Blog Archives

Vaccines and Autism, Part 3

Vaccines and Autism, Part 3

So I’m continuing to dissect a CNN article that, despite the title, seems to be mostly about defending vaccines. Nothing wrong with that, but the article doesn’t seem to realize that nearly every tactic that discredits vaccine studies that show a link between vaccines and autism can be just as easily applied to studies that … learn more→

Celebrating Freedom: Banned Books Week 2014

Celebrating Freedom: Banned Books Week 2014

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the power of Banned Books Week than to share something wonderful and deeply touching. In the last several months leading up to this year’s Banned Books Week I have been humbled and honored to read and share comments and letters I have received from people all … learn more→

Vaccines and Autism, Part 2

Vaccines and Autism, Part 2

Ok, so it’s clear the assumptions of the pro-vaccine crowd are so strong, that it’s reasonable to at least consider the possibility that they’re wrong, that vaccines can actually cause problems, for some people, at least sometimes. I’m not picking on CNN here, but the article is pretty much a template for how mainstream media … learn more→

Believing in Wizards

Believing in Wizards

There are certain debates in a representative democracy that are eternal for a reason–and that reason often lies the nature of humanity and human vanity. One of these debates, in the United States, was first apparent in the animosity between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. It was recapped a little less than a century ago … learn more→

Sounding real by speaking fake

Sounding real by speaking fake

Arthur Chu is apparently best known as one of the top Jeopardy! winners of all time, but since I haven’t watched Jeopardy! since the last millennium, I have no opinion on his style of play or use of the Forrest Bounce. I came upon him, instead, in an essay on his current voice-over work. Born … learn more→

History, hashtags, and the truth about slavery

History, hashtags, and the truth about slavery

When we sat down last week to read The Economist’s dismaying—and subsequently retracted—review of Edward E. Baptist’s new history of American slavery, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, we experienced a strong sense of déjà vu. The anonymous Economist reviewer objected to Baptist’s portrayal of slavery as a … learn more→

College relations: Boston’s brains behind the Olympics

College relations: Boston’s brains behind the Olympics

In a fascinating op ed in the Boston Globe recently, Andrew W. Lo, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Tom Rutledge, chief investment strategist at Alpha Simplex Group, looked at how the area’s colleges and universities might support Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics. The reaction across Boston to the City’s … learn more→

More self-sponsored and self-serving far-right scholarly research

More self-sponsored and self-serving far-right scholarly research

Richard Vedder, an emeritus economist at Ohio University, has recently released another study showing the benefits of “right to work” legislation. In a newspaper interview, he has predicted that Ohio will adopt “right to work” legislation in 2015. Vedder has, of course, long been on the payroll of the American Enterprise Institute; so, despite his … learn more→

Race matters

Race matters

It happened again: the single most contentious and edifying day of the semester, which I look forward to year after year. It’s the session in my editing class where we discuss racial and gender bias in language. And it’s the one in which my undergraduates, mostly blacks and Latinos from the Bronx, do the educating. … learn more→

Life for child migrants is even harder beyond the US border

Life for child migrants is even harder beyond the US border

Between 2003 and 2011, 8,000 to 40,000 unaccompanied migrant children from Central America were stopped every year on the southern border of the US. When this number boomed to more than 57,000 during the first nine months of 2014, president Barack Obama announced an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response” at … learn more→