Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation 1776–1826, by Edwin S. Gaustad. This is the best short, accessible, single-volume treatment of the religious lives, intellectual pathways and church-state politics of the preeminent founders of the United States—Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin.
Outside Paradise, government will never be perfect. But that's no reason to give up
on it—any more than the fact that we can't love our children perfectly entails giving up on loving them as well as we can.
To European visitors in the first half of the 19th century, Americans were like their newfangled steamboats: noisy, combustible, always on the move—and dirty. "I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans," Frances Trollope reported.
Egypt is facing a severe water shortage, which is getting worse as the population grows. Researchers at Alexandria University are developing an innovative desalination process using a membrane that binds with the salt as salt water passes through it. Since no electricity is used, the process requires about half the energy that other desalination methods use. It is hoped that the membrane, consisting of five components, can be mass-produced and used worldwide (Christian Science Monitor, October 28).