Author Archives: David

Won’t Back Down

Our experience is replete with examples both backbone and inflexibility. Intransigence inevitably has a positive connotation in our culture. Stand up for what you believe. Do not take a step backward. Live free or die. The American Revolution was not won by ambivalent soldiers: “Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe taxation without representation is okay. Who am…Read the full article

When Will They Ever Learn?

An accomplished professor of art history teaches an introductory undergraduate course. He has recently published his third scholarly article on Byzantine architecture. His textbook on the subject is ahead of schedule. Yet he spends the majority of his 50-minute lecture brutalizing his students about their poor exam results. “How are you still unable to articulate…Read the full article

Now and Then

Toward the end of the Pleistocene I was a college student. At one point during this epoch, a person of the female persuasion condescended to have dinner and see a movie with me. If memory serves, such an arrangement was called a “date.” (cf. “icebox,” “horseless carriage,” and “civility.”) At the agreed-upon hour, I presented…Read the full article

Rosalind Franklin

No course on biology would be complete without devoting several lectures to the contributions of Rosalind Franklin. Her impact on the discovery of the double helix is the stuff of legend. Had she lived, it is likely that Franklin would have shared the Nobel Prize in Biology with Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins. Since…Read the full article

Eight-Year-Old World

Having run out of eight-year-olds with whom we have DNA in common, we took the next logical step of importing eight-year-olds belonging to other folks. Our usual kids are grown and gone. So borrowing an eight-year-old or two seemed a reasonable step. Said eight-year-olds apparently belong to friends of my wife. Good to know. Here…Read the full article

Greed

One of my running buddies also has the pleasure of living with a precocious seven-year-old. Liam is articulate, innovative, and unapologetic about his disdain for addition. Specifically, Liam does not care for addition worksheets. He does not like pages of problems like 89 + 27. Last year he did not enjoy pages of problems including…Read the full article

Same Data, Wrong Conclusions

A buddy of mine describes two situations with his adolescent daughters. 1) Parties I walk in to social events with my girls. I don’t leave until I make sure that the get-togethers are properly supervised. If the parents aren’t home, my girls and I get back in the car. My daughters are embarrassed. They would…Read the full article