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Technologies Changing Communities, Communities Innovating Technology
The best way to help a community help itself, say Dayna Cunningham and Alexa Mills, is to enable its members to find their voices and talk to each other. In several projects in the U.S. and overseas, the two speakers are developing methodologies for enabling communities to express and define themselves, so they may b
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Engineering for the Ecological Age: Lessons from History
John Ochsendorf, a structural engineer, “fell in love with archaeology” during college. His senior thesis at Cornell involved a 600-year-old Incan suspension bridge made entirely out of grass. Ochsendorf learned that this apparently primitive structure owed its astonishing longevity to regular rebuilds by the l
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Rebuilding Haiti
In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, four panelists with strong personal and professional ties to Haiti share their insights about the different paths to rebuilding and reconstructing the country.

Erica James begins with a view of Haiti’s history of “insécurité”, a term used to describe “cycles of polit

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A comparison of attitudes
In this unit we shall look more closely at the evidence available to assess the truth of this argument. Were the working people, as opposed to the political leaders, interested in the issue of expansion? Was such interest evident only among certain sections of the community? Was it predominantly an enthusiasm for empire or not? We shall also try to identify some of the reasons underlying the nature of the response. And we shall be interested in how far politicians found it worth their while to
Author(s): The Open University

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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

Financial Services: Prospects for Your Future
In a lively discussion with Simon Johnson,
Lawrence Fish deconstructs the near collapse of the banking system and points out the multiple factors that have contributed to the financial crisis.

Topics in the discussion include the banks that did not fail, how Canadian and other countries' banking systems

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Nanophotonics: Discovering the Magic of Light in Nanostructures
Evelyn Hu meticulously describes designing and building a new generation of optical materials from nano-sized elements. She hopes to harness “the magic of light in nanostructures.”

Hu walks through her research of exploring and exploiting the properties of different optical materials. She first cites the

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Looking Ahead to 2020
Real-world practitioners of systems engineering/engineering systems describe how the young discipline has shaped their very large enterprises.

For the past 10 years, David Lehman has been incorporating key systems engineering ideas within MITRE Corporation. Successes include getting project leaders to think

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Visual Overviews for Cultural Heritage: Interactive Exploration for Scholars in the Humanities, Art
A focus on designing technologies that allow the "visualization of things not visible" has been at the center of Ben Shneiderman’s work over the past two decades. He advocates the discovery of temporal patterns, relationships and clusters via an empowering user experience which enables discovery at a customizable pace and
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New Media, Civic Media
As old media die, new forms are emerging, but it’s not clear they will serve such vital civic functions as “helping people form publics,” as Pat Aufderheide puts it. These panelists point to promising experiments in “Public Media 2.0,” but caution that new media are not guaranteed to shore up democracy or invigorate
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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

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The War in Afghanistan: How to End It
[from the MIT News Office]

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband urges the Afghanistan government to consider bringing Taliban supporters into its political system, telling an MIT audience that the prompt pursuit of a political deal among Afghanistan’s warring factions is necessary to build a lasting p

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The Road from Copenhagen
Following the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, a five-member panel reviews the pros and cons of the events that took place. Moderated by Ernest Moniz, the panel includes Rob Stavins, Michael Greenstone, Stephen Ansolabehere (filling in for William Bonvillian)
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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.

“People are

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Iraq and North Korea: A Former Insider Assesses U.S. Policy
Ambassador Gallucci focuses most of this talk on North Korea, and discusses the following questions:
Do we have a crisis in North Korea?
Why do we have one, if we do have one now?
How did we get to where we are with North Korea?
Where do we go from here?

This event is chaired by Stephen W. Van Evera, MIT Po

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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
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U.S. Planning and Realities of Post-War Iraq
Judging from these panelists, the more intimate your experience of Iraq, the more optimistic you are likely to be. David J. Nash was fully immersed. He organized the multi-billion dollar reconstruction effort of Iraq’s infrastructure in 45 days. His 2800 projects ran the gamut from new power plants and water compani
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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
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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
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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
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Media in Transition 6: Summary Perspectives
At the end of the three-day Media in Transition conference, panelists swap impressions and reactions, offering some notional themes for future symposia.

Mary Bryson frames her comments as “a mash-up aggregation.” The conference’s “massive disagreements and sometimes awkward silences and gaps” were beneficial,

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