Seoul

Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things  By Peter-Paul Verbeek  (University of Chicago Press, 183 pp., $25) JUST WEST OF SEOUL, on a man-made island in the Yellow Sea, a city is rising. Slated for completion by 2015, Songdo has been meticulously planned by engineers and architects and lavishly financed by money from the American real estate company Gale International and the investment bank Morgan Stanley.

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Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. For any number of pundits, policymakers, and scholars, the new next hot thing, in countries developed and developing, is The City—or, more expansively and more precisely, the megalopolis and its little brother, the metropolis.

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It is increasingly well understood that cities are the primary location and mechanism of innovation and, in turn, prosperity (see “The Triumph of the City” or urban scaling). But which cities are the most innovative on earth? For a long time, getting sub-national economic data for a large number of countries was impossible, but no longer. New data from the OECD show which cities have the most inventors in the world, measured by those who apply for patent protection in multiple countries (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty).

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THE WHITE HOUSE Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery State of the Union Address: “An America Built to Last” Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 As Prepared for Delivery – Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.

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Generation Why

Seoul—When the sleepy South Korean town of Pyeongchang was announced as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics last month, Seoul went to unusual lengths to share the honor with its neighbor to the north. Both major parties vowed to pursue an inter-Korean team, and opposition leaders even spoke of co-hosting the games with North Korea.

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What does a photograph reveal and not reveal about a building? However consequential the question used to be, the Internet has become a seductive digitized world of photo stills and slideshows from which one might infer that actual knowledge—factual information—has been obtained. But buildings are real, indeed, real things that everyone needs and nearly everyone constantly uses. More or less reliably, too, a building stays put, at least until a tsunami hits or, more typically, someone comes along and tears it down.

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You can’t have missed the fiendish photograph of a North Korean soldier  hovering through a window over Hillary Clinton as she stands in a hut  at the “truce village” at Panmunjom in no-man’s land just below what  her husband had called after a trip “the scariest place on earth.”    The conflict between North Korea and South Korea was the hottest  encounter in the Cold War. Nobody really won that war.

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I used to be the foreign editor of In These Times in Chicago. I didn’t particularly enjoy the job, because I have never been fascinated with the world outside of the United States. I am not sure whether I could find Honduras or Liberia on a map, and I have never mastered the current spelling of Chinese names.

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Treeless Mountain Oscilloscope Laboratories Il Divo Music Box Films CHILDREN DEEPEN ONE of the mysteries in film’s being. It is mysterious enough that, since film’s beginning, non-professional adults have given valuable film performances. Still, one can spin social and cultural explanations for this astonishment. But what about the performances by small children, children who were not child stars and who convinced millions? The list is too long to nibble at. How can we explain them? How can we understand the mystery? Some technical facts apply to children as well as adults.

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The Boxer Shorts Rebellion

When the man who calls himself ”Chinabounder” moved to Shanghai to teach English and, apparently, have a little naughty fun on the side, he probably didn't know what he was getting himself into. His type is so common in Asia that it's almost a cliche: Bars from Hanoi to Seoul are filled with Western men gallivanting with local women. But this one made the mistake of blogging about his supposed exploits—”She jumped and quivered, sighed and open- mouthed pressed against me,” he bragged at chinabounder.blogspot.com—and mixing in criticism of China's occupation of the Xinjiang autonomous region.

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