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Five links that made us think this week.
I love the Academy Awards—so much, in fact, that I host an annual party complete with ballots and movie-themed food. This year’s Oscars should prove to be interesting as several of the best picture nominees have been deemed controversial for their historical accuracy, depictions of race, and political leanings. Two of them have sparked a particular debate on the portrayal of slavery in the films—the lack thereof in Lincoln, and the extreme violence in Django Unchained.
Speaking of extreme violence, I recently attended a fitness boot camp where the instructor had us play dodge ball as our cardio warm-up. It took me right back to my elementary school gymnasium and I practically hid in the corner while my dad, who came with me, targeted me for his hardest throws. This article in the New York Times regarding the infusion of academics into physical education class, also got me thinking about gym. Is it better to squeeze academic learning time into every available minute of the school day? Or to give kids a break to just be kids?
Two years ago, my husband turned down a nearly six figure reenlistment bonus offered for his specialized field and left the military and go back to school to get his Bachelor’s degree. It was a decision we felt would better advance his long-term career and earning prospects, and offer more stability in our personal lives. He graduated in December—in just two and a half years—but has since been unable to find a job. Last week, news broke that the unemployment rate for post-911 veterans ages 18-24 is higher than 20%. For post-911 vets ages 25-34 (my husband’s age group), the numbers are also in the double digits. I still firmly believe that in our case the personal accomplishment of earning a degree was worth the trade-off of a secure paycheck, but that announcement, and this article from the New York Times, have me wondering if fellow military men and women will be hesitant, or should be hesitant, to take the plunge.
Did you notice Tuesday’s Google doodle? It was in honor of scientist Nicolaus Copernicus’ 540th birthday. Copernicus was the first to discover that the planets orbit the Sun, rather than the Earth. It goes to show what great discoveries can be made when you question the norm.
Speaking of science, this new Tumblr challenges science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals to describe what they do using only the thousand most common words in the English language. As someone who gets totally lost in STEM jargon, I think this is fantastic, and a fun way to help young students learn about potential STEM professions they may want to go into. Thanks to TeacherPop for the link.