Huntsville is nationally ranked again, but this time in a category that it’s residents probably wouldn’t want to advertise as much as some of it’s other rankings. It’s the #1 porn viewing relgious community according to Pornhub. Nice. I could post a pic with phallic rockets in it. But I won’t.
Some of you have probably heard about the Jason Richwine story where he lost his job at the Heritage Foundation for advocating selectivity in admitting new immigrants. The discriminating factor he advocated for was nominally high skills and education, but it was basically a code word for IQ. Once word of his doctoral thesis got out, he was fired and the foundation distanced itself from him because his thesis didn’t use code words and said that IQ differences were likely to persist for more than two to three generations.
I’ve read some of the criticism against his thesis and most of it rehashes old arguments about the validity of IQ or that race is only social construct. Nothing very interesting there except that some are now advocating a ban on research in the area of race and IQ because, well, what good can come of it? Obviously if something offends our sensibilities it must be immoral and we should stick our head in the sand.
Most people out there advocating against his thesis haven’t read it, so here it is, the paper itself. To date, I don’t know of anyone that has proven that the analysis in his thesis contains shoddy methodologies or incorrect math. People just don’t like his conclusions or the very fact that he wanted to investigate this topic in the first place. I can understand not wanting to believe that IQ differences between groups is persistent, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m only partway through myself, but I’m not the one calling for a ban on research.
I just creamed my pants.
Ok, now I gotta get this game.
Somehow I missed this for years. Huntsville was rated #9 worldwide on a smartest cities list back in 2009. The criteria included infrastructure, livability and economic fundamentals. Singapore and Hong Kong were 1 and 2 respectively. Heady company. Unfortunately, that was then and the economic fundamentals (defense) that kept Huntsville flying high for years is crumbling as we speak. A government job or a government contracting job is something to be wary of these days as you could get your job axed by a whim of congress.
This week in the NYTimes, we have a couple of stories that both pertain to giving your kids the best shot at a good life. The first story is a report that most of the money spent on education may be wasted. The reason is that differences in cognitive abilities appear at an early age.
Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.
More surprising is that the difference in cognitive performance was just as big at age 18 as it had been at age 3.
“The gap is there before kids walk into kindergarten,” Mr. Heckman told me. “School neither increases nor reduces it.”
If education is supposed to help redress inequities at birth and improve the lot of disadvantaged children as they grow up, it is not doing its job.
It is not an isolated finding. Another study by Mr. Heckman and Flavio Cunha of the University of Pennsylvania found that the gap in math abilities between rich and poor children was not much different at age 12 than it was at age 6.
For this reason, some researchers have suggested better nutrition for mothers-to-be with low income. Not an easy task to solve. Few will bring up the idea that it might be they don’t have the genes to pass down that will result in high achievement.
The second story approaches the same issue from a different perspective. What do the rich and the elite do to ensure their kids have the best chance to stay an elite? Susan Patton had the temerity to suggest that Princeton girls should look for husbands while they’re at Princeton. The reaction to her article was widespread condemnation. But Ross Douthat sums up the breach of protocol pretty well here:
The intermarriage of elite collegians is only one of these mechanisms — but it’s an enormously important one. The outraged reaction to her comments notwithstanding, Patton wasn’t telling Princetonians anything they didn’t already understand. Of course Ivy League schools double as dating services. Of course members of elites — yes, gender egalitarians, the males as well as the females — have strong incentives to marry one another, or at the very least find a spouse from within the wider meritocratic circle. What better way to double down on our pre-existing advantages? What better way to minimize, in our descendants, the chances of the dread phenomenon known as “regression to the mean”?
That this “assortative mating,” in which the best-educated Americans increasingly marry one another, also ends up perpetuating existing inequalities seems blindingly obvious, which is no doubt why it’s considered embarrassing and reactionary to talk about it too overtly. We all know what we’re supposed to do — our mothers don’t have to come out and say it!
The article itself is op-ed gold and expresses something I didn’t understand well at the time, or possibly even now. College isn’t about learning so much as connecting. A college degree gives you a signalling device for employers. Your college classmates set you into your social class. None of this is set in stone of course – I’m talking about averages.
We’re still struggling to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and what have policy makers learned? Absolutely nothing. Nada, zip, zilch, zero.
The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.
President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession.
In response, administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a wider range of borrowers by taking advantage of taxpayer-backed programs — including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration — that insure home loans against default.
Housing officials are urging the Justice Department to provide assurances to banks, which have become increasingly cautious, that they will not face legal or financial recriminations if they make loans to riskier borrowers who meet government standards but later default.
I really shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I suppose I haven’t learned anything either.
“If you were going to tell people in low-income and moderate-income communities and communities of color there was a housing recovery, they would look at you as if you had two heads,” said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit housing organization. “It is very difficult for people of low and moderate incomes to refinance or buy homes.”
Ah, so now we have the real reason. We have to make sure that blacks and Hispanics get to live the American dream. That’s a noble idea, but not when it doesn’t make economic sense and not when they were the ones originally tricked into the subprime loans they couldn’t afford that kicked this entire ordeal off.
Home ownership correlates with a host of positive outcomes for the home owner, but the arrow of correlation might not point from home to betterment but the other way around.