Let us now praise a famous man

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alabamatenantfarmer

Recognize his face? Most of us don’t know his name. 

Even 77 years on, the picture retains its immediacy. We feel as if we know him, although he usually isn’t given a name: In photography collections, on museum walls or online, the caption too often reads, “Tenant Farmer.” So let’s remember who he is, and not forget the life he — and so many others — led during the Great Depression.

He’s Floyd Burroughs, and he’s a family man from Alabama. Continue reading

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In “Christian Nation,” Palin is president

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A novel published this month asks what would have happened had John McCain been elected in 2008. In Frederic C. Rich’s alternate reality, Palin becomes president, ushering in a so-called Christian society consumed with a civil holy war, rehabilitation camps and other Draconian measures. Rich means for his novel to be a “warning” against fundamentalists. His “Christian Nation” is not likely to be your idea of a Christian nation. But it got me to thinking: What would be different today if Palin were president? What is your idea of a Christian nation?

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DNA, the ultimate digital storage

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While cleaning out an old file cabinet last week I found a box of floppy disks. Hope they didn’t contain any vital documents because I’d need a time machine to retrieve them. Which begs the question: With technology changing so often and so fast, how do we safeguard not just my college term papers but all knowledge, i.e., civilization itself?

Researchers with the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, England, think they have the answer …  Continue reading

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‘Human’ in trouble

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time dewey

Time’s cover boy on Oct. 23, 1944: Gov. Thomas E. Dewey
Photo courtesy of Time Inc.

Dewey or don’t we?  Time for a change.

It’s 1944. The popular Republican governor of New York — Thomas Dewey — is in a race for the White House. FDR is in his 12th year as president. The war in Europe is entering its fifth year. And a conservative weekly starts publication … Continue reading

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