Denialism: Media in the Age of Disinformation
A few hundred years after the Enlightenment, western civilization is rushing back to the Dark Ages. The causes are debatable, but, argue these science journalists, the public increasingly rejects the findings of science, from climate change to evolution, and is turning away from rationality and reason in general.
Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic Philosopher
His latest book, Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic Philosopher, came about quite accidentally, Irving Singer recounts. Singer was writing a book about several filmmakers, and discovered, when starting on the Bergman chapter, that the filmmaker had directed dozens of movies. Singer set out to explore this oeuvre – no easy task
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone
From the publisher:
“Heralded as a “sorcerer of narrative” (Foreign Policy) with an instinct for “poetic and intoxicating language” (Freie Presse), twenty-nine-year-old Saša Stanišić bounded onto the international literary scene to great fanfare and acclaim. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone—the tale
Living with Catastrophic Terrorism: Can Science and Technology Make the U.S. Safer?
After the terrorists attack of September 11, three Academies-the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine-sponsored a major study of the role that science and technology might play in countering the threat of catastrophic terrorism in the United States. This study involved a committee of 24 expe
The End of Saddam and the Future of Iraq
Saddam Hussein left a very visible legacy from 30 bloody years in power: countless victims and a broken nation. But there is also a more obscure inheritance, literally mountains of documents left by the Ba’ath Party and security groups. Kanan Makiya’s mission is to retrieve and index these materials, and make public the comprehensive c
Discourses on Iraq and the Middle East
U.S. actions in Iraq get a thorough thrashing in this final chapter of the Reconstructing Iraq series. First, Yosef Jabareen sprints through editorial page cartoons from Arab print media, which represent the U.S. as immoral, abusive, greedy and above all, hegemonic. The drawings depict George Bush burning th
In this bitter commemoration of the end of the Vietnam War, the speakers dispel any comforting notion that Americans have absorbed lessons from that bloody time, much less sought the truth. Ngo Ving Long describes how the United States policy of pacification, starting in the early ‘50s, involved “incredible assassinations of peopl
Report Card on the War on Terror
Gary Hart wields his national security expertise to query these two authors in detail on their latest collaboration. Benjamin summarizes the book this way: “By pursuing the policies we have, we are hastening the next attack. I’m not talking about a run of the mill attack, the kind society could learn to live with, but a really big
The Current Crisis in the Middle East
True to form, Noam Chomsky makes a sweeping and copiously detailed indictment of U.S. Middle East policy, brooking no contrary or alternate views. His history-filled lecture (interrupted by occasional applause) focuses on four crises, involving the Palestinians, the Lebanon invasion, the Iraq war and the “impending catastroph
Counting the Dead in Iraq
It’s no wonder there was an outcry when Gilbert Burnham’s group released its report on mortality in Iraq. The numbers of civilian deaths so overwhelmed body counts calculated by other groups that many were stunned or disbelieving, and Burnham earned the enmity of some U.S. and Iraqi government officials.
Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq
The Bush administration began its “great misuse of history” shortly after 9/11, says
John Dower, when it seized upon Japan’s 1941 Pearl Harbor attack as a useful analogy, a way to promote its own invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation. Dower views as simplistic these “popular hooks to history
Yes We Must: Achieve Diversity through Leadership-Student Remarks
Two students deliver heartfelt appeals for courage and integrity at the annual Martin Luther King Day breakfast.
In the 1940s, Matt Gethers recounts, his grandfather was forced to flee South Carolina after defending his brother against white racists in a store. Gethers wonders if he’d have put his life on the l
The Next Giant Leaps in Space Exploration
From satellite-enabled radio and TV to climate tracking, space has become a “ubiquitous capability in our lifetime,” as Edward Crawley puts it. But he also notes there is uncertainty about the future of U.S. spaceflight, which closely follows the “cadence” of political elections. AeroAstro symposium panelists bot
The Future of Government-Citizen Engagement
As the U.S. moves toward universal broadband access, look for increased government openness, new opportunities for civic engagement, and some dangers along the way, say these panelists.
While Chris Csikszentmihalyi acknowledges the civic potential of broadband, he does not believe it will be a simple matter for geog
The Future of Digital Public Media
Public broadcasting executives and producers discuss their changing roles as digital technology transforms the news and entertainment industries, and provides individuals with powerful tools for shaping their communities. Moderator Jake Shapiro asks panelists to discuss ventures that illustrate new dimensions of public medi
Government Transparency and Collaborative Journalism
In December 2009, the Obama administration directed federal agencies and departments to implement "principles of transparency, participation and collaboration," and provided deadlines for making government information available online. At the same time, citizens and journalists are developing new technologies to manage and analyze
Nicholas Pearce is a proud advocate of programs that help young people from urban areas transition into higher education. He has not only benefited from such programs, but has given back through his participation as a volunteer, mentor, and speaker. As a high schooljunior, he attended MIT's six-week summer program, Minority Introduction t
Pursuing The Endless Frontier: Essays on MIT and the Role of Research Universities
At the conclusion of 14 years at the helm of the Institute, Chuck Vest discusses the challenges and opportunities involved in guiding a major research university through tumultuous times. Vest’s new book, outlined in his remarks, provides a detailed and intimate view of his MIT “adventure.” Some key chapters: At the start of hi
Yes We Must: Achieve Diversity through Leadership-Keynote
Two “sisters” -- both university chiefs -- celebrate the victory of the first African-American U.S. President, but remind listeners that American institutions have not yet achieved the full measure of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
MIT, which prides itself on inventing the future, says Susan Hockfield, must
Opening Remarks/How the Brain Invents the Mind
In trying financial times, Susan Hockfield remains optimistic and committed to pursuing MIT’s massive, multi-year initiatives in energy and life sciences. She prefaces her “whirlwind” tour of MIT for an alumni audience by referencing the campus-wide relief at the change in presidential administrations, which promises