Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics' equivalent to the Nobel Prize. The professor at Stanford University in California was among four Fields Medal recipients at the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Seoul, and the first female among the 56 winners since the prize was established in 1936. "This is a great honour. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Ms Mirzakhani was quoted as saying on Stanford's website. Ms Mirzakhani, 37, was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University. She said she had dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, but she pursued her enthusiasm for solving mathematical problems. "It is fun - it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case. I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path," she said.What? No! No! This cannot be! Everyone knows that Islam ruthlessly oppresses wyyyymmmyyynns! 'Everyone', of course, is in the satanic grip of the monstrous neocon delusion. FACT: Non-Arab Muslim countries like Persia and Turkey have a long tradition of female intellectuals. It's nothing special. Islam encourages this. FACT: Some Arab countries discourage women from taking certain jobs. This is an Arab cultural thing, not an Islamic thing. Note also the age of Mirzakhani. She grew up after the Revolution, supposedly in the most "repressive" times. She doesn't use the occasion to make a grindingly dull political speech about "glass ceilings" and such nonsense, as a Western female intellectual would. She only discusses the joys of mathematics, as a real intellectual would.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.