Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nerd News: More Meaningless College Rankings

It's getting to the point where I basically don't even care anymore, but I keep posting these out of sheer dumb habit.  Here's the latest listing from Forbes.  According to that, Stanford and Pomona are on top of the nerd-heap.  Go and argue among yourselves.

Disgustingly Cute: Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

Nerd News: Indian University Bars American Academic

An American academic, who argues for gender equality in Islam, was prevented from addressing students at a university in India after an intervention by police, according to the organizer of the event.  
Chennai police asked the University of Madras in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu to cancel the talk by Amina Wadud on feminist reforms in Islam and refused to provide security for the event, said P. K. Abdul Rahiman, assistant professor at the department for Islamic Studies at the university. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FYI: How to Become the British Monarch

Now that Will and Kate's baby is here (congratulations!), this video seems darn topical:


Monday, July 15, 2013

India's Last Telegram

India's telegram service began in 1850, when the first telegram was sent from the eastern city of Kolkata to Diamond Harbor, a southern suburb nearly 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city center. 
Over the next few decades, telegraph offices proliferated, wiring the vast subcontinent with a network that became known for its speed and dependability. 
At its peak in the mid-1980s, more than 45,000 telegraph offices dotted the country, with tens of thousands of telegraph workers and delivery men dispatching more than 600,000 telegrams a day. From birth and death announcements, to college admissions, job appointments and court summons, the telegram was the main way tens of millions of Indians -- in the remotest parts of the country and in its teeming cities -- received important news.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Chemical Romance

Wedding season is in full swing, and the line between creativity and cruelty has become a huge blur.

This Is What "Leading From Behind" Gets You

I'm a few days behind, but this is still worth a look.  This administration's foreign policy (such as it is) is looking more and more amoeba-like every day - stimulus, response, stimulus, response, purely reactive, lacking higher cognitive functions.

The Next Syrian War


US Air Force + My Little Pony = ?

Is this for real?  Or is it a hilarious joke?  Either way, I got a giggle out of it and hope you will too.

America the Beautiful

Look at the gorgeous photos from the Department of the Interior's Instagram account!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Liberté, égalité, morosité: Boo hoo

You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this monument to almost self-parodying ennui. Here's a bit of it:
The French are so busy wallowing in their existential estrangement — a state of mind Camus described as “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” — that they don’t even have the energy to be rude.  ... It’s not that they’ve lost faith in their own superiority. They’ve lost faith that the rest of the world sees it. The whole country has, as Catherine Deneuve says of her crazy blue moods, une araignée au plafond — a spider on the ceiling.
Poor baby. Watch this:

The Battle of Gettysburg: A Timeline

Do take a look at this neat timeline and map by Smithsonian magazine.  This year was the 150th anniversary of this pivotal battle of the Civil War.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

A Movie To Look For: "The Attack"

Take a look at Ziad Douieri's film adaptation of a novel by Yasmina Khadra. It's been controversial, which means it's worth seeking out to see for yourself:
Sometimes the screenplay for “The Attack” (written by Doueiri and his partner, Joëlle Touma) hits the emotions a little too squarely on the nose, but this doleful and nuanced Middle Eastern tragedy is unlike any other recent film from the region in various ways. Doueiri has said that leaders of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s de facto governing power, privately promised not to interfere with his film – but that was before he made it. In depicting Israel as a complicated and conflicted modern society rather than a demonic, monolithic imperialist power, Doueiri should have known he was entering a no-go zone for Arab cinema (which either ignores the existence of Israel altogether or indulges in the worst kind of anti-Jewish stereotypes). 
It isn’t even ironic that “The Attack” won the best-film award at the Marrakech International Film Festival, the Arab world’s leading showcase, and has now been banned in Lebanon and all other nations of the Arab League. That’s exactly how these things work. Producers from Egypt and Qatar have even removed their credits from the film, so that it now appears to be a European-Israeli co-production. But all these marks of disapproval, as Doueiri surely knows, will only heighten the appeal of “The Attack” to younger Arabs hungry to break free of ideological certainty and listen to new alternatives. In its own way, “The Attack” is a crucial step forward: It’s time for the artists of the Middle East to engage in real dialogue, since the politicians can’t or won’t.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

MM in the Kitchen: A Cake For 4th of July

What do you think?

Breaking: OMG, Egypt

Morsi's out; the military's in.  The constitution's suspended.  The live images and video coming out of Cairo are extraordinary.  Twitter is on fire.  OK, now what?  

UPDATE 1: Fareed Zakaria is now yapping on CNN. *mute button*

UPDATE 2: Lots of flurried, frantic "commentary" from various talking heads on the news outlets.  Arguably the goofiest utterance yet: "It was a military coup d'etat, which is undemocratic.  But it was what the people wanted, so it is democratic."  

Quote of the Day: Jindal on Obamacare Delay

Meet MERS, the New Coronavirus on the Block

This Foreign Policy headline sounds way too scaremonger-ish, but none other than the New England Journal of Medicine just published "Hospital Outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus."

MM in the Kitchen: Roast Salmon Salad

Perfect for your summer table.

Great Moments in Research: Yale Investigates Cuteness

I swear I'm not making this up.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Movie Review: "World War Z"

Let's get one thing out of the way, my pretties.  The novel World War Z and the movie World War Z haven't much in common aside from the name and the idea of zombie mayhem exploding on a global scale.  Don't expect the movie to be like the book or vice versa.  Take each one on its own terms as a different animal, and you might have more fun with both.  OK?  Good.  Now let's get to the movie, which gives the zombie genre a literal run for its money by giving us city-swamping numbers of undead monsters who have the lightning-fast foot speed of Usain Bolt and the insatiable hunger of that guy from Man Vs. Food.  Terrified yet? Pass the popcorn!

Quote of the Day: Reporting from Istanbul

Here's a heck of an intro:
I’ve always been a critic of armchair reporting. But when your armchair is four blocks away from Taksim Square, it has one of the best views of the uproar in Istanbul any diligent reporter could ask for. I’m now able to calculate with great precision the time between the beginning of the screaming, the sound of the shot, and the entry of the gas through my window. It’s two and twelve seconds respectively.

Happy Canada Day!

Here's a shout-out to our neighbors to the North on Canada D-eh:

The Post-WWI Map That Ruined the Middle East?

Cartography matters: thoughts from a PhD candidate in international relations at Georgetown.  The collapse of the Ottoman Empire opened a Pandora's Box.