Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Week in Ed Science Links (and some poli sci)

Lifted from BOOKFORUM.COM: Playing nice and teaching good

From Philosophy Now, an interview with Randall Curren, author of Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education; playing nice and teaching good: Carolyn Suchy-Dicey considers the dilemma of teaching moral autonomy. A review of An Introduction to Philosophy of Education by Robin Barrow and Ronald Woods. Schools as scapegoats: Our increasing inequality and our competitiveness problems are huge, but they can't be laid at the door of our education system. The flood waters that submerged New Orleans two years ago also sank the local school district. What has happened since the disaster, however, is redefining urban public education. A review of A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South by Adam Fairclough. More on Tough Liberal by Richard Kahlenberg. Making the grade: How do you grow a bumper crop of math and science teachers? From Discover, one universe, under God: Creationism battles for the hearts and minds of America’s teachers. A review of Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution by Sahotra Sarkar. From Church & State, an article on the Religious Right's new tactics for invading public schools. A review of The Last Freedom: Religion from the Public School to the Public Square by Joseph P. Viteritti.

[Time Waster Extraordinaire:] WHAT IS YOUR FORMULA? YOUR EQUATION?

The walls of Obrist's office were covered with single pages of size A4 paper on which artists, writers, scientists had responded to his question: "What Is Your Formula?" Among the pieces were formulas by quantum physicist David Deutsch, artist and musician Brian Eno, architect Rem Koolhaas, and fractal mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot.

Within minutes we had hatched an Edge-Serpentine collaboration for a "World Question Center" project, to debut on Edge during the annual Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon, the weekend of October 13-14. The plan was to further the reach of Obrist's question by asking for responses from the science-minded Edge community, thus complementing the rich array of formulas already assembled by the Serpentine from distinguished artists such as Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, and Rosemarie Trockel

Self-Interest in Deliberation

It’s the whole journal but scroll down for Jane Mansbridge’s latest. She’s one of the top political scientists/theorists out there today and just about everything she’s written is relevant to discussions of democracy and education. Other cool stuff in this issue. --AS

g, a Statistical Myth

Attention Conservation Notice: About 11,000 words on the triviality of finding that positively correlated variables are all correlated with a linear combination of each other, and why this becomes no more profound when the variables are scores on intelligence tests. Unlikely to change the opinion of anyone who's read enough about the area to have one, but also unlikely to give enough information about the underlying statistical techniques to clarify them to novices. Includes multiple simulations, exasperation, and lots of unwarranted intellectual arrogance on my part.

Boom Times for Dentists but not for Teeth

Less than 25% of Wisconsin’s poor kids have seen a dentist in the last year. Most poor parents in Milwaukee can’t find a dentist who will take the state insurance their kids have.—AS

Less Athletic Kids Often Lonely, Rejected By Peers

A new study looking at the connections between athletic skill and social acceptance among school children has found that kids place a great deal of value on athletic ability, and youngsters deemed unskilled by their peers often experience sadness, isolation and social rejection at school.

Three-quarters Of Adults WIll Be Overweight In 15-20 Years, Report Predicts

The problem of obesity will take at least 30 years to reverse, according to a recent government report on tackling obesity in the UK over the next 40 years. If current trends continue, at least half the population will be obese by 2032. In less than 15 years, 86 per cent of men will be overweight, and 70 per cent of women will reach the same level of obesity in 20 years time.

Psychiatric Problems In Teens Difficult To Pinpoint

Your teen is moody. He's not doing well in school. He wants to be left alone. Does he have a learning disability? Depression? Or maybe he's just a normal teen? Pinpointing a diagnosis of psychiatric and behavioral problems in teens can be tricky, even for experts in mental health. The human brain is still developing during adolescence, and as any parent of a teen can attest, mood and behavior can fluctuate wildly at this age.

Students Prefer Online Games, Even If They Can Lead To Problems

Online video games with thousands of simultaneous players, such as "World of Warcraft," have become hugely popular in the last two decades and are now a multibillion dollar industry. Scientists have conducted a randomized trial study of college students contrasting the effects of playing online socially interconnected video games with more traditional single-player or arcade-style games.

Early Day Care Attendance May Protect Infants From Asthma Later

Day care attendance early in life seems to protect infants and young children from later developing asthma according to new research. Scientists examined the relationship between the age at which day care attendance begins and the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in a child\'s blood. IgE is an antibody produced by the immune system and an indicator of allergic sensitivity.

Kids' Bike Injuries Are Major Public Health Concern

Researchers concluded that bicycle-related injuries among US children may be a more significant public health concern than first thought. Children and adolescents aged 20 years and younger comprise more than half of the estimated 85 million bicycle riders in the U.S. It has been long-known that bicycle-related injuries result in more emergency department visits for children than any other recreational sport.

Help At Hand For People Frightened By New Technology

A new project has developed ways of teaching people the skills they need to make the most of today's information technology. The researchers found that people who have trouble with IT tend to be poorer, older and less well-educated than average. But their fears about IT were reasonable ones. They did not know how to get help with computers, or how to protect them from viruses. They were alarmed by media stories about the hazards of computer use.

Reducing Class Size May Be More Cost-effective Than Most Medical Interventions

Reducing the number of students per classroom in US primary schools may be more cost-effective than most public health and medical interventions, according to a new study. The study indicates that class-size reductions would generate more quality-adjusted life-year gains per dollar invested than the majority of medical interventions.

Test After Test Turns Students Off Math

The ever-growing strain of examinations, cramming and top-down teaching is turning students off studying maths at university - according to new research. Researchers in the UK says the pressures caused by cramming for up to 12 exams a year leaves too many AS level maths students tired at the thought of studying more at university.

Power Of Altruism Confirmed In Wikipedia Contributions

Dartmouth researchers looked at the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to determine if the anonymous, infrequent contributors, the Good Samaritans, are as reliable as the people who update constantly and have a reputation to maintain.

Mental Disorders Are Disorders Of The Brain

Mental disorders such as anxiety and depressive disorders are disorders of the brain and involve complex patterns of disturbances of cognition (such as perception, attention, memory), affect and emotion (such as depressed mood, panic), somatic functioning (e.g. appetite, heart rate variability) and behaviour. These patterns and disturbances are all associated with disturbances in the transmitter systems of the brain and the central nervous system.

Achen and Bartels on the Democratical Republick

We examine how the notion of popular sovereignty has animated the evolution of American political institutions. We argue that the triumph of democratic rhetoric at the Founding has left Americans with just one remedy in times of governmental failure, namely that reform should move toward greater democratization. More “democratic” institutions have generally emerged (1) when existing institutions have been strained by economic or political crises, (2) when powerful elites have discerned an immediate political advantage in “reform,” and (3) when new institutions could be established with only modest popular involvement. Initially, reform meant extending the franchise and reducing the role of political parties. With time, it has come to mean greater reliance on plebiscitary elements in government. The result has been a gradual ratcheting-up of democratic expectations, and attendant discontents. We illustrate this process in the evolution of the direct primary and the establishment of initiative and referendum procedures in the Progressive Era. We also explore a notable case of resistance to direct democracy: the repeated failure of Minnesota voters to approve a constitutional amendment establishing a statewide initiative and referendum process.

The More the Merrier? Choosing the optimal number of representatives in modern democracies

In representative democracies, the few decide on behalf of the many. But how few?


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