Columns

Zombies in a publicity still for the fifth season of AMC's "The Walking Dead." (AMC - Frank Ockenfels 3)

Column: Each Generation Invents the Monsters It Needs

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A search for “zombie fiction” on Amazon currently provides you with more than 25,000 options. Barely a week goes by without another onslaught from the living dead on our screens. We’ve just seen the return of one of the most successful of these, The Walking Dead, starring Andrew Lincoln as small-town sheriff Rick Grimes. The show follows the adventures of …

Column: What Does the Public Get in Privacy Trade-Offs?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Suppose that the government were to ask each of us to wear an unremovable bracelet that allowed our location to be determined in an emergency. The responsible agencies would promise never to use this authority in the absence of a court order. True, there would be a potential threat to privacy, but supporters …

Column: The Chicken Count — Small Farmers Could Use Flexibility in Slaughter Rules

Sunday, March 1, 2015

This past year, we raised and sold 1,000 chickens on our farm outside White River Junction. We have a strong market for chicken, and every year we can sell this many birds with a reasonable return on time and financial investment. Why, you might ask, if the market is there, don’t we sell …

Column: Revoke the Medical Licenses of Anti-Vaccine Doctors

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Amateurs and hucksters are not the only people telling parents not to vaccinate their children. Unfortunately some doctors — men and women sworn to the Hippocratic Oath — are purveying junk science. They say that vaccines cause autism, as in the famous case of Andrew Wakefield, whose study …

Column: The Enduring Value of Printed Memoirs

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Albert “Abe” Read was a student at Kimball Union Academy when he set out for class from the family farm seven miles away on the other side of Plainfield one spring day around 1935. His route was over …

Column: Privacy Has Gone the Way of the Dinosaur, and That’s Good

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In the digital era, it’s not only government agencies and Silicon Valley companies spying on us or attempting to monetize our data — it’s our smart TVs and our futuristic cars. And, once the Internet of Things gets …

Steve Nelson: This Winter Has Been Cool, in a Good Way

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I come not to be buried by winter, but to praise it. Enough of network news segments filed by winter-boots-on-the-ground reporters setting up in the stiffest breeze they can find so that their designer scarves flap violently. Enough of the resident meteorologist leading the prime time broadcast with …

Why Reporters Shouldn’t Tell War Stories: Fear Is Embarrassing

Saturday, February 14, 2015

In hindsight, the tip-off that Brian Williams was making up that story about getting shot at over Iraq in 2003 was that he seemed to think it was something to brag about in the first place. War reporting, like war itself, involves a high sitting-around-to-action ratio. Once they’ve …

Column: The Baby Boom and Illegal Immigration

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Prior to the 1960s, the U.S. had not experienced the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. It also had experienced very little illegal immigration. Happenstance? Tracing our current troubles with illegal immigration to the source takes us back to that iconic decade of the baby boomers — the ’60s. …

Column: Obama Counsels Patience as World Explodes

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Washington His secretary of defense says “the world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in …

Column: Ticking Time Bomb In Ukraine’s Cease-Fire

Friday, February 13, 2015

When world leaders pull an all-nighter, something has to come out of it. What came out of the 17-hour, Ironman-level endurance test in Minsk is a cease-fire deal for eastern Ukraine that mitigates the Kiev government’s defeat in …

Column: Ironically, Jon Stewart Matters More Than Brian Williams

Friday, February 13, 2015

NBC News anchor Brian Williams enjoys the limelight. But Tuesday night, he must have been happy to share it. Williams, we found out, has been suspended without pay for six months. By the time we heard of his punishment, we’d learned that The Daily Show host Jon Stewart …

Column: Looking for the Truth About False Memories

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Indecision may not be the best quality in a columnist, but in the case of NBC News anchor Brian Williams, that’s what I find in myself: I doubt that the six-month suspension the network announced Tuesday night is …