• Up For Discussion

    Why Can’t Hollywood Tell America’s Stories?

    Our Onscreen Heroes Are White Men. But Most of Us Aren’t.

    The 2015 Oscars broadcast will reflect the demographics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters—who are overwhelmingly older Anglo men—but it won’t reflect the demographics of the rest of the country. All 20 acting nominees are Anglo, …

New at Zócalo

Up For Discussion

Television and Film Have a Role to Play in Repairing a Fractured America

Despite the Bitterness Splintering the Nation, History Shows We’re “All in the Family"

In American memory, if not always in reality, television and film once played a unifying role. During the Great Depression, decadent Hollywood productions delivered welcome diversion. At the dawn of rock n’ roll, Elvis and The Beatles landed in living rooms across America via The Ed Sullivan Show. During the upheavals of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Walter Cronkite functioned as a reassuring and trustworthy pater familias. And in the 1980s, Michael Jackson moonwalked his way onto screens large and small, ...


Mapping Big Thinkers and Their Ideas

Viewing Clusters Over Time Provides Insights into Networks of Influence

By Tom Cohen

To understand where ideas come from and how they evolve over time, sociologist Randall Collins mapped the networks of 3,000 philosophers and mathematicians, a yeoman project that took him on a 25-year journey across the globe, seeking insights into the histories and inner workings of societies and the thinkers who shaped them.
    More recently, Grant Oliveira, a data analytics consultant with an interest in the origins of philosophical thought, embarked on a project to corral the universe of philosophers that exist on the web, namely via their Wikipedia profiles. That project—which took about two weeks—yielded flawed but promising results. ...

Video Highlights

  • Multiculturalism has become a loaded word, with cities like Paris and Brussels becoming emblematic of the failure of the ideal of different cultures and religions living together. Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor started working on the issues of diversity and ...

Small Science/Lisa Margonelli

  • What Self-Cloning Salamanders Say About Climate Change

    An Evolutionary Outlier Could Inherit the Earth (or at Least Rural Maine)

    Birds do it, bees do it, and so the song goes, even educated fleas do it. But unisexual salamanders don’t.
        These all-female amphibians clone themselves to make eggs—all girls ...

  • Health Care for People on the Edge of the World

    A Clinic on a Fresno Bus Helps IV Drug Users Deal With Infections

    Dan, age 33, woke up one late summer Saturday in Fresno, California with pain in his left buttock.
        Dan is tall, good-looking, and dresses neatly in long shorts, with white socks pulled up, stark white sneakers, and a stylish trucker hat. He has a stoic face and ...

  • When You Ride the Bus, You Ride With Big Data

    Will Public Transit Apps Create Customers or Citizens?

    When I first arrived in San Francisco in 1988, I often took a bus called the 22 Fillmore, which ran from Potrero Hill, made a right turn near the Castro, and out to the Tony Marina. On one end dwelled ancient socialites in little hats and on the other old longshoremen, with so much wackiness in between ...