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Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications Editorial and Design Director: Emily HiestandSenior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill to determine the role of metal-poor stars as tracers of the accretion history of the Milky Way halo.M.L.S. and NBC are teaming up on Saturday to provide 10 uninterrupted hours of coverage of league games. Former congressman Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) is mourning the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez today, praising Chavez as someone who made a difference for poor people. Kennedy told the AP that Chavez helped 2 million Americans through a heating assistance program that the two men worked on together through Kennedy's Citizen's Energy charity. Kennedy said Chavez donated 200 million gallons of heating oil over eight years. Read full article >> By imposing multiple restrictions on the processes of writing, this group of French writers seek to find what literature might be, rather than what it isYou might think Raymond Queneau was guilty of a little overkill when he cured a bout of writer's block by writing One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, but this flipbook presentation of 10 sonnets did more than paper over a barren spell, it became the founding text of an experimental literary collective.The 14 lines on each page are printed on individual strips, so that every line can be replaced by the corresponding one in any of the other poems. By the author's reckoning, it would take someone 190,258,751 years to go through all possible combinations. Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes is at once complete, always in the process of becoming (with a little help from the reader) and necessary (on its own combinatorial terms) – the signatures of the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, or Potential Literature Workshop (OuLiPo) launched by Queneau and François Le Lionnais in 1960.The Oulipo replayed literary modernity in ludic mode. It was, inter alia, an attempt to reconcile CP Snow's two cultures, an undertaking which was embodied by the workshop's co-founders: Queneau was a writer fascinated by science; Le Lionnais, a scientist fascinated by writing. In their own way, they were reprising the early Romantic ambition that "all art should become science, and all science art" (Friedrich Schlegel). Despite such lofty claims, the collective adopted a very pragmatic approach to fiction, which is rather unusual in France, where literature has preserved much of its mystique and creative writing programmes are almost unheard of. According to Daniel Levin Becker, Oulipians consider "literature in the conditional mood; not the imperative". They do not profess to know what literature should be, but attempt to uncover what it could be, either in theory or practice. In the early days, the emphasis was firmly on the former (i.e. "anoulipism" in Oulipospeak). When they were not scouring the great works of the past in search of proto-Oulipian procedures, the group members were busy establishing a lineage of "pre-emptive plagiarists" (Lewis Carroll, Raymond Roussel et al.). The invention and possible deployment of new writing constraints ("synthoulipism") soon became the main focal point, however, and under the aegis of Georges Perec (who joined in 1967) the production of ambitious new works took centre stage.Oulipians are into literary bondage. Their fetish is predicated on the notion that writing is always constrained by something, be it simply time or language itself. The solution, in their view, is not to try, quixotically, to abolish constraints, but to acknowledge their presence, and embrace them proactively. For Queneau, "Inspiration which consists in blind obedience to every impulse is in reality a sort of slavery". Italo Calvino (who was co-opted in 1973) concurred: "What Romantic terminology called genius or talent or inspiration or intuition is nothing other than finding the right road empirically". Choosing the "right road" from the outset, instead of stumbling upon it haphazardly, is the Oulipian way: once the Apollonian trade miner been circumscribed, Dionysus can work his magic. "I set myself rules in order to be totally free," as Perec put it, echoing Queneau's earlier definition of Oulipians as "rats who build the labyrinth from which they plan to escape".As Gabriel Josipovici argues in What Ever Happened to Modernism?, modern literature was forged out of a refusal to submit to external constraints, with the novel a "new form in which the individual could express himself precisely by throwing off the shackles that bound him to his fathers and to tradition". The flipside of this emancipation of the writer (or privatisation of writing) was, as Walter Benjamin pointed out, isolation. No longer the mouthpiece of the Muses or society, novelists could only derive legitimacy from themselves. "Going back to the world of genres is not an option, any more than is a return to the world of the ancien régime," writes Josipovici. The Oulipo escapes the Romantic cul-de-sac of unfettered imagination (or its Surrealist avatar, chance) by reintroducing external constraints, which are self-imposed.Whether or not constraints should be disclosed to the reader is a moot point. Harry Mathews refuses to do so, while Jacques Roubaud (another mathematician) argues that the constraint(s) should be the very subject matter of any truly Oulipian work. Some constraints are a trifle gimmicky, like Jacques Jouet's metro poems, or even Jean Lescure's N+7 procedure. Others are far more convincing, for example, Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style in which the same anecdote is retold in 99 different ways. "The problem, when you see the constraint," Perec observed, is that you no longer see anything else. It is a testament to his prodigious talent that one of the first reviewers of A Void (1969) should have failed to notice that the novel does not contain the most common letter (e) in the French language. This lipogrammatic tour de force is particularly poignant because the missing e (pronounced "eux" – "them" – in French) refers to all those (including the author's parents) who went missing during the second world war.For Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, the Romantic fragment "stands for itself and for that from which it has been detached," making it both finite and (theoretically) infinite. According to Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, the Oulipian constraint serves a similar purpose: "The work which results may be 'complete' in itself, but it will also gesture at all the other work that could potentially be generated using that constraint". Exhaustion is the "necessary corollary" of potentiality, they continue. This is particularly true in the case of Perec, who, like an agoraphobic miniaturist, focuses on manageable, bite-sized chunks of reality, which he then tries to shoehorn into his books. He claimed that his ambition in Life: A User's Manual (1978) was "to exhaust not the world" but "a constituted fragment of the world". An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975) – his famous exploration of the "infra-ordinary" – involved spending three days on the Place Saint-Sulpice observing what happened when nothing happened.One could argue that the failure of the Oulipian project is Perec's major theme. In one of the dreams in La Boutique obscure – recently translated for the first time – Perec discovers an edition of A Void in which the banned letter e keeps recurring. In Life: A User's Manual, Bartlebooth dies clutching the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, which turns out to be the wrong shape. The plot – based on an algorithm enabling the knight in a game of chess to touch every single square on the board once – enacts the novel's failure (there is a missing chapter corresponding to an unvisited basement). "The Winter Journey" (which Atlas Press is bringing out in a new edition) revolves around the discovery – clickbank pirate loss – of a book (the eponymous Winter Journey) proving that all the great modern poets were in fact plagiarists. Also, 53 Days – about an unfinished book left by a writer who disappears – was left unfinished by Perec, when he disappeared in 1982. The most famous Oulipian ― himself a crossword constructor – knew that literature was an unsolvable puzzle.Some say that the Oulipo increasingly resembles a gathering of ageing cruciverbalists: it started off looking for "pre-emptive plagiarists" and is now largely concerned with archiving its glory days. In an age of N+7 Machines and ebooks, many of the Oulipo's algorithm-based experiments have lost their cutting edge. The recent revival of interest, in the English-speaking world, is due to translations of works by historic Oulipians, as well as Daniel Levin Becker's youthful transatlantic enthusiasm (he is the group's latest recruit). Perhaps it is a measure of the movement's success that these days some of the most interesting debates and experiments are taking place outside the narrow confines of the group. Take Multiples, for instance, which originated as a special issue of McSweeney's, edited by Adam Thirlwell, which Portobello is bringing out here next month. It is a typically Oulipian exercise in which 12 short stories are translated by 61 novelists into 18 different languages. Each story is translated into or out of English several times, until something new is found in translation.FictionPoetryAndrew Gallixguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     Reggaeton star Don Omar said at his concert late Friday that the popular Puerto Rican reggaeton duo of Wisin and Yandel is breaking up.     Ghana has soured on the Chinese who have worked in its gold mines for years, exposing China’s risky system of financing for miners and leaving relatives fearing financial ruin.     IN NOVEMBER, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly stood before an audience in St. Louis and spoke from the heart about the disconnect between the lives and experiences of members of the U.S. military - and those of the civilians they are defending. The armed forces are at war and have been for a d... The Reds have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of Iago Aspas and LuisAlberto as well as signing the goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. How much do you know about them?     Paperback books of particular interest. A man charged in the killings of four people who died during a June killing spree in Illinois and Missouri has been charged with murder in four more bludgeoning deaths. The suicide rate among middle-age Americans rose 30 percent from 1999 to 2010, with more people now dying of suicide than in car accidents.     Municipalities are showing an interest in creating their own utilities, reflecting concerns about climate change and responses to power disruptions. How big is the gender gap at schools around the world? How has the picture changed in recent years?Malala Yousafzai – the young campaigner who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Pakistan last October – has drawn the world's attention to the fight for girls' access to education. On Friday, she marks her 16th birthday by delivering a speech at the UN, and a petition calling on the general assembly "to fund new teachers, schools, books and recommit to getting every girl and boy in school by December 2015".Globally, more children are in primary school than ever before. Yet an estimated 57 million remain out of school, and gender disparities are large in many countries. How big is the gender gap in schools around the world? How has the picture changed in recent years? The UN uses a gender parity index (GPI), comparing aquaponics 4 you review enrollment rates to those of boys, to track progress towards the millennium development goal (MDG) target to achieve parity in primary and secondary education by 2015. A GPI lower than 1.0 signifies more boys in school than girls, with scores above 1.0 reflecting more girls than boys. At the global level, the MDG target on parity at primary school has already been met. Estimates of global progress can mask stark differences at the country or regional level, however. Today, the gender gap in primary education is concentrated in a much smaller group of countries. The visualisation above shows how the picture has changed since the 1970s. In Pakistan, there are an estimated 82 girls for every 100 boys at primary school. While still far from parity, this reflects significant progress since 1990, when there were only 52 girls for every 100 boys, and even more since the early 1970s, when estimates suggest boys outnumbered girls by almost three to one. The table below compares Pakistan's progress towards gender parity at primary school with four nearby countries – Afghanistan, Iran, India and Tajikistan.At the secondary school level, less than 40% of countries have met the MDG target on gender parity. The remaining 60% are roughly split between those where boys outnumber girls and others where girls outnumber boys. In higher education, the global gender gap is significant – but at this level, women outnumber men. In 2011, there were 108 women studying at this level for every 100 men. Men outnumbered women in higher education until the late 1990s, when the world reached parity. Since 2004, however, the number of women in post-secondary school globally has exceeded that of men, with the gap steadily growing. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the ratio of women to men studying at this level has dropped – from 66 women for every 100 men in 2000 to 61 in 2011. Last month, the UN warned that progress on reducing the number of children out of school has ground to a "virtual standstill". Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children of primary age fell by only 3 million. "If this rate of change continues over the next few years, the world will still be far from the goal of UPE [universal primary education] in 2015," warned a report from Unesco and the Education for All campaign, which pointed to declining donor support for education. International aid for basic education dropped 6% between 2010 and 2011, with six of the world's top 10 donors – Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the US – cutting spending. Aid to secondary education declined by 11% between 2010 and 2011.Download the full spreadsheet• Download the data on gender parity in primary, secondary and tertiary educationMore data• More data journalism and data visualisations from the GuardianWorld government data• Search the world's government data with our gatewayDevelopment and aid data• Search the world's global development data with our gatewayCan you do something with this data?• Post your visualisations and mash-ups on our Flickr group• Contact us at [email protected]• Get the A-Z of data• More at the Datastore directory• Follow the Guardian data team on Twitter• Follow the Guardian Global development team on TwitterUniversal primary educationDevelopment dataMalala YousafzaiThe gender gapGenderPakistanRich HarrisClaire Provostguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     The bride is a director of events and promotions for Gucci; the groom owns a business that designs store displays. Increasing the stakes in the smartphone battle, the South Korean manufacturer showed off the Galaxy S IV, the latest version of its flagship device. NarwhalEdu is combining online curricula with hands-on engineering projects, fully fat loss factor help high school and college students discover the creativity and coolness of engineering. The four-person team includes three MIT undergraduates from MechE. Epidural steroid injections for spinal stenosis may do more harm than good, a small study suggests. Musicians have pledged more than 20,000 concert tickets to the Global Poverty Project to spur activism.     Forget the roses and violins. In a special noontime concert on Valentine's Day called "Waves of Pleasure," Assistant Professor Brian Robison will wave his hands over a theremin to create other-worldly renditions of popular romantic classics by Handel, Puccini and Rachmaninoff, as well as contemporary favorites by Ellington, Gershwin and Rodgers. Also featuring lecturer Charles Shadle as piano accompanist, the concert will be held in the Lewis Music Library (Room 14E-109) on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 12 to 1 p.m. One of the earliest electronic musical instruments, the theremin is unique in that the performer doesn't touch it while playing. Instead, proximity of the performer's hands to two antennae control the pitch and volume.Robison first encountered a theremin in a music store about a decade ago. "I was hopelessly unable to produce any recognizably musical sound," he recalls, but he decided last fall that the instrument was just too much fun not to have one.Calling the theremin "maddeningly difficult to play accurately," Robison notes that it requires extremely fine motor control. "If your hand drifts just a millimeter or two in space, that motion produces a noticeable change in pitch," he says.The concert will include an opportunity for adventurous audience members to try the instrument. "There's something mesmerizing about playing an instrument that responds to your every move, whether you want it to or not," Robison says. "I keep coming back to the theremin -- despite the limitations, despite the frustration, despite the humiliation. Much like love." Nuclear fusion is a seemingly ideal energy source: carbon-free, fuel derived largely from seawater, no risk of runaway reactors and minimal waste issues. With the world’s energy supply chain facing intense environmental, economic and political pressures, fusion’s appeal is growing and international collaboration is accelerating. And the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering’s (NSE) long-standing fusion program is extending its leadership role in advancing the technology toward practical use.NSE’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PFSC), home of one of just three U.S. tokamak fusion reactors, has been a focal point of fusion research since its founding in 1976, developing substantial basic knowledge about creating and maintaining fusion reactions. And today, explains Professor Dennis Whyte, NSE’s fusion team is beginning a strategic pivot into the next stage of development, with a focus on interdisciplinary knowledge needed for the creation of functioning powerplants.Fusion reactors, such as PFSC’s ALCATOR C-Mod, rely on the same mechanism that powers stars — collisions between atomic nuclei at extremely high temperatures (more than 100 million degrees). At those temperatures, the natural repellence of nuclei to one another is sometimes overcome, allowing them to fuse. Hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, the leading fuel candidates, ionize into a plasma when heated; their fusion creates a helium isotope and a neutron, while releasing nuclear energy.“We’re basically making energy by creating a star,” explains Whyte. “For power generation, the star has to turn on, and stay on for a year at a time, and we need a way to extract the energy it creates.”Read full article Buyers should take into account their personal situation, not just mortgage rates, when deciding to buy instead of renting a home.     Fossils reveal when ancient birds started producing fewer, larger eggs WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans on Monday raised the stakes in their showdown with President Barack Obama over trade policy, saying they will block the confirmation of a new Commerce secretary until the administration submits to Congress three pending free trade