An Assortment of Silences

There’s a short story by Heinrich Böll that I like, titled “Murke’s Collected Silences.” Set in postwar Germany, it follows a radio editor named Dr. Murke, whose job is to sift through hours of audio tracks and trim them before broadcast. It’s a subtly satirical read: the radio station’s director has a religious awakening at … Continue reading An Assortment of Silences

On Pet Rocks, Halloween, and Growing Up

The other day, my Grade 11 advisor announced that our class would be spending last period on a Friday making pet rocks. It was a declaration I expected to be met with grumbling and mockery from a set of high schoolers usually insistent on proving their coolness. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when our class—debate … Continue reading On Pet Rocks, Halloween, and Growing Up

Everyday Infinities

Infinity is a terrifying concept. Blaise Pascal once said: “When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in an eternity before and after, the little space I fill engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces whereof I know nothing, and which know nothing of me, I am terrified. The eternal silence of … Continue reading Everyday Infinities

“Olympus Has Fallen” and the Danger of the Modern Action Film

This week, I watched the 2013 film Olympus Has Fallen, described somewhat aptly by one critic as “a lumpy version of Die Hard but with Gerard Butler instead of Bruce Willis.” In my opinion, it was a bit disappointing, even rating it on the exclusive criteria of a stock action movie. For one, the plot … Continue reading “Olympus Has Fallen” and the Danger of the Modern Action Film

The Inequality Regime

In her book Plutocrats, Chrysia Freeland writes: “In 2005, Bill Gates was worth $46.5 billion and Warren Buffet $44 billion. That year, the combined wealth of the 120 million people who made up the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population was around $95 billion—barely more than the sum of the fortunes of these two men.” That is astounding, and by logical extension of this fact, if we were to hypothetically expropriate these two men of their wealth and redistribute it, we could double the material conditions of four in ten American citizens.

British Columbia’s Perilous School Reopening Plan

Last week, British Columbia announced its plan for reopening schools in September. At best, it is optimistic, and at worst, it could be dangerously incompetent. The plan involves a full reopening of schools in “learning cohorts” of up to 60 individuals in elementary schools and up to 120 in high schools, including both students and … Continue reading British Columbia’s Perilous School Reopening Plan

Snowglobe Utopia

Among my menagerie of desk toys, I have no fewer than seven snowglobes neatly lined up in arrow formation, fond mementos of Northern Ireland, Panama, Disneyland, and beyond. They began as innocently decorative sources of amusement, but after days of sitting idly in my room, staring into these neatly packaged spherical universes, they occupy a … Continue reading Snowglobe Utopia

The Clockwork Universe: Determinism Through the Ages of Physics

In an interview, Albert Einstein once said that “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” The origin of the universe and the method by which events are determined is a question that has simultaneously transfixed and eluded humankind for most of our short history. This article will discuss how the scientific community’s conception of determinism evolved through history, with a specific focus on the comparison between the Newtonian and Heisenbergian approaches to examining cause and effect relationships.