For a number of years, Tilburg University has been publishing a list of the top economics departments around the globe - click here. Their ranking is based on the number of publications a department has in a select list of top journals. The great thing is that one can change the journal selection and see how this affects the rankings. Chris Colvin, wanting to see how good Queen's University Belfast is at economic history, ranked departments based on economic history journals. To his surprise (and mine), we do very well. We are in the premier league in terms of economic history, and we are not that far behind Harvard and other top universities. A few more key signings (apologies for the football metaphor) and we will be close to the top. Thankfully, we have been recruiting in this area of late so we are moving up the league! Click here to learn more about economic history at Queen's.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.