Olivarius: Penicillin and condoms

April 21, 2011
As I sat in my last class at Yale on Wednesday morning, a classmate gave a presentation on Samuel Pepys, a famous English diarist from the 17th century. In 1656, Pepys made a very risky decision to undergo surgery for bladder stones that had caused him acute pain his entire life. This literally meant that »

Olivarius: Suffocating the death penalty

April 8, 2011
The international community is currently sanctioning a country for violating human rights. Sanctions are nothing new. What’s new is that the country being sanctioned is the United States. The international community has banned the export of a dangerous and deadly substance to the U.S. It’s not cocaine or heroin, but sodium thiopental, a strong anesthetic »

Olivarius: Kids, don’t get down too soon

March 25, 2011
Nobody had heard of Rebecca Black before this week. Now, she is more Internet-popular than Charlie Sheen. “Friday” has millions of hits on YouTube (perhaps 30 of which are mine). It has been been praised, called “the worst video ever” and inspired a backlash so hard that it stunned almost everyone — including Black herself. »

Olivarius: It’s time for more Ms. Managers

February 25, 2011
Positive discrimination” has been a hot topic in the UK lately. Cranfield School of Management found that women accounted for just 12.2 percent of directors of the 100 biggest companies in 2009, and only 7.3 percent of the 250 biggest. Surprising, given that women earned 57 percent of the top degrees awarded in the UK »

Olivarius: Rejecting the Hollywood standard

February 11, 2011
This month in Redbook, “The Office” star Jenna Fischer talked about weight fluctuations in Hollywood. She said, “In a normal job, if you gain or lose a few pounds, it’s no big deal. But in my business you have to tell someone so that the next time you go to a fitting, the clothes are »

Olivarius: Digitizing history

January 28, 2011
Something cool happened to me this week. I was working on my senior essay about rural antebellum Mississippi when I found a digitized lease agreement from 1835 that was signed by one of the “protagonists” of my story, Ruel Blake. Blake was hanged later in the year (wrongly) for inciting a slave insurrection. Beyond the »

Olivarius: Make way for the modern monarch

January 14, 2011
On her 21st birthday in 1947, George VI’s daughter and the future Queen Elizabeth II said to the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire over the radio: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great »

Olivarius: Digital dud

December 3, 2010
On Wednesday, a dozen celebrities went “digitally dead” (no Twitter, no Facebook) until their collective fans donated $1 million (with a $10 individual minimum) to Keep a Child Alive, an AIDS charity founded by Alicia Keys. Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy and Kim Kardashian, to name a few, put down their BlackBerries to help »

Olivarius: Hayes verdict sets a sinister precedent

November 12, 2010
On Monday, jurors in state Superior Court in New Haven voted unanimously to sentence Steven Hayes to death, after finding him guilty last month of six capital felony charges. Early this year, Hayes, 47, along with fellow recent parolee Joshua Komisarjevsky, 30 (set to be tried next year) found Dr. William A. Petit sleeping on »

Olivarius: Back off, faux feminists

October 29, 2010
In writing about the upcoming midterm elections, pundits have called 2010 “the Year of Women.” They point to the candidacies of Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Nikki Haley, Michele Bachmann and, closer to home, Linda McMahon. It’s true, women are pushing their way into the political sphere in ways we have never seen before. But what’s »

Olivarius: Forget Facebook — dive into your Ancestry

October 15, 2010
Campus has been abuzz with conversation about “The Social Network,” Facebook’s cinematic creation story. The movie highlights how quickly and how closely connected we have become in today’s global cyberverse. With over half a billion users worldwide, Facebook has redefined what “global connection” means. But frankly, I’m tired of all the commentary on Facebook. It’s »

Olivarius: On femme fatales

October 1, 2010
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the impending execution of Teresa Lewis, the first woman set to be executed by Virginia in almost 100 years. Despite pleas for clemency and a petition for a stay from the Supreme Court, Lewis was executed last Thursday by lethal injection. The death penalty is not exceptional in this »