Changing the Definition of “Woman”: Patriotism and How Dictionaries Work

by Steven Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan For the last several years, elected Republicans, full of anti-trans zeal, have challenged their opponents to define the word “woman.” They aren’t really curious. They’re setting a rhetorical trap. They’re taking a word that seems to have a simple meaning, because the majority of people who identify as women…

Hitchhiker’s at 42

by Steven Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan This year marks the 42nd anniversary of the American release of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams’ “five-book trilogy,” of which Hitchhiker’s was the first installment, led readers through a melancholy universe in which bureaucracy is the ultimate source of evil and shallow, self-serving incompetents are the…

White Castles and the Ivory Tower: Is Cheating at Chess Evidence of Cheating at Chess?

by Steven Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan At a recent tournament sponsored by the St. Louis Chess Club, 19-year old Hans Niemann rocked the chess world by defeating grandmaster Magnus Carlson, the world’s top player. Their match was not an anticipated showdown between a senior titan and a recognized rising phenom. The upset came out of…

Thomas Kuhn and the January 6 hearings: Which reality is ‘true reality’?

by Steven Gimbel and Gwydion Suilebhan As the January 6th hearings continue and Americans watch new, seemingly undeniable video evidence of insurrection and quibble about whether one could reach the steering wheel of the Presidential SUV from the back seat, the ideas of Thomas Kuhn, the philosopher and historian of science who coined the phrase…