Sunday, 14 September 2014

On Youtube, Chinese Politics Now: the Mass Line & Document Number Nine

"As with many other turning points in China's past, the new direction indicated by the manifesto has been demonstrated --first and foremost-- by the Communist Party turning against itself, purging, persecuting and imprisoning its own members."

On Youtube:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

New Course on "Rejection" & "Failure".

Source of this graphic: Research paper publishing sting reveals lax standards.

UVic's department of writing has been known to take on a variety of challenging themes in both fiction and non-fiction.  This year's latest WRIT321 course addresses an area that few other universities have been willing to touch on, according to sessional instructor Thaddeus Crane.

"You know, I got the idea when I received a peer-review rejection myself.  I thought, 'this is a huge part of what we do, and of what we're supposed to be preparing students for, but we never really deal with it in class' --not in a way that really rises to the same level of methodological rigor as other subjects on the calendar."

Crane was quick to clarify that this is not a course that is about failure as a literary theme.  According to the syllabus, students will gain the tools necessary to achieve more through the process of repeated rejection.

"We say that we're preparing students for success, but are we really willing to examine the other 90% of the process?  What about the projects that never get published, the funding applications that never materialize, or the work that does appear in print, but sinks without a trace?"

Although he was not willing to give specific examples, Crane insisted that he knows of "many" professors who dedicated years of work to projects that you would now struggle to find through google.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Vegan Documentary Film "Cowspiracy" (my comments on Youtube)

My face on Youtube:

This is a ten minute discussion made with an awareness that most of the people who see it will (i) already be vegan, and (ii) already have seen the film being reviewed.  This is probably not what anyone is expecting to hear from "a political science perspective", nor from a vegan perspective, but I do reflect on what I feel is the core tension of the film; and, for me, it raises familiar questions about the NGO/Charity sector...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sinomania: Can Anything Justify the Hype about the Chinese Economy?

Why is there so much hype about the Chinese economy?  I’ll mention just one factor among many: people don’t want to believe they’re living in a world where the rich get richer, while the poor are trapped in poverty.  The idea that China is suddenly becoming more affluent than Japan appeals to a (false) sense of upward mobility, on a massive scale.

The chart above (that I made myself) shows the I.M.F. projections for 2013–2017, GDP per capita at PPP.  China isn’t catching up with Japan.  In fact, China isn’t even catching up with poverty-stricken Chile.