August 2, 2013 |
Picture this: Two surfers are bobbing on their boards at a remote surf spot north of Santa Barbara. They drift into a dreamy discussion and the question arises, "Wouldn't it be great if we could get paid to do this?" That question, in various forms, pops up frequently among surfers waiting out long lulls, whether they are work-shirking stoners or hard-charging professionals. In this instance, it was a pair of PhDs, playing hooky from their teaching jobs at UC Santa Barbara. In their pursuit "to combine our lifestyle with our profession," historians Peter Westwick and Peter Neushul initially coaxed the deans at UC Santa Barbara into permitting them to teach a history of surfing class.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2013 |
Robert Fogel, the University of Chicago economic historian awarded a Nobel Prize for his data-driven reconsiderations of how railways and slavery influenced U.S. economic history, has died. He was 86. Fogel died Tuesday at Manor Care Health Services in Oak Lawn, Ill., after a brief illness, according to the university's Booth School of Business. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Fogel and Douglass North of Washington University in St. Louis the 1993 Nobel Prize in economics "for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.
May 7, 2013 |
At an investment conference last week, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson created a huge mess for himself. He glibly speculated that maybe because economist John Maynard Keynes was a childless, "effete" homosexual, he embraced a doctrine that favored immediate economic gratification. Keynes' bon mot "in the long run, we are all dead" takes on new meaning when you realize he didn't have kids to worry about. FOR THE RECORD: Book title: The May 7 Jonah Goldberg column had a typo in the subtitle of William Greider's book “Secrets of the Temple.” It is “How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country,” not “County.” Following the usual script, but at a much faster clip, an uproar ensued on Twitter and in various blogs.
April 12, 2013 |
Asking Kevin Starr a question is like turning on a fire hose. First there's a blast of erudition. Then, as his intellect gathers, information rushes out in a deluge. He's talking, but it's as if an invisible scholar inside his head is yanking books off shelves, throwing them open, checking the index, then racing off to find the next volume. On the outside, Starr is an avuncular 72-year-old, but his brain is sprinting like an Olympian. Amazingly, it's possible to keep up. This may be Starr's greatest gift: not just that he has amassed a phenomenal body of knowledge but that he can translate it into dynamic works of history.
February 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Finally unburdened by worries about running for another election, President Obama is acting different these days. Second-term Obama is noticeably quicker to speak his mind and get personal on subjects he once avoided. His schedule at times ignores concerns about "optics," Washington-speak for what voters might perceive. On Friday, for example, the president delivered an unexpectedly personal, and at times off-the-cuff, speech in Chicago about the root causes of urban violence.
February 3, 2013 |
Jeanine Basinger's "I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies" (Alfred A. Knopf: 432 pp., $30) is a breezy, fun excursion into Hollywood's presentation of matrimony, from the earliest days of cinema through the modern era. But rather than celebrating how well cinema has depicted the institution, the book illustrates how rarely Hollywood has captured the complexities and realities of marriage. The book is deeply personal for Basinger, 76, on sabbatical from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she is the Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and founder and curator of the university's Cinema Archives.