Food in the Boston area

September 22, 2021 • 11:00 am

I have eaten very well on my vacation, having gone to several semi-upscale ethnic restaurants and also eaten well in the homes of two people who were kind enough to put me up. But I often forgot to use my camera when I was absorbed in the food, so I’ll present a melange of photos of different foods, restaurants, and the like.

First, though, a scene from Harvard Square, which has changed immensely since I arrived in Boston in 1972.  It’s gentrified now. My erstwhile favorite place to eat as a grad student, Elsie’s Deli (home of the huge “Fresser’s Dream” sandwich), has long disappeared. As has Steve Harrell’s ice cream shop, which made the best hot fudge sundaes in Massachusetts. The Coop is still there, and Cardullo’s is hanging on, but the magazine store in the center of the Square is defunct.

This is one thing that remains. If you listen to NPR, you’ll recognize the name of the fictional accounting firm on the third-floor window: “Dewey, Cheetham & Howe.”

Yes, it’s from Car Talk. Wikipedia has an entry for this fictional firm, which was also used as a joke by others.

The name of the DC&H corporate offices (otherwise known as the headquarters of the radio show Car Talk) is visible on the third floor window above the corner of Brattle and JFK Streets, in Harvard SquareCambridge, Massachusetts.

Tom and Ray Magliozzi, of NPR’s Car Talk radio program, named their business corporation “Dewey, Cheetham & Howe”. Their corporate offices were located on a third-floor office at the corner of Brattle and JFK Streets in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Magliozzi brothers declared that they established DC&H in 1989.

We went out several times, first to this excellent Spanish restaurant in Brookline, specializing in tapas. But I forgot to take pictures of the food! We had a fine Rioja with the meal, and were full after dinner. (The first question you have to ask when evaluating a restaurant is, “Did I get enough to eat?” If the answer is “no,” then you need go no further.)

The flavor board at my favorite ice-cream shop in the world, Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream in Cambridge.  If you go to Cambridge and don’t go here, you are a reprobate. There are usually many more flavors, but I expect the pandemic reduced the choice somewhat. Still, there are more flavors than you could try on several visits. I had the very best flavor, “burnt sugar” (the world’s best ice cream flavor) with a scoop of ginger-molasses, itself a wonderful combination. It was a great postprandial treat. They make ice cream the real way, dense and with all natural flavors. I wanted green tea with a scoop of adzuki bean, too, but I couldn’t pass up the burnt sugar.

Every reader here knows that my favorite British beer is Timothy Taylor Landlord, which has won Championship Beer of Britain four times and is a wonderful, tasty session ale that is not overhopped. It’s hard enough to find on tap in the UK, but there’s a bottled version as well, and four bottles were available in the Boston area. Andrew, my host, tracked them down and then cycled 22 miles to get those four bottles so we could have some. What a kind chap!

And even though it was bottled, it tasted nearly as good as a freshly-drawn pint in England. (As it had been kept in the fridge, we warmed the pints, 500 ml., up to 11°C in the microwave.)

Yesterday I moved to my second set of hosts, old Harvard friends Andrew and Naomi. Naomi is a world-class cook, and never uses recipes. I begged her not to go to any trouble to cook for me, as she always does, but she ignored my instructions and produced a wonderful dinner, which included this shepherd’s pie (a treat with a pint of Landlord!):

We also had a half avocado with lime for appetizer, green beans and baby asparagus on the side, and the apple-raspberry crumble below for dessert, served warm with vanilla ice cream.

I am allowed only one breakfast at this house due to Andrew’s insistence: two cakes of Weetabix with bananas as well as a strong mug of superb coffee. But Andrew is absolutely insistent on how one eats Weetabix. (He buys them by the case, and sometimes eats them three times a day when his wife is out of town: two for breakfast, four for lunch, and six for dinner. He is a Weetabix fanatic.)

Andrew displaying the breakfast item to come:

First, put two Weetabix biscuits, round side up (there are two different sides) in a wide, shallow bowl so that the milk doesn’t saturate the biscuit. The point is to retain most of the crunch of the biscuit while also getting the milk. You must always eat two Weetabix (I like three) as there are an even number of biscuits in the box and you don’t want to be left with just one. Four or six are permitted at other meals, but neer an odd number.

Half a banana is then sliced atop the biscuits with a sharp-edged spoon:

Then add milk, making sure to splash some atop the biscuits so they won’t be dry. The milk should be about a quarter-inch deep in the bowl.

Only then do you add the sugar, as you don’t want it dissolved in the milk when it’s poured:

Finally, tilt the bowl towards you so you can nip off a bit of biscuit and spoon it up with some milk, retaining the crunchiness but also getting the milk. For Andrew the consumption of the entire bowl takes about 40 seconds; he insists that speed is essential so that all the elements of the bowl are properly mixed with the right texture.

Here I am trying to eat properly. Note that I’m tilting the bowl:

I persuaded my first set of hosts to try Weetabix, and Andrew located one store in Cambridge that sold them. My hosts’ son-in-law went there and got a box, which was delivered yesterday by their granddaughter. I am curious about whether they’ll like Weetabix, as both of them eat only homemade granola (a different mix for each person) for breakfast. Son-in-law and second grandchild to the rear; photo used with permission.

I think this photo would make a great Weetabix commercial!

The ACLU alters an RBG quote to avoid “transphobic” implications

September 22, 2021 • 9:30 am

It’s a sad day when the American Civil Liberties Union has to alter a quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg (one of our mutual heroes) to placate the potentially offended. Here’s one of their recent tweets:

Here’s the original quote from Ginsburg:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”

― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

There are six changes, five in brackets, getting rid of “woman” and “her” (substituting “persons” and “people” for “woman” and “they” or “their” for three “hers”).  The missing part of the quote, which is “It is a decision she must make for herself”, could have been altered to “It is a decision they must make for themselves,” but that would add two more sets of brackets and make the whole quotation look really weird.

The explanation is simple and obvious; they are removing RBG’s reference to women having babies since the ACLU, whose mission now includes a substantial amount of transgender activism, is onboard with the idea that transmen, who are now given the pronouns “he” and “men”, can have babies. And indeed, transmen have given birth.

I have no quarrel with asserting that transsexual men can have offspring while using male pronouns.  What bothers me is the alteration of RBG’s quotation, which strikes me as disingenuous, as it alters what somebody actually said with the purpose of conforming to an ideology that didn’t exist during most of RBG’s life. Would it cause harm if people were to read the actual quote?  Would the quote really be considered transphobic given that RBG was not a transphobe?

I doubt it; we know that usage has changed in the past decade. And if we can go ahead and alter quotes any way we want so they are seen as less offensive and less “harmful”, well, we’re in trouble.

As I’ve said for a while, the ACLU is circling the drain. If they were offended by the original quote, they should have either used it as it was spoken, or not used it at all.

To be fair, I’ll link you to a defense of this kind of usage (which to me still doesn’t justify altering RBG’s quote), in this article by Emma Green in the Atlantic.

Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 22, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Wednesday: September 22, 2021: National Ice Cream Cone Day.

It’s my penultimate day in Cambridge. This R&R has gone by too quickly!  And please note that this is the last day of Summer. Fall begins at 3:21 p.m. today. Google celebrates the beginning of fall with a nice doodle; click on it to see falling leaves:

It’s also National White Chocolate Day, World Rhino Day, National Elephant Appreciation Day, National Hobbit Day, and the season-changing holidays:

And, according to Wikipedia, it’s the earliest date for the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere:

News of the Day:

Once again I’m ignorant of the news; please use the comments, if you can, to fill us in on what’s important.

*Yesterday’s readers’ poll on the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned before the end of Biden’s present term gave roughly equal predictions of overturning versus keeping:

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 678,557, an increase of 2,046 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,724,126, an increase of about 9,100 over yesterday’s total.

It was a thin day in history. Stuff that happened on September 22 includes:

  • 38 – Drusilla, Caligula’s sister who died in June, with whom the emperor is said to have an incestuous relationship, is deified.
  • 1642 – The first commencement exercises occur at Harvard College.
  • 1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
  • 1973 – Argentine general election: Juan Perón returns to power in Argentina.

Juan Peron and Evita. He was elected as President three different times.

  • 2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1515 – Anne of Cleves, Queen consort of England (d. 1557)[5]
  • 1791 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (d. 1867)
  • 1902 – John Houseman, Romanian-American actor and producer (d. 1988)

The performance I remember of Houseman: Professor Kingsfield in “The Paper Chase” (1973):

Left to right: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. All three, members of the “White Rose,” were guillotined in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi materials.

  • 1956 – Debby Boone, American singer, actress, and author
  • 1958 – Andrea Bocelli, Italian singer-songwriter and producer

Yes, the video may seem schmalzy, but you have to admit that this performance of “Con te partirò (“Time to say goodbye”) with Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, a huge hit, is quite moving:

  • 1958 – Joan Jett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actress

Those whose ticker stopped ticking on September 22 include:

  • 1539 – Guru Nanak, Sikh religious leader, founded Sikhism (b. 1469)
  • 1776 – Nathan Hale, American soldier (b. 1755)
  • 1961 – Marion Davies, American actress and comedian (b. 1897)
  • 1989 – Irving Berlin, Russian-born American composer and songwriter (b. 1888)
  • 1999 – George C. Scott, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1927)

Scott won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Patton”, but this scene alone deserves an Academy Award:

  • 2001 – Isaac Stern, Polish-Ukrainian violinist and conductor (b. 1920)
  • 2007 – Marcel Marceau, French mime and actor (b. 1923)
  • 2010 – Eddie Fisher, American singer (b. 1928)
  • 2015 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is perturbed:

Hili: What a horrible mess in this wild nature.
A: Does it disturb you?
Hili: Yes, I can’t see what’s under these sticks.
In Polish:
Hili: Straszny bałagan w tej dzikiej przyrodzie.
Ja: Przeszkadza ci?
Hili: Tak, nie widzę co jest pod tymi patyczkami.

. . . and a photo of Szaron:

From Facebook:

From Facebook; Cohen was born on September 21, 1934, and died in 2016.

A tweet from Jesus of the Day with a poignant explanation:

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together. On the Protestant part of this cemetery J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg is buried. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden is buried in the Catholic part. They were married in 1842, he was a protestant and didn’t belong to the nobility.

This caused quite a commotion in Roermond. After being married for 38 years the colonel died in 1880 and was buried on the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888 and had decided not to be buried in the family tomb but on the other side of the wall, the closest she could get to her husband. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall.

A tweet from Titania. I’d forgotten that Trudeau did this (not just once, but three times) which for nearly everyone would result in immediate cancellation. Why has he gotten a pass?

From Barry. I may have shown this before, but it’s a black-crested titmouse picking fur off a sleeping fox for the bird’s nest:

From Simon. This is clearly a seagull rather than a duck, but the poor choice of nesting site still obtains:

From Ginger K. Why doesn’t the cat just ride in the cart?

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

A lovely video tweet (sound up) Matthew.: I didn’t think dog milk could nourish kittens, but I guess they’re old enough to be eating solid food, too. As Matthew says, the world would be better if it were like Dodo:

Two more tweets from Matthew:

Patricia Churchland, who like me thinks that panpsychism is both untestable and dumb, goes after a proponent of the theory that all matter is conscious:

More interspecies love. Sound up if you want music:

University of Chicago no longer #1 in free speech rankings

September 21, 2021 • 2:05 pm

For a long time the University of Chicago has been #1 among all rated American colleges and university’s in the free-speech ranking of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

I’ve been beefing for over a year about my school’s unwillingness to enforce its own speech rules, though, by allowing departments to make official pronouncements on politics, morality, and ideology—an explicit violation of the Kalven Report. This is one of our foundational principles along with our Principles of Free Expression, which have been adopted by more than fifty enlightened schools. (See my reports on U of C’s violations and about Kalven here.)

Now, and very sadly, the University of Chicago has fallen to second place in Freedom of Speech, behind Claremont-McKenna College in California. Mind you, we still get the approved “green light” overall, and we’re not that far behind Claremont-McKenna (they get 72.7 out of 100 points; we get 70.43), and this is out of 154 ranked schools.

I’m also sure that my beefing had nothing to do with this change, though they may have taken into account Chicago’s violations of Kalven. But it’s always been a selling point for our school to proclaim itself #1 in free speech, as there’s a group of parents and students who—mirabile dictulike that! Perhaps our new President, Paul Alivisatos, a chemist who was executive vice chancellor and provost at UC Berkeley, and who began his term September 1, can pull us back to the top spot.

For your interest, here are the top ten schools for free speech, as well as the bottom ten, who deserve raspberries. (You can see the data by clicking on the school at the link I just gave.)

  1. Claremont-McKenna University
  2. The University of Chicago
  3. University of New Hampshire (Main Campus)
  4. Emory University
  5. Florida State University
  6. Purdue University (Main Campus)
  7. University of Maryland, College Park
  8. University of California, Los Angeles
  9. University of Arizona
  10. The College of William and Mary.

I’m chuffed that I taught at two of these (#2 and #7) and got my undergraduate degree from #10.

Here are the big losers:

WARNING RATING (no number but a bad sign.  Pepperdine University
148. Bates College
149. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
WARNING RATING: St Louis University
150. Boston College
151. Wake Forest University
152. Louisiana State University
153. Marquette University
WARNING RATING: Baylor University
154. DePauw University (score: 50.8/100)

Each college’s evaluation also has some student comments; here’s one from the University of Chicago, but it wasn’t my comment as I didn’t teach that year.

“I am religious and in a few science courses Professors have made direct statements claiming that religion is equivalent to fairytales those who believe it are stupid and that science disproves religion. I did not feel as though I could argue with them on this despite my disagreement with their opinion.”
– Class of 2022
To be sure, this sounds dubious to me, as I don’t know anybody at the U of C who would make a statement like that to an undergraduate class. But it is possible. And if it happened, the professor should have kept his/her mouth shut.

Jack the Cat improving rapidly, takes a short walk!

September 21, 2021 • 10:00 am

On my post about Jack the Cat two days ago, you probably thought he was in pretty bad shape—and he was. He had taken a very bad fall.

But he’s an intrepid moggie, and yesterday took a pretty substantial walk (vet’s advice), even putting weight on his injured front paw. A report from his staff:

We both think it’s a great tribute to Jack and his misadventure. It’s wonderful to have friends, family and strangers rooting for his recovery.

He started eating better yesterday and he’s up to walking around the house (short periods of time, no jumping) a couple of times a day. See attached video.

Go Jack! I am going over to visit him and his staff this morning, and hope to put up more photos on this post later on today.

Tuesday: Duck report

September 21, 2021 • 8:00 am

This will count as readers’ wildlife as I have little time for posting in Cambridge. We have, in fact, the latest duck report from Botany Pond as conveyed by the faithful members of Team Duck who send me daily reports.

The mallards are slowly leaving, and we are down to eight “regulars”: 7 females and a male. These include Draco (the evil drake who won’t let the hens eat), HONEY, my sweet hen who is here for the fifth year, a duck that we think is Dorothy, but whose bill I must check upon returning to be sure, Cyndi, a duck who is very tame and will eat out of our hands (Honey is starting to do this again, too), Mona, a duck with one bad eye who can see food only on her right side (we are taking special care of her) and three unnamed hens.

They have been enjoying the lovely weather in Chicago and are disporting themselves in the water. Here they are diving, zooming, and flying in their usual postprandial display. (Video by Jean Greenberg.)

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Tuesday: September 21, 2021: National Pecan Cookie Day.

It’s also the beginning of Sukkot, a weeklong commemoration of the fictional story of Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years*, National Chai Day, World Alzheimer’s Day, and International Day of Peace. 

*It was Alan King who said that all Jewish holidays can be summarized thus:

They tried to kill us,
We won;
Let’s eat!

News of the Day:

*I am again way behind in the news, and haven’t looked at a site or newspaper in days. I see from the NYT this morning, however, that two non-Texans have sued a doctor in Texas who said he performed an abortion that violates Texas’s new restrictive and clearly unconstitutional abortion law. I am quite worried that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by this conservative court. Let’s have a poll:

Will Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court by the end of Biden's term

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Feel free to highlight other important news in the comments.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 676,191, an increase of 2,087 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,714,987, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 21 includes:

  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point.

Here’s one of his spying letters with the Wikipedia caption, “One of Arnold’s coded letters. Cipher lines by Arnold are interspersed with lines by his wife, Peggy.”  Arnold escaped capture for his espionage and moved to New Brunswick, Canada, where he traded with the West Indies until he died at 60. 

Here’s a 3-minute documentary of an activity that is best considered entertainment rather than sport:

  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Nazis send over 1,000 Jews of Pidhaitsi to Bełżec extermination camp.
  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Nazis murder 2,588 Jews.

Here is a famous but horrifying photo of the mass murder of Jews in the Ukraine. Wikipedia labels it

The Last Jew in Vinnitsa”, the 1942 photograph showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnytsia about to be shot dead by a member of Einsatzgruppe D. Also present are members of the German Army and the German Labor Service.

  • 1972 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos begins authoritarian rule by declaring martial law.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • 1996 – The Defense of Marriage Act is passed by the United States Congress.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1866 – H. G. Wells, English novelist, historian, and critic (d. 1946)

Wells in 1918:

A first edition of his The War of the Worlds (1898) will run you about $6000:

  • 1874 – Gustav Holst, English composer and educator (d. 1934)
  • 1912 – Chuck Jones, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2002)
  • 1934 – Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter and poet (d. 2016)
  • 1947 – Stephen King, American author and screenwriter

I was surprised to learn that King is religious:

King chose to have faith after weighing the alternatives.
“I made a decision to believe in God because it’s better to believe than not to believe,” he said, noting that his belief became possible while in the throes of addiction. “So it was easy to say, ‘If I’ve got a power greater than myself okay, that’s fine, I can use that to make life livable and good.'”

  • 1950 – Bill Murray, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1957 – Ethan Coen, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1967 – Faith Hill, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those whose existence was obliterated on September 21 include:

Here’s the old philosopher looking scary:

  • 1904 – Chief Joseph, American tribal leader (b. 1840).

Chief Joseph was a leader of the Nez Perce during the years it was pursued by the Army after a series of his warriors’ violent encounters with settler. He and his group fled to Canada, but were trapped and ultimately forced onto a reservation. Here he is in 1877, the year his band was captured.

A fantastic runner, Flo-Jo won three golds in the 1988 Olympics. You’ll see the performances in the video; that woman could RUN! Tragically, she died at only 38 after an epileptic fit.

Wikipedia also has a section on Flo-Jo’s “style”, which includes her signature nails:

Her nails also garnered attention for their length and designs. Her nails were four inches long with tiger stripes at the 1988 Olympic trials before switching to fuchsia. For the Olympic games themselves, she had six inch nails painted red, white, blue, and gold.  Although many sprinters avoided accessories which might slow them down, Griffith-Joyner kept her hair long and wore jewelry while competing. She designed many of her outfits herself and preferred looks which were not conventional.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is still wary of Kulka, though she doesn’t chase her or hiss at her.

Hili: Kulka is over there!
A: I didn’t notice that she had followed us.
In Polish:
Hili: Tam jest Kulka!
Ja: Nie zauważyłem, że przyszła za nami.

Here’s a lovely picture from the past of Hili when she was a kitten, cuddled up with her great late friend Darwin the Dog:

Two from Lenora:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih:

From Barry, a needy magpie seeks cuddles:

From Ginger K. Kitty loves its bath (sound on).

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the spread of the word “wolf”!

This is the new volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands:

The artist, centuries ago, had seen a leopard in Europe:

Enlarge the video to see the many marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus):

And enlarge this video to see the spooky election fraud. Matthew explains:

The two tellers are standing shiftily in front of the ballot box, so the camera can’t see what is happening. A hand reaches over from behind the curtain on the right and repeatedly shoves ballots into the box…

The solution to this morning’s puzzle

September 20, 2021 • 2:39 pm

I haven’t yet looked at the comments about the puzzle I reported this morning that had been proposed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin when visiting a science-oriented “sixth form” class.

Here’s the puzzle again:

Construct a perpendicular from the (red) point on the circle to the diameter, without using any measuring devices.

In other words, given a circle with a diameter marked on it, and a point on the circle, can you find a way to draw a line from the point that hits the diameter at a right angle. (As marked in green above.)

The beauty of this question is the seemingly outrageous restriction not to allow measuring devices, which means that you cannot use a compass or a marked ruler. All you are allowed is an unmarked ruler to draw straight lines.

 

The Guardian has now published the four-step solution (there may be others); go to the preceding link to see it. Below you can see the PM drawing the solution (he must know his math).

Quillette’s top examples of colleges behaving badly

September 20, 2021 • 10:30 am

I know there are those who dismiss everything written on Quillette as “alt-right”, and won’t read it, but if you’re one of them, you’re doing yourself no favors. The site is not “alt right,” though it sometimes defends conservative positions. But it also criticizes fulminating wokeness and says things that are correct but taboo to say for “progressive liberals.” And it has some good articles. I glance at it about every ten days, though I don’t often highlight it.

This week they’ve made a list of the “best on campus crises,” many of which you’ve read about here. I’ll just list the crises and give the links,  which go to the relevant Quillette description, but you may want to weigh in below about which “crisis” is the most egregious. Click on the screenshot below to read the piece.  I will make a few comments, and those will be flush left.

The Hysterical Campus | Heather Mac Donald

This describes her cancellation while trying to give a speech at UCLA.

Workers vs. Wokeness at Smith College: Campus Social Justice as a Luxury Good | Jonathan Kay

Smith College was accused of racism after the police accosted a black student/worker resting in a closed-off lounge (they didn’t know she was black when they were called). Smith’s own investigation showed that no racism was involved, but Smith refuses to admit this repugnant conclusion. Kay also talks about the well known situation of Oberlin College versus Gibson’s Bakery (see below).

Smith is where employee Jodi Shaw resigned after her run-in with the authorities that wanted participate in what seems like a “struggle session.”

Ideology and Facts Collide at Oberlin College | Daniel McGraw

Here’s another case where a college refused to admit it did wrong, and its refusal cost Oberlin $25 million, which, as far as I know, it still hasn’t paid to Gibson’s Bakery.

A Student Mob Took Over Bryn Mawr. The College Said Thank You | Minnie Doe

A police shooting in nearby Philadelphia caused a student strike, a campus meltdown, and the caving-in to student demands by one of the most cowardly administrations I’ve ever seen.

How a Single Anonymous Twitter Account Caused an ‘Indigenized’ Canadian University to Unravel | Jonathan Kay

I wasn’t familiar with this case, which took place at Brock University in Ontario. This is a mess, involving “indigenization and colonization” efforts, Vice-Provost for Indigenous Engagement Robyn Bourgeois, criticism of her statements, and her attempts to suppress that criticism while portraying herself as a victim.

Race and Social Panic at Haverford: A Case Study in Educational Dysfunction | Jonathan Kay

Haverford is loosely affiliated with Bryn Mawr, and, like Bryn Mawr above, the school melted down after the police shooting in Philly. And Haverford’s President Wendy Raymond not only gave in to some ludicrous student demands, but abased herself with some self-flagellating statements.

Georgetown’s Cultural Revolution | Lama Abu-Odeh

A professor was caught on video bemoaning the low performance of black students in her class, which the students and many faculty chose to interpret as a racist statement rather than a statement of frustration about the performance differential between races. (We don’t know what was in the professor’s mind.) The professor, an adjunct, was forced to resign.

The author, Abu-Odeh, is a professor of law at Georgetown, and he follows the incident with a long (and a bit tedious) discussion of the clashes of ideology on campus and throughout the U.S.

A Declaration of Independence by a Princeton Professor | Joshua T. Katz

Katz is a professor of classics at Princeton, and this article, criticizing a faculty letter, was his “declaration of independence.”

A large group of Princeton professors signed a group letter accusing the school of structural racism and demanding more equity. To me, some of their demands for change are reasonable, but this demand for a Star Chamber to police speech, behavior, and even research and publication wasn’t:

Constitute a committee composed entirely of faculty that would oversee the investigation and discipline of racist behaviors, incidents, research, and publication on the part of faculty, following a protocol for grievance and appeal to be spelled out in Rules and Procedures of the Faculty. Guidelines on what counts as racist behavior, incidents, research, and publication will be authored by a faculty committee for incorporation into the same set of rules and procedures.

(There are other demands that seem invidious as well.) The students followed with supporting letters demanding that the Princeton campus police be defunded.

Evergreen State and the Battle for Modernity | Michael Aaron

We all know about the dissolution of dignity and liberal humanism at Evergreen State, the worst case I now of in recent years. The article above was written in 2017, and you can read my many posts on Evergreen State here. It’s too familiar to many of us to go into detail; read the piece if you’re unfamiliar with this odious college.

Finally, there’s a summing-up essay by an associate professor of sociology at California State University, Los Angeles.

The Free Speech Crisis on Campus Is Worse than People Think | Bradley Campbell

This describes the “victimhood culture” involved in so many of the incidents above. And remember, don’t think these incidents are limited to campus. We already know they’ve spread widely: into the media, into entertainment, and into politics. As Andrew Sullivan said, “We’re all on campus now.”

A geometry puzzle from Russia’s prime minister

September 20, 2021 • 8:00 am

In lieu of Readers’ Wildlife today, we have a puzzle, one posted (as the Guardian reports) by Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin when he was visiting a science-oriented “sixth form” (what age of kids are these?) school. Matthew sent me a link.

Here’s the problem, and there’s a clue in both the photo below and in the Guardian article:

Construct a perpendicular from the (red) point on the circle to the diameter, without using any measuring devices.

In other words, given a circle with a diameter marked on it, and a point on the circle, can you find a way to draw a line from the point that hits the diameter at a right angle. (As marked in green above.)

The beauty of this question is the seemingly outrageous restriction not to allow measuring devices, which means that you cannot use a compass or a marked ruler. All you are allowed is an unmarked ruler to draw straight lines.

Matthew couldn’t solve it and, as I haven’t had my coffee, I’m not even going to try.

Here’s, a picture of Mishustin posing the problem (and giving a bit of a solution):

Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin draws on a chalkboard while visiting the Kapitsa Physics and Technology Lyceum in the town of Dolgoprudny earlier this month. Photograph: Dmitry Astakhov/TASS