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Joel DowlingSoka
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So, I just watched an interview on the Daily Show in the midst of grading a stack of papers on Roman Barbarians and found myself getting rather worked up. In this interview Stewart and Fareed Zakaria have a conversation about higher education. They start…

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Some of the ancient mustaches that I should be finishing an article about right now.

I have spent much of the last few years thinking about ancient facial hair. Given the current fashion of guys in their twenties growing out as impressive beards as possible, an attempt to explain 1300 year old facial hair is a somewhat amusing project to…

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This point seems especially interesting: "Fifth, if Israel were to attack unilaterally, the consequences would be even more catastrophic for the NPT, since Israel is not a member of NPT and would be a nuclear weapons state threatening a non-nuclear member of the NPT. As a result, any Israeli attack would make the NPT irrelevant and its credibility in any non-proliferation efforts void."

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"We Americans take these institutions for granted. We assume that private enterprise generates what is so casually called “innovation” all by itself. It does not. The Web browser you are using to read this essay was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The code that makes this page possible was invented at a publicly funded academic research center in Switzerland. That search engine you use many times a day, Google, was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support Stanford University. You didn’t get polio in your youth because of research done in the early 1950s at Case Western Reserve University. California wine is better because of the University of California at Davis. Hollywood movies are better because of UCLA. And your milk was not spoiled this morning because of work done at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

These things did not just happen because someone saw a market opportunity and investors and inventors rushed off to meet it. That’s what happens in business-school textbooks. In the real world, we roll along, healthy and strong, in the richest nation in the world because some very wise people decided decades ago to invest in institutions that serve no obvious short-term purpose. The results of the work we do can take decades to matter—if at all. Most of what we do fails. Some succeeds. The system is terribly inefficient. And it’s supposed to be that way."

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Is it just me, or is basing this detailed an article on a drawing from an unknown agency a bit on the ridiculous side?

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