Monthly Archives: October 2014

Wordsmith Bingo

My Facebook (and actual) friend Gene Seymour posted this the other day: Some 40 years ago, Wilfrid Sheed began his post-mortem for Cyril Connolly by asking who the best living writer of English prose is now. His pal John Leonard made a case for Malcolm Muggeridge while Sheed tossed out such eminences of the era […] … learn more→

UNC guilty of racketeering?

So, after years of stonewalling, denials, and trashing the reputation of whistleblowers, UNC administration finally acknowledges that, yeah, there’s some fraud going on there. Just a tiny bit. Only the fraud that’s been proven beyond all conceivable doubt. And not a drop more. Key to administration’s denials was the claim that all the fraud was […] … learn more→

Aging brains aren’t necessarily declining brains

For years, conventional wisdom held that growing older tends to be bad news for brains. Past behavioral data largely pointed to loss in cognitive – that is, thinking – abilities with age, including poorer memory and greater distractibility. Physical measures of brain structure also showed atrophy, or loss of volume, in many regions with age. […] … learn more→

For the love of cod, let’s save our disappearing seagrass

Seagrass is one of the most important coastal habitats where young ocean-going fish such as Atlantic cod can grow and develop before setting out on the journey of life. But these critically important habitats, revealed in new research, are being damaged the world over and its not just threatening biodiversity but our food security. Some […] … learn more→

Staying small and getting large

Colleges talk a lot about the ideal of a diverse community, but they tend to be narrow-minded about creating that community with other institutions. Like meets only with like, and even then the competitive juices flow. I’ve been writing about the challenges facing liberal-arts colleges and urging them to be audacious, not risk-averse, from my […] … learn more→

Cheated of a ‘Real Carolina education’

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently released the findings of a detailed investigation into “irregular” classes run through the African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. For those, like me, who proudly call themselves Tar Heels, the investigation provided plenty of disappointments: Students received credit for courses that never met and papers filled […] … learn more→

SAT and UNC: The difference between real and fraud, part 1

Last May, the SAT exams in South Korea were cancelled. Yes, for the whole country, cancelled. Why? Because of allegations of cheating. So, 1600 Korean students are denied the chance to take the test because, possibly a few dozen, maybe even hundreds, might be cheating. This is a sad thing because these students take their […] … learn more→

Are you stopping yourself from finishing your PhD?

If you don’t mind living on a low income (or can supplement it somehow) being a full time student on a living stipend in Australia is (superficially at least) a pretty good deal. At the moment unis don’t charge residents any fees (the government is proposing to change this), so there is no worry about […] … learn more→

Guns on campus have already curtailed free speech

Earlier this month, the feminist and media critic Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak to students on the campus of Utah State University. The day before her talk, emails were sent to staff and faculty threatening violence if Sarkeesian was allowed to proceed. The threats were fairly general: Sarkeesian and all the feminists in the […] … learn more→