Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 2.25.52 PM

The 7 things new college students don’t know that drive professors crazy

  While secondary schools pour their resources into helping students get into a good university, and adults rush to teach teens how to behave well socially, no one’s covering what kids need to know for, you know, the actual classes. I have a clear picture of what’s missing from their preparation. Here’s what to tell your college-bound students to help them succeed. —Washington Post


Truth Trumps Bias

Trump offers plenty of opportunities for his detractors to criticize him. In the case of BabyGate, it does appear that the media were quick to spread an unflattering story without confirming some key facts. From a reporter seated one row behind the crying baby: “Mom and baby, very much not kicked out, came back to their seat a bit later. The baby was sucking a pacifier, silent.” There’s a little more to the story than the transcript and video suggest.


How to Disagree

If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy: Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at…

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 2.59.28 PM

Republican National Convention: Scrutiny of Melania Trump’s speech follows plagiarism allegations

As a college English teacher, I come to the table with a nuanced professional stance on the value of originality in writing. In a given discourse community, I can refer to common ideas without making it look like I am claiming original thinking. For example, when I was an undergrad with a work-study job in the theatre department’s scene shop, I saw a tired grad student scowl at the lopsided chicken-wire…

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 10.14.45 PM

Neuroscientist Explores the Ethical Quandries of a Digital Afterlife

Now imagine the resources required to simulate the brains of millions or billions of dead people. It’s possible that some future technology will allow for unlimited RAM and we’ll all get free service. The same way we’re arguing about health care now, future activists will chant, “The afterlife is a right, not a privilege!” But it’s more likely that a digital afterlife will be a gated community and somebody will…