By the end of World War II, the United States military had spent $1.5 billion on the Norden bombsight, a device that promised to be so accurate it was said a plane could drop a bomb in a pickle barrel from 20,000 feet, according to author Malcolm Gladwell.
Speaking Friday on the last day of the TED Global conference, Gladwell said the device, designed by engineer Carl Norden, indeed could allow bombers to hit their targets - but only under perfect conditions, such as a cloudless sky. In the real world, the sight often failed to find its mark.
In a raid on a German chemical plant, only 10% of thousands of bombs hit the target, said Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point" and other best-sellers.
He posed the question: Why do people place so much faith in technology such as the Norden bombsight to solve problems?
Want to dig deeper in to today's GPS show? The links below should help:
- Read Malcolm Gladwell's article on why he considers college rankings "absurd" right here (behind a paywall).
- Want to make your alma mater #1 in the nation? Well then devise your own college rankings here. (Warning: works for law schools only.)
- Then compare your rankings with U.S. News' set and see how they stack up.
Fareed offered his take on the role of technology in revolution. Can we really call these "Facebook revolutions" spreading throughout the Middle East? Fareed looked at the just how important technology has been in breaking the state's monopoly on information.
Then, just what in the world is al Qaeda doing launching a women's magazine?
And a last look at some hand signals that might land you in hot water.
Read the transcript here.
Here's more information on what our TV guests referred to today:
Fareed's Take on Libya in Time magazine:
"I share the view that with all that is happening in the Arab world, the U.S. and other nations could not abandon the Libyan opposition as it faced a massacre. But I believed helping that opposition was a wiser course than direct military intervention."
Malcolm Gladwell's take on social media and revolution:
"Some of this grandiosity is to be expected. Innovators tend to be solipsists. They often want to cram every stray fact and experience into their new model.
An exclusive interview with the president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev (Originally aired in September) and a new interview with the always fascinating writer, Malcolm Gladwell.
Read the full transcript here.
Today, an encore. I want to show you again an interview that I think is among the most important I've ever done.
Wen Jiabao is one of the most powerful men on earth. He is the premier, the prime minister of China. And I spoke with him last fall.
It was his first television interview in five years, and he has not granted another one since. In fact, he has rarely spoken to any American journalist, so this was an unusual opportunity.
This interview has been nominated for an Emmy, something we're quite proud of here at GPS.
Read the full transcript here.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
President Obama stormed into office with a big election victory, support from both Democrats and Republicans, and assurances that his would be a real bipartisan presidency. But according to one survey, at this point, the man with a mandate has the most polarized support of any president in the past four decades. The numbers come from the Pew Research Center.
You see, the Democrats really like the president. But the more remarkable fact is just how much Republicans dislike the president. So, Obama's support is more polarized than George W. Bush's, than Jimmy Carter's, than Richard Nixon's, at least at this point in their presidency.
But the really amazing fact from Pew, which was underreported, is how few Americans identify themselves as Republicans. For the last 18 months, that number has hovered around 24 percent - the lowest in about three decades. So, we have a shrinking Republican Party, a hardcore base, that is united in its opposition to Obama.
Now, some of you might think this is good. Let the Democrats lead, get things done. Fine. But in the long run it's not so good. This is a two-party system. It is the model of a modern democracy. Many other nations have tried to replicate it.
Right now what we have is a one-and-a-half party system. And with his first 100 days behind him, Obama has captured completely the vital center of the country.
He is extremely popular. At least that's my view.
Now, today on GPS, you'll hear what other people think. We have a terrific panel of historians: Jon Meacham, Walter Isaacson and Peggy Noonan. Then we'll check in with Niall Ferguson on whether the bright spots in the economy are here to stay. And the fascinating best- selling author, Malcolm Gladwell, on how greatness is achieved.
Stay with us.
Here is a list of the books Fareed has recommended over the course of the GPS show. Stock up your library.
|05/19/13||Return of a King by William Dalrymple|
|05/05/13||Foreign Policy Begins at Home by Richard Haass|
|04/28/13||The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen|
|04/21/13||The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti|
|04/14/13||The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark|
|04/07/13||This Explains Everything by John Brockman|
|03/31/13||The End of Power by Moises Naim|
|03/24/13||Catastrophic Care by David Goldhill|
|03/17/13||Double Entry by Jane Gleeson-White|
|03/10/13||China Goes Global: The Partial Power by David Shambaugh|
|03/03/13||Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights by Graham Allison & Robert Blackwill|
|02/24/13||Here's the Deal by David Leonhardt|
|02/17/13||Engineers of Victory by Paul Kennedy|
|02/10/13||Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerilla Warfare by Max Boot|
|02/03/13||After the Music Stopped by Alan Blinder|
|01/27/13||The Idea Factory: Bells Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner|
|01/13/13||Why Romney Lost by David Frum|
|01/06/13||Foreign Affairs January/February 2013 edition|
|12/23/12||The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria|
|12/09/12||Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget by David Wessel|
|12/02/12||Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb|
|11/25/12||Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham|
|11/18/12||A Nation of Takers by Nicholas Eberstadt|
|11/11/12||The Revenge of Geography by Robert Kaplan|
|11/04/12||Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe by Anne Applebaum|
|10/28/12||Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland|
|10/21/12||The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail, but Some Don't by Nate Silver|
|10/14/12||The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era by Michael Grunwald|
|10/07/12||The Parties Versus The People by Mickey Edwards|
|09/30/12||The Oath: the Obama White House and the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin|
|09/23/12||The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria|
|09/16/12||This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Faust|
|09/09/12||Interventions: A Life in War and Peace by Kofi Annan|
|09/02/12||Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are by Sebastian Seung|
|08/26/12||Einstein: His Life And Universe by Walter Isaacson|
|08/05/12||The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper|
|07/29/12||The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt|
|07/22/12||The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes|
|07/15/12||The Tell-Tale Brain by V.S. Ramachandran|
|07/08/12||Adapt by Tim Harford, Franklin and Winston, an Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by John Meacham, The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore White, The Increment, by David Ignatius, and The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria|
|07/01/12||Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States by Michael Lind|
|06/24/12||Fate of the Species by Fred Guterl|
|06/17/12||The Dictator's Learning Curve by William Dobson|
|06/10/12||Adapt by Tim Harford|
|06/03/12||The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson|
|05/27/12||China Airborne by James Fallows|
|05/20/12||The Post-American World, 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria|
|05/13/12||The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart|
|05/06/12||The Passage of Power by Robert Caro|
|04/29/12||End This Depression Now by Paul Krugman
|04/22/12||Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
|04/15/12||George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis|
|04/08/12||Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma|
|04/01/12||Franklin and Winston, An Intimate Portrait of An Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham|
|03/25/12||Paper Promises: Debt, Money, and the New World Order by Philip Coggan|
|03/18/12||Republic Lost, How Money Corrupts Congress and A Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig|
|03/11/12||The Benefit And The Burden, Tax Reform, Why We Need It And What It Will Take by Bruce Bartlett|
|03/04/12||The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore White|
|02/26/12||Behind The Beautiful Forevers byKatherine Boo|
|02/19/12||How to Win an Election by Quintus Tullius Cicero|
|02/12/12||Coming Apart by Charles Murray|
|02/05/12||The Unquiet American edited by Samantha Power and Derek Chollet|
|01/29/12||A Separation, Oscar nominated film FULL POST|
Looking for a good read this summer? On each episode, the "Fareed Zakaria GPS" show highlights a Book of the Week. Have you missed any? Then catch up on these past five recommendations and tell us what you would recommend in the comments below.
"Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States." Author Michael Lind, one of the founders of the New America Foundation, gives a revealing history of the American economy, emphasizing the crucial role that the state has played in making America an economic superpower. It will unsettle many of your cherished beliefs.
"Fate of the Species." In elegant, compelling prose, Fred Guterl, who is one of the great science journalists of today, lays out the megachallenges we confront - super viruses, climate change, disappearing species.
Editor’s Note: The following piece, exclusive to GPS, comes from Wikistrat, the world's first massively multiplayer online consultancy. It leverages a global network of subject-matter experts via a crowd-sourcing methodology to provide unique insights.
Either Israel and the United States are engaged in a brilliant psychological operations campaign against Iran or the two long-time allies really are talking past each other on the subject of Tehran’s reach for a nuclear bomb. Either way, all this Bibi Netanyahu said, Leon Panetta said chatter is producing some truly jangled nerves over in Iran on the subject of Israel’s allegedly imminent attack on that country’s nuclear program facilities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps publicly implying that his nation can’t wait on Iranian events for as long as the Obama administration – with its looming embargo of Iranian oil sales to the West – would like. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta keeps tripping over his own tongue, saying one day that America is doing its best to keep Israel’s attack jets grounded and the next offhandedly remarking to reporters that Tel Aviv is inevitably going to pull that trigger sometime this spring. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Jiang Xueqin is a deputy principal at Peking University High School and the director of its International Division. He has previously worked as a journalist, a documentary film-maker, and a United Nations press officer.
By Jiang Xueqin, The Diplomat
One writer who must be excited right now about basketball team the New York Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin is Michael Lewis, America’s best writer of non-fiction. In his book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Lewis profiles the Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane, as he stole unseen stars from wealthier teams by exploiting baseball’s prejudices; unlike the rest of baseball, Beane wasn’t interested in good looking athletic players who either hit homeruns or struck out nobly, but in smart players who got on base. In The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Lewis uses the inspiring rags-to-riches story of a poor homeless African-American high school player to explain how football strategy and tactics have evolved over the years.