This week involves one of my last pre-comp spurts of academic work for this term. For tomorrow, I need to write a draft comp answer on policy failure, inequality, and political economy v. institutionalist v. agent-centred theories. On Wednesday, my interview assignment for my qualitative methods course is due. I need to finish the astonishingly […]


Reading week

February 17, 2014

in Daily updates, Rants

Maddeningly, I am still waiting for a final result on my Canadian politics comprehensive exam, and I still don’t know whether I will be writing the Public Policy comp this spring or remaining in the PhD program next year. In all probability, these many delays have simply been the result of bureaucratic inefficiency, but they […]


An international effort is being made today to fight back against internet surveillance. If you wish to take part, I suggest doing so by downloading a version of the GNU Privacy Guard for your operating system, in order to encrypt your emails. Gpg4Win is for Windows, while GPGTools is for Mac OS. Downloading the TOR […]


The main skill acquired in PhD programs: Learning to deal with poverty and unrelenting stress while overcoming a myriad of procedural hurdles and pursuing a distant and uncertain objective that – even if achieved – will probably provide no career or financial benefits.


January 31, 2014

in Daily updates, Rants

Yesterday I went to bed early and slept for fifteen hours straight. Now, six hours after waking, I am exhausted again. My schedule for the next two weeks, as well as for the next month, is brutal. I may be reaching the limits of my mental fortitude.

Spending weeks on end trying to spend all day preparing for an open-ended examination is wearying, and nearly any task seems welcome by comparison. One advantage of that is how I have spent more time in the gym in the last month than in the year before that – passing an hour a day there […]


Commenting on federal-provincial conflict, Richard Simeon provides a quote from Anthony Downs that I suspect applies at least as much to academics as to politicians: A second effect of territorial sensitivity is that bureaus consume a great deal of time and energy in territorial struggles that create no socially useful products. Simeon, Richard. Federal-Provincial Diplomacy. […]

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My three-year iPhone contract ends in February, and I am thinking about selling the phone. I am tempted to go entirely phone-free, but there are times when having a phone is necessary to get information (like when things are available for pickup) or for coordinating meetings. Part of my reluctance to continue with smartphones is […]


Worth watching: Christopher Hitchens on the four versions of the 10 commandments in the bible


Living in a residence where nobody knows anyone else and where no action can generally be attributed to a specific individual illustrates what happens when the bonds of community are thin. The refrigerator is often crammed with rotting, stinking food – all of it heaped together in opaque plastic grocery bags. Someone has been dumping […]