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The Future of Conservatism - October 12, 2009
This panel discussion among four conservative thinkers will address the role of conservatism in the current political arena—where it fits in the major parties, what role it may play in the next election, and what will happen to the right and far right. Ross Douthat is an author and blogger. Formerly a senior editor at The Atlantic, he is the author of Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (Hyperion, 2005) and, with Reihan Salam, Grand New Party (Doubleday, 2008). In 2009 he
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The Role of Europe in a Multilateral World - November 19, 2009
In his lecture, “The Role of Europe in a Multilateral World,” Romano Prodi will examine the benefits and challenges presented by the European Union’s expansion. Although the enlargement of the union has had significant impact on the democratic transition in eastern Europe and has extended European markets, there is no unanimity on issues of security, energy, and foreign affairs. Prodi maintains that if the EU aims to play a key role on the world’s political stage, it will need to develop
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The Role of Europe in a Multilateral World - November 19, 2009
In his lecture, “The Role of Europe in a Multilateral World,” Romano Prodi will examine the benefits and challenges presented by the European Union’s expansion. Although the enlargement of the union has had significant impact on the democratic transition in eastern Europe and has extended European markets, there is no unanimity on issues of security, energy, and foreign affairs. Prodi maintains that if the EU aims to play a key role on the world’s political stage, it will need to develop
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The Politics of Homosexuality - February 18, 2010
On the topic of homosexuality, Andrew Sullivan has stated “There are as many politics of homosexuality as there are words for it, and not all of them contain reason. And it is harder perhaps in this passionate area than in any other to separate a wish from an argument, a desire from a denial. This fracturing of discourse is more than a cultural problem; it is a political problem. Without at least some common ground, no effective compromise to the homosexual question will be possible. Matters m
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The Politics of Homosexuality - February 18, 2010
On the topic of homosexuality, Andrew Sullivan has stated “There are as many politics of homosexuality as there are words for it, and not all of them contain reason. And it is harder perhaps in this passionate area than in any other to separate a wish from an argument, a desire from a denial. This fracturing of discourse is more than a cultural problem; it is a political problem. Without at least some common ground, no effective compromise to the homosexual question will be possible. Matters m
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Alumni Day: Woodrow Wilson Award Recipient
National Endowment for the Humanities Chair Jim Leach, a longtime former U.S. congressman, was given the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor for undergraduate alumni. Leach, who earned his A.B. in politics with honors from Princeton in 1964, began a four-year term in August as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent grant-making agency of the U.S. government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. In his 1
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Alumni Day: Woodrow Wilson Award Recipient
National Endowment for the Humanities Chair Jim Leach, a longtime former U.S. congressman, was given the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor for undergraduate alumni. Leach, who earned his A.B. in politics with honors from Princeton in 1964, began a four-year term in August as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent grant-making agency of the U.S. government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. In his 1
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'I Am Kinda': Reflections on the Culture of Imperialism

Famed linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky delivered a lecture titled "'I Am Kinda': Reflections on the Culture of Imperialism" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 8.

Chomsky, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a renowned public intellectual who has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

The lecture's title refers to a woman named Kinda who int
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'I Am Kinda': Reflections on the Culture of Imperialism

Famed linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky delivered a lecture titled "'I Am Kinda': Reflections on the Culture of Imperialism" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 8.

Chomsky, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a renowned public intellectual who has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

The lecture's title refers to a woman named Kinda who int
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Brian Kernighan: Millions, Billions, Zillions -- (In)numeracy Still Matters - February 3, 2010
Lunch 'n Learn presentation: As calculators and computers have become steadily more powerful, they have buried us in an avalanche of numbers and graphs and charts, many of which claim to present the truth about important issues. But at the same time, our personal facility with numbers has diminished, often leaving us at the mercy of quantitative reasoning and presentation that is sometimes wrong and often not disinterested. For the past ten years, Dr. Kernighan has been teaching a course that s
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Brian Kernighan: Millions, Billions, Zillions -- (In)numeracy Still Matters PDF - February 3, 2010
Lunch 'n Learn presentation: As calculators and computers have become steadily more powerful, they have buried us in an avalanche of numbers and graphs and charts, many of which claim to present the truth about important issues. But at the same time, our personal facility with numbers has diminished, often leaving us at the mercy of quantitative reasoning and presentation that is sometimes wrong and often not disinterested. For the past ten years, Dr. Kernighan has been teaching a course that s
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The Fruits of the Genome for Society - February 17, 2010
Lunch 'n Learn presentation: The sequence of the human genome, the primary goal of the Human Genome Project, was achieved just a few years ago. Because our genomes are a string of 3 billion sequences of four chemical letters in the DNA polymer, the ability to obtain genomic sequences depended on revolutionary progress not just in DNA chemistry but also on the equally revolutionary advances in speed, capacity and versatility of digital computers. By far the most prominent result of the determinat
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The Fruits of the Genome for Society PDF - February 17, 2010
Lunch 'n Learn presentation: The sequence of the human genome, the primary goal of the Human Genome Project, was achieved just a few years ago. Because our genomes are a string of 3 billion sequences of four chemical letters in the DNA polymer, the ability to obtain genomic sequences depended on revolutionary progress not just in DNA chemistry but also on the equally revolutionary advances in speed, capacity and versatility of digital computers. By far the most prominent result of the determinat
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Carlos Eire, Yale University: "A Brusque History of Eternity - Lecture 1: The Birth of Eternity" –
Until fairly recently eternity was no mere abstraction or metaphor in the Christian tradition, but rather the ultimate destination for humankind, a metaphysical conceit with practical implications as inescapable as legal obligations, or taxes, or death. Eternity was an ineffable mystery, to be sure, but of no less value in human interaction than money itself, or crowns and thrones. In our own day, however, eternity seems a purely abstract concept best left in the hands of astrophysicists, a frig
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Carlos Eire, Yale University: "A Brusque History of Eternity - Lecture 1: The Birth of Eternity" –
Until fairly recently eternity was no mere abstraction or metaphor in the Christian tradition, but rather the ultimate destination for humankind, a metaphysical conceit with practical implications as inescapable as legal obligations, or taxes, or death. Eternity was an ineffable mystery, to be sure, but of no less value in human interaction than money itself, or crowns and thrones. In our own day, however, eternity seems a purely abstract concept best left in the hands of astrophysicists, a frig
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Carlos Eire, Yale University: "A Brusque History of Eternity - Lecture 2: Protestantism and the Refo
Until fairly recently eternity was no mere abstraction or metaphor in the Christian tradition, but rather the ultimate destination for humankind, a metaphysical conceit with practical implications as inescapable as legal obligations, or taxes, or death. Eternity was an ineffable mystery, to be sure, but of no less value in human interaction than money itself, or crowns and thrones. In our own day, however, eternity seems a purely abstract concept best left in the hands of astrophysicists, a frig
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Carlos Eire, Yale University: "A Brusque History of Eternity - Lecture 3: From Eternity to Five-Year
Until fairly recently eternity was no mere abstraction or metaphor in the Christian tradition, but rather the ultimate destination for humankind, a metaphysical conceit with practical implications as inescapable as legal obligations, or taxes, or death. Eternity was an ineffable mystery, to be sure, but of no less value in human interaction than money itself, or crowns and thrones. In our own day, however, eternity seems a purely abstract concept best left in the hands of astrophysicists, a frig
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24 - Asymmetric information: auctions and the winner's curse
We discuss auctions. We first distinguish two extremes: common values and private values. We hold a common value auction in class and discover the winner's curse, the winner tends to overpay. We discuss why this occurs and how to avoid it: you should bid as if you knew that your bid would win; that is, as if you knew your initial estimate of the common value was the highest. This leads you to bid much below your initial estimate. Then we discuss four forms of auction: first-price sealed-bid, sec
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03 - Iterative deletion and the median-voter theorem
We apply the main idea from last time, iterative deletion of dominated strategies, to analyze an election where candidates can choose their policy positions. We then consider how good is this classic model as a description of the real political process, and how we might build on it to improve it. Toward the end of the class, we introduce a new idea to get us beyond iterative deletion. We think about our beliefs about what the other player is going to do, and then ask what is the best strategy fo
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23 - Paradise XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII
Professor Mazzotta lectures on the final cantos of Paradiso (30-33). The pilgrim's journey through the physical world comes to an end with his ascent into the Empyrean, a heaven of pure light beyond time and space. Beatrice welcomes Dante into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the elect are assembled in a celestial rose. By describing the Empyrean as both a garden and a city, Dante recalls the poles of his own pilgrimage while dissolving the classical divide between urbs and rus, between civic li
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