Quick hits (part II)

1) Girls aren’t meaner than boys– it only looks that way:

So how do we account for girls’ relational infamy? The answer may have little to do with how, or how often, girls are unkind, and more to do with the chain reaction that is set off when girls are on the sharp end of a peer’s stick.

Evidence suggests that girls, more than boys, are injured by social mistreatment. We’ve long known that girls place a higher premium on their interpersonal relationships than boys do, so it follows that they become more upset when their relational ties are threatened. Indeed, research finds that, disproportionately, girls harbor painful thoughts and feelings when hurt by their peers. They fret about why they were targeted, wonder if they had it coming, and strategize about how to befriend the antagonist.

To soothe their bruised feelings girls, more than boys, reach out to their friends . Turning to peers puts girls in touch with valuable social support, but we also know that recruiting friends to analyze social slights in detail can actually deepen a girl’s emotional distress. In contrast, boys who are hurt often seek out distractions— they stop thinking about hard feelings by thinking about something else. This may render boys less fluent in the language of their emotions, but they tend to feel better, faster.

2) Plenty of cross-national evidence (via Vox) that welfare doesn’t make people lazy, but helps get them out of poverty.

3) The uncertainty of “sanctuary cities” in NC after a new state law.

4) Sure, the Star Wars prequels don’t match the originals.  Don’t hate.

5) Nothing like liberals arts college protesters.  The ones at Smith want to bar all journalists except those that disagree with them.   College meets kindergarten.

6) Love the story behind the famous image of a toddler throwing a tantrum in front of Obama in the Oval Office.

7) Mockery is so fun.  But I do agree with Drum that it will not change many minds (on the Syrian refugees, or anything else).

8) So, did you know the meaning of “Netflix and chill”?  Was quite surprised to learn this from my students this week.  So far, I have not been able to convince my wife we need more Netflix time together.

9) So, about that “crime wave” caused by #blacklivesmatter?  Not so much.

10) I do find this issue of copyright and Anne Frank’s diary to be really fascinating.  Nice column on the trouble with present copyright law.


The foundation dedicates all the earnings from the diary to charitable ends, but its move underscores what many copyright experts and public advocates see as a disturbing perversion of copyright principles. Instead of providing a limited monopoly to creators to promote the flow of artistic works to the public, it’s become a practically limitless source of income to creators’ heirs–sometimes generations removed–and corporate rights holders.

“There’s no way a 95-year copyright term is an incentive for anyone to create anything,” says Dennis Karjala, a law professor at Arizona State who led the opposition to the Copyright Term Extension Act, the 1998 federal law known as the Sonny Bono Act after its chief promoter in Congress. The act set copyright duration at the author’s life plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication for works done for hire.

The act wasn’t aimed at encouraging artistic expression, Karjala says. It was pushed by corporate entities such as the Walt Disney Co., which would soon lose rights to the earliest films featuring Mickey Mouse. “They were all concerned about the cutoff of the royalty spigot,” Karjala says.

Rather than promote the flow of works into public view, copyright here and abroad has become a tool for keeping works out of the public domain.

11) How our microbiome (may) shape autism.  My guess is that microbes shape all sorts of aspects of human behavior that we don’t yet appreciate.

12) Are you hating Muslims?  Exactly what ISIS wants you to be doing.

Extremist groups feed off of alienation, some counterterrorism experts say, and Islamist militants deliberately aim to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities.

13) Great piece on the research of NCSU professor Walt Wolfram on Southern accents.


14) Today’s college students really do approach college living with a different mindset.

Particularly in the way things have unfolded at Yale, students’ social-justice activism has been expressed, in part, as the need for care from authority figures. When they experience the hurt that motivates them to political action, they’re deeply disappointed with parental surrogates for not responding adequately or quickly enough to support and nurture them. The world in which it’s not bizarre for a young person to rebuke someone for failing to “create a place of comfort and home,” or to yell, “Be quiet … You’re disgusting!,” and storm away, is the world of family, where a child in pain desperately desires empathy and understanding from a parent. The online scorn heaped on the student who was filmed behaving this way represents an unproductive refusal to compassionately translate her behavior across the generational divide. In a piece called “Hurt at Home,” another Yale student wrote, “I feel my home is being threatened,” and contrasted her comforting relationship with her father to the care she felt students emphatically did not receive from the master of Silliman College. Yale tells its students that the residential college is their “home away from home,” but this generation might be the first to insist so literally on that idea.

15) With disgusting amounts of xenophobia on the loose, it’s also helpful to remember Japanese internment.

16) Drum on the anti-science leadership of the House Science Committee:

In any case, Smith is a disgrace, and it’s a disgrace that Republicans allow him to chair a committee on science. Smith’s view of science is simple: if it backs up his beliefs, it’s fine. If it doesn’t, it’s obviously fraudulent. This is the attitude that leads to defunding of climate research or banning research on guns. After all, there’s always the possibility that the results will be inconvenient, and in the world of Smith and his acolytes, that can’t be allowed to stand. Full speed ahead and science be damned.

17) The “quiet eye” and coordination in athletes.

18) Ezra Klein on how America only pretends to value moms.

19) Jonathan Cohn on the trouble Obamacare is facing with individual policies:

As HHS acknowledges, the remaining uninsured tend to be the hardest to reach. This includes those don’t qualify for subsidies or receive only modest assistance, and don’t find the insurance affordable or valuable. What’s more, people shopping for coverage on the exchanges are finding that the policies have high deductibles and limited physician networks. If insurers raise prices, the danger is that more and more people will decide such coverage is simply not worth buying — even if it means paying the penalties.

The Affordable Care Act has already accomplished a great deal — slashing the uninsured rateand providing millions with consumer protections like the guarantee of coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. But enrollment could stagnate.

So what would happen then? It’s impossible to be certain, but many experts think the subsidies would function as a built-in safeguard against a severe market collapse — “the news about United does not presage a death spiral,” Kingsdale said — because that financial assistance keeps coverage cheap for millions of lower- to middle-income people, even if insurers raise their premiums. The mandate would obviously make a big difference, too.

But the law’s architects and supporters had hoped enrollment would continue growing beyond where it is today, reaching more and more people and providing as great a benefit to the affluent middle class as to the working class and poor. If enrollment stalls, the law would still be helping millions of Americans, but it would also be coming up short of expectations.

20) On the easy and unearned virtue of hating “bad” things.

21) Jedediah Purdy on Bernie Sanders and the history of socialism.

22) Speaking of Bernie, anecdotally it was clear to me that my students strongly prefer him over Clinton.  Actual polling (and quality polling done by my colleague Mike Cobb) shows this to be very much the case.  Sadly, Ben Carson also leads among NCSU students.

23) So, back in my classic-rock-loving teen years, I listened plenty to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (Karn Evil #9 being a particular favorite).  I was at a improv class performance for my oldest son at The Cary Theater and there was a sign for Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy tonight.  I mostly thought it was interesting, but not much more.  At 7:50, I checked recent set lists on-line and decided I had to go.  Made it by 8:05 before the show started.  Turns out the show was actually sold out, but somebody had turned in an extra ticket.  Pretty cool.  Great show.

24) Really nice longer read from HuffPol and Chronicle of Higher Education on money and college athletics.  Lots of cool statistics, too (such as the good news that students at my university have to pay very little to subsidize intercollegiate athletics– at some places it is a ridiculous amount).

Quick hits (part I)

Lots of good stuff this week.  Let’s go.

1) I did not read the (surely great) NYT series on how big business has basically taken away all our rights in the fine print (with a very strong assist from the Supreme Court), but I did love the Fresh Air interview on the matter.

2) A physician on the problem of allowing only 15 minutes for appointments.

3) Sadly, NC Republican legislators really do pretty much hate public schools.

4) Frank Bruni with a nice takedown of the epic phoniness of Ted Cruz.

5) Loved the Wired interview with JJ Abrams about making the new Star Wars movie.

6) So, our whole Middle East terrorism problem.  We should be talking more about Saudi Arabia.  And another take on Saudi Arabia.   And yet one more.  Maybe all these people are onto something.

7) On how building relationships with students leads to student success.

Last year faculty on my campus met for dinner to discuss How College Works,by Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs. The book documents a long-term study the authors conducted to understand which aspects of the college experience had the greatest impact on students — both during their undergraduate years and afterward.

Their most consistent finding: Students cited the relationships they formed as the most important and memorable aspect of college. Those relationships began with fellow students, but also included connections with faculty and staff members. The number and intensity of those relationships not only predicted students’ general satisfaction with college, but had the power to motivate them to deeper, more committed learning in their courses.

8) Can reading (books) make you happier?  Of course.  That said, it makes me sad that the author of one of my very favorite books, The Corrections, left me pretty disappointed with Purity.  

9) So, what’s up with this daesh thing?  An explanation.

10) Great story on the secret effort to thwart the Nazi’s nuclear effort by blowing up their heavy water production.

11) Fascinating story on risk at baseball games and umbrellas.  I don’t go to many baseball games, but when I do, you will never find me near the field down the baselines.

12) And speaking of fascinating… this story of the most extensive face transplant ever.  At least click through and check out the photos.

13) Summary of my colleagues’ research on how state-level corruption doesn’t really hurt political parties.

14) It’s time (is it time?) for the Supreme Court to end the death penalty.

15) Future redistricting and North Carolina’s changing demographics.

16) What a journalist learned from interviewing imprisoned ISIS fighters.

17) Scoring in hockey is down significantly.  Goalies are bigger and better.  Time for bigger goals?

18) Religious children are more selfish than secular kids:

The findings “robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households”.

Older children, usually those with a longer exposure to religion, “exhibit[ed] the greatest negative relations”.

The study also found that “religiosity affects children’s punitive tendencies”. Children from religious households “frequently appear to be more judgmental of others’ actions”, it said.

19) Phil Klay’s tweets on the refugees (whole series at the link).  And another opportunity to plug his brilliant book, Redployment.  

20) Very much enjoying the new Gimlet podcast, Suprisingly Awesome.  Especially this episode on free throws.

21) Long read to finish things off– John Judis on Bernie Sanders.



Quick hits (part II)

1) Stan Greenberg argues the future belongs to Democrats.

But the culture war ignited by Rove is a fire that requires ever more toxic fuel – it only works by raising fears of the moral and social Armageddon that would follow a Democratic victory.

The Republicans have, of course, won big numbers of seats at state level and inoff-year elections in the past decade. However, their conservative supporters, motivated by moral purpose, are now angry that Republican leaders have failed to stop Obama, particularly as the country, as they see it, tips into global and economic oblivion.

On the other hand, this intensifying battle for values has also left the Republicans with the oldest, most rural, most religiously observant, and most likely to be married white voters in the country. These trends have pushed states with large, growing metropolitan centres, such as Florida, Virginia and Colorado, over the blue Democratic wall, creating formidable odds against Republicans winning theelectoral college majority needed to win the presidency.

Encamped in the 20 states of the south, the Appalachian valley, parts of the plains states and Mountain West, conservatives have waged their culture wars to great effect. But those states account for only 25% of the voters. Success here turns Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz into plausible candidates – but not plausible presidents in a country that is past the new electoral tipping point. America will get to send that message 12 months from now.

2) My mom used to do facilitated communication with my severely autistic older brother.  She was absolutely convinced it works.  Alas, the science suggests otherwise.

3) Relative, not absolute, poverty is what matters to  most people and it’s way better in Scandinavian countries.

4) Not at all surprising (but nonetheless interesting) to learn just how nutty Ben Carson’s foreign policy adviser is.

5) I was never a regular viewer of the Daily Show– just Jon Stewart’s best clips that went viral.  That said, I find it quite interesting to see where Noah is not living up to Stewart’s legacy.

6) I did think this week’s Thursday NFL game looked a little weird.  Little did I realize what a disaster this was with red/green color-blindness.

7) Enjoyed Yglesias‘ thorough take on this week’s Republican debate.

8) Love this Connor Friedersdorf take on the intolerance of student activism.  Been meaning to write a post on it all week.  Oh well

9) And a great take from Bill Ayers— especially on the problem of a lack of clear goals:

Earlier today I likened the ongoing protests (some of which are occurring on my campus today, in solidarity with others) to a conflict. As a conflict scholar, the steps towards resolution are clear:

– Identify the essentials of the conflict. Who are the players? What are their interests, and what are they fighting about? What are the rules of the surrounding environment that shape how the conflict is conducted?

– Decide on the desired end goal. If the conflict were over, what would you want that to look like? What resolution do you seek, and what does that resolution look like for ALL of the actors involved?

– Evaluate and choose a strategy for achieving that goal. Can I get there through unilateral action, or do I need the cooperation of those with different views? Can I engineer a solution that meets my needs regardless of what the other side wants, or do I have to persuade others to join with me in a mutually-agreed settlement?

I don’t think we’ve yet had much clear thinking about any of these things. Conflicts often arise between aggrieved students and university administrators or faculty, which is an example of the lamppost fallacy: tackling what you can see, rather than going where the problem really is. The fundamental conflict is between members of minority groups (blacks, latinos, transgender, etc.) and members of the majority group who want to discriminate against and oppress them. [emphasis mine] If that is the core of the conflict, there is no unilateral solution – neither group can wipe the other out, both must continue to live in the same society together. The question is, how?


10) The wonderful world of streaming video isn’t really all the wonderful and will become less so.  And on a related note, Netflix is no longer so interested in it’s DVD back catalog.  This is a problem (I’ve been on “very long wait” for “Aliens” for half a year.  I’m just going to buy it).

11) It’s always been kind of amazing how GWB essentially took no blame for 9/11.  Now some more research on all the dire warnings his administration ignored.  Chait:

Chris Whipple’s revelations about the CIA’s urgent, ignored pleas to focus on the threat from Al Qaeda before 9/11 flesh out an increasingly consistent portrait drawn byKurt Eichenwald and other reporters. A broad and consistent body of evidence had persuaded intelligence officials that Al Qaeda was poised to carry out a devastating attack against the United States. It was not just the famous August memo, “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” — the one Bush dismissed at the time as ass-covering — but a much longer and more desperate campaign to wake up Bush’s inner circle. Whipple reports, “Months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.”

But the Bush White House was dominated by neoconservatives, who were ideologically fixated on the threat posed by states and dismissed the threat of non-state actors…

In retrospect, Bush’s ability to portray himself to America as a committed and triumphant vanquisher of terrorism rested almost entirely on emotional manipulation. Bush standing on the rubble at Ground Zero; Bush throwing a strike at Yankee Stadium before a cheering crowd; Bush landing on an aircraft carrier — it was all brilliant political theater. And it supported a conclusion 180 degrees from reality. Of the manifold failures the Bush administration wrought, its handling of the terrorist threat should rank as the worst.

12) Women are better-suited to the modern workplace.

13) A great lesson in how to abuse intellectual property law.  Now that the copyright for Diary of Anne Frank is expiring, the owners of the copyright are saying that Anne Frank’s father was a co-author in an effort to extend the copyright.

14) Graeme Wood’s great Atlantic article on Isis from this past spring is definitely required reading now.

15) Nice column from Frank Bruni on every shameless pundit (eg., Gingrich, Coulter, etc.) trying to use the France attack to further their own unrelated political agenda.  (And for what it’s worth, if concert-goers had been packing heat and started firing back at the terrorists–presumably not exactly easy in a crowded theater– they would’ve just blown themselves up sooner).

Quick hits

Sorry for being a blogger failure this week.  Turns out that two job candidates, plus a mid-week trip to the zoo, plus a hockey game, plus a piano concert leave little time left for blogging.

Nothing to say on France yet, other than damn it’s horrible and I sure hate those damn Islamic extremists.  Ugh.

1) It almost seems like the Starbucks Christmas cup imbroglio is something created by liberals to embarrass conservatives for looking like morons.  Are there really people out there all freaked out about this?  Oh, yes.

2) Always go to the funeral.  Good advice.

3) Loved Mike Pesca’s spiel on Common Core math in this gist podcast.  He rightly points out that a lot of parental complaints come down to “I didn’t have to do this.”  Yes, it can be frustrating at times, but is it truly rational to believe that math education should be frozen in time exactly like you learned it?  Common Core math is not some communist plot.  It’s a plot from professors of math education.

4) Don’t like what dissertation research might find?  Well, if you are a Republican State Senator in Missouri, you try to block it.  Yikes.

5) Loved Todd VanDerWerff’s fascinating deconstruction of Peanuts.

6) George Will as had enough of Bill O’Reilly.  Though I wonder if his vitriolic take on Killing Reagan would still be there if his wife was not a Reagan adviser..

7) The Republican debates as socialism.

8) Dave Roberts pushes back on my (though, not me in particular, of course) on Keystone.

It is also ludicrous to imagine that the primary goal of climate activist campaigns is to reduce emissions. It would be like criticizing the Montgomery bus boycott because it only affected a relative handful of black people. The point of civil rights campaigns was not to free black people from discriminatory systems one at a time. It was to change the culture. “Keystone isn’t a perfect battlefield,” wrote Michael Grunwald, “but neither was Selma or Stonewall.” …

This also follows from the first two. If the metric of success is emission reductions, and emission reductions from supply-side fights are uncertain, then there’s no point in fighting supply-side projects.

This assumes that emission reductions are the sole reason to go after the supply side, and thereby, I think, fundamentally misses what activists are trying to do. It’s not to reduce emissions, one project at a time. It’s to change culture.

Great points.  And more on this soon, but I’m so tired of liberals not making this argument, but rather fallacious policy arguments like we expect from conservatives on tax cuts.

9) Supreme Court pretty comfortable with police shooting into a car despite an imminent threat.

10) Do you know about CRISPR? (DNA modification).  This is really, really going to change the world.  Nice Wired story.  And a great Radiolab from earlier this year.

11) John Kasich— only “moderate” because of the radical extremists you are comparing him to.

12) Boxing’s brutality is surely a big part of it’s gradual disappearance.  Could football be next?

13) Jamelle Bouie on the Republican debate:

Moreover—and more importantly for the politics of economic growth—the Republican candidates were silent on one of the key questions of the 2016 election. “The Democrats will inevitably ask you and voters to compare the recent presidents’ jobs performance,” said moderator Gerard Baker to Carly Fiorina. “In seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs per month. Under Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 per month; under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you will probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?”

Fiorina dodged the question. She didn’t have an answer. And neither did anyone else on the stage. Later, moderator Maria Bartiromo threw Rubio a softball on Hillary Clinton. “Why should the American people trust you to lead this country even though she has been so much closer to the office?” His answer was smooth—“[I]f I am our nominee, they’ll be the party of the past”—but it ignored this basic question of economic performance.

This is a problem. Barring disaster, President Obama will finish his term with a growing economy. Republicans need to show Americans that they can do better—that they can deliver growth and resources to the people who need them. Otherwise, little else matters. The Democratic nominee will inherit the Obama economy and prevail.


Quick hits (part I)

A little late today.  Sorry.

1) The psychology behind conspiracy theories.

2) Bats are awesome.

3) Krugman on the favorable historical record on Democrats and the economy:

But Americans overwhelmingly believe that the wealthy pay less than their fair share of taxes, and even Republicans are closely divided on the issue. And the public wants to see Social Security expanded, not cut. So how can a politician sell the tax-cut agenda? The answer is, by promising those miracles, by insisting that tax cuts on high incomes would both pay for themselves and produce wonderful economic gains.

Hence the asymmetry between the parties. Democrats can afford to be cautious in their economic promises precisely because their policies can be sold on their merits. Republicans must sell an essentially unpopular agenda by confidently declaring that they have the ultimate recipe for prosperity — and hope that nobody points out their historically poor track record.

And if someone does point to that record, you know what they’ll do: Start yelling about media bias.

4) When Gmail writes your emails for you.  Good stuff.

5) Of course (and sadly) there’s a flight of good teachers from North Carolina.

6) The overly busy modern family.  Happy to report the Greene’s are doing just fine.

The data highlight the complicated trade-offs that working families make.

Forty-one percent of working mothers said being a parent made it harder to advance in their careers, compared with 20 percent of fathers. Men’s careers took priority more often than women’s did, though the majority said they were equal. Fathers earned more than mothers in half of full-time working families, the same as mothers in about a quarter and less than mothers in a quarter.

The ways parents spend their time at home have changed markedly over the years. Government time-use data show that parents over all do less housework and spend more time with their children than they used to.

The time men spend on paid work has decreased to 38.5 hours a week from 42 hours in 1965, while the time they spend on housework has doubled to 8.8 hours and the time they spend on child care has tripled to over seven hours.

Still, women do much more, especially when it comes to the tasks of raising a child, like managing their schedules and taking care of them when they are sick, according to Pew. Fathers and mothers are much more likely to equally share in doing household chores, disciplining children and playing with them.

There is a gender divide in parents’ perceptions of how much responsibility they take on, Pew found. Fifty-six percent of fathers say they share equally, while only 46 percent of mothers agree.

7) Year round daylight savings will keep us safer and save lives.  Seriously.  Count me in.

8) Did we just legalize insider trading?  For some insiders.

9) Is America back where it was 100 years ago.  The case for yes.  (Strikes me as too extreme).

10) Shame on NC University English departments for not teaching enough courses about British and American male authors!

11) You know how I feel about guns.  But when you commit a robbery with a fake gun that looks like a real gun, you have just forfeited your right to life in my book.

12) Seth Myers on how an anti-discrimination statute in Houston went down because the opponents scared everybody over bathrooms.  Definitely worth a watch.

13) Sure there’s some older children s books that are racist and sexist (none of which ever made it to me in my 1970’s early childhood), but does this article then have to go on and insinuate that the lack of non-white male protagonists is “racist” and “sexist”?  I read lots of my old favorites to my kids and I’ve yet to come across a book that made me squirm out of outdated racism of sexism (hopefully that doesn’t make me a racist/sexist).  In fact, I’ve been reading The Sneetches a lot lately.  One of my favorites as a kid and now.  And hard to imagine a more anti-racist story out there.

13b) On a totally different note, Drum says save the calls for racism and sexism for stuff that actually is.

14) Kevin Drum creates his own chart of candidate honesty.

15) Of course there’s actually very good reasons why we should raise the age at which we try people as adults.

16) I’ve found the Adaptors podcast to be a bit hit in miss in terms of quality, but I loved this one on what the world would be like if rats took over as the dominant species.

17) As long as I’m talking podcasts, really loved this episode of Start Up that explained and demonstrated the carefully-crafted podcast approach that is also the basis for TAL, Radiolab, etc.  And really helped me understand why some of the less crafted podcasts can be so frustrating to listen to.

18) The Economist explains how treating travelers well is bad for airline business.

19) The fascinating case of intersex children in Salinas, Dominican Republic.

20 Garrett Epps on the first amendment.

But we pay a price for this freedom, and not everyone pays the price equally. The First Amendment imposes on us all the duty to maintain the peace even when our deepest beliefs are denounced. But that duty is doubly onerous for minorities, because they must endure such abuse more often and longer.

In a country that is 70 percent Christian, Muslims account for less than one percent of the population. Since 9/11, powerful religious and political figures have been openly campaigning to strip this tiny population of the protections of the Constitution.

21) What “death to Americareally means.

22) We’ve actually got death panels now (hooray– this is actually great policy).  Nobody seems to have noticed.

23) The history of jaywalking.  More complicated and political than you might think.  I came very close to getting a jaywalking ticket from an MP at the Pentagon once, but got off with a very stern warning.

24) Damn was that bombing of the Doctors without Borders hospital horrible and a massive screw-up.  Some heads really need to roll for this.

25) Now this is how you score a goal.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Great NPR story on how old women are so often the face of evil in fairy tales.

2) An essay from a teacher on quitting teaching:

The solitary reason that I chose to leave teaching has to do with the politicized environment of education. People may wonder what politics have to do with teaching, and the answer is everything. When policies are made, the impacts come into our lives and change them drastically. Over the past few years, there has been widespread “educational reform.”  These reforms have increased the importance of spreadsheets, columns of data, evaluations by inexperienced observers, and the accounting of data in every teacher’s life. The focus has gone away from people; students, parents, teachers, staff, volunteers, and onto data. The most important elements of teaching cannot be quantified onto a spreadsheet and put into a power point. When data is given importance above all else, time and resources are directed as such.

It has been years, YEARS, since I was in a building inservice that was about connecting with kids, communicating with parents, designing meaningful anti-bullying lessons, incorporating literature into math lessons or any topic other than data collection, data presentation, data comparison, state testing and teacher evaluations.


3) I don’t care much about the New England Patriots in any way, but I did find this analysis as to the secret of their ongoing success to be quite interesting.

4) Dahlia Lithwick on  a Louisiana prosecutor who really likes killing people.  One of her commenters put it best, “I’m starting to get the feeling this guy is a serial killer who found a legal route to kill people.”

5) Sure politicians of all parties use appeals based on fear, but it sure seems to be a very central element of the GOP these days.

6) Had a little bit of a light bulb moment while listening the most recent Freakonomics podcast (on boredom, actually)

DUBNER: I want your secret view of success in life, definitely.

DUCKWORTH: Alright, so I’m just gonna go out on limb here and say it. You know it’s not that I have like all the, a mountain of evidence and so forth. But I think it really comes down to this. Every successful person that I’ve ever interviewed — and I do a lot of interviewing of successful gold medalists and CEOs of Fortune 100 companies and so forth — every single one is extraordinarily meta-cognitive. By that I mean that they are able to reflect on their own emotions, their own thoughts and their own behaviors. They’re sort of able to step outside themselves and say, “Hmm, what am I doing? What just happened there? Is that something that I liked? Did I not like it? What can I do to kind of go back into the situation and do it differently next time?”  To a one, I would say that is characteristic of successful people.  [emphasis mine]

Though, I’m not like those people, I am pretty damn metacognitive, but the light bulb was about my son who really struggles despite having good cognitive skills– it’s the damn metacognition he’s lacking.

7) Vox explains why China is changing their one child policy.

8) On Kansas‘ failed supply-side experiment.  Of course, there was plenty of evidence this was never going to work.

9) Jordan Weissman with a nice reminder that if a Republican president is elected, he very well could enact crazy Republican economic plans.  And then we get Kansas times 50.

10) Josh Vorhees on the self-fulfilling nature of the Jeb is toast narrative:

But. But! The Jeb is toast narrative will only make that more unlikely. Jeb began the year as the favorite for his party’s nomination—and, until recently, remained a favorite—exactly because the political and media establishments saw him as one. But while he benefited from that self-fulfilling prophecy, he’s now in danger of falling victim to a new one. If the establishment no longer sees him as a man who can bring order to a chaotic nominating contest, voters won’t either. The media used to present him as the smarter Bush, the more capable Bush, the Bush who should have been president. Now that’s all gone. And as Nate Silver points out, the conventional wisdom matters for Bush more than most “because Bush is running a conventional campaign.”

11) Some nudges are good (e.g., nudging for more retirement savings).  When private companies try to nudge you so they can profit more– not so good.

12) Kristof on “justice” in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia’s medieval criminal justice system also executes “witches,” and flogs and imprisons gay people.

It’s time for a frank discussion about our ally Saudi Arabia and its role legitimizing fundamentalism and intolerance in the Islamic world. Western governments have tended to bite their tongues because they see Saudi Arabia as a pillar of stability in a turbulent region — but I’m not sure that’s right.

Saudi Arabia has supported Wahhabi madrasas in poor countries in Africa and Asia, exporting extremism and intolerance. Saudi Arabia also exports instability with its brutal war in Yemen, intended to check what it sees as Iranian influence. Saudi airstrikes have killed thousands, and theblockading of ports has been even more devastating. Some Yemeni children are starving, and 80 percent of Yemenis now need assistance.

There’s also an underlying hypocrisy in Saudi behavior. This is a country that sentenced a 74-year-old British man to 350 lashes for possessing alcohol (some British reports say he may be allowed to leave Saudi Arabia following international outrage), yet I’ve rarely seen as much hard liquor as at Riyadh parties attended by government officials.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Maybe all the sitting won’t kill you after all.  For now, I’m sticking with regular exercise and never trying to sit more than 30 minutes straight.

2)George Will on Bernie and inequality.  Will is such an idiot.  He’s on to me.  I’m against our massive inequality not because it is harmful to our society and spreads the fruits or American progress far too narrowly, but rather because I’m just plain envious.

Sanders focuses less on empathy for the poor than on stoking the discontent of those who are comfortable but envious. They will ultimately be discomfited by the fact that envy is the only one of the seven deadly sins that does not give the sinner even momentary pleasure. Fortunately, for most Americans, believing in equality simply means believing that everyone is at least as good as everyone else.

3) The case for getting football out of our universities.

4) Liked this take on the niqab from a Canadian Muslim woman.

5) Yes– we totally should have more traffic roundabouts.  They are awesome and Americans need to get over their fear.

6) Vox’s Andrew Prokop says maybe Bernie really did win the debate.  Of course, Prokop assumes that winning the debate is about doing the best among the audience actually watching.  As you know, I think that is actually a poor metric.

5) But many voters haven’t been following the race so closely. Beforehand, a third of Democrats said they didn’t yet know enough about Sanders to have an opinion on him. Even many of those who did know about him likely hadn’t been exposed to him all that much. So when Sanders makes the case at length for why he’s a democratic socialist, many of these voters might not have heard that before — and might like it.

7) Interesting interview with Aaron Sorkin on writing the Steve Jobs movie.  Not having seen the movie, it strikes me as a huge mistake to focus so much on Steve Jobs as a father.  It’s just not why he is an interesting and transformative figure

8) What happens to great on-line journalism when a website no longer exists?

9) When Back to the Future Part II hits the real 2015.

10) Ben Carson’s ignorance about anything other than brain surgery really is breathtaking.

11) What happens when men are photoshopped out of politics.

12) I’ve had to review a couple of manuscripts lately that use the Implicit Attitude Test.  You can try it yourself.  Despite my best efforts, I ended up moderately implicitly racist.

13) High deductible health plans sound great in theory.  In practice— not so much.

14) That whole thing with Alabama and drivers licence offices struck me as more complicated than liberal headlines were letting on.  And, yeah, not so much racism.

15) Love this Vox explainer on Denmark.  Personally, I had an awesome 3 days in Copenhagen back in 1989.

16) This piece in HuffPo on how we do such a poor job treating schizophrenia is fascinating.  Read it.

It will come as no surprise that one reason the United States lags so far behind the rest of the world is its deeply dysfunctional system for financing medical care in general, and mental health care in particular. In other countries, national health care systems have broad authority to set priorities and budgets. Officials can respond more quickly to emerging research and take a longer-term view of social investments because, unlike insurance companies, they don’t have shareholders to please…

There’s also a deeper problem at work. Too many people, including some mental health professionals, think of psychiatric disease as something fundamentally different from physical disease. And yet the more we learn about mental illness, the less meaningful that distinction appears. McGorry now believes that the model of screening, preventative care and aggressive early treatment could be used to reduce the incidence not only of schizophrenia, but of other mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disease.


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