Sentences to Ponder


1. NY teacher certification passing rate declines by 20%

“Candidates now have to pass four exams. The most radically different test, called the Teacher Performance Assessment, or edTPA, requires a portfolio of work including a video recording of the candidate teaching, which is graded by faculty members at teacher preparation programs and teachers from across the country. On the edTPA tests taken last year, the passing rate was 81 percent.”

2. Incentive pay for Congress

“The chief virtue of a performance bonus for Congress is that it would be so cost-effective that it wouldn’t need to be perfect. Even a tiny increase in the growth rate due to additional skin in the game for Congress would more than cover the cost of Congressional bonuses. If we want a political culture that values economic growth in Washington, we might have to pay for it.”

Of course, there would be much debate on what you wanted to incentivize.

3. Did we just whole brain emulate a worm? 

“The OpenWorm project has mapped the connections between the worm’s 302 neurons and simulated them in software. (The project’s ultimate goal is to completely simulate C. elegans as a virtual organism.) Recently, they put that software program in a simple Lego robot.”

While I’m no expert, from what I can tell we very well may be able to do this with a human brain, one day.

4. How to predict supreme court decisions

“Ideological preferences matter, but that’s not all that matters,” Ruger told me. “You have a host of things like institutional setting, and who the parties are, and, yes, even what the law says — the content or the specificity of the legal rules or the precedent.”

Yes, justices are restrained by precedent and the law, but the correlation between their politics and their interpretation of open questions of the law is quite remarkable. I generally view the court as another political body that is simply bound by different rules.

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