When We Cease to Understand the World

A review of Benjamin Labatut’s award-nominated collection. They are well-worn clichés: the scientist as tortured genius; the idiot savant who peers unblinkingly into the secrets of the universe while forgetting to eat or bathe; or, at the most superficial, scientists as hopeless nerds, whip-smart but clueless when it comes to “regular” people and their quotidian …

Don’t Look Up

[A review of writer/director Adam McKay’s new sci-fi farce, now streaming on Netflix.] We may very well be in the last days of the American Republic. America has been dysfunctional and divided before (see: the Civil War; the Civil Rights Movement), but our current era of partisan rancor seems unprecedented. The internet promised to bring …

The Kentucky-Darwin Connection

Step just inside the front entrance of the University of Kentucky’s historic Miller Hall and you might notice a brass plaque on the righthand side titled Freedom of Inquiry, the Teaching of Evolution, and the “Monkey Trial”. The plaque reads, in full: In March 1922, the Kentucky House of Representatives debated a bill to prohibit the teaching …

The Fall of Afghanistan

The news out of Afghanistan is shocking, to be sure–but mostly because of the speed of the Taliban reconquest. I don’t know anyone who didn’t think that if the US and our allies exited Afghanistan that the Taliban (or ilk) wouldn’t be in charge eventually. But now it looks like the Taliban will have established …

When Do Wars Really End?

April 9, 1865: On this day, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the American Civil War. I say effectively, because this War, like so many others, was not so neatly concluded. April 14, 1865: President Lincoln was assassinated. May 9, 1865: Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, declared the insurrection had ended. May 10, …

Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Is Unprecedented but Justifiable

The House has voted to impeach Trump. Again. There was a lot of talk by Republicans about the unprecedented and precipitous way in which the House pursued this second impeachment. However, I would point out that the circumstances were unprecedented. Never before in our history has a sitting president sicced an armed mob on Congress …