Inhumane Humanities

Humanities education in America is facing a crisis at the highest levels, writes The New Republic, as job prospects dwindle and graduate researchers multiply.

Humanities education in America is facing a crisis at the highest levels, writes The New Republic, as job prospects dwindle and graduate researchers multiply. "Efforts to create new forms of general education foundered because general education was aimed at preparing students for the world outside the academic walls. Nestled in their disciplinary armor, the professors--the descendants of those late-nineteenth-century reformers who created the university in the first place--distrusted, and resisted, the idea of training people for practical affairs. Interdisciplinarity hit its natural limits fairly soon. Administrators often liked interdisciplinary programs, since they sounded exciting, and staff could sometimes be appointed without deferring to departmental power, and they were cheap--but for the most part, though, the disciplines remained intact and in charge, and interdisciplinarity actually reinforced their authority. In theory, as Menand shows in a fine bit of academic comedy, interdisciplinary courses meant enabling two people from different disciplines to teach together: this would lead to productive collisions, which would in turn show faculty and students the limits of their perspectives. But in practice the faculty tended to go awry with highly idiosyncratic versions of their colleagues’ disciplines, while their students sank into paralytic bewilderment."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less