What prompted Israeli authorities to shoot someone’s laptop? How do you fight a war on behalf of a country that doesn’t want it? Answers to these questions and more in today’s list.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and other odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Newer links are on top.

Turning Dissertations Into Books

During the American Anthropological Association conference last week, I spent a lot of time in the book exhibit. But I wasn’t just checking out the newest anthro titles, which can be its own small joy, especially when friends and mentors have new offerings to share.

Are Movie Directors Overrated? “Directing a movie is a very overrated job, we all know it. You just have to say yes or no. What else do you do? Nothing. ‘Maestro, should this be red?’ Yes. ‘Green?’ No. ‘More extras?’ Yes. ‘More lipstick?’ No. Yes. No. Yes. No. That’s directing.”

Asian Actors Lack Oscar Recognition During February’s Academy Awards broadcast, the focus returned again and again to the performers from “Slumdog Millionaire.” …

Who Owns That University Lecture? Plenty of Harvard graduates have traded on the fame and prestige of their alma mater, but few have done so the way Andrew Magliozzi has. …

The Biology of Music: Why We Like What We Like As a rule, humans are very picky about their music. I don’t mean stylistic choices. Whether you like country, western or both is up to you. I’m talking about something more basic than that.

War and Public Opinion Fighting wars without public support or for undisclosed reasons is profoundly undemocratic.

The Pinochet Effect? Livni Cancels JNF Visit to U.K. Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni canceled a visit to Britain this past weekend over fears pro-Palestinian lawyers would seek to have her arrested.

The Public Responsibilities of Political Science Michael Burawoy’s 2004 American Sociological Association presidential address, entitled “For Public Sociology,” painted a complex picture.

I’m Sorry but We Blew Up Your Laptop (Welcome to Israel) I was sitting on the deck overlooking the Red Sea. Israeli security officers (most who looked around 18 years old) had completed around two hours of questioning and searching me. …

The Bauhaus Restored The Bauhaus lasted exactly as long as Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and is its principal cultural achievement. But the revolutionary school of art and design is also an achievement of modernism itself, for it answered a most vexing question …

You Have the Power to Make Music … Evolve Participate in an online experiment to study cultural evolution in action.

Can India and Pakistan Fight Terror Together? Inseparable by geography, Pakistan and India are Siamese twins that have emerged together from the womb of history. For better or for worse, their futures will always remain inextricably tied together.

Networks Still Hosting Military Analysts Without Identifying Massive Conflicts of Interest Major television networks continue to host retired generals as military analysts without alerting viewers to their extensive ties to defense contractors and the Pentagon.

Why ACORN Won On Dec. 11, a federal judge ruled that Congress had unconstitutionally cut off all federal funds to ACORN.

Learning to Hate Learning Objectives Like many of my colleagues, I assume, I’m growing deeply frustrated with the need for “learning objectives”—that list of superficial projections and assumptions that most syllabi these days are required to contain (“Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to … ”).

Open Access Encyclopedias Can an information source that is free also be reliable? Or does the price of content always reflect its value?

Be Scared, Be Very Scared: Scientology Coming to Your Neighborhood Nancy Cartwright, the face behind the voice of Bart Simpson, is here to tell you in her non-cartoon voice about the excitement of recruiting new members for the Church of Scientology, which has long counted her among its members.

Saints Fans Shoot Man’s TV to Settle Bet A Louisiana man who bet against the New Orleans Saints has lost his 60-inch high-definition, flat-screen TV to a backyard firing squad, but he also became an Internet star.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.