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Saddam Hussein's papers arrive at Hoover

From the Stanford Report:

After five years of storage in a Baghdad home and a U.S. government facility, millions of records from Saddam Hussein's regime may soon be available for review at the Hoover Institution.

The Iraq Memory Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based group that collected about 7 million documents from Hussein's Baath Party headquarters just after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, is entrusting the records to Hoover, which has agreed to hold the documents for five years and then help arrange their return to Iraq.

Parts of the collection—which promise insight into how Hussein ran his dictatorship—may be open by the end of the summer, said Richard Sousa, Hoover's senior associate director.

Stanford's Hoover Institution signed a deal with the Iraq Memory Foundation in January of 2008, and have now arrived.

For more information see:
San Jose Mercury News "Saddam's records arrive at Stanford"
Palo Alto Online: "Saddam Hussein's papers now at Hoover"

Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller

From New York Times (June, 15, 2008)

As the designer R. Buckminster Fuller liked to tell it, his powerful creative vision was born of a moment of deep despair at the age of 32. A self-described ne’er-do-well, twice ejected from Harvard, a failure in business and a heavy drinker, he trudged to the Chicago lakefront one day in 1927 and stood there, contemplating suicide. But an inner voice interrupted, telling him that he had a mission to discover great truths, all for the good of humankind.

That was the pivot on which, he claimed, his life turned. The onetime loser entered a period of such deep reflection that he was struck silent, then emerged bursting with creativity as he developed the “Dymaxion” inventions: technologies that he promised would transform housing, transportation, urban organization and, eventually, the human condition. From 1927 on, Fuller seemed utterly self-assured, even messianic, as he developed innovations like the geodesic dome, equal parts engineering élan and poetry.

Those pioneering creations will go on display next week in “Buckminster Fuller: Starting With the Universe,” a sprawling show at the Whitney Museum of American Art that testifies to the wide-ranging intellectual curiosity of Fuller (1895-1983), who inspired several generations with his quixotic vision and his zeal for the liberating power of technology.

But recent research has shed new light on Fuller’s inner life and what really drove him. In particular, it now appears that the suicide story may have been yet another invention, an elaborate myth that served to cover up a formative period that was far more tumultuous and unstable, for far longer, than Fuller ever revealed.

That is one of many insights gleaned by researchers who have begun exploring the visionary’s personal archives, deposited in 1999 at the Stanford University library by his family.

Because he believed his ideas and life would hold enduring interest, Fuller collected nearly every scrap of paper that ever passed through his hands, including letters that raise questions about the suicide story. At 45 tons, it is the largest personal archive at Stanford, according to Hsiao-Yun Chu, a former assistant curator of the papers and co-editor of a book, “Reassessing R. Buckminster Fuller,” to be published by Stanford University Press next year.

To read more please click here.

Stanford YouTube channel debuts

"A YouTube channel from Stanford makes its debut today, featuring Oprah Winfrey's keynote speech at the university's Commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 15. The channel, also includes nearly 200 other videos, and Stanford will continue to add additional content as it becomes available."

For more info see:
Stanford Report, June 16, 2008: YouTube channel debuts with video of Oprah's speech to Stanford graduates

8 Thesis Films

Screening of short thesis films by the MFA Documentary Film and Video students in the Department of Art & Art History. Reception to follow immediately at the Cubberley Lobby.

Date and Time:
Saturday, June 14, 2008. 2:00-4:30PM.

Reception to follow.

Cubberly Auditorium

For more information about the screening please click here.

Rethinking GDP

On March 12th, before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Interstate Commerce, hearings were held on “Rethinking the Gross Domestic Product as a Measurement of National Strength.” The testimony contains some very interesting historical background on the evolution of GDP as an instrument for measuring national wealth. Look especially at the testimony of Jonathan Rowe, of the West Marin Commons. Parts of his statement were reprinted in the June issue of Harpers, p.17, under the title "Our Phony Economy".

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