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Friday’s Reading List

By Taylor Marvin

J. M. W. Turner, 'The Harbor of Dieppe', 1826. Via Wikimedia.

J. M. W. Turner, ‘The Harbor of Dieppe’, 1826. Via Wikimedia.

What I read this week:

On the global role of English: Arab student bemoan their lack of access to the language that they see as increasingly important, while China considers reducing the importance of English in college and senior high school entrance exams.

Kyle Mizokami questions why South Korea is investing in an impressive blue water navy, which he sees as a distraction from the country’s most pressing security threat along its northern border. Robert Farley chalks South Korea’s decision up to its desire to “portray itself as a ‘normal’ East Asian nation, and for better or worse ‘normal’ East Asian nations currently build large, technologically impressive destroyers, flat-decked aircraft carrying warships, and powerful submarines.”

The Economist’s Free Exchange blog reviews the economic impact of the Black Death, which according to new research led to a persistent but not immediate rise in wages.

National Geographic highlights a gorgeous vintage photograph of a Vickers Vimy over the pyramids of Giza, which reminded me of another picture of a British Imperial Airways Handley Page H.P.42 in historical Palestine.

By National Geographic.

By National Geographic.

Marc Ambinder runs down the NSA foreign ally spying dustup.

Brazil’s Black Blocs and black gold — who are the members of black blocs, and why are they so angry?

A positive review of Kenneth Pollack’s new book on Iran, Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy.

From earlier in the week, more linkage at Political Violence @ a Glance.

Hector Zazou & Swara – Wanna Mako.

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