New Book: The Last Refuge
Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Johnsen has written for a variety of publications on Yemen including, among others, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National. He is the co-founder of Waq al-Waq: Islam and Insurgency in Yemen Blog. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen.
In perhaps this blog's worst kept secret, I have been writing a book. In fact, I started working on the book before Brian and I even started Waq al-waq. Originally, the idea was the blog would serve as a sounding board for ideas I was playing with - that did not work out like I had planned.
But the book is now finished and available for pre-order. And since I mentioned it in this PBS Frontline roundtable last night - which was paired with an excellent video from the incredibly brave Ghaith Abdul-Ahad - I thought I would provide a couple of links here.
The book, which is being published in the US by W.W. Norton, is a narrative non-fiction account of how al-Qaeda took root in Yemen, was defeated in the days after of 9/11 and then rebounded to constitute, once again, a terrorist threat to the US.
Basically it is a story of how al-Qaeda developed in Yemen. Along the way you get to meet most of the key figures in al-Qaeda and listen to them as they decide how to rebuild the organization in Yemen.
(Note: Since the book won't be released until November you won't hear much about it here until we get closer to the release date, but since I mentioned it last night and some people were curious I decided to post the above. Waq al-waq will continue to post as before.)
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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