Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Emperor Hadrian and Barack Obama : Does History Repeat? - LexiLine Journal 512

The parallels between the ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian (famed for Hadrian's Wall) and the new US President Barack Obama are remarkable. Watch the video below about Hadrian from the British Museum, narrated by Neil MacGregor, voted Briton of the Year 2008 by the Times in his capacity as Director of the British Museum (and someone Obama might want to consult in resurrecting the American cultural landscape):




As you can hear in the video, both Obama and Hadrian inherit(ed) an empire in trouble and began (begin) their reigns by facing troublesome internal and external foes.

Hadrian's first major move in office was to withdraw his troops from Mesopotamia (including present-day Iraq) and to solidify his own security against more pressing foes.

Hadrian went on to become one of the greatest - and predominantly peaceful - Roman Emperors of all time, extending the boundaries of the Roman Empire to their greatest expanse ever. As Guy Raz, Nieman fellow at Harvard University, writes:

"[Hadrian] shift[ed] money from the war in the east to deal with the public debts. He even found some extra cash to boost the economy with a massive public infrastructure project — things like repairing aqueducts, roads and bridges.

Finally, Hadrian did what few of his predecessors would even consider: He went on a road trip and visited nearly every corner of the empire. He knew that for Rome to bolster its influence, it had to show at least some respect for the nations so affected by its power. Hadrian also increased foreign aid and started a program of nation-building throughout the empire.


By and large, it worked."

Obama started his first term as President of the United States by asking the US military commanders for a "a responsible military drawdown from Iraq."

A few days later, he announced his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, stating:

"
[I]f we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse. That is why I have proposed an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to immediately jumpstart job creation as well as long-term economic growth....

Below is Obama's first weekly broadcast as President:



Beyond the inevitable partisan babble on the Beltway and elsewhere, is there any serious doubt out there among those with strong intellectual depth in their political and economic analysis that Obama will be successful?

Not in these quarters.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) - LexiLine Journal 511

Ancient astronomy and the history of civilization are closely linked.
That is one of the core themes of LexiLine.
Accordingly, a year dedicated to astronomy is of particular interest to our list.

As you can read at NASA, 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, which will be officially launched on January 15 and 16 at UNESCO. This is the official logo.


UNESCO writes:"The International Year of Astronomy will be launched at UNESCO on 15 and 16 January. This United Nations year is a worldwide celebration of astronomy, with activities in almost 140 countries. One such activity, 100 hours of astronomy for example, will bring together as many amateur astronomers as possible from around the planet from 2 – 5 April. The Year coincides with the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observations with an astronomical telescope. It is an opportunity for people all over the world to rediscover their place in the universe by observing the sky at night and during the day. It is also intended to provide a platform for informing the public about recent discoveries in astronomy, while demonstrating the central role that astronomy can play in science education."

As written at Astronomy2009.org:"IYA2009 General

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.

Vision

Everyone should realise the impact of astronomy and other fundamental sciences on our daily lives, and understand how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society. IYA2009 activities will take place locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. National Nodes have been formed in each country to prepare activities for 2009. These nodes will establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators to prepare activities for 2009. Already now, 136 countries are involved and well over 140 are expected to participate eventually.

To help coordinate this huge global programme and to provide an important resource for the participating countries, the IAU has established a central Secretariat and an IYA2009 website (www.astronomy2009.org) as the principal IYA2009 resource for public, professionals and media alike."

In Germany, as reported by German Missions in the United States:

"On January 20th, the IYA 2009 in Germany will be festively inaugurated by Dr. Anette Schavan, federal minister for education and research."

What follows (I am not sure it will show here on this list, but we will see) is the official - fantastic - video trailer for the IYA:
______________

The IYA video trailer referred to in
1 LexiLine 2009 International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009)
does not reproduce on Yahoo,
so here is the URL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVJmZmo6kzI

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