Panel Recommends Varying University Tuition Based on Degrees, Job Prospects– In Florida there is a proposition to vary how much university tuition is by further subsidizing STEM degrees over humanities degrees. According to the panel chair there would not be any elimination of programs because “There will always be a need for them, but you better really want to do it, because you may have to pay more.” On one hand, I am sympathetic to their attempts to draw people to those degrees since there is a sense that the future is coming from them. On the other, doesn’t offering people money to take those degrees lead more people to them for the wrong reasons (particularly because many of those jobs already pay more)? I also disagree with the premise that this will not discourage students from going into the humanities since many students already receive pressure from their family to study something that will get them a job out of college and some hiring decisions for college departments are made on the basis of enrollment. If the cost of a humanities degree is higher than sciences then enrollment will likely dip, thus stagnating the department if not killing it outright.
Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar– A report in the economist of yet another part of the world that is experiencing ethnic cleansing over religious/cultural/immigration issues. The violence is being carried out against against the Rohingya, an ethnic group considered illegal immigrants by the Myanmarese government after being deprived of citizenship in 1982.
The Problem with Rape Exemptions– An article in the Atlantic about how the extreme debate over whether candidates support the right to an abortion when a woman has been raped and the subsequent adoption of “rape exemptions” as a liberal marker misses the point. The article focuses on the onus of proving rape, but briefly notes the more insidious problem that desperately fighting for just this one acceptable version of an abortion starts out by limiting the woman’s right to choose in any situation and comes in asking for this one concession, rather than requiring lawmakers to have a good reason for each and every limit they place.
Yemen: Journey to a land in limbo– A profile in the London Financial Times about Yemen since the Arab spring. The tagline from an activist is that the government is not strong, but neither are the people free.
Nobs and Natives– A review of the book Prairie Fever about British Aristocrats who journeyed into the American west during the 19th century and their efforts to buy or steal land and reaffirm their racial superiority over the indigenous Americans.
The Middle East’s Belly Dancing Recession– A story in the Atlantic with the tag line “how the Arab Spring has hobbled one of the world’s oldest dance forms.” Of course, the article actually examines the economic fallout from reduced tourism after the Arab Spring. Belly dancers, particularly those who moved to the middle east because of heightened job prospects as part of the tourism industry, have been hit hard and are considering leaving the area.