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Columns

Column: The Coming Era of Unlimited, Clean and Free Energy

Monday, September 22, 2014

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out. McKinsey was wrong, of course. There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use 2000; …

Column: Five Myths About the NFL, From concussions to Socialism

Monday, September 22, 2014

Over the past few weeks, Americans have been confronted by a slew of scandals besieging our most popular sport. Outrage over the off-the-field violence of star running backs Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson has been accompanied by the revelation that the National Football League expects almost one-third of its retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems at “notably younger ages” than the rest …

Column: ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ Deserves Its Status

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last weekend marked the 200th anniversary of the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Over the years, many debates have surrounded the national anthem — involving its meaning, its quality and the circumstances under which Francis Scott Key came to write it. Before you hear “Oh say, can you see . . . “ …

Column: Shed a Tear for the iPod

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quietly, even stealthily, Apple last week brought about that moment that many of its most loyal followers dreaded would happen: It killed off the iPod. Oh, the name lives on for now, attached to a suite of weird …

Column: Princeton’s Faculty Stands With Students Against Sexual Violence

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Amid increasing national pressure on colleges and universities to more aggressively tackle sexual assault, Princeton University has finally decided to overhaul its policies and procedures. At 4 p.m. on Monday, university faculty members packed storied Nassau Hall for their first regularly scheduled meeting of the year. Arguably the …

Column: Birds Need a Fighting Chance in the Face of Climate Change

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Maryland could lose the flashy orange-and-black Baltimore oriole — its state bird and the mascot of its Major League Baseball team — before the end of this century because of global warming. The common loon, Minnesota’s state bird and an iconic species across much of the northern United …

Column: I Know All About the Paddle and the Pain

Friday, September 19, 2014

Washington Adrian Peterson, the NFL running back, has been indicted for injuring his 4-year-old son. According to sources in law enforcement, Peterson used a tree branch to discipline the boy, leaving cuts and bruises. Peterson’s lawyer says his client meant no harm. “Adrian is a loving father who …

Column: Can Tweets Help the Police and Public Engage?

Friday, September 19, 2014

In the tiny town of Jun, Spain (population 3,000), meeting rooms in city hall have their own Twitter accounts. When residents want to reserve them, they send a direct message via Twitter; when it’s time, the door to …

Column: Illegal Drugs Aren’t as Dangerous as Scientists Say

Friday, September 19, 2014

Is America’s scientific research biased to focus on the harmful effects of drugs? That was one of the questions at the heart of a congressional hearing this summer seeking to understand more comprehensively the scientific evidence related to marijuana. And it was how Dr. Nora Volkow, director of …

Column: Republicans Agitate for a Broader Ground War

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was testifying Tuesday about the need for military action in Syria and Iraq when Ann Wright, an anti-war demonstrator in the audience, rose and began shouting: “No more war! No more war!” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, hammered the …

Column: Airline Execs Should Try Sitting in Those Knee-Banger Seats

Thursday, September 18, 2014

There’s an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine are about to board a plane and the gate attendant tells them she can bump one of them into first class. Jerry immediately takes the offer, explaining to Elaine that he’s flown in first class before — she hasn’t …

Column: Obama Goes on the Offensive

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Here’s the nightmare scenario that kept Obama administration officials awake at night this summer as they watched the black-masked guerrillas of Islamic State sweep across Iraq: First, the insurgents could invade Baghdad, toppling Iraq’s government and forcing a Saigon-style evacuation of the U.S. Embassy. Then they could move …

Column: That Doomed Expedition to Discover the Northwest Passage

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Montpelier The recent discovery in the Canadian Arctic of what is certainly one of the lost ships of the doomed 1845 Franklin expedition has our northern neighbors abuzz with excitement. Even the Prime Minister, who had made a …