Good Failures and Bad Fixes

derby girls

In two of my recent posts for The American Conservative, I got to review Megan McArdle's The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success and to take a crack at improving a not quite fubar'd health insurance survey.  I'm also still pleased that my editor let me get away with using the roller derby image above as the featured image for the McArdle.  I can still remember, from the one time I went to a roller derby bootcamp, the coach saying "Fall up!  Fall up! Don't lose mome … [Read more...]

Prisoners are Calling. Who’s Answering?


Today, I'm over at First Things to talk about prisons, communities, and cell phones. Until cellphones made it trivial for a well-connected prisoner to reach the outside world, jailhouse policy has usually been more focused on information flowing the opposite direction. Texas is one among many states to have lengthy lists of books banned from prison libraries—Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, and Jenna Bush are among the many authors whose works have been proscribed.Jailhouse librarians and rev … [Read more...]

Just War, Culture War, Cyber… frackup

cap'n leah

Time for another roundup of this week's writing for The American Conservative.  First up, my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Steve Rogers's approach to loving your enemies.  Captain America Skips Politics, Stays Personal Usually, when Americans are characterized as thinking in black and white, it’s because we’ve divided the world or just our nation into “us” and “them” and are out to get rid of them as in President Bush’s statement, “Either you are with us, or you ar … [Read more...]

Flash Boys and Patent Ploys

amcon burke

This week, all my posts for The American Conservative had a slightly tech-y bent, starting with coverage of a software patents case, then CIA snooping, and wrapping up with a review of Michael Lewis's Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.  (Of course, the best recommendation for Lewis as a writer is how invested he got me in a book about baseball.  I still get excited when I spot a mention of Nick Swisher in the sports section.)  SCOTUS Debugs Software Patents First, a brief patent prim … [Read more...]

World Vision, Bad Science, and Living Death Sentences


Here's the round-up of the posts I've done this week at The American Conservative, starting with the most timely one.The Perils of Workplace Purges Two organizations stumbled into controversy this week over employment and gay marriage. World Vision, a Christian organization that provides humanitarian aid, announced it would hire staff in gay marriages (previously, this was a violation of the employee code of conduct) and then, two days later, reversed the decision. Meanwhile, at Mozilla, t … [Read more...]

Math, Moolah, Meddling Spies, and Monarchs

Richard III (Drew Cortese) / Teresa Wood

Here's the roundup of my most recent writing for The American Conservative, which includes math nerdery, political science research, Snowden coverage, and, best of all, a theatre review.  Teaching Math Under Common Core: Fact and Fiction, Part V When I learned my times tables, the kinds in my class used the fingers trick for remembering the nine times table. Just hold up all ten fingers, palms in, and then, counting from the left, put down the nth finger (where n is the number you’re m … [Read more...]

Post-CPAC Roundup: Crime, Race, Religion, and Women

cpac banner

Earlier today I wrote about the how of my CPAC coverage, and here's the what: all the stories I filed for AmCon based on the speeches I heard and the questions I asked at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  I tried to stick to the criteria of "Kind, honest, and necessary" throughout:Conservative Atheists Speak Up About CPAC Shunning Less than 24 hours passed between the American Atheists‘ announcement that“Atheists March Into Lions’ Den at CPAC” and the follow-up “CPAC Boots Ath … [Read more...]