January 24th Grab Bag Articles of Interest

A few articles to chew on for the day:

  • An article from the Atlantic comparing education results across a few countries with some very interesting charts.  A key piece of why the U.S. scores where is does is summed up with this point: “America’s yawning income inequality means our international test sample has a higher share of low-income students, and their scores depress our national average.”  Some on the right may get angry about class warfare but it must be pointed out it is not just about results later in life.  It’s also about the results of our children’s early life and something no one can control which is simply the luck of the draw as to what socioeconomic class you are born into.  An undeniable truth is fighting inequality is good for the long run outcomes of our educational system and how well the next generation will do when they have the reigns of the country turned over to them.
  • Really good short article and short video from Time on the economic drag that is the U.S. penny.  Canada is on its way to taking the penny out of circulation because of the cost of simply making them and the United States should and eventually will follow suit.  The faster this decision is made the more money we save in the long run.  The nickel is no answer to the problem but there is little doubt something should be done to cut this cost to the U.S. economy.  $60 million in 2010 and rising…
  • A good piece on the melting of Greenland for the Atlantic Cities.  One of the things we are slowly learning about climate change is the effects are self-compounding and the environment is getting a lot worse much faster than expected as these changes play out.  An example from this article:

Take, for instance, melting on the ice’s sheet surface: Warmer or melting ice (or just plain meltwater) absorbs more sunlight than does healthy, cold ice. So as warmer temperatures melt the ice, the ice sheet absorbs more solar heat—melting even more. Another example: As Greenland melts, the massive ice sheet, more than two miles above sea level at its highest point, slumps in altitude. When that happens, more of the ice sheet is bathed in the warmer atmospheric temperatures that are found at lower elevations. So—you guessed it—it melts more.


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