Alan Dershowitz, Pro-Torture Plagiarist, Deigns to Lecture Us On Intellectual Honesty

Alan Dershowitz, a pro-torture plagiarist who has inexplicably managed to find employment at Harvard Law School, has written an embarrassingly incompetent Op-Ed at the Huffington Post. In it, he accuses the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College of having an ‘Israel problem’ because it has sponsored, and thereby, according to Dershowitz, endorsed the contentsContinue reading “Alan Dershowitz, Pro-Torture Plagiarist, Deigns to Lecture Us On Intellectual Honesty”

John Donne’s Paradoxes and Problems

A short while ago, I provided, here, excerpts from Aristotle’s Problems; in particular, I quoted two questions that Aristotle raises about alcohol and sex. Then,  I wanted to showcase the colorful framing of the question and the answer; the latter was made especially interesting because of the serious spirit of inquiry visible in it, oneContinue reading “John Donne’s Paradoxes and Problems”

American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, and the ‘American Gothic’ Style

The opening credits/titles for season 1 of American Horror Story are very creepy; in their visual ‘style’ they resemble those of season 3 of The Walking Dead. Let’s call this style ‘American Gothic’; what makes it work? The central motif in ‘American Gothic’–at least in the two sequences cited above–is the decay of the familiar: inevitable,Continue reading “American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, and the ‘American Gothic’ Style”

Time Again to Support Academic Freedom

This morning, I received the following email from the Brooklyn College President, Karen Gould: Dear students, faculty, and staff, Each semester, student clubs, academic departments, and other groups on our campus host events and invite speakers on a broad range of topics. At times, the issues discussed may be challenging and the points of viewContinue reading “Time Again to Support Academic Freedom”

Olympic Lifting: The Power and the Glory

Olympic weightlifting might just be the sexiest sport there is, a near-perfect blend of strength, agility, complexity and grace that if done right, brings the lifter face to face with an acute combination of the strong and the beautiful.  When an Olympic lift comes off, body and mind come together. An Olympic lift–the clean andContinue reading “Olympic Lifting: The Power and the Glory”

Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood

A few days ago, a delightful oddity began making the rounds: a clip of Bertrand Russell in a Bollywood movie.  The background for this clip is straightforward even if improbable: The year was 1967. Russell was by then a very frail 95-year-old man. Besides finishing work on his three-volume autobiography, Russell was devoting much ofContinue reading “Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood”

Whitewater Rafting on the Cheat River: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

In May 1990, (more precisely, during the Memorial Day weekend) I went whitewater rafting on the Cheat River in West Virginia. A fellow graduate student talked me into joining a group expedition that went every Memorial Day; it was run by a husband and wife pair and was described in suspiciously glowing terms. I hadContinue reading “Whitewater Rafting on the Cheat River: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”

Young Lady, You Too Can Strap On An Ammo Belt

It’s official: American women can now  kill strange people in strange lands, put themselves in harm’s way and die for their country.  The Pentagon’s announcement that women in the US military will now be allowed to serve in combat zones finally brings to an end a discriminatory policy that had looked increasingly ludicrous as women continuedContinue reading “Young Lady, You Too Can Strap On An Ammo Belt”

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part Deux: Aristotle on Drunkenness

A couple of weeks ago, I made a note here of my stepping onto the decaffeinated wagon in an attempt to prepare myself for the sleepless nights of fatherhood. That bout of abstinence began shortly after Thanksgiving. Besides the caffeine-free wagon, I have also been riding the alcohol-free wagon for about six weeks now, alsoContinue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry, Part Deux: Aristotle on Drunkenness”

Please, Can We Make Programming Cool?

Is any science as desperate as computer science to be really, really liked? I ask because not for  the first time, and certainly not the last, I am confronted with yet another report of an effort to make computer science ‘cool’, trying in fact, to make its central component–programming–cool. The presence of technology in theContinue reading “Please, Can We Make Programming Cool?”