The Global Race for Knowledge

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In Essence

Iraq holds the world's second-largest oil reserves, an irresistible target for smugglers.

In 1985, the U.S. military replaced the Colt .45 with the lighter Beretta M9 9mm, but are rethinking the smaller-caliber pistol because of its limited "stopping power."

Sanctions often hurt the innocent inside sanctioned nations as well as nearby trading partners, and are only effective if they are multinational and well policed.

Jefferson is often quoted as a champion of religious freedom, but, says one critic, he "tried harder than any other Founding Father to remove religion definitively from the political life of the new nation."

Vancouver has become a Mecca for urban dwellers, so much so that it is losing its business tax base.

Futures trading--that odd engine of global capitalism where traders speculate on everything from interest rates to the price of wheat--barely survived its birth, more than a century ago.

When Australia eliminated its estate tax, deaths declined just before the repeal took effect. Could the same thing happen in America?

The defining feature of food in the early republic became the elevation of the simple American over the fancy European.

Americans have fewer people to confide in than they did just a generation ago.

A noted demographer says that the nation's official measure of poverty is biased, flawed, and inconsistent with almost every other gauge of well-being.

There's been a huge spike in media coverage of corruption in east-central Europe--no big surprise to one political scientist, who finds a close connection to the region's EU aspirations.

According to one sociologist, countries that have abandoned religion by choice are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy.

A Princeton music theorist has developed a new model that reveals the geometric spaces between musical notes.

Splogs--bogus blog websites containing gibberish and advertisements--are sand in the machine of the Internet, warns a science journalist, and could cripple the online world.

The modest city of Columbus, Indiana, boasts more than 60 architecturally significant buildings by many Modernist stars. They haven't cured the city's financial woes.

As an antidote to our troubled times, Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes makes a passionate appeal for literature, which "makes real what history forgot."

Many Russians now demand jury trials, where they have a higher rate of acquittal. Those are often overturned on appeal, however, which undermines confidence in the entire judicial system.

African complaints that U.S. agricultural subsidies are undermining their efforts to compete globally are beginning to find sympathetic ears in the international community.

Frank Gehry's museum has been a flashy addition to Bilbao, but it still depends on razzle-dazzle shows to complement the architecture.

Book Reviews

David Lindley on string theory's tangle


Relying upon nuclear power to combat global warming poses risks that are too severe, given that safer alternatives are available.

Brice Smith and Arjun Makhijani

Nuclear power alone is positioned to help meet the world's burgeoning energy demand and supply electricity to power-starved areas of the world.

Max Schulz

Every increase in the violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq raises the threat of a wider sectarian upheaval that could vault Iran to dominance in the Middle East.

Martin Walker

China’s transformation in the 30 years since the death of Mao Zedong has been breathtaking. But it will not be complete until the nation comes to terms with Mao’s complex legacy.

Ross Terrill

America's higher education complex is a behemoth of mass production. But what, exactly, is coming off the assembly line? A veteran professor and administrator looks inside the new ivory tower.

Christopher Clausen

Students are flocking to China's campuses, but educating them and finding them jobs are bigger challenges than the government reckoned. As China's leaders rush to change an old, ungainly system, they are learning that shaking up is hard to do.

Sheila Melvin

The German university, once considered the model for the world, has been stirred from years of slumber. But as long as it remains solely a creature of the state, it will not escape its middling status.

Mitchell G. Ash

India has surprised the world by suddenly jumping into the front ranks of emerging economies, but its colleges and universities remain mired in the past, and may be moving backward.

Philip G. Altbach

Never has a broad liberal education been more necessary than it is today, and never have colleges and universities done such a poor job of delivering it. Radical measures are needed.

Michael Lind

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