Briefly Noted . . .

Swarthmore resident Margaret Atkins is one of the students featured in an exhibit this month at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. The museum is displaying winning students’ entries from the 2017 National History Day in Pennsylvania competition through Sunday, May 13. National History Day in Pennsylvania (NHD in PA) is a competition in which students select a topic based on the annual theme, then research and create projects to demonstrate their learning. Margaret’s website project entry, “Hernando de Soto Polar: An Economic Answer to Terrorism,” won first place in its category from among 12,000 Pennsylvania entries in all categories, and went on to place 6th at the national competition held at the University of Maryland. Margaret is shown here at the museum in Harrisburg with NHD in PA State Coordinator Jeff Hawks.  Margaret is the daughter of Tracey and Harry Atkins and lives in Swarthmore. She is a high school freshman at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Del.

Daniel Ellsberg spoke to a packed Chang Hou Hall on Monday, with a several hundred rapt listeners spanning at least 3 generations taking in his talk entitled “Secrets, Lies, And the Risks of Nuclear War.” Ellsberg recounted skullduggery, deceit, plausible deniability, and outright hooey from decades of observing Washington’s political establishment and America’s military. Then he got to the scary stuff — the possibility of nuclear war, the risks and devastating dangers of which are revealed in his latest book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. As the author of the leaked report The Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was an early whistleblower who faced down the hostilities of the Nixon administration, which the 86-year-old has outlasted by 45 years and counting. His talk was part of the Swarthmore College series on “The Nature of Truth & Evidence.”

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