Tom Nichols on The Death of Expertise

This essay, printed in “Foreign Affairs,” in their current issue, and extracted from Nichols’s new book, just published is a sobering, yet witty account of a phenomenon long in the making. He adopted an essay that originally appeared in “The Federalist” in 2014 to write the book. So, in a sense the essay is a distillation of a reconstitution of […]

China in Ten Words

Just getting into the book, China in Ten Words, by Yu Hua. Loads of marvelous stuff. Insights not only into China and the culture, but a much broader insight into universal behavior. Some highlights off the top: [the word is “Leader”]: “Historically, emperors have always cut the kind of figure and spoken the kind of language expected of an emperor, […]

About Sam Wang, the PEC, and Nate Silver and 538

Anyone with a serious interest in electoral politics ignores the Princeton Election Consortium and one of its founders, Sam Wang (disclosure: he is the son-in-law of close friends of close friends; the only way I would ever have heard of him, without stumbling on him) and speculates about November at his or her peril. It was because of Sam and […]

Shorts & Briefs | 29 May 2016

100 years, 70 years, 50… Verdun, Hiroshima, Vietnam… it’s a busy time, and a busy week, for reconciling ourselves to one another on the planet, or doing so ceremoniously. We seem to choose nice round numbers—even decades are best. I reckon in 2066, we’ll be joining hands with Syrians and Iraqis, who include Al Qaeda and Daesh descendants who have […]

Shorts & Briefs | 27 May 2016.2

Had I stuck to my original plans for college and med school, I would have nearly been the Doogie Houser of my generation. But it appears this man is of his—turns out he’s 33… I was surprised to see he has an MD (my defective expectations—hence possibly a sign that I am losing my ability to discriminate important social cues), […]

Shorts & Briefs | 23 May 2016

From The New Yorker, May 23, 2016; Talk of the Town, “Lily Tomlin” She asked if her interlocutor had two dollars, for the Zoltar fortune-telling machine outside Gem Spa. “Zoltar’s been around a long time,” she said. She fed in the bills, and the machine spat out a yellow ticket. “Is that it?” Tomlin said, rapping on the glass. “What […]

Austrian Far-Right Candidate Norbert Hofer Narrowly Loses Presidential Vote

How is it with a minuscule distance between total votes for political opponents, as often a plurality as a majority, the media make such a fuss about who won or lost—when the story continues to be about the divide that must be joined and reconciled? How is it Donald Trump, with a total of barely 12 million votes in all […]