James Lovelock: A man for all seasons

From New Statesman:

GaiaThere can be no doubt that the idea of Gaia came to Lovelock as a kind of epiphany. But the Gaia theory originated in the experimental difficulties of detecting signs of life on Mars, and he has developed the theory in rigorously scientific terms, producing a computer model of a virtual planet (Daisyworld) in which a self-regulating climate could emerge from simple organisms by a process of natural selection. The novelist William Golding was a neighbour of Lovelock’s in the Wiltshire village of Bowerchalke and became a close friend. He proposed the name of Gaia – the earth goddess in Greek mythology – for the self-regulating planet. Although Lovelock is grateful to Golding for his inspired suggestion, he views the notion of the earth as a self-regulating system as an integral part of science.

…Where he differs from many is that his life affirmation is not restricted to human beings. He tells me his next book will consider the possibility that evolution may produce another species, one more capable than human beings have been of coexisting with other life forms on the planet. His intellectual iconoclasm showing no signs of diminishing, Lovelock, in his tenth decade, continues to produce ideas that fundamentally challenge the prevailing world-view. A unique thinker, he has no obvious successor, yet in gaining wide acceptance of the idea that our planet is a self-regulating system, he has had a profound effect on many branches of scientific inquiry. Along with millions of others, I can’t wait to hear the latest thoughts of the scientist who, more than any other alive today, has changed the way we think of the earth and our place on it.

More here.

Social isolation shortens lifespan

From Nature:

SolitudeScientists have long known that both social isolation and feelings of loneliness can increase risk of illness and death in people. But it has been less clear whether isolation, which can lead to loneliness, undermines health, or whether either factor, acting alone, can harm well-being. Today, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that limited contact with family, friends and community groups predicts illness and earlier death, regardless of whether it is accompanied by feelings of loneliness1. The scientists analysed data from 6,500 people aged 52 and older enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, which monitors the health, social well-being and longevity of people living in England. The researchers evaluated social isolation on the basis of the amount of contact participants reported having with family, friends and civic organizations, and they assessed loneliness using a questionnaire. They tracked sickness and mortality in study participants from 2004 to 2012.

The researchers found that social isolation was correlated with higher mortality — even after adjusting for pre-existing health conditions and socioeconomic factors — but loneliness was not. “When we think about loneliness and social isolation, we often think of them as two faces of the same coin,” says Andrew Steptoe, a psychologist and epidemiologist at University College London, who led the study. But the findings suggest that a lack of social interaction harms health whether or not a person feels lonely, he says. “When you’re socially isolated, you not only lack companionship in many cases, but you may also lack advice and support from people.”

More here.

Wednesday Poem

No Snow Fell on Eden

as i remember it – there was no snow,
so no thaw or tao as you say

no snowmelt drooled down the brae;
no human footfall swelled into that of a yeti
baring what it shoulda kept hidden;

no yellow ice choked bogbean;
there were no sheepskulls
in the midden –

it was no allotment, eden –
they had a hothouse,
an orangery, a mumbling monkey;

there was no cabbage-patch
of rich, roseate heads;
there was no innuendo

no sea, no snow
There was nothing funny
about a steaming bing of new manure.

There was nothing funny at all.
Black was not so sooty. No fishboat revolved redly
on an eyepopping sea.

Eve never sat up late drinking and crying.
Adam knew no-one who was dying.
That was yet to come, In The Beginning

Jen Hadfield
from Poetry International Web

The philosophy of the Higgs

Michael Krämer in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_151 Mar. 26 15.51Many of the great physicists of the 20th century have appreciated the importance of philosophy for science. Einstein, for example, wrote in a letter in 1944:

I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest.

At the same time, physics has always played a vital role in shaping ideas in modern philosophy. It appears, however, that we are now faced with the ruins of this beautiful marriage between physics and philosophy. Stephen Hawking has claimed recently that philosophy is “dead” because philosophers have not kept up with science, and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg argues:

I know of no one who has participated actively in the advance of physics in the postwar period whose research has been significantly helped by the work of philosophers.

Not to mention the recent public argument between cosmologist Lawrence Krauss and philosopher of science David Albert about nothing, i.e. the vacuum, however driven it may be by book sales figures.

So is there a role for philosophy in modern physics? Should we physicists listen to philosophers?

More here.

Literature in the Fortress

Hasan Altaf in The Millions:

ScreenHunter_150 Mar. 26 15.40From the beginning, there was a hint of the surreal to the recent Lahore Literary Festival, but it was difficult to put my finger on the root of that unsettling emotion, especially given the overall aura of triumph. A response to similar events elsewhere in the region – the most famous in Jaipur; the most rivalry-inducing, for the last four years, in Karachi – the festival seemed its own victory party, a massive and successful gambit in Lahore’s bid to reclaim its title as the “cultural capital” of Pakistan. The excitement had Lahore full of visitors, Mall Road festooned with banners, the Alhamra Arts Council packed with people, and in the middle of all that buzz it seemed almost churlish to have the suspicion that something odd was at work.

The urge to make every(positive)thing in Pakistan somehow momentous and meaningful is dangerous – every movie cannot offer a revitalization or renaissance of cinema, every political party cannot, at this point, be logically seen as a rebirth of hope – but there was some predictable truth to the truism that the festival played, in Lahore, a very different role than it would have in a country or a city where such events are more common and less fraught. In part of course this had to do with the unimaginable odds that Pakistan has been facing, not just the most dramatic and terrible (including for example two recent, devastating attacks on the Hazara community, in Quetta; including for example the murder of a prominent doctor and his twelve-year-old son, in broad daylight as they drove to the boy’s school — located on the same Mall Road where we were gathered — simply because they were Shia), but also the more subtle and insidious, which have been at work far longer than any terrorist.

More here.

The Arms Race to Grow World’s Hottest Pepper Goes Nuclear

Spencer Jakab in the Wall Street Journal:

“Please don't try this at home—we are fully trained idiots.”

ScreenHunter_149 Mar. 26 15.30So went the disclaimer back in October 2010 as British pepper aficionado Leo Scott and his friend Lok Chi uploaded a video of themselves eating a new variety, the Naga Viper, developed by fellow grower Gerald Fowler. The warning was warranted as the two very experienced chiliheads sweated, writhed in pain and briefly lost the ability to speak after each chewing and swallowing one of the bright-red capsicums.

A month later, the Guinness Book of World Records certified what Mr. Scott found out the hard way: The Naga Viper was the hottest pepper ever grown, measuring 1.382 million Scoville Heat Units, the standard measure of heat. That is 225 times as hot as a jalapeño can sometimes be.

Unfortunately for Mr. Fowler, his record wouldn't stand for long. Four months later, the Naga was dethroned by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, the current record holder, at 1.464 million Scovilles.

“I was shocked,” says Mr. Scott, who lives near Bristol, England. “You've got this global community of chili growers who are competing ruthlessly with each other.”

The Naga itself had just surpassed the Infinity Chili, which held the official record for a mere eight months.

More here. [Thanks to Ruchira Paul.]

Plato, Our Comrade?


Daniel Tutt reviews Alain Badiou's Plato’s Republic: A Dialogue in 16 Chapters, in Berfrois:

In what Alain Badiou calls his “hyper-translation” of Plato’s Republic, we are taken into the world of Plato’s classic dialogue on politics and justice, sped up to the pace of a 21st century New York street corner. Socrates and his sophist interlocutors speak a gritty street talk that is both accessible and familiar, despite the fact they invoke intellectual figures from St. Paul to Jacques Lacan to the mathematician Paul Cohen.

Amanda, a female character who didn’t exist in Plato’s original is introduced. In some ways, Amantha plays the hysteric to Socrates, always pushing him to his next insight. Susan Spitzer’s translation of Badiou’s French into English is clearly designed for an American audience, one that resonates particularly well for a post #occupy angst that is hungry for political change. Badiou has refreshed Plato in more ways than bringing his own philosophical language into it; his wager is larger than this. He manages to traverse the twentieth century’s aversion to Plato as a totalitarian philosopher, and leaves us with new ways of understanding Plato’s conception of truth, the ideal form of government, and how we must participate in politics today.

Not surprisingly, there have already been critics of Badiou’s translation. Two interrelated problems have been raised. The first is that his translation breaks the formal rules of translation to such a degree that the original meaning of the text has lost its significance. But this critique is inadequate at face value because Badiou’s hyper-translation is forthright in its intention of taking Plato’s concepts and modifying them into his own lexicon. For example, the soul becomes the Subject, God becomes the big Other, and the true life becomes Truth – all terms that comport to Badiou’s own canon. Badiou’s hyper-translation is a type of translation that used to be common amongst philosophical texts, whereby the purpose of the translation was not to preserve the static meaning of the original, but to enable the text to speak to us in the present.

Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World


Michael Schuman in Time:

Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s Great Leap Forward into capitalism, communism faded into the quaint backdrop of James Bond movies or the deviant mantra of Kim Jong Un. The class conflict that Marx believed determined the course of history seemed to melt away in a prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the most remote corners of the planet in lucrative bonds of finance, outsourcing and “borderless” manufacturing, offered everybody from Silicon Valley tech gurus to Chinese farm girls ample opportunities to get rich. Asia in the latter decades of the 20th century witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record of poverty alleviation in human history — all thanks to the very capitalist tools of trade, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism appeared to be fulfilling its promise — to uplift everyone to new heights of wealth and welfare.

Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.

A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right.

the man without a country


WHEN THE TIME CAME for Kurt Vonnegut to title his final book, not so long before he stumbled in his Park Avenue home, banged his head, and died, the writer turned, in a Rosebud touch, to a short story he read as an Indianapolis schoolboy during the Great Depression. That story was “The Man Without A Country” by Edward Everett Hale, first published anonymously in the December 1863 issue of a young Atlantic Monthly. Nowhere in Vonnegut’s long 2005 goodbye letter, A Man Without A Country, does he explain the title reference. This was less an oversight than a bonus message for the dwindling number of Americans who remember when Phillip Nolan, the sea-born hero-in-exile of Hale’s story, stood for allegorical and literal deracination of the saddest sort. The sly reference strikes twice. It evokes lost innocence and nostalgia for another age. Then drives a letter-opener through their heart. Vonnegut’s title also winks at the vicissitudes of literary fame. When Hale died at age 87 in 1909, he enjoyed an international reputation nearly as warm and deep as Vonnegut’s in 2005. After his once formidable output dried to a trickle, the New York Critic ranked Hale the 11th-greatest living American author.

more from Alexander Zaitchik at the LA Review of Books here.

wood for roth


Did anyone believe Philip Roth when, earlier this year, he announced that he was retiring from writing? Of all contemporary novelists, he is the one who has made writing seem a necessary and continuous act, inextricable from the continuities and struggles of being alive. For Roth, narration and self seem to have been born together; and, therefore, must die together, too. More than any other modern novelist, he has used fiction as confession and the displacement of confession: his ranters, complainers and alter egos, from Portnoy to Zuckerman to Mickey Sabbath all seem Rothian, even when they are only standing in for Roth. He has made his Newark childhood, his loving, annoying parents, his Jewishness, his sexuality, his very writing life familiar and vivid to millions of readers. He has seemed to need fiction as a kind of relentless performative report, which is why, in recent years, the great novels (Sabbath’s Theater, American Pastoral) have shared space with much weaker works, and why he has been so productive; the fiction at once urgent and a bit scrappy, as necessary as art and as helpless as life.

more from James Wood at The Guardian here.

The Science of Monsters

From The Telegraph:

Kaplan_main_2516071bIn its simplest forms, we like to put a face and a form to things we don’t understand. So when ships disappeared, unaccountably, from calm seas, their loss used to be ascribed not to technical failure but to monsters who came up from the bottom of the ocean to drag the unsuspecting mariners ever downwards. Those who lived in areas prone to earth tremors and eruptions put them down to angry monsters rising up from the ground to wreak havoc. Religion, inevitably since it represents our attempt to make some sort of sense of the world around us and the random blows of fate, came to endorse some of these formulations. The devil, the ultimate monster in Christianity, so very nearly a match for God, especially if we are craven enough to believe the empty promises he whispers in our ear, is the face and form put to the abstract reality that many call evil. He also used to be employed to explain natural disasters and illness.

So the rise of science should have pensioned off such beasts, and to some extent that is the case, as Kaplan demonstrates. However, it hasn’t quite dispensed with our propensity to want to believe such tales. Faced, for example, with the horror of Myra Hindley’s crimes, many retreated even in our secular, scientific times into labelling her as the devil incarnate. And even though we may now be able to send cameras down to the floor of the deepest oceans, we still can’t quite banish the notion that there may still be something lurking there. Can’t or won’t? Kaplan is especially good on how modern literature and especially cinema continues to feed our appetite for being frightened by monsters. The whole Jaws phenomenon – books and films that echo in the memory of anyone taking a dip off an unfamiliar beach – can be seen, he argues, as a modern manifestation of older fears of Charybdis, Leviathan and the Giant Squid, the creatures of “mysterious fathoms”. And the age-old association of man and monster which allows buried human insecurity to be projected onto mythical creatures has, he suggests, found a whole new dimension in the cinematic cult of alien invaders from outer space. Alienated humans express their disconnection with the rest of society by believing in aliens.

More here.

into the woods


Around 1800, the condition of German forests was known to be pitiable. Centuries of exploitation had resulted in the depletion of most of the original species, and their replacement with faster-growing trees, such as birch, willow, or alder, was meant to address the constant timber famine. These local initiatives were gradually taken over by more systematic operations, aiming at establishing productive forests as quickly as possible.5 The extensive planting of these artificial forests was informed by the work of the forest scientists who, influenced by the liberal economic theories of Adam Smith, had devised the “soil rent theory.” This held that forests, understood as the combination of land value, timber capital, and silvicultural expense, should yield an annual interest.6 As a result, German forestry developed a highly rational approach in which all these elements were meticulously calculated to maximize profitability. This approach was eventually termed “scientific forestry” and put German forestry at the forefront of the profession.

more from Dan Handel at Cabinet here.

Tuesday Poem

Last Signature
—a Ghazal for Agha Shahid Ali

Our wounds are labeled forgettable, Shahid
Our life before death is imperceptible, Shahid

Billboards proclaim, Kashmir is Paradise
God has a reason to be chimerical, Shahid

Memory threads tied to wooden roses at Khankah
Even simple prayers are incomprehensible, Shahid

At Naseem Bagh, your presence was ephemeral
Now, your absence is a spectacle, Shahid

Our laments are lost, our yearnings are empty
Grief— the source of all that is poetical, Shahid.

Fear has abandoned us; Hope has embraced us
Yours are the best words in our arsenal, Shahid

Your last illegible scrawl, an emblem of your name
The Beloved Witness, grievable, indelible, Shahid

by Ather Zia
from Kashmir Walla

The Marvels in Your Mouth

Mary Roach in The New York Times:

FaceDr. Van der Bilt and his colleagues have laid claim to a strange, occasionally repugnant patch of scientific ground. They study the mouth — more specifically, its role as the human food processor. Their findings have opened up new insights into quite a few things that most of us do every day but would rather not think about. The way you chew, for example, is as unique and consistent as the way you walk or fold your shirts. There are fast chewers and slow chewers, long chewers and short chewers, right-chewing people and left-chewing people. Some of us chew straight up and down, and others chew side-to-side, like cows. Your oral processing habits are a physiological fingerprint.

Dr. Van der Bilt studies the neuromuscular elements of chewing. You often hear about the impressive power of the jaw muscles. In terms of pressure per single burst of activity, these are the strongest muscles we have. But it is not the jaw’s power to destroy that fascinates Dr. Van der Bilt; it is its nuanced ability to protect. Think of a peanut between two molars, about to be crushed. At the precise millisecond the nut succumbs, the jaw muscles sense the yielding and reflexively let up. Without that reflex, the molars would continue to hurtle recklessly toward one another, now with no intact nut between. To keep your he-man jaw muscles from smashing your precious teeth, the only set you have, the body evolved an automated braking system faster and more sophisticated than anything on a Lexus. The jaw knows its own strength. The faster and more recklessly you close your mouth, the less force the muscles are willing to apply. Without your giving it a conscious thought. Teeth and jaws are impressive not for their strength but for their sensitivity, Dr. Van der Bilt has found. Chew on this: Human teeth can detect a grain of sand or grit 10 microns in diameter. A micron is 1/25,000 of an inch.

More here.

Spring vegetables, winter fats

by Rishidev Chaudhuri

VegIn much of modern casual cooking the separation between animal and vegetable is excessively rigid: meat dishes are big slabs of flesh, and vegetable dishes lack any trace of meat. But there are many reasons to trouble this distinction, especially if you want to eat more vegetables and less meat (for ethical, health, environmental or aesthetic reasons) but don't need to stay away from meat entirely. Adding animal fats to vegetables allows for rich flavor without using a lot of meat or going through the trouble of constructing elaborate secondary sauces. And the combination scratches a particular spring itch: days are cold and warm, the sky is alternately wet and sun-drenched, and vegetables start to proliferate, hinting at the exuberance to come, but the evenings are brisk enough to demand robust fortification (no simple tomato salads, sublime as they can be).

Good and convenient fats to use with vegetables are poultry fat (chicken or duck), rendered bacon fat, butter and cream. You can also use beef or lamb fat, which are harder to find without a butcher, and veal fat if you're feeling decadent. And small fatty fish (like anchovies) are wonderful with vegetables, but that's a subject for another post.

Unsurprisingly, bacon fat emerges when you cook bacon. To make the process smoother, you can add a splash of water to the pan when you put the bacon in, which allows for gentle heating while the water heats up and boils off. Eat or reserve the bacon and strain and store the fat for later use. Poultry fat is often sold relatively cheaply but you can also accumulate fatty bits of chicken or duck (like the skin and the fat inside the cavity) in the freezer, and render it when you have enough. This is quite straightforward: trim away any attached bits of meat and cut the fat into small pieces; put it on low heat with some water and let it render out, stirring occasionally to make sure the non-fatty bits don't burn. Once the fat is liquid and the water has cooked off, strain it and store in the fridge. You can also render beef or pork fat in a similar way.

As a start, you can use these fats instead of oil when making salad dressings. If you're making a vinaigrette (mix vinegar or lemon juice with salt, mustard, etc. and whisk in fat with a fork), try using melted duck or chicken fat, or some rendered bacon fat, or even brown butter instead of part or all of the oil. This is delicious tossed with a simple salad of greens, and makes an excellent weekday lunch. Of course you could add refinements to your salad; possibly the best is a poached egg (or, equivalent but simpler, an egg boiled in its shell for about four minutes till the white is mostly set and the yolk is runny).

Read more »

The Four Habits of the Highly Unconsolable, or, Life Lessons from an Unlearned Life

by Tom Jacobs

I do not know if it has ever been noted before that one of the main characteristics of life is discreteness. Unless a film of flesh envelops us, we die. Man exists only insofar as he is separated from his surroundings. The cranium is a space-traveler's helmet. Stay inside or you perish. Death is divestment, death is communion. It may be wonderful to mix with the landscape, but to do so is the end of the tender ego. —Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry that I could not travel both… —Robert Frost

No, I'm kidding. At least about the second one. One has to choose epigraphs carefully. Even if Bobby Frost was onto something there, it's too hackneyed and clichéd and infinitely deployed at every commencement speech to ever be retrieved from the abyss of misuse. It's not his fault. It's a good poem though, and although he could never have foreseen it, the sentiment strikes waaaay too many of the notes that are appropriable by those who might misuse it, who might tend to want to give advice. Even me. Even if he's spot on. So no Bobby Frost. At least not right away. Maybe later.

Our heads are space-traveler's helmets. ­How strange it is to think that, although we all lug about with us long and complicated social histories, histories that are totally invisible but very heavy—to think that all of this is contained in a rather thin and delicate envelope that reveal nothing about who we really are.

These are a few things and life lessons that I think I might have learned.

Luke-detailI think of Luke Skywalker. I think of old Luke Skywalker. The fella from Tatooine. The father we never found.

I recall going to see the 20th anniversary re-release of Star Wars and loving it and then walking out of the theater feeling oddly sad. Actually not sad; full on melancholy, rather; the kind of anxiety and profound unhappiness that rattles at your very sense of who you are and might become or could have been. At the time I couldn't quite identify the source of my sadness and melancholy. Eventually I did. Here's what I came to understand and what continues to reverberate:

When I first saw Star Wars, I was five, but I was old enough to recognize a hero when I was one. Luke Skywalker was, what, maybe 21? The age of a hero. Not to old, not too young. He would always be 21, eternally and forever on film. By the time I saw the re-release in 1997, I had aged and had surpassed the heroic age of 21, even if Luke had not. I found myself to be older than Luke, who would remain 21 forever. And however many times I had envisioned it happening in one shape or another—the notion of some mentor tapping me on the shoulder to point out that I was, in fact, and whether I realized it or not, a rather remarkable Jedi-like individual, one who had a role to play in the larger intergalactic battle between good and evil, between right and wrong—it never quite happened, at least not in the shape or form that I had anticipated. No Obi Wan ever tapped me on the shoulder. The hero's journey that I imagined for myself never quite emerged. Which is not to say that it hasn't happened.

I had always imagined the dramatic moment, the decisive cut, the transformative moment when everything changes (the moment when Obi Wan takes me to the cantina and I realize that I'm on the threshold and that if I go out, and if I return, I will not return in the same form or shape… Everything will change).

Life is far too subtle for that sort of thing. Too discrete and full of nuance and ambiguity. I think we all are, potential Jedi Knights, even if we continue to wait for Obi Wan Kenobi to come. Maybe he has already come and tapped and asked, even if we never understood or recognized it at the time. I think he probably has.

In the spirit of someone who is constantly looking for his own Obi Wan Kenobi, here are some thoughts from someone who knows nothing and is adviceless. Or maybe that's not exactly right. I have learned a few things. No doubt these are obvious and well-known to you. No matter. Let me re-iterate and re-galvanize.

Read more »

Pakistan and Its Stories

by Omar Ali

I recently wrote a piece titled “Pakistan, myths and consequences”, in which I argued that Pakistan’s founding myths (whether present at birth or fashioned retroactively) make it unusually difficult to resist those who want to impose various dangerous ideas upon the state in the name of Islam. The argument was not that Pakistan exists in some parallel dimension where economic and political factors that operate in the rest of the world play no role. But rather that the usual problems of twenty-first century post-colonial countries (problems that may prove overwhelming even where Islamism plays no role) are made significantly worse by the imposition upon them of a flawed and dangerous “Paknationalist-Islamic” framework. Without that framework Pakistan would still be a third world country facing immense challenges. But with this framework we are committed to an ideological cul-de-sac that devalues existing cultural strengths and sharpens existing religious problems (including the Shia-Sunni divide and the use of blasphemy laws to persecute minorities). Not only do these creation myths have negative consequences (as partly enumerated in the above-linked article) but they also have very little positive content. There is really no such thing as a specifically Islamic or “Pakistani” blueprint for running a modern state. None. Nada. Nothing. There is no there there. Yet school textbooks, official propaganda and everyday political speech in Pakistan endlessly refer to some imaginary “Islamic model” of administration and statecraft. Since no such model exists, we are condemned to hypocritically mouthing meaningless and destructive Paknationalist and Islamist slogans while simultaneously (and almost surreptitiously) trying to operate modern Western constitutional, legal and economic models.


This argument is anathema to Pakistani nationalists, Islamists and neo-Islamists (e.g. Imran Khan, who believes a truly Islamic state would look something like Sweden without the half-naked women) but it is also uncomfortable for upper class Leftists educated in Western universities. Their objections matter to me because they are my friends and family, so I will try to answer some of them here. These friends have pointed out to me that:

1. India is not much better.

2. The US systematically supported Islamists in Pakistan and pushed for the suppression of leftist and progressive intellectuals for decades.

3. Colonialism.

Read more »