Avner Cohen provides a great summary of writing history (here under the particular limitations of studying Israel’s nuclear arsenal): The narrative I offer, then, is by nature incomplete and interpretative. Like all narratives, it is not written from God’s-eye view; rather, it is a story told through incomplete human and archival sources. Cohen, Avner. “Before […]


Every day I’m bombarded with objections to the evidence for human-caused climate change. Most of them sound respectably scientific, like “climate changes all the time; humans have nothing to do with it.” It’s “the Sun,” or “volcanoes,” or “cosmic rays” that are making it happen, or “it’s not even warming,” some argue. … Scientists call […]


There’s a cliché that you should never ask a PhD student about their dissertation in conversation and, based on my experiences since my project officially began in June 2018, there are several reasons why this is sound advice. In short, the PhD and dissertation process is frustrating to hear described and, when a student is […]

“How do I talk about this … to my mother, brother-in-law, friend, colleague, elected official?” I’m asked this question nearly everywhere I go. … Usually, they’ve already given conversation a try. They’ve boned up on a few alarming scientific facts. They’ve tried to explain how fast the Arctic is melting, or how bees are disappearing, […]


A very good blog post on what to expect from a PhD program (and especially what the university itself won’t tell you): So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)? Two paragraphs which are especially informative for people who don’t have recent personal experience in a PhD program: The most important […]


It has been sad and frustrating to see so many Torontonians putting their personal enjoyment before public health and ahead of suppressing the viral reproduction rate of the pandemic. A reckless and deluded few are ‘protesting’ by pushing into mall food courts without wearing masks or providing proof of vaccination. Far more are eating unmasked […]


I have heard the theory that every time we remember something it is influenced by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at the time of remembering. That implies that the memories we think most about are the ones that have been most distorted from their original form. An exaggerated version is in effect for stories recounted […]


Back in 2008, I wrote about the Future Leaders Survey and the gloomy views it uncovered among young people about the future of the planet. Recently, The Lancet published a study based on a survey of 10,000 people aged 16–25 in 10 countries. It demonstrates that apocalyptic psychology is a broad-based phenomenon, not exclusively concentrated […]


America’s unravelling continues, with the Supreme Court declining 5-4 to hear an emergency appeal of Texas’ bizarre and cruel fetal heartbeat anti-abortion law. Laurence Tribe has written about what the law’s bounty system will do: It wasn’t just Roe that died at midnight on 1 September with barely a whimper, let alone a bang. It […]


In fact, there’s one activity that is almost tailor-made to work [at helping you distance yourself from a problem you’re working on]. And it is a simple one indeed: walking (the very thing that Holmes was doing when he had his insight in “The Lion’s Mane”). Walks have been shown repeatedly to stimulate creative thought […]