SPORT does not just provide a window into countries; it helps shape them. In Pakistan, cricket and politics have always been intertwined. The book is really an anthology of the best moments in Pakistani cricket. Often these resonate way beyond the pitch. During partition in , Abdul Aziz Durani, a cricket coach, fled to Karachi, leaving his year-old son with relatives in India.
Very different is the tale of Dr A. Khan, who gave Pakistan its first nuclear bomb, sold nuclear secrets to North Korea and is a patron of domestic cricket.
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Misbah-ul-Haq, the current captain, played 19 first-class matches for Khan Research Laboratories, the side Mr Khan helped found. The tensions between the competing visions for Pakistan as a secular nation and a Muslim one have also played out through cricket. Three Christians played for Pakistan in the s. But at times—particularly under the captaincy of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the mids, who led team prayers as the influence of the revivalist Islamic movement Tableeghi-Jamaat spread within the side—Pakistani cricket has seemed anything but secular. The Hatred of Poetry. By Ben Lerner.
Ben Lerner understands this hatred: as a poet he has been on the receiving end of it, but also, more interestingly, he has felt it himself. Yet the biographical details that are woven into this short and spirited discussion suggest an uneasy relationship with the form. Yet Mr Lerner does not see all this as a problem; indeed, he believes it to be central to the art form.
Poets and non-poets alike hate poetry, he argues, because poetry will always fail to deliver on the transcendental demands people have invested in it. As a result they enjoy pronouncing upon the abstract powers and possibilities of poetry more than they actually like to sit down and read it. This inevitable sense of falling short is expressed in some of the best poetry ever written, he says, and he elaborates his point with energised discussions of Keats, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
But it is also inadvertently present in some of the worst poetry ever written. The hatred of poetry, Mr Lerner shows, can suddenly and revealingly become a vehicle for bitter politics. Yet he also sees communal redemption in the strange bond people have with this ancient art form: if we constantly think poetry is an embarrassing failure, then that means that we still, somewhere, have faith that it can succeed.
Today We Die a Little! By Richard Askwith. FEW athletes are good enough to win an Olympic gold medal. Few people are brave enough to stand up to a tyrannical regime. Emil Zatopek did both. He won four golds and a silver at the and games in London and Helsinki, including the treble of the 5, metres, 10, metres and marathon at the latter—an achievement that has never been matched.
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The Helsinki marathon was his first ever race at that distance; he broke the Olympic record by six minutes. In sport, that meant sharing training tips with whoever asked, pushing himself harder than anybody had before, and giving away one of his medals to an athlete he thought more deserving. Beyond running, he was known for welcoming travellers into his modest home in Prague, and publicly criticising the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in at great personal risk. Remarkably, Zatopek threatened to withdraw from the Helsinki games after the Communist Party had prevented the son of a political dissident from competing.
Eventually, the party backed down, such was his importance to Czechoslovak propaganda. Mr Askwith says he can think of only one other world-famous athlete who risked the best years of his career by resisting a government: when Muhammad Ali, the great American boxer who died on June 3rd, refused to serve in the Vietnam war see article. Ali was barred from competing; Zatopek was more fortunate.
Strangely, given the myths surrounding Zatopek, his defiance before Helsinki has been largely forgotten. It is one of many illuminating episodes that Mr Askwith has rescued from obscurity, while scrutinising popular tales. Yes, as a factory worker and then a soldier Zatopek used to train in army boots in the snow or on the spot, sprinting up to 32km 20 miles a day. But probably not, as rumour had it, with his wife Dana, an Olympic javelin champion, on his back. He did indeed work in a uranium mine after his dismissal from the army in But as a labourer in exile, not a concentration-camp inmate.
Zatopek was not a hardcore dissident. He benefited from his working-class background, believed in communism, fulfilled his propagandist duties and added his name to public letters condemning political prisoners. He recanted his criticism of the regime in as a broken man, unable to find respectable employment. It is an odd conclusion to an otherwise rigorous account of someone who was not, as some believed, a saint—but, like Muhammad Ali, a great athlete and a good man.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. By Angela Duckworth. Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that talent is overrated. That character matters is not a new idea. Over the past two decades more and more scholars have analysed traits like curiosity and self-control.
Such faculties are at least as important as raw cognitive ability to grades and pay, they say. And since these attributes are seen as independent of and more malleable than intelligence, they are a voguish area for education reformers. This year, for example, nine school districts in California will begin testing pupils on their character. I never give up. Grittier salespeople stay in their jobs, grittier swimmers win more medals and grittier pupils persevere with university. She argues, however, that grit is about more than that.
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It also involves finding and fostering a purpose. Assessing the psychological health of captive and wild apes: A response to Ferdowsian et al. Journal of Comparative Psychology. Collaboration encourages equal sharing in children, but not in chimpanzees. Melis, A.
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Biomimetics: forecasting the future of science, engineering, and medicine
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Volkmar Ed. New York: Springer. The development of altruistic behavior: Helping in children and chimpanzees. Social Research. Bugnyar, T. Evolutionary perspectives on social cognition. Stevens Eds. Vaish, A. A memory that works by piecing together bits of the past may be better suited to simulating future events than one that is a store of perfect records. Advanced search. Skip to main content. Subscribe Search My Account Login. Essay in All 26 45 24 6 30 Essay 19 December The demise of the lone author As the average number of contributors to individual papers continues to rise, science's credit system is under pressure to evolve.
Essay 05 December Whole Earth comes into focus To understand how our planet uses energy, we must integrate genetic data from microbial studies with satellite views of our planet. Essay 28 November The ethical regulation of science Occasionally science makes procedures possible that are so radical that those at the interface between science and politics are called on to define moral standards for society. Essay 21 November Accommodating dissent Providing cures for health problems isn't enough, if people's personal or cultural beliefs clash with the scientific approach.
Essay 14 November Use the calm between the storms To save lives and livelihoods, natural and social scientists must work with decision-makers and politicians in the time between natural disasters as well as during them. Essay 07 November Time to pick the fly's brain Drosophila transformed developmental genetics and cell biology. Essay 07 November A timely harvest The public should be consulted on contentious research and development early enough for their opinions to influence the course of science and policy-making.
Essay 31 October Technologies of humility Researchers and policy-makers need ways for accommodating the partiality of scientific knowledge and for acting under the inevitable uncertainty it holds. Essay 24 October Fishing for certainty Science advisers should have confidence in their data, or risk being undermined by more dogmatic and vociferous stakeholders during the policy-making process. Essay 17 October Big lessons for a healthy future This week's report on obesity policy in the United Kingdom highlights three challenges for scientists and politicians working together.
Essay 10 October When ministers are well primed Enthusing and informing government members about science can have surprising and gratifying results.
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Essay 10 October Fifty years of hopes and fears Atomic energy was cutting edge when the Windscale fire showed the world the effects of a nuclear accident. Essay 03 October The little ball made science bigger When the Sputnik satellite went into orbit in , it revolutionized the practice of international science and changed the demography of Western research. Essay 18 July Walk the Planck Where relativity and quantum mechanics clash, new laws of physics should emerge. Essay 04 July A constant surprise Whether ancient or new, in distant galaxies or our own cosmic back-yard, stars have dramatic similarities that hint at remarkably robust formative processes.
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