Another Link Roundup #

Once again, it’s time to reclaim some browser tabs.

  • “Police Investigate Family for Letting Their Kids Walk Home Alone” by Hanna Rosin at Slate. The parents were visited at home by officers who drove the kids a half-mile home. Rosin writes, “The police asked for the father’s ID, and when he refused, called six patrol cars as backup. Alexander went upstairs, and the police called out that if he came down with anything else in his hand ‘shots would be fired,’ according to Alexander. … The following week the police and [Child Protective Services] workers questioned the children at school without the parents’ permission, …” Read the article. These sound like very conscientious parents trying to do good things for their children despite governmental meddling.
  • More recently (Feb 20th), the same parents received notice that CPS determined the parents were responsible for “unsubstantiated child neglect”, which is a somewhat oxymoronic finding that permits CPS to continue monitoring for several years. (Donna St. George, “‘Unsubstantiated’ child neglect finding for free-range parents”, Washington Post, 2 March 2015.) (via NextDraft)
  • Retraction Watch has an article on the consequences of late retractions, and does slight coverage of several measles outbreaks that might have been prevented if the much-discredited autism-vaccine paper in Lancet (1998) had been retracted earlier. (It wasn’t retracted until 2010, when an investigative journalist was able to conclusively demonstrate important data on a majority of the 12 cases studied had been withheld from reviewers or fraudulently altered.) More on this later.
  • FiveThirtyEight covered an education research paper that argues “Elementary school gifted-and-talented programs are most effective when students are selected based on high test scores rather than high IQ. Low-income and minority students experienced particularly large gains.”
  • Most Major League Soccer players make close to the minimum salary ($36,500 for players under 25; $48,500 for “senior” players), according to the New York Times.
  • A great “What If?” article at xkcd.com led to an interesting, if somewhat macabre look at “A History of Tug-of-War Fatalities”
  • Kottke links to a physics blog that discusses current paradoxes in modern cosmological physics, “i.e. areas where theory and observation disagree, sometimes by a whopping 120 orders of magnitude”
  • Lastly, Mary Elise Sarotte wrote in 2009, “How an accident caused the Berlin Wall to come down” for the Washington Post.
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