A recent TV ad for Cheerios depits a heartwarming family vignette: An adorable tyke asks her mother if the cereal is good for the heart, her mother says yes, and the dad wakes up from his nap to find a pile of Cheerios on his chest. But the fact that the mother is white, the dad is black and the child mixed-race has touched off a firestorm of criticism that one media critic described as "a progressive-looking commercial collides with the ugliness of the Internet." Parent company General Mills says it is has no plans to stop airing the spot or to take it down from its YouTube channel. [more inside]
A recent post by conservative Naomi Schaefer Riley on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog -- "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations" -- has caused quite a furor in the academic blogosphere. [more inside]
The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
The Inequality Taboo - Charles Murray defends his ideas, published in the controversial book The Bell Curve.
White House Silent on Racial Controversy. Bill Back, the California Republican party's vice chairman running for the top job, sent out an e-mail newsletter in 1999 that reproduced an essay that said "history might have taken a better turn" if the South had won the Civil War and that "the real damage to race relations in the South came not from slavery, but from Reconstruction, which would not have occurred if the South had won."