Lots and lots this week. Two big parts coming at you.
1) Really liked this from Kristof on the way to beat poverty. Low-hanging policy fruit that it’s just crazy we’re not investing in:
The visits [to poor families from home nurses] have been studied extensively through randomized controlled trials — the gold standard of evidence — and are stunningly effective. Children randomly assigned to nurse visits suffer 79 percent fewer cases of state-verified abuse or neglect than similar children randomly assigned to other programs. Even though the program ends at age 2, the children at age 15 have fewer than half as many arrests on average. At the 15-year follow-up, the mothers themselves have one-third fewer subsequent births and have spent 30 fewer months on welfare than the controls. A RAND Corporation study found that each dollar invested in nurse visits to low-income unmarried mothers produced $5.70 in benefits.
This also featured prominently in the terrific How Children Succeed. Which you really, really should read. Yes, you.
2) Fall color map of North Carolina foliage.
3) Stop taking vertical photos, says this post. Actually, now that I pay attention to composition I always think about whether to compose horizontally or vertically and many a photo should be vertical. That said, people really need to stop with the vertical videos. So obvious with all the bucket challenge videos.
4) It’s not easy accusing someone of sexual assault in Florida.
5) We should be like Germany. At least when it comes to renewable energy.
6) Nice set of tips to help kids learn.
7) The power of random noise in biology and why identical twins are not identical.
8) How a species of porpoise is going extinct before our eyes.
9) Once many addicts kick their drug of choice, they end up addicted to sugar. Mmmm, donuts.
10) I really liked this Kevin Drum post on how images rule our world. If you have any doubt, just think of how the news would be different the past couple weeks without A) the Isis beheading videos; and B) the Ray Rice video.
11) The political tables have turned and now Democrats are the ones using “cultural issues” i.e., gay marriage and birth control, as a political weapon.
12) Stupid people are quite convinced of their own intelligence. Than again, so am I. Uh oh.
13) If you’ve heard of the Food Babe, you know she’s an ascientific idiot.
14) Medieval style longsword fighting is making a comeback. So much cooler than fencing. I love how the subjects of this video have bruises on their faces.
15) About that politics of smell piece, here’s a really nice takedown from Andrew Gelman. Also love this short critique from Seth Masket from when he shared my earlier post on FB:
Would it be nuts to say that spouses tend to come from similar communities, racial groups, socio-economic levels, etc., and that those groups tend to have not only ideological similarities but also dietary similarities, and that diet can influence body odor?
16) Sit less; live longer. (It’s the telomeres, JD!)
17) Thomas Frank (of Wht’s the Matter with Kansas fame) wrote a horrible column attacking political scientists. Great takedown from Chait. And an even better one from Ezra.
18) David Brooks says friendships are good. Uhhh, yeah. Seriously, though, the decline of adult friendships is a problem. I wish I had more good ones.