Recent Articles

The importance of pop quizzes

The importance of pop quizzes

You’ve just noticed several people carrying signs that say “Down with Ice Cream.”   You approach them to ask what is so bad about ice cream.  After listening to them for a few minutes, it becomes clear to you that there is a misunderstanding.  To them, the phrase “ice cream” actually means kicking dogs.  They are against kicking […]

April 5, 2006 | By | 7 Replies More
Al Franken on Ann Coulter

Al Franken on Ann Coulter

What more can one say? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/al-franken/an-evening-with-ann-coult_b_18529.html http://midwestvaluespac.org/blog/156/an-evening-with-ann-coulter-with-full-speech

April 5, 2006 | By | Reply More
Your share of the national debt

Your share of the national debt

We usually hear about “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” but, in the case of the US national debt, it’s more like “lies, damn lies, and more damn lies.”  Bush and Congressional Republicans campaigned on promises of fiscal restraint, but their promises have turned out to be even bigger lies than the ones they gave us about Iraq: According […]

April 5, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More
Is It Important or Simply Well Attended?

Is It Important or Simply Well Attended?

Tens of thousands of people flow into the stadium in anticipation of the big game.  Thousands more people read about the “big” game in the following day’s paper.  The headline: “46,239 Fans Attend Big Game.” But would that big game be “big” if only a few people showed up?  Or would it be just highly […]

April 5, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More
On Friendship, Virtue and Blogging

On Friendship, Virtue and Blogging

Aristotle wrote with great insight and clarity that maintaining friendships was a prerequisite to acting virtuously. For Aristotle, to act virtuously was necessarily to consciously act for the right reasons.  But doing this requires bringing our non-rational parts into harmony with the rational.  Further, finding this harmony requires self-knowledge that we are helpless to obtain […]

April 4, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More
Why So Much Weather?

Why So Much Weather?

A quick question, please.  Why does each local TV newscast have almost five minutes of weather?  I’m not talking about those days when a big snowstorm is about to hit.  I’m talking about a typical weather day.  Who makes the decision to beat mediocre weather into the ground each night, and why? I’ve discussed this […]

April 3, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More
On Feeling Frustration With My Culture –

On Feeling Frustration With My Culture –

     I returned from China two weeks ago, after a three-week trip to three cities, two of which I spent over a week visiting.  I have little recollection of the first couple of days home, swathed in a jet-lagged fog as I must have been.  I had, as a friend’s daughter describes it, “jet legs.” […]

April 3, 2006 | By | 7 Replies More
Politicians Speaking Publicly Versus Privately

Politicians Speaking Publicly Versus Privately

What if a co-worker told you both of the following things:  A) She was leaving the company to take a new job; and B) She was not leaving the company to take a new job. You would probably assume that she was playing a joke on you or that she was struggling with an illness […]

April 3, 2006 | By | Reply More
Finding Function in “Wasteful” Human Activities

Finding Function in “Wasteful” Human Activities

In 1997, Amotz and Avishag Zahavi published a remarkable book:  The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle.  The theme of the book, substantiated by the authors by use of dozens of case studies of animals in the wild, is twofold: In order to be effective, signals have to be reliable, and In order […]

April 3, 2006 | By | Reply More