America is in a “boy who cried wolf” situation right now. We’ve grown so accustomed to comparing our presidents with tyrants, or insisting that a candidate’s ascent to power will result in calamity, that even those of us who see an actual wolf in our midst aren’t being taken seriously. The people voting for Donald Trump are well aware of our concerns but – having grown jaded to polemical hyperbole – aren’t able to recognize that the threat is real this time.
As the world reels from the last Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris, millions of people have taken to Twitter to share their grief and outrage… and many echoed Donald Trump’s call to “bomb the shit” out of them.
The desire to immediately strike back at ISIS with overwhelming force is understandable. It took under 48 hours for the French military to retaliate for the attack with air strikes against targets in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. However, it’s important to remember why groups like ISIS mount large-scale spectacle terrorist attacks against Western targets in the first place: to provoke a dramatic military reaction that brings moderate Muslims around the world into agreeing with its worldview. Retaliatory strikes against ISIS will certainly weaken the group, maybe even destroy it, but that type of response is precisely what ISIS is hoping to elicit.
Published: Question of the Day (July 13, 2015)
Greece’s years-long debt crisis has finally come to a head this summer. Though Greece looks like it’ll get its third bailout in five years, the Greeks were very much on the brink for the last few weeks, and very close to being kicked out of the eurozone over the last few days. The Greek debt crisis seems like a never-ending tragedy, a story that never seems to go away. Greece will likely be the central crisis center of the European economy for years to come, and because of this, it’s worth asking how the Greeks got into this whole mess in the first place.The Greek economic crisis can be traced back to three core elements. Firstly, when the Nazis occupied Greece during World War II, the nation was left with crippling debt due to a major loan that had been forcibly extracted by the Third Reich. Next, participating in the eurozone (i.e., European nations that use the same currency system, based on the euro) has worked to the disadvantage of countries that need to adjust their monetary policies — Greece among them — to adapt to adverse economic conditions. Greece could have done by devaluing the drachma during the most recent downturn. Finally, the Greek government got itself into a terrible debt crisis, first borrowing money from European banks that it could not repay, then finally paying them off with loans from European governments … which it also doesn’t have the money to repay.
Published: Question of the Day (June 2, 2015)
These were really formative years. The 20-something years are often as sharply defined by the “something” aspect of that term than by their numerical designation. This is the decade in which so many of us struggle to find ourselves in our careers; for some, the path lies clearly in front of us, while for others it wind around and is covered in shadows.With that in mind, what were the world’s most powerful leaders of today doing in this formative decade of their lives?
Published: Quartz (May 15, 2015)
I hadn’t spoken to my friend Raad since our undergraduate days at Bard College, in New York, nearly a decade ago. But as I listened to her father’s story, it quickly became apparent why she had spent the past few days frantically contacting friends who worked in the media.
“I’m a 70 year-old man and the police officers put their guns right against my chest and said they would shoot if I didn’t allow their men onto my property,” Syed Ziad Rahman recalled, his voice trembling. “I accepted the fact that I might die and told the main officer that if he wanted to get through, he would have to kill me.”
Published: Daily Dot (April 9, 2015)
Last month, the “Digital Economy and Society Index” determined that Greece ranked close-to-last among European Union nations in keeping up with the progress of the digital revolution. This is hardly surprising, considering how far behind that nation lags in so many other metrics, but it is telling here for one reason: If the Greek public was better connected online, there is a chance they could stimulate more support for their movement to receive long-overdue World War II reparations.
Published: Pixable (February 24, 2015)
This has been a historic month for science. Even if all scientific progress crawls to a stop this week, the knowledge we’ve already acquired since February 1, 2015 is likely to have a direct impact on all of our lives. Among the lessons we’ve learned:
1. The theory of the Big Bang may be false
In a paper published by Physics Letters B titled “Cosmology from quantum potential,” researchers Ahmed Farag Ali in Egypt and Saurya Das in Canada propose that the universe is filled with a quantum fluid that expands space by exerting a slight but constant force on all matter. If correct, their argument could disprove the Big Bang theory, which has long been criticized due to its equations being unable to take scientists back to the universe’s origin point – one that, if the Big Bang theory is to be believed, would be an infinitely small and dense singularity. The Ali-Das model not only fixes this by positing a universe that has always existed, but even explains physical phenomena like gravity and the theory of relativity.
Published: Good Men Project (January 22, 2015)
Matthew Rozsa explores the divided politics of the American Jewish community.
Although I recall a great deal about the day I was nearly murdered, my conscious memory has suppressed the few minutes during which my head was held under water and my 6th grade classmates chanted “Drown the Jew!” Like a scratched DVD, it skips from the moment right before I was dunked to my immediate reaction after being pulled out of the water by my best friend’s older brother. Arms flailing violently, I landed indiscriminate blows on whoever was in arm’s reach—including the man who saved my life—before rushing ashore to gulp down air and vomit up mud.