2 cops murdered in retaliation for Brown and Garner

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu

Two NYPD police officers were murdered yesterday in cold blood. Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a young man angry over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, had announced through social media that he was going to kill cops. Unfortunately, he did. There’s a good article on the lives of Officers Ramos and Liu here.

The largest police union in NYC has blamed Mayor Bill De Blasio for the tragedy. NYPD cops turned their backs on De Blasio when he entered a police press conference. George Pataki, former governor of New York, also criticized De Blasio and put the blame on his terrible leadership. I wholeheartedly agree. De Blasio has NYPD blood all over his hands.

Culture Clash (Podcast)

Last podcast of the year, and man, it’s a good one! Last night, Snoopy Jenkins/James, ChineseMom, and I had a podcast. Download it here, or hear it here:

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The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin (Review)


The Organized Mind is one of those books written by professors for common people. Levitin is a professor of neuroscience. In this book, he writes about how our memories evolved through the needs of our ancestors, how the information at our disposal has exceeded our biological ability to retain information, and how we can cope. The basic premise of the book is that we need to offload as much information as possible into the external world. Instead of memorizing everything, we need a system of notes/computers/other people to remind us what we need to do. Only then can we be effective.

Do macadamia nuts fall far from the tree?

Interesting story from South Korea: a Korean Air Lines executive, who happens to be the eldest daughter of the CEO, threw a tantrum because she was served macadamia nuts in a bag rather than on a plate. I’ve never flown first class with Korean Air–actually, I’ve never flown Korean Air period–but apparently when you fly first class, nuts are supposed to come on a plate, not in a bag. The executive held up the entire flight to punish the head steward for this terrible and unforgivable mistake. People in Korea didn’t feel it was so terrible–actually they sided with the steward–and people are now angry at the airlines and the family that controls the airlines.

The experiences of an affirmative action supporter (podcast)

James Lamb/Snoopy Jenkins and I did a podcast last night. You can download it here, or you can play it here:

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The unfair advantage of ambitious parents

Bob recently posted an article by Jeff Yang, in which Yang defends affirmative action. I respect and like Jeff, but we’ve already gone over the many logical contradictions in the pro-affirmative racism arguments he makes: If legacies work for his Asian American sister, they also work for black and Hispanic legacies. “Holistic” review has nothing necessarily to do with race–saying you want to be a writer shouldn’t count more if you’re not Asian. Karthick lied. In terms of the pro-affirmative action arguments, his article just doesn’t work. It’s completely wrong. HOWEVER, Jeff brings up an interesting issue with respect to parental ambitions:

Allan Kornblum dies

Allan Kornblum, Photo credit: Becky Prentis

Allan Kornblum, Photo credit: Becky Prentis

Allan Kornblum was one of those guys that you always heard about but who always worked behind the scenes. He was the founder of Coffee House Press, which published Frank Chin. He passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 65. From the NY Times:

For three decades, Coffee House Press, a nonprofit publisher based in Minneapolis, has been an advocate for poets, novelists and other writers who might have struggled to find another publisher. Many of its authors are women and members of minority groups, often Asian-American. Once obscure, Coffee House has published more than 400 books, and its books are reaching increasingly larger audiences.

Are the humanities easier than STEM subjects?

Some of y’all may wonder why bigWOWO tolerates debate and discussion in the comment section, especially when so many people get their feelings hurt from time to time. The reason is and has always been the comments. By having relative freedom of speech, people bounce around new ideas and educate one another. And when something interesting comes up, sometimes I’ll front page it. A good example is this question: Are the humanities easier than STEM subjects? I double majored in Comparative Literature and Chemistry, so I have a background in both. Plus, it’s relevant since we’ve had two podcasts on the issue, here and here. So here’s my opinion, and as usual, feel free to add your own in the comment section.