Sentences to Ponder


1. Di Carlo on DC charter ratings

“The PCSB system, in my opinion, is better than many others out there, since growth measures play a fairly prominent role in the ratings, and, as a result, the final scores are only moderately correlated with key student characteristics such as subsidized lunch eligibility.”

“The 12,000 figure also includes enrollment in schools that did not receive ratings at all, but were simply affiliated with networks whose other schools did receive Tier 1 ratings. This is not defensible. If schools or campuses don’t receive tier ratings, they should not be included in tabulations of the students attending schools that received a given rating.”

2. Book review of E.O. Wilson’s The Meaning of Human Existence

“‘Confidence in free will is biologically adaptive,’ Wilson argues. It protects us from fatalism. Reassured by imagining that we exert conscious control over our lives, we keep on reproducing our kind. But in a material universe governed entirely by physical laws, he concedes, free will does not exist ‘in ultimate reality.’ Then what is the point of exhorting readers to embrace the theory of evolution, to preserve the Earth’s wealth of living things, to overcome bigotry and put an end to war? How could we, by conscious effort, change our actions or beliefs?”

Wilson is not the first to fall into this trap.

3. Sachs on China 

“Even worse, as China flexes its geopolitical muscles, the only foreign policy that the US systematically pursues is unceasing and fruitless war in the Middle East. The US endlessly drains its resources and energy in Syria and Iraq in the same way that it once did in Vietnam. China, meanwhile, has avoided becoming enmeshed in overseas military debacles, emphasizing win-win economic initiatives instead.”

The article is very one-sided, but good points are made.

4. Authors note their favorite books of the year

“The new translation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (Penguin Classics, £8.99) will give a jolt to the nervous system to anyone interested in the enigmatic Russian author. This vivid, stylish and rich rendition by Oliver Ready compels the attention of the reader in a way that none of the others I’ve read comes close to matching. Using a clear and forceful mid-20th-century English idiom, Ready gives us an entirely new kind of access to Dostoevsky’s singular, self-reflexive and at times unnervingly comic text. This is the Russian writer’s story of moral revolt, guilt and possible regeneration turned into a new work of art.”

A perfect opportunity to read one of the best works of modern literature.

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