Tom Nichols on The Death of Expertise

Reading Time: 1 minute 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 […]

“Our democracy is not working as it should”

Reading Time: 1 minute That seems like clear understatement, and just two short months ago, when the guy who said it joined the Campaign Legal Center it was less so. Today it’s much more so, if I’m allowed the tautology. But to fight the good fight, we must understand it’s a war, not a skirmish, or even, as yet, a battle. That’s coming, as […]

China in Ten Words

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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

Reading Time: 1 minute 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 […]