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Hits of the week past

Hits of the week: Savage Minds (with a spiffy website redesign) asks Why is there no Anthropology Journalism? Jerry Coyne takes sharp exception to both a paper and a SciAm Mind Matters article by Paul Andrews and Andy Thomson arguing that depression might be an evolutionary adaptation. Dr. Pangloss punches back. (NB: 1. I was…

Over at the Times Magazine Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin ran a short post about my Atlantic “Orchid Children” piece a couple days ago, and some of the responses she got strike to an issue that has come up quite a few other places. I posted a note on this at Motherlode, and wanted to expand…

Having lived with fire ants, stepped in fire ants, laid down with fire ants, and been bit just about everywhere by fire ants, the news that parasitic flies turn fire ants them into zombies by eating their brains pleases me immensely. Speaking of pleasure: Vaughn whacks the dopamine = pleasure meme. Sharon Begley says Obama…

As I’ve noted before, the U.S.’s health-care and education systems share some fundamental flaws: In both medical care and schooling we spend far more than other countries and get substandard results; in both cases, the overspending and poor results occur partly because our decentralized “systems” mean everyone does and measures everything differently, so you can’t…

Obama gave a major education speech at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce yesterday. The money quote: For decades, Washington has been trapped in the same stale debates that have paralyzed progress and perpetuated our educational decline. … It’s more money versus more reform, vouchers versus the status quo. There has been partisanship and petty…

“Primates on Facebook” — “Even online, the neocortex is the limit” to how many people we can really have as friends. People who use more textual shortcuts (lk whn they txt in skl) when texting have higher reading skills. The coverage seems to assume this is causal, but it’s almost surely just an association —…

Ezra Klein reviews Obama’s handling of yesterday’s health summit — a piece well worth reading for a taste of how sharply focused and serious Obama is about truly comprehensive health-care reform. Karen Tumlty, a health-care expert, describes in Time her own family’s grueling wrestling match with the health-insurance industry. A timely story — no pun…

Attended my local school board meeting tonight, a friendly, almost cozy affair in the elementary school lunchroom. People we see around this small town daily; a principal I’ve watched Red Sox games with. The proximate issues: a continually rising budget despite falling enrollment, and — related — whether or not to ditch our aging middle…