Wednesday Linkage

by PM

3 July 2013, 1934 EDT

imgres-4Welcome to Wednesday’s linkage. We’ve delayed posting until the situation of one major world leader and head of state was resolved, and we can now definitely confirm: King Albert of the Belgians has abdicated. He joins Queen Beatrix and target=”_blank”>Sheikh Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani in this year’s parade of former crowned heads.

Why? Did something else happen today?

In more substantive news, Jay Ulfelder makes an obvious but important point: Today’s events do constitute a coup, whether they were “polite” or not.

In the APSA Comparative Democratization section newsletter, Ben Smith lays out what we know and don’t know (see page 2 and 17) about the resource curse and teases a new measure to supersede incumbent ones. Smith is a distinguished researcher on the topic and more precise measurements are always devoutly to be wished (and I for one welcome the new measure), but one wonders whether it is not measurement but theory that lies at the heart of the issue. (Indeed, Smith’s characterization of the difference of the marginal effect of an oil-derived dollar at different levels of overall income suggests that we ought to be just operationalizing our measures exponentially anyway.

Other links:

  • Textbook publisher Cengage files for bankruptcy. [The Chronicle]
  • ggmap: Spatial Visualization with ggplot2, which looks like the kind of disruptive innovation that makes spatial visualization much easier and less expensive. [R Journal]
  • R for the Blind, an interesting examination of the computing challenges faced by the hard-of-seeing. Example:

    R users commonly use script files that can be edited or created using any text editor. This might seem obvious, but while many statistical software applications have this feature, those that are primarily driven by mouse clicks and dialogue boxes are often used by people who cannot support the blind student needing to use commands entered via the keyboard. Documentation to support use of the command syntax for many statistical software options is not always kept up to date.

    [R Journal]

  • Georgetown Provost Bob Groves explains the tenure process.