Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nerds can be destroyed but not defeated

“Moneyball” tells the story of a baseball franchise manager who places his faith in the statistical models developed by a recent economics graduate to recruit undervalued (i.e., cheap) players. They then, despite their coach’s doubts, go on to score the longest winning streak in baseball history against much more expensive opponents. My first thought on watching the movie was: “Isn't the timing here a bit awkward – why tell such an inspiring tale about the power of number crunching after blind faith in mathematical modeling helped almost destroy the global economy and Western civilization?"

Building Self-Control, the American Way

This is the title of a NYT article written by a molecular biologist and a science journalist. They offer a response to all the hype surrounding the publication of “Bringing Up Bébé,” in which an American expat shares her admiration for the effortless way in which French parents project authority and help their kids develop patience and self-discipline. So, what is the American way?