A century ago, thoughtful people questioned how reality could agree with physical theories that keep changing, from a mechanical model of the ether to electric and magnetic fields, and from homogeneous matter to electrons and atoms. Today, concepts like dark matter and dark energy further complicate and enrich the search for objective reality. The Whole Truth is a personal reflection on this ongoing quest by one of the world’s most esteemed cosmologists.
What lies at the heart of physical science? What are the foundational ideas that inform and guide the enterprise? Is the concept of objective reality meaningful? If so, do our established physical theories usefully approximate it? P. J. E. Peebles takes on these and other big questions about the nature of science, drawing on a lifetime of experience as a leading physicist and using cosmology as an example. He traces the history of thought about the nature of physical science since Einstein, and succinctly lays out the fundamental working assumptions.
With A Continent Erupts, acclaimed military historian Ronald H. Spector provides a comprehensive military history and analysis of the decisive conflicts that changed the shape of Asia.
The war against Japan officially ended on Sept. 2, 1945, but in Asia the fighting never really stopped. Civil war, communal violence, and insurgency engulfed almost all of Asia within weeks of the famous surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri.
By early 1947, full-scale wars were raging in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with growing guerrilla conflicts in Korea and Malaya.
A decade after the Japanese surrender, almost all of the countries that formerly had been colonies had become independent — after clashes that resulted in the deaths of at least 2.5 million combatants and millions of civilians.
Egypt’s 19th century gift to France inspires new children’s book ‘Grace the Giraffe’
Egypt's Muhammad Ali Pasha gave female giraffe from Nubia to King Charles X
Paris-based couple Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee took inspiration from the historical story for their children's tale
Updated 26 September 2022
DUBAI: In 1827, the people of Paris saw the rarest of sights. The ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, sent an unusual diplomacy gift to King Charles X of France: A female giraffe from Nubia, dubbed “la belle africaine,” that caused a sensation and set trends in French society.
This real-life and little-known story inspired Paris-based couple Oliver Gee and Lina Nordin Gee to create their third and latest children’s book, “Grace the Giraffe,” which will be released in October.
It captures a light-hearted aspect of this historical event. “A few books have been written about the giraffe, but they’re quite dry,” Oliver, an Australian, and host of The Earful Tower podcast, told Arab News.
“We thought the fun part of the story was just as much this reaction from Parisians,” he continued. “It’s a fashion story of people going crazy, where women had their hair looking like the horns or ears of the giraffe.”
Originally from southern Sudan, the giraffe was transported via the Nile and crossed the Mediterranean, landing in Marseille. “She was in a boat with a hole so her head could stick out, which is amazing,” noted Oliver.
The giraffe endured a long and arduous journey as she was walked from Marseille to Paris for weeks. She grew physically along the way, accompanied by a procession of cows that provided milk. “By the time that she was in Marseille, a giraffe hadn’t been in Europe for 300 years,” said Oliver. “So today, it would be like an alien is here.”
In Paris, the giraffe lived in a zoo for under two decades until her death. “Everybody went to see her,” said Oliver. “Even in the small cities, half the population came to see her go past. It was insane.” She achieved her own kind of celebrity, as the elegant creature appeared on fans and ceramics. Luckily, the giraffe’s body has been preserved over the years and is currently on display at a museum in La Rochelle, France.
“Grace the Giraffe” was written by Oliver and illustrated by his wife, Lina. Told in rhyming couplets with little twists in the narrative, the charming piece of work features colorful spreads of Grace’s boat journey, extraordinary procession, and whirlwind arrival in the French capital.
The news of the book’s publication has been well-received online, sparking interest from readers of all ages. “From a history perspective,” said Oliver, “it’s cool to know that children and adults will be learning about a fascinating story.”
Elliot Ackerman’s The Fifth Act is an astonishing human document that brings the weight of 20 years of war to bear on a single week at its bitter end.
Using the dramatic rescue efforts in Kabul as his lattice, Ackerman weaves in a personal history of the war’s long progress, beginning with the initial invasion in the months after 9/11. It is a play in five acts, the fifth act being the story’s tragic denouement, a prelude to Afghanistan’s dark future.
The Fifth Act is not an exercise in finger-pointing: it brings readers into close contact with a remarkable group of characters, American and Afghan, who fought the war with courage and dedication, in good faith and at great personal cost.
What We Are Reading Today: Preexisting Conditions: Recounting the Plague
Updated 24 September 2022
Author: Samuel Weber
Many are the losses suffered and lives lost during the recent CoVid-19 pandemic. Since 2020, writers around the globe have penned essays and books that make sense of this medical and public health catastrophe.
The philosopher and literary and cultural critic Samuel weber returns to past narratives of plagues and pandemics to reproduce the myriad ways individual and collective, historical and actual, intentional and unintentional forces converge to reveal how cultures and societies deal with their vulnerability and mortality.
An Unwritten Future offers a fresh reassessment of classical realism, an enduring approach to understanding crucial events in the international political arena. Jonathan Kirshner identifies the fundamental flaws of classical realism’s would-be successors and shows how this older, more nuanced and sophisticated method for studying world politics better explains the formative events of the past. Kirshner also reveals how this approach is ideally equipped to comprehend the vital questions of the present—such as the implications of China’s rise, the ways that social and economic change alter the balance of power and the nature of international conflict, and the consequences of the end of the US-led postwar order for the future of world politics.
Laying out realism’s core principles, Kirshner discusses the contributions of the perspective’s key thinkers, including Thucydides, Hans Morgenthau, and Raymond Aron, among others. He illustrates how a classical realist approach gives new insights into major upheavals of the 20th century, such as Britain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany and America’s ruinous involvement in Vietnam.