Showing posts from December, 2012

Top 10 Posts of 2012

At the end of every year, I tend to do the same thing: I write a blogpost about how itʼs the end of the year—or at least the end or beginning of something. Just look at these posts from 2008, 2009, Jan. 2011, and—one year ago—Dec. 2011. In that post from last December, I listed off my "top ten" posts for the year, selected by me to reflect the diversity of my experiences through the year. Now I've decided to continue that tradition.

Elven Interventions: A Fan's Review of The Hobbit (Part I)

On a Monday a week and a half ago, my girlfriend, her father and I went to the theater to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The movie was satisfying and entertaining, and a lot of people will enjoy it, ranging from those only a little familiar with Tolkien to those like me who have read several of his books. However, I think there will be audiences with mixed responses to the film: at one end, those who have no familiarity at all with Tolkien's epic lengendarium, and at the other, die-hard fans who are extremely well-versed in it.

There are spoilers that follow, I suppose, but not any that would ruin the film.

Image: My girlfriend and I with Gandalf at the movie theater.

Thesis Prospectus – Lingít ḵa Waashdan Ḵwáan

Do you remember back to this post in September when I first mentioned I would be writing a senior honors thesis in history, or this post when I first announced what I would write about? Well if you don't, there isn't much need to read those posts, as now I am here to update you with a much more thorough thesis prospectus—essentially the biggest product of all my work on my thesis this semester. The prospectus is intended to lay out my argument and the tentative structure of my paper, as well as including some of my methodology and so on. Essentially it's a very rough draft of my introduction, plus a plan for the rest of the thesis. I hope you enjoy reading it; I've left out the bibliography and footnotes to simplify things, so all's that's there is the text and the outline. I'm going to be writing the actual thesis over the next several months, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

The Future of Alaska Partisanship

The celebrated statistician Nate Silver recently wrote a blogpost for the New York Times called "Alaska: Future Swing State?" in which he suggested that trends over the past decade could make my homestate competitive territory for Democrats around the year 2020. Soon afterward, however, the Alaska Dispatch published a forceful rebuttal, pointing out Silver's simplifications and omissions. Now I'll take a stab at analysis and offer my own prediction of where Alaska will be politically in the year 2020 and afterward.

Strasbourg, One Year After (Une année après)

I realized I've only posted one one-year reflection about my study abroad experience so far—on Haguenau—so I think it's time for another. Exactly one year ago I visited three of Strasbourg's museums—the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum de l'Œuvre Notre Dame. I never wrote a post about that day, but one day later I posted this, comparing the U.S. and France. Rather than ramble on about my time at the museums, I will leave you instead with a selection of my best photos.

J'ai réalisé que je n'ai publié qu'une réflexion d'une année sur mes éxperiences des études à l'étranger—sur Haguenau—donc je pense qu'il est temps pour un autre. Il y a une année exactement j'ai visité trois des musées de Strasbourg—le Musée Archéologique, le Musée des Beaux-Arts et le Musée de l'Œuvre Notre Dame. Je n'ai jamais écrit un billet au sujet de ce jour, mais un jour après j'ai publié ça, qui compare les É.U.A. et la France.…

China: Greatest Barrier to Korean Reunification?

I was talking with a Georgetown student from South Korea (ROK) two days ago, and I asked her what she thought of the relationship between China (PRC) and North Korea (DPRK). She brought up the increasing dependence of the DPRK on China, which I was aware of, but she also said something incredible that I had never thought of before: If the North keeps getting closer and closer to China, Korea may lose the chance of ever becoming reunified.

In this post from several months ago, I predicted that the relationship between North and South Korea would change within the next decade. I still believe this is true, but the question becomes, how?

France: The Real Family Values Country?

I had a notion return to my mind recently when I realized I had two French songs in my current playlist about father-son relationships. It's a notion that first came to me while living in Strasbourg, and I wrote about it here: The French love the idea of childhood, and by extension parenthood! There must be at least half a dozen songs out of my 300 Francophone songs on iTunes that seriously sentimentalize family relations, while I probably have a similar number of songs like that in English - out of a total of around 4500. Indeed, both the songs in my playlist came from an album of popular hits in France; meanwhile, the last chart-topping father-son song in the U.S. was probably Cat's in the Cradle, and that came out in 1974.

Photo at right: A community art piece in Neuhof, a banlieue of Strasbourg, part of a big playground.