Said and Done | In the Media | March 2017


A section of Said and Done
Full March 2017 edition




What the GOP could have learned from Obamacare | Jonathan Gruber
According to economics professor Jonathan Gruber, it won’t be easy to pass new healthcare legislation. Gruber, who helped the Affordable Care Act pass, says healthcare is “both extremely complicated and extraordinarily personal.”
Story at CNBC

The strange Victorian fashion of self-electrification | Anna Wexler
The Victorian era saw the the rapid rise of countless electro-therapies that aimed to improve circulation and reduce blockages in the major organs.  . “People used them for pretty much everything,” says graduate student Anna Wexler in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society.
Story at the BBC

ACA architect on the new Republican plan | Jonathan Gruber
Morning edition host Steve Inskeep, and WGBH correspondent Jim Braude interviewed economist Jonathan Gruber on air, discussing his experience working on healthcare legislation in light of the new Republican plan.
Story at NPR | Related Story at WGBH | Jonathan Gruber's website

Repealing the ACA may be easier said than done | Jonathan Gruber
One of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, Economics Professor Jonathan Gruber, says the policy will be hard to dismantle.
Story at WGBH

Trump administration proposes stricter ACA rules | Jonathan Gruber
According to Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, none of the health care reform plans currently under discussion in Washington address the critical issue of paying for coverage for sick people.
Story at Reuters

The battle over healthcare is heating up | Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics, and consultant on the Affordable Care Act, Jonathan Gruber, appears on this CNN televised debate between Senators Sanders and Cruz about the future of the ACA.
Story at TV Eyes

With ACA future in doubt, Baker takes steps on healthcare | Jonathan Gruber
Professor of economics, Jonathan Gruber, comments on recent actions by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, who asked the Massachusetts Legislature to return to key elements of the state's 2006 healthcare law.  
Story at The Boston Herald





What everyone needs to know about the economy in 2017 | David Autor
Ford Professor of Economics David Autor answered questions about economic issues in a Quora forum online, providing expert insight into some of 2017’s most pressing issues.
Discussion on Forbes / Quora Forum | David Autor's website

On China trade shock, economists trade research barbs | David Autor
After a Gallup, Inc. senior economist publicly critiqued a famous study on trade with China, authored by MIT economics professor David Autor and colleagues, Autor’s group released an 8-page response showing the critique to be “unfounded.”
Story at The Wall Street Journal

These U.S. industries are driving wage growth | David Autor
Research by economists including MIT's David Autor and his co-authors shows that between 1979 and 2008, the number of young women getting married dropped significantly, due in part to a decline in manufacturing jobs and the factor that “manufacturing jobs are a fulcrum on which traditional work and family arrangements rest.” However, recent average hourly earnings (AHE) show growth in three sectors: manufacturing, construction, and wholesale trade.
Story at Bloomberg

When factory jobs vanish, men become less marriageable | David Autor
Economics Professor David Autor and a team of co-authors from other universities recently found that as men's economic prospects declined, there were fewer marriages in their communities.
Story at The Atlantic

When factory jobs vanish, men become less marriageable | David Autor
Economics Professor David Autor and a team of co-authors from other universities recently found that as men's economic prospects declined, there were fewer marriages in their communities due to the fact that “manufacturing jobs are a fulcrum on which traditional work and family arrangements rest.”
Story at The Atlantic  |  Related stories at Bloomberg and The Washington Post

Superstar firms may have shrunk workers share of incomes | David Autor
MIT economist David Autor, points out that “Labor is getting ashrinking slice of a pie that is not growing very much.”
Story at The New York Times

Why Trump is wrong on trade | David Autor
Economics professor David Autor, best known for his calculations about China’s entry into the global trading market and its toll on U.S. manufacturing, gives his analysis of the flaws in Trump’s trade philosophy, and what Autor suggests the new administration might do to help workers.
Story at the Washington Post 

Robot tax: Do androids dream of personal deductions? | David Autor
MIT Economist David Autor, comments on the feasibility of a tax on robots, saying: “We tax phone lines to cover universal service. We tax housing to help pay for public housing.”
Story at The Financial Times

The weird link between trade with China and our love lives | David Autor
Economics professor David Autor, and colleagues released a study of government data on marriage, births, employment, and trade, during the years 1990 – 2007. The study shows a link between shifts in manufacturing and marriages.
Story at The Washington Post 

Trade Deficit is a poor measuring stick for the economy | David Autor
The Washington Post quoted Autor in its analysis of Trump’s trade philosophy. As Autor explains, “You have to understand the fundamental reason for trade is not because you win by exporting and lose by importing—it’s that there are things that other countries make that you want to buy, and things you make that they want to buy.”
Story at the Washington Post

Popular ideas about the working class are out of date | David Autor
In 1950, service work made up about 40 percent of working-class labor in the United States. By 2005, that share had climbed to 56 percent, according to data from a 2013 analysis by the economists David Autor at MIT and David Dorn at the University of Zurich.
Story at The New York Times

One reason workers are struggling even when companies are doing well | David Autor 
A new study co-authored by MIT economist David Autor studied 700 industries from 1982-2012 and found that "the more concentrated an industry had become, the larger the decline in labor’s share.”
Story at The Atlantic

Superstar companies are eating into workers’ wealth
Research released in January for the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that star companies with small staffs are one reason for American workers’ shrinking share of wealth. The paper’s authors include MIT SHASS economists David Autor and Christina Patterson.
Story at Bloomberg News



Human willingness to accept “alternative facts” | Adam Berinsky
In Salon magazine, Adam Berinsky, a political science professor at MIT, explains one reason for the recent spread of fake facts: “We're in a highly-polarized, partisan time." he says. "Finding a non-partisan, independent authority that can say this is true and this is false is very difficult today.”
Story at Salon | Adam Berinsky's website

Trump's use of “alternative facts” and "alternative language" | Adam Berinsky
Political science professor Adam Berinsky points to Trump's shifting use of the term “fake news” — to mean any news he does not like — as one example of a rhetorical strategy to shape public perception.
Story at NPR

“Nerd Nation” turns out for John Green
At a recent performance by John Green, political science major Kelsey Becker ’19 commented on the definition of ‘nerd.’
Story at The Boston Globe

Haiti’s “linguistic apartheid” violates children’s rights, hampers development | Michel DeGraff
In this commentary, MIT linguistic scholar DeGraff describes how Haiti’s educational system routinely discriminates against those who don’t speak French—which is the vast majority of the population.
Story at Open Democracy






Charlotte Brathwaite directs oratorio commemorating Virginia Tech shootings
Of the work, which explores gun violence, Brathwaite says, “It’s literally the voices of the community speaking out.” 
Story at NPR 

Dolphins and Sharks debuts at Labyrinth | Charlotte Braithwaite
Director Charlotte Brathwaite, theater professor at MIT, has chosen a Harlem copy shop as the setting for James Anthony Tyler’s new play about power dynamics among the powerless. The Village Voice calls Dolphins and Sharks “stellar” and “expertly directed.”
Review at the Village Voice 

Ziporyn, Beiser, Ambient Orchestra perform concerto based on Bowie's Blackstar  
The Terry and Rick Stone Concert featured CAST Faculty Director Evan Ziporyn's adaptation of Blackstar, David Bowie’s last album, performed by Maya Beiser, the Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist, with the Ambient Orchestra. The SRO program also included a new arrangement of Erik Satie’s 80 Gymnopedies and Ziporyn’s Frog’s Eye.
Story at WBUR | Related Story at The Boston Globe

“It turns out the combination of cutting edge classical music and the work of an arty rock hero can sound pretty sweet — in fact, Beiser says her inspiration to start playing the cello was her desire to sound like Janis Joplin. And Ziporyn says the “Blackstar” exercise underlines for him that musicians — any musicians — should be able to play together, no matter what the style.”

— Jeremy Goodwin, WBUR

Jay Scheib directs “Bat, The Musical” in London and Manchester to rave reviews
Originally written as a musical, “Bat Out Of Hell” went on to become one of the most iconic albums of all time. Forty years later, Jim Steinman’s tale of love, rebellion, and rock & roll comes to the stage, directed by Jay Scheib, Head of MIT Music and Theater Art. "This is a truly staggering piece of musical theatre, which breaks new boundaries in its staging, choreography and concept on an epic scale...a daring and provocative work sharply directed by Jay Schieb," says one of many rave reviews.
Review at the Manchester Evening News | Jay Scheib's website | Photographs + About

"Beauty and the Beast" release is Disney’s first openly gay moment | Edward Schiappa
The forthcoming live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" will feature an openly gay character. Professor of comparative media studies, Edward Schiappa comments.
Story at The Washington Post

Shortlist for New York City’s largest community read | Junot Diaz
In an NPR podcast about #OneBookNY, Junot Diaz, professor of writing at MIT SHASS, discusses his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, one of five books being considered by New York City for its upcoming largest-ever community read.
Story at NPR




Confronting academia’s ties to slavery | Craig Steven Wilder
History Professor Craig Steven Wilder joined Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, and other speakers at a conference on academia’s ties to slavery. Wilder, who recently authored Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (2013), said that schools used to worry such discussions “would somehow tarnish our gates,” but that “In fact, they opened them.”
Story at The New York Times

American higher education and slavery | Craig Steven Wilder
In the 2006, Brown University published a report detailing its founders’ and early benefactors’ involvement in slavery. A resounding silence followed, which set in motion History Professor Craig Steven Wilder’s research for the book Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of Higher Education.
Story at The Chronicle of Higher Education | Craig Steven Wilder's website

How MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder became “a one-man truth-and-reconciliation commission on colleges and slavery”

— The Chronicle of Higher Education

How a chain of scientific discovery leads to a history of the universe | Marcia Bartusiak
Professor of science writing, Marcia Bartusiak reviews intellectual historian Peter Watson’s new book, Convergence: The Idea at the Heart of Science. Bartusiak states the book shows “how linking one science with another could amplify understanding . . . to identify one . . . interlocking coherent story: the history of the universe.”
Story at The Washington Post | Marcia Bartusiak's website

DeVos gets bad news on school vouchers | Parag Pathak
Several studies, including one bit economics professor Parag Pathak, have recently concluded that participation in a Louisiana school voucher program “substantially reduces academic achievement.”
Story at the Los Angeles Times | Parag Pathak's website

12-hour commute to class | Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics emeritus Noam Chomsky commutes 12 hours each way every Tuesday on public transportation — from Bakersfield California to a class he is co-teaching at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Story in Inside Higher Education

Boston charter schools see record-breaking spike in applications
A study by MIT’s SEII showed that Boston’s secondary-school student applicants applied to more charter schools this year than in years past.
Story at The Boston Globe | SEII website

Our Hallways Are Too Quiet | Deborah K. Fitzgerald
All too quiet on the academic front? MIT historian Fitzgerald writes on the value of more in-person community on campuses in an era of when working remotely has become common. "For most of us, the bricks-and-mortar community has given us an intellectual and physical home, as well as a commitment to serve our students, our colleagues, and our institutions with integrity and energy."
Commentary at The Chronicle of Higher Education | Fitzgerald's webpage

Energizing the history survey | Christopher Capozzola
At a series of sessions offered at the annual meeting of the American History Association, Christopher Capozzola, associate professor of history at MIT says he encourages students to search for historical texts and media in class, instead of using social media or otherwise tuning out.
Story at Inside Higher Ed




Assassins may have used VX nerve agent to kill Kim Jong Nam
Associate Professor of Political Science Vipin Narang and Research Associate James J. Walsh, in the Center for International Studies, have provided commentary to news sources about how the Kim Jong Nam assassination could have been carried out.
Story at New Scientist | Story at TVEyes

North Korea’s official story on Kim Jong Nam’s death | Richard Samuels
An official story published by state-controlled Korean Central News Agency claims that Kim Jong Nam, half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, died of a heart attack—not murder. Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies at MIT SHASS, analyzes the announcement.
Story at the Wall Street Journal | Richard Samuels website

Trump puts Iran “on notice” James Walsh
Reflecting on a recent warning to Iran by the Trump administration, MIT’s James Walsh remarks, “Iran hasn’t been shooting ballistic missiles at anyone. It hasn’t threatened to use them except in defense.”
Story at The New Yorker

China’s nuclear missile policy put under strain by U.S. Plan | M. Taylor Fravel
M.Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science in the Security Studies Program at MIT, commented tby email Wednesday that if the U.S. expands its nuclear forces as President Trump suggests, "China may conclude that it needs to accelerate the pace of its nuclear force," as well, in order to "deter a first strike."
Story at CNBC | M. Taylor Fravel's website

The leak that helped push America into WWI | Christopher Capozzola
Following the leak to the press of the now-famous Zimmermann memo, anti-interventionists, tried to expose the memo as a fake. History professor Christopher Capozzola, author of Uncle Sam Wants You: World War I and the Making of the Modern American Citizen, tells the history of those early “fake news” accusations.
Story at The Atlantic | Christopher Cappozolla's website

Cappozolla featured in PBS/The American Experience series on WWI 
On April 10–12, PBS will present a 3-night, 6-hour documentary about WWI in conjunction with the centennial of America's entry into the war. MIT historian Cappozolla is prominently featured in the film, which explores how World War I changed America and the world.
Watch the trailer


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Said and Done is published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Editor and Designer: Emily Hiestand, Director, SHASS Communications
Publication Associates: Daniel Evans Pritchard and Sarah Goodman, SHASS Communications
Published March 16, 2017