Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Links For Wednesday

Bloody hell, how long has it been since my last links post? A month? Three months? Ten years? Who knows? Anyway, here's stuff to help you waste time:

Some great stories from Poli Sci faculty as the academic quarters/semesters draw to a close. Some real classics in there.

Apparently it's not easy for outsiders to join the Taliban. Sort of like the Sindh Club then.

Two heartfelt eulogies for Paul Samuelson from two eminent economists from opposite ends of the spectrum: here's Paul Krugman, and here's Greg Mankiw. Make sure to read the inscription Samuelson left for Mankiw in a classic edition of the former's textbook. There's just something about academics from different eras interacting in this way that gives me goosebumps. In part, it's a natural implication of the enterprise: by its very nature, academia forces you to be aware of traditions in your field, where the big ideas came from, and what your place -- if you're lucky enough to have one -- in the field is. It's a very branch-and-root type of thing, and I love that about my chosen profession.

Apparently the soon-to-be-launched Express Tribune, courtesy the deep pockets of one of the Lakhanis (I really don't know the difference between them, all I know is they're all bloody loaded...our answer to the Ambanis evidently) is going to operate in decidedly unPakistani ways: there will be penalties for tardiness for staff, and people are supposed to dress professionally. Somehow (I will refrain from speculating how) Cafe Pyala happened upon an internal memo/email sent to the staff, which is funny in a Dr.Cox-from-"Scrubs" kind of way.

Courtesy the W, there is a study that reports that women remember and care more about shoes than men. Unfortunately, the fact that the study was commissioned by a firm that sells "innovative shoe storage solutions" tells me that the study was, in actual fact, complete nonsense.

Only the News can title news pieces -- again, not op-eds, but news pieces -- with sentences like "GHQ's been a bad boy, but Kayani is a gentleman". I don't know what this says about me, but the News headline writers are collectively one of the best things in my life right now.

Rabia's digging through the archives, and pointing out inconsistencies in Cowasjee's logic, and his lack of support for democracy, broadly construed. Easy target, no?

An interesting post on Freakonomics. The topic: things that are bad when an exchange of money is entailed, but okay when money is not involved, even though the actual act is exactly the same. Think sex vs. prostitution, giving a child up for adoption vs. selling a baby, donating a kidney vs. selling a kidney. The interesting thing about the sex vs. prostitution thing, as one of the commenters noted, is that it goes through two transitions if you add cameras to the mix. So sex = legal. Sex + money = prostitution = illegal. Sex + money + camera = pornography = legal. No?

Are Ahmed Rashid and Shuja Nawaz advising General Petraeus on Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Nate Silver thinks the Senate bill, with or without a public option, with or without the advanced Medicare buy-in, should be good enough for progressives. Either way, I think we can all safely agree with Ezra Klein that Joe Lieberman is kind of a dick. Jon Chait, on the other hand, thinks he's just kind of stupid, and lives off the Jews-are-smart-and-good-with-number stereotype.

Tito Vilanova (Pep's right hand man) thinks Barca are better this year than last. I'm inclined to agree; the reason we're not seeing the bloated scorelines of last season has very little to do with the overall quality of the team in my opinion. More injuries, better tactics from other teams, and too many internationals are the three most important. And yet...Barca are still undefeated in La Liga, have lost only once the entire season in all competitions, and already have two trophies (and are going for a third this week). I'd say they're doing okay.

A really good post on Obsidian Wings on the whole "Blair said he'd still do Iraq knowing what he knows today" controversy. Read the whole thing.

Finally, Mohammad Sami? Yes, Mohammad Sami. Please read the PakPassion thread on this as an indication of how fans feel. I would reproduce my cricket-friends email thread for you guys too, but it has too many bad words for a family blog.


Anon_for_a_reason said...

In Sub-continent,
Sex + Money(Income) = Marriage(with Dowry) (Socially acceptable)
Sex + Money(Expense) = Prostitution
(Social Taboo)

Ahsan said...

Hahaha. Touche.

Nabeel said...

before i read all of your links,many of which seem to be excellent as usual, thought you'd be interested in this study of patterns in insurgencies (if you haven't already read it):