May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
March 28, 2014
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
FiveThirtyEight questions: Can evolution outrace climate change?
In the face of climate change, scientists like Shaw have begun to measure how effective evolution might be as a survival strategy. Since the early 1990s, scientists have understood in theory how a population could evolve fast enough to outrace extinction. Then, about five years ago, a group at McGill University saw it happen in the lab: Evolution saved populations of yeast from deadly concentrations of salt. The conditions under which this type of “evolutionary rescue” succeeds are narrow, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from modeling and collecting data to see just when and how it works. If we think of evolution as survival of the fittest, in a tough environment what matters is how quickly a population can get fit in order to survive.
Ever thought about opting your child out of standardized testing? One family found out what a challenge it was:
When I answered that I very much appreciated her call but was going to stick by my decision, she offered several reasons why my daughter should take the test. First, taking TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, the relatively new set of state standardized tests) would help my daughter on the ACT. Huh. Given that she’s only in seventh grade, I wasn’t buying that one. The principal then said that the test would show us how our daughter was doing academically. But we get a report card every six weeks, and we can follow her progress in real time through an online school portal that lists her grade on every assignment, so we’re all set in that regard. One more try. The test results, she said, reward teachers by showing them that they are doing a good job. My reaction: And seeing their students’ progress doesn’t?
The American Conservative provides an interesting take on the Hobby Lobby case:
How delicious he would doubtless find the irony of a “religious corporation” seeking to push back against the State’s understanding of humans as radically autonomous, individuated, biologically sterile, and even hostile to their offspring. For that “religious corporation” operates in an economic system in which it has been wholly disembedded from a pervasive moral and religious context. Its “religion” is no less individuated and “disembedded” than the conception of the self being advanced by the State. It defends its religious views as a matter of individual conscience, of course, because there is no moral, social, or religious context to which it can appeal beyond the autonomy of its own religious belief. Lacking any connecting moral basis on which to stake a social claim, all it can do in the context of a society of “disembeddedness” is seek an exemption from the general practice of advancing radical autonomy. Yet, the effort to secure an exemption is itself already a concession to the very culture and economy of autonomy.
Grantland explores the Dylan of the 80’s:
Dylan flailed in both directions. His ’80s records were both commercially inept and critically reviled. In his 2004 autobiography, Chronicles Volume One, he stacks metaphors on top of metaphors to tell and think and speak and breathe just how lost he was in the late ’80s. Dylan calls himself “an empty burned-out wreck,” a “fictitious head of state from a place nobody knows,” an “old actor fumbling in garbage cans outside the theater of past triumphs.” That’s what you hear on those original ’80s recordings — a guy fully aware that he has outlived his artistic relevance but unable to extricate himself from a dense fog — and what makes them worth hearing. Dylan was bad in the ’80s because to be anything else would’ve been dishonest.
Over at The American Scholar is a haunting read about a visit to an witch temple in India:
When a visiting American anthropologist asked whether I’d like to accompany him to a town called Mehandipur, the site of a “witch temple” where he’d started doing fieldwork, I was eager to go, hoping to learn more about some of the spirits I’d heard about in the villagers’ tales. The temple, he told me, was the only one in India where pilgrims could bring insane family members to be cured. This aspect of the place sparked my interest, too, though I didn’t say so. When the anthropologist came down with an illness that confined him to his room at the university guesthouse, I decided to hire his driver and make the 60-mile journey by myself.
On the other side of standardized testing is this article on what medieval Europe did with its teenagers:
Today, there’s often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly
harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else’s home. Not surprisingly, the children didn’t always like it.
Modern Farmer looks at E.B. White’s farm connections in light of his famous novel, Charlotte’s Web:
In the case of Wilbur, the pig that ran around and around in White’s head was the subject of a now-famous essay “Death of a Pig,” published in The Atlantic in 1948. In the essay, White describes a few days and nights during which he cared for a sick pig that eventually died. His concern for the animal — which was slated to become dinner if he survived — was great. “When we slid the body into the grave, we both were shaken to the core,” writes White. “The loss we felt was not the loss of ham but the loss of pig. He had evidently become precious to me, not that he represented a distant nourishment in a hungry time, but that he had suffered in a suffering world.”
Baseball season is finally here! In the spirit of the season The Atlantic covers the history of the Field of Dreams property:
Field of Dreams devotees found his farm’s address and trickled into Dyersville immediately after the movie debuted. Noticing the visitors, Don set up a card table by the equipment, where he put out some Shoeless Joe buttons, left over from filming, for the taking. When the buttons started to disappear, he and his sister made T-shirts, which they placed on the table beside a small coffee can. Some visitors grabbed the shirts and, in return, stuffed $5 and $10 bills in the can. “You could really turn this into a nice little cottage business,” Wendol Jarvis told Lansing when he noticed what was going on. Others had the same idea, among them Lansing’s neighbor Keith Rahe. “It’s like the Lord opened the skies,” he recalls, “and said, ‘Here’s a gift, now what are you going to do with it?’ ”
While Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his Sunday night start, ESPN covers the greatest pitcher at the moment in a long read:
He is a human metronome, adhering to a process that provides him, on the mound, moments of deep satisfaction for which no form of currency could be exchanged. During the season, his life operates on five-day cycles, and he has established hard mental lines on what must get done each day. Altering the system is not welcome. This is why he drives the same 2007 Tahoe he bought in the minors. It’s why he won’t give up his ages-old glove; it’s been restrung repeatedly, and Kershaw now tells catcher A.J. Ellis to ease up on the hard return throws. It’s why he wears the same old T-shirt and Dodgers shorts around the clubhouse. It’s why he warms up between innings the same way.
Can you open a bottle of wine with you shoe?
There’s a rumor swirling around on the Internet: If you have a bottle of wine, but no corkscrew with which to open it, then a shoe will do the trick nicely.
Well, this French guy from Mirabeau Wine sure makes it look easy. Just nine swift strikes against the stone wall with a man’s dress shoe, and voila! The cork slips right out.