When Radio Goes Bad: RF communications and the increased violence in South Sudan

I was reading an update about the increasing ethnic violence in South Sudan forwarded to me by a colleague, and noted the fact that radio is being used to organize and encourage violence in South Sudan. For those who have studied or read about the genocide in Rwanda, radio was one of the key mediums employed by … Continue reading When Radio Goes Bad: RF communications and the increased violence in South Sudan

NATO, the U.S. and Ukraine: A political economy of bad options?

Since I'm not an expert on Ukraine, the greater region it's situated in, or much of the history, I've primarily observed and absorbed the various op-eds, arguments and blog posts I've seen from others. I don't really have much to add about Ukraine or the politics of the region itself, but I have found the … Continue reading NATO, the U.S. and Ukraine: A political economy of bad options?

Kristof, Columbia, and the ‘Public Intellectual-Professor’: Part 2

Earlier this week I wrote the first half of this pair of posts, focusing on the problems in Nicholas Kristof's piece on why professors should be more engaged in the public debate. I came down pretty hard on it, not because I disagree with the general sentiment (my doctoral research and interests are very policy … Continue reading Kristof, Columbia, and the ‘Public Intellectual-Professor’: Part 2

Kristof, Columbia, and the ‘Public Intellectual-Professor’: Part 1

This will be a two-parter since there's a lot in it. It's been interesting reading the initial article about why professors need to be involved in public debate from Nicholas Kristof and seeing the rejoinders, particularly Michelle Goldbergs' article about Columbia University's decision to let two of their best professors of public health go. I'm … Continue reading Kristof, Columbia, and the ‘Public Intellectual-Professor’: Part 1

Samoa Post: End of semester observations

So I've been in Samoa for a semester now, working with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and getting things in order to do dissertation fieldwork. I'll probably post again before the end of the year, but here are a few key themes that have emerged in conversation as I've developed relationships with my … Continue reading Samoa Post: End of semester observations

Samoa Update: What “Kickstarting an Emergency” got me thinking

Andrej Verity, who works at UN-OCHA, wrote a thought provoking and enjoyable post earlier this week about alternative crowdfunding and Kickstarter-type mechanisms for distributing aid funding to beneficiaries during disaster response.  I posted a few short thoughts in the comments section of the post, but thought it'd be good to expand on them a bit.  Hopefully … Continue reading Samoa Update: What “Kickstarting an Emergency” got me thinking

Social Network Analysis: A cool analysis of how SNA worked during the American Revolution

Lots of people saw Kieran Healy's humorous and thought proviking post about how some very basic matrix algebra and centrality analysis can be used to identify people within social networks using basic metadata.  This article by Shin Kap Han goes into more depth about centrality and the power of weak bonds; I found the analysis of the … Continue reading Social Network Analysis: A cool analysis of how SNA worked during the American Revolution

Disaggregating Peacekeeping Data: A new dataset on peacekeeping contributions

Jacob Kathman at the University of Buffalo has an article in the current issue of Conflict Management and Peace Science about his new dataset on the numbers and nationalities of all peacekeeper contributions by month since 1990.  This is a pretty fantastic undertaking since peacekeeping data is often difficult to find, and no small feat … Continue reading Disaggregating Peacekeeping Data: A new dataset on peacekeeping contributions

Samoa update: A little informed consent, a lot of economics

I'm embracing my status as a political scientist working in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MCIT).  While a lot of my experience in the tech space tends to be tool-centric, I'm finding more and more that the challenges on the user end (in this case Samoa) are related to policy and economics. The … Continue reading Samoa update: A little informed consent, a lot of economics

Peacekeeping, economic growth and technology

The economics of peacekeeping are difficult to unpack but there are signs that when a mission has a strategy that includes long-range economic planning, it can have positive long term effects on the host country’s economy.  This could help us understand the strategic value of communication technology as not just a tool for good governance … Continue reading Peacekeeping, economic growth and technology