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HKS in the News March 9, 2012

1. Iran's nuclear program: the riddle, the enigma and the mystery (Heinonen) CNN

2. Peterson’s latest: Thrilling or galling? (Peterson) Washington Post

3. Smart meters spawn conspiracy talk: They know what you’re watching on TV! (Baum) Las Vegas Sun


Iran's nuclear program: the riddle, the enigma and the mystery

CNN

March 8

Quoted: Olli Heinonen, Belfer Center

Topic: Iran's nuclear program

There are "red lines," a "window of opportunity," the risk of a "zone of immunity," and plenty of other cryptic terms about Iran's nuclear program. What does it involve? Where is it leading? How and when should it be stopped or restrained? …

Even before the February report, Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general at the IAEA and now at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, wrote in Foreign Policy that Iran would be able to produce 15 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium a month, which he said was '"alarming."

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Peterson’s latest: Thrilling or galling?

Washington Post

March 8

Quoted: Paul Peterson, Program on Education Policy and Governance

Topic: Inner city schools

If you have a case of the mid-March blahs, turn to Harvard political scientist Paul E. Peterson’s new piece in the latest issue of the journal Education Next. It will excite you or infuriate you. Either way, you will get your synapses flashing and have some data to throw around the next time you argue the big issue — should we focus our efforts on improving inner city schools or inner city families?

Peterson is on the fix-the-schools side. His piece is a critique of a speech by Duke economist Helen F. Ladd.

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Smart meters spawn conspiracy talk: They know what you’re watching on TV!

Las Vegas Sun

March 8

Quoted: Matthew Baum, Shorenstein Center

Topic: Personal data and privacy

The tiny box NV Energy is installing on customers’ homes to monitor energy usage and transmit that data to the company has become the latest target of a vocal cadre of activists. …

“It’s a very basic sort of human trait to be looking for patterns,” said Matthew Baum, a public policy professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “Add that to somebody who is a little extreme, a little paranoid, and you start looking for patterns where they don’t exist. Throw on top of that a culture that is really stressed out about surveillance these days and it’s not surprising.”

Conspiracy theories are particularly difficult for public policymakers to combat once they take hold in the minds of a vocal constituency.

“Initially, it’s probably just the pretty nutty people who believe it, but then it just percolates a very long time,” Baum said. “Then it’s really hard to prove a negative, and that’s why conspiracy theories are almost impossible to debunk.”

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In the HKS TV Studio

Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Bloomberg , 3/8/12

Topic: Greek debt crisis

Olli Heinonen, Belfer Center

CNN International, 3/9/12

Iran's nuclear program

Iris Bohnet, Women and Public Policy Program

BBC “News Hour,” 3/8/2012

International women’s day

(segment begins at 44:00).

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