Both Students And Professors Need Certification, and the Elsevier Boycott

I’ve written before about the evils of grading (for example, see here and here), the main purpose of which is to make certifying students easy. Our current grading system in mathematics is counterproductive to learning (students are inhibited from engaging in essential learning activities out of the fear that is naturally induced by typical high-stakes … Read more

Mathematical Flaw In Caplan’s Exhortation To Have More Kids

I heard a radio interview this morning with Bryan Caplan (a professor of economics at George Mason University), who argues in his recent book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (which I have not read) that the average person ought to have more children. The book is apparently based on one of Caplan’s 2005 blog … Read more

Strange Fruit

The poem was written by Abel Meeropol, and the performance here is by Billie Holiday. A film telling the story of the song is here. Strange Fruit Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. … Read more

Words, Episode 2: compassion

Jian Ghomeshi interviewed Karen Armstrong (her recent book is 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life; for reviews see here, here, and here, for example) yesterday on Q, and she made the point that the major religions have largely failed at training their members to be compassionate, instead emphasizing doctrine, and rigid adherence to rules of … Read more