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Columns

Column: Stop Paying for Dumb Science Research

Monday, July 6, 2015

The National Science Foundation too often shortchanges American taxpayers by funding low-value, low-priority social science projects. Here are some doozies: the veiling-fashion industry in Turkey, Viking textiles in Iceland, the “social impacts” of tourism in the northern tip of Norway, legal careers in transition following law school, and whether hunger causes couples to fight (using the number of pins stuck in voodoo dolls as a measure of aggressive feelings). In …

Column: What Would Confucius Say About Gay Marriage?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gay marriage isn’t legal in China, and it won’t be any time soon. But thanks to the U.S Supreme Court, and its decision to legalize same-sex unions, the subject is suddenly a national topic of conversation. Leading newspapers and academics are weighing in, Chinese social media — the surest barometer of Chinese middle-class opinion — are awash with posts and tweets, and Chinese …

Column: Cars Endanger Kids and Pets in Summer

Monday, July 6, 2015

It had been a long night for Jimmy and Hector, two K9 officers with Florida’s Hialeah Police Department. Following their overnight shift on May 27, Jimmy worked several more hours to help search for a missing senior citizen. Both dogs were probably ready for a good, long nap. But instead, they were reportedly left in the back of an SUV in their human …

Column: It Was Terrorism

Monday, June 22, 2015

Police are investigating the shooting of nine African-Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in …

Column: How About Marriage for None?

Monday, June 22, 2015

If you happen to pay extremely close attention to internecine debates within the LGBT community, you may know that not everyone lined up in favor of pursuing marriage equality at the federal level. Much of the debate over the last decade was about strategy — avoiding backlash for …

Column: Despite What You Read, Nobody Knows How Many Rape Accusations Are False

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rape statistics are a mess. Rape is at the center of the national debate, and it’s no wonder: the Obama administration’s push to crack down on campus rapes through the Civil Rights Act, the notorious and retracted story …

Column: The Soul of a Tree

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How much can we really know about the lives of trees? I know that in my woods a blight is killing the beech trees, and yet they reproduce in a frenzy. I watched a tiny cherry tree near …

Column: Solitary Confinement Makes Teenagers Depressed and Suicidal

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Washington The tragic suicide of 22-year old Kalief Browder shocked the country. Browder was arrested at 16 and spent years at the Rikers Island jail, including 800 days in solitary confinement. He was never tried or convicted of a crime. I, however, am no longer surprised by any …

Steve Nelson: Putting the Co-op Issues in Perspective

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I come to neither praise nor bury the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, aka the Co-op. But a little perspective might be helpful. There is a tendency among populists and progressives, admirably exercised by Valley News columnist Jim Kenyon, to champion the underdog, to shine light on injustice and …

Column: Graduation Letter to My Grandson

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dear Carter, Here on my desk is a photo — yes, now an old photo of you when you were 3, climbing a bright white Vermont snow bank near your house, in yellow boots and a purple, one-piece snowsuit. A handsome little munchkin I could easily pick up …

Column: Stop Scapegoating Teachers

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Where is the single, national voice of the teacher in the United States decrying the fallacy that teachers and teachers unions are destroying American education? I have been, for the last 40 years, a public high school teacher and English department supervisor in New Jersey. I am responsible …

Column: We Need a New Strategy in Iraq and Syria

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Washington It’s time for a new strategy in Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct. We may not want to enunciate that policy officially. After all, …

Column: Threatening Times for American Muslims

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ramadan has always been a time of reflection, a chance to stop and recharge my batteries, an opportunity to take a break from the regular pace. Islam prescribes this month of fasting, and as with many, my favorite place to be during Ramadan is the mosque in the …