The latest research from Harvard Medical School
If you were wondering where the forefront of medical research is…
A screen shot in case the above is memory-holed:
If you were wondering where the forefront of medical research is…
A screen shot in case the above is memory-holed:
“Harvard University renaming school for top Republican donor Ken Griffin after $300 million gift” (Boston.com):
Harvard University is renaming its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences after hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. Griffin is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s biggest donor.
Griffin, the CEO and founder of Citadel Securities, is the third person in the university’s history to have a school renamed in their honor for making a large donation
Griffin, class of ’89, is the 35th richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg’s billionaires index. According to Politico, last election cycle he donated the third-most money to political candidates, giving more than $60 million to federal Republican candidates.
Griffin also gave more to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign than anyone else during the last election cycle, totaling more than $5 million, the news site reported. He’s made headlines for calling on DeSantis, who is well-liked among conservatives for his far-right politics, to run for president in 2024.
(DeSantis is “far-right” for suggesting that 2SLGBTQQIA+ education begin in Grade 4 rather than in kindergarten?)
Griffin, incidentally, is also a big supporter of our local art museum, the Norton: “Billionaire Collector Ken Griffin Quietly Moves His Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago to Florida” (ARTnews, 2022). A single de Kooning in that art shipment cost Griffin $300 million (back in 2015). In other words, the Harvard renaming was cheaper (adjusted for Bidenflation) than the one picture.
This leads me to wonder how much a person would have to give in order to persuade Harvard to rename the John F. Kennedy School of Government to the Saddam Hussein School of Government.
Separately, if Griffin is a DeSantis supporter it seems odd that he would want to give Harvard $300 million to help them continue their race-based admissions system, and similar Programs of Virtue (TM). Ron DeSantis tries to implement race-neutral laws and government. Harvard has an “Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging” with at least 10 employees. Ron DeSantis supports legislation to prohibit state universities from having such offices.
My old neighborhood in Harvard Square was home to a 30-year-old sandwich shop whose workers took advantage of the coronapanic labor market to unionize in the fall of 2021. After 9 months of union bliss, they responded to Bidenflation by demanding higher wages. The employer’s counter-offer was to shut down entirely:
From the Harvard Crimson (November):
The popular Boston-area coffee chain Darwin’s Ltd. announced plans to close the store’s original Harvard Square location at the end of the month, prompting some workers to stage a protest at Cambridge City Hall on Sunday denouncing the move.
Darwin’s United — a union representing the chain’s employees — responded by organizing a protest at City Hall, where workers rallied on Sunday before gathering outside the Darwins’ Cambridge home.
“We have been offered no guarantees of jobs for those who want to stay, no guarantee that workers will have an income going into winter,” the union wrote in a Twitter statement. “We will not back down, we will not take this.”
At the rally, union members called on the Darwins to keep workers at the Harvard Square store employed if they wished to stay on and reiterated past demands for $24 per hour wages, three weeks paid time off, and zero-deductible healthcare for employees.
“We know that Steve has long been considering selling the business, but the timing really couldn’t be worse,” said Sam White, a Darwin’s United representative. “We’re telling him to come back to the bargaining table and respond to our proposals.”
A majority of workers at the four Darwin’s locations voted to unionize in September 2021 and began negotiations with management for a new contract for workers. Since then, talks have stalled, according to White. In March, workers at all four locations staged a mid-morning walkout to raise pressure on the owners.
Maybe things are more harmonious on the West Coast? The academics at UC Berkeley claim that they know what workers are entitled to and how to redress inequality in the United States. Yet their own workers had to go on strike to try to force the university to pay a fair wage. “University of California workers continue strike amid threat of arrests” (Guardian, December 10, 20220):
Tens of thousands of academic workers throughout the University of California are currently on their fourth week of striking for a new union contract and the situation is intensifying amid the threat of arrests after direct actions by some strikers.
The strike of 48,000 academic workers, including graduate workers, academic researchers, postdoctoral scholars and teaching assistants, began on 14 November and is the largest in the history of higher education in the US.
About 12,000 postdoctoral researchers and academic researchers reached a tentative agreement with the University of California on 29 November, which included pay increases up to 29%, but have continued striking in solidarity with other academic workers still pushing for a deal and while the agreement is put to the membership for a vote.
Graduate workers at UC have reported issues in affording rent, food and basic necessities in the cities they work and live in on salaries averaging about $23,000 annually.
If the politicians and academics in California are experts on fairness, why did their workers need to strike? University of California professor Robert Reich, for example, is fond of scolding America’s evil capitalists for underpaying workers. Why didn’t he pay his own slaves fairly?Full post, including comments
“Harvard names Claudine Gay 30th president” (Harvard official news, 12/15/2022) quotes the new leader:
There is an urgency for Harvard to be engaged with the world and to bring bold, brave, pioneering thinking to our greatest challenges.
What are humanity’s greatest challenges? A month before the university shut down entirely due to the COVID-19 emergency… “HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL FACULTY CALL FOR DIVESTMENT, DECLARATION OF CLIMATE EMERGENCY”:
A week after Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to divest from fossil fuels, the Faculty Council of Harvard Medical School has issued a call of their own. Their overwhelming passage of a resolution calling for divestment and declaration of a climate emergency, which is yet another accomplishment of one of the largest faculty activism movements in university history, sends a clear message to university administration that it’s time for real climate action.
“The adoption of these resolutions will put Harvard Medical School in the best possible position to tackle the existential crisis of climate change….”
Attacked by a global pandemic and also by our own CO2 emissions, humanity is hanging on by a thread. Is the new Harvard president a solar cell engineer, a carbon capture engineer, a space-based solar shade engineer, a climate prophet, a virologist, a vaccinologist, a public health shutdownologist, or a maskologist? Here’s what Harvard says:
Gay is recognized as a highly influential expert on American political participation. Her research and teaching explore how various social and economic factors shape political views and voting behavior. She is the founding chair of Harvard’s Inequality in America Initiative, a multidisciplinary effort that has advanced scholarship in areas such as the effects of child poverty and deprivation on educational opportunity, inequities in STEM education, immigration and social mobility, democratic governance, and American inequality in a global context.
In other words, she’s an expert on Comparative Victimhood. She provide us with insight into “inequities in STEM education” when she herself would not be qualified to teach science in an elementary school (but maybe she could teach Science?).
Let’s look at Dr. Gay’s scholarly work from before she became an administrator. “Seeing Difference: The Effect of Economic Disparity on Black Attitudes toward Latinos” (American Journal of Political Science 2006). In other words, she can tell us what our Black brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters think of our Latinx neighbors, but why does it matter if we are plagued with Covidiots who won’t wear masks and who therefore put all 333 million Americans at risk of dying from the next virus? Our Black and Latinx neighbors will be equally dead (and also quite a few miles away if we were still living in our former suburb of Boston that was rich in BLM and No Human is Illegal signs).
How about “Doubly Bound: The Impact of Gender and Race on the Politics of Black Women” (1998; note the failure to capitalize “Black”). Precious Black and expendable white women will be equally dead after humanity fails to tackle the “existential crisis” of climate change that Harvard has identified.
Please don’t construe this blog post as conveying my personal opinion that Climate Change and respiratory viruses are existential crises for 8 billion humans or that Climate Change and respiratory viruses are more or less important than Comparative Victimhood. I’m only pointing out that it seems inconsistent for a research institution that has identified what it calls “existential crises” for humans to appoint as president someone who has no apparent qualifications for dealing with those crises.Full post, including comments
“Harvard Grad Student Union Protests Comaroff’s Return to Teaching After Sexual Harassment Findings” (Crimson, September 7, 2022):
Returning from two years of administrative leave for allegations of sexual and professional misconduct, Harvard professor John L. Comaroff stood up to start teaching his first class back on campus Tuesday afternoon.
Then, five graduate students stood up and walked out of the classroom in protest.
Meanwhile, dozens of students congregated in the Science Center Plaza to decry Comaroff’s continued employment at Harvard on the first day of his course, African and African American Studies 190X: “The Anthropology of Law: classical, contemporary, comparative, and critical perspectives.” This week, Comaroff resumed teaching for the first time since University investigations found he violated sexual harassment and professional misconduct policies.
The African-American professor is, according to Wikipedia, now 77 years old (i.e., almost old enough to be President of the United States), a great example of the tenure system in action. The point of this post, however, is the tendency of Harvard students to Follow Science when outdoors. Portions of photos in the article:
That’s life on campus right now!
Report from our former town, a Laptop Class suburb of Boston: as many as 1/4 to 1/3 of the students in a middle school classroom will be wearing masks.Full post, including comments
Science (it’s actually in the URL: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html) says that Middlesex County, Maskachusetts, where the main Harvard campus is located, currently has a “High” level of COVID-19.
How do the geniuses graduating from Harvard respond to this information? By gathering en masse with no masks (source):
Photos on the page show hundreds of Harvard affiliates and just a handful with masks (including in a tent that is mostly enclosed (i.e., indoors but without the benefit of a standard indoor ventilation system)).
Merrick Garland showed up and gave a talk about the January 6 insurrection:
Now that land war is upon us. Russia’s unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine this February has been accompanied by heart-breaking atrocities: murders of civilians, the shelling of hospitals, the bombing of a theater in Mariupol where hundreds had sought shelter, the demolished residential apartment buildings of Bucha and other cities.
At home, we are also facing threats to democracy – different in kind, but threats, nonetheless.
We see them in efforts to undermine the right to vote.
We see them in the violence and threats of violence that are directed at people because of who they are or how they serve the public.
We saw them when a violent mob stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
Members of Congress had to be evacuated.
And proceedings were disrupted for hours — interfering with a fundamental element of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
Like the threat to voting rights, this kind of direct attack on an American institution is something I never worried about as I was graduating from college. There had been such attacks on foreign capitals in foreign lands. But a storming of the U.S. Capitol itself had not taken place since the War of 1812.
Finally, the preservation of democracy requires our willingness to tell the truth. Together, we must ensure that the magnitude of an event like January 6th is not downplayed or understated. The commitment to the peaceful transfer of power must be respected by every American. Our democracy depends upon it. (Applause.)
You are the next generation that must devote yourselves to preserving our democracy and helping others protect theirs.
And although what I am asking of you is daunting, I know that you are the next generation that will fulfill the promise this country represents.
In other words, the 20-year-olds who meekly cowered at home for two years to avoid becoming infected with a virus that kills 80-year-olds will bravely defend the nation against enemies foreign and domestic.
(Separately, my mom was walking around Harvard Yard a few decades ago as the workers were setting up chairs for commencement. Potential rain was in the forecast. Mom overhead one of the workers say to another “I hope it rains like hell on those Harvard sons of bitches.”)Full post, including comments
A friend was considering enrolling his high schoolers in a Harvard economics class. It costs a modest $7,000 per student. What does one receive in return? An A or a B, unless one happens to be in the bottom 10th percentile (source):
(The idea of grading on a curve is anathema to flight instructors, incidentally. At least in theory, everyone should be able to achieve proficiency and graduate with a decent grade. If everyone in a class meets the A standard, why can’t everyone in the class receive an A?)Full post, including comments
“Supreme Court to hear Harvard admissions challenge” (Harvard Gazette):
“The Supreme Court decision to review the unanimous decisions of the lower federal courts puts at risk 40 years of legal precedent granting colleges and universities the freedom and flexibility to create diverse campus communities. Considering race as one factor among many in admissions decisions produces a more diverse student body which strengthens the learning environment for all,” he said. “The U.S. Solicitor General rightfully recognized that neither the district court’s factual findings, nor the court of appeals’ application of the Supreme Court’s precedents to those findings, warrants further review. Harvard will continue to defend vigorously its admissions practices and to reiterate the unequivocal decisions of those two federal courts: Harvard does not discriminate; our practices are consistent with Supreme Court precedent; there is no persuasive, credible evidence warranting a different outcome. The University remains committed to academic excellence, expanded opportunity, and diverse educational experiences—and to the perennial work of preparing students for fruitful careers and meaningful lives.”
The case was first tried in 2018. Federal District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs found in favor of Harvard in her October 2019 decision on all counts, ruling that the College didn’t discriminate based on race, engage in racial balancing or the use of quotas, and that it had no suitable race-neutral alternatives that would allow it to achieve its pedagogical and diversity-related goals. Just over a year later, in November 2020, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Burroughs’ decision.
Based on the above, Harvard’s argument seems to be that race-based admissions is a sacred tradition and also that diversity is critical to learning, which explains why people in China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan are ignorant of everything except how to implement a 3 nanometer process for integrated circuits.
A lot has changed since 2018, however. Stop Asian Hate began in March 2021, months after the appeals court upheld Harvard’s scheme. The term “AAPI,” lumping together half a globe of humanity into a single victimhood category, is more or less new since the 2018 trial as well.
The effect of Harvard’s race-based system is summarized pretty well in this video, from a friend of a friend:
Now that racism against Asians is considered, by all of the best people, to be bad, what is Harvard’s argument for perpetuating its current system of race-based discrimination?
Related:Full post, including comments
In Teaching Information Security there was a discussion of the fact that young people at a Florida state system university rejected the distinction between plural and possessive. A friend sent me the following:
Trying to wrap my head around my MBB offer
My first two years at Harvard, I was really focused on getting a good offer once I graduated. I think Harvard really acculturated me to the idea that one of those offers is one of the big goals of undergrad.
This summer, I got a full time offer from one of the big three consulting firms, for way more money than I thought, around $140k in total comp.
When I read the offer letter, I felt deeply ambivalent. Obviously I am stoked, and really want to work at the firm. However, it feels weird to make many times more my friends who are graduating from great non-ivy’s and more than my parents, who both make six figures.
For those of you who have received similar offers, how do you feel about salary? And for those who have already graduated, how has your thinking evolved?
(For those who are more familiar with honest labor, “MBB” is for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Separately, doesn’t he/she/ze/they realize that $140k will soon be the price of a Diet Coke?)
Note the highlighted section above, in which the fresh Harvard graduate struggles to write “Ivies”.
From Hussain Altamimi, a young person bright enough to work as a legislative assistant for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s primary thought-leader (Fox):
Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from it’s indigenous population!
(Can anyone think of a country besides Israel that was built on land stolen by Europeans from an indigenous population? Are the people in the country that you’re thinking of doing anything to restore the land to the rightful indigenous owners?)
Is it time for Joe Biden to outlaw the apostrophe and save us from ourselves?
My inbox has been filling up lately with emails regarding purported hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Somewhat curiously, these emails are coming from institutions that explicitly discriminate against Asian-Americans (see “A Ceiling on Asian Student Enrollment at MIT and Harvard?”, for example, and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard).
Harvard graduate Tom Lehrer wrote about this in his song “National Brotherhood Week“:
it’s Fun to eulogize the
People you despise
As long you don’t let them in your school.
From Larry Bacow, President of Harvard:
For the past year, Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have been blamed for the pandemic—slander born of xenophobia and ignorance. … Footage of individuals being targeted and assaulted has driven home a rise in aggression and violence across the nation. Today, we continue to reel in the wake of eight murders in Georgia—six of the victims of Asian descent—and to contend with events that shock the collective conscience.
(If only six of the victims were of Asian descent, what’s El Presidente’s theory for how this was an anti-Asian hate crime? The murderer hated Asians, but was not intelligent enough to distinguish between Asians and non-Asians?)
Harvard must stand as a bulwark against hatred and bigotry. We welcome and embrace individuals from every background because it makes us a better community, a stronger community.
I long for the day when I no longer have to send such messages. It is our collective responsibility to repair this imperfect world. To Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in our community: We stand together with you today and every day going forward.
(Is there, in fact, anyone who blames “Pacific Islanders” for COVID-19 or coronapanic? Readers: Have you heard someone curse Samoans, Fijians, or Tongans for causing the deaths of 82-year-olds in Maskachusetts?)
From Martha Tedeschi, director of the Harvard Art Museums, where the paychecks keep coming despite the museum being closed.
I am reaching out to the extended museum family of the Harvard Art Museums in the face of Wednesday’s breaking—and heartbreaking—news of the deadly shootings and violence against women of Asian descent in Atlanta. I want to state my own shock and horror—sentiments I know so many of you share—that once again we are confronted by a wave of racist violence that makes it impossible for so many communities in this country to feel safe. Anti-Asian hostility has a long history in the United States. … want to say emphatically that the Harvard Art Museums stand firmly against Anti-Asian racism. It feels only moments ago that I was writing to you about the murder of George Floyd and so many others and the importance of banding together in support of our black and brown communities.
(Do we think that George Floyd, with his minimal employment history, would have been a likely customer for a $20 ticket to Martha Tesdeschi’s museum? If not, what qualifies Martha Tedeschi to talk about those in Mr. Floyd’s socioeconomic stratum?)
What if we go downmarket and down the river? From L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT:
This message is for everyone. But let me begin with a word for the thousands of members of our MIT family – undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, alumni, parents and Corporation members – who are Asian or of Asian descent: We would not be MIT without you.
(But, as noted above, “we also don’t want too many of you”?)
Bizarrely, for a school that claims credentials are important enough to spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars acquiring, the president of MIT, with no credentials in criminology or political science, claims expertise in criminology and political science:
Across the country, a cruel signature of this pandemic year has been a terrible surge in anti-Asian violence, discrimination and public rhetoric. I know some of you have experienced such harm directly. The targets are very often women and the elderly.
These acts are especially disturbing in the context of several years of mounting hostility and suspicion in the United States focused on people of Chinese origin. The murders in Georgia Tuesday, including among the victims so many Asian women, come as one more awful shock.
Lumped in with the discussion regarding spa workers, because she happened to have identified (maybe?) as an Asian female:
Earlier this month, we lost an extraordinary citizen of MIT, ChoKyun Rha ’62, SM ’64, SM ’66, SCD ’67, a professor post-tenure of biomaterials science and engineering, at the age of 87. Raised in Seoul in a family that expected her to become a doctor, she came to MIT because she wanted to be an engineer. In 1974, she joined our faculty; in 1980, she became the first Asian female faculty member to earn tenure at MIT. Dr. Rha went on to build a remarkable career as a teacher, a mentor and a scholar.
It is difficult to imagine how alone she must have felt in her early years at MIT, when women students and Asian students numbered in just dozens. But the trail she and so many others blazed helped lead to the rich diversity of MIT we treasure today.
Is this an example of “All Look Same”? In the context of killings of spa workers in Atlanta, what’s the relevance of someone who defied her family by becoming an engineer rather than a doctor and never lived in Atlanta?
(Also, Rafael Reif says that she must have felt alone (how can he know?). If so, given that she stayed at MIT for four degrees and to work as a professor, isn’t that equivalent to calling her stupid? An intelligent person would have left MIT, presumably, and gone somewhere where she didn’t feel alone.)
Circling back to the title of this post… if the presidents of Harvard and MIT love Asians so much, why won’t they let them into their respective schools?
(If the answer is, “we just can’t find enough Asians whose personalities we like, notwithstanding their superb academic achievements,” here are some numbers from “The Rise of Asian Americans” (Pew, 2012): “The modern immigration wave from Asia is nearly a half century old and has pushed the total population of Asian Americans—foreign born and U.S born, adults and children—to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8% of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1% in 1965.”
Readers: Are you getting a lot of email from bureaucrats expressing their new-found love for Asians?Full post, including comments