Seven Social Sins

According to Bloomberg, the Vatican has announced a new list of “social sins.” Consistent with much of the church’s social teachings in the modern age, the list is an interesting mix of traditionally conservative and traditionally liberal ideas.  It seems to me that 6 and 7 are already contained in 5, but the Bloomberg article didn’t link to any further readings  in English. 1. “Bioethical’ violations such as birth control…

Bad Science Journalism and the Myth of the Oppressed Underdog

From Michael White, of Adaptive Complexity: There is a particular narrative about science that science journalists love to write about, and Americans love to hear. I call it the ‘oppressed underdog’ narrative, and it would be great except for the fact that it’s usually wrong. The narrative goes like this: 1. The famous, brilliant scientist So-and-so hypothesized that X was true. 2. X, forever after, became dogma among scientists, simply…

Common Errors in English (Introduction)

From the introduction to a great list of common errors in English (Paul Brians). The concept of language errors is a fuzzy one. I’ll leave to linguists the technical definitions. Here we’re concerned only with deviations from the standard use of English as judged by sophisticated users such as professional writers, editors, teachers, and literate executives and personnel officers. The aim of this site is to help you avoid low…

A Call for Slow Writing

Lindsay Waters, Inside Higher Ed: [T]he first step to re-establishing the essay as the standard in humanistic writing is to reinvigorate the sentences we write, so that, when one reads an essay, one feels it. One feels it the way one tastes — and here I’m going global — a good curry. It really sets you back. Or maybe forward. Style, maniera, modo is what we readers demand. The humanists…