How do I tell my daughter that her online ‘truth’ is a conspiracy theory?

This confusion about the truth usually begins to disappear as children grow up and see that there are not only observable facts, but also collectively observable knowledge that is difficult to verify but must nevertheless be taken on trust. The idea that the Earth is (roughly) a sphere and orbits the sun is pretty much […]

Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance threatens the heart of American innovation

Because Trump has flip-flopped on the topic in the past, it’s uncertain whether he’ll heed the advice of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others to allow more foreign-born computer scientists and software engineers to fill US jobs. In fact, despite his supporters’ defense that Trump is focusing on illegal immigrants, his proposals may in fact […]

These anti-terrorism posters echo Nazi propaganda

However inadvertently, the designers have used a horribly familiar antisemitic image. The impact goes far beyond these associations, serious as those are. A friend who was unaware of Nazi iconography revealingly said that she saw on the poster an “evil-looking dark-skinned man”. The image plays on people’s fears of “the other”, and creates anxiety about […]

Fearless polymaths: irrelevance and creativity

The worst thing that ever happened to universities was when someone had the bright idea of creating disciplines, instead of allowing students to explore a range of subjects. Education is supposed to broaden the mind. Now it narrows it.

Ai Weiwei shuts Danish show in protest at asylum seeker law

  “He had been watching the news during the night and wanted to react. I didn’t try to dissuade him. This is not so much about which country does more or less for refugees, it is the symbolic importance of the new law. This [kind of thing] is spreading over Europe, and we in Denmark […]