Institutions and relative incomes

Important insight by Robert Reich– The myth is you get paid what you’re worth. Yet for many occupations it’s just the reverse: Pay is inversely related to the real benefits to society. Social work, teaching, nursing, and caring for the elderly or for children are among the lowest-paid of all professions, but the benefits to …

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Candidates, Elections and Citizens

As we approach the fall elections to many positions in our communities and state there arises a little more interest in politics, even as most of us decry the increasing partisanship. My thoughts wander a lot these days as I am simultaneously a candidate, a supporter of other candidates, and a citizen concerned with the …

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HKUST IAS

I have a new candidate for coolest research institute architecture. HKUST’s Institute for Advanced Study is housed in an amazing building with a view of Clearwater Bay in HK. The members of the institute will be mostly theoretical physicists and mathematicians :-) Stiff competition from Benasque’s Center and the Perimeter Institute, however. Also Caltech’s IQIM! …

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New Linux Laptop

Earlier this month I decided to get a netbook, and of course I wanted to run Linux (preferably Linux Mint) on it. After shopping around, I settled on an Acer Aspire V5-131. I won’t say it was my dream machine — it has a conventional hard drive, whereas I would have preferred a solid-state drive …

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Gaza, Ukraine and Possibility

distressed by the recent violence in Gaza, we tried to offer something to address the killing, injury, destruction, and chaos that has been going on between Hamas and the Israeli military in recent weeks. We drafted a statement on the siege of Gaza which we put on our website, sent out to local media and …

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Zucchini for Peace

I’m just back from the International Development Ethics Association meeting where I blew everyone away with my presentation on food security. Well, maybe I’m overstating it a bit, but people did seem to appreciate what I had to say. And come to think of it, what I had to say was not really all that …

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MSU FFI Public Comment on FDA’s “Proposed Rule” for FSMA “Intentional Adulteration”

Attached you will find the MSU Food Fraud Initiative’s Public Comment on FDA’s “Proposed Rule” for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) section “Intentional Adulteration” (our submission will eventually be posted publically at www.Regulations.gov). See a PDF of our comments here. Our summary comments are consistent with our previous public statements, presentations, research findings, and …

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Success, Ability, and all that

I came across this nice discussion at LessWrong which is similar to my old post Success vs Ability. The illustration below shows why even a strong predictor of outcome is seldom able to pick out the very top performer: e.g., taller people are on average better at basketball, but the best player in the world is …

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Boyzzz Khumalo: From Soweto to Michigan

Thabiso “Boyzzz” Khumalo grew up in Soweto, South Africa, around the corner from the homes of two Nobel Peace laureates: Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Like so many boys in the land of apartheid, he spent every moment of free time playing soccer and dreaming of becoming a professional player overseas. Unlike most of …

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MIRA MIRA on the wall, who’s the fairest funding system of all?

The Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) program recently proposed by the National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) at the NIH is a huge step in the right direction to increase the fairness and efficiency of funding scientific research. See this link. http://loop.nigms.nih.gov/2014/07/comment-on-proposed-pilot-to-support-nigms-investigators-overall-research-programs/comment-page-1/#comment-7121 The basic idea is that researchers will be funded based on their …

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Spotlight Africa: After the 2014 World Cup

I chatted about the 2014 World Cup with Assumpta Oturu on KPFK Pacifica Radio‘s Spotlight Africa program. We analyzed Brazil’s historic collapse, Germany’s youth development policies, club versus country loyalties, African teams’ performances and what can be done to improve their results in global football. Listen to the entire July 19, 2014, show here. Tweet

The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision

Benjamin I. Sachs, a law professor at Harvard University, notes that while federal law lets union members prevent the use of their dues for political purposes, shareholders do not have similar rights. “If we’re going to say that collectives have speech rights, then we should treat unions and corporations the same,” Sachs told me. Employees …

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Weddings and the Dead

I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s wedding which is right around the corner. Of course, I can’t resist looking into the darker and death-related aspects of weddings and wedding planning. Weddings …

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For Shame America

For Shame America.  More than 57,000 young migrants have been apprehended, coming without parents, mostly from Central America since October.  At great expense, we have thousands of immigration control officers and elaborate fences.  I try to imagine the desperation of parents to send their children north hoping to escape killing and rape by drug gangs.  …

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Citizenship Goes Global

My day was split between talking to a social forum at a local church this morning about sustainability, climate change and divestment; an afternoon around other candidates for office in Michigan from the Green Party; and this evening after dinner I’ve been catching up on some websites that I used to frequent. One is PelicanWeb …

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Digital Environments: Design & Consequence

Wrapping up a great visit to San Jose, Costa Rica for the World History Association Conference. I delivered a paper, ‘Digital Environments: Design and Consequence”, and was joined by panelists Trevor Getz and Olivia Guntarik. During my talk I picked and pulled (responsibly, I hope) from Humanities Computing, Digital Humanities, and Library and Information Science …

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Shop Rite

Last week we memorialized the loss of a local Lansing area institution, Goodrich’s Shop-Rite. Apologies to those readers who felt that I did not take the closure of a commercial establishment seriously enough. Maybe I can work myself up to something more commensurate with the deep emotional attachment that people felt for Goodrich’s by considering …

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Death of the fittest

This is imho an excessively beautiful figure! I keep staring at it getting thrills, and bliss pours over me as I explore its intricacies. This is evolution.   Click to enlarge. (You should enjoy this figure while listening to one or several of these:) What are we looking at? Fitness over time of all individuals …

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Eating your veggies – and reading your handbooks

Luke Rapa described in a 2012 ideaplay post some of the things research handbooks “do”: Articulate the history(ies) of our discipline, demonstrating the evolution of significant ideas and scholarship over time Highlight various, and often conflicting perspectives about issues that are central to our field, while encouraging us to wrestle with any tension that remains Introduce us to …

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Higher Ed Behind Close Doors

The Detroit Free Press has sued the University of Michigan over the closed meetings it holds regularly. Our local paper’s coverage of that story indicated that MSU is similarly culpable of this violation, claiming “Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees also regularly meets in what amounts to private sessions.” For democracy to fulfill it’s ideal, …

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How To Make Clients Look Cool

Pat Law of Singapore shares an amazing story with the NY Times in the video below on how she started her own social media agency. She didn’t allow the obstacles that were affecting her family stop her from starting Goodstuph. Goodstuph is now a booming company that focuses on making their clients appear cool on …

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On the Cheap

Michael Carolan’s Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices shines some desperately needed sunlight on the current neoliberal hegemony over our economic system. Carolan, who writes with aplomb supported by a lengthy recitation of research unmasks the hidden costs of 21st century capitalism. . Carolan unmasks what he frequently refers to as socialism of the …

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