Are American Universities Sustainable?

At what point do the competitive business practices of higher education cut against the public good it is intended to serve? The nation's system of student loans needs reform. 

What's the Latest Development?


With interest rates on federally subsidized student loans set to double, at what point do the business practices of higher education harm the social good it is meant to serve? Competition among America's universities has become fierce, as evidenced by the exposure of many endowments to risky investments at the time of the financial crisis. The search for capital also includes "a high level of expenditures on student amenities (to attract rich kids), on intercollegiate sports (to stimulate alumni donations), and on faculty 'stars' who can attract research grants and impress parents and alumni."

What's the Big Idea?

Jurist Richard Posner and Nobel economist Gary Becker, two free-marketeers at the University of Chicago, support a more market-based approach to student loans. "If loans, not being subsidized, were more costly, tuition would be lower; and promising students would still receive scholarships and low-cost loans, financed by the universities themselves, because universities want to have good students," said Posner. It is also important to allow students to discharge student loan debt through personal bankruptcy, said Becker, "the way other debt can be dischargeable through bankruptcy."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less