Boston Globe Columns

From 2002 through 2007 I wrote a biweekly column, called Critical Faculties, for the Boston Globe Ideas section. Some examples:

“The Manly Man’s Man,” a profile of political scientist Harvey Mansfield, March 2006.

“The ‘No’ Muscle: How to Bulk Up Your Self-Control,” December 2007.

“Scanner Psych: Why the Human Brain Is Bad at Screening Baggage, and How Video Games Might Help,” November 2007.

“Life Sentence: Scholars Are Just Beginning to Understand How Prison Is Reshaping the Country,” September 2007.

“The Elegant Assassin,” profile of literary critic James Wood, August 2007.

“Leave Those Kids Alone: The Idea That Adults Should Be Playing With Their Kids Is a Modern Invention — And Not Necessarily a Good One,” July 2007.

“EBay-Nomics” (economists study online auctions), June 2007.

“The Rejection Bin of History” (Or, Why is the Oxford History of the United States taking so long to finish?), December 2006.

“Portrait of the Artist as a Dirty Old Man: A New Study of Norman Rockwell Finds Sexual Innuendo Lurking Amid His Classic Images of Innocence,” October 1, 2006.

“The Hidden Economy,” the strange economics of hidden fees (hotel minibars, printer cartridges, etc.), June 2006.

“In the Balance: Is Balanced Journalism to Blame for the Lack of Action on Global Warming?” April 2006.

“A Not-So-Brief History of Time: Historian Dan Smail Wants His Colleagues to Push the Clock Back — Way Back,” February 2006.

“Secret Societies: Can the Ivy League’s Big Three Live Down Their History of Discrimination?” October 2005.

“Fields of Battle: Can Brandeis Bring Peace to Middle East Studies?” March 2005.

“Orgasmic Science,” or, What’s the point of the female orgasm? April 2005.

“Pit Bulls and Profiling.”

“The Power of Positive Illusions,” September 2004.

“The Case of the Invisible Adjunct,” May 2004.

“The Road to Riches: Richard Florida Has Built a Thriving Career on the Theory That the ‘Creative Class’ Drives Urban Economic Growth. But Critics Increasingly Say His Ideas Just Don’t Add Up,” Feb. 2004.

“Are Women Bad Negotiators?” August 2003.

“Does ‘Corporate Culture’ Exist?” [pdf] August 2003.

“Tisn’t: An Irish Historian Exposes His Country’s Mythmaking from the Great Potato Famine to ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ Dublin Is Distressed,” Sept 15, 2002. (Lead article in the debut issue of the Ideas section.)