Interesting Links

Here are some interesting links I came across this week:

  • For those of you in the academic world who haven’t heard of this free citation service, Zotero, check it out. Makes collaboration, citation and organizing your sources much easier.
  • In the face of the recent attention afforded to the London riots, this view is worth noting— China has riots more serious every week with over 90,000 such “mass incidents” of riots, protests, mass petitions and other acts in 2009 alone.
  • A discussion of the meaning of statistical significance.
  • An interesting project that uses dice to help extract difficult information from research subjects. The researcher asks a question, and the subject is asked to roll the dice; if it rolls a 1, the subject is to answer “no”, no matter the correct answer; and if a 6 is rolled, the subject is to answer “yes”, no matter the correct answer. This way, the subject is protected from implicating him/herself in any wrongdoing behind a layer of safety and is perhaps more prone to answer truthfully.
  • The World Justice Project released its 2011 Rule of Law Index, that profiles indicators of law and order in 66 countries worldwide.
  • A look at the growing incidence of piracy off the coast of West Africa.
  • The Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya has found that one in four Kenyans has experienced torture, that nearly three quarters of all victims never report the offense and that seventy-seven percent of all reported cases are not investigated because most incidences have been allegedly perpetrated by the police officers themselves.
  • The state of human rights in Azerbaijan seems in jeopardy after three leading human rights organizations in Baku were allegedly illegally demolished in the middle of the night, without warning by the government.
  • Foreign Policy published an interesting article by A Bed for the Night author David Rieff regarding the exaggeration of NGOs and governments during humanitarian crises.
  • Dave Algoso from the Find What Works blog wrote an article about evaluating peacebuilding.
  • More violence seems possible in Malawi, following last month’s 19 protest deaths, as new anti-government demonstrations are scheduled for August 17th.
  • An interesting discussion has been raised over the Dodd-Frank Act and its effect on conflict minerals in the DR Congo. Jason Stearns gave an interview with the founder and director of OGP a Congolese NGO in Bukavu on the devastating effects the bill was having on the local population. Laura, from Texas in Africa discussed the predictability that this would have happened. David Aronson then published a piece in the New York Times talking about how this had caused a de facto embargo of minerals, to which both Laura and Jason Stearns responded. UN Dispatch and Metal Miner weighed in, as did others, including Global Witness. The Enough Project responded to the criticism of the Bill they highly backed, and then David Aronson responded again on his personal blog. All in all, it’s not likely these parties will come to some sort of agreement in the near future. Personally, I tend to see the futility of a Bill like the Dodd-Frank Act, especially in light of the security situation in the DRC. One only has to look at the extremely flawed Kimberley Process to realize that certification schemes are extremely open to corruption and not capable of fully controlling so-called “conflict minerals”.

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