Humanities

Rarely do poverty and optimal health go together. In fact, income is consistently tapped as a major factor underpinning a person’s opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, children don’t fare much better, with low-income children facing increased risks of poor health and development. So, just how many American children face this challenge today? Four out of every 10.

The Meaning of Life

I’m not in the mood for heavy blogging just now, so how about we discuss something light and frivolous. Like the meaning of life. Back in July, I wrote this: Answers about our origins have no implications at all for questions of meaning and value. Arising through blind, uncaring forces in no way implies that…

As more research is emerging on the potential health effects of fracking, a new study — perhaps the largest to date of its kind — has found that people living near natural gas wells may be at increased risk for adverse health impacts, including skin and respiratory conditions.

Greenpeace names names

You’ll recall that a while back, Greenpeace activists entered a restricted zone in Peru, where the Nasca Lines are preserved, and messed with that important archaeological site. I wrote about it here. At the time, the individuals who had carried out this unthinkable act managed to drift off into obscurity, and Greenpeace seemed unwilling to…

If I Were Ted Chiang…

(That title doesn’t quite scan as is, but if you stick an “a” in there, you can sing it to the tune of a song from “Fiddler on the Roof”… You’re welcome.) The last time I taught my “Brief History of Timekeeping” seminar was in 2012, so I spent a bunch of time on the…

If you’re in the market for a paint remover and head to your local hardware store, most of the products you’re likely to find will contain methylene chloride. These products carry hazard warnings that say “Danger!” and “Poison” along with cautionary statements about the chemical’s nervous system effects and the possibility that exposure can cause blindness, birth defects, cancer and respiratory harm. But there’s little – if anything – to suggest such products are so hazardous that they were responsible for at least 14 deaths in the United States between 2000 and 2011. These products are banned in the EU. Are there alternatives and why are they still for sale in the U.S.?

I will assume you are paying some attention to the discussion of racism vis-a-vis Charlie Hebdo, Muslim bashing, obnoxious religious (in this case Islamic) rules of behavior, freedom of speech and expression, etc. If you were thinking that this situation is simple you better check your thought process, or your privilege, or something. Get an…

Food safety is at the top of the list for local restaurant inspectors in Rockaway Township, New Jersey. Recently, however, inspectors tested out the feasibility of adding a new safety checkpoint to the menu — the safety of restaurant employees. The effort was a success and one that organizers hope will ultimately lead to safer working conditions for food service workers statewide.

January Pieces Of My Mind #1

From now on I’m not appending my CV with job applications any more. I’ll send a list of my LinkedIn endorsements instead. We’ve seen a series of arson attempts on Swedish mosques, almost certainly motivated by xenophobia and racism. A lot of good people are showing their solidarity with the country’s Muslims by sticky-taping paper…

The Pope On Charlie Hebdo

Pope Francis engages in some yes-buttery with regard to the Charlie Hebdo murders: Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith. Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right…