The New SAT and Other Fascinating News on the Web

5 minute read

1. Yes, There Will Be a Test

The College Board has announced plans to overhaul the SAT. Essays will be optional. Penalties for guessing wrong with be eliminated. And there will be no more rarefied vocabulary words (like rarefied). More importantly, the Board will focus on making more test prep tools available to lower income students. According to the College Board’s president: “The culture and practice of costly test preparation that has arisen around admissions exams drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country. It may not be our fault, but it is our problem.” Maybe colleges should just break down and accept the results of Buzzfeed’s “Which College Attendee Am I” Quiz.

2. Repo Men

When we think about surveillance, we often think of the NSA or big data companies that are sucking up our online information. But these days, surveillance is everywhere. From BetaBoston: A vast hidden surveillance network runs across America, powered by the repo industry. The repo “business is far bigger than locating cars whose owners have defaulted on loans: It is the growing database of snapshots showing where Americans were at specific times, information that everyone from private detectives to ­insurers are willing to pay for.”

3. Putin on the Ritz

As American and European officials look to meet with their Russian counterparts and diffuse the tense situation in and around Ukraine, the EU has offered the new Ukrainian government $15 billion in aid. (That’s nearly Whatsapp money.)

+ Russian officials continue to insist there are no Russian forces in Crimea.

+ From The Spectator: Ten handy phrases for bluffing your way through the Ukraine crisis. You can string them all together to produce a very self-assured and all-knowing blog post or article on the topic. Why not? Everyone else seems to be doing it.

4. You’re Soaking in It

“There are people who have chronic reflux, stomach acid pain, bleeding, hemorrhoids — all because of coffee. They’re suffering a lot. But they try and they fail to stop.” That’s an addiction specialist trying to gently suggest that you might have a coffee problem.

+ We line up for coffee. But we probably drink less of it than our grandparents did. “We make a much bigger deal out of coffee than they did. We think of ourselves as coffee lovers. For their generation, it was just like, yeah, gimme a cup of coffee.” Here are nine things you should know about your caffeine habit.

+ A guy once known as a frisbee entrepreneur may have just invented the best coffee maker in the world.

+ You might want to take your coffee with less sugar. The World Heath Org is advising that our daily intake should be halved.

5. Here Comes the New Tone…

Pope Francis has won over a lot of people with his new tone. But I doubt many people will be pleased with his comments on a UN report that sharply criticized the Vatican for its record on child sexual abuse: “Statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are striking, but they also show clearly that the great majority of abuse happens in the family and neighborhood environments … The Catholic church is perhaps the lone public institution to have moved with transparency and responsibility. No one has done more, yet the church is the only to be attacked.” (1 step forward, 100 back…)

6. Nipple Confusion

For the past several years, women have been bombarded with messages that insist breast-feeding provides babies with dramatic health advantages. And those messages have worked. More women are breast-feeding for an increasing number of months. But a new sibling-centered study reintroduces a big question: Is breast-feeding really better? And shouldn’t each individual woman decide what to do with her own body without politicians and advocates getting in her face? (Full disclosure: This newsletter is 100% formula-powered.)

7. You Never Shut Up

“From noise-canceling headphones to the popularity of silent retreats, there has never been quite so great a premium placed on silence. And not only do we value it in a general sense, we’re willing to pay for it.” From The New Republic’s Chloe Schama: Silence Is Now a Luxury Product.

8. Star Trek

Devin Graham is a star. And you can measure the accuracy of that statement. His videos have been viewed 288 million times. From Outside: How a Mormon kid from Utah cracked the code for producing adventure videos you can’t stop sharing.

+ Here’s a “second a day” video that will definitely make you think.

9. Family Argument

A New Jersey judge has issued a initial ruling against an 18 year-old honor student who is suing her parents for emergency college funds. My kids tried to sue me when I replaced their iPad with a Kindle.

10. The Bottom of the News

“I found the one thing I was good at and I just kept sticking with it.” Grantland has an excellent video piece on a guy who shot a perfect Putt Putt score.

+ The Winklevoss twins have announced their intention to travel into space. (Now that they’ve made this announcement, I bet Zuckerberg will build a spaceship and get there first.)

+ The Hipster Music Index.

+ If you love True Detective, you’ll love this theory on the identity of the Yellow King.

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