Category: Great Ideas

Whales, Barnacles, and Ancient Migrations: A Possible Break in One of Evolution’s Biggest Mysteries

What do barnacles have to do with prehistoric whale migration and evolution? A whole lot, according to UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Larry Taylor. From their origins as four-legged, dog-like creatures in Pakistan to their present-day incarnations as “preposterously large” marine mammals that traverse the vast oceans, whales are the “poster child of evolution.” Millions of […]

From the Nation: Criticism in the Twilight

Nicholas Dames at The Nation reviews three books that attempt to vindicate the practice of literary criticism. One of the most salient ways in which all three have done so is by laboring howcriticism opens the sensibilities of its readers to more valuably appreciate works of art that wouldotherwise have been abstruse or mysterious. What, […]

From McSweeney’s: Post-Election College Paper Grading Rubric

Dr. Daveena Tauber at McSweeney’s has found it necessary in light of the new darkness inaugurated by our jurassic president to revise her paper grading rubric. She wants to make America grade again, Trump’s way. Now, the class clown will now find himself valedictorian.If it could make Trump president and give success to all of […]

From The Chicago Maroon: Read it and Weep

(“Read it and Weep” might not have been the best entry into one’s column). As all of you probably know, our world has experienced a tragedy recently, and some of us are still finding it difficult to recover from the sounding of the death-knell: Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature: Literature? […]

From the American Library Association: Parthenon Made Out of Banned Literature

Documenta 14 is a series of art exhibitions, hosted every five years to commemorate the values of democracy and freedom of expression–hard-won, but too easily taken for granted. Behind the exhibit is Marta Minujin, who sought inspiration for the exhibit from one of her earlier works. In 1983, after the dissolution of dictatorship in Argentina, […]

How Homer Matters

“The core of what is valuable about those epics is that they are intensely human. … It is an absolutely down-the-barrel look at the realities of who we are.” In his lecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, author Adam Nicholson argues the importance of Homer thousands of years after he wrote the Iliad and […]

Top Ten Benefits of Core’s Final Semester

Sophomores — it’s registration weekend! This is a milestone moment. You’ll be selecting classes for next semester, which for many of you is your fourth in the Core, and potentially your final one. Now, it is well known that there are myriad benefits — intellectual, social, and logistical — for finishing Core in the second-year […]

From NPR: Put Your Laptops Away

Jame Doubek at NPR aptly begins the title of his article with ‘Attention, Students,’ since that is what his subject primarily concerns. Why are some students more easily able to recall lecture material than others? It is tempting to think this might have something to do with anal-retention; that students who fastidiously take notes like […]

From History: 6 Reasons the Dark Ages weren’t so Dark

It is wrongly supposed that the Dark Ages were a period of stunted growth for the arts and sciences, until civilization received another growth spurt starting the Renaissance, and came fully within the limelight during the Enlightenment. That some of our candidates’ candidly brusque remarks are often derogated as medieval is evidence that we may […]

From The Guardian: The Dream of Enlightenment

It’s too easily supposed, after having heard their names used so often in sources not their own, that the enlightenment thinkers, and philosophers generally, have bequeathed to us all they have to say. That philosophy is a done deal, whose original enterprise is now more seriously undertaken by the natural sciences, or theology- kidding about […]