19 September 2011

Berlin Elections Update

A post election update to my previous post:

  • The Pirate Party did surprisingly well taking 8.9% of the vote and gaining 15 seats.
  • Der Linke is no longer a contender to be part of the governing coalition.
  • Basically everyone else remained the same from the previous election except the liberal FDP, who were basically wiped out.


For full results see this Der Spiegel graphic:


17 September 2011

Berlin Election Posters

For my political science readers out there, I've put together a short slide show of election poster photos I've taken recently (scroll down and click). These are for the upcoming Berlin state elections (Battle for the Rotes Rathaus). 

A few things I thought were interesting:
  • The top poster in the first photo is for current SPD mayor Klaus Wowereit. Though the SPD is a social democratic party, in Berlin it is in coalition with Die Linke ("The Left" party created from pieces of the old East German Socialist Unity Party), and this is Berlin which votes pretty strongly for left parties, they only have a small blob of red on their poster. The major colour is blue? I asked a German coworker (and a researcher for an SPD MP) about this. She explained "they chose blue because they want to look cool". Oddly, the centre-right CDU (bottom picture 3 and 5) use read for their letters, but stick to blue otherwise.

  • The second poster is for a Pirate Party candidate. I was a little confused about why Pirate party candidates would even run in a local election (they mostly care about federal-level internet regulation issues). 

  • The yellow top poster in picture 3 is for the (european-style) liberal FDP party. The main message of the poster is 'your government can do more for you than just give parking tickets'. This is an interesting appeal considering the discussion on the role of government in the US.

  • The bottom CDU poster in picture 3 is basically the Obama "Change" slogan. This is clearly an appeal to change the local government SPD-Die Linke coalition rather than Merkel's federal CDU-led government. However, I would imagine that state elections in Germany are just as much second-order elections as in other sub-national contests and the CDU will do just as badly as in other recent state elections.

  • Finally, I've always thought it was weird that US contests, which are supposed to be very candidate-centred, rarely feature campaign posters with the candidates photo, but many places where there is proportional representation and, supposedly less focus on candidates, most posters will have candidates' photos. 




      

5 September 2011

US Publishing Dominance?

I ran across this data on science publications by country from the World Bank.


Some quick thoughts:

  • It seems that the EU, contrary to popular wisdom, has maintained a slight lead over the US as the academic science publishing centre for a bit more than a decade.
  • Of course the US (pop. ~ 307 million) is still publishing above its population adjusted weight relative to the EU (pop. ~ 501 million).
  • However, assuming that universities are places where resources are transfered from teaching (i.e. students) to research and given the incredible rise in US student debt (see my previous post) I would have expected to see a larger increase in US publications because presumably US universities would have more resources. Of course there are many different reasons that student debt can increase without an increase in university resources, but an essentially flat absolute number of publications over the entire period is kind of strange. 
  • Finally, what countries are producing the big gains in total global publications? It doesn't seem to be any of the those in the graph.

3 September 2011

Bank of Korea MPC Diorama

For anyone interested in central banking, you might find this photo amusing. I recently took it at the Bank of Korea Museum (website includes virtual 3D tour for those not traveling to Seoul anytime soon). It shows the BoK's Monetary Policy Committee.


I'm not sure how you would code this for a project on central bank transparency. Also, I'm not sure which of the puppets is supposed to be the Ministry of Strategy and Finance's "observer".

Final note: this reminded me of a perhaps an excruciating plan for an multi-holiday theme. Central bank museum tours. Then again, the museums are usually free, the Bank of England Museum is actually pretty interesting, and it can't be worse than touring all of the major league baseball stadiums.