Who are you?

Question: Who are you?

Tom Stewart: I’m tempted to say I’m an American, Chicago-born … said that better.  I was born in Chicago.  I’m a classic boomer, you know, sort of background.  I was born in 1948.  When we were six …When I was six years old …  I was the second child of what became four.   But when I was six, we joined the great American Diaspora to the suburbs.  I was born in and around the University of Chicago.  We moved … we moved to the suburbs.  I had a fairly classic, suburban 50s upbringing with, you know, Boy Scouts and … and … and … and the desire to do the right thing and get to the right college, and so on and so forth.  I like to say that because of the way I grew up outside of Chicago, I knew all of that great city’s museums and none of its bars.

When I was a junior, my father and I made this sort of the … the trip east to look at colleges.  And we started at Oberlin and we started working our way east from Oberlin to Williams to Amherst … and came into Cambridge, Massachusetts on a March day when it was slushy and gray.  And, you know, there were these streets that were not perpendicular and this dirty slush and buses.  And we joined a friend of mine – who was a freshman at Harvard – for dinner and went to a place that still exists called Bartley’s Burger Cottage.  And there, sitting down the … you know, four or five tables away, smoking a cigarette, was a woman in a dark top and a light skirt which was the shortest miniskirt I had theretofore seen in my life.  And at that point I was set.  You know, I wanted to be in the east, and … and be at Harvard and be a city kid.  And really in a sense, in a funny way, that was the … I did get into Harvard.  I was lucky enough to do that.  But the transforming thing was … was that image of cities.  Having had a, you know, a city childhood – I mean an early childhood – and then a suburban, middle childhood, that was the moment when I realized cities turned me on in every possible way.

Recorded on: 6/22/07

A skirt Tom made Stewart fall in love with the city.

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
Keep reading Show less

We’ve mapped a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Take the virtual tour here.

See the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
Surprising Science

Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way, in the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.

Keep reading Show less

New data reveals Earth closer to a black hole and 16,000 mph faster

A new study shows our planet is much closer to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center than previously estimated.

Credit: NAOJ
Surprising Science
  • A Japanese radio astronomy project revealed Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way's center.
  • The data also showed the planet is moving 7 km/s or 16,000 mph faster in orbit around the Galactic Center.
  • The findings don't mean Earth is in more danger from the black hole but reflect better modeling of the galaxy.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Mathematical model shows how the Nazis could have won WWII's Battle of Britain

    With just a few strategical tweaks, the Nazis could have won one of World War II's most decisive battles.

    Photo: Heinrich Hoffmann/ullstein bild via Getty Images
    Politics & Current Affairs
    • The Battle of Britain is widely recognized as one of the most significant battles that occurred during World War II. It marked the first major victory of the Allied forces and shifted the tide of the war.
    • Historians, however, have long debated the deciding factor in the British victory and German defeat.
    • A new mathematical model took into account numerous alternative tactics that the German's could have made and found that just two tweaks stood between them and victory over Britain.
    Keep reading Show less

    How has technology changed — and changed us — in the past 20 years?

    Apple sold its first iPod in 2001, and six years later it introduced the iPhone, which ushered in a new era of personal technology.

    PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images
    Technology & Innovation
    Just over 20 years ago, the dotcom bubble burst, causing the stocks of many tech firms to tumble.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast