Liberal Arts Majors Are the Future of the Tech Industry

My sister the computer programmer benefitted early in her career because she was an excellent writer. She was so good at taking notes that people would invite to her important meetings so there would be a good record, and people would consult her about important topics covered during those meetings. My brother the electrical engineer knows how to treat customers; he smiles, spends time with them, listens to their concerns,…

Scholars’ unconvincing case about the value of the humanities (essay)

A literary work is a powerful tool for simulating what it’s like to inhabit someone else’s life. Not just tolerating difference, or grudgingly giving “the other side” equal time; but generating real empathy for the diversity of humanity. There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll…

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Harvard revokes admission of several students for posting “offensive” memes

The First Amendment of the constitution protects the incoming students’ right to say whatever they like, even if Harvard doesn’t like it. And, as a private institution that is not regulated by the First Amendment, Harvard has the right to kick out incoming students unwise enough to exercise their rights in this manner. (The government can’t throw you in jail simply for choosing to speak; but you’ll still have to…

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T.S. Eliot: “when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts.”

I remember being fascinated with and challenged by The Waste Land in high school, though it wasn’t until I read some of Eliot’s essays in college that it all sunk in. The same man who could write such clear, sensible prose when he wanted to explain could also construct densely packed, layered, gnostic verse. What he wrote in 1921 about the difficulty of communicating outside our silos of expertise is…

How the Midwest went from the idealized to the derided

While Pittsburgh has become more metropolitan in the last generation, the culture here one county to the east still bears witness to its rust belt past. This may sound dull as ditch water to those who believe that the “flyover” states are inhabited largely by clodhoppers, fundamentalist zealots and loudmouthed Babbitts. In fact, Lauck’s aim is to examine “how the Midwest as a region faded from our collective imagination” and…

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Survivorship Bias – You Are Not So Smart

Successful people may just be lucky; focusing too much on their successes can silence the honorable failures that we can all stand to learn from. People who consider themselves “lucky” take more risks, and are therefore more likely to discover opportunities. They brush off their failures rather than dwell on them. People who consider themselves unlucky tend to stick to the same safe patterns. Wiseman speculated that what we call…