The approach of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, has me brooding over recent scientific portrayals of Native Americans as bellicose brutes.
I'm teaching Darwin again this semester, in two separate courses, and I'm confronted with a familiar dilemma: How should I respond to students who reject evolutionary theory on religious grounds?One course is a freshman survey of the humanities and social sciences, and the other reviews the history of science and technology...
Over the past two days, The New York Times published a two-part essay titled "Rethinking the 'Just War,'" by philosopher Jeff McMahan of Rutgers. I got excited when I spotted the headline on the Times website yesterday...
In 2005, I became, briefly, a tool of the military-industrial complex. My service began when I received an email from Centra Technology, a defense contractor.
I've been trying to come up with something to say about Sandy that hasn't already been asserted and questioned and reasserted and so on. So I thought I'd talk about how nuclear plants weathered the storm.As I mentioned in a previous post, environmentalists in my hometown and throughout New York want to permanently close the Indian Point nuclear plant, which they see as a potential "Fukushima on the Hudson," as the green group Riverkeeper put it...
How's this for a confluence of cultural currents? A British scientist chats about psychopaths with an American actor who plays a psychopathic serial killer on TV in front of an audience at a museum loaded with Buddhist art...
Last week the man whom The New Yorker called "the most influential living philosopher" came to my school, Stevens Institute, to talk about "Ethics and the Election." Peter Singer, who was raised in Australia and now teaches at Princeton and the University of Melbourne, espouses utilitarianism, an ethics that seeks to minimize suffering and maximize wellbeing.Singer's work is challenging, not because his writing is difficult to understand but because it is all too clear...
Cold Spring, New York, my lovely Hudson River home, has long been a hotbed of environmental activism. In 1962, the utility Consolidated Edison announced plans to carve a power plant out of stately Storm King Mountain, just across the Hudson from Cold Spring...
Fed up with Obomney? Sick of both Democrats and Republicans? Do you see the parties' similarities—their cowardly hawkishness and craven obeisance to deep-pocketed donors--as more significant than their differences?...
Earlier this week the legendary biologist Robert Trivers gave a talk, "Why We Lie (even to ourselves)," to a packed auditorium at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology.
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