Category Archives: Social commentary

The Most Important Issue

I’ve seen some political surveys recently that ask respondents to pick the most important issue to them from a predefined list, and I’ve never had any of these lists include what I think is the most important issue facing our … Continue reading

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They’ve Still Got It

I pulled my car into my lot today, and as I walked over to the mailbox, I passed three young kids from the apartment complex. One of them asks me, “do you work for NASA?!” (There’s a NASA meatball sticker on … Continue reading

Posted in NASA, Social commentary | Leave a comment

People’s Reactions to the MSL Landing System Bother Me

On 5 August, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity will attempt its landing on the Red Planet. MSL is an exciting mission, the biggest rover we’ve ever sent to Mars, packed full of science experiments and capabilities, and it’s going to start … Continue reading

Posted in NASA, Social commentary, Space | Leave a comment

What’s the Value of Liberal Arts?

There was an NPR article today about how the pressures of the economy are casting some doubt on the value of liberal arts colleges and liberal arts education. I have a bit of an opinion on this, since I went … Continue reading

Posted in Social commentary, Williams | 2 Comments


A reporter from This American Life did something interesting for today’s broadcast: she brought together a ninth-grade global warming skeptic and the executive director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association together in the show studio for a discussion. (Audio available here.) … Continue reading

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The Science is Real

It worries me when I see public figures, or aspiring public figures, disparaging scientific work because it is not compatible with their personal positions. The public gets to hear phrases like, “that’s only a theory,” or “that scientific theory has … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Science, Skepticism, Social commentary | 1 Comment

It’s How You Use It

A couple years ago, I was at a house party in Ithaca where I met a first-year grad student who asked me what I was studying. “Aerospace engineering,” I said. “Cool,” he replied. “Just don’t ever work for Lockheed Martin.” … Continue reading

Posted in Graduate school, Politics, Science, Social commentary | 3 Comments