Essential Summer Reading, National Security
I am taking a couple of weeks off. But while I’m away, I thought I’d
share with you some of the what I consider to be this year’s essential
readings on politics. Today, I want to look at the national security and
The best place to start is probably "Collateral Murder," the controversial video showing the killing of a dozen people—including two people who worked for Reuters—by the U.S. military in a suburb of Baghdad. After Reuters tried without success to get the military to release the classified video under the Freedom of Information Act, an army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning—who has since been charged with disclosing secrets and put in prison—leaked the video to Wikileaks, which published it with commentary. While there is some debate about whether the killings were in fact murders, the disturbing video is worth looking at, if only to better understand what’s going on in Iraq.
Also worth a look is "The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’: A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle" (Harper’s Magazine, January 18). In this piece, Scott Horton uncovers evidence of a military cover-up in the suspicious deaths of three prisoners at Guantanamo.
Finally, take a look at "He Was Tortured, But He Can’t Sue" (NYR Blog, June 15). In it, David Cole talks about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to refuse to hear the case of his client, Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who was detained in 2002 and sent to Syria, where he was held without charges and tortured for more than a year. Canada’s parliament issued an unanimous apology to Arar and awarded him $10 million (Canadian) for mistakenly listing him as the target of a terrorism investigation after a conclusive 1100-page blue-ribbon commission report cleared him of any wrongdoing. But U.S. courts have refused to consider Arar’s case, on the grounds that the rendition program is too sensitive to be discussed in court—even if it's illegal.
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- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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