Joblessness v. Uselessness

I quite enjoyed this article by Julian Dobson, posted at the RSA website.  Although the statistics are drawn from Britain, the gist of the article — that ‘unemployment’ and ‘uselessness’ are not identical states of being — resonates well on this side of the pond, particularly given the lingering employment concerns of the Great Recession.Read moreRead more

Book Review: “Empire of Illusion”

I recently finished a short little book (more of a long essay, really) by Chris Hedges, entitled “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”  Generally I prefer my polemics to be of a more easily digestible length, but this was recommended by a friend, so I stuck it out, growingRead moreRead more

In Which I Disagree With People Whose Opinions I Generally Support

I have been gone for a bit now, recently returned from a delightful vacation in Madrid, which marked my first trip to Spain.  If there’s anything that cramming 700 years of art history into a few days can teach a person, it’s that human culture doesn’t change easily — the Prado is crammed with greatRead moreRead more

The Last Racebender

I was relieved to discover that “The Last Airbender” received terrible reviews, for a variety of reasons (the cartoon was just about the perfect format to tell the full narrative), but particularly because the characters which were, in the series, ambiguously Asian or Native became, in the film, all white.  Except the villains.  The goodRead moreRead more


James Kunstler, author of the thoroughly enjoyable (in a depressing kind of way) Geography of Nowhere, gives a mean TEDTalk.  He’s a polemicist, but a witty and well-informed one.  For a more measured (and more recent) discussion of suburban remediation, check out this TEDTalk by Ellen Dunham-Jones.  If they both seem to be making desperateRead moreRead more


A couple promising stories from the front lines of educational reform: Miller-McCune offers this story from the academy — a top-down effort from UCLA to effect change amongst lower-income elementary students. This fascinating TEDtalk takes the opposite tack — the speaker, Charles Leadbetter, spends his time amongst the informal educational programs that exist in internationalRead moreRead more

Bits & Pieces

Another great post over at Rortybomb, about the fundamental anti-consumer problems with overdraft charges. This story is full of insights that seem glaringly obvious, but, given the last sixty years of policy, apparently aren’t. Studies show that a long commute is the factor most deleterious to happiness, but people persistently underestimate the effect of aRead moreRead more

The Science of Things

Miller-McCune offers a clear-headed analysis of scientific achievement in America through the lens of labor.  Being that my day job is in employment law, I’m always game for some labor analytics, and they make a compelling case that the real issue facing America is not a shortage of scientists, but rather systemic, structural problems thatRead moreRead more

Roundup? Ready!

Both of these were headlines today: U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Ban On GM Alfalfa [ScienceInsider] High Court Leaves Ban On Planting Of GE Alfalfa In Place [Civil Eats] There was much confusion in my Google Reader, but perhaps more so amongst the media coverage, with each side in a major legal battle over genetically modifiedRead moreRead more