January 30, 2013 |
Attention dieters: Many of the “facts” you think you know about obesity and weight loss are wrong. So says a report published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. An international team of dietitians, doctors and other experts examined more than a dozen ideas about obesity that are widely believed to be true but aren't actually supported by reliable medical evidence. It's not just dieters who buy into these mistaken notions, the study authors note - much of this incorrect conventional wisdom is espoused by physicians, academic scientists, government agencies and (gulp)
November 16, 2012 |
In 1954, psychologist Benjamin Karpman wrote a prescient book about "sexual offenders" in the United States. Karpman focused especially on homosexuals who were drummed out of government jobs on the grounds that their sexual orientation made them security risks. If you were gay, the argument went, you were susceptible to blackmail by communist spies. But the real problem lay in the taboo on homosexuality, which paved the way for exactly the kind of extortion that the government feared.
November 14, 2012 |
If you needed another reminder of the implacability of time, the Rolling Stones are currently celebrating 50 years in show business - a fact that might blow the minds of people old enough to use the phrase "blow my mind" and at the same time mean less than nothing to people young enough to regard 50 years as an imponderable abstraction. As part of the band's several-pronged multimedia anniversary - a two-year party, dating either from the initial 1962 confluence of blues fans Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or to the January 1963 addition of last original Stone Charlie Watts - HBO will premiere Thursday a new documentary, "Crossfire Hurricane.
November 7, 2012 |
With the election over and the votes counted, we now have data to refute a couple of persistent electoral myths -- one involving economics, the other polling. Myth One: “No president has been reelected with an unemployment rate higher than ... .” This hoary notion never made much sense. Put the unemployment rate and the incumbent's vote percentage on a graph and you can immediately see that the two bear almost no relationship to each other. Two main reasons explain this. One is that the unemployment rate sometimes goes up when times are getting better and down when things get worse.
October 20, 2012 |
The Story of America Essays on Origins Jill Lepore Princeton University Press: 416 pp, $27.95 For Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor and New Yorker staff writer, the story of America is part myth, part tall tale, and never less than engrossing. "All nations are places," she writes in her stylish new collection, "but they are also acts of imagination. Who has a part in a nation's story, like who can become a citizen and who has a right to vote, isn't foreordained, or even stable.
October 9, 2012 |
Two new voices have entered the fray to criticize affirmative action. Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor have been ubiquitous in recent weeks on panels, talk shows and in their Times Op-Ed article Sunday, "Do race preferences help students? " They claim to bring a new story to the affirmative action debate in which their concern is the beneficiaries, and their contribution is empirical. The story they are telling is that black and Latino students have been harmed rather than helped, their legal and scientific careers curtailed by the "preference" that led them to attend a highly selective law school or college. Scholars who have examined the research -- virtually all of it by Sander himself -- have found it deeply flawed.