November 10, 2004

More Google Fun

This one I've always wondered about, and it came up when I was watching "The Truman Show" yesterday. The Great Wall of China is not, in fact, visible from space. The entire concept was first floated back in the 1930s, and it's stuck ever since.

On a unrelated note, I don't see how the New York Review of Books can have both its November 18th issue and its December 2 issue out. On a related note to debunking myths, though, William Dalrymple's piece in what I take to be the actual, up-to-date, issue of the NYRB (the Nov. 4th issue), which knocks down the Bernard Lewis-propagated thesis that modern Muslims have been incurious about the World, is a really good read. It's always hard for a layperson like me to evaluate expert historians--either I just sidle up to whoever fits my ideological predispositions, or I adopt the views and facts of the one book on a subject that I happen by chance to read (because it was a best-seller, or recommended, or whatever). But as best I can judge, Dalrymple wins this round. Juan Cole, meanwhile, thinks that Lewis' recent work consists of "very bad books by a very smart man." Since my independent knowledge of Iraq tells me that Prof. Cole knows what he's talking about, I'll trust his judgment and join in the finger-wagging. Well done!
-- Brad Plumer 5:13 PM || ||