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May. 28 2009 - 7:00 am | 1 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Neuro News Nanos

Old Elevator

Image by voteprime via Flickr

Here are this morning’s:

* It’s not just parents that choose schools based on race — a new study shows that high-quality teachers tend to leave schools that experience inflows of black students — one more contributor to the achievement gap

* A test for how likely a kid is to end up in a gang — questions like whether they have just broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend and how many of their friends have used marijuana — it won’t be clear for years whether the test is accurate

* Tobacco as a drug — an argument that tobacco’s worse than cocaine — “In the true nature of a drug, tobacco affects the neurobiological functions of its users, and should not be thought of as anything other than a drug.”

* Phantom limbs in the Civil War — some of the earliest reported cases — not in medical literature, but in short stories

* Why the elevator floor is so interesting — we think we’re going to be killed — the threat of aggression is not real, yet our mind responds as if it is, and produces behaviors meant to protect ourselves


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    *It’s not just parents that choose schools based on race
    My first thought was how it effected black teachers and sure enough the study did cover that as well. Seems some highly qualified black teachers stayed, but the best of them left as well. The study was done in 2002, which leaves me hopeful that in seven years, things have changed for the better. If not now, I’m willing to bet by the time President Obama leaves office, things will change. It’s kind of sad to me as it is something I never would have thought about. It’s like it is a world away. Of course, having graduated in 1980 from high school, it hasn’t exactly been on my mind much.

    *A test for how likely a kid is to end up in a gang
    “In order to avoid stigmatizing children with the label of potential criminal, Dr. Klein says test takers aren’t told that the questions are intended to screen for future gang involvement.” It seems sad that you included this as I have a feeling a lot of potential 10-15 year-old potential gang members read your column. I enjoyed the debate on marijuana, although it seemed off topic in a way. I live in San Francisco and one of the medicinal marijuana stores is around the corner from where I live. Since the Feds are going to look the other way, these places are under so much scrutiny that I do not believe there is a way for them violate any of the rules in place. It would take an unscrupulous doctor prescribing it to people that don’t meet the criteria.

    *Tobacco as a drug
    Yes, it is a drug. I am definitely in the minority. I have every reason to quit and have quit many other things over the years. Cigarette smoking has been a topic a lot lately if for no other reason than the fact they have gone up a couple bucks a pack here in San Francisco the last few months. I need to just pick a date and quit.

    *Phantom limbs in the Civil War
    Even the account used in a piece of fiction just gives me the creeps. It’s like the word “renal” for me. That is one word that makes my toes curl up and makes me nauseous. I could barely read it, let alone talk about it.

    *Why the elevator floor is so interesting
    With strangers in the elevator, I am always the guy that politely asks them which floor they want off and pushes the button for them. I smile politely. Maybe to offset the fact that when I don’t wear a hat, I look like a 200 LB thug, I have a deep voice and shave my head. When I wear my Bolles, my friend that looks more like a thug than anyone I know, swears I look like a hit man. I’d rather people were comfortable. If I am with a date, I am completely naked by the time we reach the appropriate floor, sort of following myself out of the elevator. If I look at the floor, it’s just to make sure I haven’t dropped my Bolles (sunglasses).


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    About Me

    I'm a freelance writer and blogger based in Brooklyn, NY. My background is mostly in politics. I've worked on the editorial boards of the New York Sun and New York Post. In 2006, I wrote a book, "The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party" (Wiley). I've also done my share of freelancing, for places like the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Reason, and RealClearPolitics.

    These days, I'm interested in humanity's ever-expanding understanding of its own irrationality. Hence, this blog.

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