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Among the more fascinating facts discovered in Brookings analyst Neil Ruiz's research on the geography of foreign students in the U.S. is where they decide to stay after they get their degree.

A plurality stay in New York City — or move there.

New York, it turns out, is very sticky. Foreign students are more likely to stay in New York City after graduation than anywhere else in the country. We all love New York, and it's the biggest city in the country, but there's no reason why it should be so magnetic, unless the city (and New York state) do things to make it attractive for foreign students to stay there after they study....  More»

 

How does a biologist, or a computational neuroscientist, possibly have the wherewithal to stay current on all aspects of his field?

Nature, one of the world's top journals for peer-reviewed scientific breakthroughs, does what it can to encourage cross-discipline knowledge sharing by publishing non-technical essays from the leading lights in particular fields. For a lay person, this is often the best way to become current, very quickly, on very difficult subjects.

This week's topic, when boiled down to its essence, is: how small, how fast, how powerful can computers possibly get?...  More»

 

"There are no boots on the ground."

I don't care for the phrase. Never did. Wearing boots is what combat forces do in certain circumstances. Using it as synecdoche for "troops in harm's way" warps the scope of what the U.S. military does. It may also give the Pentagon an easy out, because certain forces wear sneakers, not boots.

A very brave Ford Sypher, writing for The Daily Beast, saw suspiciously Western-looking commandos race by him in their heavy trucks, and was given word by his Kurdish escorts that these were indeed foreigners:

Contacts in the Kurdish intelligence service and Peshmerga leadership confirmed what we saw....  More»

 

Forget summer. The best books for political junkies usually arrive with the turning of the leaves. Here are three of the juiciest and most interesting titles that soon will be available for your purchase.

Next week, the peripatetic Lawrence Wright will publish Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, a sure-to-be riveting, moment-by-moment history of a time when peace was both the means to an end and an end in itself, and when political leaders could be brave and forgo politics, grudges, religious attachments, and even the strong lure of national myth-making....  More»

 

Shares of Apple's stock bounced up three percent when Tim Cook unveiled the latest evolution of the iPhone on Tuesday, and then felt gravity when, later in the presentation, he introduced the Apple Watch to the world. The verdict of the market? Hard to say. I was watching the stock price of one of the iPhones' carriers. T-Mobile's shares dropped about 1.66 percent today, to 30.28.

I'd had a sense that T-Mobile is the company best positioned to take quick advantage of consumer stuff-lust to get the latest iPhone (and with it, in January, the Apple Watch....  More»

 

President Obama will make the case tonight for his decision to unleash the U.S. military on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the al Qaeda off-shoot that has torn through territory in the Mideast and proclaimed itself the stewards of a new caliphate.

Obama has used the bully pulpit to explain his choices before, but this speech belongs in a category that includes three other major foreign policy issues — his 2009 explanation for a temporary troop surge in Afghanistan, his 2011 decision to assist NATO in ousting Moammar Gadhafi, and his decision last year not to seek congressional permission to bomb Syria (and his subsequent decision...  More»

 

Under what authority is President Obama going to war against ISIS, the omnivorous octopus that has ruthlessly gobbled up territory in the Middle East? His advisers cite the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda. That's somewhat confusing, because al Qaeda has become an ISIS antagonist.

Indeed, there is quite a bit about the fight against ISIS that remains opaque. What is it "we" are doing, exactly? Does it compare to what we've already done in Iraq and in Afghanistan? If the threat is not imminent, why would we want to do anything?...  More»

 

Finally, an honest answer from the U.S. government about the likelihood of Americans ever fighting on the ground in Iraq against ISIS:

We're going to defeat ISIS. That's what we're going to do. We're going to do it together. We're going to bring in coalition forces. We don't think it's going to need big units, like the 101st Airborne Division, the 1st MEF, we don't believe that, but it may require our special capabilities, soldiers, and intelligence officials, going downrange, if you will, to make sure that we are effective in what we're going to do.

Kudos to the presidential speechwriter for injecting some clarity and perspective....  More»

 

When we iPhone users download the latest iOS software update, the first thing many of us do is scour geek websites for lists of hidden, cool features. And sure enough, there are dozens of such lists already, because iOS8 is packed with helpful goodies. I've read nearly all of these lists, and below I've distilled what I think are the most useful hidden features — the stuff that gets lost behind the glamor of, say, enhancements to the camera app, widgets, intuitive keyboards, Continuity, and third-party app-sharing.

1. Automatic notifications for important emails....  More»

 
September 19, 2014, at 9:15 AM

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf says I give President Obama too much leeway to wage war without having to explain why. That's not exactly my position.

For the record, I think the president should ask Congress for its approval on his ISIS campaign. I also think the 2002 Authorization For the Use of Military Force against al Qaeda and associates should be declared null and void. These are not political judgments; they are judgments based on my evaluation of what seem to be the most persuasive arguments. And I am open to revising them.

I also think that the president's constitutional authority is broad enough to cover a campaign like this without going...  More»

 
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