Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | March 27, 2013

List of Random Links

Olchon Shaman Rock

1. Monica briefly looks at seven upcoming movie adaptations of popular novels, including the Catching Fire, Ender’s Game, and World War Z.

2. Steve Saideman views the latest trailer for the movie World War Z and is optimistic about the movie: “I am not as concerned as I was before. Sure, the zombies are way too fast compared to the books which makes the strategies that win the war in the book, um, a bit less likely to work. But the key move from the book to the movie is to change the narrator of the book from an historian looking back at the war to someone trying to figure it out during the conflict. This gives Brad Pitt a far more active role, but it is natural for any Hollywood movie to take an oral history and run through the events as they happen, rather than just have a series of flashbacks. Indeed, this move is inevitable. … The movie clearly does move from place to place that are portrayed in the book.” I’m still uneasy. (Minor spoilers for the book at the link.)

3. Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy reviews one of my favorite new TV shows, The Americans.

4. Alex Tabarrok notes a paper by Francis, Hasan and Wu: “Academics on Corporate Boards Increase Profits.” See also Professor Bainbridge.

5. From Ken at Popehat, “Three Things You May Not Get About the Aaron Swartz Case.” One thing involves federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutorial discretion, and realistic estimates of the possible length of sentence Swartz was facing. The second thing is, put simply: Aaron Swartz was not the only one. Not by a long shot (emphasis in original): “People think the system failed or abused or singled out Aaron Swartz. This is the system, dammit, and if you think that Aaron Swartz faced what he did because he’s a hacker and the government has it out for hackers, then I’m here to tell you that you’re full of shit. … These things happen every day to people less photogenic, talented, and charismatic than Aaron Swartz. You care, or you don’t. If you only care about Aaron’s case, or the cases of people in the same tribe as Aaron, you’re not a serious person.”

6. A study looks at 5-year results of performance pay for primary school teachers in India.

7. The Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, died on March 21. He was 82. This obituary from the blog Africa is a Country is a good place to start. The Nation has a 2009 retrospective on Things Fall Apart (H/T: Chris Blattman), and The Guardian has an obit as well.

8. Chris Bertam has a post on a fledgling effort to form a new political party in the UK to the left of the Labour Party. For all sorts of reasons, this is a bad idea: “The UK just had a referendum on the alternative vote, and that referendum was lost. With first-past-the-post and no prospect of electoral reform, voters will reliably back the party that promises to end the ConDem coalition. That party is Labour, however hopeless it has been in the past and however useless it will be in the future. I can’t see a way round this, and that leaves me deeply pessimistic.”

9. Corey Robin: “Why Did Liberals Support the Iraq War?” (I have substantive disagreements with Robin on a broad host of issues, but damn can he write!)

Image Credit: Olchon Shaman Rock, Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo by Kirsten Buerger, June 2007. Used under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


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