Blog Archives

Do human rights increase inequality?

Do human rights increase inequality?

Imagine that one man owned everything. Call him Croesus, after the king of ancient lore who, Herodotus says, was so “wonderfully rich” that he “thought himself the happiest of mortals.” Impossibly elevated above his fellow men and women, this modern Croesus is also magnanimous. He does not want people to starve, and not only because […] … learn more→

‘Class ceiling’ in workplace suppresses the American dream

‘Class ceiling’ in workplace suppresses the American dream

The American dream of equal opportunity, based on the conviction that intelligence, hard work and character are the keys to success, may be on life support. These days children raised at the top or bottom fifths of the income pyramid tend to stay there, even as adults. Higher education is considered a major contributor to […] … learn more→

Do we really need libraries?

Do we really need libraries?

In New York City, supporters of public libraries say that respect for — and repair of — the libraries is long, well, overdue. A new campaign, Invest in Libraries, puts forth that in the past 10 years, the city government has reduced funding for public libraries by nearly 20 percent and 1,000 workers or so […] … learn more→

The difference between Charlie Hebdo and the American Freedom Defense initiative

The difference between Charlie Hebdo and the American Freedom Defense initiative

In response to the “cartoon contest” in Garland, Texas, that provoked an attack by two “Muslim extremists,” the news media has not been able to avoid making parallels to the much more devastating attack on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Most of those commentators have felt uneasy enough with the comparison that […] … learn more→

Even setting evolution aside, basic geology disproves creationism

Even setting evolution aside, basic geology disproves creationism

In the ongoing conflict between science and creationism, evolution is usually a main point of contention. The idea that all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor is a major problem for creationists. As a geologist, though, I think that the rocks beneath our feet offer even better arguments against creationism. For the creationist […] … learn more→

How the language you speak changes your view of the world

How the language you speak changes your view of the world

Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in. The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with […] … learn more→

How ‘offline’ came to mean ‘online’

How ‘offline’ came to mean ‘online’

I read this sentence in The New York Times not long ago: “Most evenings, before watching late-night comedy or reading emails on his phone, Matt Nicoletti puts on a pair of orange-colored glasses that he bought for $8 off the Internet.” The phrase that caught my inner ear was “off the Internet.” It sounded odd […] … learn more→

Easter scuppers the certainties of modern fundamentalists

Easter scuppers the certainties of modern fundamentalists

Teaching any sort of academic program with religious content can be a tricky undertaking. Religious passions, whether pro or con, can be volatile; religion is a matter about which people can become upset. My doctoral studies were in the relatively safe arena of Greek philosophy – no-one really cares what you say about Socrates and […] … learn more→

The end of male supremacy

The end of male supremacy

Women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future. It is not just a matter of culture or upbringing. It is a matter of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and nerve circuits. It is not mainly because of how experience shapes women, but because […] … learn more→

How branding 101 can make leaders more mindful of diversity

How branding 101 can make leaders more mindful of diversity

A few years ago, I overheard two of my MBA students talking after class about their “personal brands.” At the time, I was amused. But then I kept hearing more about this notion of “my brand.” I noticed it was the subject of articles in Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Suddenly, I saw book upon […] … learn more→