By Adel Iskandar, Mohammed El-nawawy
Al-Jazeera, the independent, all-Arab television news network based in Qatar, emerged as ambassador to the Arab world in the events following September 11, 2001. Arabic for "the island," Al-Jazeera has "scooped" the western media conglomerates many times. With its exclusive access to Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban, its reputation was burnished quickly through its exposure on CNN. During the 2003 war in Iraq, Al-Jazeera seemed to be everywhere, reporting dramatic stories and images, even as it strived to maintain its independence as an international free press news network. Al-Jazeera sheds light on the background of the network: how it operates, the programs it broadcasts, its effects on Arab viewers, the reactions of the West and Arab states, the implications for the future of news broadcasting in the Middle East, and its struggle for a free press and public opinion in the Arab world.
The Atoms Of Language
By Mark C. Baker
Whether all human languages are fundamentally the same or different has been a subject of debate for ages. This problem has deep philosophical implications: If languages are all the same, it implies a fundamental commonality- and thus mutual intelligibility- of human thought.We are now on the verge of solving this problem. Using a twenty-year-old theory proposed by the world's greatest living linguist, Noam Chomsky, researchers have found that the similarities among languages are more profound than the differences. Languages whose grammars seem completely incompatible may in fact be structurally almost identical, except for a difference in one simple rule. The discovery of these rules and how they may vary promises to yield a linguistic equivalent of the Periodic Table of the Elements: a single framework by which we can understand the fundamental structure of all human language. This is a landmark breakthrough both within linguistics, which will herewith finally become a full-fledged science, and in our understanding of the human mind.
By James Bailey
Through the first fifty years of the computer revolution, scientists have been trying to program electronic circuits to process information the same way humans do. Doing so has reassured us all that underlying every new computer capability, no matter how miraculously fast or complex, are human thought processes and logic. But cutting-edge computer scientists are coming to see that electronic circuits really are alien, that the difference between the human mind and computer capability is not merely one of degree (how fast), but of kind(how). The author suggests that computers think" best when their thoughts" are allowed to emerge from the interplay of millions of tiny operations all interacting with each other in parallel. Why then, if computers bring to the table such very different strengths and weaknesses, are we still trying to program them to think like humans? A work that ranges widely over the history of ideas from Galileo to Newton to Darwin yet is just as comfortable in the cutting-edge world of parallel processing that is at this very moment yielding a new form of intelligence, After Thought describes why the real computer age is just beginning.