There've been musicians like astronomer Herschel, and there've been chemists like Borodin – but all my life a favorite mathematician has been Tom Lehrer, whose songs began to come out when he was a graduate student in the '50s.
There was an entertaining documentary on ESPN recently about North Carolina State’s unlikely run to an NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1983 where they beat an otherwise unbeatable University of Houston team in the finals. NC State was the ultimate underdog, winning games in the final moments against much deeper competition. And particularly since their coach Jim Valvano’s passing from cancer several years ago, this Wolfpack team has been memorialized as perhaps the most cherished championship team in college basketball history.
Legislators in the tax-haven island of Cyprus have rejected the draconian bank deposit tax defying German leader Angela Merkel. While the protestors danced in the street after the vote, this could be a pyrric victory. President Putin threatened to withdraw a $3.2 billion loan if the Merkel proposal were embraced, a condition that might have influenced the final tally.
Sunday night, my wife and I attended a Persian Nowruz or New Year’s festival, with many friends. We celebrated the best and happiest of the traditions they had left behind, along with other Americans who had come to take part. While celebrating the rebirth of Spring, we were also celebrating freedom with friends who had become refugees, whose humanity and efforts to use their skills to help others had become unwelcome to Iranian authorities.
As the various disparate observances approach, which, by some series of absurdities has become a misnomer, now known as Judeo-Christian kinship, this commentator’s memory harks back to his childhood and the question he yearned to ask his biblically astute Grandfather but never dared: “Why is it that at the end of the Passover Seder, at the final ‘Amen,’ does everyone fervently respond: “Next year in Jerusalem!”?
This past weekend marked the third anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” This is the ACA’s big year; this Fall Americans will be allowed to start enrolling in health insurance plans. Starting on January 1, 2014, virtually all Americans will be required to have health insurance – either from the government, their employer, or through a health exchange. Yet, even at this late date, many Americans are still unsure of its impact.
A SEPARATION was one of the top films of 2011. In fact, it deservedly earned the Best Foreign Film Academy Award. I mention it now because its country of origin is Iran and, over a year ago, prior to the Oscar ceremony, I put forth a question: Should the current, seemingly endless hullaballoo surrounding Iran in any way impact on one’s view of this film-- or, if you are an Oscar voter, impact on your decision to vote or not vote for A SEPARATION?
Governor Cuomo's supposedly no drama budget is coming to a rather dramatic end.
The Senate held a rare weekend session – on Palm Sunday, no less – to pass a limited number of budget bills, while the Assembly, citing the Passover holiday that starts at sundown tonight, refused to return to Albany until Thursday.
"Kicking the can down the road" is an idiom that means to defer something crucial in hopes that the problem will become someone else's responsibility. The other day it occurred to me that "kicking the can down the road" has become a trademark of contemporary governments worldwide -- from the European debt crisis, to the so-called sequester, to the decision to defer changing the tax on New York's wealthy until a non-election year.
Unbeknownst to most, mankind is at war with an invincible foe. Their numbers are legion and few if any of the weapons we have in our arsenal can stop them. I'm not talking about the rampaging zombie hordes shown on The Walking Dead or in trailers for the upcoming movie World War Z. Rather, I'm talking about antibiotic resistant bacteria.