Friday, August 15, 2008

Free Analyst's Style Manual! (MCIIS Press)

Bill Welch has just finished packaging the Style Manual for use in our writing, presentation and communications classes here at Mercyhurst. Bill, an editor and writer with the Erie Time-News for 29 years before he came to us, integrated the practices from a number of other style guides (including ones from DIA and CIA) as well as his own considerable experience to put together a concise manual focused on the essentials of style for the intel analyst engaged in national security, business or law enforcement work.

Partly because he recognized he was building on the shoulders of giants and partly because we are really trying to keep textbook prices down, we decided to make a PDF version of the manual available for free and licensed under Creative Commons so that educators, practitioners and students can use it in any way they need to.

If you would rather have a print version of the manual, we have cut a deal with a local printer and the Mercyhurst College Bookstore to get you one. All profits from the hardcopy sales will go to support graduate student research here at Mercyhurst (Note: Every year our grad students wind up coming out of pocket for various pieces of software or other unique tools to do their theses. Rachel Kesselman, for example, wound up spending 200+ dollars on some content analysis software in order to analyze 60 years of NIEs. While we don't expect this little manual to be a best seller, we would like to be able to defray or eliminate those costs and Bill has kindly donated whatever profits might come from the sale of the hardcopy versions to the graduate research fund).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Russia And Georgia Analysis: It’s All About Timing (19th Hole)

A new blog, The 19th Hole, by a Mercyhurst graduate, Robert Williams, shares some interesting insights into the current crisis in Georgia. Robert studied the Caucasus (along with the rest of the team) fairly extensively during a strategic intel project last year. As a result, he speaks from a position of some background and knowledge. While I am not an expert, his logic makes sense and it seems to echo with recent articles elsewhere.

Robert is a Ransome Scholar and will be studying for his masters at St Andrews (hence the name of the blog, though I think the profs there might have different ideas for his free time...). His intent as I understand it is "to talk about more 'big picture” topics'." Definitely a blog worth watching!

Chinese Repression Of The Uighurs (ISN)

ISN has an interesting brief on China's continued repression of the Muslim Uighur population (in light pink on the map below) in western China under the mantle of counter-terrorism activity. Written by Diane Chido, an independent writer and analyst (and graduate of Mercyhurst!), it covers the basics and provides interesting background to the recent spate of incidents in Xinjiang Province.

Click for a larger version.

Related Posts:
Let Freedom Blog! Chinese Dissidents Write Backwards To Beat Government Filters
China's Demographic Problems

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Careers In Intel Studies For High School Students (

NextSTEP Magazine, which covers the college scene for high school students, recently profiled the intelligence studies career field. This is first time I have seen such an article aimed at high school students and the article featured one of Mercyhurst's graduates, Zac Huber, fairly prominently. While the authors had some interesting ideas (emergency management specialist = intelligence professional?), I was glad to see the coverage of the discipline in such a prominent publication.

NextGen Browsers (Adaptive Path)

John Robb over at Global Guerrillas, pointed me (among others) to a very interesting video put together by Adaptive Path on a vision of the near term future of internet browsers. Given that virtually everything anyone does in intelligence analysis has some sort of browsing associated with it, I thought this would be a particularly fascinating video for most people.

I have included Part 1 below but you can see the full four part series at Adaptive Path's Aurora Concept Video website. It is also interesting to note that Mozilla Labs is the sponsor for this series on the next generation browser. Can anyone say "Firefox 4.0"?

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"The Machine Is Us/ing Us" And Other Mind-blowing Videos From Michael Wesch

Michael Wesch is an anthropology professor at Kansas State University and he has, over the last several years, with nothing but creativity and his student's efforts, put together some of the most thought provoking short videos on the web.

Many people are already familiar with Dr. Wesch's work but in case you aren't, you should start with the five minute video, "The Machine Is Us/ing Us" (seen below)...

There are at least two other videos that are worth watching. The first is Dr. Wesch's incredible collaborative effort with his students called "A Vision Of Students Today". This 4+ minute film is a real eye-opener for anyone who teaches college students or for anyone who is about to send a student off to college.

The final and most recent Wesch production is his hour long lecture at the Library of Congress titled "An Anthropological Introduction To YouTube" (I saw it first mentioned on the DataMining blog). Make sure you have a full hour to devote to it. Once you start it, you will not want to stop watching.

Dr. Wesch also has a good blog called Digital Ethnography.