Author Archives: Matthew Lasar

Why you should memorize the first lines of the first Sura of the Qur’an

I have always found the first two or three lines of the first Sura of the Qur’an (“The Cow”) very useful for understanding the document as a whole. Here are two versions from two different editions. “This is a scripture … Continue reading

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Socrates to Euthyphro: three strikes and you are out

I have become a bit obsessed with Socrates’ dialogue with Euthyphro, in which the former patiently questions and challenges the latter’s methods for defining the meaning of a word: “piety.” The strange context comes in the year B.C.E. 399. Euthyphro arrives at an Athens court to … Continue reading

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Is Brexit the beginning of the decline of international English?

When it comes to the great Brexit controversy, everyone is quoting the late Tony Judt, so why can’t I? Here’s an excerpt from his masterpiece, Postwar: A history of Europe since 1945. “The present author can vouch for both the necessity and … Continue reading

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The hottest historical figures of the global Cold War? and the winners are . . .

In the final exam for my Global Cold War class, I give my students a two point bonus question: who was the hottest historical figure of the Cold War? I allow them to define “hot” any way that they wish: … Continue reading

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How far back do “end-of-work” automation predictions go?

I am reading Victor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Page 107 of my edition (2006) says the following: ” . . . progressive automation will probably lead to an enormous increase in the leisure hours available to the average worker. … Continue reading

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Welcome to 90 Cubed Rule

This website is Matthew Lasar’s repository of history, memory, and obsessive compulsive issue tracking. It is also where he keeps the syllabi for the courses he teaches at UC Santa Cruz.

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The 90 cubed rule

Don’t forget: ninety percent of the American people forget ninety percent of everything in ninety days.

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Looking Backward: the coach scene illustrated

As a history lecturer, I have for many years used the coach scene in Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887 as a way to describe the deep sense of insecurity that Americans lived with during the Gilded Age. I often … Continue reading

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A Spotify Vietnam era hit song playlist

Any suggestions for the list are welcome.

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Don’t forget about the Income-Based student loan repayment plan

If you are graduating soon, and are worried about repaying your loans, don’t forget to look into the Income-Based repayment plan. This program allows you to make lower monthly payments: Under IBR, your monthly payment amount will be 15 percent … Continue reading

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