All posts tagged: St. Louis

Uranium is being mined near the Grand Canyon as prices soar and the US pushes for more nuclear power

Uranium is being mined near the Grand Canyon as prices soar and the US pushes for more nuclear power

The largest uranium producer in the United States is ramping up work just south of Grand Canyon National Park on a long-contested project that largely has sat dormant since the 1980s. The work is unfolding as global instability and growing demand drive uranium prices higher. The Biden administration and dozens of other countries have pledged to triple the capacity of nuclear power worldwide in their battle against climate change, ensuring uranium will remain a key commodity for decades as the government offers incentives for developing the next generation of nuclear reactors and new policies take aim at Russia’s influence over the supply chain. But as the U.S. pursues its nuclear power potential, environmentalists and Native American leaders remain fearful of the consequences for communities near mining and milling sites in the West and are demanding better regulatory oversight. Producers say uranium production today is different than decades ago when the country was racing to build up its nuclear arsenal. Those efforts during World War II and the Cold War left a legacy of death, disease …

The wrong way to study AI in college

The wrong way to study AI in college

Computer-science students are being shielded from the liberal arts. That may be a problem. Illustration by The Atlantic. Source: Max Whittaker / The New York Times / Redux March 22, 2024, 1:17 PM ET This is Atlantic Intelligence, a limited-run series in which our writers help you wrap your mind around artificial intelligence and a new machine age. Sign up here. Earlier this week, my colleague Ian Bogost published a provocative article about a trend in higher education: the opening of distinct colleges of computing, akin to law schools. New programs at MIT, Cornell, and soon UC Berkeley follow an uptick in the number of students graduating with computer-science majors. They are serving a growing market. “When they elevate computing to the status of a college, with departments and a budget, they are declaring it a higher-order domain of knowledge and practice,” Ian writes. “That decision will inform a fundamental question: whether computing ought to be seen as a superfield that lords over all others, or just a servant of other domains, subordinated to their …

Universities Have a Computer-Science Problem

Universities Have a Computer-Science Problem

Last year, 18 percent of Stanford University seniors graduated with a degree in computer science, more than double the proportion of just a decade earlier. Over the same period at MIT, that rate went up from 23 percent to 42 percent. These increases are common everywhere: The average number of undergraduate CS majors at universities in the U.S. and Canada tripled in the decade after 2005, and it keeps growing. Students’ interest in CS is intellectual—culture moves through computation these days—but it is also professional. Young people hope to access the wealth, power, and influence of the technology sector. That ambition has created both enormous administrative strain and a competition for prestige. At Washington University in St. Louis, where I serve on the faculty of the Computer Science & Engineering department, each semester brings another set of waitlists for enrollment in CS classes. On many campuses, students may choose to study computer science at any of several different academic outposts, strewn throughout various departments. At MIT, for example, they might get a degree in “Urban …

White Families Sucked the Suburbs Dry

White Families Sucked the Suburbs Dry

Nearly 25 years ago, I reported on the changing demographics of Cicero, a working-class suburb just west of Chicago. For years, the town, which was made up mostly of Italian and Eastern European American families, worked hard at keeping Black people from settling there. In 1951, when a Black family moved in, a mob entered their apartment, tore it up, and pushed a piano out a window. Police watched and did nothing. The governor had to call out the National Guard. By 2000, the nearby factories, which were the economic foundation of the community, had begun to close. White families moved out and left behind a distressed, struggling town to its new residents—Latinos, who now made up three-quarters of the population. It felt wrong. It felt like the white families got to enjoy the prosperity of the place, and then left it to these newcomers to figure out how to repair aging infrastructure and make up for the lost tax revenues. After reading Benjamin Herold’s Disillusioned, I now realize I was witnessing something much larger: …

Jeff Tweedy: The Songs That Shaped My Life

Jeff Tweedy: The Songs That Shaped My Life

I love other people’s songs. How much they’ve taught me about being human—how to think about myself and others. And, most important, how they absorb our experiences and store our memories. No matter how many people hear the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” there’s only one version that belongs to you. Our appraisals might align, but I doubt your version includes a memory of waiting for the doors to open at an all-ages Jodie Foster’s Army concert on Laclede’s Landing, in St. Louis, as a flooding Mississippi River rages down Wharf Street and heaves up onto the steps of the Gateway Arch. Your mind melting down on mushrooms, watching a husband-and-wife street-performing duo sing “A Day in the Life” while their toddler does laps around you keeping shockingly good time on a tambourine. This article has been adapted from Tweedy’s new book. It’d be cool if we could see the worlds within the songs inside one another’s heads. But I also love how impenetrable it all is. I love that what’s mine can’t be …

New York Will Be Fine. Other Downtowns Have More to Fear.

New York Will Be Fine. Other Downtowns Have More to Fear.

“Urban doom loop.” “Office real estate apocalypse.” Today, anyone who reads business news has seen dire predictions for America’s downtown commercial towers, which emptied out when the coronavirus arrived and remain under-occupied three and a half years later. Most coverage centers on the most expensive big cities, such as New York. But the focus on glittering superstar cities is misguided, because many more fragile downtowns—the likes of Dayton, Ohio; Birmingham, Alabama; and St. Louis—entered the pandemic with little margin for failure. Even Minneapolis, with a strong overall labor market, faced a high office-vacancy rate in 2019. Still more commercial space emptied out during the pandemic, and foot traffic downtown has waned. “It’s spooky,” one retail clerk told The Wall Street Journal. To be sure, Manhattan office investors and their lenders certainly have plenty to lose, because participating in that market was so expensive to begin with. According to the 2023 outlook from the commercial-real-estate company Colliers International, asking rents for downtown Class A office space in Manhattan are $81 a square foot per year, down …

The College Syllabus Is Dead

The College Syllabus Is Dead

You may remember the syllabus. Handed out on the first day of class, it was a revered and simple artifact that would outline the plan of a college course. It was a pragmatic document, covering contact information, required books, meeting times, and a schedule. But it was also a symbolic one, representing the educational part of the college experience in a few dense and hopeful pages. That version of the syllabus is gone. It has been replaced by courseware, an online tool for administering a class and processing its assignments. A document called “syllabus” persists, and is still distributed to prospective students at the start of each semester—but its function as a course plan has been minimized, if not entirely erased. First and foremost, it must satisfy a drove of bureaucratic needs, describing school policies, accreditation demands, regulatory matters, access to campus resources, health and safety guidelines, and more. Last week, the office of the provost at Washington University in St. Louis, where I teach, sent out a new syllabus template for faculty use. It’s …