally, based on time use surveys, the gender gap in non-market work is larger if the wife earns more than the husband" (abstract).
Via a Facebook friend, an analysis of the sound and fury surrounding MOOCs by Aaron Bady:
Where this urgency comes from, however, might be less important than what it does to our sense of temporality, how experience and talk about the way we we are, right now, in “the MOOC moment.” In the MOOC moment, it seems to me, it’s already too late, always already too late. The world not only will change, but it has changed. In this sense, it’s isn’t simply that “MOOCs are the future,” or online education ischanging how we teach,” in the present tense. Those kinds of platitudes are chokingly [sic] omnipresent, but the interesting thing is the fact that the future is already now, that it has already changed how we teach. If you don’t get on the MOOC bandwagon, yesterday, you’ll have already been left behind. The world has already changed. To stop and question that fact is to be already belated, behind the times.
There's a striking similarity between this kind of rhetoric and early globalization discourse. Indeed, one of the best ways to force change is to argue that the transformation is already happening.
I very much recommend reading the whole piece and not simply the excerpts I've culled from it. Bady does a much better -- and more systematic -- job than I did of linking together what Kohen calls "edutainment," TED talks, and MOOCs. But among the many gems in the essay is this critical insight about MOOC discourse:
The International Ethics section of the International Studies Association announces its annual book award competition for 2014. The award is given every year at the International Ethics section business meeting at the ISA Convention. Next year, the convention is in Toronto, March 26-29.
The prize will be an award of $200 along with a plaque to honor the author’s work.
Books eligible for the award must fall into the broadly defined category of international ethics. This includes, but is not limited to, books on international descriptive ethics, international normative ethics, metaethics, comparative ethics, international religious ethics, international political theory, and international legal theory. Books not clearly falling into one of the above categories may be considered if members of the Selection Committee agree that it is worthy of consideration. Eligible books can be either single- or multi-authored. Edited collections will not be eligible. Textbooks, translations and memoirs are not eligible. (Please see a list of past winners below.)
One of the traditional responsibilities of sane conservative parties is to write-out of respectability and legitimacy the scary, nut-job right-wing fringe. There can’t be a ‘no-enemies-on-the-right’ strategy, or you wind up with anti-Semites, racists, and black-helicopter guys grabbing all the media attention and delegitimizing wider conservative goals. In the US, Bill Buckley explicitly intended the National Review to screen out the John Birch Society and the American Mercury. In Germany, the CDU/CSU keeps the nationalist/neo-Nazi fringe at bay. (I worked for both GOP and CSU legislators in the past, so I’ve actually seen this in action. The late-night/AM newsradio listeners come out of the woodwork to tell you all about Jewish banker conspiracies and stuff like that.) In Japan, that means the LDP has to tamp down the endless Pacific War revisionism that keeps popping up. And for as much as I think Abenomics is an important Keynesian antidote to the right-wing monetarist-austerity hysteria of the last five years, it’s also increasingly clear that Abe’s victory allowed the Japanese version of the Birchers to get all sorts of air time they shouldn’t.
Finally, and most importantly, is the central claim that the test of education is whether or not it’s entertaining. Wales asks, “why wouldn’t you have the most entertaining professor, the one with the proven track record of getting knowledge into people’s heads?” Is there evidence that the most entertaining lecture is the one that gets “knowledge into people’s heads”? Again, I’m not suggesting that a boring lecture is going to do the trick, but I’m arguing that entertaining students doesn’t necessarily equate with teaching them something. When I lecture on Kant, I don’t think I’m really entertaining my students. In my opinion, Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals doesn’t lend itself to entertainment; it’s a dense text that needs some serious explication. Now, I don’t speak in a monotone and I try to find relevant examples to help them make sense of the material, but I’m not standing in front of the class hoping that they’ll all have a great time; I’m standing there with the express purpose of teaching them about Kant.
The Theory Section seeks nominations for its new conference paper awards. All papers with a strong theoretical focus which were presented at the 2013 ISA conference in San Francisco are eligible. The Theory Section seeks to honor excellent work in theorizing international politics across the plurality of theoretical approaches. Two awards will be granted: one for a paper presented by a graduate student or other non-PhD holder, and another for a paper by a post-PhD scholar.
Kenneth Waltz died last night. From an email sent by Robert Jervis:
It is with great sadness that I have to report that Ken Waltz died last night. As many of you know, his health had been uncertain ever since he lost much of his sight a year ago, and about a month ago he was hospitalized with pneumonia. While he recovered enough to be discharged to rehab, a combination of a return of pneumonia and congestive heart failure sent him back to the hospital a few days ago.
He was a few weeks short of 89 but until the very end remained fully lucid and engaged. Indeed he was looking forward to a trip to the UK with his daughter-in-law in the fall, and the day before he went into the hospital had lunch with Les Gelb & Henry Kissinger (& remarked that the latter's age was showing). Despite being unable to see well enough to read, his spirits remained high until the end, which came quickly.
We will all miss him greatly both for his scholarship & his personality.
Newsweek Japan asked me to write an introductory essay for a special issue on tension in Northeast Asia. Basically I plea not to throw out all the remarkable growth of the last 35 years in an orgy of nationalism. It’s almost certain that the post-79 Asian peace was a necessary condition for simultaneous economic growth. So fighting over some empty rocks (Liancourt Rocks, Pinnacle Islands) is a terrible idea. And for IR, I think the current Sino-Japanese tension is a good test of the old liberal hypothesis that economic interdependence encourages peace. It’s fascinating to watch China especially try to figure out just how much economic gain to forego to push Japan over the Pinnacle Islands. Here we go: