Read — 2014/06/29

by shwolff

Today’s selection of articles includes:

  1. Americans Think We Have the World’s Best Colleges. We Don’t.“, by Kevin Carey (NY Times). Driving the perceived gulf between America’s underperforming K-12 institutions and premier universities, Carey argues, are drastically different rating systems: for K-12, the focus is on education of the average student, whereas for universities, the focus is on research and publications at the top. Results from the OECD’s recent Piaac project (an adult version of their PISA exam) suggest that American university graduates rank near the bottom on educational measures.
  2. When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop“, by Natasha Singer (NY Times). Health information technology in general, and predictive health analytics in particular, hold the promise of improved outcomes — and higher profits for the unscrupulous provider.
  3. Why Teenagers Act Crazy“, by Richard A. Friedman (NY Times). Chalk it up to a precocious amygdala and a late-developing prefrontal cortex. Interesting finding: “adolescents show heightened fear responses and have difficulty learning how not to be afraid” (i.e. fear extinction). Beware the author’s logical lapse regarding the ubiquity of a trait and its evolutionary advantage (or lack thereof).
  4. Britain’s Strange Identity Crisis“, by Steven Erlanger (NY Times). Britain reassesses “Britishness” and its role on the global stage.
  5. Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?“, by Alan Flippen (NY Times). Super-neat graphic. One wonders whether the study controls for cost of living differences. Also, while subjective, it would be interesting to include a measure of “quality of life”.