October 22, 2011 Siri is the name of a new talking virtual assistant feature on the latest iPhone that can tell you when you have an appointment, where to find a Thai restaurant, and what the pollen count will be. Why are the voices that emanate from our machines so often female?
October 15, 2011 If you watch this year's playoffs, you may notice many baseball players are wearing a certain necklace. It's actually a "metal-infused wellness product," but mostly it's a reminder that baseball is a superstitious enterprise.
October 8, 2011 You might see the insight that drove Steve Jobs' life when you watch a child with one of the products he designed, from a Mac laptop to an iPhone. It's playtime. Children — and adults — look, touch, try stuff and smile. Steve Jobs understood that creativity and play spring from the same source.
September 24, 2011 This week a high school in western Pennsylvania canceled its production of Kismet, citing sensitivity over the Sept. 11 attacks. The musical was adapted from the Arabian Nights; might it not be good for students to learn a lesson about controversy?
September 3, 2011 There are hazards in paraphrasing important quotes, as poet Maya Angelou pointed out when she criticized the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall. Excerpts are often reduced to clips, bites and tweets, and quotes get transformed to fit — or get attention. But this is not new.
August 27, 2011 Jack Layton, head of Canada's New Democratic Party, died this week. His final letter illustrates why the mourning crosses party lines. "My friends," he wrote, "love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair." And Canada is better for Jack Layton's legacy.
August 6, 2011 News that Standard & Poor's has downgraded the US credit rating pales in comparison to the daily reality faced by millions of unemployed Americans. For them, the most important news everyday is that the jobs market is stagnant, and the prospect of finding work seems increasingly remote.
July 23, 2011 Newsman and playwright Ben Hecht's memoir could convince anyone to become a reporter; he and his fellow "stew-bums" committed all sorts of wacky hijinks. The News Corp. hacking scandal, however, hurt innocent people and may have violated simple human decency.
July 16, 2011 A narrow bureaucratic decision nearly kept MillerCoors from selling beer in Minnesota. It was the kind of red tape that can drive people to say they don't care if a government shuts down. But then if it does, they get mad that the government isn't there to help them.
July 9, 2011 There were shocked outcries after a Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter. Public anger aside, justice is served when juries know that if they take their responsibilities seriously, they are free to reach decisions they know may be unpopular.