Monthly Archives: June 2005

Kiran Ahluwalia

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Lyrical, delicate and powerful, ghazals are poems set to music. They were created in Persia 1,000 years ago and traveled to India 400 years later. Although most are ballads, some can be danced to, and they all have to do with love: falling in and out of it, flirting, melancholy, or even the love of one’s land.

Kiran Ahluwalia was born in Northern India and raised in Canada where she grew up listening to ghazals. After getting her MBA, and a brief stint as a bond trader, she left the corporate life to return to India and study the ancient musical art form.

She released her first album four years back, won the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy for her second, and has just released her third. Today we learn more about this ancient art form and hear it performed in Kiran’s own cross-cultural style.


Musician Kiran Ahluwalia. Her new CD is “Kiran Ahluwalia.”

Finding the Next ANWR

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Twice derailed in Congress, a new energy bill is now being debated in the Senate. And the iron is hot. Americans revving up for summer travel face record-high gas prices and a growing distaste for dependency on foreign oil.

One of the most controversial parts of the measure is the bill’s proposal to lift a decades-old ban on offshore drilling. For a while it looked like opposition from Florida’s senators might derail that provision — until a deal was struck that would protect that state’s coast, and its $57 billion tourist trade.

But other coastal states support lifting the ban — as long as they receive a split share of oil and gas revenues. And people in the oil industry say the boost to domestic fuel production would help wean the country off the Saudi spigot. Environmentalists argue there’s a better way. Drilling deep, but in whose back yard?


Wes Allison, Washington Bureau Chief for The St. Petersburg Times

Lee Fuller, VP of Government Relations with the Independent Petroleum Association of America

Debbie Boger, Deputy Legislative Director of The Sierra Club.

The Makers of MAKE

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Did you ever think about another use for your broken walkman? Or does it simply go in trash? Do you ever wonder about finding a second life for an old computer mouse?

A new magazine hopes to inspire the basement tinkerer in all of us. Many people channel their creativity into projects in the house or garden, but opening up a cell phone seems strictly off limits. Most of us don’t have a clue how to fix their computer, Ipod or even how to open one.

The people behind MAKE magazine think there are a lot of people out there with an interest in re-inventing with the gadgets that run our daily lives. So their magazine is a deliberate throw-back to the how-to science manuals of an earlier era — back when technology wasn’t so cheap people did more “do it yourself.”


Rosalind Williams, Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT

Phil Torrone, Associate and Online Editor of MAKE magazine

Dale Dougherty, Editor and Publisher, MAKE magazine.

Latin America Takes Another Left

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In La Paz, Bolivia, leftist opposition leaders are threatening to shut down the city if their demands are not met. Last week President Carlos Mesa resigned under pressure from thousands of indigenous people who took to the streets. He is the second president driven from power in just two years.

Bolivia is Latin America’s poorest country and it is marked by deep economic, political and ethnic divides. In Bolivia, as elsewhere in the region, dissatisfaction with corruption, poor healthcare and endemic poverty has led to disillusionment with elected officials, government institutions.

Many Latin Americans see their countries economic failures as failures of democracy and are rejecting the U.S. model of a capitalist, free market system — and embracing socialism.


Bill Faries, Christian Science Monitor Reporter

Eduardo Gamarra, Director of Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University

Jack Spence, Political Science Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

The South African Judge Zakeria Yacoob

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When he was young, Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob never dreamed that he would be where he is today. He is of Indian origin, and was hereby considered a second class citizen under apartheid. Also, he was blind.

But as the country changed, so did the opportunities for people like Zak Yacoob. He fought apartheid, and challenged those who saw only his blindness. Today, he is a Justice on the country’s Constitutional Court — a court that was created after apartheid was dismantled in 1994 and the country’s first democratic Constitution was written.

The duty of that court is to define and defend a fundamental belief in human rights and non-discrimination. And, Yacoob believes, that if South Africa, a country tormented by a vicious racist history, can succeed in creating true equality, the rest of the world should be able to follow.


Justice Zakeria Yacoob, Constitutional Court Judge in South Africa.

The Interrogation of Detainee 63

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It seems every day brings some new revelation about how the U.S. is treating prisoners in its “War on Terror.”

At first blush, the “interrogation log” from Guantanamo published this week in Time Magazine might sound like more of the same. We have read stories about sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and forced standing before. But this time it’s different. The government disavowed the abuses at Abu Ghraib. But in this case, the Pentagon says the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qhatani falls within accepted U.S. policy.

The Pentagon also claims that al-Qhatani was supposed to be the 20th hijacker and therefore says his treatment fits his profile as a “high-value” prisoner. Others say it goes against the Administration’s promise of “humane” treatment for all.


Adam Zagorin, reporter for Time Magazine

Scott Silliman, Director of the Center for Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University Law School

Mark Bowden, correspondent for The Atlantic magazine.

The Ethics of Creating Consciousness

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Next month, IBM is set to activate the most ambitious simulation of a human brain yet conceived. It’s a model they say is accurate down to the molecule. No one claims the “Blue Brain” project will be self-aware. But this project, and others like it, use electrical patterns in a silicon brain to simulate the electrical patterns in the human brain — patterns which are intimately linked to thought. But if computer programs start generating these patterns — these electrical “thoughts” — then what separates us from them? Traditionally human beings have reserved words like “reasoning,” “self-awareness,” and “soul” as their exclusive property. But with the stirring of something akin to electronic consciousness — some argue that human beings need to give up the ghost, and embrace the machine in all of us.


Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and author of numerous books including the forthcoming “The Emotion Machine”

Brian Cantwell Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada

Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

A Squandered Victory

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A public opinion poll in USA Today shows Americans are losing patience with the war in Iraq. Nearly 60 percent of those polled think the U.S. should withdraw some or all of its troops — that’s the highest percentage since the war began.

The unraveling of public support presents a challenge for President Bush who has vowed to keep troops in the country until a government is in place and Iraqi forces are able to keep the peace. The road to democracy in Iraq hinges on whether Shiites and Kurds can work out a political solution with the Sunnis, and hopefully quell the insurgency.

Right now, leaders from all factions are struggling to write a constitution that will strike a balance between the interests of all sides — and solve big issues like defining the role that Islam will play in law and government. And they have to do it all by August 15th. Can politics save Iraq?


Larry Diamond, author of “Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq”

Noah Feldman, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law and author of “What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building.”

Reynolds Price

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The writer Reynolds Price has spent almost all his life close to home in North Carolina. So the characters, the land, the light and the smells of the land are very much a part of his work…his vale of humility between two mountains of conceit.

There are very few forms this writer hasn’t explored; he’s a novelist, a poet and playwright, a professor and simply one of this country’s finest storytellers.

Since the publication of his first book, “A Long and Happy Life,” some 43 years back, his subject matter has ranged from the lives of North Carolina families, to the life of Jesus, to an unflinching memoir of his encounter with cancer when it seemed very much like his own life wasn’t going to be either long — or happy.

His new novel, “The Good Priest’s Son,” talks again of home of life and loss in the days after 9/11.


Reynolds Price, writer and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University. His new novel is “The Good Priest’s Son.”

The View From the Other Side of the Tracks

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Small town America is seeing a new front in the historical struggle for equality. Civil rights leaders say it’s a form of residual segregation and it’s showing up in places like California, Ohio and North Carolina.

Many towns are becoming ever more prosperous, while their original minority neighborhoods are still kept outside city limits. In some cases the black and Latino neighborhoods are all but encircled by big homes, but left without sewer pipes, police and fire protection.

In places like Pinehurst NC, long-time residents have septic tanks leaking up through their lawns while they live next door to a golf course so pristine it hosts the U.S. Open. Some local elected officials argue the disparity is not deliberate. It just reflects the natural course of development and they can’t afford the bill.


Maurice Holland Sr., a resident of Midway, NC and planning board representative in Aberdeen, NC

Anita Earls, Director of Advocacy for the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights

Steve Wyatt, Manager, Moore County, NC

Robert Rubin, Legal Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco.