is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe
(later The Cartoon History of the Modern World
), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies
) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit
. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn
chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States
, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides
to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment
, and (yes!) Sex
. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention
, assorted math comics
), the Muse magazine
mainstay Kokopelli & Co.
(featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"
), and more
. See also these lengthy interview snippets
, linked previously
. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 6, 2011 -
China is eating our lunch, says one columnist. Obama called it a "Sputnik moment."
When a Philadelphia football game was delayed because of snow, the governor of Pennsylvania said we had become a nation of wussies, and said, "The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."
Not so fast there, says a guest writer to the Seattle Times:
"To be sure, our 14th-to-25th ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment
is no cause for complacency. Neither is China eating our lunch, or any meal — at least not yet." Which brings up the hokou system,
which guarantees that the Chinese students measured for the test are the richest, best of the best in the country, and not the working poor of Shanghai. Some have called the system, which separates "urban" from "rural" workers, "China's apartheid."
posted by Cool Papa Bell
on Jan 2, 2011 -
Imagine you're living in China, trying to work your way out of the family date farming business (which garners approximately $450 annually). You do all the right things. You apply for (and receive) Communist Party membership
. You study literally to the point of collapse, and despite coming from coal-town origins, you score high on your gao kao
("high test," more-or-less the only thing that matters in getting into a Chinese university). Your already-poor family goes deep
into debt to send you to college, and you even manage to come out with a degree. Classic rise-up-by-your-own-bootstraps tale, right? However, finally, when you go to apply for a job—your state-sanctioned educational, occupational, and political records are inexplicably, awfully gone
. What has happened to that plain manila folder (!) that serves as your only legitimate, official history in Chinese society? Probably stolen and sold so a party official's child can get everything you worked so hard for
. And then, of course
, your family is detained by party officials when your parents demand to know where the hell your life went. Of course. [more inside]
posted by Keter
on Jul 27, 2009 -
Where the Engineers Are
- "To guide education policy and maintain its innovation leadership, the United States must acquire an accurate understanding of the quantity and quality of engineering graduates in India and China."
posted by Gyan
on Aug 24, 2007 -
"All he has left now
to remember the grandson he once carried on his back is a stack of workbooks -- trigonometry, politics, history. Mr. Zheng does not recognize enough Chinese characters to read them. But he keeps the books as memorials." The best human interest story of the year, and a look into the lives of China's rural poor.
posted by Tlogmer
on Aug 1, 2004 -