When I was in elementary school, my dad got involved in the movement to change the Cleveland Indians’ name and mascot. During baseball season, we attended weekly demonstrations outside Jacobs Field. I believed in this cause by default, but I hated the protests. They were cold and boring, and I had to watch thousands of fans walk past with varying levels of contempt.
The major debate today, as it has really always been in American politics, is about the proper size of government. I’m not causing any earthquakes with that statement. However, the right’s success at perpetuating the lie of a secret socialist takeover makes it exceptionally relevant today.
From Aaron Carter to Jay-Z, Simon and Garfunkel to the 1985 Chicago Bears, music and sports have been inextricably linked for as long as I can remember. Many musicians can’t resist name-dropping the hottest athletes of the moment, and who could blame them? Professional sports and the music industry are surprisingly similar: both require a highly specialized set of skills, whether it be jamming out on a guitar or turning a successful double play.
Last Wednesday, I attended the tail end of a Town Hall meeting about Carleton traditions. The discussion generated a lot of excitement, and as usual, I found it intellectually and emotionally upsetting.
I did it; I finally took the plunge. I couldn’t get past the guilt, the feeling of hypocrisy. After all, how can you criticize someone if you’ve never given him a real chance? Like many, I have long criticized Glenn Beck. He’s an extremist, encourages division, misinforms, and is inspiring people to do truly dangerous things. While holding all of these judgments, however, the truth was that I had never watched an entire episode of his; I had seen a few scenes here and there.
No single gene can take all the credit for causing all the symptoms of depression. But scientists did recently isolate a gene, called MKP-1, which may be the key to depression’s onset. This makes the gene an important target for new drug treatments. In honor of the scientists making headway against depression, but mostly because I’m feeling ornery, here is some depressing science news that I’ve been following this week.
Awhile back, I got into a pretty heated argument with my tablemates while dining at the LDC. Perhaps “argument” isn’t a fair word. It was more of a “spirited discussion.” We had been discussing a topic that is probably covered at every table in the LDC every night of the week. It’s a hot topic indeed, and one I think that’s quite controversial. I’m speaking of course, about the dating scene at Carleton.
“You and your brother could have been standout basketball players if you had just let me coach you!”
Whether the sport is basketball or baseball or swimming, my grandpa stands by his statement that I could have been great if I had only agreed to be his pupil.
They don’t get a televised presentation, or a red carpet, but the Nobel Prizes still rock the research world. In keeping with my science theme, I’m going to ignore economy, peace, and literature, fine things though they are, and focus on the big winners in medicine, chemistry, and physics.
"However, I don’t think this debate is very useful, because it leaves out an essential factor in all of this: the people. Where are they? What part do they play? Implicit in the Washington discussions about the influence of money in elections is the assumption that voters are essentially incredibly vulnerable to manipulation."
"There are a lot of great resources at Carleton that are undervalued. I’m not talking about academic programs or facilities: I’m talking about human resources. Some of these people work behind the scenes; some are more visible. Regardless, whenever I have a great experience with Carleton staff, I always try and let a superior know. If we continue to expect great people to look out for us, we need to be looking out for them."
What’s our place in the universe—how do we fit in? Some recent science news makes questions like these a lot more difficult to answer...assuming that the universe sticks around long enough for us to solve them.