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Texting? Pets? Millennials Are Flunking Job Interviews – CNBC

The other day, a Facebook friend posted a snapshot of a young store employee absorbed by a smartphone instead of stocking or cleaning. My 15yo has expressed zero interest in Facebook, though my 11yo is irked that some of her preteen friends already have accounts (despite the official 13+ Facebook policy). But soon I will see someone else in my family sucked into the social media black hole. Few of…

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Boston bombings: Social media spirals out of control

A thoughtful analysis. Problem-solvers in the Information Age must train themselves to ignore floods of true-but-trivial and unreliable-but-accessible information. I see this all the time with students who Facebook their way through my class presentations on the function of scholarly peer review, but then submit pages from content farms in their term paper drafts. According to Murray Jennex, a crisis management expert at San Diego State University, the huge influx…

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Diamonds Are Bullsh*t

I did propose with a diamond ring, for which I paid a substantial portion of my income, but since I was in grad school at the time, my income was very modest. The next time you look at a diamond, consider this. Nearly every American marriage begins with a diamond because a bunch of rich white men in the 1940s convinced everyone that its size determines your self worth. They…

Are Grading Trends Hurting Socially Awkward Kids?

One might argue that the new emphasis on sociability is precisely what autistic spectrum students require. Don’t they, more than anyone else, need to develop their communication and collaborative skills? And in our increasingly social 21st century, aren’t these skills more important than ever before — both for life in general, and for jobs in particular? The problem is that the kinds of jobs that autistic students aspire to —…

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A Wealth of Words

People with similar vocabulary sizes may vary significantly in their talent and in the depth of their understanding. Nonetheless, there’s no better index to accumulated knowledge and general competence than the size of a person’s vocabulary. Simply put: knowing more words makes you smarter. And between 1962 and the present, a big segment of the American population began knowing fewer words, getting less smart, and becoming demonstrably less able to…

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Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?

The Twitter version: There’s a slight decrease in violent crime when violent movies are playing. People who like violence tend to go watch the movie instead of going out and doing violent things. Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases aggression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004,…

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Study shows college students think they’re more special than ever…even those that can’t read or write and barely study

A hype-heavy treatment of a recent study (named vaguely as the “American Freshman Survey,” in the article, but not actually cited or dated… I found a copy of a 2011 report). While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts. Also on the decline is the amount of…

Fathers disappear from households across America

A touching bit of balanced storytelling, without editorializing, via selection of quotes and telling descriptive details. “I know dads that say they ain’t their kids. I see dads being disrespectful of the mothers. And I see ones who take other men’s kids to football games because they know their fathers aren’t around,” said Mr. McManus, an ex-felon who said he is “trying to make a lot of changes right now.”…

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The Myth of the Fake Geek Girl

It’s not surprising, then, that being a woman in geek culture was for a long time a profoundly gender-deviant act. “Girl” and “geek” were a zero-sum dichotomy: to claim space in one, you had to relinquish equivalent claim to the other. Recently, though, there’s been a dramatic change: a sudden surge not only in the visibility of women in geek culture, but of the visibility and popularity of more traditionally…