Feb 072019

Evanston RoundTable, Feb. 7, 2019 There’s a famous video on YouTube—blandly titled “Selective Attention Test”—of six college students passing basketballs to each other. Viewers are instructed to count the number of times the students wearing white shirts pass the ball. The answer is 15, but that’s not the real point. About 25 seconds into the video (plot spoiler!) someone dressed […click to read more…]

Jan 242019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 24, 2019 Almost 2 million Americans take to the skies every day. Flying is fast, efficient and safe, far safer than driving, as we are constantly assured. Yet plane crashes occur, some survivable, others not. Ten years ago this month Capt. Chesley Sullivan landed a US Airways flight in the Hudson River. There were no fatalities. A […click to read more…]

Jan 102019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 10, 2019 There are two ways to come at “Green Book,” the new biopic about Don Shirley, the renowned African American pianist and composer who died in 2013. The movie purports to tell the “inspired-by-a-true story” account of Shirley’s 1962 concert tour through the south with his jazz trio, at a time when Jim Crow restrictions were […click to read more…]

Jan 102019

Evanston RoundTable, Jan. 10, 2019 Luck is usually considered to be random, inconstant and, well…lucky, something other people seem to have more of. “Success or failure,” the dictionary says, “apparently brought on by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” But that definition obscures the true meaning of luck, which might be more accurately said to be good fortune brought […click to read more…]

Dec 272018

Evanston RoundTable, Dec. 27, 2018 What if we could decide that betting on love is a good bet, a wager worth making? The 17th century French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously made a similar bet, only it was wagered on God. Pascal said the effort to bet for or against the existence of God was the same. But if […click to read more…]

Dec 142018

Evanston RoundTable, Dec. 13, 2018 In this centenary year of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, we rightly celebrate his genius as a conductor, composer, educator and pianist.             But no less important was Lenny’s enormous impact on people’s lives.             Take the life of Evanstonian Victor Yampolsky, Director of Orchestras and Professor in Music Performance at Northwestern.             Prof. Yampolsky was born in the Soviet […click to read more…]

Nov 302018

“Movies are the most important artistic medium of the last century, where we learn how to love, fight, live and die.” Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 27, 2018 A month ago I was “tagged” by retired Columbia College film professor Judd Chesler, an Evanston resident, to take “The Facebook Movie Challenge.” The “rules” are simple: just post an image from each of […click to read more…]

Nov 162018

Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 15,2018 I’m obsessed with knowledge. I want to know everything. Well, not everything, of course, that’s impossible, but the big things: quantum physics and plate tectonics and macroeconomics and…all the stuff I didn’t get around to studying in school because I was too lazy or preoccupied with other, more important stuff, like getting a date. But that’s […click to read more…]

Nov 012018

Evanston RoundTable, Nov. 1, 2018 We know this much about life, that it will contain its share of hardship and there is no way to avoid the end. So we must learn to endure, otherwise suffering is certain. Churchill famously said. “Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in—except to convictions of honor […click to read more…]

Oct 182018

Evanston RoundTable, Oct. 18, 2018 Research tells us that music education is critical to the development of young minds. At Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab, directed by Prof. Nina Kraus, studies have shown that music training helps strengthen speech and reading. People who regularly make music have “enhanced neural speech processing” important also for reading, and these benefits build up over […click to read more…]