Editor's note

If you want to project an image of a strong state, how do you honor the overturning of a seated government? Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, but Vladimir Putin – whose grandfather cooked for Vladimir Lenin – has called the event “ambiguous.” Holy Cross’s Cynthia Hooper describes the delicate way the Kremlin is handling the centennial of one of history’s most momentous political events.

Following revelations that 126 million Americans may have seen Facebook posts created by Russian agents, philosopher and ethicist Gordon Hull asks: “Is Facebook bad for democracy?” One solution to verifying online information could come from computer scientist Ricky Sethi who is developing a crowd-sourced truth-seeking system to help people evaluate pieces of evidence.

And, as hardly a day goes by without another revelation of a powerful man having sexually harassed co-workers, Wayne State law professor Peter Henning argues it’s time for the government to stop treating secret settlements for sexual misconduct as tax-deductible business expenses.

Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

Top stories

A worker cleans a statue of Vladimir Lenin in St. Petersburg. But how much Russian history gets whitewashed today? Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Photo

How does an authoritarian regime celebrate a revolution?

Cynthia Hooper, College of the Holy Cross

Because the Kremlin hopes to project strength and unity, history isn't used as much to inform as it is to inspire, with events cherry-picked to fit within a fuzzy framework of 'Russian greatness.'

Voodoo doll or an illustration of the Republican tax plan on income inequality? Rainer Fuhrmann/Shutterstock.com

'Voodoo economics' makes a comeback in Republican tax plan enriching the rich

Christian Weller, University of Massachusetts Boston

Supply-side economics is the intellectual backbone of the argument that tax cuts for the wealthy will boost business investment, wages and growth. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The secret settlements that leave the reputations of alleged sexual abuse perpetrators intact are also tax-deductible. Lisa S./Shutterstock.com

Taxpayers are subsidizing hush money for sexual harassment and assault

Peter J. Henning, Wayne State University

Secret payments in exchange for silence regarding work-related sexual abuse are usually tax-deductible. How about changing that?

Ethics + Religion

  • Why social media may not be so good for democracy

    Gordon Hull, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

    A scholar asks whether democracy itself is at risk in a world where social media is creating deeply polarized groups of individuals who tend to believe everything they hear.

Environment + Energy

  • Improving women's lives through energy: What Rick Perry got right and wrong

    Michael E. Webber, University of Texas at Austin; Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University

    With better access to energy, women in developing nations could spend more time working or in school. But Energy Secretary Rick Perry's claim that fossil fuels improve women's lives misses the mark.

  • As wildfires expand, fire science needs to keep up

    Albert Simeoni, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Many countries around the world are vulnerable to wildfires, but a fire engineer warns that most are not spending enough on research into how fires spread and ways to reduce risks.

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