With great power and wealth come … ‘hot girls’?

March 27, 2008
On the evening of Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, a friend of mine — a doctoral candidate in neurophysiology — asked a question point-blank: “So, he got hot girls. Isn’t that what rich and powerful guys are supposed to do?” Despite the question’s scoffing delivery, the answer, scientifically at least, is “yes.” Wherever hierarchy is found in »

Remembering a friend, William F. Buckley Jr.

February 28, 2008
I first met Bill Buckley five years ago, after responding to an advertisement he published in the News. The ad was small, buried in the leaves of the campus daily. Beneath a soaring sea-bird were written the words, “Do you like to sail?” Buckley, a famous political figure and author, was a legendary sailor — »

The Bachelor’s Brad exposes real reality love

November 28, 2007
Last Monday, the 11th installment of ABC’s The Bachelor came to an unexpected and riveting conclusion: After whittling the field from 25 nubile women to his final two, Brad Womack — the rugged Texan bar-owner and self-made millionaire — dumped them both. In his break with tradition, the Southern beau laid bare the folly of »

US News rankings are as inert as the Constitution

November 7, 2007
It’s application season — time for turkey, eggnog and a look at the academic rankings. The US News and World Report rankings are low-hanging fruit for columnists. Countless writers have criticized the study for methodological skulduggery, over-reliance on manipulable criteria, favoring small schools and whatever else. Yet, I’ve seen students agonize over their school’s placement »

Degeneres’ celebrity emotions harm pet adoption

October 24, 2007
A confession: I’m not quite so immersed in pop culture as my faithful readers may think. Yes, I’ve written about astronauts in diapers, SpongeBob SquarePants and ninja burglars in Staten Island — but in truth, I’m really not hip. The fact is, my friends have spotted my willingness to fuel biweekly opinion pieces with tabloid »

Borough burglar has Real Ultimate Power

September 18, 2007
News flash: Real Ultimate Power has been unleashed on Staten Island. Yes, the Forgotten Borough has been terrorized by a stealthy burglar dressed like a ninja. I first heard about this last week. A Yale colleague told me that her parents were awakened by police helicopters with spotlights searching for a ninja who had just »

Fewer guns would help stop future tragedies

April 19, 2007
Monday’s mass murder at Virginia Tech was the worst shooting rampage in American history. As the investigation continues and details of the crime continue to emerge, we strain to comprehend what drove Tech senior Cho Seung-Hui to slaughter so many of his peers — and we face hard questions about how to prevent such eruptions »

Diploma mills deserve their own rankings

April 5, 2007
Last Friday, US News and World Report released the 2008 ranking of American Graduate Schools. Diploma mills — unaccredited colleges that award degrees with little or no study — were not included. More and more Americans are buying credentials online, but faced with a staggering array of phony schools, how is the aspiring charlatan to »

Show’s vision of justice seems, well, perverted

March 8, 2007
On Tuesday, Dateline NBC aired the latest in what has become an ongoing series of Internet crime reports titled “To Catch a Predator.” Hosted by Chris Hansen and employing the smut-talking prowess of volunteers from civilian group Perverted Justice, the series ensnares would-be sex offenders and exposes them on national television. But during its growing »

Real scientists can spice up design theory

February 22, 2007
The horn-rimmed thinkers of this nation are again at odds with the hooded hordes. Evolution is under attack by an energetic fundamentalist right, and these pages are scorched from impassioned sparring over Evolution Sunday. In the face of it all, scientists stubbornly cling to reason: We reject creationism as pseudoscience, and in so doing miss »

The astronaut and the diaper: a sordid tale

February 8, 2007
What do NASA astronauts do between missions? Until this week, I might have guessed modestly: training, book work, perhaps some checkers. Seedy love triangles and diaper-clad interstate crime sprees were fairly near the bottom of the list. No more. On Monday, astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak was arrested at the Orlando airport and charged with attempted »

Triangle mystery doesn’t stand up to scrutiny

January 25, 2007
As I begin my final semester of graduate school, I must report a troubling discovery: Throughout my many years of post-secondary education, I have never once questioned the myth of the Bermuda Triangle. I realized this last week, when a TV announcer mentioned the legend. Those two words conjured countless youthful hours spent enthralled by »