The Juul Epidemic

The electronic cigarette company Juul Labs states its mission as seeking to “improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.” Unlike cigarettes, their products have not yet been shown to cause cancer, yet they still contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Even though the company markets a healthier alternative for adult smokers, the most troubling usage is in a much younger demographic. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five high schoolers vaped in September 2018, a 78 percent increase from 2017. Shortly after these warnings, Juul Labs announced that it would suspend the sales of most flavored pods (for smoking e-cigarettes) in more than 90,000 retail stores in the United States except for mint, menthol, and tobacco.

Read More

Jefferson and Buffon: Men of Science

Thomas Jefferson and the Comte de Buffon had fundamentally different understandings of the natural world, a discord that stemmed from Buffon’s “individualism,” that is, what Jefferson saw as a hesitancy to categorically classify species. Such an epistemology,  Jefferson argued, threatened to return the scientific community to the days of Aristotle and Pliny. It would undo the order that modern science had worked so diligently to instill in our understanding of the natural world. A belief in the importance of such an order was crucial to Jefferson’s very character. A man of science, he devoted much of his life to discovery, categorization, and systemization.

Read More

Athletes and Freedom of Speech

While everyone was preparing for the Super Bowl, the latest news about athletes and their controversial statements slid under many Americans’ radar. Daniel Radcliffe—or, as many people know him, Harry Potter—tweeted at Tom Brady to take the MAGA hat out of his locker. He was capitalizing on something that happened more than two years ago. Before the 2016 election, then-candidate Donald Trump had sent the hat to Brady. Since the quarterback’s relation to Trump is old news, I found this to be a cheap comment from Radcliffe. It’s also yet another example of people’s many recent objections to political expression by athletes.

Read More