Category Archives: Sentences to Ponder

Sentences to Ponder: PPT; Social Order; Schooling; Happiness; Internet


1. In Defense of the Deck 

“If you choose to freestyle without a deck when so many of the greats make it a normal practice, you risk leaving the impression that either (a) you don’t have the skills to produce a killer presentation, or (b) you are simply indifferent to why it is important. Neither is a good impression to leave with investors.”

2. Two forms of social order

“The authors make some claims about open-access orders that challenge hard-core libertarian thinking. First, they suggest that the stability of an open-access order requires a pervasive and effective government.”

3. Alderman interviews Hanushek 

“Internationally, years of schooling has very little value in measuring the income differences across countries, because the amount learned and the quality of schooling is so different across countries.”

4. Pursuing happiness

“Some economists propose replacing G.D.P. with a measure of national happiness. But it is too shaky a concept to bear so much weight.”

5. Brooks on the internet

“I know some people who are relaxed and their best selves only when online. Since they feel more in control of the communication, they are more communicative, vulnerable and care free ….It nurtures agility, but there is clear evidence by now that it encourages a fast mental rhythm that undermines the ability to explore narrative, and place people, ideas and events in wider contexts.”

Sentences to Ponder: Brains, Energy, Freelancers, Learning, Health


1. Face it Your Brain is a Computer

“There is much that we don’t know about brains. But we do know that they aren’t magical. They are just exceptionally complex arrangements of matter.”

2. Claims about energy (mostly right, I think)

“I believe that if you could choose one single technological development to help the most people in the world, radically better energy generation is probably it.  Throughout history, quality of life has gone up as the cost of energy has gone down.

The 20th century was the century of carbon-based energy.  I am confident the 22nd century is going to be the century of atomic energy (i.e. terrestrial atomic generation and energy from sun’s fusion). I am unsure how the majority of the 21st century will be powered, but I’d like to help get things moving.”

3. We are not a nation of freelancers

“In fact, the share of the workforce reporting they are unincorporated self-employed is declining and lower than at any point in the last 70 years.”

4. Chase your reading

“In chasing mode, you continually ask yourself whether what you are reading is relevant for your quest, or whether the author actually has anything new or interesting to say.”

5. Where can health savings be had? 

“The gains from reducing costs of end-of-life care shouldn’t be overstated. The proportion of Medicare spending that goes to end-of-life care has been roughly the same for the last few decades at about 25%. This regularity suggests that while overall health care costs have been rising, end-of-life care is not an increasing part of that overall issue.”

Sentences to Ponder: Tesla; PA ASD; Detroit; Charities; Driverless Cars


1. Rich people subsidizing innovation in energy 

So, in short, the master plan is:

  1. Build sports car
  2. Use that money to build an affordable car
  3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
  4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

Don’t tell anyone.”

2. PA considering ASD

“By relinquishing turnaround efforts to the state, Hite said the district would be crippled by an unfunded mandate ‘resulting in the stripping out of supports and programs from schools left under local district control.’”

3. Jockeying over Detroit schools

“Lawmakers aren’t eager to jump on any Detroit schools plan, so both Duggan and Snyder have their work cut out for them.”

4. Who will watch the charities? 

“A higher payout rate, say 10 percent, would put such money to work faster and ensure that the immediate hit to the Treasury would be offset by more near-term benefits for society.”

5. Driverless cars behave like Midwesterners

“Google cars drive like your grandma – they’re never the first off the line at a stop light, they don’t accelerate quickly, they don’t speed, and they never take any chances with lane changes (cut people off, etc.).”

Many, Many Sentences to Ponder this Weekend


My browser tabs were overflowing with good stuff. Sorry to being so late in posting it all. Happy reading.

1.Goldilocks and charter school authorizing

“It seems the battle lines in the war of best authorizing practices have been drawn.”

2. Who should profit when business makes money off government R&D?

“Taxpayers have a large, unacknowledged role in the nation’s innovation. They deserve some credit. And perhaps more, if that’s what it would take to power innovation’s future.”

3. Family structure and poverty

“A much stronger—indeed one of the strongest—correlate of upward mobility is family structure.”

4. Bill Gates on the most likely existential threat for humanity

“Gates’s model showed that a Spanish flu–like disease unleashed on the modern world would kill more than 33 million people in 250 days.”

5. Be part of the tribe and then speak to the tribe

“That research has consistently found that the most effective campaigners are like the target population: either from the same neighborhood, or sharing racial or ethnic identity.”

6. Far left economic agenda

They want to raise taxes on the wealthy by hiking rates and converting deductions (which are most valuable for the rich) into credits (which are worth the same to everybody). They want tougher enforcement on Wall Street. They want to end too big to fail by imposing a capital surcharge on large, risky firms, and to create a financial transactions tax to discourage short-term trading. They want subsidized child care, smaller prison populations, immigration reform, and Medicare for all

7. Singer on everything

“We have strong hierarchical tendencies. We like to think that there is always someone below us, and for many people, having power over others seems, regrettably, to reaffirm their sense of self-importance and thus to make them feel good. That may be a psychic need that finds an outlet in racism. For some people, it also finds an outlet in the abuse of animals. In particular, jobs in factory farms and poultry processing plants are poorly paid, high pressure and low status. That may be why, year after year, undercover investigators in factory farms and slaughterhouses continue to find evidence of the most atrocious abuse, like workers bashing pigs with steel pipes, or using live chickens as footballs.”

8. 4.0 Schools new launch cohort

Now, in Cohort 11, we welcome Great Teachers Academy, a platform to enable teachers to quickly launch their own low-cost micro schools. By creating a platform that teachers can then customize and build upon, GTA is making it easier for teachers to build unique schools that families are excited to attend.

9. Teachers improvement correlated with working conditions

“On average, teachers working in schools at the 75th percentile of professional environment ratings improved 38% more than teachers in schools at the 25th percentile after ten years.”

10. Problems of coordination 

“Yet we face an exasperating gap between the health outcomes we can theoretically achieve and those we actually are achieving.”

Sentences to Ponder


1. Family “voting” patterns

“Forward-thinking school districts honor families by giving them a say in what is best for their children and by making their choices public and transparent. More school systems should follow the lead of these cities in sharing school choice data.”

2. Why founders fail 

“And then he ran smack into the Product CEO Paradox: The only thing that will wreck a company faster than the product CEO being highly engaged in the product is the product CEO disengaging from the product.”

3. What drives nutritional inequality

“Systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access: even in the same store, more educated households purchase more healthful foods… Together, our results indicate that policies aimed at improving access to healthy foods in underserved areas will leave most of the socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption intact.”

4. N=1 / Personalized trials

“Every day, millions of people are taking medications that will not help them. The top ten highest-grossing drugs in the United States help between 1 in 25 and 1 in 4 of the people who take them.”

5. Global inequality is declining

“One paradox of income inequality in our time is that although the distribution of income has become more unequal within many countries, from a global perspective the distribution of income is becoming more equal. The reason, of course, is that rapid income growth among substantial segments of the population in places like China, India, and even in sub-Saharan Africa will tend to reduce global inequality, at the same time that it increases inequality within these countries.”

Sentences to Ponder: MATCH Beyond; 8 billion; 1990 NFL draft; USA; Non-attachment; Solar


1. MATCH Beyond

“The magic is in the mix. The degree is relatively low cost—tuition and fees will be $5,000 per year, which can be covered by the Pell Grant. College for America’s degree is both competency-based, which allows students to work at their own pace—critical for students from low-income households who need to balance their studies with part-time jobs and other obligations—and tailored to the job market.”

2. You have $8 billion. What do you do? 

“Its six full-time staffers have taken on the unenviable task of ranking every plausible way to make the world a much better place, and figuring out how much money to commit to the winners. It’s the biggest test yet of GiveWell’s heavily empirical approach to picking charities. If it works, it could change the face of philanthropy.”

3. The financial lives of 1990 NFL draft picks

“Webb owns Environmental Machines & Services, which operates and rebuilds the heavy machinery that cleans drinking water and the runoff produced by chemical and mining companies. Compared with the careers in coaching, broadcasting and sales that many former players pursue, it is an obscure occupation. But Webb was not a typical N.F.L. player. He had majored in industrial distribution, a mix of marketing and engineering, while at Texas A&M.”

4. Inequality in social outcomes

“What’s most shocking about these statistics is not how unhealthy they show Americans to be, compared with citizens of countries that spend much less on health care and have much less sophisticated medical technology. What is most perplexing is how stunningly fast the United States has lost ground.”

5. Non-attachment vs. detachment

“While many people suggest that detachment is the right approach to stress and anxiety, and others feel that it’s the path to enlightenment, it doesn’t work in my case. Now, I’m defining the phrase, so for some detachment might be an awesome way to deal with things, but for me it falls in the category of ‘indifference’ and ‘disengagement” which I apply to things I don’t care about, but doesn’t work for things I am engaged, interested, or involved in.”

6. Solar is inevitable?

“Will solar PV provide enough energy? Right now, you couldn’t power a city like New York fully on solar PV even if you covered every square inch of it with panels. The question is whether that will still be true in 30 or 50 years. What efficiencies and innovations might be unlocked when solar cells and energy storage become more efficient and ubiquitous?”

Sentences to Ponder: College (pay if you pass), College (for the masses), College (for the barista)


1. College: pay if you pass the course

“In the new Global Freshman Academy, each credit will cost $200, but students will not have to pay until they pass the courses, which will be offered on the edX platform as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses… ‘Leave your G.P.A., your SATs, your recommendations at home,’ said Anant Agarwal, the chief executive of edX. ‘If you have the will to learn, just bring your Internet connection and yourself, and you can get a year of college credit.'”

2. College: for the masses

“Yet the new research is a reminder that the country also underinvests in enrolling students in four-year colleges — and making sure they graduate. Millions of people with the ability to earn a bachelor’s degree are not doing so, and many would benefit greatly from it.”

3. College: for the barista

“The most revolutionary part of the program had nothing to do with tuition and got far less media attention. In their announcement, Starbucks and Arizona State also committed themselves to providing all enrolled employees with individualized guidance—the kind of thing affluent American parents and elite universities provide for their students as a matter of course. Starbucks students would each be assigned an enrollment counselor, a financial-aid adviser, an academic adviser, and a ‘success coach’—a veritable pit crew of helpers. Like a growing number of innovative colleges around the country, Starbucks and Arizona State were promising to prioritize the needs of real-life students over the traditions of academia.”

Sentences to Ponder: Finland and Pre-K


1. On Finland

“The education system did not improve as a result of some commitment to a general sense of ‘school autonomy’ – rather it improved at a time when a consensus had been carefully developed, around a very tightly defined common set of ideas and practices…. In the late 1960s they recognized the need to enhance human capital and did something about it, through common and systemic education reform, driven and monitored from the centre.”

2. On the education wars

K-12 education is an exhausted, bloodsoaked battlefield. It’s Agincourt, the day after. So a suggestion: Refocus some reformist passions on early childhood.

3. On pre-k data

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“Programs beginning before 1980 produced signifificantly larger effect sizes (.33 standard deviations) than those that began later (.16 standard deviations). Declining effect sizes over time are disappointing, as we might hope that lessons from prior evaluations and advances in the science of child development would have led to an increase in program effects over time. However, the likely reason for the decline is that counterfactual conditions for children in the control groups in these studies have improved substantially. We have already seen in Figure 1 how much more likely low-income children are to be attending some form of center-based care now relative to 40 years ago.”

Sentences to Ponder


1. 1.5 million missing black men

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2. Problems with No Child Left Behind legislation

“The bill still doesn’t include student growth. While everyone in education talksabout student growth, our policies continue to ignore it.”

3. Justine Musk on Elon Musk 

“But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way. They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage.”

4.11 images that capture the vastness of space

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5. The problem with satisfied patients 

“In fact, a national study revealed that patients who reported being most satisfied with their doctors actually had higher healthcare and prescription costs and were more likely to be hospitalized than patients who were not as satisfied. Worse, the most satisfied patients were significantly more likely to die in the next four years.”