In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code.
Authors of the new study theorize that the actual effects of testosterone, a hormone produced by the male testes and female ovaries that is linked to brain development and sexual behavior, may be somewhat neutral in nature, leading to what researchers call “status-seeking behavior.” Under certain conditions status-seeking could lead to increased aggression — in prison populations, for instance, where studies have shown that inmates in high security prisons have elevated levels of the hormone — when fighting seems the only way to the top.
But in other situations, a surge of testosterone may prompt people to engage in more cooperative behavior.
Anthropologists have traditionally had a pretty wonkish reputation, earnestly taking field notes while interviewing a tribal chief or lecturing in some college classroom about the intricacies of indigenous clan-systems. If the Pentagon has its way, though, more anthropologists will exchange their tweed for military fatigues and leave the halls of academe for the front lines. For the past two years, the U.S. military has embedded anthropologists and other social scientists with American troops in order to improve the Army’s cultural IQ. But last week the American Anthropological Association (AAA) released a report coming out strongly against the program, saying that in both concept and application, it “can no longer be considered a legitimate professional exercise of anthropology.”
City Councilman Cecil Bothwell of Ashville believes in ending the death penalty, conserving water and reforming government, but he does not believe in God. His political opponents say that is a sin that makes him unworthy of office, and they have the North Carolina Constitution on their side.Detractors of Mr. Bothwell, who was elected in November, are threatening to take the city to court for swearing him in last week, even though the state’s antiquated requirement that officeholders believe in God is unenforceable because it violates the United States Constitution.