Into the Woods

June 15th was crisp and cloudless. carrying a chainsaw, orange surveyor’s tape and a compass, I started walking in a straight line into the pathless woods. Trailing me was my Airedale, Hawkins, and behind both of us was the little cabin that a group of friends and I built the previous summer on an island …

Front Page Read More »

An Exemplary Life – Sunil Wadhwani Tells His Story

I grew up in India and have lived in Pittsburgh for more than 40 years. I came here to study at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and then decided to stay. I started my first company here, which failed. My second company did better. It’s been an exhilarating ride — but the story starts a few …

Front Page Read More »

On Consciousness

“God does not play dice with the universe.” Albert Einstein “If you are not profoundly shocked by quantum physics you have not understood it.” Neils Bohr Across the long intellectual history of the human race, reaching back at least to the pre-Socratic philosophers (beginning, apparently with Thales of Miletus), there have been a handful of occasions …

Front Page Read More »

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Last October, my husband and I were driving through the eastern Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills when our physics buff son Mark blurted out, “Hey, there’s an old atom smasher around here somewhere. Can we go see it?” “Atom smasher?” I asked, with a blank look. “What’s that? A Kennywood coaster?” “It’s a nuclear reactor,” …

Front Page Read More »

Region Gains Jobs; Braces For Infrastructure Surge

Jobs ticked up in the Pittsburgh region in October, but failed to put much of a dent in the number of jobs lost during the pandemic. Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area added 9,000 more jobs in October than they did one month earlier, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of …

Front Page Read More »

Post-Pandemic Education Survey

More than a year after COVID-19 disrupted the education of 115,000 elementary, middle and high school students in Allegheny County, residents are concerned that it has impeded their progress and favor rethinking the way public schools go about teaching them. According to the results of a new survey, schools generally earn passing grades for the …

Front Page Read More »

The Long War Had Definite Pluses

We are speculating about how the Taliban will govern Afghanistan the second time around. Last week I concluded that one prevalent fear – that the Taliban would protect terrorist groups that are a major threat to the West – is unlikely to happen. Previously in this series: “The Taliban and Future Terrorism: A Positive Take (You …

Front Page Read More »

Is There Such a Thing as Exercise Addiction?

Question: I began an exercise program about a year ago? Initially I worked out two or three times a week, but I felt so good that I began exercising five days a week, and now it is every day per week – sometimes twice a day. Lately I feel tired most of the time and …

Front Page Read More »

An Elegy for Oscar

Some say we love our pets, particularly our dogs, because it pleases and comforts us to do so. I’m not convinced. From my experience with my own dog, who died helplessly of heart failure in his thirteenth year, I felt and still feel a sense of loss that is more than the absence of self-comfort. …

Front Page Read More »

The Taliban and Future Terrorism

“If Americans are worried about the return of violent Islamist extremists … Afghanistan is not the most important place they should watch.” — Philip Zelikow, former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission. Previously in this series: “Afghan History and the Taliban: A Positive Take (You Heard That Right) on Afghanistan, Part II” To begin – and end …

Front Page Read More »

Back in the Lights!

After a one-year hiatus, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Pointe in Time gala returned to The Westin Saturday with an evening of dining, dancing and performance, including a sneak peek at choreography from Artistic Director Susan Jaffe’s new staging of “Swan Lake,” which will debut at the Benedum Center in May. The event welcomed 400 guests and took …

Front Page Read More »

PICT Emerges from the Darkness with a Brilliant “As You Like It”

It’s certainly more than a little ironic that the last play I reviewed before the pandemic shut down all the theaters nearly two years ago was a work by Shakespeare, set in a forest, and performed by PICT Classical Theatre in the Fred Rogers Studio at WQED. . . and now in reviewing the first …

Front Page Read More »

The Fall 2021 issue:

Job Growth Declines Again

The number of jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania fell slightly in August, further slowing the regional recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Employers in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area had 3,100 fewer jobs on their payrolls in August than one month earlier, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the second …

Fall 2021 Read More »

You Meet the Strangest People…

I arrived at the Mayor’s office a bit early, announced myself and took a seat in the waiting room. I had only been there a minute or two when a lady came out, told me the Mayor would be with me soon, and asked me to fill out a form while I was waiting. Previously …

Fall 2021 Read More »

A Lifelong Friend

I’ve been lucky to have many close friends. But as I look back, it’s clear to me that, of all of them, my life has been most closely intertwined with that of my friend Chris Bentley. Chris and I were born less than two months apart, in early 1962, and we met before either of …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Pittsburgh’s Huge Flathead Catfish Rule the Rivers

Late one August night last year, Dusty Learn, an Indiana County farmer and factory worker, caught what is, perhaps, the most spectacular catfish Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers have been known to ever yield. Although not the VW Beetle-sized beast of urban legend, Learn’s flathead — nabbed on a piece of cut bluegill — might have beaten …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Norris Beach: “Swim Where You Will Be Welcomed”

Ninety years ago, on August 14, 1931, the city of Pittsburgh opened its largest and most luxurious public swimming pool in Highland Park. Opening day was one of great fanfare and pride. However, it was also a day that saw African Americans who tried to enter the pool turned away. When Black citizens returned the …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Your 8th Birthday

To Lucas I forget the comet’s name I looked for all night but never found. You slept in the tent while I kept the fire going, hoping an arrow of light and dust might pierce the air so I could stir you from your coma and show you. We could’ve seen crumbs of ice dissolving …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Surprising the Mayor

In those days, the mayor of Indianapolis was a guy named Richard Lugar. Lugar was an unusual mayor, to say the least. He’d been first in his class in high school and college, had been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and was an Eagle Scout. He was as straight-laced and honest as a country parson. …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Flight 93 National Memorial

“Are you guys ready? Okay! Let’s roll!” This is what telephone operator Lisa Jefferson, who’d been on the phone with United Air Lines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, says she heard at 9:55 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Four minutes later, as unarmed passengers and crew charged with a food cart and broke into …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Remembering 9/11: A Portrait of Shanksville

On Sept. 11, 2001, Judi Baeckel was working at the Shanksville Post Office and talking with a customer about news reports that hijackers had flown jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “At least we know we’re safe in Shanksville,” Baeckel recalls the customer saying. Within minutes, the roof and windows of the …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Must We Gain Weight as We Grow Older?

Question: “My middle-aged friends and I watch what we eat and try to stay active, but all of us seem to be gaining weight as we get older. Is getting fatter simply an unavoidable consequence of aging?” Although weight gain is generally considered part of the aging process, there are no legitimate reasons why a …

Fall 2021 Read More »

Recent Issues

Explore The Archives ››