May 1, 2014
1. Long Division with Louis C.K.
“My kids used to love math! Now it makes them cry.” So tweeted Louis C.K. earlier this week. His opinion of the new math and standardized tests is echoed by a lot of parents who “have found themselves puzzled by the manner in which math concepts are being presented to this generation of learners as well as perplexed as to how to offer the most basic assistance when their children are struggling with homework.” Rebecca Mead in the The New Yorker: Louis C.K. Against the Common Core.
+ Louis is good when it comes to parenting in the age of new math, but he’s even better when it comes to parenting in the age of cell phones.
+ I don’t know one parent who isn’t more (over)protective of their kids than their parents were of them. My mom argues that this trend makes sense because things are more dangerous for kids today. Well, Mom, check this out: It’s getting safer to be a child in the U.S. (My kids can go out and play by themselves as soon as they’re done finding the rest of this edition’s stories.)
2. Hell and Back
Of course, things are not better for kids (and adults) everywhere. The New Republic’s Graeme Wood gives us a glimpse of the bloody, crumbling Central African Republic: “Along a desolate stretch of the Avenue de France, the Red Cross has operated an on-demand, white-gloved sanitation service that, within an hour of being called, will show up to collect human bodies, whether chopped up or left intact.” Hell is an understatement.
+ Nigeria: “If this abduction of 236 girls happened anywhere else in the world, the nation would be at a standstill.”
3. A Singular Sensation
Following the savings-and-loan scandals of the 1980s, 839 people were convicted of financial crimes. Following our recent economic crisis, there was a determination to crack down like never before. So how many Wall Street execs have been carted off to jail? One.
4. Elegant Racism
“Elegant racism is invisible, supple, and enduring. It disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism. Grace is the singular marker of elegant racism. One should never underestimate the touch needed to, say, injure the voting rights of black people without ever saying their names. Elegant racism lives at the border of white shame. Elegant racism was the poll tax. Elegant racism is voter-ID laws.” The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that it’s easy to condemn folks like Donald Sterling while ignoring other less oafish forms of racism: This town needs a better class of racist.
It’s the sequel Rob Ford never wanted you to see. The now infamous mayor of Toronto has been videotaped smoking crack. This time, he is taking a leave of absence to enter rehab. The story is both a reminder of the crippling power of addiction and of the fact that these days, everything is public.
+ “A report from the Toronto Star on the beginning of the weeks-long bender includes St. Patrick’s Day, a party bus, a club called Muzik, cocaine use, vomiting in a public bathroom, and Justin Bieber. This is what they call rock bottom.”
6. The Troubles
It’s been a while since Gerry Adams has been targeted by the police in Northern Ireland. But he was arrested yesterday in connection to a murder that took place four decades ago.
7. We Gotta Get Out of This Place
Gallup asked people if they would leave their home state if they could. And half of the people in Illinois said yes to that question. Where are people happy to stick around? Montana, Maine, and Hawaii. (Still, a fifth of Hawaii’s residents would leave if they could. Maybe they ran out of aloe?)
8. Talk to the Hand (and the cash register)
Many have complained that they were treated rudely when browsing in a luxury store. But get this. Being snubbed makes you want to buy the stuff there even more. According to some new research: “Social rejection motivates individuals to conform, obey, change their attitudes, work harder and generally try to present themselves in a favorable manner in order to gain acceptance.” Funny. Social rejection usually just makes me want to stay home and binge watch Netflix shows.
9. Code Academy
“I’m not required to be able to lift objects weighing up to fifty pounds. I traded that for the opportunity to trim Satan’s pubic hair while he dines out of my open skull so a few bits of the internet will continue to work for a few more days.” For those who want a little more realistic (and more funny) view of the Internet scene than the one found in the HBO show, here’s a programmer explaining why programming sucks. “All programming teams are constructed by and of crazy people.” (This article was suggested by Andrew Norcross, the guy who coded the NextDraft publishing system. Hey wait…)
10. The Bottom of the News
What’s the lowest rated movie in IMDB? Battlefield Earth? Gigli? (I actually thought the yoga scene was pretty good.) Ishtar? Nope. FiveThirtyEight introduces you to Gunday, by far the worst movie in the IMDb universe.
+ Syndicated from Kottke: All for one and one for all. A Japanese TV show took three expert fencers and pitted them against 50 amateurs.
+ My seven year-old son loves the Bee Gees. And he loves hard rock. So for him, here’s a mashup of Stayin Alive and Back in Black.