Free Speech Is Violated on Many Campuses

(p. A15) Most Americans know that higher education has for several decades been in the grip of a deeply intolerant, fanatical and uncompromising strain of progressive activism. Students and sometimes even faculty members regularly chase heterodox speakers off campus, demand complete fealty from terrified campus bureaucracies, and denounce and destroy each other over the slightest and most inconsequential ideological deviations.

. . .

. . . evidence of ideological intransigence can be found in the “bias response teams” that are now regular features at many universities. One Michigan State student had a bias report filed against him for watching a Ben Shapiro video in a dorm. A faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was reported for having a Trump sticker in his office window. Another professor was hit with a bias report after discussing the infamous Janet Jackson “nipplegate” controversy. The offended student said the professor had not couched the discussion with enough moral qualifiers.

These incidents don’t represent the normal campus hysterics to which we’ve become accustomed. A growing and strident sect of campus activism is coming to oppose not merely differing opinions but even talking about differing opinions.

For the full commentary, see:

Daniel Payne. “There’s No Safe Space for Ideas on Campus ‘Animal Farms’.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, November 26, 2019): A15.

(Note: ellipses added; bolded word is italicized in original.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Nov. 25, 2019, and has the same title as the print version.)

To Be Happy, “We Need to Have Goals”

(p. B8) A little over a year ago, I drove home from the airport with the windows down and the radio on full blast after filming the last scenes for the Netflix docu-series “The Innocent Man.” I was so proud of the work I’d done investigating two wrongful murder convictions in a small city in Oklahoma in the 1980s. This was work that mattered, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

A few days later, I sat in my truck and cried. An empty work schedule yawned before me, and I was sure that my most meaningful achievement was in my rearview mirror.

This wave of hopelessness has a name: I was experiencing arrival fallacy.

“Arrival fallacy is this illusion that once we make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach lasting happiness,” said Tal Ben-Shahar, the Harvard-trained positive psychology expert who is credited with coining the term.

. . .

To be clear, acknowledging the power of arrival fallacy does not mean we should settle for a life of mediocrity.

“We need to have goals,” Dr. Ben-Shahar said. “We need to think about the future.” And, he noted, we are also a “future-oriented” species. In fact, studies have shown that the mortality rate rises by 2 percent among men who retire right when they become eligible to collect Social Security, and that retiring early may lead to early death, even among those who are healthy when they do so. Purpose and meaning can generate satisfaction, which is part of the happiness equation, Dr. Gruman said.

So wait. Reaching a goal can make us unhappy, but setting goals makes us happy? It sounds like a conundrum, but it’s not if you plan correctly, Dr. Ben-Shahar said. His advice is to lay out multiple concurrent goals, both in and out of your work life.

For the full commentary, see:

A.C. Shilton. “Success Doesn’t Always Bring Happiness.” The New York Times (Monday, June 3, 2019): B8.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date May 28, 2019, and has the title “You Accomplished Something Great. So Now What?”)

OUP Offers Free Download of Chap. 9: “Innovation Bound or Unbound by Culture and Institutions”

Oxford University Press (OUP) has created a list of 6 books they recommend on business innovation. If you follow the link below, you can download a free PDF of Chapter 9 (“Innovation Bound or Unbound by Culture and Institutions”) of my Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. Alas, I think the free download is only available through February 29, 2020. (Chapter 9 is not my favorite chapter, but free is free;)

My book is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Expert Says A.I. More Likely to Complement Than Replace White-Collar Workers

(p. B3) . . . , it makes sense that A.I. — which is about planning, perceiving and so on — would hit white-collar roles.

Still, workers needn’t panic. Carl Benedikt Frey, an economist at Oxford University who specializes in technology and employment, said A.I. was “more likely to complement people in those jobs rather than replacing them.” And Mr. Muro points out that “these workers are frequently the ones that companies have already invested in” and are likely to have been consulted about their futures.

For the full story, see:

Jamie Condliffe. “White-Collar Jobs Aren’t Safe Either.” The New York Times (Monday, November 25, 2019): B3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Nov. 22, 2019, and has the title “The Week in Tech: A.I.’s Threat to White-Collar Jobs.”)

For Sophisticated Tasks, Robots Cost Much More Than Humans

(p. A6) . . . , however hospitable Japanese businesses have been to robots, they have learned that robots able to perform somewhat sophisticated tasks cost much more than human workers.

So at the factory in Asahikawa, where about 60 percent of the work is automated, many tasks still require the human touch. Workers peel pumpkins, for example, because some skin enhances the flavor of stew. A robot can’t determine just how much skin to shuck off.

Other efforts to use robots or automation have hit snags, in programs ranging from self-driving buses to package-delivering drones or robots that comfort nursing home residents.

A hotel staffed by androids in southern Japan ended up laying off some of its robots after customers complained that they were not as good at hospitality as people.

During a trial of self-driving buses in Oita City, also in southern Japan, one bus crashed into a curb, and officials realized that autonomous vehicles were not quite ready to cope with situations like traffic jams, jaywalkers or cars running red lights.

For the full story, see:

Motoko Rich. “Japan Loves Robots, but Not for Preparing Fries or Driving Buses.” The New York Times (Wednesday, January 1, 2020): A6.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 4, 2019, and has the title “Japan Loves Robots, but Getting Them to Do Human Work Isn’t Easy.”)

American Food Aid May Have Prevented “the Collapse of the Soviet State”

(p. A15) Between 1921 and 1923, the United States, acting through Herbert Hoover’s American Relief Administration, supplied food and other aid to more than 10 million people caught up in the famine—created by war, revolution and the Bolshevik assault on the peasantry—then raging in the former Russian empire. The ARA operated, Mr. Smith tells us, “across a million square miles of territory in what was the largest humanitarian operation in history.”

Suspicious of, and embarrassed by, assistance from such a politically inconvenient source, the Kremlin accepted the ARA’s help only grudgingly and, once the crisis was over, “began to erase the memory of American charity,” Mr. Smith writes.

. . .

Mr. Smith argues that the ARA may “quite possibly” have prevented “the collapse of the Soviet state.” Did the decades of communist atrocity that followed cast a shadow over what was a very grand American gesture?

. . .

The ARA departed after the worst was past, but famine returned to the U.S.S.R. less than a decade later, a consequence of collectivization transformed, in Ukraine, to genocide. Millions died, but there were no calls for assistance from the Kremlin—only denials.

For the full story, see:

Andrew Stuttaford. “Feeding The Enemy.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, December 17, 2019): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 16, 2019, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘The Russian Job’ Review: Feeding the Enemy.”)

The book under review, is:

Smith, Douglas. The Russian Job: The Forgotten Story of How America Saved the Soviet Union from Ruin. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019.

Global Warming Makes Magadan Less Bleak

(p. A4) MAGADAN, Russia — Like many young people in Magadan, a frigid northern Russian city more than 3,600 miles from Moscow, Dinat Yur is fed up with living in a place where winters drag on for six months and the average annual temperature is below freezing.

“I really dream of leaving this place,” said Mr. Yur, a 29-year-old cook. “I can’t wait.”

Born and raised in a city proud of its resilience against climatic and all other odds, Mr. Yur has for the moment found his calling in a defiantly contrarian occupation for a place so cold: He makes ice cream.

. . .

Aside from its bleak weather and even bleaker history, Magadan is, if truth be told, no worse — and in some respects better — than many provincial Russian towns. It has the same crumbling concrete apartment blocks, the same colonnaded theater building, the same central square formerly named after Lenin and the same street slogans celebrating victory in the Great Patriotic War, as Russia refers to World War II.

It also has three movie houses, two indoor public swimming pools, a well-deserved reputation for camaraderie and a huge new Orthodox cathedral with glittering golden domes, an indispensable feature of urban planning in the age of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Another plus is climate change, which is making winters somewhat milder. It did not start snowing heavily this year until late November [2019].

For the full story, see:

Andrew Higgins. “RUSSIA DISPATCH; Raising Fists and Hearts to Communism.” The New York Times (Wednesday, January 1, 2020): A4.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 31, 2019, and has the title “RUSSIA DISPATCH; It’s 50 Below. The Past Is a Horror Show. You’d Dream of Escaping Too.” The online version says that the title of the print edition is “Where a Summery Swirl Just Isn’t Enough to Escape the Chill,” but the title of my National Edition print version was “RUSSIA DISPATCH; Despite Ice Cream, Dreaming of Escaping From Frigid Town.”)