Tag Archives: society

black hole

‘Disimprovement’: Why the Curious Case of a Missing Antonym Could Lead to a New Theory of the Universe

By Amien Essif After poking around in a thesaurus for a while, I found a mysterious hole in the English language. There is no satisfying antonym for “improve.” At first it seemed like momentary amnesia on my part and I was looking forward to a Roget’s epiphany when, to my surprise, the thesaurus confirmed my […]

scully bag

How Does an Anti-Consumerist Pack for Adventure?

By Amien Essif There is an ethical dilemma stuffed in with every backpacker’s provisions, a fact I discovered on a particular excursion in the Smoky Mountains. During an overnight hike in the spring, my friend and I shared a shelter with a trio of thirtysomethings who were apparently hiking the Appalachian Trail, and as I […]

Lawrence Sterne

Joining the Hoard of Termites: A Neo-Luddite Manifesto

At the end of my 18th-century British lit course, my professor, in good humor, had us make a confession. Who had given up on Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman and who had persevered? She promised no punishment, but I knew she would admire anyone with the stamina to struggle through […]

mansion maze

Homeless! and Proud

In January, a California lawmaker proposed one of those rare laws that is at once overdue, destined to seem obvious sooner or later–and extremely unpopular. I’ll let the Los Angeles Times explain Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s proposal: The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act…would guarantee the homeless the right to live in public much […]

The original Milgram experiment

The Milgram Experiment Is Destined to Repeat Itself Forever

New research on the effects of violent video games, reports the New York Times, has shown that playing Mortal Kombat for fifteen minutes made subjects more “aggressive.” But how did they record that? Recall that in the early 1960s Stanley Milgram’s notorious experiment tested the human willingness to torture people with electric shock when under […]