Archive for January, 2008

Spirits and mystics in Indonesia

There was a fascinating article a few days ago in the NY Times, just prior to the death of former Indonesian President Suharto, which discussed the power of local beliefs in spirits and black magic. The story focused on mystical explanations as to why Suharto was clinging to life, but in the process it also illuminated […]

Hiking the snows of Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro. It’s a mountain adventure that is accessible to people without mountaineering skills and is one of the great dreams of many travelers. This Tanzanian peak can also lay claim to one of the world’s most famous images, the “snows of Kilimanjaro.” Neil Modie decided he wanted to climb Kilimanjaro before melting glaciers removed most or all of the snow from the mountain. […]

Men, women and an Omani classroom

Baxter Jackson went to Oman to each English and ended up learning a thing or two about the relations between males and females in that Muslim society. He wrote about his teaching experiences for Lonely Planet. I sneak a peek at (the men) in their starched-white dishdashas (wrist-to-ankle shirt-dresses) and embroidered caps as they wait patiently for […]

The role of tribal identity in Kenya

A few weeks ago, I had some posts (here and here) about the Kenyan elections and the influence of tribalism in that country’s politics. Now, the Washington Post has an excellent article that explores that topic in more depth and examines the role of tribal identity in shaping the political and world views of many Kenyans. A key […]

Visiting some happy places

Last summer, a scientist at the UK’s University of Leicester made news when he produced a world map of happiness, in which 178 countries were ranked by their “subjective well-being.” Several European countries, led by Denmark and Switzerland, topped the rankings. The United States was 23rd. Burundi was on the bottom. According to a BBC […]

The idea of Russia

It’s been two weeks since Time magazine named Vladimir Putin its “Person of the Year.” Now that the holiday craziness has ended, I finally got around to reading that issue of the magazine. In it, there is a fascinating portrait of Putin, but also an intriguing article about Russia itself (“In Search of Russia’s Big Idea”), which is the […]

Obama and America’s image in the world

Well, everyone knows now that Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won their respective party caucuses in Iowa yesterday. The media coverage, in fact, has already moved on to speculation about next week’s New Hampshire primary and the evolving strategies of the top contenders. There is obviously a long way to go in this race and no […]

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