Quick hits (part I)

1) Using DNA, scientists have uncovered the genetic origins of modern Europeans (and those of European descent).  I had never heard of the Yamnaya, but their expansion into Europe 4500 years ago was key.  Fascinating stuff.

2) The Dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell argues that Social Sciences (hmmm, he didn’t say Humanities, though) are as important as STEM fields.

3) Indigenous people have way less back pain.  I’ve been pretty good so far, but this is one part of aging I definitely worry about.

4) Enjoyed Connor Friedersdorf’s take on Hastert.  Regardless of what the man did, should it really be a crime to withdraw your own money from the bank?

5) How one woman has made women with, interesting (?) faces all the rage in fashion modeling.

6) Plenty of charts on the decline of American social capital.   (I.e., why can’t we all just get along?)

7) The TSA doesn’t really work very well.  And maybe that’s okay.

8) I’d argue for John Williams as the greatest orchestral composer of the 20th century.  Here’s a ranking of his movie scores (personally, I’d put Indiana Jones #2, but this is a great list).

9) What poverty does to the young brain.  Of course, for conservatives, that’s no excuse.  Poor kids just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, damnit!

Over the past decade, the scientific consensus has become clear: poverty perpetuates poverty, generation after generation, by acting on the brain. The National Scientific Council has been working directly with policymakers to support measures that break this cycle, including better prenatal and pediatric care and more accessible preschool education. Levitt and his colleagues have also been advocating for changing laws that criminalize drug abuse during pregnancy, since, as they pointed out in a review paper, arrest and incarceration can also trigger the “maternal stress response system.” The story that science is now telling rearranges the morality of parenting and poverty, making it harder to blame problem children on problem parents. Building a healthy brain, it seems, is an act of barn raising.

10) Yes, they do teach creationism in science class in Louisiana.

11) The General Motors bailout was quite successful.  Somebody forgot to tell Republican presidential candidates.

12) Mark Ruffalo on “not a feminist.”

13) The story of Kalief Browder is horrible and everything wrong with American criminal justice.  And now he’s dead of suicide and undoubtedly a victim of the injustice done to him.

14) Love this visualization of how famous brand logos have evolved over time.

15) Does smoking marijuana interfere with math skills?  An intriguing natural experiments suggests, yes.

 

 

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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