Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quotes of the day

We need a better explanation than greedier rich people, or stupider politicians.--Megan McArdle

Preschools seem to work best when they are ”one big playroom.” That’s because unstructured play turns out to be one of the most important aspects of Pre-K education. A 2007 study published in Science, for instance, compared the cognitive development of 4- and 5-year-olds enrolled in a preschool that emphasized unstructured play – they were using Vygotsky’s “Tools of the Mind” approach – with those in a more typical preschool. After two years, the students in the play-based school scored better on cognitive flexibility, self-control, and working memory, all of which have been consistently linked to academic and real-world achievement. According to the researchers, the advantage of play is that it’s often deeply serious – the best way to get kids to focus, to exercise those attentional circuits, is to let them have fun.--Jonah Lehrer

U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high, rising to about 78 years and 2 months. ... More good news: The infant mortality rate hit a record low of 6.42 deaths per 1,000 live births, a drop of nearly 3 percent from 2008.--Associated Press

... hedge funds are often beneficial to investors, providing an important check on ineffective management. The small reporting change being proposed [by Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz to the SEC] could significantly chill hedge fund activism and further entrench management.--STEVEN M. DAVIDOFF

I trust a greedy hedge fund manager more than the SEC, who sat on Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme for a decade.--Cav

... our most important talent is having a talent for working hard, for practicing even when practice isn’t fun. It’s about putting in the hours when we’d rather be watching TV, or drilling ourselves with notecards filled with obscure words instead of getting quizzed by a friend. Success is never easy. That’s why talent requires grit.--Jonah Lehrer

Keynesians-in-the-street sense that the dominant economic problem is super-abundance (and its attendant problem, excess capacity), while non-Keynesians understand that the dominant economic problem is, and will always be, the ubiquity of scarcity.--Don Boudreaux

The United States is not the government of North Africa, and Barack Obama is not the president of Libya. We have obligations in the region, certainly — treaty obligations, strategic obligations, and yes, moral obligations as well. But America’s leaders are not directly responsible for governing any country besides their own, which means that almost by definition, they/we bear less responsibility for tragedies that result from our staying out of foreign conflicts than for tragedies that flow from our attempts at intervention. By involving ourselves militarily in a given nation’s internal affairs, we effectively claim a kind of political responsibility for the nation or region or question — a small share in the case of a no-fly zone, the lion’s share in the case of an invasion or occupation — that we didn’t have before. We would become part of the government of Libya, in a sense, if we engage our forces in that country’s civil war. And thus our obligations to Libyans would increase, and so would our share of the guilt if things turns out badly.--Ross Douthat

... whites who cast their ’08 vote to get us to a post-racial America may feel as though Obama’s election did just that. Moreover, they may unconsciously see themselves as having “done their part” in making post-racialism a reality. Accordingly, they might not be as generous with their vote for Obama the next time around.--Gregory S. Parks & Matthew W. Hughey

If you left late, you're going to get there late.--Megan's driving instructor

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