The Duck of Minerva

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Really delayed Thursday Morning Linkage

August 9, 2013

Apologies for the delay in Thursday linkage but was a bit under the weather. It’s the Texas heat, making me crazy and violent, or at least so suggests a recent empirical study in Science though it has its detractors. This week, I link to the back and forth of a major study on climate and conflict that carries out a meta-analysis of 60 studies and finds a 1 standard deviation change in variety of climate indicators leads to a 4% rise in “interpersonal violence” and a 14% rise in “intergroup” violence.

  • “Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict”, Science, Hsiang et al., 2013

More detailed post to come but here is the coverage:

  • Nature weighs in on Science piece (includes quotes from Hsiang, Halvard Buhaug)
  • The Atlantic covers the story with piece entitled “Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want to Kill Each Other”
  • New Scientist covers as well with quotes from Idean Salehyan and Buhaug)
  • Useful coverage from Keith Kloor in Discover magazine with some context on the article itself
  • Ed Carr takes issue with the newness of the findings
  • Climate Central covers favorably
  • The Center for Climate and Security responds favorably to the report
  • Cornell adjunct statistician William M. Briggs slams the paper, mostly snark
  • Study co-author Marshall Burke responds to critics

Oh, and if you missed this, Phil Schrodt’s classic exit post on leaving the academy!

So am I flipping the bird to Lord Yama  and making a bold statement that I’m not going to die as soon as I stop attending faculty meetings? The experience of my immediate predecessor at the University of Kansas, Cliff Ketzel, who died mere weeks after retiring, terrorized a generation at KU faculty who subsequently stayed on long after they should have retired. As is the case for at least one embittered dean—and one now-deceased coach—at Penn State, who seeing Lord Yama in the rear view mirror figures the best strategy is to slam on the gas to try to stay ahead. But Yama is patient and inclusive, and awaits us all.

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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.