The attempted silencing of Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is one of the world’s great public intellectuals.

Growing up in Sri Lanka, I would find his articles and essays in the mainstream media quite regularly. But when I first came to the US in 1975, I found him completely absent from the major print and TV media and discovered that his writings were confined to niche publications. This is of course because the Vietnam war galvanized Chomsky from being a towering figure in the field of linguistics into also being a severe critic of injustices everywhere, especially of his own government. In addition, he has shown how the mainstream media in the US has been complicit in the crimes committed by the US government and those of its client states. [Read more…]

Not Down and Out in Paris and London

This website, not noted for its reliability, yet has an interesting item about the cost of vice president Joe Biden’s recent trip to London and Paris where it says that the cost for two nights came to $1 million. Why so high? Because he had an entourage that required 136 rooms in London and over 100 rooms in Paris and they were staying at expensive hotels to begin with. [Read more…]

Percentages versus absolute numbers

I came across this article that said that rich people gave money to charities differently from the middle class and the poor. One difference was to whom they gave money. “The poor tend to give to religious organizations and social-service charities, while the wealthy prefer to support colleges and universities, arts organizations, and museums.” [Read more…]

The Higgs Story-Part 5: Fields as a unifying concept

In the previous post in this series, I said that wave mechanics as represented by the Schrodinger equation was a major advance in our understanding of physics. It adopted the view that all entities had both particle-like and wave-like properties and each of them were manifested by constructing the appropriate experimental set-up. If you set up an experiment that looked for the wave characteristics of (say) an electron, you detected its wave properties. If you set up an experiment that looked for the particle characteristics, you saw that too. [Read more…]

Ohio changes mind on gay marriage

As the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 case, it is worth noting the huge shift in opinion in Ohio on same-sex marriage in less than a decade. Ohio is a pretty socially conservative state. In 2004, this state easily passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage with 62% in favor of the ballot initiative. [Read more…]