Gender Issues: What If We No Longer Said “He” and “She”?

Our Monday Gender Issue: In the February 10th issue of the New Yorker, I read “Pronoun Envy” by Anne Carson. Here is the beginning: Pronoun Envy “is a phrase coined by Cal Watkins of the Harvard Linguistics Department in November…

Why Would the Nigerian GDP Double Overnight?

We might have to say BRINC rather than BRICS. As a developing nation with the highest GDP in Africa, South Africa has been the “S” in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Now though, Nigeria has raced ahead. During one weekend…

The Big Impact of a Little Salamander

The woodland salamander made me think of Adam Smith. In North American forests, wherever it is dark and damp, under a rock or a log, a very hungry salamander could be devouring her daily diet. Eating 20 ants, 2 flies…

Unusual Ways to Achieve Deficit Reduction

Hoping to diminish their country’s deficit, last year, Malta’s President and Parliament decided to sell citizenship. The price tag is $891,000 and the perk is that Malta is in the EU. Consequently, you get an island home with a back…

Does It Matter That Men Boast?

Our Monday Gender Issue: Teaching at a girls’ school, I continually run into the problem of modesty. My women know the answers and yet go to the board saying they might not be right. Now, an academic study from researchers…

Is Our Resource Use More Sustainable Than the Word Sustainable?

Sustainable:   Pondering sustainability through an xkcd lens took me to other “green” ngrams. As described by xkcd, the graph represents the frequency of the use of each word in Google books, 1800-2008: Then I checked what we eat: Ngrams…

A Water Shortage During Brazil’s World Cup

A major source of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s water supply has shrunk. Down to 14.7% of its capacity, the Cantareira Basin supplies almost half the area’s water. With little rain until recently (and it’s the rainy season from December to March)…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Feminism

Our Monday Gender Issue: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian writer, former MacArthur genius, National Book Critics Circle Award winner, author of the book, Half of a Yellow Sun on which a new movie is based, and the person who has given so many…

The Significance of the Frisbee

The story of the Frisbee begins in a backyard during a Thanksgiving dinner in 1937. Fred Morrison and his girlfriend Lucile “Lu” Nay were tossing a  popcorn-tin lid when they switched to a cake pan because it had better aerodynamics.…

The Unintended Consequences of Banning Ivory Sales

New US ivory regulations have had unintended consequences. During November 2013, the US government “pulverized” nearly 6 tons of elephant ivory from Asia and Africa. Intending to send a message to elephant poachers, the Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed ivory that…