Person vs. Human Life?
By Robert Bernstein   |   October 26, 2021

The recent ban on abortions in Texas is just the latest round in this endless culture war. I had thought nothing new could be said on the topic. But an article in Free Inquiry magazine about a dozen years ago raised a new point for me. The point? That a human life is not the […]

What Will it Take to Act on the Climate Crisis?
By Robert Bernstein   |   August 31, 2021

Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my! As expressed so well by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, these are the things we evolved to fear. Unfortunately, in the modern world, these are not the things that really matter. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its latest report emphasizing the urgency of […]

 

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What is Infrastructure?
By Robert Bernstein   |   August 24, 2021

When you hear the word “infrastructure” do your eyes glaze over? As I write this, Congress is debating an infrastructure bill that is on the order of a trillion dollars. Is that a lot or a little? Almost by definition, infrastructure is all the boring stuff that enables all the cool things in society to […]

What is a Personal Choice?
By Robert Bernstein   |   August 12, 2021

The 1960s TV show Get Smart often offered deep insights cloaked in humor. In the episode, “Do I Hear a Vaults?” the Chief gets locked in a bank vault with agent Larrabee. There is only enough air to last 24 hours and it is on a time lock that won’t open until the end of […]

Can You Estimate That?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 24, 2021

“How many piano tuners are there in Boston?” That was the first question on our first problem set of freshman physics at MIT. The question was not really about pianos or the people who tune them. It was a way to get us to make estimates based on facts that we know. The first step […]

What is Your Ratio?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 3, 2021

“It is not how smart you are that matters. What matters is the ratio of how smart you are to how smart you think you are.” This is my very own Ratio Theory I have expounded for decades. Most of my career was spent in manufacturing. I observed that some very smart production workers did […]

Debt or Investment?
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 13, 2021

Republicans have railed against deficit spending for decades. But, every Republican president since 1981 has increased the Federal deficit. Only the Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama have lowered it. When the Democrats are in office, the Republicans oppose any plans to increase government spending, claiming that we can’t afford it. Even though they have no […]

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What are the Root Causes of the Border Crisis?
By Robert Bernstein   |   April 22, 2021

“Radical” is often used to disqualify an idea as “extreme.” Did you know that it comes from the same origin as “radish” and means to “go to the root” of a problem? Every night, the news is full of the crisis at the US-Mexico border. The “analysis” is limited to the immediate humanitarian issues along […]

Better than Democracy?
By Robert Bernstein   |   December 3, 2020

Winston Churchill famously said, “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…” I write this as Joe Biden has been declared “president-elect” in the news and while Donald Trump still sends out repeated appeals for money. Record numbers voted for each side. […]

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The Opposite of Progress is Fashion?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 5, 2020

People often compliment me on my colorful shirts. Much of the credit goes to my friend Robin; she finds some of the best for me on eBay. While I always say “thank you,” I often ask, “Do you know what is the opposite of progress?” They usually look mystified. “Fashion!” I triumphantly reply. I point […]

Statistics vs Stories?
By Robert Bernstein   |   October 13, 2020

As a teen in the ‘70s I had very little money to pursue my many passions. So I was grateful for various suppliers of surplus electronics that I used to build my creations. I was surprised one day that one of my favorite suppliers was having a going-out-of-business sale. I showed up at the event […]

How to Bring People Together?
By Robert Bernstein   |   September 10, 2020

It is a common perception today that our country is divided. Some even suggest we are on the verge of civil war. Is there a way that we can bring our country together? One common suggestion is to have leaders who are “moderate” to be in line with the views of the widest range of […]

Property v s Humanity?
By Robert Bernstein   |   August 13, 2020

George Floyd was killed by police officers over a claim that he had a fake $20 bill. How much power should be given to property versus to humanity? Property vs humanity is in the forefront of my mind now. Imagine that someone has lived in a home for over 30 years. But in a matter […]

A Price for a Human Life?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 18, 2020

New York Governor Cuomo said in March, “If it’s public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health. You cannot put a value on human life.” But public policy absolutely requires placing a value on human life. There are about 35,000 automobile deaths each year in the U.S. If we reduced the speed […]

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