Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

AQMI_Flag.svgThe_House_of_Leaves_-_Burning_4We have previously discussed the burning of rare books by Islamic State. Now, a new report says that the group has burned more than 8,000 rare books and manuscripts in Mosul. They then reportedly bombed the Mosul Public Library according to the director of the library. A new video also shows ISIS fighters smashing works of art, including a 9th Century figure.

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250px-GerbilBurying_Plague_Victims_of_TournaiI had one as a kid named Garibaldi. Millions of people embraced them as pets. However, a study is attributing one of the greatest plagues in history to the cute little rodents: the bubonic plague. While long blamed on rats hiding away on ships, the scientists at the University of Oslo in Norway now believe that the 14th Century plague began with gerbils via the Silk Road.

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Heroin Principal-1Mark Twain’s hometown usually brings up images of lazy summer evenings or tales of a mischievous Huck Finn. This month however the talk is about Hannibal elementary school principal Joshua Foust. A local success story of a boy who graduated from the Hannibal High and came back to his home town to run the elementary school, Foust has been arrested for possession of heroin as part of a drug sale conspiracy.

 

 

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

A consortium of one hundred and twenty Islamic Scholars have placed onto the internet an Open Letter to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi denouncing the organization’s violent and extremist actions in the Middle East. The letter, in the form of an interactive website, provides the world with an opportunity to read a perspective of the Islamic State’s affront to civilization from an academic analysis by scholars. The letter addresses the fundamental and basis in canon for disputing the claims of Al-Baghdadi that his is the only pure and legitimate form of Islam–refuting his claims of divine assent.

The original, in the Arabic, is presently being translated into other languages. The English is presently available.

There has been unfortunately much misconception in the Western World that there lacks true dissent to the terrorist outrages in the Muslim World.  This letter can serve a secondary goal to educate those in other cultures having concerns.

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Bruce_Rauner_August_2014

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

I have to give Governor Bruce Rauner credit for not taking long to show his hand and publicly attack the Higher Education system in Illinois.  It has only been a few weeks since he was inaugurated and he recently unveiled his budget.  A budget plan that slashes over $200 million just from the University of Illinois alone.

At the very time Gov. Rauner announced he wants to slash the Higher Education budget for all universities in the State of Illinois by almost a third, he claimed that his budget makes education a priority!  (more…)

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0d2b602e-181e-48e5-a6e4-57331c579cec_16x9_600x338We have previously discussed the sometimes curious notion of an intellectual in Saudi Arabia. The fact is that I have met many brilliant Saudi academics and that fact is that every country has their wing nuts. However, Saudi has had a litany of these respected clerics or academics spouting nonsense. The latest is Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari who corrected a student and told him that it is a myth that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Al-Khaibari’s defense of the Ptolemaic system would seem a few hundred years out of date but he appears to view geocentrism as commanded by Allah.

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Fisher-Danx175Oklahoma State Rep. Dan Fisher presumably has an array of tough issues to tackle for his state from unemployment to the environment to crime. However, Fisher has decided to take on the ignoble task of banning Advanced Placement history classes in the state because he objects to the inclusion of negative aspects of American history and the omission of material embracing “American exceptionalism.” As an academic, I have previously criticized politicians (here and here and here and here) intervening in our school system to impose their own values or priorities on educators. This however ranks as one of the worst such intrusions that we have seen.

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