I have mixed emotions as I see a skyscraper going up in the U District. Apparently, at least eight more are on the way. These uneasy feelings were compounded when I visited Kerry Park, and much to my dismay, I no longer recognized the skyline of Seattle. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
As a scientist who has spent time in the business world, I am continually shocked by how some of the greatest business minds are susceptible to pseudoscience and magical thinking.
In a way, it’s not surprising. Businesspeople, and CEOs in particular, must be relentlessly optimistic. When investors are scarce and revenues are dwindling, it is a survival strategy. That probably explains why executives often recommend fluffy self-help books — it’s sort of like the prosperity gospel for entrepreneurs. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
I used to freelance for The Economist, and one of my favorite covers is from 1992. Under the headline, “Who would tame Leviathan?” is a grotesque, blue monster (donning a bowler hat, of course) with an insatiable appetite for money. Who is Leviathan? Leviathan is the government. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
Every once in a while, it is worth pausing to ponder carefully on current affairs and our place in history. I’ve come to the unsettling conclusion that, despite the towering cranes and shiny new buildings, there are some deep pathologies running in our city’s veins. Seattle is in crisis. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
An attempt to reopen the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada, where it was built to store nuclear waste, was recently shot down in Congress. The state’s refusal to become the nation’s central repository for nuclear waste means that we are forced to store it at 80 sites across 35 states — an impractical, expensive and less safe solution. It’s time to tempt Nevadans with an outside-the-box approach: Let’s pay them. Read the rest at USA Today.
During the final days of the last legislative session, lawmakers in Olympia — seemingly without much thoughtful consideration — decided to overhaul education in Washington state by giving in to various demands from the teachers’ union. In a flurry of activity, lawmakers reversed a ban on affirmative action, essentially eliminated a basic competency test for prospective K-12 teachers and cut funding to charter schools. What effects will these policies have? Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
Last month, a team of scientists obtained a picture of a black hole, providing visual evidence of something astrophysicists have long known to exist but were unable to see. This triumph of modern science was celebrated all around the world. Meanwhile, television ads by law firms are recruiting Americans to join in a gigantic lawsuit against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) for allegedly causing cancer with its widely used herbicide glyphosate. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
The ongoing measles outbreaks across the United States and Europe prove definitively that our personal choices affect everybody around us. Although you have a right to your own body, your choice to willfully be sick ends where another’s right to be healthy begins. For that reason, people who “opt out” of vaccines should be opted out of American society. Read the rest at Scientific American.
Every four years the political circus comes to town. Unlike the actual circus, there are neither peanuts nor animals performing tricks. Instead, we get platitudes and pandering politicians who treat Seattle like a giant ATM and leave as soon as the check clears. If we’re lucky, they don’t come during rush hour. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
In May 2015, Pope Francis issued an encyclical with the subtitle “On Care for Our Common Home.” The letter addressed various environmental issues, such as pollution and climate change, and it reminded all of us that we are to steward the Earth, not plunder it.
The Pope’s missive demonstrates that he is both theologically sound and scientifically literate, a very rare combination. That is why he should now author an encyclical urging the world to embrace the life-giving promise of biotechnology.
Read the rest at Leaps Magazine.