Monthly Archives: April 2014

My life on the black list: Indonesia\’s tight grip on visas continues

Rejected. That’s how they returned it. \”Application rejected\” was stamped on a visa application to speak at a seminar in Jakarta. With this, I will now reach an arbitrary but quite substantial decade on Indonesia’s \”black\” list. It has been widely assumed that Indonesia’s practice of black-listing people disappeared when president Suharto was pushed from […] … learn more→

A new far-right oroposal for financing College “innovatively”

In “Here’s a New Way to Pay for College,” an article published in USA Today [], Daniel Wheaton reports on a new Far-Right proposal to address the student-debt crisis. In a bill that they have called “The Student Success Act,” Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida, and Jim Petri, a Republican House member from […] … learn more→

Writing and manure

My last post was about Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a play that apparently isn’t done with me yet. You will remember that the mystery of Jack Worthing’s birth is revealed in that play’s final moments—Jack turns out to be Ernest Moncrieff, Algy’s elder brother. Happy ending, three marriages, curtain. All the play’s […] … learn more→

Am I a student, or a therapist?!

Last year I published a post called “How I broke up with my supervisor” which detailed one student’s less than great experience of supervision. I got many emails after that post, some with really dreadful stories of neglect and bullying. I decided to publish some of them, with the authors’ permission, because I think they […] … learn more→

Cyberbullying by parents and pupils takes toll on teachers

A new survey by the teachers union NASUWT has provided further evidence to confirm that teachers too, as well as pupils, can be targets of online bullying. In the research, just more than a fifth of the 7,500 teachers surveyed had comments or information posted on social networking sites relating to their role as teachers. […] … learn more→

In defense of ‘Expressionist Crap’

Personal writing is frivolous, something best left to those students with the poor judgment to actually major in creative writing. This was essentially the opinion I heard expressed in an English-faculty meeting last fall. We should be teaching our first-year, general-education students to write for their intended professions, my colleague said; teaching “expressionist crap” is […] … learn more→

From conspiracy theories to climate change denial, a cognitive psychologist explains

Conspiracy theories Under what conditions do conspiracies spread? What can one do to convince people to be more sceptical of extraordinary claims in conspiracy theories? In societies that are not transparent and less democratic, conspiracy theories flourish because the government cannot be trusted. In general, the people who believe in conspiracy theories are low on […] … learn more→

What it takes for a conservative to show discrimination, Part 2

Last time I revealed a news report of an amazingly rare case: a conservative successfully showing he was the victim of discrimination. This is a rare event because actually taking such a claim to court somewhat violates the conservative “take responsibility for what happens to you” mind set. It’s also rare because winning is a […] … learn more→

How Philosophy makes progress

Philosophy was the first academic field; the founder of the Academy was Plato. Nevertheless, philosophy’s place in academe can stir up controversy. The ancient lineage itself provokes dissension. Philosophy’s lack of progress over the past 2,500 years is accepted as a truism, trumpeted not only by naysayers but even by some of its most enthusiastic […] … learn more→

Civility in Academe, and the lack of it

I want to return to the theme of civility that I addressed in a previous post. Modern life can sometimes feel like the jungle. On the Internet, the sheer venom of online attacks is extraordinary to behold and also a bit depressing—people really think this way? The world seems a lot less hospitable, a lot […] … learn more→