Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Ask a Scholar: What are the Effects of Carbon Dioxide on the Earth's Atmosphere?

Glenn Ricketts

Climatologist David Legates explains why the influence of atmospheric gasses does not necessarily reflect their proportion in the atmosphere.

Dear Future Professor

Hal Arkes

The first in a series of letters to new and prospective professors. 

Ask a Scholar: What Accounts for Wage Differentials Between Men and Women?

Jason Fertig

Professor Jason Fertig addresses common misconceptions about wage differentials between men and women.

Ask a Scholar: Does the Poverty Rate Affect the Non-Poor?

Lawrence M. Mead

A question about the effects of poverty rates on those who are not themselves poor.

Ask a Scholar: What Impact Did Horace Mann Have On American Public Education?

Sandra Stotsky

Professor Sandra Stotsky describes Mann's shaping influence in school reform.

Ask a Scholar: Can the Hebrew Word Tirosh Sometimes Mean Fruit?

Nehama Bersohn

Nehama R. Bersohn explains the word's possible meanings.

Ask a Scholar: Can North Korean Rhetoric Lead to Improved US-Chinese Relations?

Glenn Ricketts

Can North Korea's belligerent rhetoric produce better US-Chinese relations?  It doesn't seem likely.

Ask a Scholar: How Did Women's Suffrage Impact the USA?

Jonathan Bean

Prof. Jonathan Bean assesses the impact of the women's suffrage movement on the American polity.

Ask a Scholar: Does the Easy Use of Credit Bid Up the Price of Household Cost?

Jason Fertig

Jason Fertig responds to an inquiry regarding the easy use of credit in household economic calculations.

Ask a Scholar – U.S. v. Cruikshank

Robert Heidt

Did a Reconstruction-era Supreme Court decision restrict legal remedies for African Americans?

Ask a Scholar: Why Gridlock?

Glenn Ricketts

Is gridlock in our poitical system accidental or innate?

Ask a Scholar: That vs. Who

David J. Rothman

Writing scholar provides insight on the usage of personal and impersonal pronouns.

Ask a Scholar: Welfare, Single Mothers, and Marriage

Lawrence M. Mead

A politics scholar addresses the question, "Should marriage be a condition included in welfare reform? Would welfare benefits incentivize women to get married?"

Ask a Scholar: What Government Debt Means

Garett Jones

Why do countries lend money to one another, and what does this mean?

Ask a Scholar: Ocean Level

Mark R. Abbott

Are ocean levels rising? How do we know?

Ask a Scholar: Touching Spheres

Vera B. Koutsoyannis

A bowler asks: what is the area of the space between two touching spheres? Mathematically, it is a point and has no area, but what about in the real world?

Ask a Scholar: Declining the Second Term

Has there ever been a president who did not run for a second term by choice?

Obama's Higher-Ed Agenda

Peter Wood

Peter Wood surveys the Obama administration’s eight-part higher-education agenda.

Ask a Scholar: Current Racial Score Gap Stats

Stephan Thernstrom

Is the data about racial achievement gaps in the book No Excuses still true today?

Ask a Scholar: Noah's Age

Jon Levenson

Do ancient calendars account for the biblical record of Noah's long life?

Ask a Scholar: Low Interest Rates and the Liquidity Trap

John Mathys

Is our economy vulnerable to the Keynesian phenomenon known as the "liquidity trap"?

Ask a Scholar: Did the New Deal End the Great Depression?

Steven Horwitz

Is sustained deficit spending successful in bringing a country out of a depression?

Ask a Scholar: Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

Robert Bishop

A former nuclear weapons officer answers a reader's question: can we protect ourselves from an EMP attack?

Ask a Scholar: Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Gilbert T. Sewall

What's driving up the cost of textbooks, and what are the cheaper alternatives?

Ask a Scholar: What Is Structural-Functionalism, Conflict Theory and Symbolic Interactionism?

Jonathan Imber

Professor Jonathan Imber clarifies concepts of sociologocal theory.

Ask a Scholar: Is "White Privilege" a Good Way to Teach about Race?

Carol Iannone

Should children in elementary school attend the White Privilege Conference to learn about diversity? Isn't this a divisive approach that teaches victimization?

Ask a Scholar: Tax Structure

Richard S. Leaman

What are the pros and cons of a flat tax?

Ask a Scholar: Is There a Connection Between Foreign Aid and Civil Rights?

William C. Widenor

Is American humanitarianism related to a felt need to project an image of the US as compassionate, in contrast to its history of racial discrimination?

Ask a Scholar: The Path to a Finance MBA

Jason Fertig

How should I chart my course toward an MBA in Finance?

Ask a Scholar: Third Party Possibilities

Hubert P. van Tuyll

What are the dangers of a third caucus arising in American politics?

Ask a Scholar: Graduation Rates with Pell Grants

Matthew Denhart

Has there been a report made comparing graduation rates with and without Pell Grants?

Looking for Answers? Ask a Scholar!

Ashley Thorne

NAS is partnering with Intellectual Takeout to answer questions that call for scholarly judgment and can't be answered by Wikipedia. 

Ask a Scholar: Who Pays for America's Health Care?

King Banaian

How much of health care in the United States is funded by the government?

Ask a Scholar: State Discount Rates

King Banaian

Why are states allowed to use an 8% discount rate as compared to the private sector that uses a 5% discount rate?

Ask a Scholar: Pragmatism in Education

Lynda Stone

How relevant is pragmatism to the education system today?

Ask a Scholar: Economic Freedom and Well-Being

Ashley Thorne

Does a country's level of economic freedom affect the standard of living of its people?

Ask a Scholar: Private vs. Public Wages

John Mathys

What accounts for the difference in compensation for private and public workers?

Ask a Scholar: Pericope and Chiasm

Todd D. Moore

Can there be more than one chiasm (a pattern of concentric parallelism) in a pericope (a paragraph, episode, or story)?

Ask a Scholar: Class Warfare

Walter Block

Where can I find information that explains the true facts about the class warfare in the United States?

Ask a Scholar: Can I Get into B School Without a Double Major?

Scott Masten

If I don't have a double major, will it hurt my MBA application chances?

Ask a Scholar: Time for Business School?

Jason Fertig

Jason Fertig argues that the MBA is not the golden ticket it once was.

Ask a Scholar: Interest Rates on Government Debt

King Banaian

Why the low interest rates on government debt?

Ask a Scholar: A Burning Question

Kosta Steliou

What's the curious byproduct in my wood-burning stove this year?

Ask a Scholar: A Grammatical Conundrum

David J. Rothman

Is it correct to say, "they can't make up their mind," or "they can't make up their minds"?

Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

Dario Fernandez-Morera

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?

Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

Mark D. Futato

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers.

Have a Question Wikipedia Can't Answer?

Ashley Thorne

Then ask a scholar! “Ask a Scholar” matches readers’ questions to scholars who have the answers.  Submit questions by email or via Intellectual Takeout's Ask the Professor feature. Past questions answered by NAS scholars have been:

  • Lots of experts say that an event as disruptive as our precipitous financial crisis has never before unfolded in the middle of an American presidential election. Is this true? Are there any relevant historical parallels?
  • Why don't school buses have seat belts?
  • Does Lily Bart commit suicide at the end of Edith Wharton's novel, The House of Mirth, or does she die of a drug overdose?
  • What do identity hustlers mean when they use words like "queering," "race-ing," "worlding," etc.?
  • In Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d'Urbervilles, is the encounter between Tess and Alec in the forest rape or seduction?  Why didn't the author tell us one way or another?
  • Do you have references of Latin-American authors that develop their work in Critical Discourse Analysis?
  • What caused the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

If you've ever wondered things like whether science fiction is literature or whether Russia is part of 'the West,' you're in luck. Ask us your questions and we'll find a scholar who can take his best shot at answering them.

Ask a Scholar: What Caused the Oil Spill?

Indrek Wichman

A reader asks, "What caused the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?" An expert in mechanical engineering answers.

Ask a Scholar: Critical Discourse Analysis

Dario Fernandez-Morera

What does it mean to study literature and culture through Critical Discourse Analysis? Do you have any references of Latin-American authors that develop their work using this approach?

Ask a Scholar: Tess of the d'Urbervilles—Rape or Seduction? Part 2

Carol Iannone

Why did Hardy leave his readers in the dark?

Ask a Scholar: Translating "Queering," "Race-ing," and "Worlding"

Peter Wood

A reader asks: What do identity hustlers mean when they use words like "queering," "race-ing," "worlding," etc.?

Ask a Scholar/Ask a Critic: Suicide or Drug Overdose?

Carol Iannone

Does Lily Bart commit suicide at the end of Edith Wharton's novel, The House of Mirth, or does she die of a drug overdose?

Ask a Scholar: Seatbelts on School Buses

Have you ever wondered whether science fiction is literature? Or whether Russia is part of 'the West'? Now is your chance to ask a scholar! Today, a rather unpretentious inquiry important to parents: Why don't school buses have seatbelts?

Ask a Scholar

Peter Wood

Have you ever wondered whether science fiction is literature? Or whether Russia is part of 'the West'? Now is your chance to ask a scholar!