This is a short article primarily about Debbie Stier, who at the age of forty-six decides to tackle the SAT’s with the goal of making a perfect score of 2400. My takeaway from this article is that we are not measuring the correct areas when taking these standardized tests. It is great to focus on writing, math and reading, but as is stated in the article where is the focus on critical thinking.
Any readers know of research done recently that shows how top scorers in the SAT’s from twenty-five years ago are currently doing professionally? How would we judge their success?
I love this excerpt toward the end of the article:
“Whatever is at the center of the SAT—call it aptitude or assessment of assiduousness or ambition—the exam at this point represents an accident. It was conceived for one purpose, adapted for another, and somewhere along the line it acquired a hold on American life that nobody ever intended. It’s not just high school seniors who are in its thrall; colleges are, too. How do you know how good a school is? Well, by the SAT scores of the students it accepts.”
Please take the time to peruse this article and give us some feedback!
“The Gene Factory” Michael Specter
This is an interesting article from The New Yorker about a Chinese company BGI, which is the world’s largest genetic-research center. The article brings up several thought-provoking, in my opinion, cultural differences that will need to be tackled on a worldwide scale. Here is an excerpt:
From page 40:
“In twenty to forty years, at least in the developed world, most babies could be conceived through in-vitro fertilization, so that their parents can choose among embroyos,” Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford Law School and the director of the university’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, told me. Greely’s book on the ethical implications of genomics and human reproduction, “The End of Sex,” will be published next year.”
Also From The New Yorker:
“The Birds” Jonathan Rosen
This is a tremendous review on a book entitled: “A Feathered River Across The Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction” by Joel Greenberg. The review gives the history of the passenger pigeon and the environmental problems that the passenger pigeons caused and the ultimate demise of the birds. The article brings up the plans of de-extinction of the birds and plans to recreate the bird. (probably not the best way to describe de-extinction). I urge you to read the article for a better presentation. The primary question that Mr. Greenberg wants to answer is this: How in fifty years could this bird become extinct after having a population of seemingly billions?
“Finding The Next Edison,” Derek Thompson
This article from the January/February 2014 issue of The Atlantic focuses on how outsiders are presented with problems, you would expect the expert to come up with the best answer. However, the outsiders are coming up with the most-interesting answers to complex problems in spite of their lack of expertise. An excerpt from page 24:
“Opening up challenges to a diverse group of people is powerful, not only because it gives you more shots on goal, but also because it gives you different shots, from surprising angles. “Big companies can’t invent that well. They know too much,” Kaufman said. “They lose touch with the average person. When you become infinitely educated in a category, you’re your own worst enemy, because you can instantly say the 15 to 20 reasons something isn’t needed, and you don’t realize the one reason it is needed.”
I urge you to read this article, Tamales On the Delta from The New Yorker as it describes Greenville, Mississippi and its history in a way that gives the reader a taste for the Mississippi Delta and southern living. I had no I idea, even though I live just north in Tennessee that Greenville declared itself the Hot Tamale Capital of the World. It made me realize that almost every city now it attempting to be the World Capital of Something or have a festival in their city. Examples in West Tennessee include the Strawberry Festival In Humboldt and the World ‘s Largest Fish Fry in Paris, Tennessee.
What is Greenville really trying to do with this festival? Is it for economic growth? Is it to build unity in the community? Is it to attract new residents or new manufacturing? I believe all the answers to these questions have some place in what Greenville is attempting to do. Readers, if you can think of any other ideas, please let me know.
Over the weekend I was reading The New Yorker from September 9, 2013 and ran across this article by Malcolm Gladwell entitled “Man and Superman: In Athletic Competitions, What Qualifies As A Sporting Chance?” . This article was thought provoking from the point of what is fair in becoming a world-class athlete and what is not. I did not realize that Tommy John after he had his ulnar collateral ligament corrective surgery that he won 164 professional baseball games and pitched until he was forty-six. In the article it states that over one-third of minor leagues and MLB pitchers have had this type of surgery.
This article made me want to purchase The Sports Gene by David Epstein because of the thought provoking ideas about what we consider as honesty in sports. In the New Yorker article it ends with Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton and their use of drugs for enhancing their performance. Once again, very thought provoking. As a former teaching tennis professional I have very mixed emotions about where the line should be drawn on PED’s and their effect on sports in general.
- Malcolm Gladwell Defends Disputed ‘10,000 Hours’ Rule (theatlanticwire.com)
- Doping in Sports (pepperdinesels.wordpress.com)
- Gladwell on human biological diversity in sports (isteve.blogspot.com)
- Science could give us super-athletes – so why don’t we let it? (io9.com)
- Malcolm Gladwell: Football Will Become ‘Ghettoized’ (theatlanticwire.com)
I ran across this book in The New Yorker magazine August 26, 2013 and it looked interesting:
Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem
This book focuses on the efforts of people to preserve animals in the most bizarre ways and at what lengths humans will go. I love this quote from the review: “The beauty of humans trying to fix a larger beauty we broke.”
I will put this on my to purchase list. I am going to have to get a second job to purchase all these interesting books!!!
- Joe Mooallem writes about wild animals to save them (sfgate.com)
I am currently halfway through The New Yorker article by Atul Gawande entitled “Slow Ideas”. I love Dr. Gawande’s writing and he is best know for the book The Checklist Manifesto (which I highly recommend).
The beginnning of the article starts out with a bang as he asks the question: Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? He compares the spread of anesthesia and antisepsis. I was trying to think of other innovations that took off and others that died on the vine. The whole point of the article thus far is that people talking to people is the way standards and behavior changes.
- If You Want To Influence People To Change, Then You Want To Read Atul Gawande’s New Article (larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)
- Book Review: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, MD (medicalminded.wordpress.com)
- Atul Gawande, Renowned Surgeon And Writer, Launches Innovation Lab (commonhealth.wbur.org)
- Why Do Some Innovations Spread Slowly? (scottberkun.com)
- Applying Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto to SEO (moz.com)
- How Ideas Spread in Medicine (cell2soul.typepad.com)