Baghdad's Gas Lines and Talking Robots

And now for something completely... well, all right... somewhat different.

Hello, my name is Chris and I'll be your blogger today. Let me recommend some of our specials this morning:

— NPR's Baghdad correspondent Jamie Tarabay takes us to a gas line in that beleaguered city. If you remember the gas lines in the United States in the 1970s, you may have some notion of what it's like. Raise the temperature to 110 degrees, multiply the number of cars by 50, and give half the drivers loaded guns and you'll get the idea.

— Speaking of "getting the idea," listen to Jonathan Hamilton's story about teaching language to a robot. If those people at MIT can manage that, maybe they can teach radio reporters how to spell. It's also worth a side trip on our Web site to find out whether your dog understands you. Experts say they do. Personally, I find that disturbing. If my dog really understood me, he'd probably leave.

— News from Baghdad is grim. A killing spree apparently aimed at Sunnis, and more bombings apparently aimed at Shiites. Also, Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep interviews the West Point analyst who translated The Management of Savagery, the jihadist manifesto found on the Web.

It's a Rosetta Stone of jihadist theory. Basically, it counsels jihadists to create chaos and then move in. It also suggests that Muslims read Western anthropologists' studies of Islamic cultures to see how Westerners view them. Good advice: NPR's foreign editor tells NPR correspondents heading off to Iraq to read Wilfred Thesiger. The British adventurer/anthropologist lived among Arab nomads for decades in the early 20th century and wrote lovingly about the harsh beauty of desert life.

If you love Italy, it was a happy ending at the World Cup... and an ignominious end for French star Zinedine Zidane. If you love tennis, it was stellar tennis again at Wimbledon from Roger Federer. And if you love Renee Montagne, rejoice! She's back in the studio with Steve.

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