Sunday, January 23, 2005

Required Reading: The Sunday NY Times

Sex Ed at Harvard was written by Charles Murray which he pontificates about recent remarks by Harvard's President. Here's a bit:
In "The Two Cultures," C. P. Snow famously warned of the dangers when communication breaks down between the sciences and the humanities. The reaction to remarks by Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, about the differences between men and women was yet another sign of a breakdown that takes Snow's worries to a new level: the wholesale denial that certain bodies of scientific knowledge exist.

Mr. Summers's comments, at a supposedly off-the-record gathering, were mild. He offered, as an interesting though unproved possibility, that innate sex differences might explain why so few women are on science and engineering faculties, and he told a story about how nature seemed to trump nurture in his own daughter.

To judge from the subsequent furor, one might conclude that Mr. Summers was advancing a radical idea backed only by personal anecdotes and a fringe of cranks. In truth, it's the other way around. If you were to query all the scholars who deal professionally with data about the cognitive repertoires of men and women, all but a fringe would accept that the sexes are different, and that genes are clearly implicated.
Thomas Friedman wrote Divided We Stand. He quickly points out that:
There's only one thing you can say about the elections in Iraq: They are either going to be the end of the beginning there or the beginning of the end.
NY Knicks Downward Spiral Takes Down Wilkens is written by Howard Beck and talks about the resignation of the Knicks head coach and hall of famer Lenny Wilkens. Here's a bit:
Although they made the playoffs last spring with Wilkens at the helm, the Knicks have not had a winning season since 2000-1. Despite a radical roster makeover by Thomas and the stately touch of Wilkens, the Knicks were again spiraling downward as Wilkens hit his first anniversary last week.

They have lost 9 of their last 10 games to fall to 17-22. The final blow came Friday night at Madison Square Garden, when Van Gundy's Houston Rockets shocked the Knicks at the buzzer for a 92-91 victory.
The Knicks have plenty of problems... and not playing defense is at the top of the list. Best of luck to new interim head coach... Garden favorite Herb Williams.

Eliza Griswald sheds light on Bangledesh in her article called Next Islamist Revolution. Here's a bit:
Last spring, Bangla Bhai, whose followers probably number around 10,000, decided to try an Islamist revolution in several provinces of Bangladesh that border on India. His name means ''Bangladeshi brother.'' (At one point he said his real name was Azizur Rahman and more recently claimed it was Siddiqul Islam.) He has said that he acquired this nom de guerre while waging jihad in Afghanistan and that he was now going to bring about the Talibanization of his part of Bangladesh. Men were to grow beards, women to wear burkas. This was all rather new to the area, which was religiously diverse. But Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, as Bangla Bhai's group is called (the name means Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh), was determined and violent and seemed to have enough lightly armed adherents to make its rule stick.
There's always a whacko or two popping up everyday with a swarm of lost souls looking for answers and willing to pass the blame for their own problems.

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