9:06: How young libertarians could change American politics
9:45: Op-ed with Jessica Bennett on the rise of employer-paid egg freezing benefits
10:06: Caleb Scharf on the cosmic significance of life on Earth
In his new book, Scharf argues that while life on earth isn’t unique, it is rare to live on a planet so unusually situated and part of such an exclusive club of planetary systems that can support life
10:50: Book pick
11:06: Minnesota schools tackle student mental health
David Edwards writes in Wired that American schools are not preparing students for the challenges of the coming decades:
The global climate will continue to change. To save our coastlines, and maintain acceptable living conditions for more than a billion people, we need to discover new science, engineering, design, and architectural methods, and pioneer economic models that sustain their implementation and maintenance. Microbiological threats will increase as our traditional techniques of anti-microbial defense lead to greater and greater resistances, and to thwart these we must discover new approaches to medical treatment, which we can afford, and implement in ways that incite compliance and good health.
Traditional math, reading, and memorization will not give us the tools to solve these problems Edwards argues. What will? A new school of teaching that look less like learning and more like making.
At Harvard University, where I teach, Peter Galison, in History of Science, asks his students make films, to understand science; Michael Chu, in business, brings students to low income regions to learn about social entrepreneurship; Michael Brenner, in Engineering and Applied Science, invites master chefs to help students discover the science of cooking; and Doris Sommer, in Romance Languages, teaches aesthetics by inviting students to effect social and political change through cultural agency.
Read Edwards’s entire call to action here.
The nominees for the National Book Award were announced yesterday. The list of nominees is long. Where do you start? Here are 2 recommendations:
From Euan Kerr:
I’ve always enjoyed dystopian novels, but Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” takes the genre to a new literary level. While she creates a world which is enduring horrible calamity in the form of a virulent flu which wipes out most of humanity, her literary creation is of the community of survivors living on in their new reality. It’s a group comprised of ordinary people finding ways of facing its new reality, and re-establishing some form of civilization. It’s not comfortable, but, other than moments of abject terror, Mandel’s story is engrossing in the way it portrays life that’s it’s not that different from our own everyday struggles.
From Kerri Miller:
I opened “All the Light We Cannot See” with a certain amount of wariness: What is there new to say about the experience of World War II? But Anthony Doerr’s characters come from such unexpected places and live such richly detailed days during the war. I feel like he’s ruined me for any other war-time novel!
If you have a favorite novel or work of non-fiction from 2014, share it below.
“I am a world-class complainer but find palpable joy arriving with my evening Dewar’s, from Robinson Cano between pitches, from the first pages once again of “Appointment in Samarra” or the last lines of the Elizabeth Bishop poem called ‘Poem.'” Read more →
“It seems that the bacteria in our guts don’t simply wait for whatever leftovers we have to offer. They actively seek out their preferred meals through tricky deception.” Read more →
“The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. ” Read more →
4 easy reads for the weekend
Humorous academic novels, a thriller and a memoir of the Midwest. Read more →
The great seat reclining debate of 2014
“In effect, to increase the number of cabin seats, the space allotted to each passenger must be reduced. However, this reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours.” Read more →
5 books to read this weekend
Head to the library or bookstore to pick up one of these titles. Read more →
Op-ed pick: We don’t need any more Millennial trend pieces
“I think we’ve reached peak Millennial trend piece output. I hope. I pray.” Read more →