Golf course housing:
Mobile home parks:
Such a stark contrast to older urban forms.
"As French-led forces consolidated their hold on northern Mali, international scholars feared the worst: that retreating Islamic militants had torched the Ahmed Baba Institute, home to 30,000 priceless items of scholarship dating back to the 13th century.
"But many volumes may have escaped destruction by being hidden from fundamentalist forces that seized the north last year. The militants launched a campaign to eradicate historic vestiges of a medieval Muslim civilization that they deemed un-Islamic.
"South African researchers involved in a project to preserve the Timbuktu manuscripts have had word that most of the treasures survived in private libraries and secure locations.
"Mohamed Mathee of the University of Johannesburg told eNews Channel Africa, 'It seems most of the manuscripts are OK. These manuscripts are with families and are safe.'
"National Geographic News quoted Sidi Ahmed, a reporter who fled Timbuktu during its occupation, as saying: 'The people here have long memories. They are used to hiding their manuscripts. They go into the desert and bury them until it is safe.'"Mali's Culture War: The Fate of the Timbuktu Manuscripts
"Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."Source
Penn Jillette: "Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing. . . . Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure. The lover reports on his or her feelings and needs nothing more. Faith claims knowledge of a world we share but without evidence we can share. Feeling love is beautiful. Feeling the earth is 6,000 years old is stupid."
Cord Jefferson: "Unfortunately, a great number of atheists do seem to cling to heterodoxy the way the most toxic of believers cling to orthodoxy, turning their irreverence into a stubborn religion unto itself. These are the people you see in online forums calling churchgoers 'morons' or 'brainless', displaying the same hubristic arrogance they claim to despise when it comes from the other side. Still, I think the lion’s share of the new era of atheists understand that atheism should be less about the degradation of religion and more about a celebration of the power and potential of the human being sans any omnipotent higher authority."Is Atheism a Religion? (New York Times)
"Famed AI researcher and incorrigable singularity forecaster Ray Kurzweil recently shed some more light on what his new job at Google will entail. It seems that he does, indeed, plan to build a prodigious artificial intelligence, which he hopes will understand the world to a much more sophisticated degree than anything built before–or at least that will act as if it does.
"Kurzweil’s AI will be designed to analyze the vast quantities of information Google collects and to then serve as a super-intelligent personal assistant. He suggests it could eavesdrop on your every phone conversation and email exchange and then provide interesting and important information before you ever knew you wanted it."Ray Kurzweil Plans to Create a Mind at Google—and Have it Serve You
"Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's visit to North Korea this week has been met with sharp criticism, but the global Internet search giant indirectly is helping to make history by revealing one of the reclusive country's darkest secrets.
"Google Earth, the company's popular satellite imagery product, might be the last thing Mr Schmidt will want to showcase for his hosts, because it presents a bird's eye view of many things that secretive North Korea wants to keep hidden.
"Human rights activists and bloggers have taken a Google program used mostly for recreation, education and marketing and applied it to map a vast system of dozens of prison camps that span North Korea, a country slightly smaller in area than Greece and home to 23 million people.
"As many as 250,000 political prisoners and their families toil on starvation rations in the mostly remote mountain camps, according to estimates by international human rights groups."Google Earth puts North Korea labour camps on the map
According to the website CreationistVouchers.com, more than 300 schools in the United States currently use PUBLIC money to support the teaching of creationism."…creationist vouchers aren't just a Louisiana problem—they're an American problem. School vouchers are, as James Gill recently wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, 'the answer to a creationist’s prayer.'"
"The National Rifle Association on Tuesday released a controversial new ad that makes reference to President Barack Obama's daughters - sparking outrage from critics who charged that the spot is over the line.
"'Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,' White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. 'But to go so far as to make the safety of the President's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.
"The video calls Obama an 'elitist hypocrite' for not embracing armed guards in schools even as his daughters enjoy armed protection at their schools."NRA ad attacked for including President Obama's daughters
"On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, a group of top GOP luminaries quietly gathered in a Washington steakhouse to lick their wounds and ultimately create the outline of a plan for how to deal with the incoming administration.
"'The room was filled. It was a who’s who of ranking members who had at one point been committee chairmen, or in the majority, who now wondered out loud whether they were in the permanent minority,' Frank Luntz, who organized the event, told FRONTLINE.
"Among them were Senate power brokers Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl and Tom Coburn, and conservative congressmen Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan.
"After three hours of strategizing, they decided they needed to fight Obama on everything. The new president had no idea what the Republicans were planning."Inside Obama's Presidency (Frontline)
"...suspicion of government is behind the growth in homeschooling, that narrows the education of children, deprives them of a sense of community, and diminishes their social skills. ... Hostility to government also ensures that health care is unnecessarily expensive. The average cost of American health care is $8,233 per person per year, the most expensive in the developed world."Tea Party Absolutism: The High Cost Of Hating Government
"Beginning in 2008, the federal government poured billions of dollars into AIG to save it from bankruptcy. AIG’s reckless bets nearly crashed our entire economy. Taxpayers across this country saved AIG from ruin, and it would be outrageous for this company to turn around and sue the federal government because they think the deal wasn’t generous enough. Even today, the government provides an ongoing, stealth bailout, propping up AIG with special tax breaks — tax breaks that Congress should stop. AIG should thank American taxpayers for their help, not bite the hand that fed them for helping them out in a crisis."Senator Elizabeth Warren gears up (Washington Post)
"A secret bunker hidden deep within the deserts of New Mexico is reported to be the 'alien space cathedral"'of the Church of Scientology, according to the author of a new book on Scientology.
"The site is marked by a large symbol etched onto the desert floor: two diamonds surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles, according to the British newspaper The Sun. A private airstrip, built to serve the controversial church's leaders, is within walking distance of the symbol."Scientologists' Alleged 'Alien Space Cathedral' Found
"An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day."Atty: Hobby Lobby Won't Offer Morning-After Pill (ABC News)
"If Hobby Lobby can opt out of birth control covered by insurance because it conflicts with their religious beliefs, then a Scientologist employer can deny psychiatric coverage; a Jehovah's Witness can deny blood transfusions; a Mormon can refuse to cover medicine with alcohol in it. Just because you employ a person, you are not entitled to make that person's medical decisions."