Excellent Sheep and Chinese Americans

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source: Information Processing

Two recent podcasts I recommend. I disagree with Deresiewicz on many points (see my comments on Steve Pinker’s response here and here), but the discussion is worth a listen.

Do the Best Colleges Produce the Worst Students?

As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways, argues William Deresiewicz. When he was a professor at Yale he noticed that his students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, seemed to be adrift when it came to knowing how to think critically and creatively and how to find a sense of purpose in life. Deresiewicz explains why he thinks college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. His book Excellent Sheep : The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who’s interested in the direction of American society, exposing where the system is broken and presenting solutions.

Chinese Americans and the American Dream

In many ways, Chinese Americans today are exemplars of the American Dream—moving from indentured servitude to second-class status and outright exclusion to economic to social integration and achievement. But this narrative leaves a lot out. Eric Liu, author, educator, and entrepreneur, pieces together a sense of the Chinese American identity and looks at what it means to be Chinese American in this moment. His new book A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream is a collection of personal essays that range from the meaning of Confucius to the role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution to why he hates the hyphen in “Chinese-American.”

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.
Stephen Hsu

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