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KPCC Blogs


Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier: the lives and times of Siegmund Warburg”

Niall Ferguson’s “High Financier: the lives and times of Siegmund Warburg”

It might be a little controversial to say that Britain should have never joined WWI, even if it meant Germany would have won. But, then again, most of what the famed economic historian Niall Ferguson says is pretty controversial. Ferguson is the leading academic on counterfactual history, a new type of history that asks “what [...]

Peter Carey’s "Parrot and Olivier in America"

Peter Carey’s "Parrot and Olivier in America"

Two-time Booker Prize winning author, Peter Carey is back with a new novel set in early-nineteenth-century America. The book follows Olivier, a character based loosely on Alexis de Tocqueville, and Parrot, the motherless son of an English engraver, as they make their way to and through America. An unlikely friendship is forged between the two [...]

How visionary businessman Fred Harvey built a railroad hospitality empire

How visionary businessman Fred Harvey built a railroad hospitality empire

Fred Harvey built eating houses and hotels along the nation’s largest railroad, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (including historic lodges still in use at the Grand Canyon). His “Harvey Houses” were patronized by European royalty, American Presidents, rowdy cowboys, and countless ordinary travelers looking for the best cup of coffee in the country. His [...]

Who’s ready to be “Inspired”!? Al Qaeda launches its very own magazine

Who’s ready to be “Inspired”!? Al Qaeda launches its very own magazine

I know exactly what you’ve been thinking, “When is Al Qaeda going to come out with a monthly publication?” Well, the wait is over. Al Qaeda, the world’s most popular terrorist group, has unveiled its first English-language magazine to tide over supporters—and recruit new ones of the American variety—in-between jihads. The aptly named “Inspire” dishes [...]

"The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law

"The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law

Should there be a law protecting the fat, the unattractive or the short people of America? Is it prejudice to ridicule a female employee or a Supreme Court Justice nominee for being too ugly? In the age of Botox, plastic surgery gone overboard, and the undying trend of youth, professional women face a bigger obstacle [...]

DON’T rate my professors: Do student evaluations improve—or impair—education?

DON’T rate my professors: Do student evaluations improve—or impair—education?

Texas has developed a plan to implement student evaluations in public schools, allocating funding according to student satisfaction. But, students don’t consume education the way they do a hamburger, warns Stanley Fish in The New York Times. Teacher evaluations, he worries, only account for present satisfaction, but cannot possibly predict what a student will find [...]

The Beauty Bias: the injustice of appearance in life and law

The Beauty Bias: the injustice of appearance in life and law

Should there be a law protecting the fat, the unattractive or the short people of America? Is it prejudice to ridicule a female employee or a Supreme Court Justice nominee for being too ugly? In the age of Botox, plastic surgery gone overboard, and the undying trend of youth, professional women face a bigger obstacle [...]

A young girl’s death puts uncomfortable spotlight on raves & drug culture

A young girl’s death puts uncomfortable spotlight on raves & drug culture

Sasha Rodriguez was 15-years-old when she walked into the L.A. Coliseum to attend the Electric Daisy Carnival rave over the weekend—the minimum age for entrance into the dance party was 16. Sasha died yesterday after being taken off of life support, most likely due to a drug overdose, which casts serious questions over throwing these [...]

What’s your pleasure?

What’s your pleasure?

We crave food and sex like other animals. Yet humans find pleasure in an assortment of unusual ways—why do we like scary movies so much? What’s the appeal of abstract art? And, how can we explain masochism? Paul Bloom explores the ins and outs of satisfaction—sensorial and otherwise—in his book How Pleasure Works, celebrating our [...]

The conservatives’ case against Kagan

The conservatives’ case against Kagan

Some on the left aren’t ecstatic with the idea of Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, and on the right, John Yoo, the Bush administrator who authored the so-called “torture memos,” has authored his own objections to her, in a New York Times op-ed that ran last month. Why doesn’t John Yoo heart Elena Kagan? [...]