I'm starting my third week in Denver. I'm feeling settled physically, but I'm troubled by the specter of a French test and a Master's Thesis. Even so, on the whole things have gone well, with the prominent exception of my move-in. Losing my license on the Frontier flight managed to substantially complicate renting a truck to get my stuff out of storage.
I have four classes this quarter:
- Global Megatrends - A delightful little classes that examines the wide range of long-term trends in the world. I should have taken this teacher's class on forecasting when I had the chance. Key lesson learned: grey goo is a largely discreditted threat, so I'll need a different cataclysm for my scifi game.
- Intelligence and Military Operations - Should be rather useful as I'm considering intelligence work. The class has a focused topic, although the second lecture was a broad brush of theory, doctrine, and overheads. Key lesson: notetaking is an art. When I do it right, my notes can be much more organized and succinct than the lecture iteself. However, this technique only works when there is content to start with. This class has it. Last quarter, strategic communications, did not.
- Humanitarian Law - Also known as law of war. My second international law class. As a liberal hawk, this sort of thing interests me. I don't really have any interest in going into international law as a field for now. Although, I would consider a second or third career in space law, as the current stuff will be largely swept away once countries and companies can better exploit the heavens. Key lesson: defending the nations pride is not an acceptable reason to go to war under classical just war theory.
- Cost Benefit Analysis: A practical skills course. The main trick is setting prices for commodities that don't have a market value. Clean air and human life being classical examples. This one should be easy while at the same time making me more marketable. Key lesson: cost benefit analysis works under the assumption that the winners can reimburse the losers but in reality only cares about aggregate benefits. To actually look at which groups benefit and which suffer, run an Environment Impact Analysis.
Finally there's my masters thesis. I'm studying the reasons behind the dramatic and consistent rise of popular demonstrations in China. These demonstrations are by and large economicly focused, not calls for political reform like Tiananmen. Even so, they're happening in all sectors and are an increasing public concern of the government. I'm reviewing articles on the protests in 2005. Today I finally finished my first round processing of the 3,400 newspaper stories my search terms returned. Once I've finished saving the best articles to my computer and inserting them into my citation manager, I'm going to get to the writing. I've got a fair amount of theory and methodology to wrestle with before I start my analysis. However, there's no reason I can't write those parts of my paper early on.
I'm also conniving ways to do essays for my other class that I can incorporate into my Master's thesis. Yay for efficiency.
Stories of my adventures in Denver will come later.