Author Archive

Islam Through Western Eyes on ABC (Australia) Radio

September 24, 2012 0 Comment

I took part in a panel discussion on Sunday night on the recent Muslim protests and their meaning for Australia and the wider world. Read more and download the podcast here.

Still waiting for the Green Revolution

July 6, 2009 0 Comment

Saturday's NYT led its Web edition with news from Iran that a group of Shi'ite clerics and scholars had broken with the political leadership and challenged the legitimacy of the elections and of the president. This was, of course, also in direct defiance of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Read the Times story here.This is an important development. I discussed the deep fissures in Iran's clerical caste in an earlier post. And yet I can't help but think that the Times, and other leading outlets who also carried the news, are still driven ...

Belated Update from Aspen Ideas Fest

July 5, 2009 0 Comment

Some tidbits from the weekend, spent circulating among the presentations, talks, and 'conversations':Being Frank Gehry means never having to say you're sorry. Gehry took exception to a challenging question from the audience, and so he dismissed the speaker. More important, he explained his no-holds-barred approach to designing 'iconic' buildings of our time. Seems Disney Hall only got its metal casing after the success of the Guggenheim in Bilbao.Jason Clay, of WWF: Making one commerical latte at a chain coffee shop requires 200 liters or water.Grass-fed beef produces a larger carbon footprint than beef raised ...

Update from Aspen: “Your Life in a Surveillance Society”

July 3, 2009 1 Comment

So all those little "apps" that make modern life livable carry a hidden price in data dispersal and data tracking of our tastes, whereabouts, finances, love lives, etc. Who knew? Actually, we all know; most of us just choose to look the other way.Yale law professor Jack Balkin calls this "information myopia," a disorder characterized by the trade-offs we make as we interact with the virtual world (those user agreements we tick when new programs load) and acerbated by generational change (younger people have different standards of self-interest and self-preservation than their elders). At the same ...

Ideas that Work: a first glance at the Aspen Festival of Ideas

July 2, 2009 1 Comment

This year's festival, already underway, features an array of topics and discussions its organizers hope will trickle down from the elite company here in this mountain resort to the rest of society. They call these "ideas that work."I just got in a few hours ago but already the lay of this intellectual landscape is emerging. Official info here.It's a mix of usual suspects (James Baker, the UK ambassador, the NYT's David Brooks and Tom Friedman, Alan Greenspan, etc) and innovative and creative voices we rarely see in the mainstream media or run across in our ...