November 28, 2006

Facing down fear in Cairo

The subway that chugs indefatigably through Cairo now has a women's section. Here the women giggle and sleep, pat children – not just their own – and rip loud jokes; here you see gestures and liveliness that are not to be seen on the street. But at some point, and nobody can say exactly when this was, almost all of them took to wearing veils. The Saudi Arabian dress code is becoming increasingly common: the coal black Niqab, the full-body veil with eye slits and now, gloves as well. In a section with eighty women, maybe four will be unveiled. They seem unimpressed and nobody stares at them, nonetheless the cloaked ones generate a characteristic kind of pressure that the tourist can hardly ignore: there the whores, here the pure ones. We're watching you.
Mahfouz's grave, Arab liberalism's deathbed

The death on 30 August 2006 of the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz - the sole Arab writer to receive the Nobel prize in literature - was marked around the world, and by many of those unable to read a word of his work in its original language. This universal moment, however, was primarily an Egyptian and Arab one, and for more even than the loss of a great writer. For Naguib Mahfouz's death is also a symbol of the demise of Arab liberalism. It is a century's story, and the "Dostoyevsky of Cairo" was the one whose books embodied it.

A century ago, the west was not worryingly eyeing the Arab world, with a fear of suicide-bombers and plane hijackers. It was colonising the Arab world - for a number of reasons: the strategic location, the Suez canal, securing trade routes, access to the Indian subcontinent, protection of minorities, exploitation of economic resources, building empires, civilising the savage Saracens.

November 27, 2006

Burnout: Can't Get No Satisfaction

People who are suffering from burnout tend to describe the sensation in metaphors of emptiness—they're a dry teapot over a high flame, a drained battery that can no longer hold its charge. Thirteen years, three books, and dozens of papers into his profession, Barry Farber, a professor at Columbia Teachers College and trained psychotherapist, realized he was feeling this way. Unfortunately, he was well acquainted with the symptoms. He was a burnout researcher himself.

Being burned out on burnout—now that was rich. Madame Curie died of radiation poisoning; Joseph Mitchell famously developed a 32-year-long case of writer's block after writing a two-part New Yorker series about a blocked writer; now Farber was suffering the same self-referential fate. He jokes about it today (who wouldn't?) but hardly felt sanguine as it was happening (who would?). Colleagues tried to persuade him to stick it out. "But for the most part, I've resisted coming back," says Farber. "I've never been able to find that same sense of satisfaction."

Farber had burned out once before. Back in the late sixties and early seventies, he taught public school in East Harlem. He'd wanted to help people, do the world some good. Yet for four years he'd struggled to stop his students from fighting with one another, and in spite of his best efforts he couldn't even teach all of them to read. His classroom became a perverse experiment in physics, with energy never conserved (input always exceeded output), and he, a teacher in perpetual motion, always craving rest. Eventually, he began to pull away from his students—depersonalization, as the literature now calls it—justifying his seeming insensitivity by telling himself he wasn't making a difference anyway. It was only when Farber went to graduate school at Yale that he learned that this syndrome had a name: Burnout. "The concept offered a perfect understanding of what teachers were feeling," he recalls. "It wasn't in fact that they were racist and mercenary and noncaring but that their level of caring couldn't be sustained in the absence of results."

November 26, 2006

In Beijing, expats find camaraderie at their side

BEIJING — Each Sunday, weather and fussy engines permitting, the Beijing Dragons Motorcycle Club roars out of Starbucks and onto the open road, riding three-wheeled bikes that look like they were stolen from the frames of "The Great Escape" or a Laurel and Hardy reel.

Aboard retro sidecar motorcycles reminiscent of those on the road in Chairman Mao's day, the riders usually head for the mountains north of the city, where the fishing is good and the stone ribbon of the Great Wall stretches across the hillsides.

"Working and living in Beijing isn't the easiest thing," said Jim Bryant, the group's semiofficial leader. "There's stress and traffic.

"But this is one of the great upsides. You can see sights you only see in Chinese paintings."

The sidecars have become a signature feature of expatriate life here, binding together the growing numbers of transplanted Americans and Europeans who call China's sprawling capital home

November 24, 2006

Paying the piper

Paying the piper

Nov 23rd 2006
What if Russian gas runs low?
EUROPE has accustomed itself to a version of Russia and of Russian policy which goes like this: post-Soviet Russia is not only awash with oil and gas, it is using that energy wealth to promote its great-power ambitions through bullying and bribery. But what happens to the calculation if Russia is not an energy bully, but an energy beggar?

Russia reckons it will be short of 4.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas next year—enough to fuel a couple of small countries. Alan Riley, a competition lawyer, argues in a report for the Centre for European Policy Studies that Russia's gas shortfall will increase to 126 bcm a year by 2010, only slightly less than Russia's annual exports to the European Union. Vladimir Milov, a gutsy former energy minister who runs one of the few independent think-tanks in Moscow, agrees

At first sight this sounds preposterous. Russia's gas reserves amount to 47 trillion cubic metres, a colossal amount. But like so many things in Russia, the gas industry, which means mainly a state-run monopoly, Gazprom, is as wasteful as it is wealthy. And Gazprom is so secretive that outsiders find it hard to say whether the wealth or the waste is winning.

November 22, 2006

Diary of a Collapsing Superpower

As has so often been in the case in history, there was little separating victory and defeat, joy and fear, euphoria and depression. And yet there couldn't have been a greater difference between the events in Berlin and in Moscow in October 1990.

The Presidential Council, a key group of advisors to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, met at the Kremlin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17. It was a sunny day. But it was far from a routine meeting. As Anatoly Chernyayev later said, it reminded him "of the situation in October 1917 in St. Petersburg, when the Bolsheviks were threatening to storm the Winter Palace." In 1990 foreign policy expert Chernyayev was something on the order of Gorbachev's Henry Kissinger.

A storm also seemed to be on the horizon on that Oct. 17, but this time it was Gorbachev's archenemy, Boris Yeltsin, who was behind the sense of foreboding. Yeltsin, the then speaker of the Russian parliament, who had left the Communist Party three months earlier and had since emerged as the shining light of the great Soviet republic, had given the Kremlin an ultimatum the night before: His republic would no longer consider itself subservient to the Soviet leadership. Yeltsin was threatening Gorbachev with secession.

The Presidential Council fell into a state of panic. "Dissolution is in full swing!," Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Soviet Union's clever premier, warned. "All mass media are working for the opposition! Even the central council of trade unions! Even the party!" Vladimir Kryuchkov, the pale head of the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, agreed. "This is a declaration of war against the central government," he said, "and if we don't do something about it we will be thrown out."


November 21, 2006

Israeli map and arab land

Both the nytimes and washpost have prominent articles on the private ownership of land on which many Israeli settlements are located. Reading it does not bring up any sympathies for the Palestinians. Reason? The war of 1948 and 1967 was first started by the arab countries, not Israel. Whatever Israel did in those wars was to protect its people. Since it was the palestinians and arabs who started the wars and lost it, they cannot demand the same spoils as the victor. Israel seized the land in the war and kept it for itself because it wanted a buffer against any future aggression. Israel gave up Gaza but the results haven't been good. It had hoped that the palestinians would be appeased but no, Hamas and its cronies have turned it into a hellhole with their rocket attacks and terrorist actions against Israel. After Lebanon, Israel would be very foolhardy to give up any land, whoever it historically belongs to.
I'm not sure why nytimes and washpost have such prominent articles on this issue. Peace Now is a discredited extreme-leftist organization in Israel and they are biting the hand that feeds it.

Bloomberg opinion rss feed

Since the unfortunate decision by Bloomberg to end all rss feeds, I did some searching around and all I found were general bloomberg rss feeds.
So I did some quick fiddling around and you can get the Bloomberg Opinion rss feed from the link below. Just copy and paste the url in bloglines. Once you subscribe to the feed, click on edit the subscription and change the name to "Bloomberg Opinion" otherwise it will show as "The opinions expressed are" source:bloomberg - Google News" in your feeds folder.

November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman- Master of Economics

Key events in the life and career of Milton Friedman
MILTON FRIEDMAN was one of the towering figures of economics in the 20th century. A leading advocate of free markets, he championed monetarism, the notion that the inflation can be regulated by the Federal Reserve's control of the money supply. He wrote extensively on the Great Depression and was an advocate of libertarian ideas such as the decriminalization of drugs.
1912 — Born in New York.
1932-1933 — Receives bachelors degree from Rutgers University, masters degree from the University of Chicago.
1937 — Becomes a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a post he would maintain until 1981.
1945 — With coauthor Simon Kuznets, publishes "Income From Independent Professional Practice," his doctoral thesis.
1946 — Receives doctorate from Columbia University and is hired to teach at the University of Chicago, where he serves as a professor of economics until 1976. Friedman would come to be seen as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the money supply as an instrument of policy and a determinant of the business cycle.
1951 — Wins the John Bates Clark Medal, which honors top economists under the age of 40.
1956 — "Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money" is published. In it, Friedman argues that increased monetary growth over the long run raises prices but has no effect on output. In the short term, increased money supply boost hiring and output.
1957 — "A Theory of Consumption Function" is published. Considered a landmark study, it tackles the notion, associated with John Maynard Keynes, that consumers adjust their spending to reflect current income, arguing instead that people's annual consumption is a function of what they expect to earn over the course of their lifetime.
1962 — "Capitalism and Freedom" is published. Friedman's key text on free markets, it argues in favor of floating currency exchange rates, an all-volunteer military, a negative income tax and education vouchers.
1963 — "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960", co-authored with Anna J. Schwartz, is published. In a work that would become hugely influential in the field of monetary economics, Friedman and Schwartz used historical narrative and reams of supporting data to argue that steady control of the money supply is crucial in steering the economy. The book famously critiqued the Federal Reserve's performance during the Great Depression and the central bank launched a lengthy internal review of its policy-making after receiving a prepublication draft of the book. The Fed commissioned Elmus R. Wicker to write a rejoinder in hopes of deflecting some of Friedman's arguments.
1964 — Serves informally as an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Later, Friedman served as an economic adviser to Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign, and to Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign.
1967 — Serves as president of the American Economic Association.
1975 — Friedman makes a controversial trip to Chile, along with several other University of Chicago professors, where he meets with dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
1976 —Is awarded the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in economics for his work in the fields of "consumption analysis, monetary theory and history and for his demonstration of the complexitity of stabilization policy."
1977 — Becomes a senior research fellow at the libertarian Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
1980 — PBS airs the 10-part "Free to Choose," which is made into a bestselling book co-authored with his wife, Rose Friedman. The series and book were a robust defense of the couple's free-market economic beliefs.
1981 — Serves as a member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board.
1988 — Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Science.
2002 — President Bush speaks at a ceremony honoring Friedman, celebrating his 90th birthday and recognizing his contributions to the study of economics.
Nov. 16, 2006 — Friedman dies of heart failure at a hospital near his home in San Francisco. He was 94.
Source: research
Photos: AP/Wide World Photos

Milton Friedman tribute- 50 links

I am an unabashed follower of Friedman and his policies. Therefore as a mark of tribute to his contributions to economics, this post will include wsj articles, links to articles and a link to the Free to choose series official, unofficial.

Gary Becker and Posner on Friedman

Bloomberg article on Friedman , FT Milton Friedman, economist, dies aged 94 , SFGate Milton Friedman, the watch and me

LA Times article(long and reasonably detailed, better than wsj's.) , The Times UK- Chicago boy who gave monetarism to the world

NYtimes Milton Friedman, Free Markets Theorist, Dies at 94 , AUSTAN GOOLSBEE- Charismatic Economist Who Loved to Argue

WSJ- Milton Friedman: In His Own Words Forbes-Milton Friedman: An Open Book Tennis with Milton

Mercurynews- Milton Friedman felt vindicated by history Friedman's last interview on nov 5, 2006 interview of Friedman by Tunku Varadarajan

Foxnews- 'Your World' Interview With Economist Milton Friedman

Audio and Video There are a few videos here- All except one(PBS Open Mind) are from the free to choose series. The PBS Open Mind video is 30 min. Direct link to video

google video- Charlie Rose interviewing Milton Friedman- 440MB. I have downloaded the video, well worth the 1 $.

A Conversation with Milton Friedman 1:12:00 83MB mp3

Russ Roberts interview with Friedman,
Part 1 audio transcript and Part 2 audio transcript

Capitalism and Freedom revisited-

Reason magazine links
Best of Both Worlds Milton Friedman reminisces about his career as an economist and his lifetime "avocation" as a spokesman for freedom.

Civil Warrior Capitalism and Friedman

The Father of Modern School Reform

Can We Bank on the Federal Reserve?

New Perspectives Quarterly Magazine-
Free Markets and the End of History

"Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom" by Milton Friedman Delivered November 1, 1991

Milton Friedman on the "War on Drugs

Friedman's 90th birthday -
Economically speaking, Friedman No. 1 Uchicago- chibus Friedman Celebrates 90th Birthday

Milton Friedman and India
A Memorandum to the Government of India 1955 To understand why this is significant, see video 2 of the Free to Choose series. Milton Friedman on the Nehru/Mahalanobis Plan(pdf)

Friedman and flat taxes in Europe , Lessons of smaller states , New Europe’s Boomtown Pioneer of the 'flat tax' taught the East to thrive Flat tax champion who ignored the economists
For more see
Opinionjournal- Israel Gets a Taste of Friedman

Blogs on Friedman (many of the links above and below are taken from various blogs.) (some of the updated links in this post are from prestpundit.) on Milton Friedman

Gregory Mankiw - The Economist of the Century

Friedman - Free to Choose video series

Milton Friedman's Free to Choose video series -

Each video is 435MB in size and 57 min in length. There are 15 videos. You need a bit-torrent application, one I'd suggest is
The video series was on google video but was removed sometime back. Those videos were 230MB and quality was lower.
The videos on btjunkie are of higher quality(dvd rip.) I would however suggest buying the dvds'.
01. [435MB] 02. [2KB] 03. [435MB] 04. [3KB] 05. [435MB] 06. [3KB] 07. [435MB] 08. [3KB] 09. [435MB] 10. [3KB] 11. [435MB] 12. [3KB] 13.'s.Wrong.With.Our.Schools.DivX6.avi [435MB] 14.'s.Wrong.With.Our.Schools.DivX6.nfo [3KB] 15. [435MB] 16. [3KB] 17. [435MB] 18. [3KB] 19. [435MB] 20. [3KB] 21. [435MB] 22. [3KB] 23. [67KB] 24. [435MB] 25. [2KB] 26. [69KB] 27. [435MB] 28. [3KB] 29. [73KB] 30.'s.Wrong.With.Our.Schools.DivX.avi [435MB] 31.'s.Wrong.With.Our.Schools.DivX.nfo [2KB] 32.' [72KB] 33. [435MB] 34. [3KB] 35. [72KB]
There are other videos too.
Search results for free to choose Results 1 - 21
Torrent NameCategorySizeDateSeedLeechHealth
Download Torrent File Listing Milton Friedman - Free To Choose, all 15 episodes 1980 - 199Video6526MB01/03101
Download Torrent File Listing [economics] Friedman, Milton & Rose - Free To Choose -- A PeUnsorted1MB10/226X
Download Torrent File Listing [economics] Friedman, Milton & Rose - Free To Choose -- A PeUnsorted1MB10/1031
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1990 Vol 3of5 The Failure of Socialism DiVideo435MB06/252X
Download Torrent File Listing [Documentary]PBS - Free to Choose (classic 10-part series, cVideo4392MB06/2614
Download Torrent File Listing PBS - Free to Choose 1990Video2177MB06/2512
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1990 Vol 1of5 The Power of the Market DivVideo435MB06/2511
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1990 Vol 4of5 Whats Wrong With Our SchoolVideo435MB06/251X
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1990 Vol 5of5 Created Equal DivXVideo435MB06/251X
Download Torrent File Listing PBS - Free to ChooseVideo4349MB07/18X4
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 1of10 Power of the MarketVideo435MB09/14X3
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 10of10 How to Stay FreeVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing Free to Choose 1990 - Vol2of5 - The Tyranny of ControlVideo435MB09/21X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 8of10 Who Protects the WorkerVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 2of10 The Tyranny of ControlVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 3of10 Anatomy of a CrisisVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 4of10 From Cradle to GraveVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 5of10 Created EqualVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 6of10 What's Wrong With Our SchoVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 7of10 Who Protects the ConsumerVideo435MB09/14X1
Download Torrent File Listing PBS Free to Choose 1980 Vol 9of10 How to Cure InflationVideo435MB09/14X1

November 13, 2006

The New Ambassadors

CRAMMED in a van loaded with guitars, a drum kit and a couple of Fender amplifiers, and driving from one American gig to the next, the four scruffy musicians in the indie-rock band the Figurines tried mightily to enjoy themselves. They snapped pictures of one another, ate junk food and drank Red Bull, which is barred from sale back home in Denmark.

The Finnish band Bloodpit is one of many bands that benefited from government subsidies.

The New Zealand band Die! Die! Die! enjoyed a meal outside of Pedro's Tacos in Brooklyn.

Sometimes they drink it spiked with vodka. But on a recent trip through Idaho, on a desolate road outside Boise, one band member was drinking it straight from the can.

Catching a glimpse through the van's window, a passing trucker saw the shiny can and mistook it, somehow, for a gun.

Within minutes, the police were ordering the band out of the vehicle. "We had to get down on our knees on the highway," Christian Hjelm, the lead singer and guitarist, said, and they then found themselves handcuffed and sitting in the back of a squad car.

November 11, 2006

Are Academically Excellent Asians the new Jews?

WSJ has an article today that examines the case of one Asian-American who was rejected because of his ethicity(I side with him.) The article reminds me a of a New Yorker article I read a year back by Malcolm Gladwell(link at bottom.) Also, another link at the bottom to a previous wsj article about tensions between high achieving asian american students and whites in a californian school.

Is Admissions Bar
Higher for Asians
At Elite Schools?

School Standards Are Probed
Even as Enrollment Increases;
A Bias Claim at Princeton
November 11, 2006; Page A1

Though Asian-Americans constitute only about 4.5% of the U.S. population, they typically account for anywhere from 10% to 30% of students at many of the nation's elite colleges.

Even so, based on their outstanding grades and test scores, Asian-Americans increasingly say their enrollment should be much higher -- a contention backed by a growing body of evidence.

Whether elite colleges give Asian-American students a fair shake is becoming a big concern in college-admissions offices. Federal civil-rights officials are investigating charges by a top Chinese-American student that he was rejected by Princeton University last spring because of his race and national origin.

Meanwhile, voter attacks on admissions preferences for other minority groups -- as well as research indicating colleges give less weight to high test scores of Asian-American applicants -- may push schools to boost Asian enrollment. Tuesday, Michigan voters approved a ballot measure striking down admissions preferences for African-Americans and Hispanics. The move is expected to benefit Asian applicants to state universities there -- as similar initiatives have done in California and Washington.

If the same measure is passed in coming years in Illinois, Missouri and Oregon -- where opponents of such preferences say they plan to introduce it -- Asian-American enrollment likely would climb at selective public universities in those states as well.

During the Michigan campaign, a group that opposes affirmative action released a study bolstering claims that Asian students are held to a higher standard. The study, by the Center for Equal Opportunity, in Virginia, found that Asian applicants admitted to the University of Michigan in 2005 had a median SAT score of 1400 on the 400-1600 scale then in use. That was 50 points higher than the median score of white students who were accepted, 140 points higher than that of Hispanics and 240 points higher than that of blacks.

Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said universities are "legally vulnerable" to challenges from rejected Asian-American applicants.

Princeton, where Asian-Americans constitute about 13% of the student body, faces such a challenge. A spokesman for the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights said it is investigating a complaint filed by Jian Li, now a 17-year-old freshman at Yale University. Despite racking up the maximum 2400 score on the SAT and 2390 -- 10 points below the ceiling -- on SAT2 subject tests in physics, chemistry and calculus, Mr. Li was spurned by three Ivy League universities, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Office for Civil Rights initially rejected Mr. Li's complaint due to "insufficient" evidence. Mr. Li appealed, citing a white high-school classmate admitted to Princeton despite lower test scores and grades. The office notified him late last month that it would look into the case.

His complaint seeks to suspend federal financial assistance to Princeton until the university "discontinues discrimination against Asian-Americans in all forms by eliminating race preferences, legacy preferences, and athlete preferences." Legacy preference is the edge most elite colleges, including Princeton, give to alumni children. The Office for Civil Rights has the power to terminate such financial aid but usually works with colleges to resolve cases rather than taking enforcement action.

Mr. Li, who emigrated to the U.S. from China as a 4-year-old and graduated from a public high school in Livingston, N.J., said he hopes his action will set a precedent for other Asian-American students. He wants to "send a message to the admissions committee to be more cognizant of possible bias, and that the way they're conducting admissions is not really equitable," he said.

Princeton spokeswoman Cass Cliatt said the university is aware of the complaint and will provide the Office for Civil Rights with information it has requested. Princeton has said in the past that it considers applicants as individuals and doesn't discriminate against Asian-Americans.

When elite colleges began practicing affirmative action in the late 1960s and 1970s, they gave an admissions boost to Asian-American applicants as well as blacks and Hispanics. As the percentage of Asian-Americans in elite schools quickly overtook their slice of the U.S. population, many colleges stopped giving them preference -- and in some cases may have leaned the other way.

In 1990, a federal investigation concluded that Harvard University admitted Asian-American applicants at a lower rate than white students despite the Asians' slightly stronger test scores and grades. Federal investigators also found that Harvard admissions staff had stereotyped Asian-American candidates as quiet, shy and oriented toward math and science. The government didn't bring charges because it concluded it was Harvard's preferences for athletes and alumni children -- few of whom were Asian -- that accounted for the admissions gap.

The University of California came under similar scrutiny at about the same time. In 1989, as the federal government was investigating alleged Asian-American quotas at UC's Berkeley campus, Berkeley's chancellor apologized for a drop in Asian enrollment. The next year, federal investigators found that the mathematics department at UCLA had discriminated against Asian-American graduate school applicants. In 1992, Berkeley's law school agreed under federal pressure to drop a policy that limited Asian enrollment by comparing Asian applicants against each other rather than the entire applicant pool.

Asian-American enrollment at Berkeley has increased since California voters banned affirmative action in college admissions. Berkeley accepted 4,122 Asian-American applicants for this fall's freshman class -- nearly 42% of the total admitted. That is up from 2,925 in 1997, or 34.6%, the last year before the ban took effect. Similarly, Asian-American undergraduate enrollment at the University of Washington rose to 25.4% in 2004 from 22.1% in 1998, when voters in that state prohibited affirmative action in college admissions.

The University of Michigan may be poised for a similar leap in Asian-American enrollment, now that voters in that state have banned affirmative action. The Center for Equal Opportunity study found that, among applicants with a 1240 SAT score and 3.2 grade point average in 2005, the university admitted 10% of Asian-Americans, 14% of whites, 88% of Hispanics and 92% of blacks. Asian applicants to the university's medical school also faced a higher admissions bar than any other group.

Julie Peterson, spokeswoman for the University of Michigan, said the study was flawed because many applicants take the ACT test instead of the SAT, and standardized test scores are only one of various tools used to evaluate candidates. "I utterly reject the conclusion" that the university discriminates against Asian-Americans, she said. Asian-Americans constitute 12.6% of the university's undergraduates.

Jonathan Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, said most elite colleges' handling of Asian applicants has become fairer in recent years. Mr. Reider, a former Stanford admissions official, said Stanford staffers were dismayed 20 years ago when an internal study showed they were less likely to admit Asian applicants than comparable whites. As a result, he said, Stanford strived to eliminate unconscious bias and repeated the study every year until Asians no longer faced a disadvantage.

Last month, Mr. Reider participated in a panel discussion at a college-admissions conference. It was titled, "Too Asian?" and explored whether colleges treat Asian applicants differently.

Precise figures of Asian-American representation at the nation's top schools are hard to come by. Don Joe, an attorney and activist who runs Asian-American Politics, an Internet site that tracks enrollment, puts the average proportion of Asian-Americans at 25 top colleges at 15.9% in 2005, up from 10% in 1992.

Still, he said, he is hearing more complaints "from Asian-American parents about how their children have excellent grades and scores but are being rejected by the most selective colleges. It appears to be an open secret."

Mr. Li, who said he was in the top 1% of his high-school class and took five advanced placement courses in his senior year, left blank the questions on college applications about his ethnicity and place of birth. "It seemed very irrelevant to me, if not offensive," he said. Mr. Li, who has permanent resident status in the U.S., did note that his citizenship, first language and language spoken at home were Chinese.

Along with Yale, he won admission to the California Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He said four schools -- Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania -- placed him on their waiting lists before rejecting him. "I was very close to being accepted at these schools," he said. "I was thinking, had my ethnicity been different, it would have put me over the top. Even if race had just a marginal effect, it may have disadvantaged me."

He ultimately focused his complaint against Princeton after reading a 2004 study by three Princeton researchers concluding that an Asian-American applicant needed to score 50 points higher on the SAT than other applicants to have the same change of admission to an elite university.

"As an Asian-American and a native of China, my chances of admission were drastically reduced," Mr. Li claims in his complaint.


The difficult part, however, was coming up with a way of keeping Jews out, because as a group they were academically superior to everyone else. Lowell's first idea—a quota limiting Jews to fifteen per cent of the student body—was roundly criticized. Lowell tried restricting the number of scholarships given to Jewish students, and made an effort to bring in students from public schools in the West, where there were fewer Jews. Neither strategy worked. Finally, Lowell—and his counterparts at Yale and Princeton—realized that if a definition of merit based on academic prowess was leading to the wrong kind of student, the solution was to change the definition of merit. Karabel argues that it was at this moment that the history and nature of the Ivy League took a significant turn.

The New White Flight

More and More Leave Germany Behind

Faced with poor job prospects, high taxes and an intrusive bureaucracy, more and more Germans are choosing to emigrate. Most of those who leave, though, are highly qualified -- which could mean devastating economic consequences.
They are fed up, truly fed up. Fed up with the constant bickering over the costs of wage benefits, social reforms, elimination of subsidies, store closing hours and all the other symbols of a country stuck in bureaucratic and legislative gridlock.

They are tired of living in country where landing a job is like playing the lottery, a country where not even half of citizens live from gainful employment and a country in which even academics in their mid-40s are already considered problem cases when it comes to job placement. In other words, they are fed up with living in a country where all opportunities already seem to be taken: opportunities to succeed in one's career, to own property and to achieve prosperity.,1518,446045,00.html