The strategic logic
of suicide terrorism
Robert Pape asks why the deadly
tactic is on the rise and what can be done about it.
Television and newspaper reports show bloody images
of the damage wreaked by suicide bombers, and we wonder
how human beings could choose to give up their lives that
way, using their bodies as weapons. Many believe religious
motives, specifically Islamic fundamentalism, play a part,
but the world leader in suicide terrorism actually is the
Marxist-Leninist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),
which recruits from the mostly Hindu Tamil population in
Sri Lanka. A certain demographic profile was once thought
prevalent, but recent attacks have been committed by both
the educated and uneducated, single and married, male and
female, young and middle-aged.
Brighter evidence of
the Big Bang
As University of Chicago physicist
Sean Carroll planned speakers for September's COSMO-02 workshop
in Chicago, John Carlstrom, the S. Chandrasekhar professor
in astronomy & astrophysics and the College, was not
on the agenda. But nine days before the event, Carroll shifted
the schedule so that Carlstrom could announce the latest
results from the Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI).
Language families v.
When the Oakland, California, school
board proposed recognizing African-American Vernacular English,
or Ebonics, in its classrooms in 1996, it began a firestorm
of controversy—largely because the proposal cited studies
that "have demonstrated that African Language Systems
are genetically based and not a dialect of English."
Although the school board quickly put out a clarification
saying the phrase "genetically based" was "used
according to the standard dictionary definition 'has origins
in'" and "not used to refer to human biology,"
the damage had been done. The public had a confused notion
of how linguists metaphorically refer to languages as "genetically
related" or belonging to "language families."
No need for female Viagra
Aging women become sexually dysfunctional
at only about half the rate of men, according to a 30-country
study led by U of C sociologist Edward Laumann. The results
of the survey, based on interviews last year with 27,500
men and women aged 40-80, were presented at the October
meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women's
Sexual Health. Men reported increasing instances of erectile
dysfunction—up to 50 percent among 80-year-old males.
Using a scanning electron microscope
(SEM), conservators at the Oriental Institute (OI) correctly
reidentified the pigments on this mud-brick wall fragment
(at right). From Khorsabad, Iraq, the capital city of Assyrian
King Sargon II (721-705 B.C.), the 6 x 10 cm fragment was
probably part of a geometric painting that graced the palace
walls. In storage since the 1930s, the fragile piece needed
strengthening treatment before the OI Mesopotamian Gallery
opens in fall 2003.
Coming soon: molecular
In the race for smaller and
smaller electronic components, Man-Kit Ng, SM'97, PhD'02,
and chemistry professor Luping Yu have made a gigantic leap
forward. The pair created a molecular diode—an electrical
component that conducts electricity in one direction—by
chemically bonding two electrically opposed compounds made
mostly of hydrogen and carbon, embedding them in a sheet
only one molecule thick, and then transferring the sheet
to a gold platform.
City of the low-tech
While 60 percent of the nation's
urban public schools have Internet access in the classroom,
only 32 percent of Chicago's do. This and other findings
come from the U of C's Consortium on Chicago School Research,
which reports that computer and Internet usage in the Chicago
Public Schools (CPS) is rudimentary compared to that of
other urban school systems.
Reading between the
Susan Kidwell's stratigraphy
course gives students a layer-by-layer view of geophysical
history. The students—seven
in all, both graduate and undergraduate—drift in for Tuesday
morning class in early October and settle at desks like
pebbles along a streambed. Some move sluggishly, still eating
breakfasts of coffee and muffins; others whirl in briskly
and, before plunking down, chat about the quarter's first
meeting of the GeoUnion student group.