Author Archives: N.S. Palmer

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.

Hope and History

A review of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, by Wilfred M. McClay Originally published on May 25, 2019 here. What is the purpose of history? Is it merely a record of facts—of dates and kings, … Continue reading

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What To Do If Someone Dislikes You

What should you do if someone dislikes you? The first step is simple and obvious: Get over it. People sometimes dislike us for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with us. Maybe we remind them of a … Continue reading

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If You Have Courage

Rudyard Kipling was a Nobel prize-winning British writer. He is best known today for writing The Jungle Book. His poem “If” has been a source of strength and inspiration to many people around the world. I can’t improve on it, … Continue reading

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Read, and Use Common Sense

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be: For loan oft loses both itself and friend; And borrowing dulleth the edge of husbandry.”      — “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare One of the greatest crimes of contemporary schooling is that it keeps … Continue reading

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Humility and Tolerance Go Together

Name an issue: Immigration. Abortion. Free speech. Lockdowns. Riots. Race relations. Many people are absolutely sure that they know what the problems and solutions are. If you don’t agree with them, then they think you must be ignorant, stupid, or … Continue reading

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Virtue Is Just Doing What’s Right

Virtue has kind of a bad reputation these days. People think it means being prudish or acting superior to everyone else. But real virtue just means behaving in ways that help you, other people, and society. It supports human happiness … Continue reading

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Freedom Means Responsibility

My first summer job in high school was as a copy boy for The Indianapolis Star newspaper. Yes, it was so long ago that we were called copy “boys” and nobody got triggered about sexism or patriarchy. Every morning when … Continue reading

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Why Are People So Mean on the Internet?

(Originally written for The Jewish Journal, published on August 16, 2016.) Why are people so mean on the Internet? Political polarization is sad, but it’s not the problem. Every day, we encounter people who disagree with us, but we do … Continue reading

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A Moment from the Middle Ages

Let’s consider a moment from the Middle Ages. Of course, people in the Middle Ages didn’t think they were living in “the Middle Ages.” That term was invented during the Renaissance to denote the era between Late Antiquity (after the … Continue reading

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A Pop Quiz About Government

We’ve got a pop quiz today, kids. But don’t worry: There’s only one question, and it’s multiple-guess. The authors of the U.S. Constitution were greatly influenced by a book called The Spirit of the Laws. It said there were three … Continue reading

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