This video segment explores the world of the beaver, including the biology of the species and, more importantly, its ability to transform an ecosystem for its own benefit.
Antarctic Ice: Sea Level Change
What would happen if a portion of the Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt? This video segment adapted from NOVA uses animations to show the effect of a 6-meter sea-level rise on coastal cities across the world.
"Aluminum for Defense": Rationing at Home during World War II
The productive capacity of the United States during World War II surpassed all expectations. To boost that production and maintain supply levels for troops abroad, Americans at home were asked to conserve materials and to accept ration coupons or stamps that limited the purchase of certain products. Gasoline, rubber, sugar, butter, and some kinds of cloth were among the many items rationed. American responses to rationing varied from cheerful compliance to resigned grumbling to instances of blac
"All the Colored Women Like This Work": Black Workers During World War I
Wartime production demanded the mobilization of thousands of workers to make steel and rubber, to work in petrochemical industries, and to build ships. As a result, African Americans made striking gains in employment even while also facing continuing discrimination. Black women, for example, got jobs working on the railroads for the first time during the world war. Black women found jobs as laborers, cleaning cars, wiping engines, tending railroad beds. Helen Ross was one of them, working for th
Against Isolationism: James F. Byrnes Refutes Lindbergh
The interwar peace movement was arguably the largest mass movement of the 1920s and 1930s, a mobilization often overlooked in the wake of the broad popular consensus that ultimately supported the U.S. involvement in World War II. The destruction wrought in World War I (known in the 1920s and 1930s as the "Great War") and the cynical nationalist politics of the Versailles Treaty had left Americans disillusioned with the Wilsonian crusade to save the world for democracy. Senate investigations of w
Address of the Colored State Convention to the People of the State of South Carolina
In November 1865 a group of 52 black delegates met in Charleston's Zion Church to formulate a position regarding their future in the still uncertain world of the post-emancipation South. Their address invoked the language of the Declaration of Independence to claim full rights of citizenship for themselves, rights that were endangered by widespread southern "Black Codes." The Black Codes were a series of laws introduced in the months after the war by the reconstituted state legislatures of the S
"Achieving an Atmosphere of Mutual Trust and Confidence": Henry A. Wallace Offers an Alternative to
Allies during World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union disagreed over a number of issues after the war. These included control of Eastern Europe, division of Germany, atomic energy, international loans, and the Middle East. On February 9, 1946, Soviet premier Josef Stalin asserted that the continued existence of capitalism in the West would inevitably lead to war. Foreign Service senior diplomat George Kennan sent President Harry Truman, still forming a Soviet policy, a lengthy telegram advoc
A Workingman's Prayer for the Masses
In his essay "Wealth," published in the North American Review in 1889, industrialist Andrew Carnegie argued that individual capitalists were bound by duty to play a broader cultural and social role and thus improve the world. (The essay later became famous under the title "The Gospel of Wealth.") But not everyone agreed with Carnegie's perspective. This 1894 "prayer" by "A Workman" (an anonymous contributor to the National Labor Tribune) was a sarcastic critique of Carnegie's paternalism and phi
A Voice of Moderation: Roosevelt on the Armory Show
In 1913, an "International Exhibition of Modern Art," eventually seen by a half million people, rocked the American art world. First mounted at New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, it became known as the Armory Show, and its self-consciously "modern" approach challenged the dominance of conservative, staid styles of European art. Two-thirds of the 1,600 works were by Americans, and the Europeans whose works were exhibited--Picasso, Matisse, Seurat, Van Gogh, Gaughin, and Duchamp among them--wer
"A Traitor to the Movement"?: A Former SDS and Women's Liberation Activist Testifies before Congress
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was founded in 1962 to change the world by fostering participatory democracy and personal authenticity. Heavily influenced by civil rights organizations, SDS initially operated in inner cities and college campuses to combat racism and discrimination. By the mid-1960s, many activists focused on antiwar activities as American troop involvement in Vietnam escalated. Frustrated with male domination in SDS, leftist women formed feminist splinter groups that eve
"A Square Deal?": The Michigan CIO Debates the No-Strike Pledge
In a total war like World War II, the question "Was everyone doing his or her 'part'?" inevitably arose. Immediately following Pearl Harbor, the labor movement made an "unconditional no-strike pledge" to help win the war. In turn, labor won some important concessions from the federal government. Some who believed that labor had given up too much responded with "wildcat" (unauthorized) strikes. Others moved to reconsider the no-strike pledge. In 1942 members of the Michigan CIO endorsed the no-st
17.100J Political Economy I: Theories of the State and the Economy (MIT)
Political Economy I explores the major social science paradigms for analyzing relations among state, economy, and society. Through readings, lectures and discussion of original texts in political liberalism and individualism, neo-classical economics, Marxism, sociological and cultural theories, and neo-institutionalism, the seminar examines the fundamental assumptions on which our understanding of the social world and our research are based. All participants in the seminar are required to do the
Global Development Policies and Social Injustice
The Sixth Goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases such as tuberculosis. In Bolivia, a country with a population of over 8,000,000 people, it was claimed in 2006 that there were 2366 confirmed cases of HIV. According to the World Health Organization, Bolivia is considered to be a country with a low incidence of the virus affecting 0.10% of the adult population. In contrast, it has been estimated that 50% of the population is infected
"A Crowd of Howling Negroes": The Chicago Daily Tribune Reports the Chicago Race Riot, 1919
As U.S. soldiers returned from Europe in the aftermath of World War I, scarce housing and jobs heightened racial and class antagonisms across urban America. African-American soldiers, in particular, came home from the war expecting to enjoy the full rights of citizenship that they had fought to defend overseas. In the spring and summer of 1919, murderous race riots erupted in 22 American cities and towns. Chicago experienced the most severe of these riots. On Sunday, July 27, white bathers attac
"A condition we can ill afford": Debating the Equal Pay Act of 1963
Recommendations by the National War Labor Board during World War II to pay male and female workers equal wages yielded few changes in the gender wage gap. Women continued to receive less money for comparable work, and into the 1960s want ads characterized jobs as "male" or "female" with resulting salary differences based on gender. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) made it illegal to pay men and women differently for similar work. Although the EPA was passed in 1963, it was debated in workplaces and court
The Collapse: An Engineer's Perspective
This media-rich interview from the NOVA Web site explores the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers from an engineering perspective and includes an examination of the effects of heat on the structure of metal.
Evolution and Philosophy: Is There Progress and Direction in Evolution?
This essay discusses the problem with a teleological approach to evolution, that is, the expectation that there is some goal towards which the evolutionary process is leading, and the fallacy that natural selection makes organisms, and the world, better. The article is part of the TalkOrigins.org website that explores the creation/evolution controversy. Users may follow links to other articles and information related to the controversy.
Developing Analytical and Communication Skills in a Mock-Trial Course Based on the Famous Woburn, Ma
This Journal of Geoscience Education article discusses a mock trial in which undergraduates serve as expert witnesses and law students serve as their attorneys. The article identifies the trial as an effective vehicle for developing quantitative skills and enhancing written and oral communication skills. The course discussed is unabashedly about applying scientific principles to solve real-world problems. The entire course revolves around the analysis, interpretation, and presentation of scienti
Daisyworld Interactive Activity
Students use a JAVA interface design to explore the Daisy World model. The model is intended to illustrate a mechanism by which biota might optimize their abiotic environment by means of negative feedback. The model does not attempt to describe all of the possible mechanisms and feedbacks which might influence the ways in which the plants and climate develop. Instead, it is an heuristic model, that seeks to describe the ways in which this mechanism might work. The original model was developed by
Daisy World Model
The Daisy World model is intended to illustrate a mechanism through which biota might optimize their environment by means of negative feedback. The model offers a very simplified approach to a feedback system and can provide an introductory lesson in how models work. The aim of the model is to implement and test a mathematical model describing possible influence of biota on an abiotic (climatic) system using GAWK and GNUPLOT. The model tests the hypothesis that biota can influence the planetary