All entries by this author

Dishonesty or at Least Incomprehension *

Jan 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Danish panel says Lomborg did not comprehend the science in his cheerful environmental book.… Read the rest

What Ivory Tower? *

Jan 13th, 2003 | Filed by

Education and politics are and should be intimately connected.… Read the rest

Case Study in Scientific Disagreement *

Jan 13th, 2003 | Filed by

The Danish panel says Political Scientist Lomborg, ‘strangely for a statistician’, uses the word ‘plausible’ often without attaching any probability to it. And there is more…… Read the rest

Wide Awake

Jan 12th, 2003 9:10 pm | By

Speaking of Fresh Air…there was an interesting display of Pathetically Reduced Expectations on that show a few days ago. The political ‘commentator’ David Frum was on to talk about the year he spent as a speechwriter in the Bush White House. He has an unctuous, soft, childishly enthusiastic voice, and he kept getting in a flutter of excitment and admiration at things that were not worth getting in a flutter about. It was all too depressingly reminiscent of what we used to hear about the Reagan White House, when people would tell anecdotes that proved the President was actually conscious and awake as if they proved how brilliant and perspicacious he was. One example in particular struck me by its … Read the rest

What Would Jesus Drive?

Jan 12th, 2003 7:23 pm | By

I do like to see a good roundhouse attack like this one in The New Republic, on that contemporary American plague, the Sport Utility Vehicle. I only wish there were more of them (and that they did any good). There was an auto industry reporter on Fresh Air a few days ago, and it was a pathetic series of missed opportunities as Terri Gross let the guy rhapsodize about the wonders of the SUV without bothering to point out the obvious drawbacks. For instance he sang a little aria to the joy of being so high up off the road and able to look over the other traffic. Well yes, and SUV drivers are so high up that they … Read the rest

Where Are the Young People With Nose Studs? *

Jan 12th, 2003 | Filed by

Should the National Theatre be required to attract yoof?… Read the rest

‘Scientific dishonesty’? *

Jan 11th, 2003 | Filed by

A Danish political scientist is rebuked for optimistic book on environmental issues.… Read the rest

Apples and Oranges

Jan 10th, 2003 7:45 pm | By

This is an interesting and uncomfortable story. The American Association of University Professors is about to publish a study which shows that Affirmative Action policies at US colleges and universities have failed to close the gap between whites on the one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other.

The article will highlight admissions policies that give special consideration to the children of alumni and donors to colleges; prepaid-tuition plans, which benefit only those parents who can afford to save money for college; and the current movement among many public colleges to tighten admissions standards and end remedial programs, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Surely that sentence skates rapidly over the difficult issues inherent in the subject. Surely there … Read the rest

‘Cultural Difference’ and its Discontents *

Jan 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Brian Barry’s Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism was short-listed for the British Academy prize, which rewards academic excellence combined with accessibility to the general reader.… Read the rest

Study on Affirmative Action in US Higher Education *

Jan 10th, 2003 | Filed by

Study blames admissions policies that favor children of alumni, and the movement to tighten admissions standards, for failure to narrow racial gap.… Read the rest

Is ‘science for citizens’ real science? *

Jan 10th, 2003 | Filed by

The jury is out on radical plans to restructure high school science curricula in the UK. … Read the rest

Who Needs Evidence When You Have Publicity?

Jan 9th, 2003 6:41 pm | By

Oh good, another piece of Imaginative History, or The Case of the Peekaboo Evidence. Not unlike the Clonaid festivities last week, when the ‘Raelians’ announced the birth of the first cloned baby, but when invited to provide DNA evidence to support such a surprising claim, came over all bashful. There is a good deal of sly wit in Natalie Danford’s Salon piece about retired Admiral Gavin Menzies’ claim that the Chinese sailed to America seventy years before Columbus. It was a shrewd move, for example, to rent the lecture hall of the Royal Geographical Society as the place to announce his ‘discovery’. And publicity does do the trick: there has been so much attention that Menzies’ American publishers have advanced … 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

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

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

Language Has to be Taught *

Jan 8th, 2003 | Filed by

And the television doesn’t do the job.… 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

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

It’s a Gun Rap

Jan 7th, 2003 10:58 pm | By

Is it a possibility that music can impact on culture in such a way so as to affect people’s behaviour? Apparently not, at least not if the music is rap, the behaviour violent, and you agree with Viv Craske, editor of Mixmag and would be sociologist. To suggest such a thing is “racist, out of touch and bigoted”. But Mr Craske is a little confused. On the one hand, he claims that “if gun crime is up 55%, it can’t be down to music in any part” (he didn’t elaborate on whether it might be down to music in some part if gun crime is up say 54%). But, on the other hand, he doesn’t accept that guns are … 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