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Milestones in Nation Branding: Kazakhstan to Ditch the Stan?

Kazakhstan’s president is worried the final syllable of the country’s name is scaring off tourists and investors; Edward Snowden was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian lawmakers who may have felt slighted by Obama’s choice of ambassador to Oslo; and now there is an app for Google Glass that will identify you at a glance. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have 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.

Kazakhstan: President Suggests Renaming the Country
The president of Kazakhstan has apparently suggested changing the country’s name, saying the “stan” at the end puts off tourists and discourages investors.

Germany Debuts Tongue-In-Cheek Rainbow Uniforms At Sochi Opening Ceremonies
A lot has been made of the German Olympic team’s choice of garb going into the 2014 Winter Olympics, namely, the perceived protest to Russia’s stringent anti-gay laws.

Analysis of Snowden Info on Canadian Security Snooping
The most recent story from the Snowden documents is from Canada: it claims the CSEC (Communications Security Establishment Canada) used airport Wi-Fi information to track travelers.

Almost One-Third of All Foreign Students in U.S. Are From China
More than a quarter of a million Chinese students (287,260, to be exact) hold active U.S. student visas, which is more than the number of students from Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, and elsewhere in North America combined.

Obama’s Ambassador Nominees Are a Disservice to Diplomacy
Two Norwegian lawmakers have nominated Edward Snowden, the bête noire of U.S. intelligence, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Race to Save America’s Public Media History
A new archive is trying to digitize thousands of hours of tape from TV and radio stations across the country—before those tapes disintegrate.

Actually, the One Percent Are Not Particularly Good at Defending Themselves
The debate about inequality, especially the growing gap between the top one percent and everyone else, has gone mainstream—as we can see by the debate between Robert Solow and Greg Mankiw in the pages of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

The Strange Case of the Deaf Composer Who Might Not Actually Be Deaf
In Japan, composer Mamoru Samuragochi was celebrated not only for his musical work, but also for the fact the at he supposedly wrote many of them while deaf.

Just When You Thought Google Glass Couldn’t Get Creepier: New App Allows Strangers to ID You Just by Looking at You
Have you ever seen someone wearing Google Glass out at the bar?

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