The Emergence of a “Renewable Feedstock-Based” Chemical Industry
If the future once lay in plastics, as the film “The Graduate” claimed, today the watchword may be “feedstocks.” This term includes corn, wheat, soy, sunflower, rapeseed (canola)—the array of carbohydrates and proteins growing in fields across the planet. The news, as Douglas Cameron makes clear, is that these crops no lon
Recent History of Boston Transportation
Frederick Salvucci’s perspective on transportation development is an amalgam of civil engineering, history, economics, policy, and not least, the direct impact on people’s lives. Here he surveys the evolution of transportation in Boston and beyond from the 1830s to the present.
Salvucci covers si
Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons
Joseph Cirincione delivers an energetic and at times impassioned primer on the standoff with Iran on its nuclear program, drawn in part from his latest book, The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, Spring 2007).
He offers a succinct ‘equation’ to describe what drives nat
Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist
Who knew that one of mankind’s greatest scientists also worked as a gumshoe on London’s mean streets, or that this same absent-minded professor helped England fix its monetary policy from an office in the Tower of London? Thomas Levenson brings all sorts of surprises to light in his own sleuthing of a little known but significa
Chantal Akerman: Moving through Time and Space
This exploration/homage arrives in the form of a lecture/conversation, breaking some conventions, not unlike the object/subject of the event, Chantal Akerman, filmmaker and video artist. Two Akerman experts discuss her work in the kick-off event to an exhibition at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center.
The Inner History of Devices
Contemporary science has done a great disservice to Sigmund Freud, suggests Sherry Turkle, who believes the psychoanalytic tradition can teach us much about the often concealed connections between physical objects and our thoughts and feelings. On the occasion of the publication of her latest book, The Inner History of Devi
Contemplative Dimensions of Human Experience
In a mind-stretching talk covering the history of the planet, development of higher-order consciousness, and East-West religious practices, Trappist monk Thomas Keating claims that humanity is poised to take its next evolutionary step, to the “furthest levels of human understanding.”
The Gutenberg Parenthesis: Oral Tradition and Digital Technologies
Should we view the last 500 years or so of Western culture as a strange interlude, defined by printed page and other artifacts that once dominated the landscape but are now fading in relevance? In this forum, Thomas Pettitt makes the deliberately provocative case for a Gutenberg “Parenthesis” -- a period marked b
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
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
Perhaps no one comprehends the roots of depravity and cruelty better than Philip Zimbardo. He is renowned for such research as the Stanford Prison Experiment, which demonstrated how, in the right circumstances, ordinary people can swiftly become amoral monsters. Evil is not so much inherent in individuals, Zimbardo showed, but e
Chomsky on Gaza
While he admits to no surprise about events in Gaza, Noam Chomsky does consider “the latest U.S.-Israeli attack on helpless Palestinians” a step beyond terrorism and aggression. He says “some new term is needed for the sadistic and cowardly torture of people caged with no possibility of escape, being pounded daily by the most s
Computers with Commonsense: Artificial Intelligence at the MIT Round Table
Visiting the San Diego Zoo’s orangutans and chimpanzees inspires Patrick Henry Winston to ponder what makes humans different from our primate cousins. His field of artificial intelligence extends that question to thinking about how humans differ from computers. Winston’s goal is to “develop a computational theo
Institutional Perspectives on Storage
European archivists grapple with the legal obligations, civic responsibilities and future prospects of their collections, which, thanks to the Internet and other new technologies, are increasingly awash in image and sound. As William Urichhio notes, “tradition-bound institutions know what we should be gathering: feat
Luminescent Solar Concentrators Explained
Researchers are well along in designing a highly efficient, inexpensive solar cell, but the big barrier to the dissemination of solar power in society remains the problem of installation, says Marc Baldo.
As an engineer, Baldo expresses confidence that “we’re going to mow down” the problem of producing a g
Photophormations is a documentary film production company working in Africa and Asia. In particular their work focuses on Tibet and Southern Africa (especially Zimbabwe). The website gives free access to images, documentary films and notes and papers about Southern Africa and South Asia - the documentary 'Capturing Tibet, 200-2008', for example, is a beautifully filmed and interesting piece of work - as well as a number of photographic essays. The site is well designed, visually pleasing and the
Portuguese studies review
The PSR is a peer reviewed journal devoted to promoting interdisciplinary scholarly study of the countries, regions, and communities that share, build on, or are transforming a Portuguese or Brazilian legacy. The PSR promotes a critical understanding of the historical and current evolution of political, economic, social and cultural networks incorporating Portugal, Brazil, and other lusophone countries. The journal, launched in 1991 by Trent University (Ontario, Canada) is published biannually,
This website presents thoroughly researched information about Brazil in all the aspects of its life. One particular section describes the different area of Brazil, carefully mixing geographical information with tourist attractions, providing access to maps and also promising a places index at the time of cataloguing. Another section offers a long list of literary guides to the character of the country and its inhabitants. The section 'features' offers detailed information on: art and culture; b
Khrushchev and Khrushchev : from the Kremlin to Brown University
The website "Khrushchev and Khrushchev: from the Kremlin to Brown University" is the online version of an exhibition organised and hosted by Brown University Library in 2002. It focuses on the visit by the Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev (1894-1971, premier 1954-1964) to the United States of America in October 1960. The second Krushchev of the exhibition title is his son Sergei Krushchev, who famously took American citizenship in 1999 and donated his father's papers to Brown University Library.
South Asian diaspora
The South Asia Diaspora website hosted by the South / Southeast Asia Library at the University of California, Berkeley, contains several useful resources for scholars researching the Indian diaspora. The site briefly describes the relevant archives held at Berkeley, and includes images from the archive illustrating aspects of the diaspora in California. An essays section summarises the history of Indian immigration to California during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and links to further
Islam in British stone
Developed by Asian Youth Alliance (AYA), the Islam in British Stone website promotes Britain's most significant Muslim heritage sites and Islamic-influenced buildings, and provides information about the earliest mosques, prayer halls and historically significant Muslim and Islamic heritage sites in Britain. The 'Heritage Sites' section contains a timeline of these buildings, with further information and links for each building, and a note to say whether it was the first in the area and/or whethe