Assorted links

by on March 31, 2013 at 7:48 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Velocity maps.

2. Carmina Burana, sung by parents (short video).  And how to get low-income, high achievers into better schools.

3. Japan, etc., “Apparently, though, the main “fun” to be had with these products is to use them as a stage for posing 1:12-scale figurines…”

4. North Korean propaganda about the United States (short video);  “These telephones no longer work.” is perhaps the best line, or the coffee made of snow.  Update: actually a hoax.

5. Do personality differences drive the taste for spicy food?

6. Yale Journal of Economics, for undergraduates.

Hat tip to Chug today!

Andreas Moser March 31, 2013 at 7:56 am

@4: These North Korean videos are such a source of joy! I like these two announcing their “surprise attack” on South Korea and the USA in great detail: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/north-koreas-military-strategy/

Roger Wade March 31, 2013 at 8:01 am

It’s probably worth mentioning that the North Korea video thing is a hoax, although I see it now says that in an update above the video in the link.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/northkorea.asp

prior_approval March 31, 2013 at 9:22 am

Don’t worry – this is not a place that considers iteself responsible for actually presenting factually accurate information. That is for other people to worry about.

prior_approval March 31, 2013 at 10:16 am

‘actually a hox’

Which is juche speak for Dear Leader is never wrong, just occasionally hoxed.

Jeff March 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Unfortunate. I was looking forward to enjoy yummy birds on Tuesday.

prior_approval March 31, 2013 at 9:20 am

‘And how to get low-income, high achievers into better schools’

Wait, I’m sure the answer is to improve all schools, right? Like the Finns did, following a long term plan, to be concrete about it.

Cliff March 31, 2013 at 10:47 am

And that is why Finland now has the world’s greatest University system

prior_approval March 31, 2013 at 12:23 pm

What, they should spend six dollars hooking people up with each other instead of ensuring all Finnish students have access to high quality schools?

And to be honest – the Finn’s university system is good enough to ensure this –

‘Becoming a primary school teacher in Finland is a very competitive process, and only Finland’s best and brightest are able to fulfill those professional dreams. Every spring, thousands of high school graduates submit their applications to the Departments of Teacher Education in eight Finnish universities. Normally it’s not enough to complete high school and pass a rigorous matriculation examination, successful candidates must have the highest scores and excellent interpersonal skills. Annually only about 1 in every 10 appli-
cants will be accepted to study to become a teacher in Finnish primary schools, for example. Among all categories of teacher education, about 5,000 teachers are selected from about 20,000 applicants.’ ( Non-PDF link – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=de&q=cache:6OJusOd-St0J:http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/secret-finland%25E2%2580%2599s-success-educating-teachers.pdf%2Bpre-school+finland+qualification&gbv=1&ct=clnk )

I won’t speak to other univesities, but GMU’s education department was a perennial joke, even among the communications majors – anyone was pretty much accepted, back in the 1980s. (Why yes, I did actually know the department’s then dean socially, not to mention doing PR.)

And considering where Finland was, maybe their current level of educational attainment portends well for the future, at least when looking at the recent past (same link as above) -

‘Until the 1960s the level of educational attainment in Finland remained rather low. Only 1 out of 10 adult Finns in that time had completed more than nine years of basic education; achieving a university degree was an uncommon attainment (Sahlberg, 2007). Back then, the education level of the nation was comparable to that of Malaysia or Peru, and lagged behind its Scandinavian neighbors, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Today, Finland publicly recognizes the value of its teachers and trusts their professional judgments in schools. Without excellent teachers Finland’s current international success would have been impossible.’

Cliff March 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Why do you persist in comparing Finnish primary school with American University education?

Are you really proposing that it should be easy for the U.S. to just make every college as “good” as MIT or Caltech?

prior_approval April 1, 2013 at 12:33 am

‘Why do you persist in comparing Finnish primary school with American University education?’

Because of the bootstraps and historical perspective – the Finns started in the 60s with a population where only one in ten adults had completed more than secondary education, and today, the current generation of Finn’s leads the world in education in terms of actual achievement. Let’s call that two generations of educational development. What makes you think that this sort of attainment won’t appear in the following generation or two for university education, particularly compared to the U.S.? Especially since the Finns seem to be actually investing in education, and not merely improving what is, in the end, a higher education business model in the U.S.

Things are not static. Why, look at the great strides GMU has made in its fine educational offerings in just a generation.

Cliff April 1, 2013 at 12:48 am

So to be clear, your argument is what? That the U.S. could easily make all universities as good as MIT by following the Finnish plan, which, while not achieving that effect yet, surely will within 20 years? Color me skeptical. I’ll take the low-hanging fruit of better student matching, to start with.

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 5:58 am

No matter how good schools are, you will still have high achievers. This is about identifying and facilitating the promotion of those to the next level of education. It is not obvious that doing anything that screws up the signaling model of education is a net gain.

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 5:59 am

Oh, and you do realize that, at least teachers tell us, that part of the reason for bad schools is bad students? That certainly was my personal experience trying to achieve in a school full of slackers and bullies.

So Much For Subtlety March 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm

What makes you think that Finland’s universities are good enough to ensure that? Or for that matter that this is the right way to select the best teachers? Or for that matter that having a Masters’ degree results in better teacher quality?

What this looks like to me is a Teachers’ Union wet dream. More money, higher status and lots of time off for teachers to do post-graduate work. Raise the barriers to entry and so raise wages. That doesn’t mean it is true. Selecting 5,000 students our of 20,000 applicants does not sound all that impressive or selective either. University College London averages something like 30 applicants for every position I dimly remember.

However I will agree with you that Education faculties are jokes. I fail to see how teaching po-mo Marxist mush makes anyone a better teacher.

The question is why the Finns have changed so much. Let me suggest that as, until recently, a barely industrial country, teaching is one of the few good jobs for ordinary Finns that does not involve moving to Germany or Sweden. Unless you want to work for Nokia I suppose. As a country that is dependent on EU aid, mining, and logging does not generate a lot of jobs for graduates. Hence the appeal of teaching.

mw March 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

2. It’s depressing that after decades of most economists arguing against affirmative action without providing any solution to this specific search problem, it’s only now that someone has deigned to, heaven forfend, do a proper experiment to solve it.

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 5:53 am

Or, the supporters of affirmative action could have quit barking up the wrong tree decades ago, or better yet, never begun.

Anyway, so, “selective schools” don’t even recruit. What do they do again?

Dave Barnes March 31, 2013 at 10:22 am
Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 6:59 am

Artists need to get paid.

Becky Hargrove March 31, 2013 at 11:41 am

1) The “effective boundaries” map is great.

Nick_L March 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Bitcoin boundaries, anyone?

Rahul March 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm

#6. Yale Journal of Economics, for undergraduates.

>>>Each semester undergraduates in economics courses write final papers, some based on unique research and many full of original and meaningful insights. But these papers are often read by only a single professor, even though their conclusions could interest large numbers of students, professors, and professionals. <<<

If these undergrad papers are that good why can't they be submitted to a regular peer reviewed topical journal?

freethinker April 1, 2013 at 4:46 am

Perhaps they are not good enough for a peer-reviewed journal but they show promise that in future the authors may publish in the likes of AER or JPE?

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 7:17 am

“If these undergrad papers are that good why can’t they be submitted to a regular peer reviewed topical journal?”

That is a great question. It’s great in that there isn’t an answer and should be continually asked.

Rimbaud April 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

The papers are intellectually sound, but their topics rather mundane and their conclusions rather unsurprising, which is why regular econ journals would probably deem them not buzzworthy enough for publication. Journals are becoming more and more like gossip tabloids each day, in that only the most “out there” (be it with regards to research methods or conclusions) get published.

James March 31, 2013 at 3:31 pm

#2 Part 2: Expanding College Opportunities collected data from me. Parents do often matter a lot, but I think selective universities need to talk to these students directly, for example by email (requested in the PSAT if I recall right), and dispel any misconceptions they themselves have about attending selective universities. I’d imagine most of these low-income high-achieving students, with the right guidance (potentially mass-producible and very cheap to create for some enterprising elite university), would be better at navigating the selective college admissions themselves than if their parents were allowed to think they’re running the show.

axa March 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm

#1: it would be great on 1950. Today, cash is just a tiny % of money that moves

Dave Barnes March 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I am tempted to agree.
No, I do agree.
I am 64.5 years old.
Two years ago I moved to a new house/neighborhood. So, I decided that maybe my daughter (age=26) was right. Use plastic.
I have an Andrew Jackson in my wallet. He has been there for over a month.

Ashok Rao March 31, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Velocity maps seem like a good way of redrawing our state boundaries. Some are particularly small, but the skewness seems a lot better (for example, California wouldn’t be 66-1 in diminished voting power).

James Hass April 1, 2013 at 2:58 am

It seems most of the hard boundaries on the velocity map are in fact Fed district boundaries, where cash is distributed and collected through regional fFed banks.

Andrew' April 1, 2013 at 5:56 am

5. This is my new big thing. I’ve been pondering how a single personality dimension seems to explain almost everything amongst family members.

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