How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus

It can be scary outside the box. A university is a box that people choose to enter. It can be scary in there, too. I don’t feel like I’m doing my job as a professor if I don’t make students feel at least a little uncomfortable. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into “safe spaces” where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some…

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Sesame Street Is Moving to HBO, and the Symbolism Is Crushing

I’ve been fascinated by the rhetoric of headlines surrounding the “Sesame Street moves to HBO” story. * HBO gentrifies ‘Sesame Street’ –VentureBeat * Sesame Street Episodes Will Shrink to Half an Hour –Time * Sesame Street Is Heading to HBO, and Getting Even Bigger –Esquire * This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters HBO –Financial Times In short, Sesame Street was founded to help low-income kids keep up…


A salute lost to history

History is complex and baffling and fascinating. Reading this (an explanation that the stiff-arm salute that we now identify with the Nazis was a general gesture that was common in America before WWII) made my head spin almost as much as reading about the myth of 8 unbroken hours of sleep. A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military…

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Terminated for Reading an Allen Ginsberg Poem?

In February two students complained about an Allen Ginsberg poem that, at the request of a fellow student, was shared in Olio’s AP English class at South Windsor High School in Connecticut. A media uproar followed, and Olio was essentially forced to resign. Most of the facts do not appear to be in dispute – and are more nuanced than the ‘students forced to read shocking homoerotic poem’ media narrative. The overriding question…


Citizen Journalist Thrown Out of City Council Receives $200,000 Settlement

Know your rights as a journalist, and your rights as a citizen. The Mayor called the meeting to order and then said, “First of all, a little house cleaning. Uh, Chief Tatum, if you would, remove the camera from — from the auditorium. We don’t allow filming inside of the city hall here unless it’s specific reasons, so if you would remove the camera.” “Respectfully, Mayor … I am exercising…


The dark future of American space exploration: NASA’s golden age is about to come to a thudding halt

I remember, as a kid, being thrilled by the images that came in from the Voyager flybys in the late 70s and 80s. I wrote a fan letter to NASA when I was about 11, and received a big stack of glossy publications on the Space Shuttle and commercial technologies spun off from NASA inventions. If NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto is extended beyond 2017, the entire active human presence at…