Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

A New Medium

Having read about Medium, the new venture of Blogger and Twitter founder Ev Williams, I signed up this past year.

Via this democratic (small “d”) venue, I’ve appreciated articles by figures ranging from Isis AnchaleeDavid Swan, and Ankita Rao to Sundar PichaiMelinda GatesSamantha PowerHillary Clinton, and President Obama.

In addition, Medium has provided a platform to republish pieces that originally appeared elsewhere, including about immigrationrefugeesIndia and the U.S.reproductive choiceearly literacy – even college athletics.

7:00 pm est 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Climate Conference, Air Quality

As the UN Conference on Climate Change concludes two weeks in Paris, air pollution in Beijing has attracted attention.  Yet it’s even worse in New Delhi, reputed to have the worst air quality of any city in the world – among the 13 Indian cities listed among the 20 most polluted globally, according to the World Health Organization. 

The BBC’s Justin Rowlatt and Soutik Biswas have reported on Delhi’s air, as has Nida Najar of the New York Times.  Twitter trends include #airapocalypse. 

Environmental issues in Delhi were among the matters discussed in an April 2014 article, following my family’s third trip to Delhi – where my wife grew up – in a decade.

9:29 am est 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hanukah and Other Holidays; Bringing Faiths Together

Happy Hanukah, a holiday that some members of my family celebrated growing up, and which my family now tries to join friends in marking one night in eight.

Amid the violent interpretations of religions that can lead to bloodshed around the world, holidays can be an instrument for progress and interfaith peace.
6:37 pm est 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

More Gun Violence, for Killing of Innocents Not Security

The horrific attacks in San Bernardino were more evidence of the ease of access to assault weaponry, for terrorist or other purposes.  Routine access to such highly lethal weaponry doesn’t serve our real security.

9:38 pm est 

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