Here are today's must-reads:
Never before has the pressure to perform on high-stakes tests been so intense or meant so much for a child’s academic future. As more school districts strive for accountability, standardized tests have proliferated. The pressure to do well on achievement tests for college is filtering its way down to lower grades, so that even third graders feel as if they are on trial. Students get the message that class work isn’t what counts, and that the standardized exam is the truer measure. Sure, you did your homework and wrote a great history report — but this test is going to find out how smart you really are. Critics argue that all this test-taking is churning out sleep-deprived, overworked, miserable children.
But some children actually do better under competitive, stressful circumstances. Why can Jacob thrive under pressure, while it undoes Noah? And how should that difference inform the way we think about high-stakes testing? An emerging field of research — and a pioneering study from Taiwan — has begun to offer some clues. Like any kind of human behavior, our response to competitive pressure is derived from a complex set of factors — how we were raised, our skills and experience, the hormones that we marinated in as fetuses. There is also a genetic component: One particular gene, referred to as the COMT gene, could to a large degree explain why one child is more prone to be a worrier, while another may be unflappable, or in the memorable phrasing of David Goldman, a geneticist at the National Institutes of Health, more of a warrior.
Understanding their propensity to become stressed and how to deal with it can help children compete. Stress turns out to be far more complicated than we’ve assumed, and far more under our control than we imagine.
Don’t let the name fool you. Coca-Cola’s (KO) Simply Orange juice is anything but pick, squeeze, and pour. That cold glass of 100 percent liquid sunshine on the breakfast table is the product of a sophisticated industrial juice complex. Satellite imagery, complicated data algorithms, even a juice pipeline are all part of the recipe. “You take Mother Nature and standardize it,” says Jim Horrisberger, director of procurement at Coke’s huge Auburndale (Fla.) juice packaging plant. “Mother Nature doesn’t like to be standardized.”
Earlier today I had what I like to think of as my own Rosa Parks moment on a Sydney bus travelling through the inner-west from Marrickville to Stanmore.
It culminated in a woman, in the presence of her two school-aged kids, calling me a "black c***". She told me to go back to my "own country", and threatened to drag me off the bus as she raised her fist to my face.
The entire encounter lasted about 15 minutes, and is one of the most confronting instances of abuse I have experienced recently.
I am absolutely sure this episode isn't unique or even rare.
And the most-read link I tweeted today was:
These are some of the other things I've been tweeting about today:
- "Why Everyone Hates Couples" http://pjblack.me/W1AoAy
- "Aggregation isn’t evil. Doesn’t mean it’s good [Business Insider edition]" http://pjblack.me/WSYRJA
- "Instagram brings its feeds to desktop users" http://pjblack.me/WSXzhL
- "Drone Strikes Test Legality Of War On Terror" http://pjblack.me/WSMzRA
- "Breakfast with Henry leaves a bad taste" http://pjblack.me/WSLmK4
- "Wes Anderson’s Worlds by Michael Chabon" http://pjblack.me/W1kKFe
- "Binge Programming: How Netflix's 'House of Cards' Changes the Game" http://pjblack.me/WQKtkY
- "Facebook Broke the Internet" http://pjblack.me/W22ED0
- "Why Digital Natives don’t like newspapers" http://pjblack.me/VYx7So
- "Shazam Expands Catalog Through Deal With Online Dance Store Beatport" http://pjblack.me/WSHh8H
- "Film Criticism in the Age of Twitter: Should Film Critics Tweet From Screenings?" http://pjblack.me/VYxzjK
- "My Rosa Parks moment in Sydney 2013" by @JezFernandezABC http://pjblack.me/WSC0Ov
- "Katter Party asks pro-gay candidate to exit" http://pjblack.me/W1OhP6 #auspol
- a little creepy?: "Twitter Attempts to Capture Previously Inactive Users by Asking Their Friends to Welcome Them Back" http://pjblack.me/W1NjlX
- "John Brennan and the Truth About Drones" http://pjblack.me/W1MCJt
- "Roxon appointments were her saving grace" http://pjblack.me/W1JSeY #auspol #auslaw
- "ACCC gets a lesson in practicality" http://pjblack.me/W1Ju05 #lwn117
- "Mobile blackout a bane for lawyers" http://pjblack.me/W1Inxo #auslaw
- "7 things CBS won't let you wear to the Grammys" http://pjblack.me/W1G39Q
- mark dreyfus is a strong advocate for constitutional reform: "Indigenous focus of Constitution revamp" http://pjblack.me/W1EY1I #lwb242 #auspol
- interesting idea: "Apple Should Embrace Netflix's Latest Move And Make It Their Own" http://pjblack.me/VYx0q4
- "Coke Engineers Its Orange Juice—With an Algorithm" http://pjblack.me/WQJAZZ
- "Happy Valentine’s Day, I Hate You" http://pjblack.me/VIkqi6
- "Revenge porn is 'just entertainment,' says owner of IsAnybodyDown" http://pjblack.me/WQB3Gq #lwn117
- "Love Is a Battlefield: Are the Taliban using sex to fight America?" http://pjblack.me/VDQA92
- "FYI: Do Zombies Experience Consciousness?" http://pjblack.me/WQD59t /cc @Kosta_K7
- "Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?" http://pjblack.me/WQJS2T
- "Whither Slate?" asks @dylanbyers http://pjblack.me/WQFKzM
- "Google's win reflects internet-friendly High Court" http://pjblack.me/VYlpr6 #lwn117 #auslaw
- "How White Male Tech Writers Feed the Silicon Valley Myth of Meritocracy" http://pjblack.me/VIkqhQ
- gillard is no longer the right person to lead labor, says @johnquiggin: "Eddie, obeyed" http://pjblack.me/WQxe3S #auspol
- "Why Amazon wants its own currency" http://pjblack.me/X1IrOU
Follow me on Twitter @peterjblack.
And you can get my latest links anytime on my Rebelmouse social media front page.