Please Remain Seated

Next week four thousand ISU students wearing long gowns and funny hats will walk across a stage and receive an empty red diploma cover in a ritual marking the end of a successful college career.  The mood at the various commencement ceremonies on campus is festive.  At the one I participate in each year as […]

Racial Bias and Police Shootings: “The Mind of the Village”

Here is an episode from The Hidden Brain, of one of my favorite radio programs that uses social science and storytelling to explain the hidden patterns behind our behavior and beliefs (it’s also a podcast). In this segment the host explores the role unconscious racial bias might play in recent police shootings of unarmed black […]

“Hooking Up” on College Campuses

Here’s an alarming look at the “romantic” norms of contemporary college life.  Lisa Wade, sociologist at Occidental College, has done extensive research into the unspoken but powerful rules that govern the culture of casual sex on college campuses.  She is the guest on this episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast.

Paying the Price: How the High Cost of College Impacts Students and Families

Here’s an episode from the “No Jargon” podcast that discusses the difficulty many students are having paying for their college education and how this impacts them and their families.  It also grapples with the prospects of realizing the American Dream when the surest path to upward mobility is prohibitively expensive. The guest on this episode […]

Why Do Men Catcall?

Here is a link to an episode of “This American Life” I heard recently that explores the phenomenon of guys catcalling women.  If you’ve ever wondered why some dudes whistle, shout at or even grab women they don’t know, give it a listen.  It’s both fascinating and a little disturbing especially in the context of […]

America’s Never-Ending War on Drugs

One of the most valuable sources of news and analysis I’ve found in recent years is a program called “On The Media”.  It’s a weekly show produced by WNYC, a public radio station in New York.  The show offers insightful analysis of current events and critically examines how the  media covers them.  I learn something […]

Inequality and Unions

Ever wonder why income inequality in the U.S. is so extreme? Here is one big reason why: This graphic compares the portion of income received by the richest 10% and the portion of the workforce who are union members. Note that those at the top earners take a larger share of the nation’s income when […]

Renewing Democracy in Trumpland

Less than an hour before it began, I posted a last-minute announcement on Facebook to alert my local friends about a rally to support immigrant rights and religious freedom in opposition to Donald Trump’s recent orders.  No big deal, right? Well, maybe it was a big deal after all, here’s why: My Facebook announcement about […]

Philosopher Saw Trump Coming 20 Years Ago

We hear a lot these days that the study of philosophy has little of value to offer.  College students who choose it as their major are routinely reminded by their more practical-minded peers that there are few job openings for philosophers.  But on the heels of Donald Trump’s successful campaign for president, the following passage […]

Is There a Bernie Bias?

Underdog political candidates often claim they are ignored by the mainstream media; and the Bernie Sanders’ campaign is no exception.  His supporters are complaining that despite his string of primary election wins over Hillary Clinton, the media is not giving him the coverage he is due. I don’t put much stock in conspiracy theories, but  […]