Friday, June 8, 2012

Tibet, Drums, and Plane Crashes (Link Round-Up 6/8/12)


China bans international tourism to Tibet
Now, many are saying that the latest in a string of Tibetan self-immolations led to the country’s shutdown to outsiders. According to Free Tibet, a campaign promoting Tibetan independence from China, there have been more than 30 self-immolations since March 2011. Most recently, on May 27, 2012 two Tibetans were the first to set themselves on fire in Lhasa, Tibet’s tightly-controlled administrative capital. The shutdown also coincides with the Saga Dawa festival, which celebrates the Buddha’s birth and draws many Buddhists to Tibet. This year, the festival began on June 4, which is also the anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests.
Zildjian: the 400-year-old cymbal manufacturer and family business
First off, there's the literal secret - the special alloy of copper, tin, and silver that gives the Zildjian cymbals their world-renowned sound. 
It's a proprietary mix that Avedis Zildjian brought over with him from Turkey and handed down from generation to generation of Zildjians - and only to Zildjians.
Ex-Iranian official: target regime change, not the nuclear program
Sazegara chastised the Obama Administration’s decision not to intervene in the 2009 Green Revolution, describing it as “a great disappointment”. But he said that “beneath the surface there is a great anger burning across the land” and that the time has come to “reignite the revolution.”  
Sazegara said that the U.S. was “focused on the wrong course” in its dealings with Tehran, because the regime “will never give up its nuclear program.” The only recourse, he said, was to “reach over their heads” to the Iranian people and to encourage a change in the regime.
Twitter is squeezing out the professional critics
But critics have a deeper role still. When something new and startling comes along, it often baffles us, and we are tempted to drop it, pained, for easier cultural lifting. A great critic can help us to figure out what it going on, and to appreciate it in a richer way. When I saw Terrence Malick's The Tree Of Life, I was sure I had seen something extraordinary, but I felt I had barely begun to understand it. It was reading the body of criticism by terrific writers, such as Dana Stevens and Peter Bradshaw that led me deeper in. As film critic Pauline Kael put it: "We read critics for the perceptions, for what they tell us that we didn't fully grasp when we saw the work."
Nigerian plane crash shows the country's massive infrastructure problems
It was the worst air disaster in nearly two decades for Nigeria, a nation where carriers have longed used aging aircraft and often operate under little government scrutiny. Some passengers clutch Muslim prayer beads or Bibles, softly praying or loudly calling out "Blood of Jesus" as airplanes hit turbulence. Applause and more prayers punctuate landings. 
But flying is the quickest and safest way to move around a nation about twice the size of California with a crumbling network of roads that drivers in rickety buses and trucks speed along and where robbers lay in wait in the night.

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