Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keeping Busy

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted in almost two weeks! Things have been really busy as I gear up for the end of the semester. I have drafts of my two major final papers, so I'm feeling good with school work, though I'm not quite to the finish line - final papers are the week after next (May 16 and 17), and there's still some serious editing to be done.

My quantitative paper is based on a set of regressions trying to examine two things: How public attitudes (as measured by surveys) on environmental issues, international relationships, etc. affect national participation in environmental agreements or organizations (like the Copenhagen Accords or the Global Earth Observing System of Systems). The results of this regression have been mixed - its seems that attitudes about environment do matter, but I'd really like to have more comprehensive data (I can only find survey responses for about 50 countries.) Another regression looks at how measures of asymmetry - GDP, Population, GDP growth, etc. affect membership in these same groups. It seems that larger, richer countries are much more likely to take part, which is an interesting result. It'd be useful to examine exactly why this is happening.

My Qualitative papers is basically a rough draft of my prospectus - the document I would use to propose my dissertation topic. I am pretty sure I want to write my dissertation about something related to creating a global system of climate monitoring satellites - I like the international aspect and the policy relevance of the question - but I'm still not sure exactly how to formulate the question. For now, it's just remaining fairly broad, and proposing a series of case studies to see how other international organizations operate.

My comprehensive exams are looming - only three weeks before I take them! (On May 25th and 27th.) I've been continuing to read, take notes, and meet with Anya and Elnigar, though I haven't been able to find time to actually write the summaries of notes and readings (which is why there hasn't been much posted here.) After this week, we're done with our scheduled readings, though I want to go back and do some reading that I missed. Maybe eventually I'll get to the summaries again...

Work is going well, also. I'm working on a white paper about disease early warning using satellite remote Sensing data. Still need to do some research and revising, but things are basically going well. I also found out last week that my boss has decided to move on to another job, which will be a big change, since he has been there since I started as an intern two years ago.

Other than all of the school and work stuff, I have also been doing some fun stuff to keep myself sane. :) I've been to a couple of weekend picnics, kept up the Thursday happy hour tradition, and generally gotten together with friends. I'm planning to give these activities their own posts as soon as I can download the pictures onto my computer and find some more time to blog. :)

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