Snoop Dogg Knows Whattup, Ctd. — and a cute puppy

Again, if you just spent your day scrolling through Facebook or watching Funny or Die videos, you should slowly transition to serious mode.  But there’s a picture of a cute puppy at the end of the post as a reward.

As I was saying, intellectual modesty and governing.

The problem is that humility and doubt are great principles for your own life, but they don’t give you much direction when it actually comes to making things work for a large group of people with different interests, abilities, and circumstances.

Be open to new insights all you want, but at some point, you have to pause the hunt for new information, you have to shut down the uncertainty, and you have to make some damn policy.  David Brooks on conservative thinker Michael Oakeshott:

Well, if you want to sit in a cottage and bet on horses, fine. But if you actually want to govern, such thinking is of limited use. It doesn’t make sense to ask how an Oakeshottian would govern because an Oakeshottian could never get elected in a democracy and could never use the levers of power if somehow he did. Doubt is not a political platform. Hope is.

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Snoop Dogg knows whattup

Let’s have a word. Maybe more than a word.

This could get heavy.  If you’ve just spent four hours scrolling through your facebook feed or chortling at lolcatz, you might need to transition slowly.

[insert slow transition here]

Okay then.

Intellectual modesty — the principle that none of us knows all, should ceaselessly hunt for a diversity of thought, and accept that our well-constructed opinions may change — is a precious, rare voice that is easily drowned out by talking heads and committed ideologues. What’s even rarer is to see that voice walking the walk.

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Feeding frenzy on the Peace Dividend

You’ll never have more friends than if you’re a government bureaucrat presiding over hundreds of billions of dollars in unclaimed funding.

In this case, the money is the result of drawing down our troops and shrinking our military budget as we wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This “peace dividend” is the natural result of de-escalation, and has occurred after each of the major wars since the American Revolution.

Critics say that the cuts to defense leave us ill prepared for — and may even beget —  future wars, and that we’re really not at peace anyway.  We still have troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Proponents argue that there are a bevy of ways we can put that money to use more productively, leaving the country on better financial footing for the next conflict.

That sounds really boring — unless you need some federal dollahs, pronto.  Then, it gets pretty interesting.

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How and why to make friends

As told by a guru, Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn.

One of the most interesting points in the article is the importance of “weak ties” — those people with whom you’ve got a warm relationship, but you see infrequently:

82% of people found their jobs through a contact they saw only occasionally or rarely… [Y]our good friends tend to be from the same industry, neighborhood, religious group, etc. Consequently, their information is similar to yours — a job a good friend knows about, you probably already know about too.

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A fifteenth dimension for the teacher pay puzzle

I realize I’m entering shark-infested waters here, and that hordes of smart people have spent their careers thinking about these issues before me, but a new study on the specific, lifetime value of teachers adds an important dimension to this debate.

The high-profile study, which followed 2.5 million kids over 20 years, found that teacher quality, as measured by test scores, predicted pretty amazing results.

  • An outstanding forth-grade teacher — yes, just the forth-grade teacher —  delivers $25,000 in more income to each student over his or her lifetime
  • A very poor teacher has the same effect as a pupil missing 40 percent of the school year
  • The study also found that high-quality teachers brought stability to their student’s lives outside of just better paying jobs (although one may naturally follow the other).  According to Michelle Rhee in Education Week:

The kids with more effective teachers had lower teen-pregnancy rates and higher college-enrollment rates than their peers. They also had higher earnings, lived in better neighborhoods, and even saved more for retirement.

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