Latest News

Welcome to our archive of news stories relevant to the project of fighting fashionable nonsense. The stories are drawn from the electronic pages of the world’s media. On this page, you’ll find links to those stories that have been featured on Butterflies and Wheels during the current year. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to separate archives of stories from previous years.

We’re always pleased to hear about news stories that you think should be featured on Butterflies and Wheels. Just send an email here, if you want to point one out to us.

A note about links

Inevitably links go out of date. We suggest, therefore, that you make hard-copies of the stories that particularly interest you.


Did the Chinese Discover America? *

Jan 9th, 2003 | Filed by

Renting the Royal Geographical Society lecture hall and inviting an audience is one way to get attention.… Read the rest



The Attention of People Who Care *

Jan 9th, 2003 | Filed by

David Bromwich disagrees with Louis Menand that dispassion is the proper state for a critic.… Read the rest



Exam Still Bowdlerizes Texts *

Jan 8th, 2003 | Filed by

New York Regents’ exam continues to re-write and abridge literary excerpts, despite promises not to. Quis custodiet?… Read the rest



Less Optimistic But More Impatient *

Jan 8th, 2003 | Filed by

Edmund Gordon studies the achievment gap between black and white students.… Read the rest



Language Has to be Taught *

Jan 8th, 2003 | Filed by

And the television doesn’t do the job.… Read the rest



Richard Sennett on the Cello and Respect *

Jan 8th, 2003 | Filed by

The sociologist is more ambivalent than he was in his ‘ferocious Marxist phase’.… Read the rest



Fresh Meat? Old Meat? Scraps? *

Jan 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Did hunting shape human evolution, or was it foraging and scavenging? Or both?… Read the rest



Edge Science Questionaire *

Jan 7th, 2003 | Filed by

Edge asks scientists what they would tell the President, if he asked them, are the most pressing science issues he should be attending to. Alas, he hasn’t asked.… Read the rest



More on the Edge Question *

Jan 7th, 2003 | Filed by

The New York Times editorial on Edge’s science question, with extracts from several answers.… Read the rest



Is Pointing Out the Obvious ‘Racist’? *

Jan 6th, 2003 | Filed by

Culture minister worries aloud about glamorization of guns by rappers, finds self ‘at the centre of a race row’.… Read the rest



Is Language a Spandrel? *

Jan 5th, 2003 | Filed by

Chomsky, Hauser, and Fitch think it may be, Pinker thinks the idea is eccentric.… Read the rest



Hidden Ecological Explanations *

Jan 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Is culture a human category, or can animals have it? Do orangs and chimps learn culture, or adapt their behavior to their environment?… Read the rest



Is It Distraction, or Multi-Tasking? *

Jan 4th, 2003 | Filed by

Can students learn critical thinking while playing solitaire or surfing the Web?… Read the rest



When Good Scientists Go Bad *

Jan 3rd, 2003 | Filed by

They become journalists and friends of the Raelians and are selected to ‘check’ the ‘evidence’ of cloned baby.… Read the rest



M.I.T. Investigating its own Laboratory *

Jan 2nd, 2003 | Filed by

Physicist at M.I.T. accuses lab of hiding flaws in missile defense program.… Read the rest



An Evening in Hell *

Jan 1st, 2003 | Filed by

The MLA convention: interviews, fear and trembling, publish or perish, cutbacks, no vacancies, ‘literary theorists are the snappiest dressers’.… Read the rest



Paradigm Shift in Progress? *

Dec 31st, 2002 | Filed by

Physicists disagree about revisions to special relativity.… Read the rest



Research on Free Will *

Dec 31st, 2002 | Filed by

Is it an empirical question rather than a philosophical one?… Read the rest



Claim Anything *

Dec 30th, 2002 | Filed by

Rael ‘once claimed that he travelled by flying saucer in 1975 to share lunch with Jesus, Buddha and Confucius’ and now claims to have cloned a human.… Read the rest



The Great Age of the Big Notion *

Dec 29th, 2002 | Filed by

The Lonely Crowd was one of a crowd of Big Idea books that were long on speculation but short on evidence.… Read the rest