What We Still Don’t Get About Vietnam
Question: Are you satisfied or angered by\r\n the way Vietnam is\r\nremembered?\r\n\r\n
\r\n\r\n Tim O’Brien: Yeah. \r\nMostly pissed off. I mean\r\nit comes down on that side. \r\nThere’s a mythology that a company’s memory of an event, and by \r\nand\r\nlarge for my fellow soldiers in Vietnam, the mythologies of betrayal. We were betrayed by our\r\ngovernment. We were betrayed by\r\nthe liberal press. It wasn’t our\r\ndoing, it was their doing.
Tim O’Brien: Yeah. \r\nMostly pissed off. I mean\r\nit comes down on that side. \r\nThere’s a mythology that a company’s memory of an event, and by \r\nand\r\nlarge for my fellow soldiers in Vietnam, the mythologies of betrayal. We were betrayed by our\r\ngovernment. We were betrayed by\r\nthe liberal press. It wasn’t our\r\ndoing, it was their doing.
In the same way that after World War I, the Germans\r\n were\r\npreached to by the forces of what became Hitler, you were betrayed at \r\nthe end\r\nof World War I and Germany was sold down. \r\nAnd by at large my buddies feel that way, that we could have won \r\nthe war\r\nif more people were killed and more women raped, and more houses burned,\r\n we\r\nwould have won it. I don’t think\r\nthey’re right, but they feel that way. \r\nI think you could have paved the country with concrete and put up\r\n a big\r\nfence around it and you’d still have all these people who don’t want you\r\nthere. "You’re Americans, and we’re\r\nVietnamese and this is our country and you may have the concrete and the\r\n bombs\r\nand the technology, but you’re not going to win us. You\r\n may have won a war, in a way."
Well, so there are mythologies of memory. And my dad carried with him out of\r\nWorld War II a mythology of America, the Lone Ranger, the doer of good, \r\nand the\r\ncarrier of the democratic flame, and it had an undercurrent of almost a \r\nsoundtrack of Frank Sinatra...Gene Kelly soundtrack running beneath it \r\nof buoyancy\r\nand of virtue. And the soundtrack\r\nthat ran beneath the movie of Vietnam, you know, and all the people who \r\nare\r\ngoing to watch this know is not that “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Sentimental\r\nJourney” soundtrack. It was a\r\nsoundtrack of The Doors, and The Stones, and it was edgy and critical, \r\nand much\r\nmore ambiguous soundtrack that more or less accurately reflected the\r\nambiguities and the absence of certain moral underpinnings to that\r\nenterprise. Those are two pretty\r\ndifferent edifices of this called mythology about a war. \r\n And mythology is a way of eliminating\r\nall that doesn’t fit into it. You\r\nsort of eliminate that part of it. \r\nAnd certainly that has happened, certainly for my generation as \r\nwell as\r\nmy dad’s.\r\n\r\n
Question: Has the rebelliousness \r\nsurrounding the war gained\r\nits own kind of allure?\r\n\r\n
Tim O’Brien: Yeah, I think there’s probably \r\nsome truth in\r\nthe notion that there’s an insidious and dangerous side to the mythology\r\n that\r\nsurrounds Vietnam. It has a slight stink of the "hip" and the "cool" and\r\n of the\r\n“walking the dangerous line.” And I think there was an exotic feel to \r\nthe war in\r\nthis far-off jungle and that was part of the mythology around it. It sort of beckons one anew to the\r\nadventure when we have my exotic experience and dangerous moment that \r\nmanages\r\nto erase the absolute horror of it all... the dead people and the dead\r\nchildren, and just the horror.\r\n\r\n
\r\n\r\n That may be part of what every writer about \r\nwar has finally\r\nhad to come to terms with in one way or another, that pretty great books\r\n have\r\nbeen written, including "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," that haven’t ended\r\nwars. They haven’t ended the appetite\r\nfor it and it probably won’t. \r\nThough you always hope.
That may be part of what every writer about \r\nwar has finally\r\nhad to come to terms with in one way or another, that pretty great books\r\n have\r\nbeen written, including "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," that haven’t ended\r\nwars. They haven’t ended the appetite\r\nfor it and it probably won’t. \r\nThough you always hope.
This little son of mine, who’s now four, his name \r\nis\r\nTad. A week or two ago I said I\r\nwas going on a book tour, and he said, “About what?” And\r\n I explained what “The Things They Carried” was, and for the\r\nfirst time he had encountered out of my mouth the word “war” in a \r\npersonal way.\r\nThat is, he’s probably heard me say it before. He\r\n said, “War? \r\nYou mean really killing people, like for real?” And\r\n I said, “Yeah, for real.” He said, “Really? Really killing people?” And I \r\nbegan by saying that people get\r\ninto disagreements, and trying to simplify it. But\r\n the astonishment on a four year old’s face that people\r\nare killing one another. And he\r\nsaid, “For what?” And boy that was\r\nhad to articulate an answer to it. \r\nI didn’t have an answer. \r\nThe answer I really had was, “I don’t know.” I\r\n don’t really know for what. Though I’m a person \r\nwho has thought about this stuff for his\r\nentire adult life, I really haven’t yet plumbed the 'for whatness' of \r\nkilling\r\npeople. And I don’t think I ever\r\nwill plumb it.
Recorded March 22, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen
The rebellious anger of the Vietnam era hasn’t stopped war. In fact, "a slight stink of the hip" now surrounds our cultural memory of the event.
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What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.
The WashU electrolyzer<iframe src='https://mars.nasa.gov/layout/embed/model/?s=6' width='800' height='450' scrolling='no' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen></iframe><p>The WashU electrolyzer—it has no snappy acronym yet—will not be the first device capable of extracting oxygen from Martian water. That honor goes to the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or <a href="https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/instruments/moxie/" target="_blank">MOXIE</a>, which is en route to Mars onboard NASA's <a href="https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/" target="_blank">Perseverance</a> rover. The rover was launched on July 30, 2020. It will arrive on February 18, 2021, and will perform high-temperature <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis_of_water" target="_blank">electrolysis</a> to extract pure oxygen, but no hydrogen.</p><p>In addition to being able to capture hydrogen, the WashU system can even do a better job with oxygen than MOXIE can, extracting 25 times as much from the same amount of water.</p><p>The new system has no problem with Mars' magnesium perchlorate-laced water. On the contrary, the researchers say it ultimately makes their system work better since such high concentrations of salt keep water from freezing on such a cold a planet by lowering the liquid's freezing temperature to -60 °C. He adds it may "also improve the performance of the electrolyzer system by lowering the electrical resistance."</p><p>Cold itself is no issue for the WashU system. It's been tested in a sub-zero (-33 ⁰F, or -36 ⁰C) environment that simulates Mars'.</p><p>"Our novel brine electrolyzer incorporates a lead <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926337318311299" target="_blank">ruthenate pyrochlore</a> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anode" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">anode</a> developed by our team in conjunction with a platinum on carbon <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode" target="_blank">cathode</a>," explains Ramani. He adds, "These carefully designed components coupled with the optimal use of traditional electrochemical engineering principles has yielded this high performance."</p>
Back home<p>"This technology is equally useful on Earth where it opens up the oceans as a viable oxygen and fuel source," Ramani notes. His colleagues forsee potential applications such as producing oxygen in deep-sea habitats with ample water available, such as underwater research facilities and submarines.</p><p>The study's joint first author Pralay Gayen says that "having demonstrated these electrolyzers under demanding Martian conditions, we intend to also deploy them under much milder conditions on Earth to utilize brackish or salt water feeds to produce hydrogen and oxygen, for example, through seawater electrolysis."</p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Pfizer's vaccine needs to be kept at -100°F until it's administered. Can caregivers deliver?
- Fair distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is especially challenging because they need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures.
- Back in 2018, the WHO reported that over half of all vaccines are wasted worldwide due to lack of cold storage, and they were only talking about vaccines that need to be chilled or kept at standard freezer temperatures.
- Real-time logistics data, location tracking, and information about movements are crucial to track shipment progress, product temperature and other conditions.