There are several versions of the famous question from the fairy tale, “Snow White.” “Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Whether the line begins with “magic mirror” or “mirror, mirror” or even “magic mirror in my hand,” the most interesting word in the question is the word “fairest.” The Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm classic was originally published in 1812 as part of a collection of folk stories. The word “fair” was contextual in 19th century Germany as a word that means “beautiful,” not pale skinned or of a light complexion. It's a bit confusing given the ...

I have plenty of friends who are Republicans.  But as some may have guessed, many of my Republican friends are embarrassed by their presidential nominee. I feel their pain. So what's a smart and logical, yet loyal Republican voter to do? Among my friends who still plan to vote for Donald Trump, it is common for them to say their main reason is to "protect the court." This means that the one thing they want from Trump, and apparently trust him to do successfully, is to nominate quality members to our highest court. Sort of that is. Many of my conservative friends claim ...

There is a strange phenomenon occurring in politics this year, and I was having trouble labeling it.  Labels seem more important than they used to be, since so many of us don't get far enough past the headline or the Twitter feed to understand the reasons for it.  That tendency doesn't apply to my readers. My punchlines are always at the end. Research served me well this week when I came across a 2012 study in the journal of Current Biology by a group of scientists from the University of London titled "Selfish-herd behavior of sheep under threat."  A conclusion in ...