Why Inter-Disciplinary Research is Cursed

Inter-disciplinary research is all the rage these days. Investigating a research problem through the lens of a single discipline is simply not enough to get a full understanding of “what’s going on,” or so we are told. Funding bodies want to see cross-disciplinary collaborations to solve complex problems before committing cash to a project. JournalsContinue reading “Why Inter-Disciplinary Research is Cursed”

Coping with Social Rejection

To anyone who’s ever been rejected, ignored, or excluded by someone more “popular” than you are, this article’s for you. I am not an important man, although importance is a relative concept. I’ve written books and published articles. My research has been reported in international media outlets like The Economist, the Financial Times, and BBCContinue reading “Coping with Social Rejection”

Should All Academics Have a “Side Hustle?”

Academia is entering uncharted territory, and many of us will find ourselves wholly unprepared for it. Working in a university is not like it used to be, and I doubt it will ever be the same again. Fifty years ago, virtually all professors were either tenure-track or tenured. This was the “golden age” of academia.Continue reading “Should All Academics Have a “Side Hustle?””

Elite Universities Add Little to No Value to Students’ Lives

Here is my premise: the harder it is to get accepted into a university, the less value it will add to your life. Another way of stating this premise is: the easier it is to get accepted into a university, the more value it will add to your life. This may sound counterintuitive, but bearContinue reading “Elite Universities Add Little to No Value to Students’ Lives”

Imagine Being a Professor or Student at the American University of Afghanistan

I am distressed by the images coming out of Afghanistan. One could, of course, make the argument that the U.S. military and its allies never should have gone into the country in the first place (a position with which I sympathize), but once in, that triggered a solemn obligation to the people of Afghanistan toContinue reading “Imagine Being a Professor or Student at the American University of Afghanistan”

Netflix’s “The Chair”: Is the Show Any Good?

A new series has recently dropped on Netflix: The Chair. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of a Korean-American female professor as she assumes leadership of the Department of English at “Pembroke College,” a small, teaching-focused liberal arts school in rural America. It’s about time a university was featured as a setting in a televisionContinue reading “Netflix’s “The Chair”: Is the Show Any Good?”

Let’s Kill Off E-mail, Together

I’m at a breaking point, and I suspect I’m not the only one. Working from home (WFH, or perhaps it’s better to abbreviate as WTF) is only making matters worse. I’m talking about the never-ending flow of e-mails and the stranglehold they have over our lives. This beast must be destroyed. But how? As aContinue reading “Let’s Kill Off E-mail, Together”

The Case Against “Trigger Warnings”

I admire resilience. Truth be told, I don’t feel particularly resilient, but I suspect, comparatively speaking, that I am mostly impervious to the incessant assaults that life levels against me. Part of this is attributable to my profession. Academia is cut-throat. We write papers only for reviewers to rip them to shreds and journal editorsContinue reading “The Case Against “Trigger Warnings””

Can Scientists (and Science) Be Trusted?

Churchill once described democracy as the worst form of government except for all other forms that have been tried. The same, I think, also applies to science as a means of understanding the world. It has severe limitations, but it is by far superior to any other epistemology of old. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t fool ourselvesContinue reading “Can Scientists (and Science) Be Trusted?”

The Key to Improving Research: More Books, Fewer Articles

Books are sublime. I’ve loved them ever since I was a little child. They represent new, exciting, and previously unexplored ideas and a crowning sense of achievement (both for the writer and for the reader on finishing the manuscript). They are the personification of the author. On the whiteboard in my office, I display oneContinue reading “The Key to Improving Research: More Books, Fewer Articles”