The Visually Sophisticated Society and “Seeing is Believing”

In 1980, Stephen Jay Gould and Steven Selden sent their copy of H.H Goddard‘s The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness to James H. Wallace, director of Photographic Services at the Smithsonian Institution. The photographs in Goddard’s book of the supposedly “feeble-minded” family had appeared to confirm their mental infirmity: All have aContinue reading “The Visually Sophisticated Society and “Seeing is Believing””

Police or Wanna-Be Commandos?

You might have noticed your local police force starting to look increasingly militarized, wearing riot-gear like the type Glenn sports in The Walking Dead, and armed with not just weaponry like Rick Grimes‘ but with an attitude as bad as Merle‘s. Don’t worry, it’s part of a nation-wide trend of SWATting local police: Peter Kraska, aContinue reading “Police or Wanna-Be Commandos?”

Ending the NCAA’s Plantation Racket

In Kevin Smith‘s Chasing Amy, Banky tries to talk Holden out of his crush on Amy: Banky Edwards: Alright, now see this? This is a four-way road, okay? And dead in the center is a crisp, new, hundred dollar bill. Now, at the end of each of these streets are four people, okay? You following?Continue reading “Ending the NCAA’s Plantation Racket”

Schopenhauer on Revealing Our True Feelings

Thus spake Schopenhauer: If you want to know how you really feel about someone take note of the impression an unexpected letter from him makes on you when you first see it on the doormat.¹ Why does Schopenhauer imagine that these kinds of reactions of ours would be particularly revealing of our ‘true’ feelings towardsContinue reading “Schopenhauer on Revealing Our True Feelings”

American Workers to Bosses: You’re Always Right

Rebecca Schuman recently noted the case of an academic job applicant who lost out on a job offer because she dared negotiate: [A] job candidate identified as “W” recently received an offer for a tenure-track position at Nazareth College… W viewed the original bid as the opening move in a series of negotiations, and thus submitted… [a] counteroffer, afterContinue reading “American Workers to Bosses: You’re Always Right”

Carl Sagan’s Glorious Dawn: The Promise of Cosmos

The YouTube video titled “A Glorious Dawn” starring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking (their voices run through Auto-Tune), and snippets from Sagan’s epic Cosmos, has now racked up almost nine million views and twenty-seven thousand comments since it was first put up sometime back in 2009. (Mysteriously, in addition to its seventy-seven thousand ‘Likes’ it hasContinue reading “Carl Sagan’s Glorious Dawn: The Promise of Cosmos”

Hankering for a ‘Comfortable’ Past

In Home: A Short History of an Idea (Penguin: New York, 1986, pp. 213) Witold Rybczynski writes: If department stores or home-decorating magazines are any indication, most people’s first choice would be to live in rooms that resemble, as much as their budgets permit, those of their grandparents….such nostalgia is absent from other periods of our everyday lives. WeContinue reading “Hankering for a ‘Comfortable’ Past”

The Visible but Ignored Life Around Us

Yesterday’s post was about death, and how it surrounds us, while being invisible. Today’s is about how life surrounds us too, all the while visible, and yet, somehow, for all that, all too easily ignored. Once, on a hike in the Indian Garhwal with my brother, I headed back downhill to our camp after badContinue reading “The Visible but Ignored Life Around Us”

The Hidden Death Around Us

Approximately 150 people die every day in New York City; the three most common causes are heart disease, cancer, and influenza/pneumonia. I’ve lived in New York City for almost twenty years now, so a rough calculation tells me that in the time I’ve lived here, more than a million New Yorkers have passed away. I’ve seenContinue reading “The Hidden Death Around Us”

A Tale of Two Wendler Waves

In December, on returning from a four-week vacation to India, one marked by considerable dietary indulgence and a non-existent workout routine, I found myself out of shape. As I made my way back to weightlifting, I found my strength and confidence considerably diminished. Over the next few weeks, I struggled to retain some form andContinue reading “A Tale of Two Wendler Waves”