They are everywhere. I didn’t notice it at first, but after a particularly memorable scooter themed dream I couldn’t stop seeing them everywhere I went. Now I haven’t used a scooter for transportation since middle school (it fit perfectly in my locker when folded), but it seems that Austrians have carried on the trend. Now I know that my scooter observation is not nearly substantive enough for its own blog post so I will use it as a very loose-fitting and barely relevant opener for my actual topic. It’s a pretty big stretch, but honestly, I just wanted to spread the word about the large off-brand scooter population here.
I have been trying to come up with a presentation proposal for a nonproliferation conference that is happening this June in London. No, I am not going to try to draw similarities between a razor scooter and a nonproliferation paper. But the whole concept of having one model that does well, and then is copied in a variety of different variations is something I find myself trying to do when thinking up proposal topics. I feel like everything in this field has been reported on, documented, and analyzed to death already. I am but a lowly graduate student, what new insight am I supposed to be able to bring to these topics? In this particular case, I find myself working off the topic I wrote on for an essay contest I had participated in last year. But now I find myself trying to figure out how to create something new, out of an already formed and mostly successful idea? (that was my scooter tie-in if you didn’t catch it)
Whether or not I actually submit something in this particular conference remains to be seen. But the difficulties of coming up with new ideas for research in the nonproliferation world (and probably most other fields) is something that I have not quite mastered yet. My only piece of advice is to work with more confidence than you probably feel at the time. In most cases it can’t really hurt to try, so when in doubt just submit it. Also, another recommendation is to make sure to have friends who owe you favors and make them edit and brainstorm with you. (Thanks Nate!)