Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Focus - The American West, 150 Years Ago - The Atlantic

Amazing photos:

In Focus - The American West, 150 Years Ago - The Atlantic: In the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O'Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, (many of his photos appear in this earlier series), O'Sullivan joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were comprised of soldiers, scientists, artists, and photographers, and tasked with discovering the best ways to take advantage of the region's untapped natural resources. O'Sullivan brought an amazing eye and work ethic, composing photographs that evoked the vastness of the West.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In China, Fear at the Top

Very interesting:

In China, Fear at the Top - Every day, there are some 500 protests, demonstrations or riots against corrupt or dictatorial local party authorities, often put down by force. The harsh treatment that prompted the blind human-rights advocate Chen Guangcheng to seek American protection is only one of the most notorious cases. The volatile society unleashed against the state by Mao almost 50 years ago bubbles like a caldron. Stories about the wealth amassed by relatives of party leaders like Mr. Bo, who have used their family connections to take control of vast sectors of the economy, will persuade even loyal citizens that the rot reaches to the very top.

The Coming Decline of the Academic Left


The Coming Decline of the Academic Left
It is no secret that what passes for an education at most of the nation's colleges and universities is suspiciously akin to indoctrination. An asterisk: With the exception of a few areas--specifically, climate and the environment, certain fields within biology and medicine, history of science and the interaction between science and public policy--the rot that infects the rest of academia has been averted in science and engineering schools. A student who seeks a higher education in the unsullied areas of science and engineering can obtain truly the finest technical education that can be found on our planet at innumerable universities throughout the United States.

But when surveying the remaining disciplines in academia, as well as the administrative structures that direct the nation's academic enterprise, one can say that today's students are subject there to an unsubtle, mind-numbing, conformist indoctrination. Numerous polls conducted in humanities and social sciences departments--at elite, state and minor universities--reveal a stunning skew between liberals and conservatives at least as distorted as 90%-10%. The inherent bias spills over into classroom presentations, selection of curricula, and grading. Moreover, it has been thus for at least two generations.

Friday, May 04, 2012

'Tyranny of Clichés' Excerpt: The Truth About the Crusades

Very interesting:

Exclusive - 'Tyranny of Clichés' Excerpt: The Truth About the Crusades: The Crusades

The great irony is that the zealot-reformers who want to return to a “pure” Islam have been irredeemably corrupted by Western ideas. Osama bin Laden had the idea that he was fighting the “new crusaders.” When George W. Bush once, inadvertently, used the word “crusade,” jihadists and liberal intellectuals alike erupted with rage. It was either a damning slip of the tongue whereby Bush accidentally admitted his real crusader agenda, or it was a sign of his stunning ignorance about the Crusades. Doesn’t he know what a sensitive issue the Crusades are? Doesn’t he know that the Crusades belong alongside the slaughter of the Indians, slavery, and disco in the long line of Western sins?