New York, Nov 24 (AP/UNB) — Behind every great book are the books which influenced it. The "micro-learning" app and platform blinkist.com has been compiling literary sources for such classics as "A Clockwork Orange," ''Oliver Twist" and "1984."Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" was inspired by each of her parents — William Godwin's "An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice" and Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."
One of the defining novels of the Civil War era, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," drew in part upon one of the defining memoirs, "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave." Douglass' book, which remains standard reading in many schools, also was cited by Toni Morrison for her Pulitzer Prize winning historical novel "Beloved."
"We were noticing the attention around the 200th anniversary of 'Frankenstein' and got to thinking about the nonfiction works which help author of fiction," says Blinkist writer-editor Tom Anderson. "We think of those books as the unsung heroes."
Charles Dickens' portrait of extreme wealth and poverty in London in "Oliver Twist" was in part modeled on Edward Gibbon's "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Anthony Burgess drew upon fiction and nonfiction for his terrifying "A Clockwork Orange," his sources including Aldous Huxley's futuristic classic "Brave New World" and B.F. Skinner's landmark of psychology "Science and Human Behavior."
Tolstoy's "War and Peace" reflected the author's reading of the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, along with works about Napoleon and French history. According to Tolstoy scholar Ani Kokobobo, the author was "captivated" by Schopenhauer and his belief that "death is the only reality," a viewpoint expressed by the cerebral Prince Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky in "War and Peace." Kokobobo also noted that "War and Peace" was a response in part to such French scholarship as Adolphe Thiers' "History of the Consulate and the Empire of France Under Napoleon," which Tolstoy believed exaggerated Napoleon's stature and military ideas.
"Tolstoy did not believe in this 'great man' theory, also propagated by Thomas Carlyle, and thought that victory and defeat were not determined by a sole heroic leader, but rather by the collective alignment of the will of thousands," said Kokobobo, editor of the Tolstoy Studies Journal.
George Orwell's 1984, the Dystopian political novel which has become a best-seller again during the Trump administration, reflects in part the British author's reading of two nonfiction studies: James Burnham's "The Managerial Revolution" and Halford Mackinder's "Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction."
In a recent telephone interview, Orwell's son, Richard Blair, said his father was "the most voracious reader" who "absorbed enormous amounts of books." Orwell Society committee member Les Hurst said that "1984" shows how Orwell adapted the ideas of others to his own. He noted a passage from the Mackinder book, which came out just after World War I: "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island commands the world." Orwell borrowed Mackinder's framing for one of the most famous epigrams from "1984": "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
"The Mackinder book sat in Orwell's mind for several years," Hurst said. "Orwell was able to translate those words, able to extend Burnham's concepts of power and power worship and to take ideals of geopolitics and perform this great imaginative leap, from geography and cast into the past and into the future. He takes something with two dimensions and turned it into something that is three dimensional."
San Francisco, Nov 24 (Xinhua/UNB)-- As the morbidity rate of type 2 diabetes keeps increasing, about 40 million people with the disease will not have access to insulin for treatment by 2030, a recent study from Stanford University suggested.
Researchers simulated burden of the disease from 2018 to 2030 across 221 countries using data from the International Diabetes Federation and 14 studies which represent more than 60 percent of the global type 2 diabetes population.
According to the study, the number of people with type 2 diabetes worldwide will increase from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030.
About 79 million people will need insulin to control their condition, while only 38 million will be able to get it if access to insulin remains the same, researchers predicted.
"These estimates suggest that current levels of insulin access are highly inadequate compared to projected need, particularly in Africa and Asia, and more efforts should be devoted to overcoming this looming health challenge," said Sanjay Basu, lead author of the study.
"The number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years due to ageing, urbanization, and associated changes in diet and physical activity," he said, urging more governmental actions. "Unless governments begin initiatives to make insulin available and affordable, then its use is always going to be far from optimal."
Albuquerque, Nov 24 (AP/UNB) — The earliest known example of a plant-eating reptile has been found in the fossil record in southern New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History said.
The museum made the announcement this week , saying the unique structure of the skull, jaws and teeth of the sail-backed reptile indicate it was an herbivore, and that such specialized plant-eating wasn't previously known in reptiles older than about 200 million years.
The fossil bones were discovered near Alamogordo by Ethan Schuth while on a University of Oklahoma geology class field trip in 2013. The bones were part of an exquisitely preserved but incomplete skeleton.
Field crews spent about a year collecting the bones from the site and more time was spent removing the hard sandstone surrounding the fossils so research could ensue.
Paleontology curator Spencer Lucas and his team from the museum determined the bones were about 300 million years old, meaning the reptile lived during the early part of the Permian Period, or more than 50 million years before the origin of dinosaurs.
Lucas and research associate Matt Celeskey identified the skeleton as belonging to a new genus and species that they named Gordodon kraineri. Gordodon is derived from the Spanish word gordo, or fat, and the Greek word odon, or tooth, as the species had large pointed teeth at the tips of its jaws.
The species name kraineri honors Karl Krainer, an Austrian geologist who contributed to knowledge about the Permian period in New Mexico.
"Gordodon rewrites the books by pushing back our understanding of the evolution of such specialized herbivory by about 100 million years," Lucas said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Gordodon was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weighed an estimated 75 pounds (34 kilograms). It was believed to have been a selective feeder on high-nutrient plants due to the advanced structure of its skull, jaws and teeth.
Experts at the museum say other early herbivorous reptiles were not selective, chomping on any plants they came across. They say Gordodon had some of the same specializations found in modern animals like goats and deer.
Paris, Nov 24 (AP/UNB) — African artworks held in French museums — richly carved thrones, doors to a royal kingdom, wooden statues imbued with spiritual meaning — may be heading back home to Africa at last.
French President Emmanuel Macron, trying to turn the page on France's colonial past , received a report Friday on returning art looted from African lands.
From Senegal to Ethiopia, artists, governments and museums eagerly awaited the report by French art historian Benedicte Savoy and Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr, and commissioned by Macron himself.
It recommends that French museums give back works that were taken without consent, if African countries request them — and could increase pressure on museums elsewhere in Europe to follow suit.
The experts estimate that up to 90 percent of African art is outside the continent, including statues, thrones and manuscripts. Thousands of works are held by just one museum, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, opened in 2006 to showcase non-European art — much of it from former French colonies. The museum wouldn't immediately comment on the report.
A wooden door of the king's palace Gele of the Dahomey kingdom, dated 19th century, today's Benin, is displayed at Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Among disputed treasures in the Quai Branly are several works from the Dahomey kingdom, in today's West African country of Benin: the metal-and-wood throne of 19th-century King Ghezo, the doors to the palace of Kign Gele, and imposing, wooden statues.
The head of Ethiopia's Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Yonas Desta, said the report shows "a new era of thought" in Europe's relations with Africa.
Senegal's culture minister, Abdou Latif Coulibaly, told The Associated Press: "It's entirely logical that Africans should get back their artworks. ... These works were taken in conditions that were perhaps legitimate at the time, but illegitimate today."
The report is just a first step. Challenges ahead include enforcing the report's recommendations, especially if museums resist, and determining how objects were obtained and whom to give them to.
The report is part of broader promises by Macron to turn the page on France's troubled relationship with Africa. In a groundbreaking meeting with students in Burkina Faso last year, Macron stressed the "undeniable crimes of European colonization" and said he wants pieces of African cultural heritage to return to Africa "temporarily or definitively."
"I cannot accept that a large part of African heritage is in France," he said at the time.
The French report could have broader repercussions. In Cameroon, professor Verkijika Fanso, historian at the University of Yaounde One, said: "France is feeling the heat of what others will face. Let their decision to bring back what is ours motivate others."
Germany has worked to return art seized by the Nazis, and in May the organization that coordinates that effort, the German Lost Art Foundation, said it was starting a program to research the provenance of cultural objects collected during the country's colonial past.
Britain is also under pressure to return art taken from its former colonies. In recent months, Ethiopian officials have increased efforts to secure the return of looted artifacts and manuscripts from museums, personal collections and government institutions across Britain, including valuable items taken in the 1860s after battles in northern Ethiopia, Yonas said.
In Nigeria, a group of bronze casters over the years has strongly supported calls for the return of artifacts taken from the Palace of the Oba of Benin in 1897 when the British raided it. The group still uses their forefathers' centuries-old skills to produce bronze works in Igun Street, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eric Osamudiamen Ogbemudia, secretary of the Igun Bronze Casters Union in Benin City, said: "It was never the intention of our fathers to give these works to the British. It is important that we get them back so as to see what our ancestors left behind."
Ogbemudia warned the new French report should not remain just a "recommendation merely to make Africans to calm down.
"Let us see the action."
Dhaka, Nov 23 (UNB) - A unique fashion show titled ‘Haute Couture’ will be held at hotel Le Meridien Dhaka on Saturday to raise funds for the underprivileged children in the country and promote new designers.
Brazilian Embassy in Dhaka, Spouses of Head of Missions (SHOM) and the Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh joined hands to host the fashion show where the spouses of heads of missions will be the models to touch the hearts of those children.
Cosmos Group, REVIVE, Bashundhara Group, Mutual Trust Bank Limited, Dhaka Page3, Bay Developments Ltd, Bangladesh Heritage Crafts Foundation and Le Meridien Dhaka are the sponsors of the event while United News of Bangladesh (UNB) is the media partner.
Before the formal beginning of the fashion show, participants will enjoy a live music at the event where an American band will perform.
“Our expectation is to help the disabled, abandoned and disadvantaged children who need us and our help. We want to raise funds and touch their hearts,” said Sandra Tabajara, wife of Brazilian Ambassador in Dhaka, ahead of the event.
Apart from raising funds for the disadvantaged children in Bangladesh, Tabajara said, they also want to promote the new and young designers of Bangladesh. “That’s why we joined hands with them (Fashion Design Council).”
About live music at the fashion show, she said, “An American band will perform. I’ve another friend -- the drummer of the band -- from the Embassy of Sweden.”
Tabajara said everything there will be in blue and white. “We’ve to wear either blue or white; or blue and white together. That’s the idea of colour code.”
She shared her idea with Maheen Khan, a well-known pioneer in the design industry of Bangladesh, and spouses of Ambassadors and High Commissioners who responded positively.
“We’ll be the models. People will really have fun seeing us as models,” she said.