Guns Do Kill People

I have been away from the blog a lot lately. We have been inundated with visitors and have been enjoying a long spell of gorgeous weather that has dragged me away from the computer. I expect the same to continue until we pack up and head back for Lexington. I have been focusing on what may be another book. I continue to write in uncertain terms as I am not at all sure I will follow through. I am mildly depressed by what is going on all over the world and wonder whether I can make any difference or whether bad times are unfolding too fast. This morning I read… Read More

Continue Reading

More, Not Less, Humanities

Nicholas Kristof wrote an [oped](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/opinion/nicholas-kristof-dont-dismiss-the-humanities.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0) today arguing for the importance of the humanities in our lives. Clear and to the point. He begins. > What use could the humanities be in a digital age? University students focusing on the humanities may end up, at least in their parents’ nightmares, as dog-walkers for those majoring in computer science. But, for me, the humanities are not only relevant but also give us a toolbox to think seriously about ourselves and the world. > I wouldn’t want everybody to be an art or literature major, but the world would be poorer — figuratively, anyway — if we were all coding software or running… Read More

Continue Reading

The Right and Wrong Way to Think about Sustainability

Those who follow me know I am backing off from using the word “sustainability” because it has become merely a jargon word with little or no meaning or a euphemism for continuing to do the same thing as before with perhaps some slight improvement. I observed this usage primarily in business, but it is everywhere. In a couple of words, institutions have moved from “business-as-usual” to “business-almost-as-usual” when “business-not-anything-as-usual” should be their cry. While I have avoided using sustainability lately, I am aware that it does have an important place in our vocabulary and I need to make clear what usage I am criticizing. Sustainability means the capacity of a… Read More

Continue Reading

Catch 22

“A New Report Argues Inequality Is Causing Slower Growth. Here’s Why It Matters.” This headline for an [article](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/upshot/alarm-on-income-inequality-from-a-mainstream-source.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0) in the NYTimes caught my attention. A report by S&P, the rating agency argues that > “Our review of the data, as well as a wealth of research on this matter, leads us to conclude that the current level of income inequality in the U.S. is dampening G.D.P. growth,” the S.&P. researchers write, “at a time when the world’s biggest economy is struggling to recover from the Great Recession and the government is in need of funds to support an aging population.” Much of the rest of the article discusses differences in… Read More

Continue Reading

Rain Matters

> Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. (John Updike) I just finished reading a very long email from a friend in India. He was responding to a question about the impact of the election of Modi. He was quite positive, but with a couple of reservations. The first was familiar because so many countries are suffering through the same situation. For one reason or another, the coffers are empty and many badly needed programs cannot be executed. The second was surprising and much more awakening. He spoke about the weather. The annual monsoon was expected to fall short… Read More

Continue Reading

Be Prudent when Consulting Experts

Paul Krugman has an interesting column today (8/1/14) in which he argues that politicians ignore the consensus of experts and choose to get their advice only from those that are aligned politically with them. (Surprise?) > Am I saying that the professional consensus is always right? No. But when politicians pick and choose which experts — or, in many cases, “experts” — to believe, the odds are that they will choose badly. Moreover, experience shows that there is no accountability in such matters. Bear in mind that the American right is still taking its economic advice mainly from people who have spent many years wrongly predicting runaway inflation and a… Read More

Continue Reading