2008年2月29日 星期五

William F. Buckley Jr., 1925-2008


marshalling exuberant perspicacityscourge

William F. Buckley Jr., 82, Dies; Sesquipedalian Spark of Right

Published: February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died on Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.

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Marilyn K. Yee/The New York Times

William F. Buckley Jr. in his National Review office, 1984 More Photos »


Appreciations: William F. Buckley Jr. (February 28, 2008)

Comment Q&A
Sam Tanenhaus on Buckley

The editor of the Book Review and Week in Review, who is writing a biography of Mr. Buckley, answered questions from readers.

Times Topics
William F. Buckley Jr.

Highlights from the archives and reviews of Mr. Buckley’s books.


Back Story With The Times’s Sam Tanenhaus (mp3)
John Tierney on Buckley’s Life and Legacy (mp3)

Mr. Buckley suffered from diabetes and emphysema肺氣腫, his son, Christopher, said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Christopher Buckley said.

William Buckley, with his winningly capricious personality, his use of ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare to an anteater’s, was the popular host of one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine National Review.

He also found time to write more than 50 books, varying from sailing odysseys to spy novels to dissertations on harpsichord fingering to celebrations 讚美 of his own dashing daily life. He edited at least five more.

In 2007, he published a history of the magazine called “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription” and a political novel, “The Rake.” His personal memoir of Senator Barry M. Goldwater is scheduled to be published this spring, and he was working on a similar volume on President Ronald Reagan at his death.

The more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 newspaper columns, titled “On the Right,” would fill 45 more medium-size books. His collected papers, which were donated to Yale, weigh seven tons.

Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal postwar America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Mr. Goldwater in 1964 and saw his dreams fulfilled when Mr. Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office.

President Bush said Wednesday that Mr. Buckley “brought conservative thought into the political mainstream, and helped lay the intellectual foundation for America’s victory in the Cold War.”

To Mr. Buckley’s enormous delight, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the historian, termed him “the scourge of liberalism.”

In remarks at National Review’s 30th anniversary in 1985, President Reagan joked that he picked up his first issue of the magazine in a plain brown wrapper and still anxiously awaited his copy every two weeks — “without the wrapper.”

“You didn’t just part the Red Sea — you rolled it back, dried it up and left exposed, for all the world to see, the naked desert that is statism,” Mr. Reagan said.

“And then, as if that weren’t enough,” the president continued, “you gave the world something different, something in its weariness it desperately needed, the sound of laughter and the sight of the rich, green uplands of freedom.”

War on Liberal Order

The liberal primacy Mr. Buckley challenged had begun with the New Deal and so accelerated in the next generation that Lionel Trilling, one of America’s leading intellectuals, wrote in 1950: “In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.”

Mr. Buckley declared war on this liberal order, beginning with his blistering assault on Yale, from which he graduated with honors in 1950, as a den of atheistic collectivism.

“All great biblical stories begin with Genesis,” George Will wrote in National Review in 1980. “And before there was Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater, and before there was Barry Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review there was Bill Buckley with a spark in his mind, and the spark in 1980 has become a conflagration.”

Mr. Buckley wove the tapestry of what became the new American conservatism from libertarian writers like Max Eastman, “free market” economists like Milton Friedman, traditionalist scholars like Russell Kirk and anti-Communist writers like Whittaker Chambers. He argued for a conservatism based on the national interest and a higher morality.

He found his most receptive audience in young conservatives who were energized by Barry Goldwater’s emergence at the Republican convention in 1960 as the right-wing alternative to Nixon. Some met in September 1960 at the Buckley family home in Sharon, Conn., to form Young Americans for Freedom. Their numbers — and influence — grew.

Nicholas Lemann observed in Washington Monthly in 1988 that during the Reagan administration “the 5,000 middle-level officials, journalists and policy intellectuals that it takes to run a government” were “deeply influenced by Buckley’s example.” He suggested that neither moderate Washington insiders nor “Ed Meese-style provincial conservatives” could have pulled off the Reagan tax cut and other policy transformations.

Speaking of the true believers, Mr. Lemann continued, “Some of these people had been personally groomed by Buckley, and most of the rest saw him as a role model.”

Mr. Buckley rose to prominence with a generation of talented writers fascinated by political themes, people with names like Mailer, Capote, Vidal, Styron and Baldwin. Like the others, he was a magnet for controversy. Even people on the right — from members of the John Birch Society to disciples of the author Ayn Rand to George Wallace to moderate Republicans — frequently pounced on him.

People of many political stripes came to see his life as something of an art form — from racing through city streets on a motorcycle to a quixotic campaign for mayor of New York in 1965 to voicing startling opinions like favoring the decriminalization of marijuana. He was often described as liberals’ favorite conservative, particularly after suavely playing host to an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” on public television in 1982.

Norman Mailer may indeed have dismissed Mr. Buckley as a “second-rate intellect incapable of entertaining two serious thoughts in a row,” but he could not help admiring his stage presence.

“No other act can project simultaneous hints that he is in the act of playing Commodore of the Yacht Club, Joseph Goebbels, Robert Mitchum, Maverick, Savonarola, the nice prep school kid next door and the snows of yesteryear,” Mr. Mailer said in an interview with Harper’s Magazine in 1967.

Mr. Buckley’s vocabulary, sparkling with phrases from distant eras and described in newspaper and magazine profiles as sesquipedalian (characterized by the use of long words), became the stuff of legend. Less kind commentators preferred the adjective “pleonastic” (using more words than necessary).

And, inescapably, there was that aurora of pure mischief. In 1985, David Remnick, writing in The Washington Post, said, “He has the eyes of a child who has just displayed a horrid use for the microwave oven and the family cat.”

William Francis Buckley was born in Manhattan on Nov. 24, 1925, the sixth of the 10 children of Aloise Steiner Buckley and William Frank Buckley. His parents had intended to name him after his father, but the priest who christened him insisted on a saint’s name, so Francis was chosen.

When the younger William Buckley was 5, he asked to change his middle name to Frank and his parents agreed. At that point, he became William F. Buckley Jr.

The elder Mr. Buckley made a small fortune in the oil fields of Mexico and Venezuela and educated his children with personal tutors at Great Elm, the family estate in Sharon, Conn. They also attended exclusive Roman Catholic schools in England and France.

Family’s Deep Catholicism

Young William absorbed his family’s conservatism along with its deep Roman Catholicism. At 14, he followed his brothers to the Millbrook School, a preparatory school 15 miles across the New York line from Sharon.

In his spare time at Millbrook, young Bill typed schoolmates’ papers for them, charging $1 a paper, with a 25-cent surcharge for correcting the grammar.

He graduated from Millbrook in 1943, then spent a half a year at the University of Mexico studying Spanish, which had been his first language. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and managed to make second lieutenant after first putting colleagues off with his mannerisms.

In his 1988 book, “William F. Buckley, Jr.: Patron Saint of the Conservatives,” John B. Judis quoted Mr. Buckley’s sister Patricia as saying that the Army experience changed Mr. Buckley. “He got to understand people more,” she said.

Mr. Buckley then entered Yale, where he studied political science, economics and history; established himself as a fearsome debater; was elected chairman of The Yale Daily News; and joined Skull and Bones, the university’s most prestigious secret society.

As a senior, he was given the honor of delivering the speech for Yale’s Alumni Day celebration, but was replaced after Yale’s administration objected to his strong attacks on the university. He responded by writing his critique in the book that brought him to national attention, in part because he gave the publisher, Regnery, $10,000 to advertise it.

Published in 1951, “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom,’ ” charged the powers at Yale with having an atheistic and collectivist bent and called for the firing of faculty members who advocated values out of line with what he saw as Yale’s traditional values.

After a year in the Central Intelligence Agency in Mexico City (his case officer was E. Howard Hunt, who went on to participate in the Watergate break-in), Mr. Buckley went to work for the American Mercury magazine, but resigned to write on his own.

Over the next few years, Mr. Buckley worked as a freelance writer and lecturer and wrote a second book with his brother-in-law L. Brent Bozell. Published in 1954, “McCarthy and His Enemies” was a sturdy defense of the senator from Wisconsin, who was then at the height of his campaign against communists, liberals and the Democratic Party. The book made the New York Times best-seller list.

In 1955, Mr. Buckley started National Review as a voice for “the disciples of truth, who defend the organic moral order,” with a $100,000 gift from his father and $290,000 from outside donors. The first issue, which came out in November, claimed the publication “stands athwart history yelling Stop.”

It proved it by lining up squarely behind Southern segregationists, saying that Southern whites had the right to impose their ideas on blacks who were as yet culturally and politically inferior to them. After some conservatives objected, Mr. Buckley suggested instead that both uneducated whites and blacks should be denied the vote.

Mr. Buckley did not accord automatic support to Republicans. For President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom National Review was founded in part to oppose, the magazine ultimately managed only a memorably tepid endorsement: “We prefer Ike.”

Circulation increased from 16,000 in 1957 to 70,000 at the time of Goldwater’s candidacy in 1964, to 115,000 in 1972. It is now 166,000. The magazine has always had to be subsidized by readers’ donations, supplemented by Mr. Buckley’s lecturing fees.

Along with offering a forum to big-gun conservatives like Russell Kirk, James Burnham and Robert Nisbet, National Review cultivated the career of several younger writers, including Garry Wills, Joan Didion and John Leonard, who would shake off the conservative attachment and go their leftward ways.

National Review also helped define the conservative movement by isolating cranks from Mr. Buckley’s chosen mainstream.

“Bill was responsible for rejecting the John Birch Society and the other kooks who passed off anti-Semitism or some such as conservatism,” Hugh Kenner, a biographer of Ezra Pound and a frequent contributor to National Review, told The Washington Post. “Without Bill — if he had decided to become an academic or a businessman or something else — without him, there probably would be no respectable conservative movement in this country.”

Mr. Buckley’s personal visibility was magnified by his “Firing Line” program, which ran from 1966 to 1999. First carried on WOR-TV and then on public television, it became the longest-running program with a single host — beating out Johnny Carson by three years. He taped 1,504 programs, including debates on scores of topics like “Resolved: The women’s movement has been disastrous.”

There were exchanges on foreign policy with Norman Thomas, feminism with Germaine Greer, and race relations with James Baldwin. Not a few viewers thought Mr. Buckley’s toothy grin before he scored a point resembled nothing so much as a switchblade.

To the New York City politician Mark Green, he purred: “You’ve been on the show close to 100 times over the years. Tell me, Mark, have you learned anything yet?”

At age 50, Mr. Buckley crossed the Atlantic Ocean in his sailboat and became a novelist. Eleven of his novels are spy tales starring Blackford Oakes, who fights for the American way and beds the Queen of England in the first book.

Others of his books included a historical novel with Elvis Presley as a significant character, another about the Nuremberg trials, a reasoned critique of anti-Semitism and journals that more than succeeded in dramatizing a life of taste and wealth — his own.

Mr. Buckley’s spirit of fun was apparent in his 1965 campaign for mayor of New York on the ticket of the Conservative Party. When asked what he would do if he won, he answered, “Demand a recount.” He got 13.4 percent of the vote.

In retrospect, the mayoral campaign came to be seen as the beginning of the Republican Party’s successful courtship of working-class whites who later became “Reagan Democrats.”

Unlike his brother James, who served as a United States senator from New York, Mr. Buckley generally avoided official government posts. He did serve from 1969 to 1972 as a presidential appointee to the National Advisory Commission on Information and as a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations in 1973.

In his last years, as honors like the Presidential Medal of Freedom came his way, Mr. Buckley gradually loosened his grip on his intellectual empire. In 1998, he ended his frenetic schedule of public speeches, about 70 a year over 40 years, he once estimated. In 1999, he stopped “Firing Line,” and in 2004, he relinquished his voting stock in National Review. He wrote his last spy novel (the 11th in his series), sold his sailboat and stopped playing the harpsichord publicly.

But he began a new historical novel and kept up his columns, including one on the “bewitching power” of “The Sopranos” television series. He commanded wide attention by criticizing the Iraq war as a failure.

On April 15, 2007, his wife, the former Patricia Aldyen Austin Taylor, died. Mr. and Mrs. Buckley called each other “Ducky.”

He is survived by his son, Christopher, of Washington; his sisters, Priscilla L. Buckley of Sharon, Conn., Patricia Buckley Bozell of Washington, and Carol Buckley of Columbia, S.C.; his brothers, James L., of Sharon, and F. Reid, of Camden, S.C.; a granddaughter; and a grandson.

In the end it was Mr. Buckley’s graceful, often self-deprecating wit that endeared him to others. In his spy novel “Who’s on First,” he described the possible impact of his National Review through his character Boris Bolgin.

“ ‘Do you ever read the National Review, Jozsef?’ asks Boris Bolgin, the chief of KGB counter intelligence for Western Europe. ‘It is edited by this young bourgeois fanatic.’ ”

Op-Ed Columnist

Remembering the Mentor

Published: February 29, 2008

When I was in college, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a book called “Overdrive” in which he described his glamorous lifestyle. Since I was young and a smart-aleck, I wrote a parody of it for the school paper.

“Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs,” I wrote in my faux-biography. “By the time he had learned to talk, he had finished three volumes: ‘The World Before Buckley,’ which traced the history of the world prior to his conception; ‘The Seeds of Utopia,’ which outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation; and ‘The Glorious Dawn,’ which described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.”

The piece went on in this way. I noted that his ability to turn water into wine added to his popularity at prep school. I described his college memoirs: “God and Me at Yale,” “God and Me at Home” and “God and Me at the Movies.” I recounted that after college he had founded two magazines, one called The National Buckley and the other called The Buckley Review, which merged to form The Buckley Buckley.

I wrote that his hobbies included extended bouts of name-dropping and going into rooms to make everyone else feel inferior.

Buckley came to the University of Chicago, delivered a lecture and said: “David Brooks, if you’re in the audience, I’d like to offer you a job.”

That was the big break of my professional life. A few years later, I went to National Review and joined the hundreds of others who have been Buckley protégés.

I don’t know if I can communicate the grandeur of his life or how overwhelming it was to be admitted into it. Buckley was not only a giant celebrity, he lived in a manner of the haut monde. To enter Buckley’s world was to enter the world of yachts, limousines, finger bowls at dinner, celebrities like David Niven and tales of skiing at Gstaad.

Buckley’s greatest talent was friendship. The historian George Nash once postulated that he wrote more personal letters than any other American, and that is entirely believable. He showered affection on his friends, and he had an endless stream of them, old and young. He took me sailing, invited me to concerts and included me at dinners with the great and the good.

He asked my opinion about things, as he did with all his young associates, and he worked hard on polishing my writing. My short editorials would come back covered with his red ink, and if I’d written one especially badly there might be an exasperated comment, “Come on, David!”

His second great talent was leadership. As a young man, he had corralled the famously disputatious band of elders who made up the editorial board of National Review. He changed the personality of modern conservatism, created a national movement and expelled the crackpots from it.

He led through charisma and merit. He was capable of intellectual pyrotechnics none of us could match. But he also exemplified a delicious way of living.

Magazines are aspirational. National Review’s readers no doubt shared a hatred for Communism, but many of them simply wanted to be like Buckley. He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life: for music, conversation, technology and adventure.

Days at the magazine were filled with rituals. And through all the fun, I don’t recall him talking about politics much. He talked about literature, history, theology, philosophy and the charms of the peculiar people he had known. I don’t recall politicians at his home, but I do recall literary critics like Anatole Broyard and social thinkers like James Burnham, even after his stroke.

Buckley contained all the intellectual tensions of conservatism, the pessimism of Albert Jay Nock and Whittaker Chambers, as well as the optimism of Ronald Reagan. He loved liberty and felt it must be constrained by the invisible bonds of the transcendent order.

One night we were at his home, and his wife, Pat, at the height of her glamour, swept in from an evening on the town and took one look at the little group of us debating some point. You could feel her inner thought: “Why does he spend his time with those people?” But Buckley loved ideas, swept us along as his companions, and sent us out into the world.

And years later, I asked if he’d ever reached a moment of contentment. He’d changed history and accomplished all that any man could be expected to accomplish. After you’ve done all that, I asked, do you feel peace? Can you kick back and relax?

He looked at me with a confused expression. He had no idea what I could possibly be talking about.

2008年2月25日 星期一

Oscar Tug of War 2008

第80屆奧斯卡金像獎結果揭曉,美國黑色喜劇《老無所依》(No Country For Old Men)成為今年的大贏家。



HOLLYWOOD — “No Country for Old Men,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s chilling confrontation of a desperate man with a relentless killer, won the Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night, providing a more-than-satisfying ending for the makers of a film that many believed lacked one.

The Coens, who live in New York and remain aloof from the Hollywood establishment, also shared the directing and adapted screenplay awards. Joel Coen thanked the academy members for “letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox.”

sandpit UK Show phonetics
noun [C] (US sandbox)
a hole in the ground, or a box, filled with sand in which children can play

No film ran away with the night, however, as the 80th annual Academy Awards gave a bruised movie industry a chance to refocus its ever-inward gaze on laurels instead of labor strife.

BBC《黑色血金》(There Will Be Blood)的英國演員丹尼爾﹒戴─劉易斯成為今年奧斯卡影帝,影後寶座則由瑪麗昂﹒歌利亞憑《玫瑰人生》(La Vie en Rose)奪得。

新華社 丹尼爾·戴-劉易斯憑借在影片《血色黑金》中演繹美國石油大亨心狠手辣的早期發跡史,獲得奧斯卡最佳男主角獎。戴-劉易斯跪地領獎,感謝美國電影藝術與科學學院的成員用“漂亮的武器”擊中他。

Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for his portrayal of a ruthless oil tycoon’s rise from the sweat and sludge of wildcatting to wealth, power and madness in “There Will Be Blood.”

另一位英國演員蒂爾達﹒斯溫頓也憑著《邁克爾﹒克萊頓》(Michael Clayton)一片成為今年的最佳女配角。




間諜片《諜影重重3》(The Bourne Ultimatum)也奪得了三個獎項,包括羅最佳音響效果、最佳音效剪輯和最佳剪接。








2月24日,第80屆奧斯卡頒獎典禮在美國加利福尼亞州好萊塢柯達劇院舉行。這是因在影片《邁克爾·克雷頓》中的表演而獲得最佳女配角獎的英國女演員蒂爾達·斯溫頓。 新華社/法新

新華網洛杉磯2月24日電 第80屆奧斯卡獎頒獎典禮24日在洛杉磯柯達劇院舉行。各個奧斯卡獎項都已名花有主,而獲獎者的精彩感言也像那些流光溢彩的晚裝一樣為人們所津津樂道。以下是一些獲獎感言的摘要。



賈維爾·巴爾登憑《老無所依》奪得最佳男配角獎,成為歷史上第一名捧得奧斯卡“小金人”的西班牙男演員。他說: “這太令人驚訝了,獲得這個獎項對我而言是巨大的榮譽。感謝科恩兄弟,他們近乎瘋狂地相信我能行,還在我的頭上做了個可怕的發型,它可能是歷史上最可怕的 發型之一。”

47歲的英國女影星蒂爾達·斯溫頓獲得第80屆奧斯卡最佳女配角獎。她因在影 片《邁克爾·克雷頓》中扮演一名為了達到目的不擇手段的女律師而贏得這一競爭激烈的獎項。斯溫頓在頒獎典禮上坦言對獲獎感到意外。當她離開頒獎臺時,頒獎 人追著將證書交給她,斯溫頓說:“對,這可是證據。”


98歲的好萊塢老牌美工羅伯特·博伊爾獲得終身成就獎。他上臺領獎時,全體嘉賓起 立鼓掌表示祝賀。博伊爾在發表獲獎感言時說:“電影創造了歡笑和快樂,也告訴了我們事實真相。”他還感謝給他機會的導演:“感謝給我第一份工作的約翰遜, 感謝希區柯克給了我第一個機會……我如此熱愛電影,很幸運成為電影業中的一員。”

‘No Country for Old Men’ Wins Oscar Tug of War

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

No film ran away with the night, however, as the 80th Academy Awards gave a bruised movie industry a chance to refocus its ever-inward gaze on laurels instead of labor strife. Ethan Coen, left, Joel Coen, center, and Scott Rudin accepted the award for best picture. More Photos >

Published: February 25, 2008

HOLLYWOOD — “No Country for Old Men,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s chilling confrontation of a desperate man with a relentless killer, won the Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night, providing a more-than-satisfying ending for the makers of a film that many believed lacked one.

The Coens, who live in New York and remain aloof from the Hollywood establishment, also shared the directing and adapted screenplay awards. Joel Coen thanked the academy members for “letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox.”

No film ran away with the night, however, as the 80th annual Academy Awards gave a bruised movie industry a chance to refocus its ever-inward gaze on laurels instead of labor strife.

Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for his portrayal of a ruthless oil tycoon’s rise from the sweat and sludge of wildcatting to wealth, power and madness in “There Will Be Blood.”

And Marion Cotillard won the Oscar for best actress for her incarnation of the tormented chanteuse Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose.”

“Thank you life, thank you love,” an elated Ms. Cotillard said. “It is true there are some angels in this city.”

None of the best picture nominees went home empty-handed: all picked off a significant win in one category or another.

Javier Bardem won a fourth Oscar for “No Country,” capturing the best supporting actor for his role as the cattlegun-wielding, pageboy-wearing serial killer. He thanked the Coens, saying they “put one of the most horrible haircuts in history over my head.”

The Oscar for “No Country” was a long-sought triumph for Scott Rudin, a prolific producer who has specialized in movies on the smarter end of the spectrum, but only once before received a best-picture nomination, for “The Hours” in 2003.

Tilda Swinton took best supporting actress for playing a nervous wreck of a corporate lawyer who throws morality under the bus of her ambition in “Michael Clayton.”

The indie delight “Juno,” about a pregnant teenager with a mouth on her, won for best original screenplay, by Diablo Cody, who once worked as a stripper. She tearfully thanked her family for “loving me for who I am.”

“No Country” was denied in several technical categories, as well as in cinematography: Robert Elswit won that Oscar for “There Will Be Blood,” whose extended tracking shots in harsh open spaces and dimly lighted images of claustrophobic spots made for stunning scenes despite long stretches with little dialog.

With all four top acting prizes going to Europeans and the New York-based Coen brothers’ film in contention for several others, it was a night when Hollywood’s glittery establishment came out to honor what was essentially a gaggle of outsiders.

Another example: “Falling Slowly,” the ballad from “Once” about the music created in the space between two people, won best original song. It was written by the film’s stars, the Irish Glen Hansard and the Czech Marketa Irglova, who have since become a real-life couple.

“Atonement,” nominated for seven awards, won for best original score. The awards were otherwise all over the map, with the first nine going to different films, leaving the show’s host, Jon Stewart, to set the tone with a riff on the three-month writers’ strike that had threatened to turn the Oscars itself into a marathon of montages.

“You’re here — I can’t believe it, you’re actually here!” he joked as the show opened. “The fight is over, so tonight,” he added, “welcome to the makeup sex.”

Mindful of the election season, he took note of the Democratic primary race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. “Normally when you see a black man or a woman president, an asteroid is about to hit the Statue of Liberty,” he said.

“Ratatouille,” a rodent’s-eye view of the accessibility of art, won for best animated feature. Brad Bird, that film’s director, thanked his junior high school guidance counselor: “He asked me what I wanted to do with my life,” Mr. Bird recalled. “I said, ‘Make movies.’ He asked me what else I wanted to do with my life. And I said, ‘Make movies.’ ” Mr. Bird said the doubt he faced was “perfect training” for a life in Hollywood.

“Taxi to the Dark Side,” an examination of American torture practices, won best documentary feature.

Also in the early going, “La Vie en Rose” won for best makeup and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” won for costume design. “The Golden Compass,” in which every human character is born with a shape-shifting animal companion known as a “daemon,” scored a big early upset in the visual-effects category, beating two far more successful films: “Transformers” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”

Among the lesser-watched categories, “The Bourne Ultimatum” won Oscars for all three in which it was nominated: film editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

“The Counterfeiters,” a Nazi-era drama, became the first Austrian film to win an Oscar, for best foreign-language film.

Owen Wilson presented the award for best live-action short to “Le Mozart des Pickpockets,” and played it straight, avoiding any reference to his personal collapse and hospitalization just as his “Darjeeling Limited” was being released last fall. Best animated short went to “Peter and the Wolf,” and was presented by an animated Jerry Seinfeld, in his “Bee Movie” character.

The animation award, and Mr. Stewart’s opening monologue, provided a lighthearted liftoff for an Oscars telecast sure to be weighted down by the field of mostly small and dark films in the running for the top honors. Embraced by critics, those movies have been less warmly received by the mass audiences whose attentions have sustained the Academy Awards as one of the nation’s few remaining shared rituals.

The lack of a clear consensus among critics and audiences left the potential for an Oscar night in which the top awards were scattered in every direction. Among other things, the evening promised to be a tug of war over sensibilities: Academy voters were being asked to choose between the nihilism of “No Country for Old Men,” in which the serial killer prevails; the hopeful spunk of “Juno,” in which a pregnant teenager forges her own solutions; or, perhaps, a saga of childhood betrayal and lives destroyed, in “Atonement,” set against the backdrop of British retreat in the early days of World War II.

As Mr. Stewart put it: “Does this town need a hug?” He added, “All I can say is, thank God for teen pregnancy.”

The 80th annual Academy Awards, held at the Kodak Theater here, delivered a welcome return to pomp and ritual for a town still recovering from the strike by film and television writers that stripped the glitz from the enterprise. “I think the town is ready to celebrate,” said George Clooney, walking up the red carpet accompanied by his girlfriend, Sarah Larson. “I know I am, but then that’s never been a problem for me.”

On Sunday, however, jitters still surrounded a broadcast that was assembled quickly around a roster of independent-style films, none of which has shown the audience appeal of a “Titanic” or “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” previous best-picture winners that pulled large audiences to the awards show in the past.

The early proceedings were slightly ad hoc, not quite normal for a show that operates more like an industry, bringing the 6,500-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences roughly $40 million in net income each year. Security was tight, but did not operate with the usual precision. Promised ID checks and wristbanding did not occur. Mr. Stewart, the evening’s host, had little more than a week to prepare once writers voted to return to work.

With help from a smash-up special effects opening and Mr. Stewart’s monologue, things started out with a bang. But the show began to drag as one dusty montage after another of Oscar history piled up, more numerous and less effective than in recent memory.

The machine came slightly off the rails later on, as Mr. Stewart brought Ms. Irglova back out after a commercial break when she had been denied the chance to give an acceptance speech.

Probably nothing caught the slightly cynical air of self-reference better than Jack Nicholson’s lead-in to a montage of all 79 prior best-picture winners. “They touch the humanity — heh, heh, heh — in all of us,” laughed Mr. Nicholson, with a touch more of the Joker than human warmth.

A film community that lost its balance, and never quite got it back, was also clearly unsure how much fun was too much fun under the circumstances: The annual orgy of status, heat and sequined victory laps, Vanity Fair magazine’s Oscar after-party, was abruptly canceled, as were several other ordinarily hot-ticket private gatherings.

That sense of being unmoored was not the only disconnect on display.

All the stated concern for films and filmmakers aside, Oscar night has always been about stars — just ask ABC. Thirty nine million people tuned in two years ago when “Crash” upset “Brokeback Mountain,” one of the worst ratings performances in memory. (The 2003 telecast, shadowed by the beginning of the Iraq war, was worse.) That is compared with 1998, when 55 million viewers watched “Titanic” win 11 Oscars, Jack Nicholson beat out Matt Damon, and Helen Hunt slip past Kate Winslet.

Though no one would deny that this year’s contenders are long on talent, they are exceedingly short on celebrity. Casey Affleck’s breakthrough in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” was nominated, but Brad Pitt’s starring performance was not. Cate Blanchett picked up nominations in both actress categories, but Angelina Jolie (“A Mighty Heart”) and Julia Roberts (“Charlie Wilson’s War”) went unacknowledged.

Rather, relative unknowns like the 21-year-old Ellen Page and the 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan nabbed nominations for best actress (“Juno”) and best supporting actress (“Atonement”), respectively. For that matter, Mr. Clooney (“Michael Clayton”) and Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”) picked up best-actor nominations, while the twice-honored Tom Hanks (“Charlie Wilson’s War”) and Denzel Washington (“American Gangster”) went empty-handed.

Instead, the megawatts would be supplied by the awards presenters — Mr. Hanks and Mr. Washington among them, along with stars like Jessica Alba, Renée Zellweger, Forest Whitaker, John Travolta and Harrison Ford — creating a scenario in which the Hollywood establishment turned out to sustain an institution that had failed to repay the gesture.

If Hollywood’s preoccupation with its intramural tensions seemed at odds with the celebratory order of the day, some here have suggested a divide involving the movies themselves: between the darkness and despair of films like “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men” and what the industry’s countless amateur political analysts discern as a more hopeful mood abroad in the land. By that logic, the frustrations over the Iraq war that gave rise to such films, as well as more direct cinematic responses like “In the Valley of Elah,” may have come a year too late to strike a chord with a public that has finally moved on, at least to the next election.

Perhaps nothing has drawn more attention and concern than the sharp line dividing films that have pleased the widest audiences from those embraced by critics. Thanks to “Juno” and its $130 million in ticket sales, the five best-picture nominees together have grossed $327 million, $111 million of that since the academy nominations were announced, an unusually strong Oscar bump. But the combined grosses are a far cry from a decade earlier, when “Titanic” inflated the total.

“Juno” was not the only $100 million-plus movie up for an award; the animated “Ratatouille” received five nominations; “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Transformers” and “Enchanted” each had three. But in the major categories, only “American Gangster” exceeded that mark besides “Juno.”

Art and quality aside, the paucity of widely seen movies up for consideration is ominous not just for ABC selling commercial time against the telecast but for the academy itself, rendering it that less culturally relevant. Left unchecked, the trend threatens to turn the yearly ritual into a niche affair instead of a shared national experience.

Yet for all the doom and gloom on the minds of academy members and obsessives — Heath Ledger’s death provided another reason to mourn — there were many areas in which excitement could be seen bubbling up out of the ground like Daniel Plainview’s black gold in “There Will Be Blood.”

If small and dark films captured the attention of critics and the academy, it was not for lack of ambition among Hollywood studios.

David Carr contributed reporting.

2008年2月24日 星期日



The Story Behind the Sony Walkman

我還還是根據sony 官方說法和 日文wikipedia (英文版另外有德國的專利大戰) 之walkman 項目


井深大 Ibuka Masaru, April 11, 1908 in Nikkō City, JapanDecember 19, 1997 in Tokyo) was a Japanese electronics industrialist. He co-founded what is now Sony.


カセットテープタイプの初代ウォークマンの開発を言い出したのは、当時会長であり、創業者の一人でもあった、盛田昭夫であった。同氏の娘が海外旅行 から帰った際に「ただいま」も言わず自分の部屋で音楽を聴いていたのを見て、いつでもどこでも、音楽を聴ける物は作れないかと考え開発の指示をした。 当時社内から、スピーカーの無いプレーヤーは絶対に売れないと反発されたが、それを押し切り開発を続行、思いのほか音質が良いと感じたと言う。

  • 実際の開発は黒木靖夫指 揮のもと行われ、のちに黒木靖夫はウォークマン開発の功績によりソニー取締役になった。黒木氏は2007年7月に癌のためにこの世を去り、多くの経済紙な どが「ミスターウォークマン」の訃報を取り上げた。ウォークマン発売後もさまざまな商品を世に送り出し、近年ではワールドカップサッカーのフーリガン対策 に開発された「透明な盾」のデザインなども行っていた。また、自身が開発したウォークマンを脅かす存在のiPodに対しても高い評価


Listening to Stereophonic Sound while Walking
By the end of the 1970s, stereo cassette tape machines were a cherished fixture in many homes and automobiles. However, truly portable units with built-in speakers or for use with headphones were limited to monaural sound.

In 1978, Sony added the small TC-D5 stereo model to its well-known Densuke series of portable tape recorders. Although popular among audiophiles, the TC-D5 was too heavy to be truly portable and the cost was prohibitive at 100,000 yen.

Ibuka (then Honorary Chairman) was a regular user of the TC-D5, and he would take one with a set of headphones on overseas trips, so that he could listen to music in stereo on the plane. However, he found it too heavy. One day, before going on a trip to the United States, he asked Ohga (then Executive Deputy President) for a simple, playback-only stereo version of the pictPressman,pict the small, monaural tape recorder that Sony had launched in 1977. Ohga immediately called Kozo Ohsone, general manager of the Tape Recorder Business Division.

Ohsone immediately replied, pictYes, yes, I'll do it.pict He had his staff alter a Pressman, removing the record function and converting the machine to produce stereo sound. They then attached headphones and tried this creation. The resulting sound was actually quite good. Shortly after, Ohsone and his staff were working on this rather strange-looking combination of large headphones and a small Pressman, when Ibuka visited them to discover if they had created what he requested. Always interested in products under development, Ibuka had a habit of dropping in at Sony's various laboratories.

A prototype with large headphones.

A prototype with large headphones.

Ohsone suggested that Ibuka try the modified Pressman. Ibuka was pleasantly surprised by the powerful sound that came from such a small device, and he was reminded of the first time he had listened to stereo sound through binaural headphones at the 1952 Audio Fair in the United States.

Ohsone managed to provide a modified version of the Pressman in time for Ibuka's business trip, but it worked with small, special batteries. Ohga presented Ibuka with the unit, together with two batteries that he had an engineer from Ohsone's group rush around Akihabara (an electronics-shopping district in Tokyo) to find and a selection of classical music tapes.

Ohga's relief was short-lived. He received a call from Ibuka in the U.S., who said, pictThe batteries ran out on the plane, and I can't find any replacements over here.pict Ohga also realized that the tapes he gave Ibuka were blank, and he hurriedly called CBS Records in the U.S. to ask them to prepare a selection of music tapes for Ibuka.

Despite all this, when Ibuka returned from the U.S. he was obviously pleased with the unit, even if it had large headphones and lacked a record function. Ibuka went to Morita (then Chairman) and said, pictTry this. Don't you think a stereo cassette player that you can listen to while walking around is a good idea?pict Morita took it home to try over the weekend, and he was also impressed. He agreed with Ibuka that the sound was quite different compared to conventional speakers, and he was excited by the fact that the device could be carried around easily, creating a personal listening experience. Morita's business acumen alerted him to the great potential of this new item.

2008年2月22日 星期五

Masaru Ibuka



作為一名重視創造力、獨特性的技術人員和企業家,井深大在公司「成立意旨書」當中期望此公司工程師是為理想而工作而不是為營利而工作,期待成為「工 程師的樂園」。井深先生把他強烈的好奇心、優秀技術人員特有的卓越洞察力和執著的熱情奉獻給了電子產業的發展。不拘泥於現有的技術、獨立研究開發出前所未 有、"觸動消費者心弦"的產品、創造全新的市場與需求正是Sony公司在50年間取得巨大發展的動力原因。


[編輯] 熱衷教育的貢獻

井深大的女兒年幼時連續高燒致殘,因此井深大除了在電子事業成就外,對於教育也是相當熱衷,他重視中小學的理科教育,在他的宣導下,1959年新力 公司在日本全國28所小學首次設立科學教育課程,井深先生於1969年設立了幼兒開發協會,積極地獻身於幼稚教育的研究,他在幼稚教育方面提出的許多主 張,被稱為「井深理論」。為表彰他在推動國民教育方面的突出貢獻,1972年公司成立了專門負責開展教育方面公益活動的索尼教育振興基金。

[編輯] 傑出貢獻的榮譽

1992年井深先生成為日本第一位獲得文部省(教育部)授予文化勳章的企業家。井深先生身為一名研究者、技術人員,以他特有的非凡見識、敏銳的洞察 力和卓越的獨創性,為眾多電子設備的研究開發及商品化做出了很大貢獻。他是將尖端電子技術廣泛運用到民用產品的先驅者。不僅如此,他為日本電子產業的發展 開拓了新的方向--從最初模仿改良已有的技術到開創全新的技術業務領域。由於他的這些傑出貢獻,他先後獲得日本政府頒發的藍帶綬章(1960年)、一等瑞寶綬章(1978年)、一等旭日大綬章(1986年)和正三位勳一等旭日桐花大綬章(1997年追綬,為日本國民可以獲得的最高榮譽)。

Masaru Ibuka (井深大 Ibuka Masaru, April 11, 1908 in Nikkō City, JapanDecember 19, 1997 in Tokyo) was a Japanese electronics industrialist. He co-founded what is now Sony.

He graduated in 1933 from Waseda University where he was nicknamed "genius inventor." After graduating, he went to work at Photo-Chemical Laboratory, a company which processed movie film. In 1945, he left the company and founded a radio repair shop in Tokyo.

In 1946 Ibuka and Akio Morita co-founded Sony Corporation, originally named Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (prior to 1958). Ibuka was instrumental in securing the licensing of transistor technology to Sony from Bell Labs in the 1950s, thus making Sony one of the first companies to apply transistor technology to non-military uses. Ibuka served as president of Sony from 1950 to 1971, and then served as chairman of Sony between 1971 and 1976. Ibuka left Sony in 1976, but maintained close ties as an advisor until his death in 1997 of a heart failure.

Ibuka also authored the book Kindergarten is Too Late (1971), in which he claims that the most significant human learning occurs from ages 9 months to 3 years and suggests ways and means to take advantage of this.

[edit] Awards and honors



  • 栃木県日光市に生まれる。
  • 神戸一中(現 兵庫県立神戸高等学校)卒。
  • 早稲田大学理工学部卒。
  • 学生時代の「走るネオン」という製品がパリ万国博覧会で金賞を獲得。戦時中の熱線誘導兵器開発中に盛田昭夫と知り合う。
  • 1946年 資本金19万円で、義父の前田多門(終戦直後に文相)が社長、井深が専務(技術担当)、盛田昭夫が 常務(営業担当)、社員20数人の東京通信工業(後のソニー)を創業。以来、新しい独自技術の開発にチャレンジし、一般消費者の生活を豊かに便利にする新 商品の提供を経営方針に活動を展開。そして、多くの日本初、世界初という革新的な商品をつくりだし、戦後日本経済の奇跡的な復興、急成長を象徴する世界的 な大企業に成長していく。
  • 1950年 テープレコーダーを発売。東京通信工業社長に就任。
  • 1955年 トランジスタラジオを発売。
  • 1958年 それまで商標名として使っていたSONYを正式な商号に採用してソニーと改称し、ブランド名と社名を統一した。
  • 1960年 トランジスタテレビを発売
  • 1965年 家庭用ビデオ・テープレコーダーを発売。
  • 1971年 ソニー会長に就任。
  • 1972年 国鉄理事、発明協会会長に就任。
  • 1976年 ソニー名誉会長に就任。
  • 1979年 日本オーディオ協会会長に就任。
  • 1987年 鉄道総合技術研究所会長に就任。
  • 1990年(平成2)ソニーファウンダー(創業者)・名誉会長に就任。

[編集] 特筆すべきこと

  • トランジスタ - アメリカで開発されたトランジスタを実用化、生産することにより前述のトランジスタラジオを世に送り、現在の電子立国日本の基礎を築く。
  • トリニトロンテレビ - 当初はクロマトロン方式にチャレンジしたソニーだったが、5年間の努力を続けても製品としての完成はほど遠かった。だが、その結果、全く新しい方式のブラウン管であるトリニトロンの開発に成功。色選別機構のアパチャーグリル、1ガン3ビームの電子銃、縦方向にゆがみのないシリンドリカルスクリーン・スクェアコーナーなど、独自技術により高性能を実現。他者は全て他方式であるシャドーマスク方式のブラウン管を採用していた中で、技術のソニーを見せつける製品となった。その後、シャドーマスク方式も進化を続け一部技術的に似通ってきた部分もあったが、元々の素性の良さと先行性から、テレビのブラウン管時代における高付加価値製品の位置を占め続けた。
  • ベータマックス - 家庭用ビデオテープレコーダーでは、自社開発によるベータマックスを推進。別方式であるVHSに結果として市場で完敗の結果となり、ソニーもVHSを一般市場にむけ生産する判断を行った。だが、ベータマックスやそれ以前からのビデオテープレコーダー開発により取得していた関連特許はVHSにも多く使用されている。また、放送用機材を初めとする業務用途では、性能を初めとする理由により現在でもベータマックスの進化系フォーマットが使用されつづけている。
  • 晩年には、従来広く認められている科学体系とは別角度からの新パラダイム模索のためにソニー社内にエスパー研究所を設立。主に「気」と呼ばれる存在についての研究を行った。これをオカルト的な疑似科学へ の傾倒と見るむきもあるが、完全な間違い。同所で行われた研究内容や手法は未解明の現象に対してであるが故に客観性を強く意識した厳しいものであった。同 研究所の設立は、当初はエレクトロニクスから始まり、後の発展においては音楽を初め、外食産業や雑貨輸入まで扱う幅広く多角的な存在にソニーを育てた、創 業者井深の、アグレッシブなチャレンジスピリットと、心や知、文化の根源を見つめるマインドの現れであり、極めてソニー創業者的であるといえる(井深逝去 後、同研究所は解散)。
  • 逝去直前には、身体の自由は利かなくなっており車いすでの移動を余儀なくされた。だが、当時の側近の言に因れば最後の最後まで頭ははっきりしてい たという。また、「今、なにがやりたいですか?」の問いには「小さい会社を作って、またいろいろチャレンジしたいね」との返答をしたという。
  • 共にソニー創業者である盛田昭夫らは、井深が海外出張などの知見を広げる旅程から戻ると「どうですか?10年後を見てきましたか?」と彼に陽気に聞いたという。
  • 井深の葬儀の際、江崎玲於奈は弔辞で以下内容を述べた。「温故知新、という言葉があるが、井深さんは違った。未来を考え、見ることで、現在を、明 日を知るひとだった」。これは、井深をにまつわる逸話にも多くある内容。一例として、1980年代前半ごろのエピソードがある。井深が当時の新素材につい てソニー社内の担当責任者にその可能性について意見を聞いた際、その返答は満足のゆくものではなかった。担当者は、現在出来ること、近く出来ることと可能 性を話したが、井深は以下の内容を言ったという。「なぜ、そういう考え方をするのか。そんな数年後ではない。1990年や、2000年でもなく、2010 年、2020年にはどうなっているしどうなるべきだから、という考えかたをしないといけない」。

[編集] 教育活動


[編集] 主な著作書籍

  • 幼稚園では遅すぎる
  • 0歳からの母親作戦
  • あと半分の教育
  • わが友本田宗一郎

[編集] 栄典

[編集] 関連項目

2008年2月21日 星期四




 農機系「高坂教 授紀念室」於去年校慶期間落成開館,以紀念台北帝大教授高坂知武。高坂教授為日本山形縣人,生於1901年,歿於1997年,享年97歲。教授專攻農業機 械學,1930年以30歲英年到台北帝大農學部農業工學教室擔任助教授,戰後繼續執教以迄退休,服務長達50年。改制後,農業工學教室更名為農工系,高坂 教授是當時該系農機組惟一的教授,為面對來自中國大陸的學生,授課由日語改成中文,教授亦勤奮學習中文,並自編自刻鋼版講義(現藏於紀念室),展現無比的 毅力與決心。

 教學而外,高坂教授還是台大交響樂團前身「台北帝國大學交響樂團」的大家長,斯人雖遠典型永在,因此農機系於1989年新建大樓完工後,特將之命名為「知武館」,今年並於高坂教授逝世週年,於館內設立「高坂教授紀念室」以永垂紀念。(農機系 提供)」臺大校友雙月刊 -1999台大出版中心近日出版第一本書《台大人類學系伊能藏品研究》

高坂知武,彭添松譯,《台灣人的生命力》思い出すままに,國立台灣 大學農業機械工程學系出版,2000

失樂園 http://blog.roodo.com/michaelcarolina/archives/5575585.html



2008年2月20日 星期三

Jameel Poverty Action Lab at M.I.T

Economic Scene

Making Economics Relevant Again

Published: February 20, 2008

It was only a decade ago that economics seemed to be an old and tired discipline. The field no longer had intellectual giants like John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman who were shaping public policy by the sheer force of their ideas. Instead, it was devolving into a technical discipline that was even less comprehensible than it was relevant.

Some Wall Street firms had become hesitant to hire Ph.D. economists, and the number of undergraduates majoring in the subject was plummeting. “A good deal of modern economic theory,” John Cassidy wrote in an article titled “The Decline of Economics” that appeared in The New Yorker in 1996, “simply doesn’t matter much.”

Over the last decade, however, economics has begun to get its groove back. Armed with newly powerful tools for analyzing data, economists have dug into real-world matters and tried to understand human behavior. Economists have again become storytellers, and, again, they matter.

They have explained why Americans don’t save enough money — and come up with clever ideas to increase savings. They have discovered that modest increases in the minimum wage don’t actually destroy many jobs — and thus made possible the recent state-by-state push to raise minimum wages. Since the mid-1990s, the number of undergraduates majoring in economics has risen sharply.

But there are more than a few economists who believe that the renaissance has come with a big downside. They argue that the new research often consists of cute findings — which inevitably get covered in the press — about trivial subjects, like game shows, violent movies or sports gambling. Economics may be popular again, but there still is no one like a modern-day Milton Friedman or John Maynard Keynes.

So when I recently set out to conduct my second annual survey of economists, I decided to try to uncover the next best thing. In its first incarnation, the survey simply asked for the names of the next generation of stars specializing in the economics of everyday life. This year, though, I went the other way — toward the big picture — and asked which economists were managing to do influential work on the crucial questions facing modern society.

Who, in other words, was using economics to make the world a better place?

I received dozens of diverse responses, but there was still a runaway winner. The small group of economists who work at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at M.I.T., led by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, were mentioned far more often than anyone else.

Ms. Duflo, Mr. Banerjee and their colleagues have a simple, if radical, goal. They want to overhaul development aid so that more of it is spent on programs that actually make a difference. And they are trying to do so in a way that skirts the long-running ideological debate between aid groups and their critics.

“Surely the most important societal question economics can help answer is why so many people are crushingly poor and what can be done about it,” David Romer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said. The macro issues (like how to build a democracy) remain maddeningly complex, Mr. Romer noted. But thanks in part to the poverty lab, we now know much more about how to improve daily life in the world’s poorest countries.

The basic idea behind the lab is to rely on randomized trials — similar to the ones used in medical research — to study antipoverty programs. This helps avoid the classic problem with the evaluation of aid programs: it’s often impossible to separate cause and effect. If aid workers start supplying textbooks to schools in one town and the students there start doing better, it could be because of the textbooks. Or it could be that the town also happened to hire a new school administrator.

In a randomized trial, researchers would choose a set of schools and then separate into them two groups. The groups would be similar in every respect except for the fact that one would receive new textbooks and one wouldn’t. With a test like this, as Vinod Thomas, the head of independent evaluation at the World Bank, says, “You can be much more accurate and much more clear about the effect of a program.”

The approach can sound cruel, because researchers knowingly deny help to some of the people they’re studying. But what, really, is the alternative? It’s not as if someone has offered to buy new textbooks for every child in the world. With a randomized study, you at least learn whether your aid money is well spent.

Ms. Duflo, who’s 35, and Mr. Banerjee, 46, came to economics from opposite ends of the intellectual spectrum. She was studying history at the École Normale Supérieure, one of the most prestigious colleges in France, when she decided that the more scientific approach of economics offered a better way to address global poverty. He dropped out of the similarly prestigious Indian Statistical Institute after two and a half months of studying math; he found the subject too abstract.

By 2003, they were both working on development at M.I.T. At the time, randomized trials were becoming more popular in the United States, but they were still fairly rare in the developing world. So along with Sendhil Mullainathan, a colleague, Ms. Duflo and Mr. Banerjee founded the lab. (It’s named for the father of an M.I.T. alumnus, who owned the exclusive right to sell Toyotas in Saudi Arabia.) Day to day, the lab is now run by Rachel Glennerster, who came from the International Monetary Fund, and it has become a magnet for some of the world’s best development economists, including Marianne Bertrand, Michael Kremer and Edward Miguel.

Mr. Kremer and two other economists, in fact, did the textbook experiment — and found that textbooks didn’t improve test scores or graduation rates in rural western Kenya. (The students were probably too diverse, in terms of preparation and even language, to be helped by a single curriculum.) On the other hand, another randomized trial in the same part of Kenya found that treating children for intestinal worms did lift school performance. That study has led to an expansion of deworming programs and, as Alan Krueger of Princeton says, is “probably improving millions of lives.”

Mr. Banerjee estimates, very conservatively, that $11 billion a year — out of roughly $100 billion in annual development aid worldwide — could be spent on programs that have been proved to work. Unfortunately, nowhere near $11 billion is being spent on such programs. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of things that have been taken up by the policy world,” he said. “But the policy lag is usually substantial. Now that we have a lot more results, I expect that in the next 10 years we will have a lot more impact.”

Mr. Banerjee and Ms. Duflo may not be a modern-day Keynes or Friedman. But they have still managed to do something rather profound. They have brought together the best of the new economics and the best of the old.

As has been the trend over the last decade, they have plunged into the world around them, refusing to accept the idea that economics is merely an extension of math. Yet no one can accuse them of working on some little problem that doesn’t matter.

E-mail: leonhardt@nytimes.com