- Created on Monday, 16 November 2015 12:38
Here is a video produced by Politizane that uses infographics to illustrate income and wealth distribution in America. It compares what Americans believe an ideal distribution would be, what they guess the actual distribution is, and what the distribution truly is. If you aren't one of the 17 million people who have already viewed this video, I highly recommend it. It is 6 minutes and 23 seconds in length.
- Created on Saturday, 19 September 2015 10:09
My principal objection to colleges playing Division I football has been about academic fraud – that is, colleges can’t compete successfully at this level without arranging for players to cheat in the classroom. As a result, all of the major programs engage in systemic fraud. See my earlier posts on the subject here, here, and here.
But there is good reason for all schools – high schools and colleges alike – to consider giving up football entirely. A new study suggests that as many as 95% of NFL players and 80% of high school, college, and semi-professional football players develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease that can cause confusion, aggression, progressive dementia, memory loss, and depression. CTE is associated with repeated concussions but is otherwise rare.
The new study may overestimate the percentage of affected players because it was done by examining the brains of deceased players, and those who believe they suffer from CTE are more likely to donate their brains for such a study. Nevertheless, the new study is consistent with other evidence, and it seems likely that a significant percentage of football players – whatever that percentage may be precisely – sustain serious, permanent brain damage.
The football world is experimenting with ways to reduce brain injuries through better helmets, different blocking and hitting techniques, and evaluating players for concussions to keep those who have sustained concussions off the field for a period of time. All of this is to the good. But, of course, big-time football has an interest of keeping the game going regardless of how well it can protect players against CTE. Meanwhile, this is one more reason for colleges who truly care about honesty, integrity, and morality to give up Division I football.
- Created on Friday, 11 September 2015 15:54
In 1830, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton began his novel Paul Clifford with the now infamous phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night….” That would have been fine as the entire sentence. But Bulwer-Lytton drew out his opening sentence, stuffing it with so much melodramatic imagery as to create something extraordinary.
In his honor, a Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is held every year for the best worst first sentence of an imaginary novel. The 2015 winner is, in my humble opinion, sheer genius. Here it is:
Seeing how the victim’s body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, Officer ‘Dirk’ Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase ‘sandwiched’ to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.
The author of this masterpiece is Joel Phillips, a professor of music and composition at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. Hats off to him! To learn more about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest and see other winning entries, click here.