Said and Done | In the Media Section | June 2015



Book by MIT historian Craig Wilder catalyzes research seminar series at Columbia
Columbia’s effort originated last year, after Columbia President Lee Bollinger read about Craig Steven Wilder’s book Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, which documents the extent to which the nation’s oldest colleges perpetuated, maintained, and benefited from the slave economy.
Story at the New York Times  | Story at Columbia University

Grammy-winning artist invokes MIT historian's book  | Craig Steven Wilder
In a new musical composition, Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding invokes Wilder's Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America's Universities.
Story at The New York Times | About Ebony and Ivy

Big Mac test shows job market is not distributing wealth
If the job market — that most critical institution of capitalist societies, the principal vehicle to distribute the nation’s wealth among its people — cannot keep hardworking people out of poverty and spread prosperity more broadly, how will it be done? Article quotes MIT economist David Autor.
Story at the New York Times

MIT Music produces “one of the most innovative recordings of the year”
The Boston Globe reports on the “Infinite Winds” recording. Featuring the MIT Wind & Festival Jazz ensembles, it is the first MIT music production to appear on a major jazz label. 
Story | Listen + About | Review

Fareed Zakaria champions a “STEM Plus” education
In this Washington Post op-ed, Zakaria argues for a balanced STEM-Humanities educational system, citing research by MIT economist David Autor.
Story | Related: The Power of the Humanities at MIT

The power of hope is real | Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee
Nicholas Kristof, at the New York Times, reports on a study co-authored by MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee on poverty alleviation and the role of hope. “Poverty causes stress and depression and lack of hope,” Duflo says, “and stress and depression and lack of hope, in turn, cause poverty.”
Commentary at The New York Times

MIT researchers are fighting extreme poverty with science
The Boston Globe spotlights recent research into alleviating the worst of global poverty, co-authored by JPAL directors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. “What is remarkable when we see the data” is that people are able to go from a hopeless situation to “doing something productive,” Duflo said. “The ingenuity was there, somewhere, but buried under despair.”
Story at The Boston Globe

Income inequality is costing the US on social issues | Heidi Williams
This New York Times article on the possible public health ramifications of rising inequality cites research by MIT economist Heidi Williams that finds a connection between infant mortality and “excess inequality.”
Article at The New York Times

Education really does reduce inequality | David Autor
This article cites MIT economist David Autor, whose research indicates that an increase in wages for the top 1% between 1980 and 2005, if divided among the bottom 99%, would provide each household about $7,000 in additional income.
Article at the Wall Street Journal

The second great migration | John Tirman
MIT political scientist John Tirman illuminates the similarities between the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural south and the contemporary migration patterns of Latinos and Mexicans.
Story at WBUR Cognoscenti

How to solve the ER problem
This New York Times article, on how Seattle has reduced the use of ERs (for non-emergency issues) by engaging patients, cites findings by MIT economist Amy Finkelstein on Oregon's Medicaid expansion.
Story at the New York Times

Language and birdsong may use the same brain structures | Shigeru Miyagawa
BBC News explores the idea first proposed by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa: that human language is a product of the same brain structures and genes that produce birds’ songs.
Story at BBC News

Could animals develop a language that resembles human language?
MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa believes that the roots of human language can be found throughout the animal kingdom. Noam Chomsky believes differently. Listen to or download the podcast on the left side of this Nature podcast page.
Nature Podcast

Has American business lost its mojo? | Daron Acemoglu
This New York Times op-ed quotes MIT economist Daron Acemoglu, who argues that contermporary American politics has become a major hinderance to economic growth. “It’s becoming more and more difficult,” he writes, “to run a successful business in the United States without doing lobbying, campaign contributions, and other deals with politicians.”
Commentary at The New York Times

How do you annotate in your class?
This article on digital humanities tools highlights Annotation Studio, an MIT Hyperstudio project.
Story at The Chronicle of Higher Education

When students become the teachers | Diana Walsh
Commentary by SHASS trustee and Visiting Committee member Diana Walsh on role of students in shaping the political agenda for climate change.
Commentary at Huffington Post

Survey offers rare window into Chinese political culture | Yiqing Xu
A report on a unique political survey of the Chinese citizenry produced by MIT Political Science PhD Yiqing Xu and Harvard’s Jennifer Pan.
Story at The New York Times

The jihadi threat to international order | Richard Nielsen
In an article on the ongoing conflict with ISIS, MIT political scientist Nielsen is cited for his analysis that “the Islamic State is different because its ideology puts it at odds with the norms and rules of Westphalian sovereignty.”
Story at The Washington Post

On the state of the American dream
This U.S. News article on inequality and middle-class stagnation quotes MIT economist Robert Solow, who says, “evidence of the importance of the digital revolution is everywhere except in the productivity numbers.”
Story at US News

Obama ties legacy to Iran nuclear deal | Jim Walsh
“I think they have put themselves in pretty good shape to go to that community and defend the deal,” MIT's Jim Walsh explains at CNN. “They ended up with a lot more than most of us were expecting.”
Story at CNN

The future of loneliness | Sherry Turkle
MIT anthropologist Sherry Turkle talks to The Guardian about community in the digital age: “At the screen, you have a chance to write yourself into the person you want to be and to imagine others as you wish them to be, constructing them for your purposes. It’s a seductive but dangerous habit of mind.”
Story at The Guardian

Not even Paul Krugman is a real Keynesian
Article on the influence of Keynes on MIT economics PhD Paul Krugman, as well as former MIT SHASS economics faculty member Duncan Foley and his research partner, former CIS faculty member Lance Taylor. The article highlights the special role the Institute played in developing their theories.
Story at The Boston Globe

Interview with Richard Samuels
“After decades of accepting US supremacy in Asia as the foundation of its foreign and security policies, finding the right distance between the US and China is the most important strategic choice facing Japan today…. My research in Berlin — based upon field work in Japan — will explore the shifting dynamics of East Asian security.”
Interview at the Einstein Foundation

Is crowdfunded science the future? | David Kaiser
With recent government budget cuts to science research, some believe that crowdsourced funding is the future of scientific inquiry. Others aren’t convinced. “Crowdfunding won’t replace conventional means of funding,” argues MIT science historian David Kaiser.
Story at Slate

Explaining Einstein through dance | David Kaiser
MIT science historian David Kaiser combines art and science to celebrate the centenary of Einstein’s theory of relativity at the Cambridge Science Festival with “A Shout Across Time.”
Story at The Boston Globe

A nimble mind | Olivier Blanchard
The Economist profiles former MIT economist Olivier Blanchard, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.
Story at The Economist

Are rising home prices leading to greater inequality?
Home prices across the country are rising, and MIT graduate student Matthew Rognlie believes that may be a key contributing factor to widening inequality.
Story at the Wall Street Journal

Is urban land-use policy the most important redistribution policy?
This article highlights MIT PhD student Matt Rognlie’s analysis of Thomas Piketty's Capital, focusing on the idea that “the most important redistribution policy may now be urban land-use policy.”
Story at Bloomberg

Is Labor’s share of income declining?
Questions about the analysis of former MIT economics faculty Thomas Piketty are explored in the Wall Street Journal, including those raised by current MIT economics graduate student Matthew Rognlie.
Story at the Wall Street Journal


Said and Done Magazine | Full June 2015 edition