Thinks 498

The Economist reviews “Spin Dictators”: “For modern autocrats, lying is more useful than killing…The goal of a spin dictator is to appear to allow political competition while making it nearly impossible in practice. Rather than criminalising dissent, he imprisons his opponents for non-political crimes, such as fraud or rape, of which they are innocent. Sometimes he locks them up for short periods, so they do not become martyrs, and often, so their work is constantly disrupted. Rather than banning opposition parties, he tangles them in red tape or bankrupts them with fines and lawsuits. For extra deniability, the task of making dissidents’ lives hell can be outsourced to a youth militia or army of online trolls, who may rough them up, publish their addresses or leak embarrassing photos.”

Richard Feynman: “You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities.” [via Shane Parish]

John McWhorter: “Why we can’t just prepare students for the work force. Why do we assume that people need four whole years of further education after high school? One answer comes from Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College…The upshot is simple: The idea that in our society, after high school the ordinary trajectory is to attend another four years of school has become arbitrary, purposeless and even absurd. Botstein noted, “America has a more elaborate educational system that spreads over more years, reaches more people, and ends up with results for the entire population that are worse than those countries with educational systems that are explicitly not democratic and on the surface offer fewer opportunities for advanced education.” This model, he argued, is hardly what we would choose if asked with no experience how things should go. He argued that the model of high school we currently use is from a time when teenagers were on average less intellectually mature than they are now. Botstein proposed instead that childhood education can stop at 10th grade and that the education kids get during that year be a richer one than kids typically get today even going up through 12 grades.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.