Friday Assorted Links

1. Why are more American teenagers than ever suffering from severe anxiety?

“Anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But unlike depression, with which it routinely occurs, anxiety is often seen as a less serious problem.”

2. Eatonville middle schoolers take their physical education outdoors.

“Mr. McWilliams taught the class teambuilding, orienteering, and the ten essentials.”

Where was Mr. McWilliams at Lexington Junior High? When I head into the backcountry, I usually have two or three essentials.

3. One of the first Ironwomen in history returns to the race that made her famous.     Julie Moss. Badass.

4. America’s largest pumpkins—from the Specific Northwest.

5. Jodi Kantor on how Megan Twohey and she broke the Harvey Weinstein story wide open. Damn, let’s turn that investigative reporting genius on the White House

 

I’m Ageist

Eighty-four year old Dianne Feinstein has decided to run for re-election. She says she has the energy.

If I were a Californian, I would not vote for her. Nor would I vote for an 84 year old male. Whether she has the energy right now isn’t the question. The question is will she at age 90. No, she won’t. Isn’t there someone, somewhere in the Golden State, with more energy?

Golden Staters should thank Dianne for her service and elect Steve Kerr, a true youngster at 52, bad back and all.

 

Males Last Bastion—Economics

Last week, after reading Tyler Cowen’s predictions of which men might win the Nobel Prize in economic science, I wondered why do males so dominate economics when females are steadily pulling away from males in educational attainment? Why do female economists find the upper echelon’s of the field so elusive? More specifically, where is the female half of Nobel Prize winners in economic science?

Increasingly, economics is applied math. I do not believe men are better than women at math. For me, if there’s some kind of proof of that contention, it simply begs more questions, particularly, why are men (allegedly) better than women at math. I suspect there are differences between men’s and women’s brains, but I don’t believe for a second that the part of men’s brains that do math is somehow superior to that part of women’s.

I suspect the All Star economist gender discrepancy lies in the male dominated cultures that typify elite economics graduate schools. For now, male privilege perpetuates itself in the top doctoral programs.

Here’s Cowen’s interesting summary of the winner’s work.

 

Monday Assorted Links

1. A Spanish-English high school proves learning in two languages can boost graduation rates.

“Muñiz Academy teachers, 65 percent of whom are Latino, strive to create an environment that celebrates their students’ heritage and allows them to embrace this piece of their identities. For some students, that fills an aching need.”

“She gives her students opportunities to discuss their cultural and linguistic insecurities openly, helping students find their place in the world as they work toward Spanish fluency. This identity support contributes to one of the more intangible benefits of the Muñiz Academy, but one that parents most appreciate.”

2. Jennifer Egan: By the Book.

My writing students often want an “improved vocabulary” or “deeper thinking” secret sauce. Egan provides it in this glorious interview excerpt:

“I’ve become hooked on audiobooks — fiction and nonfiction — so nowadays I read pretty much all the time. Only a really good book can stand up to audio, though; anything less is almost intolerable. I listen while walking, waiting for the subway, gardening, composting, cooking, and doing laundry, and with my noise-canceling headphones, I’m as tuned out as my teenage sons! I use an iPad to read books that aren’t available in physical form and for long research papers and transcripts. Then I’m usually reading a couple of physical books: nonfiction for the gym, and fiction for all other times. I like to read (and write) lying down, and despite strenuous effort I often fall asleep at some point, so what I read and write ends up becoming weirdly entwined with my dreams.”

3. Cost of contact in sports is estimated at over 600,000 injuries a year.

“. . . the television production people on the sideline walk. . . around with parabolic microphones. . . . They are catering to their audience. The audience wants to hear heads crack.”

Count me out.

4. The downside of baseball’s data revolution—long games, less action.

Baseball has never been more beset by inaction. Games this season saw an average gap of 3 minutes, 48 seconds between balls in play, an all-time high. There were more pitcher substitutions than ever, the most time between pitches on record and longer games than ever.

5. Today’s tax cuts are tomorrow’s tax increases.

“Anytime you hear a news report on the Trump ‘tax cut,’ substitute the phrase ‘tax shift.'”

6. Bob Corker says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’.

“In a 25-minute conversation, Mr. Corker, speaking carefully and purposefully, seemed to almost find cathartic satisfaction by portraying Mr. Trump in terms that most senior Republicans use only in private.”

Here’s hoping others have the courage of their convictions.

Friday Assorted Links

1. Can Prep Schools Fight the Class War?

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time, about infusing our program with a greater sense of redeeming purpose. . . and approaching it from a perspective of student well-being with a better sense of why students are going about this work.’’

2. Hands on Children’s Museum Awarded Grant for Early Stem Learning Program.

Looks excellent, but it does beg a question. When (and how) will we start introducing science, tech, engineering, and math into the womb? Seems like a missed opportunity.

3. The 7 most inflammatory things Roy Moore has said.

Alabama’s finest. Roy Moore loves God and Donald Trump. I do not understand what those two have to do with each other.

4. Is there a doctor in my pocket?

“The drive to create an AI (artificial intelligence) doctor is simple. It would allow patients around the world much greater access to medical assistance. There is a global shortage of 7.2m health-care workers, a figure that will almost double by 2035. It takes only one AI doctor capable of diagnosing even a handful of common conditions to make this shortage less of a problem. Digital diagnosis can be scaled far more rapidly than doctors can be trained. The world’s first AI doctor will be asking you to say “aaah” sooner than you think.”

5. The Other Arnold: Palmer’s daughter reflects on the chasm between the brand and the man.

“. . . over time his work became being whoever other people needed him to be. He didn’t have an ideology.”

The Key to Teaching Middle School

In 1999, I traveled in Japan for two weeks with twenty plus other social studies educators, including Ken V, a crazy funny middle school teacher from Winnipeg, Canada. Before departing for Tokyo, we met in a San Fransisco airport hotel conference room to share our respective curriculum research projects. Afterwards, I went straight up to V and said something to the effect of, “That was excellent, super clear and succinct. Thank you.” From that moment on, we were boyz.

Fast forward a week. On a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto, V fell asleep with his suit coat thrown over an adjacent seat. I pounced, stuffing a hundred cheap, thin, plastic umbrella rain bags inside all of his jacket pockets. Then I instructed everyone to sporadically ask him for one at our afternoon meeting with the mayor of Hiroshima.

We’ve stayed in touch ever since, even reuniting in Victoria about five years ago. Staying in touch means he sends me sports updates—baseball, football, curling, Nascar primarily, on almost a weekly basis. Canadians are funnier than everyone else, so no surprise his missives are basically one long strand of wickedly funny puns.

A year or two ago, he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. His positive attitude was incredibly inspiring and proved integral in his recovery. He’s retired from the classroom, but not the Prairie baseball fields where he doubles up as player and umpire extraordinaire.

Recently, he wrote:

“Filipino Fastball…………….. Sept. 10, I did the Dish for both Medal Games. The Bronze game featured 2 nice teams, who hadn’t played nor practised since mid Aug. At the end of the 4th, the score was 15-6. At the end of the 5th, it was 15-13. It ended after 7, but took way too long. No issues, however it was a hot day, and the Fun was yet to come……..The Gold game featured 2 good teams, who don’t like each other. The eventual winning team began to whine immediately about EVERY call. I finally had a talk with the catcher, and told him to inform his teammates there would be dire consequences if it continued.”

I love the image of V laying down the law. It prompted me to ask “What’s harder to manage a Filipino fast pitch game or a middle school classroom?” He turned on that question and went deep:

“I would rather face a Filipino uprising led by North Korea, catered by ISIS, during a Mexican Earthquake, than manage a Middle Years classroom.”

The first rule of middle school teaching. Always be a little more crazy and funny than them.