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Floods, doctorates, surrenders and Kanye

August 16, 2010

Some items that caught my eye …

NEWS

Pakistan Warns of More Floods in `Heart-Wrenching’ Disaster: Bloomberg reports, “Pakistan warned (Monday) of a new flood wave making its way south along the Indus River and more heavy monsoon rains, threatening to add to the 20 million people who have lost homes, farms and livelihoods. The forecast for further inundations in Sindh province came after United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the devastation was the worst he had ever seen and promised more emergency funding for relief operations. The UN said on Aug. 13 it had received only 20 percent of the $460 million it needs to provide aid to the homeless and hungry.”

Millions of Pakistan children at risk of flood diseases: The BBC reports, “Up to 3.5 million children are at high risk from deadly water-borne diseases in Pakistan following the country’s floods, a UN spokesman has said.” The BBC also offers a piece on the science behind the flooding.

POLITICS

Gates to leave in 2011: Foreign Policy’s Cable blog links to an interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said “he plans to leave office some time in 2011, once President Obama’s Afghanistan’s strategy review is completed.” Links to the interview and to a fascinating piece speculating on who may succeed him are included.

Obama’s Youthful Voters More Likely to Skip Midterms: In the New York Times, Megan Thee-Brenan recently wrote,”Will all of those young, enthusiastic Obama voters turn out in 2010? If history is any guide, probably not. Older voters are historically more likely to cast ballots in midterm elections than are voters under the age of 30. And this year, they are already more enthusiastic than younger voters about the coming campaign.”

The First Wave of Weary Aides Heads for the Exits: Also in the Times, the White House Memo column noted somberly that “(e)ven in calmer times, the White House is a pressure cooker that can quickly burn out the most idealistic aides, but it may be even more so in an administration that inherited an economic collapse and two wars — and then decided to overhaul the nation’s health care system for good measure. Add to that the nonstop, partisan intensity of the e-mail-Internet-cable era, and it takes a toll.”

Every morning, there’s always at least one story that pisses me off: From Salon.com’s War Room blog: “Florida Republican: Put immigrants in ‘camps’ ”

ENTERTAINMENT

#kanyenewyorkertweets: Thanks to my friend Sara Ines Calderon for turning me on to this jewel. Looks like Kanye loves it. Sign up here.

LITERATURE

Recently read Library of America’s Stories of the Week: Edgar Allen Poe’s “Hop-Frog” and “On Some Mental Effects of the Earthquake” by William James.

HISTORY

Historians rethink key Soviet role in Japan defeat: The AP’s Slobodan Lekic writes, “(S)ome historians have argued that the Soviet (attack on Japanese forces in northeast Asia) served as effectively as … the A-bombs in ending the war. Now a new history … seeks to reinforce that view, arguing that fear of Soviet invasion persuaded the Japanese to opt for surrender to the Americans, who they believed would treat them more generously than the Soviets.”

AND FINALLY …

What Exactly Is a Doctorate? From Gizmodo: “Ever wondered what getting a doctorate really means? Matt Might, professor of Computer Science at the University of Utah, explains it perfectly in this graphic presentation that starts with a simple circle.” Brilliantly done.

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