France bans burqas
The vote—passed primarily by the center-right party of President Nicolas Sarkozy, with most opposition Socialist Party lawmakers abstaining—came as a number of European countries are trying to figure out how to reconcile the values of modern Europe with more assertive expressions of Islamic faith.
Switzerland, for example, banned the construction of minarets after a referendum last year. Belgium and Spain are discussing measures to outlaw similar full-body cloaks. In Sweden, long known as one of Europe's most tolerant societies, an anti-immigration party that has called for Swedish Muslims to integrate more is expected to win its first Parliamentary seat in this weekend's elections.
"Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" cartoonist changes name, goes into hiding
Norris views the situation with her customary sense of the world's complexity, and absurdity. When FBI agents, on a recent visit, instructed her to always keep watch for anyone following her, she responded, "Well, at least it'll keep me from being so self-involved!" It was, she says, the first time the agents managed a smile. She likens the situation to cancer—it might basically be nothing, it might be urgent and serious, it might go away and never return, or it might pop up again when she least expects it.
Young Chinese mistrust the government
At first glance, the Chinese government appears to enjoy very high public trust: A series of surveys by international scholars over the past decade suggest that at least 70 percent of ordinary citizens express confidence in the government and ruling Communist Party – a level that Western rulers can only dream of.
But a new study from the independent Unirule Institute of Economics found that Chinese under age 25 are consistently more dubious of the authorities than their elders.
Mistrust also appears to run more deeply among the most wealthy, urban, and educated citizens here. "These are the groups of the future," says Shan Wei, an analyst with the East Asian Institute at the National Uni ver sity of Singapore. "The authorities are going to be facing stronger and stronger challenges from the population."
DIY culture bringing creativity and excitement back to educating kids
When a kid builds a model rocket, or a kite, or a birdhouse, she not only picks up math, physics, and chemistry along the way, she also develops her creativity, resourcefulness, planning abilities, curiosity, and engagement with the world around her. But since these things can’t be measured on a standardized test, schools no longer focus on them. As our public educational institutions continue down this grim road, they’ll lose value as places of learning. That may seem like a shame, but to the members of the growing DIY schooling movement, it’s an irresistible opportunity to roll up their sleeves.
Mexican religious ritual causes fish to evolve toxic immunity
In lab experiments they compared molly fish from the ritual cave to others from an area upstream that had never swam in poisoned water, and found that the cave fish had a much higher tolerance for the Barbasco toxin.
Mars and Hershey compete to crack Cacao genome
While the scientists are just beginning to analyze the genome, understanding the tree’s innermost workings could lead to breeding programs for drought- or disease-resistant varieties, or even for trees that produce tastier or healthier cocoa. The consortium has put the data online at the Cacao Genome Database for use by any and all.
Spanish documentary on North Korea (via)
*Worth watching for the video footage alone.
The pro-public art, pro-environment, pro-public transportation mayor of a town in central Indiana
So how does central Indiana compete? We can compete by creating cities that are beautiful, sustainable cities with good public education. It’s important to remember that one of the things that’s distinguished America from every other country all over the earth is that we were the first to provide free public education. Maintaining that system is absolutely key to making cities successful.
From an economic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for a city to invest in the arts. For every dollar of investment, six to eight dollars are returned to the taxpayer.
Last fall, a Kennedy School study at Harvard showed the average household in the U.S. drives 104 miles a day. That’s not sustainable from a lot of aspects. But it’s particularly not sustainable from a city financial standpoint because we’re building all these roads and maintaining these roads.