Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:14 | SYDNEY

Blogs and blogging

What determines blog traffic?

This interview with psychologist Robert Cialdini (h/t The Browser) caught my eye. Cialdini talks about the power of persuasion in reducing energy demand. Trials in the US indicate that informing consumers about how much energy they are using relative to their neighbours leads to 'significant

Tuesday linkage

The Economist bemoans the insidious entry of management-speak into the language of diplomacy. Have these guys heard of Kevin Rudd' Foreign Policy has dug up some wonderful old photos of animals in the Australian military. (Thanks Michael.) With New START now ratified by both the

Some additional reading on Egypt

Further to Sam's post: The 'We are all Khaled Said' Facebook page (a reference to a young Egyptian internet activist killed in Alexandria). Lots of running commentary and great videos. There are a lot of good references on Andrew Exum's list, in particular The Arabist. I would

Egypt reading

Following Sam's call for online reading about Egypt, here's what I've been looking at from a social media perspective. The most interesting material by far has been coming through on #Jan25, on Twitter. The problem may be volume, though: when I went to a meeting on 26 January, there were

Egypt: What should we be reading?

From time to time I have called on readers to recommend online sources on a particular country or region, and I'd like to invite your thoughts now on the best Egypt material. I'll kick things off by drawing your attention to this list, compiled by blogger Andrew Exum at Abu Muqawama.

Friday linkage

A DFAT brochure pushing Australia's UN Security Council candidacy. Rudd's 'sorry' speech is reproduced at the end, but without his name on it... (Thanks Danielle.) More coverage of our Madeleine Awards from Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog and from L'actualité. Australian

Clinton gets digital MVP

On more than one occasion this blog has waxed lyrical about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's masterful harnessing of digital tools to begin the process of revolutionising diplomacy. Marvin Ammori, writing in the Huffington Post, takes HillLove one step further: Today, in 2011, I'm

Tuesday linkage

Extraordinary conversation/interview involving senior members of the George HW Bush Administration. There's so much subtext here, it overwhelms the text. CFR has a macro view of Vietnam's recent Communist Party congress. And for a micro view of the country, here's one take on why&

Tunisia and its \'drunk, high netizens\'

Further to my last post looking at some of the commentary on social media and the Tunisian uprising, Time has put together a good video on the subject — pointing out it wasn't a Twitter revolution, but that social media tools such as Twitter were used to support and supplement the real

Thursday linkage

'Free trade' is about more than just making it easier to swap shipping containers full of stuff. The service sector is where the real free trade battle lies. The Interpreter's favourite Southeast Asia blog, New Mandala, recommends this website for news on corruption in Malaysia. The

Wednesday linkage

What can the finance industry learn from nuclear safety experts' A new Brookings paper: Designing social media policy for government. Hillary Clinton gives the Inaugural Richard C. Holbrooke Lecture on a Broad Vision of U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century. (Thanks Andrew.) In terms of

Tunisia and the power of social media

Since the uprising in Tunisia, I've received a number of emails and read a few articles ridiculing the idea that Twitter, Facebook or even WikiLeaks somehow had a hand in the downfall of the president. But at the heart of the critique seems to be a misunderstanding of the power of these new tools.

How social media got the J-20 scoop

The way the world found out about China's stealth fighter test flight yesterday is a fascinating lesson in the agility and impact of social media, and the disadvantages faced by traditional news organisations and governments in handling fast-moving stories. It took hours for mainstream media,

Social media fisticuffs

I've been enjoying the stoush between Malcolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky (pictured) on the political power of social media. It offers some insights into how significant tools like Facebook and Twitter are going to be for foreign ministries and the type of internet freedom agenda Western states should

Tuesday linkage

The decline of Pakistan, as told through its cricket team. To make the tracks for high-speed rail line, you need a coal by-product called 'fly ash'. But the amount of rail being laid down in China right now far outpaces production of high quality fly ash. Poor quality substitutes could have

Friday linkage

Former senior IAEA official Pierre Goldschmit lays out a step-by-step guide to solving the Iran nuclear crisis. I don't like to give away the ending, but he concludes that '(a)ll of this may look fine on paper, but is probably out of reach in practice.' Did Turkey win the Iraq war

Guess who\ on YouTube?

I've been meaning to write another post on e-diplomacy for a while now, and I've been prompted into action by the launch of Foreign Minister Rudd's YouTube channel. This follows hot on the heels of DFAT's very own YouTube channel, launched on 16 December. Hopefully it's the start of a lot

Thursday linkage

If you ignore the boring foreign policy bits at the end, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd gave a pretty funny speech at the Woodford Festival in late December. (Thanks Danielle.) The cover story in the latest issue of The Atlantic is about the super rich, a new self-made global elite more

Tuesday linkage

WikiLeaks reveals the crucial role governments play in what one might naively assume is the purely commercial practice of selling airliners. The Asia Foundation has done its first ever public opinion survey of southern Thailand. China a superpower' Not if you ask the Chinese. An Australian

Wednesday linkage

We have recently published posts by Prakash Mirchandani on Defence media relations. We failed to disclose that Prakash previously worked as a media and communications consultant to the ADF and other Federal agencies. The posts will be amended to make note of this. The centre of gravity 

My blogs of the year

As with last year, I present this list not as my all-time favourites, but as a short commentary on the best blogs I have discovered this year. I see dozens of new blogs each month, but very few become permanent additions to my reading list. These are the ones that have stuck in 2010

Blogging will be light today... the Lowy Institute is holding an in-house event. Some reading to keep you occupied: A warning to our government from the UK parliament: 'pairing' arrangements can be vulnerable to political manipulation and grandstanding, with real consequences for foreign policy. More on Assange's

Tuesday linkage

Cuban missile crisis' Child's play. In 1969, China and the USSR came to the brink of nuclear war. Nixon was apparently prepared to nuke Russia to save China! The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan clearly doesn't like shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop much. His latest column is on

Reader riposte: Assange, e-diplomat

From reader Hagen, in response to the policy brief I launched last week. It seems even the US State Department could be doing more when it comes to e-diplomacy: Is Julian Assange an e-diplomat now' If the American Embassy had been solely communicating on facebook this never would have happened

Wednesday linkage

Andrei Lankov seems to be at the top of every journalist's call list whenever North Korea is in the news. Here's an unpublished paper of his on the shelling of Yonpyong. Foreign Policy's annual list of 100 Global Thinkers. (Thanks Justin.) Nice bit of counter-intuitive logic from Fistful of

Maritime linkage

Justin Jones is Navy Fellow at the Lowy Institute and is the maritime adviser to the MacArthur Foundation Lowy Institute Asia Security Project. Noting my recent post regarding potential Australian involvement in North Korea, it should not be a surprise that a senior Australian officer

Monday linkage

Small Wars Journal has a huge collection of links on the latest Wikileaks story. 'Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western...' (H/t Drum.) Taiwan's standard of living has surpassed Japan's. The very quotable Dan Drezner: So long as

Friday linkage

Burma: New Mandala has notes from the election campaign trail, and there's more debate about the nuclear program. Leigh Sales' backstage account of the Hillary Clinton 'town hall' event I blogged about. What America needs to learn from China, by William Stimson. The New Yorker's

E-diplomacy linkage

Following the launch earlier this week of a Lowy policy brief on e-diplomacy, below a few related links. Why are Indonesians the world's leading tweeters' (thanks to reader Ben). They already have the world's second largest Facebook population (thanks Sarah). FP's Turtle Bay blog

FCO e-diplomacy

First, thanks to all those who have written to me about the e-diplomacy policy brief launched yesterday. Thanks also to US über e-diplomat Alec Ross for the plug. This morning, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) e-diplomacy team provided me with two clips. The first

E-diplomacy: Joining the revolution

Imagine if a single diplomat could communicate electronically with a quarter of a million people every day. Imagine if a single virtual network had an active population equivalent to the world's third largest country. Would diplomacy be any different'  The answer is 'Yes', and

Monday linkage

A senior American scientist touring North Korea's nuclear facilities gets the shock of a lifetime: a previously unknown uranium enrichment facility with 2000 centrifuges. Full report here. China finishes laying tracks on the longest bullet train-line ever, between Beijing and Shanghai.

Is \'blog\' still a dirty word?

One reason for creating The Interpreter in 2007 was to allow the Lowy Institute to get views and analysis of contemporary events out to the world direct and unfiltered — in other words, to bypass the mainstream media. Mind you, the Institute has excellent relations with the media and

Facebook and e-diplomacy

While e-diplomacy is going to become increasingly fundamental to the conduct of foreign policy, so far, I haven't been that impressed with what social media platforms have to offer diplomats. I make an exception though for the US Embassy in Jakarta's Facebook. I've been following the

Friday funny: Mid-term funk

With his Democratic Party getting a thumping in the mid-terms, it is definitely time for the President to kick some ass (make sure you watch through to the second half of this clip — very funny). This second clip, in which the same group of mixologists remix Jon Stewart's speech 

Chasing Hillary Clinton

Monitoring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s current Asia-Pacific trip online has led me to a surprising and refreshing discovery — Hillary is the ultimate online diplomat. Hillary and the State Department proactively engage the international community in ways the

Wednesday linkage

ABC opinion website The Drum has links galore on the US midterm elections. Essential statistics in real time: Worldometer. (Via Sullivan.) The Joint Strike Fighter, order by Australia's air force, is taking some hits. First the Brits reduce their order, now more delays and cost

Monday linkage

Some documentation from Saturday's East Asia Summit: The Chairman's Statement; the Joint Statement; and a transcript of Prime Minister Gillard's press conference. Submarine purchases in Southeast Asia have less to do with China and more with regional concerns. Oh,

Economic linkage

Andrew Mold revisits the forecasts of the late Angus Maddison and looks at how the recent strong growth performance by developing countries has changed the picture. How geography explains history. (H/t Free Exchange.) John Campbell and colleagues take a look at whether there is a

Tuesday linkage

Arab News, Global Security and the US Navy are all reporting that an Australian has taken over command of Task Force 150, charged with maritime security across two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. But eleven days on, not a word

Friday linkage

Japan has announced a substantial  expansion of its submarine fleet. A primer on Myanmar's 7 November elections. Related, regular Interpreter contributor Andrew Selth has a new essay for IISS on Burma's nuclear ambitions. The Prime Minister has announced that she

Wednesday linkage

A new book punctures energy myths; author Vaclav Smil says we're stuck with fossil fuels and sequestration is not a solution to carbon emissions. Read here for a summary and comprehensive debate among some very knowledgeable commenters. Ten years late and almost €15 billion over

Friday linkage

Seven world cities that are sinking — strange that Jakarta doesn't make the list. A new international relations blog worth adding to your bookmarks: it's called Pnyx (look it up; I had to). Several Lowy alumni have already contributed. How has the Great Recession

Tuesday linkage

The UK has launched a global strategy to abolish capital punishment. In 2007, the Lowy Institute's Michael Fullilove published his plan for an Asian coalition against the death penalty. Regarding yesterday's Simpson's post, YouTube has taken down the clip at Fox's request, which

A toast/roast for Andrew Sullivan

Uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan is celebrating 10 years of blogging, and he's posting 'toast or roast' messages from readers and other bloggers. In a way, this is ridiculously self-regarding. Who throws their own birthday party' But it is completely consistent with Sullivan's method. His entire

Friday linkage

What has happened to China's economy in the last thirty years' Evan Osnos, the New Yorker's man in Beijing, highlights a major new study called the China Boom Project. Food security: there are 22 countries in crisis today, according to the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture

Aid & development linkage

The grumbles of Pacific Island NGOs are getting louder as a shift in New Zealand's aid policies sees a greater focus on economic development projects with funding cuts to civil society groups across the region. It seems NZAid's preference is that more money be channeled through New

Wednesday linkage

For analysis of Kim Jung Un's ascent up Pyongyang's leadership ladder, keep an eye on North Korea Leadership Watch. This one is also worth bookmarking: North Korea Economy Watch. In the wake of the fishing boat controversy, China's premier and Japan's prime minister met in the margins of the

Friday linkage

Further to Fiona Cunningham's piece about computer viruses in Iran's nuclear program, Arms Control Wonk argues the virus is so sophisticated it is very likely to have come from a government. But which one' By contrast, Ares says the virus could be the work of freelancers looking