I recently saw The Social Network and very much enjoyed it. The acting fit the story, the music fit the mood and the styling fit the sequences. That was until I saw an interview with Sorkin whose screenplay was based on a book from an author with dubious non-fiction stylings;
Bringing Down the House is a book by Ben Mezrich about a group of MIT card counters commonly known as the MIT Blackjack Team. While represented as non-fiction by Mezrich and Free Press, the book contains significant fictional elements. (Wiki)
When Lost ended I felt like they cheated using story veins that never panned out or were explained. In The Social Network they go one further, creating explanations without the requisite veins.
Via MR, quoting the NYT:
Hints of fraud by Mr. Montgomery, previously raised by Bloomberg Markets and Playboy, provide a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of government contracting.
I remember reading this NBER paper and being struck by a number of things, first the conclusion by the author:
The leading theory is that students do not understand the educational production function and, thus, lack the know-how to translate their excitement about the incentive structure into measurable output.
It's easy for adults to see that the more used cars sold, the bigger check for the salesman. Students in the participating schools didn't understand how to sell the proverbial cars, this is the educational production function.
While this conclusion is interesting there was another idea that I found more important to note. Dallas second grade students were paid $2 for each book they read; eliminating one teacher at that grade level could pay for up to 75 books per student over the course of a year. With the changes in educational funding, funding sources and schools looking for new ideas I wonder if new teaching structures could be coming, and cost-effective.
incentives can be a cost-e!ective strategy to raise achievement among even thepoorest minority students in the lowest performing schools if the incentives are given for certaininputs to the educational production function. Paying students to read books yields a large andstatistically signiﬁcant increase in reading comprehension between .180 (.075) and .249 (.103) standard deviations, increases vocabulary between .051 (.068) and .071 (.093) standard deviations, andincreases language between .136 (.080) and .186 (.107) standard deviations. The estimated impactson vocabulary scores are not signiﬁcant; increases in language are marginally signiﬁcant. Similarly,paying students for attendance, good behavior, wearing their uniforms, and turning in their homework increases reading achievement between .152 (.092) and .179 (.106) standard deviations, andincreases mathematics achievement between .114 (.106) and .134 (.122) standard deviations
From a hyperbolic filled though reflective piece on Hollywood
Hollywood has become an institution that is more interested in launching the next rubberized action figure than in making the next interesting movie.
Arnold King wonders;
My guess is that if you want to improve health outcomes in the United States, ignore health insurance and focus on literacy... This means that 90 million Americans can understand discharge instructions written only at a fifth-grade level or lower.
I wonder what explicit knowledge is constructed from the process of reading health information via the internet, doctor written instructions or as King wonders, discharge instructions. I don't think this is directly the cause, how influential is a written statement compared to immediate observations? A better perspective may be what is the path of least resistance for a person - how much additional learning is required - and how did that path get created? A more literate person's path is sharply different from a less literate, though maybe Frost was right, whichever path we pursue we'll be able to rationalize it just fine.
Our household has gone a month without cable, here are some thoughts.
From Warren Buffet's recent letter to investors
Throughout my lifetime, politicians and pundits have constantlymoaned about terrifying problems facing America. Yet our citizens now live an astonishing six times better thanwhen I was born. The prophets of doom have overlooked the all-important factor that is certain: Human potentialis far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential – a system that has worked wondersfor over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War – remains alive andeffective.We are not natively smarter than we were when our country was founded nor do we work harder. Butlook around you and see a world beyond the dreams of any colonial citizen. Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 and1941, America’s best days lie ahead.
From Unlearn your MBA by David Heinemeier Hasnson
You don't have to write a bullshit resume, you don't have to come up with all the standard exaggerations, half-truths and embellishments that college students usually have to put on their resume, when they come out with no work experience and want to join the workforce.