The destiny of Ukraine and much of the world is in the balance now. If Ukraine falls, the cancer of war will spread to the rest of the world and the law of the jungle will be a new global order where a big country can take over a small country. If Ukraine defeats the Russian aggression, another Berlin wall will fall and there will be another spring on the remnants of the Soviet empire that call themselves Russian Federation.
Many students in Oakland are facing a fifth and possibly sixth year of disruption. How do we build momentum toward a new way of “doing school,” especially for those who have been systematically marginalized and underserved? With a state budget surplus and new initiatives for schools and children, the hope of transforming public education is larger than it has been in many decades. However, we need more than funding to work toward equitable outcomes.
2021 was a better year than 2020, but there is still much room for improvement. The pandemic continued, and new strains of the virus have emerged – but we have effective vaccines. Leorah and I were vaccinated twice and received a booster shot. We continue to wear a mask and avoid large crowds – but … Continue reading »
The Biden Administration naïvely expects the Taliban, and what is left of the Afghan government, to arrive at some kind of harmonious agreement. A group that can turn the joy and beauty of a birth into a crime will never change, or honor any agreement.
Today, I have a couple of very different anniversaries. As a 10 year old school boy in CAmbridge I still have a vivid memory of June 5 1944,when the sky filled with thousands of allied planes on their way to bomb the landing areas in Normandy. Some were towing gliders which would land troops behind … Continue reading »
The year 2020 was the worst year I can recall. The pandemic that emerged in January accelerated during the late winter and early spring, stabilized in the summer, and remerged with cooler temperatures. We’ve had more than 300,000 fatalities in the US and close to 2 million globally, and the toll is rising. In addition, … Continue reading »
In this year of the election, pandemic, and general mayhem, we still have a lot to be grateful for.
The way UC Berkeley schedules classes is pretty nutty. It’s not just that they begin 10 minutes after the announced time, with a 10 AM class actually starting on “Berkeley Time” at 10:10 AM and a course scheduled for 3:30 PM-5 PM commencing at 3:40 PM. That would be needlessly confusing in itself. But what … Continue reading »
Why do we teach? What outcomes do we seek in our students when we step into the classroom or create a learning opportunity? I seek a variety of outcomes: some easy to accomplish, others exceedingly difficult. On the easiest end of the spectrum, I often expose students to facts, formulas – essentially knowledge they need … Continue reading »
Has it been six weeks that we are in house arrest? Time and space are so transmogrified that it feels like living on a spaceship or a lifeboat. I don’t grasp the rules. Am I a potential threat or a potential victim of the current global plague? Or both?
If you read no further, understand this: Black Lives Matter = if anyone kills a Black person, their punishment should be the same as if they killed someone from any other race.
Reflections from a Berkeley professor, 50 years after another round of tumultuous college graduations
The people who put their lives at risk to save others, over three centuries ago during the “Black Death,” were illiterate farmers. They had no central heating, no running water, no phones, and no microwaves to make life easier. I think, I am going to stop feeling sorry for myself.
We are working together by staying apart. Over the last week, you’ve been asked to make drastic changes to your lives. At UC Berkeley, we’ve suddenly moved to remote instruction. You’ve been asked to keep your distance from friends and classmates (maintain ~6 ft spacing). You’ve been asked to wash your hands with soap and … Continue reading »
If I asked you to name the biggest political party in the United States, what would be your answer? You probably have two guesses that come to mind: the Democratic party or the Republican party. Well, it’s neither. It’s the party of Non-Voters. Let’s look at the last presidential election: 100 million Americans who were … Continue reading »
Happy Birthday to ya! Happy Birthday to ya! Happy Birthday! The Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday” is very popular in the Black community. We’ll appease people and sing the traditional version all the way through, then immediately bust out in the more enthusiastic rendition Stevie released in 1980. For a long time, I thought … Continue reading »
The annual meeting of social scientists and economists (ASSA Meetings) was in San Diego, which was quite an improvement over previous years, where we met in the cold northeast. This was especially enjoyable, as I was remembering the meetings in Philadelphia, which were drastically underprepared for the snow that happened to occur during those meetings. … Continue reading »
When the U.S. threatens to abandon the international consensus on protection of cultural sites, as an archaeologist and a citizen I must act, even if action is limited to raising a voice in protest. Today I tendered my resignation from the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which advises the U.S. State Department on requests from other … Continue reading »
This last year was mostly a good year. Professionally, I gained a triple crown: I was awarded the Wolf prize for agriculture, became a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (USNAS), and became president of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). My grandchildren are growing and Leorah and I are enjoying this … Continue reading »
The World Laureates Association (WLA) is an initiative of a Shanghai businessman, Wang Hou, and several Nobel laureates, and as I understand, is supported by the municipality of Shanghai. I was fortunate to be present at the second annual meeting in late October in Shanghai. There were about 72 laureates present at the meeting, … Continue reading »