Commentary Upfront Blog

  • Easing barriers helps us all

    Making the world more accessible for the disabled has brought them into the mainstream -- and improved everyone's lives.

  • Practical planet care

    You don’t have to believe in the detrimental effects of human industry on the environment to be green today. Reducing dependence -- on big government, big utilities, and big energy -- appeals to rugged individualists as much as to tree-huggers.

  • Why walls rise -- and must fall

    Some walls are necessary, but before building any wall it is important to understand what is being walled in and what is being walled out.

  • The power of patience

    Kids constantly test parents -- and often just to get a reaction. Whatever that reaction is, experts say, parental patience is essential.

  • Saving the humans

    The late 20th-century shift away from whale hunting to whale saving didn't just help those endangered creatures. It was an historic human leap in the direction of environmentalism.

  • The 'country cousin' in us all

    From music to comedy, literature to reality TV, country culture has long amused, fascinated , and even educated Americans.

November 20, 2014

Photos of the day 11/19

Ayanna Williams displays her 23 inch (58 centimeter) nails at a book launch in London. Williams is in a book entitled 'Ripley's Believe it or Not! 2015 Annual, Reality Shock,' a compendium of strange but true facts and stories.

More Upfront Blog
  • The complex world of simplification

    Like most issues, the immigration issue in America looks simple. It's worth looking more closely.

  • In modern education, metrics 'r' us

    Measuring achievement is the hallmark of the current approach to education. But is passing tests the only point of learning?

  • The calm trust that pays dividends

    We can hover and worry about the economy or our finances, about the weather or our tomatoes. We can also just do our due diligence and then trust what takes place.

  • What it means to restore, and repair

    The 21st century may be the moment humans leave the 'use it up and throw it away' mentality behind.

  • Countering a digital jihad

    Conflicts in the Middle East are drawing in young recruits from Europe and elsewhere. Needed now: An effort to channel that fervor in more constructive directions.

  • John Hughes has been editor, publisher, diplomat -- but at heart he's a reporter

    Despite seismic shifts in the world of journalism in recent years, the intrepid curiosity of a reporter remains unchanged.

  • Building for a better world

    Hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers were 'makers' long before the term was coined. What's new today is the combination of networking, open-source knowledge transfer, crowdfunding, and relatively cheap machines such as 3-D printers.

  • Progress pauses, but never stops

    Whether you consider progress real or wishful thinking depends on how you measure it, not just short term versus long term but ideas versus appearances.

  • Learning compassion from combat

    Wars end. Nations move on. But for those who fought, the memories of combat -- of pain, loss, and desperate choices -- don't easily fade, which is why compassionate, effective ways of coping with war's aftermath are so important.

  • Rethinking the old '9 to 5'

    Sometimes by choice, sometimes involuntarily, the US labor force is shifting from a one-size-fits-all work week to more flexible arrangements. Not everybody can swing it, but those who can often discover that there's more to life than labor.