Friday, March 15, 2013

Best of the Week #97


I’m well-rested and stretched out. I have my bib (#2133) and my jelly beans. And I’ve recruited many many people to cheer along the way. Sooo basically, I’m READY LET’S GET THIS DONE!

But seriously, can it be tomorrow morning yet? Please? No? Ok fine. I’ll just go eat some spaghetti and impatiently wait.

To distract ourselves, let’s get some Best of the Week links going here.

This is how my co-workers feel about my marathon:


Yesterday was Pi Day. I didn’t eat any pie…but trust me I wanted to! (see it bigger)


A little Sudan update for your Friday. "Sudan Armed Forces Buildup in Heglig." Did you know that 22 tanks is two tank companies? Now you do! (report online, imagery online)

BEFORE: 6 tanks
AFTER: 10 tanks, 10 HETS (note the beautiful labeling going on here...just sayin.)
  • Satellite imagery from March 5, 2013...shows newly-arrived main battle tanks, 10 heavy transporters (HETS), and two Mi-24 helicopter gunships, in Heglig, an oil producing region in South Kordofan, Sudan, which South Sudan claims lies within its territory. Heglig was the scene of the last major military engagement between Sudan and South Sudan in April 2012. 
  • Though the government of Sudan neither confirms nor denies an increased military presence in Heglig, imagery dated March 5, 2013 shows newly-arrived tanks and HETS in a military support area in the town, as well as newly-arrived attack helicopters at the airbase. The report includes an overview map of the disposition of Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, in and around Heglig.

This actually requires some looking at: "30 Charts You Didn't Know You Needed."


  • 1. Plot devices in prize-winning novels:
  • 13. How often the word "Mordor" appears in each LOTR book:
  • 16. Logo colors and how they correspond to industries:
  • 17. A guide to the many types of vegetables:
  • 19. Likelihood of a break up per day:
  • 24. The age distribution of popular social networks:
It is a well-know fact among my friends that I am a very socially adept introvert. "Hush: The Power of Hiding Like an Introvert."
  • Plus, I totally like the idea of people. I see them all the time on Facebook and even Gchat a few. When I need a pick-me-up, I listen to snippets of Susan Cain’s TED talk on the power of introverts and think of all the introverts I will tell about it through rapid-fire texting.
And a re-post because I LOVE this article: “Caring for Your Introvert.” It’s definitely not all applicable to all introverts, but parts (“Hell is other people at breakfast.") just really speak to me.
  • What is introversion? In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
  • Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. 
So this exists: “Game of Thrones 1995 Style.”


Yet another great McSweeney's piece: "From the Complete Guide to the Care and Training of the Writer in Your Life."
  • What can I expect of my writer? Remember that at any given moment your writer could produce something brilliant, transcendent, revolutionary, or just really deep. Say it’s Monday morning and your writer appears to be drinking in front of the television—resist the natural urge to question! By mistaking research for leisure activity, well-meaning but inexperienced caregivers often disrupt critical chains of reasoning. Countless great thoughts have been lost this way. Keep in mind that a writer’s work is often unappreciated until after his or her time. In short, expect nothing less than posthumous glory, but be patient.
  • Remember, a young writer can seem cute and harmless, but without proper nurturing he or she can grow to be an unmanageable adult. However, with the right early care and training, the writer in your life can become a unique and wonderful companion, one that can draw you, the writer’s special human caregiver, into a lasting and loving relationship.
Ok this may sound a little weird, but I want this Shakable Blue Cheese for my popcorn!


I would not have expected this. “The second loser of the Kenyan elections (economically speaking).”
  • A few months ago, The Daily Nation wrote that the 2013 Kenyan elections are not only the most expensive since independence. They are actually the most expensive in the world:
  • Elections in Kenya are the most expensive in the world thanks to a high voter registration cost, administrative inefficiencies and outright theft of funds.
  • In counting the costs of this election, we also have to consider that (a) this was not not an election day, it was an “election week”, where most shops remained closed, workers didn’t go to work and central business districts all over Kenya became ghost towns for almost seven days in a row. And (b) let’s not even talk about the huge costs of the election campaigns.
MUST WATCH: "Stephen Colbert Schools James Franco On Tolkien Trivia." There is no way I will ever compete with this level of nerdiness. But hats off to you Colbert!


Uhoh things are about to get academic up in here.  (Trust me, reading this wil make you feel better about enjoying all the interwebs silliness.) You don’t have to agree, just think about it. “Iraq 10 Years Later (1): How Culpable is Academic International Relations? The International Relations academic community reflections on the Iraq war 10 years later."
  • So, if you knew, 10 years ago, what Iraq looked today, and what it took to get here, would you support the war? I mean this seriously, even if the answers is almost certainly no, because Iraq is a better place today than it was then. The shaky Maliki government is definitely an improvement on Saddam; I don’t think that is up for much debate and should be admitted. The question is whether it was worth the cost. And the cost should include the roughly 125,000 Iraqi civilians killed. I find American pundits tend to focus solely on the much smaller number of US casualties, which is deeply inappropriate.
  • I think IR bears a special burden for the US use of force overseas, because, more than any other identifiable section of academia, we study that. Yes, the DC think-tanks also work in this area, as do diplomatic historians. But at the risk of cheerleading for our discipline, I believe IR conducts more basic research than these other two, and we’re far less co-opted than the think-tank set. We generate a lot of deep theory about how world politics works, particularly on the causes and consequences of war. Furthermore, a lot of us study US foreign policy specifically – just go open an random copy of International Security to see how much ‘America’ actually dominates our supposedly ‘international’ discipline.
OMG hilarious and unexpectedly catchy. "It’s getting real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot."
  • You’re the most annoying dude I’ve ever seen brah. Could you please move? You’re right in front of the quinoa! I’m about to check out. Pay my 80 bucks for 6 things and get the heck out!


This cracks me up. Thank you Tumblr.



The end. Have a great weekend!


This will be me on the start line tomorrow:




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