“Adam Smith Lives!” is dead

July 21, 2008

No updates in several months — the only thing I can conclude is that the blog, Adam Smith Lives!, is dead.

Gone from the blogroll.

I’m interested in finding good blogs on economics, world history, and government — Dear Reader, which ones have I overlooked?

Not for children, not for sleeping: Goodnight Bush

July 21, 2008

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd is one of my favorite books of all time. I first read it when I was in college, but it was a toddler favorite of both of our sons, and it rapidly became one of mine, too. Reading it to them at bedtime helped calm them down and put them to sleep. There is from the book a feeling of safety, of warmth, coziness, and love. I may have liked reading it to them more than they liked being read to.

With our youngest off to college this fall, I wish there were some book to give them that would reproduce those good feelings of nearly 20 years ago.


Here’s what we have instead. Goodnight Bush.

This image is scary enough (see the bugging microphone? the burning ballot box? the tilted scales of justice? the polluting smokestacks?).

Cover of Goodnight Bush

Cover of Goodnight Bush

This is the one that makes the more serious statement:

Goodnight human rights, everywhere

Goodnight human rights, everywhere

A story on this book at NPR was the “most e-mailed” last week.

Images by Gan Golen and Erich Origen, Goodnight Bush, copyright © 2008, Little, Brown and Co.

Even babies chunk data

July 21, 2008

How do you apply this information in your lesson plans?

Even babies chunk data for memorization. That is, even babies find it easier to remember things if the new items include chunks of already familiar information.

Not Exactly Rocket Science discusses new research that shows infants as young as 14 months use this memorization trick.

Which of these strings of letters is easier to remember: QKJITJGPI or BBCITVCNN?

Chances are, you chose the latter string, where the nine letters are the combined names of three television networks. This neatly illustrates a fundamental property of human memory – that we remember long strings of information more easily if we can break them down into bite-sized chunks. In this case, a nine-letter string can be divided into three lots of three letters. You probably use similar strategies for remembering telephone numbers, credit card details, or post codes.

Now, Lisa Feigenson and Justin Halberda from Johns Hopkins University have found that infants just 14 months old can use the same technique, delightfully known as “chunking” to increase the limited scope of their memories. Their work suggests that this technique isn’t something we learn through education or experience – it’s more likely to be a basic part of the way our minds process information.

Much more, here.

Quote of the moment: Sallust, on “mental excellence”

July 21, 2008

Thus spake Gaius Sallustius Crispus, the Roman historian known as Sallust (86-34 B.C.):

The renown which riches or beauty confer is fleeting and frail; mental excellence is a splendid and lasting possession.

From The War with Catiline, 1

Statue of Sallust near the Austrian Parliament, by Haslinger Willibald

Statue of Sallust near the Austrian Parliament, photo by Haslinger Willibald

Photo rights: Creative Commons License
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