Who Reads?

In some ways, a picture really is worth a thousand words. A picture can often tell a story or communicate feelings that would take a thousand words to tell. If you are old enough to remember the 9/11 attacks, you doubtless remember the video of the buildings on fire and smoking, and people jumping to their deaths to avoid being burned alive. That video has more emotional impact than any of the stories you might have read about it. Reading is more cognitive: we understand more fully. Video is more visceral: we feel more.

When I was an undergraduate . . . → Read More: Who Reads?

Politics as Usual?

Will Rogers famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” The sense that Republicans are “lock-step” in pursuit of their objectives, while Democrats are no better organized than a herd of cats, has been around since the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the frantic search for Communists thought to have infiltrated the US government. Republicans learned how to stick together during the “Cold War,” and it was not long until they had developed what came to be known as the Southern Strategy, which was essentially race-based politics, designed to take advantage of White . . . → Read More: Politics as Usual?

Evolution

“Evolution” refers to change occurring over time, typically in a positive direction. As Darwin envisioned it, species changed (gradually) over time to enhance their ability to survive. These days the word is commonly used for any change that seems to be for the better. Not everyone, of course, agrees on what’s “better.” When President Obama says that his views of gay marriage are evolving, he means that he is becoming more tolerant and accepting. Not everyone, including members of the Westboro Baptist Church, however, would agree that’s a change for the better.

One of my favorite writers, Steven Pinker, . . . → Read More: Evolution