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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Links - 12th May 2019 (2) (School achievement outcomes etc)

Students Learn More if Their Teacher Is Hot, Study Says - "students, regardless of gender, pay more attention and are more engaged in a lesson when the instructor is good-looking—suggesting that the connection isn't necessarily sexual in nature"
If attractiveness is linked to job performance, is it really an irrelevant variable?

Detroit Schools Spend More, Educate Less Than Other U.S. Urban Districts - "The Detroit Public Schools Community District spends more per student than all but eight of the nation’s 100 largest school districts, or $14,259. Even with all that money, the district still generated the nation’s worst reading scores among low-income students."
Liberal logic - if results are poor despite high funding that's just proof that racism is so bad that we need even more money

[Addenda on school funding and achievement outcomes:
Rethinking school funding, resources, incentives, and outcomes - "the relationship between spending and outcomes is weak, both in general and in specific cases where governments have increased spending for school improvement but failed to get much... While money affects outcomes in several ways, increased spending may leave outcomes unchanged or lead to worse outcomes."

The Relationship between School Funding and Student Achievement in Kansas Public Schools - "Recent changes in public school educational finance in the state of Kansas are shown to have had little positive effect on student educational achievement. A differences structure is used to determine the effect of changes in revenue per student at the district level on changes in measures of student achievement. Measures of achievement employed in the analysis are student test scores in math and reading, as well as various measures of student persistence in schooling."

School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement - "we find that reforms cause increases in the achievement of students in these districts, phasing in gradually over the years following the reform. The implied effect of school resources on educational achievement is large"]

We Must Face Persistent Racial Gaps in Academic Performance - "the focus of almost all academics, policymakers, civil rights groups, and others on perpetuating racial preferences and lowering academic standards for black students diverts attention, reformist energy, and resources from the far more urgent task of improving their educations at home and school during their first 18 years of life – “the most important civil rights battle of the twenty-first century,” in Roland Fryer’s words... supposed beneficiaries of racial preferences in many cases cannot keep up with the pace of instruction; get bad grades for the first time in their lives; flee from challenging to soft, easy courses that brand them as weak students in the eyes of classmates and employers; learn less than they would if they were at colleges for which they were well qualified; abandon aspirations to become scientists, physicians, engineers, or scholars; become discouraged and lose intellectual self-confidence; self-segregate with other academically overmatched black students; and, in some cases, bitterly complain that they are being discriminated against, when the problem is precisely the opposite."

The Underperformance Problem - "Standardized tests are “culturally biased,” it is said, and do not fairly indicate the abilities or promise of racial minorities growing up outside the dominant white, middle-class, Anglo-Saxon culture. {snip} The “cultural bias” argument, however, is not only questionable on its face–since the clearly non-Anglo Saxon Asians do better than whites on most standardized tests of mathematical abilities including the SAT, while the equally non-Anglo Saxon Ashkenazic Jews outperform everyone else on tests of English verbal ability–but fails to account for the fact that in terms of grade performance blacks in college consistently do worse, not better, than their standardized test scores would predict. Standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT overpredict, not underpredict, how well blacks will do in college, and in this sense the tests are predictively biased in favor of blacks, not against them... Two salient and undisputed facts limit its [the stereotype threat theory’s] explanatory power. First, the problem of underperformance has been shown to extend far beyond the kinds of majors where test-taking is a central part of a student’s overall evaluation. In many humanities, social science, and history courses written assignments and term papers–not timed, in-class exams–are the basis of a student’s academic assessment but the underperformance of blacks has been shown to be an across-the-board phenomenon that is found even among black students majoring in these areas... The Manhattan Institute scholar John McWhorter, a linguist by training, explains the situation in its most cogent terms drawing from both his own experience as a black high school student in a mixed-race Philadelphia private school and from his many years of teaching black college students at Berkeley. “I can attest,” McWhorter writes, “that in secondary school I quite deliberately refrained from working to my highest potential because I knew that I would be accepted to even top universities without doing so. Almost any black child knows from an early age that there is something called affirmative action which means that black students are admitted to schools under lower standards than white; I was aware of this [from] at least the age of ten. {snip} In general, one could think of few better ways to depress a race’s propensity for pushing itself to do its best in school than a policy ensuring that less-than-best efforts will have disproportionately high yield.”... it is not surprising that it is the best and brightest blacks who underperform the most"

'My son gave away his antimalarial tablets - then died from the disease himself'
Pathological altruism strikes again

Dr Phil accused of 'exploitation’ after black teen tells show ‘I’m white’ - "A BLACK teenager has sparked fury after telling cult TV host Dr Phil she believes she is white and hates black people so much she supports the Ku Klux Klan.“When it comes to black people, I think they’re all ugly and I have nothing in common with them,” the 16-year-old named only as “Treasure” declared in front of a shocked studio audience."

Lottery winner claims prize while wearing 'Scream' mask in Jamaica - "A lottery winner claimed a prize worth more than $1.1 million while wearing a mask that looks like the Ghostface character from the 1996 horror film "Scream," according to a Jamaican gambling company... Lottery winners claiming prizes in disguises to protect their privacy is a trend in some countries, the Washington Post reports. The publication reports that a Jamaican woman previously claimed a large prize dressed as an emoji. The Jamaica Star reported in June 2018 the trend has been motivated by some winners who feared for their safety due to crime."

Life-Saving Golden Rice Finally Gets to Poor Farmers Despite Environmentalist Opposition - "Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in between 250,000 and 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months, according to the World Health Organization. A study by German researchers in 2014 estimated that activist opposition to the deployment of Golden Rice has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million life-years in just India alone. Environmentalist ideologues have fought fiercely for two decades to prevent this crop from being offered to poor farmers in developing countries. Among other things, they hired thugs to rip up test fields of the grain at the International Rice Research Institute in the Phillippines. In 2016, an open letter signed by 100 Nobel Laureates directly called on "Greenpeace to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general.""

Canada’s Armed Forces, struggling to hit diversity goals, turns to new digital recruiting tools - "in an attempt to to boost numbers that appear to have been largely stalled for more than three years, the Department of National Defence (DND) will launch a suite of new digital tools — including a smartphone app that, in its functionality, will resemble the matchmaking app Tinder — aimed at convincing more Canadians to consider a life in the Armed Forces."

Move over masala, jalfrezi is now our favourite curry - "According to a new poll, the jalfrezi – a far hotter dish cooked using green chillies – is the most popular choice in Britain's 10,000 Indian restaurants. The second most popular was the madras, another hot dish that contains large amounts of chilli powder. Chicken tikka masala only makes it into eighth place... Chicken tikka masala was reportedly invented in a Glasgow curry house after a customer complained that his chicken was dry. The chef was said to have prepared a sauce using spices soaked in a tin of Campbell's condensed tomato soup which he had been eating while recovering from a stomach ulcer.The Scots even tried to get European Union recognition through a "protected designation of origin" that would give it a status equal to champagne and parmesan.The claim was dismissed as "preposterous" by food historians in Delhi... Despite Britons developing a taste for hotter curries, Baron Noon warned that there were limits. "Extraordinarily hot is never tasty""
Indian food historians agree that chicken tikka masala is authentic Indian food!

Chicken tikka masala row grows as Indian chefs reprimand Scottish MPs over culinary origins - "The move is based on the claim by Ahmed Aslam Ali to have invented the dish at his Shish Mahal restaurant in Glasgow. "We used to make chicken tikka and one day a customer said 'I'd take some sauce with that, this is a bit dry' so we cooked chicken tikka with the sauce which contains yoghurt, cream, spices," he said... Zaeemuddin Ahmad, a chef at Delhi's Karim Hotel, which was established by the last chef of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, said the recipe had been passed down through the generations in his family."Chicken tikka masala is an authentic Mughlai recipe prepared by our forefathers who were royal chefs in the Mughal period. Mughals were avid trekkers and used to spend months altogether in jungles and far off places. They liked roasted form of chickens with spices," he said.Rahul Verma, Delhi's most authoritative expert on street food, said he first tasted the dish in 1971 and that its origins were in Punjab"

Should international law recognize 'climate change refugees'? - "one Kiribati man is asking a New Zealand court to declare him the world's first "climate change refugee" Iaone Teitiota emigrated to New Zealand and has applied for environmental asylum."
Apparently you can be persecuted by the climate

Nick Bostrom: ‘We are like small children playing with a bomb’ - "The book is a lively, speculative examination of the singular threat that Bostrom believes – after years of calculation and argument – to be the one most likely to wipe us out. This threat is not climate change, nor pandemic, nor nuclear winter; it is the possibly imminent creation of a general machine intelligence greater than our own... An inferior intelligence will always depend on a superior one for its survival.

Not all can stomach social enterprise hawker centres, stall owners call for flexibility, lower rent - "Mr Seetoh said in a post on his Makansutra website that hawkers at such centres have to pay an average of S$4,000 a month in rent due to extra expenses that included coin-changing services, charges for crockery washing, collection and return, as well as a fee for spot-checks on food quality and operation.This monthly rental fee is higher than that of popular centres such as Maxwell Food Centre managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA)... Other policies have also led some to question the way these social enterprise hawker centres are being run. Among those that have not gone down well with hawkers include requirements to keep their stalls open at least 12 hours, forking out monthly fees for cashless or self-payment kiosks, as well as having to pay for marketing and publicity efforts... she is required to submit a medical certificate to the operator if she is ill and unable to operate her stall for the day. The 38-year-old also has to get the social enterprise’s approval before changing her stall’s operating hours. There were no such rules when she used to run a stall at Changi Village hawker centre. She once received a call asking why her stall was not open when she took an afternoon off.She added: “Somehow there is no freedom when we operate under the social enterprise model. (It benefits) the public more as they hope to keep the prices down… but I’m not sure how fair it is to us hawkers.”"

KF Seetoh writes open letter to Senior Minister of State about how landlords killing hawkers with fees - "Adding insult to injury, the hawkers are asked to pay S$267.50 for the preparation of the tenancy agreement consisting of spaghetti alphabet soup of lawyerly words."

Stallholders at social enterprise hawker centres to get greater flexibility in contracts - "it emerged that about a third of the stallholders at Our Tampines Hub had to open for 24 hours a day, while stallholders in all social enterprise-run hawker centres have to operate at least six days a week."

Released from 24-hour operations, stallholders at Our Tampines Hub hawker centre rejoice - "The hawker centre is the only one out of 114 in Singapore — operated by both the NEA and social enterprises — that operates 24 hours a day.The round-the-clock operations were requested by the community, but after it opened in November 2016, the demand for food in the wee hours never materialised."

Hawker fined S$3,500 for closing stall produces email exchange that differs from Foodfare’s account

Government should ‘stay out’ of it: KF Seetoh goes On the Record about preserving hawker food culture - "“I think the Government should stay out of this. They are not fit. They are not qualified,” he says definitively.I ask him to explain his statements.“Because they’re only throwing money at you. Hawker work is tough. Just because the Government wants to incubate you, doesn’t mean this job is easy. You have to cook well, know how to reach people, know how to cook a hundred portions an hour and so on. A short course is not enough and pumping money into the industry to fire this up may not be helpful. It gives people the impression that it is so easy. They say, ‘Let's go and do a ‘try, try’ thing’. It’s easy to walk out when you are funded by somebody else’s money, but if it’s your own and you realise that this is good, this is what you really want to do, it’s a different story.”"

S’porean hawker allegedly made to apologise for not giving free soup: Hawker’s daughter speaks up on difficulties - "There are locals (yes, plural) who try to get her father’s soup and chilli for free, when they did not buy anything from the stall... The soup, by the way, was made with over 20 herbs that Law’s father purchased on his only rest day of the week. Now that her father is selling oyster omelettes, customers have tried to ask for as much as a 50 per cent discount... [they have had] only one off day a week, being asked to apply for compassionate leave in advance, and having rent increased exponentially but not being allowed to increase food prices for staff, and being made to pay GST... Law goes on to declare that she would not be sorry if her father’s recipe — passed down from her grandmother — dies with him.In fact, she would rather let it die than to be subjected to the social enterprises “bullying the shit out of [her]”"
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