Campus scholars' perspectives on topical issues — in conversation with you

Build a bigger wall at the border?

A key Donald Trump pledge is to stop the inflow of undocumented Mexican immigrants by building a border wall so much higher and wider than the one we have now that none could enter the U.S. illegally. One oddity of this pledge is that the inflow of undocumented Mexicans has already stopped. For the last roughly seven years, … Continue reading »

Why lenders are leaving $72 billion in energy retrofits on the table

In the fight to save energy and reduce pollution, everyone always says that energy efficiency is the “low-hanging fruit.”  That’s because upgrading appliances and building performance typically saves enough energy and therefore money to pay for itself in just a few years. So why aren’t commercial building owners in particular taking more advantage of the … Continue reading »

Another side to the Tubman twenty

A slave-owning man on one side, a formerly enslaved woman on the other, and in between them lies the very thing that he could have used to buy her. This is how I think about the new $20 bill, which will soon feature Harriet Tubman and Andrew Jackson. This happenstance is the fruit born largely of … Continue reading »

Open letter to the class of 2020

The original version of this letter was posted in late 2010 on the Reality-Based Community blog).   In the last several weeks, I’ve been asked by a variety of friends and colleagues to post it again; here it is, with some revisions and updating.  I wish I could report that it’s out of date, but things … Continue reading »

Why are the automakers complaining?

With gasoline prices averaging $2 per gallon, Americans are flocking to gas-guzzling vehicles. Last year was the biggest year ever for the U.S. auto industry with 17.5 million total vehicle sales nationwide. Trucks, SUVs, and crossovers led the charge with a 13 percent increase compared to 2014. The one problem with selling all these gas … Continue reading »