Friday, June 29, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
- Africa since 1800. Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore (good book)
- The Leopard. Tomasi Di Lampedusa (an ok read)
- The Road to Kalamata: A Congo Mercenary's Personal Memoir. Mike Roar (not recommended)
- A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman. Lisa Shannon (painfully bad book. I'll write some remarks on this blog soon)
- Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (review by Jarold Diamond here)
- Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoyevsky (started this months ago, but am not getting through it. The first book I read by a Russian author...)
- Economic Gangsters. Raymond Fisman and Ted Miguel
- Winter’s Heart. Robert Jordan (book 9 of the The Wheel of Times-series. Be careful when starting: each book is 1,000+ pages and there are 26-something books in the series)
- Learn Swahili (I will speak Swahili one day)
- The Last Journal of David Livingstone. David Livingstone
- The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. James Scott (also started this ages ago and not finished yet)
- Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Robert Putnam
- Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand
- White Settlers in Tropical Africa. Lewis Gann Peter Duignan (bought in a small bookshop in Paris last week when I needed to read something on a terrace and didn't have my Kindle around)
- Madam Bovary. Gustave Flaubert
- Great Expectations. Charles Dickens (on my smartphone -- great in subways when my Kindle is not around. Am about 30% in: good fun.)
- The Good Earth. Pearl Buck.
- Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery.
Monday, June 25, 2012
The keep includes several dungeons. On the walls of these dungeons graffiti made by the prisoners can still be seen:
Indeed quite a bit different than the graffiti we think of these days. It is maybe not that strange though. The prisoners that were detained in the keep were people of (used-to-be) high standing. Some famous ones include Nicolas Fouquet (Louis XIV’s disgraced finance minister), Denis Diderot (French author and philosopher) and Donatien Alphonse François (the famous Marquis de Sade).
Talking about grafitti; hereby a must-listen-to song by Simon and Garfunkel:
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Nice! Walking the Camino is very impressive, and must be an incredible experience. I've been intrigued by it ever since I watched The Way -- a movie I watched in the plane because President Bartlett from the West Wing is the main character. It turned out to be a fantastic movie:
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
During this period, while meeting with friends and drinking red wine, I am working. Last Saturday I finished a draft paper about our Voix des Kivus project in Congo, which I shared with Macartan and hopefully soon with the wider world. And today I finished data entry of a Congolese village: this is part of the data I collected recently (and is currently being collected) in South Kivu. There is one major reason why I am quite productive here in Paris: the Mitterand Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This is one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world and its construction was announced on 14 July 1988 by... former-French President François Mitterrand. The library was designed by the architectural firm of Dominique Perrault (thanks Wikipedia!). I have to say: they did an amazing job.
Last Friday I obtained a personal, electronic card that gives me access to the Research Area of the Mitterand Library: an enormous area, very quiet, and with lots of reading and work space. Show your Columbia University ID and also take some other form of ID with you (passport, driver's license), smile at the people that have to approve you (you never know with the French), and you have access.
The Mitterand Library was inaugurated on 15 December 1996 and contains more than ten million volumes (this is the same for Columbia University). Location is also good: on the 14 and the C lines. Very important note: after visiting the Mitterand Library also visit "The Frog and British Library": a good, well-known bar next door.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Fig1. Dear UC Berkeley. I like you.
Please offer me a job end-2013.
truck under the left "LOADING")
June, July, August 2012
So, I'm in the Netherlands and will be here until end-August! What am I up to? One of the first things is to make the results of the Congo evaluation public. Yesterday evening I worked until 3am with Macartan and we're close to finishing the polishing of the report; so soon more! Then related to this evaluation a big thing for the summer will be: First, to do secondary analysis. The results that we find in the Congo, do they hold for certain sub-populations only? Does the development project work better in some (type of) regions than in others? Et cetera. Second, in addition to writing the academic version of the evaluation report, we have collected a lot of data during this evaluation and also a large number of ideas. So the plan is to write a set of academic papers - the first steps to be taken this summer. But first, upcoming week, I want to finish an academic paper about Voix des Kivus. The project finished more than a year ago, it has been presented at several occasions and thus it is now time to polish the paper and maybe send to a journal. Also related to VdK is a meeting in Berlin early July. Together with Macartan we're contributing a chapter to a book related to the rise and use of new technology. Very interesting (also more on this later).
Most important for this summer though is my disseration. My fifth year at Columbia University just finished and it is really time to write up some chapters. The (too many) ideas are there. The (too much) data is there. Now I have to write it. Some work for my dissertation that I am particularly excited about is based on data that is being collected since my last trip to Eastern Congo (Dec-Feb 2012). We started a set of field-experiments and village mapping earlier this year and my team in the field (South Kivu, Congo) has continued the work since. Upon my departure in February I had a first pile of hardcopies with me: data from 6 villages, around 1,200 surveys. Last trip (May 2012) I took another pile with me from Congo to New York - another 2,000 surveys). Because I will spend my time in the Netherlands this summer, I sent this data from New York to my parents place - the box arrived this morning. Thanks USPS. I'm very excited!
cooperation in Congo? Can't wait to process and analyze it!