January 12th, 2008


January Books 3) The Last Hero

3) The Last Hero: A Discworld® Fable, by Terry Pratchett, illustrated by Paul Kidby.

I think this is one of Pratchett's best short books. Lots of humorous yet poignant meditating on heroism, age and death; but also lots of knowing references to everything: classical myth, Neil Armstrong, Catch-22; barbarians, gods, Lord Vetinari and the triumphant return of Rincewind. Paul Kidby's illustrations are great as well; of course the characters end up as caricatures, because that's what they are on the page as well, but he has really captured both Rincewind and Cohen the Barbarian beautifully; also his sketches as by Leonard of Quirm are a very nice touch. Recommended.

The world's top think tanks

Saw this report during the week, and was amused to note that I have worked for two of the top ten (non-US) think tanks identified in the survey:

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium
French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), France
German Institute for International Politics and Security (SWP), Germany
Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russia
International Crisis Group (ICG), Belgium
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), United Kingdom
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (now merged into the Institute for National Security Studies), Israel
Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Japan
Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), United Kingdom
Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), China

I've had dealings with all six of the western European ones but none of the other four, which I guess reflects the places that find my areas of expertise of interest.

If you're interested in the top thirty American think tanks, they are:

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I think I've had dealings with about half of them.