On July 16th, the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York voted to separate CNSE, the College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering, from its university, the University at Albany. Many opinions have been voiced, both pro and con, since the possibility of such a split was “leaked” this past March. As the president of UAlbany when the nanotechnology initiative was begun and moved through critical phases in its growth, I have expressed my opinion regarding this decision in a recent interview with The Business Review. Indeed, an editorial expanding on my deep concerns will appear tomorrow in the August 8th edition of this same publication.
One of the first things I learned in a classroom management course was when a kid blatantly breaks the rules, never ask him or her why they did it. You’re not going to like the answer, and the reality is, most kids don’t know why threw a watermelon out a school window. At that age, impulse far overwhelms reasoned action. So as an educator, forget why, and simply deal with the punishment.
There was a moment after 9/11 when almost all Americans realized what could be lost to an enemy intent on destroying our people and our institutions. As time has passed, so too has much of this sentiment. Americans may be patriotic, but patriotism is generally not in the forefront of their thinking. There are, however, some Americans who consider any form of patriotic expression jingoism or misguided public sentiment.
We have heard a great deal under both Bush and Obama about the extent of government surveillance, with a crescendo in recent weeks. We are learning that virtually all of us turn up in government surveillance in some way.
It’s early August. We’re past summer’s midpoint and the barrage of back-to-school ads have begun. While those ads may offer parents a light at the end of the tunnel, thinking about schoolchildren also raises an important policy issue: the growing problem of childhood obesity.
A young friend and keen analyst of social change made the observation that it seems that physicians, when it comes to the contemporary state of our profession, seem a bit in shock, as if suffering a grief reaction. She referenced the stages of grief elucidated by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.*
Six years ago I noted in a commentary that there was a very simple solution to the foreclosure crisis that followed the bursting of the housing bubble. The solution is to force any financial institution that foreclosed on a property to permit the current homeowners to stay in the house as renters with the rent fixed at a current market rate. A version of this idea was introduced in Congress in 2010.
It’s an uncomfortable truth that newspapers have long been the business of writing advanced obituaries. It’s not that editors or journalists hold some morbid fascination with death, or that they want people to die. It’s just that when someone famous goes, newspapers want to run an obituary right away, without having to put together something quickly by calling grieving friends and family. If you’re famous and either old, sick, or both, someone somewhere has your life story ready for print. Don't think of it as creepy. Think of it as an honor.