Monday, 30 April 2007

Another American military view of Iraq

This is slightly old news but worth a read - it's very to the point. Zeyad of Healing Iraq says:

I agree with most of his assessment, except his rosy description of the current security operation. Also, like most U.S. military officials, he is mistaking the recent infighting between tribes in the Anbar Governorate and Al-Qaeda as a turning point in the insurgency and support for the U.S. or the Iraqi government. But he recognises, correctly, that the only road to success in Iraq is through reconciliation.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

... and while we're at it, check out the hilariously bad writing. It must be deliberate. Surely noone could seriously type: "The border, slow epoxy, is setting".

God wait, there's more:
"In Dundee, where just 20 years ago the al fresco option of choice was a temazepam sandwich, there are pretty girls in rimless glasses, who write the world's computer games for a living, swapping dried apricots."

A vibrant Scottish dried-fruit-based barter economy has been growing under our noses! Who knew?
Jeez, can't I leave the country for a year without it falling apart?

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Brits might be interested in...

The mass lone demo in Parliament Square on May 16th. Don't forget to get your permission to protest from Old Bill!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

hey you know... this Spanish pop ain't bad

I fixed my computer. The laptop screen had been going dark. When I replaced the screen, I lost the little rubber covers of the screws that hold it in place. They'd been coming a little loose... so I just tightened them up with a little Phillips screwdriver and it all went back to normal.

My Dad used to spend Saturday evenings cursing under the bonnet of his many secondhand cars (all rubbish of course). For me computer hardware fulfils the same role. I (heart) my little Toshiba.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Watched Grindhouse

A tribute to 70s B-movies, double bill with Tarantino and Rodriguez directing. The Rodriguez one is an extremely schlocky zombie affair. I advise you to throw away the tribute-to-those-great-old-films wrapping and focus on the Tarantino flick inside, which has eight interesting female characters at its centre: four who come to no good at the hands of a rather scary Kurt Russell, and four who are a little bit older and wiser. I think Tarantino wants to be Almodovar and understand women. (But he can't, not really, because he's not Almodovar.) Worth watching.

Friday, 20 April 2007

work's getting busy...

This term has been fairly quiet so far and I've even managed to take the past two weekends off. Now it's looking hectic again - the problem sets are getting tough - but I am determined to have at least one day off every week.

The EITM summer school accepted me, so I'll be in Los Angeles for a month from late June to late July. And then, home in time for Kemal's stag do.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Videoblogging in Baghdad.

MPSA is on and Giorgios is staying with me, which is very nice. Yesterday, me and the other Essex PhDs all went and had the world's most cholesterol-filled breakfast, then I snuck in to the conference and watched a couple of sessions - one excellent theoretical paper on media, showing that even rational consumers who want to be informed could end up purchasing media that confirms their biases.

Monday, 9 April 2007

New textbooks have arrived.

It's been a textbook kind of year. Here are some:

Microeconomic Theory by Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green aka MWG. Square, grey and green like dried sick, unprepossessing and dismally hard to struggle through at first. Gradually it's won my heart by its terseness and seriousness. Only what matters is in this book.

Rudin, Principles of Mathematical Analysis. Like all the best maths book, it looks utterly undistinguished, its lurid brown and orange cover like a pair of 1970s curtains. Inside is Proper Maths from the ground up, written in elegant and lucid mathematical prose.

The latest alluring temptress is Real Analysis: Measure Theory, Integration and Hilbert Spaces from Princeton. This hot little minx comes in a shiny blue jacket with some kind of rocket science diagram on the front. Also excellently written, with less notation and more prose than Rudin.

Just arrived: Fudenberg and Tirole Game Theory. We shall see. At least it's a good size. If thrown correctly, it could kill the biggest rat in my kitchen.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Following that train of thought, I discovered this gem by Banfield on the web: "Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness". I don't agree with it but I do think it is very worth reading if you want to do practically oriented social science.

... and her Mum analyses economic development
... and ends up agreeing with Edward Banfield.

Sunshine posts on olive-branch-optimism

"Ok, your questions time: a question I receive a lot asks ” how do you feel about the US presence in your country ? do you want them to stay or leave?”

WELL, 4 years a go I used to feel safe when I see the soldiers in the street, I thought that I will have a free and developed country, that we will live in happiness and will achieve our ambitions. I thought I will have a brighter future and I was so happy that I even bought military clothes and wanted to be a soldier (kid’s dreams!).

Now, when I see a tank I go as far away as possible. When a tank comes the cars go aside, and after they pass we drive as fast as we can so that we don’t get hurt when some one attack the troops. I feel unsafe now. I worry about my family members, relatives and friends. I miss my aunt, I live in a destroyed country full of terrorists, explosions, shootings, and I don’t’ go out as I used to.

I see people I love leaving Iraq, I see my country bleeding and feel I can’t do anything about that, I don’t trust the governments nor the president. I try to keep my spirits high and say all of the darkness in the world can’t blow out my candle, but it is hard. I don’t have an enjoyable life, I miss picnics and fun. I miss the safety and security, I miss a lot of things, I feel like a stranger in my own country.

If the US troops leave, more carnage will happen, they should stay I think and fix my country. But as I say I am too young to talk about policy I might be wrong, that’s just my opinion .."

Katja and Dario

Miami photos

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Back from Miami

Where I had a very nice time. Thank you, Katja and Dario.

The Essex lake has ducks. The U of M lake has alligators. I wonder if we could transplant a few.

Term has started and on Friday I have to do my first teaching in formal theory: a refresher class on Nash equilibrium, dominant strategies and subgame perfection. Scary but exciting. (I'm only a TA, by the way - don't get the idea that I am actually lecturing.)