October 26th, 2014
12:35 AM ET

You say potato, I say...

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

There are an estimated 7,000 languages in the world, and countless more accents and dialects. An accent can reveal a lot about a person – a spectrum of sounds with differing vowels and consonants, lilts and drawls, it can betray someone's geographic origin, level of education, social class.

But accents are malleable; they grow with you. I'm sure mine has changed since I first came to this country.

A new book published in the U.K. on accents caught my eye this week. It's titled You Say Potato. Focusing mainly on the British Isles, where the authors say an accent shifts every 25 miles, the book explores the way an accent can reflect identity.

On the book's website, people from around the world can upload how they say "potato" to a map. The title brings up the question: Does anyone actually say “potahto,” or was it just a good rhyme for the song made famous in Shall We Dance?

So far, we didn't find any "potahtoes" but the authors said there is a historical reason for this pronunciation – the "ah" vowel can be traced to the end of the 18th century in Britain.

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Canada confronts the openness/safety paradox
October 26th, 2014
12:27 AM ET

Canada confronts the openness/safety paradox

By Scott J. White, Special to CNN

Scott J. White is an associate professor for National Security and director of External Academic Programs at Drexel University's College of Computing and Informatics. The views expressed are his own.

At its core, terrorist violence challenges a state’s commitment and adherence to liberty and democracy, and the threats we face within our borders and beyond test the very underpinnings of our society. Canada faced just such a threat this week.

On October 22, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau is alleged to have engaged in an unspeakable act of wanton violence, reportedly walking up to a soldier guarding a memorial and shooting him, before opening fire inside the country’s parliament.

In 1927, the Right Hon. Raoul Dandurand, a lawyer and Canadian senator, said that Canada and defacto the United States were “a fireproof house, far from the sources of conflagration.” The longtime politician was noting our geographic distance from Europe and that continent’s history of conflict. However, the events of 9/11 demonstrated that the United States was no longer exempt from the direct impact of a spillover of terrorist violence. And this week’s incident was a reminder that neither is Canada. FULL POST

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Topics: Canada • Terrorism
October 25th, 2014
04:25 PM ET

The man behind the marshmallow test

Fifty years ago, a groundbreaking psychological experiment on self-control was conducted on preschoolers – involving marshmallows. Fareed speaks with Walter Mischel, the man behind the experiment. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So you tracked these children down 50 years later, and what did you find?

Mischel: Oh, we found a great deal. We found to our surprise when they were about 13, 14, 15 years old, that the ones who had waited longer on the marshmallow test were doing better in school, were doing better socially and were doing better on SAT scores by quite a bit. And we became very interested in why are they – we seeing these differences? What's that really all about? And we began to pursue them, really, over the years, and approximately every 10 or 12 years, did a follow-up.

Now, when you kept tracking them, did that – this difference you saw – 10 years later, the kids who managed to have delayed gratification were doing better. Was it true 20 years later? Was it true 30 years later? Was it true 40 years later?

Mischel: What happens is that the ones who remain consistently high in self-control over the years, as opposed to the ones who remain consistently low in self-control over the years form two quite different life trajectories that are distinctly different.

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Topics: GPS Show
October 25th, 2014
03:41 PM ET

Has Obama presidency met expectations?

Fareed speaks with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and author and historian Sean Wilentz about President Barack Obama's presidency. Watch the full panel discussion this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Paul Krugman gave this rousing defense of Obama...If you look at domestic policy, most consequential president since Lyndon Johnson. Do you agree with the basic outline?

Wilentz: I think Paul is basically right. But Paul and I have been on the same page from the beginning – skeptical at first, much more respectful now of what the president has managed to achieve. I mean, it's not spectacular, but a lot of people had very, very high expectations, shall we say?

It's hard to be disillusioned...

Borger: Including Obama.

Wilentz: Well, indeed. But it's hard to be disillusioned if you weren't “illusioned” to begin with. And judged on a more rational scale, I think the president’s done a good job.

Borger: Yes, I think the problem here for the American people, and I don't know how this plays out in history, is that when you look at President Obama, you look at the numbers we're looking at now, it's a question of leadership. It's a question of whether he has communicated well to the American public about his successes, which you could argue, in the future, health care reform will be judged as a success. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Politics
October 24th, 2014
07:22 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Analysis of the Canada shooting, how Obama's presidency will be remembered, and the marshmallow test

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

On GPS this Sunday: The show opens with a special live segment to discuss the shooting that took place this week in Ottawa. What do we know about the attack? How serious is the threat of lone extremists? And how should Canada and others respond? Fareed offers his take before holding a panel discussion.

Next, President Barack Obama has come in for criticism for his administration’s handling of the economy, Ebola and national security. But how deserving is he of such criticism? And how will his administration be remembered? Fareed convenes a panel including Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and the author of The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, Sean Wilentz, who has written about presidents from Jefferson to Lincoln to Reagan, and Amity Shlaes, a historian and writer with four New York Times best-sellers.

Also, 50 years ago, a groundbreaking psychological experiment was conducted on preschoolers – involving marshmallows. What did the children do? What would you do? Walter Mischel, the man behind the experiment, explains what it says about self-control.

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Topics: GPS Show
October 23rd, 2014
07:04 PM ET

Why Edward Snowden should agree to stand trial in the U.S.

By Fareed Zakaria

The most striking aspect of Snowden’s substantive revelations on foreign intelligence is their limited consequences. That’s because they mostly showed the U.S. government doing secretly what it has said it is doing publicly — fighting the Taliban, spying in countries such as Pakistan and searching for al-Qaeda cells around the globe. The disclosures also revealed routine foreign intelligence operations. Some of these are justified, such as hacking into Chinese computer systems — something that Beijing does to other countries on a much larger scale. Others were unwise, such as tapping the phones of the leaders of Brazil and Germany. But none of these are morally scandalous. Bernard Kouchner, the former French foreign minister, said at the time of the revelations: “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop, too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”

The Obama administration should make clear that Snowden would get an open, civilian trial in the United States. And Snowden should come home and make his case.

Read the Washington Post column

 

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Topics: Fareed's Take
October 23rd, 2014
06:51 PM ET

What I'm reading: Learning from Canada after Ottawa attack

By Fareed Zakaria

“Some evidence points to the shooter being influenced by the Islamic State militant group to try and kill top leaders in Canada. The attack came two weeks after Canada decided to join the American-led attacks on IS,” writes the Christian Science Monitor. “His motive may seem like revenge. But IS leaders must know they cannot bring Canada or any country opposed to terrorism to its knees. Like al Qaeda, IS wants the West to retaliate against Islam, bringing attacks on Muslims in order to rally them to its side.”

“For IS, exploiting hate is a more powerful weapon than violence itself. It has advanced in size and territory quickly by taking advantage of the hatred among Sunnis in both Iraq and Syria toward their respective regimes, both of which are backed by Shiite Iran.”

“The latest panic on global stock markets has reminded the world of the vulnerability of the euro, and this week pundits in the British press have been busy speculating about France’s possible collapse,” argues Nicholas Farrell in the Spectator. “Hardly anyone bothers to fret about Italy any more, even though last week its exchanges took the second biggest hit after Greece. Italy’s irreversible demise is a foregone conclusion. The country is just too much of a basket case even to think about.” FULL POST

October 22nd, 2014
06:27 PM ET

A power shift in global oil dynamics

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Global Public Square staff

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the global economy has been in slow motion. As a result, commodity prices have fallen dramatically. But there was one great puzzle – the price of oil had continued to go up, up, up.

In 2007, before the crash, oil cost $72 a barrel on average. By 2012, Brent Crude was trading at over $111 a barrel on average, a second year of historically high levels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Well, now the trend has turned. Prices have dropped, dramatically. Last week, Brent oil, the global benchmark, fell to about $80 a barrel, nearing a four year low.

Why?

Well, today the world is awash in oil. There's too much supply and too little demand. The world's largest and second largest economies are probably the most responsible. That would be the United States and China. The China piece of this story is fascinating. FULL POST

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Topics: Energy • What in the World?
October 21st, 2014
04:39 PM ET

How big a threat does ISIS pose?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander at NATO and author of The Accidental Admiral, and Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department and now director of The Dickey Center for International Understanding, about the threat posed by ISIS. Watch the video for the full interview.

Jim, it does feel like they've got their hands full, ISIS that is, between Iraq and Syria and all the forces that are battling them.

Stavridis: I think that this is a kind of a short-term/long-term set of constraints for us.

In the short-term, I completely agree, they've got their hands full. They've got Peshmerga coming from the north, they've got Iraqi security from the south, they've got bombing in the west. They're very busy. They're going to be in the middle of a three-front war very soon.

Long-term, there's not only, as Dan mentioned, I think ultimately the threat to the homeland – they have said they intend to fly the black flag of ISIS over the White House, I don't know how more direct they can be. But it is long-term. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show
October 21st, 2014
04:16 PM ET

What I'm reading: Is Libya better off without Gadhafi?

By Fareed Zakaria

“Gadhafi's death was a landmark, but three years later, it cannot be convincingly called a good one…is as much of a mess as ever,” writes Adam Taylor in the Washington Post. “In a confusing, chaotic situation, fighting is split among Arab nationalists, Islamists, regional militias and more. Recently, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have intervened militarily, while the country's largely impotent government-in-exile was forced to hold its meetings onboard a car ferry.”

“Given such a situation, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what might have happened if Gadhafi hadn't died.”

“Erdoğan continues to insist that there is no difference in his mind between the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the PKK: To the Turkish President, they’re all terrorists. Evidently, however, the American position is shifting,” writes Michael Rubin in Commentary. “Obama has insisted that he approve every military operation in Syria. This is why the recent airdrop of supplies to Kobane is so important: That airdrop directly assists the PYD, YPG, and the PKK. In effect, Obama is now aiding a group that his State Department still designates a terrorist group.”

“In reality, that designation is probably long overdue for a review if not elimination.” FULL POST

October 20th, 2014
05:59 PM ET

Expert: Some good news on Ebola fight

Fareed speaks with Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-discovered the Ebola virus.

You worry about the fact that this could spread in the very large, very congested cities in Africa, for example, in Nigeria. And at that point, this could really spread like lightning.

Well, first of all, the three countries that are affected are being totally destabilized, not only in terms of people who are killed by Ebola, their families, the orphans that now are coming up because the parents die, but the economy has come to a standstill. People are massively dying from other diseases that are normally treatable, like malaria, or women die while giving birth because hospitals are abandoned or are full with Ebola patients.

So that’s a very, very destabilizing factor. And that's going to go in its impact beyond Ebola.

Now the big question will be, will this spread to surrounding countries? The good news is that both Nigeria and Senegal have been able to contain a number important cases. In Senegal, there wasn’t even any secondary case. In Nigeria, there were a number of people who were infected and died, but it has not given rise to an outbreak in Lagos, after all, a city of more than 20 million people, or in Port Harcourt. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Health
October 20th, 2014
10:36 AM ET

Revisiting my 'Roots'

Watch 'Roots', a CNN special, this Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

For the past couple of months, CNN correspondents and anchors, including me, have been doing deep reporting on a topic that's rather foreign to most of us. That topic is ourselves, our family histories, where we came from. In short, our roots. It was something that didn't come naturally to me at all, but in the end it was fascinating.

You know, I'm curious about the world and about how it works and about what's going on politically and economically and technologically around the world. I'm not that curious about where I specifically come from. I'm just one guy among the billions of people on earth, and I have never until this project, never, ever looked into it in any way one way or the other. I came to America and I naturalized and now I'm an Indian-American.

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Topics: GPS Show
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