This week’s highlights:  Meritocracy, Luxury Trucks, and Prepping Fido for Instagram Fame.

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Fifteen on Friday – 02/16/18 – Issue 273

Meritocracy at what cost?

In his 2000 best seller, Bobos In Paradise, David Brooks noted that among the most consequential changes in American society was an ill-noticed shift in the late 1950s by the then-President of Harvard to begin prioritizing achievement on the SAT as a key admissions criteria, even super-ceding social standing and legacy status at times.

This choice arguably may mark the beginning of the great educational arms race.  Here we are over 60 years later, and society has shifted in meaningful ways as a result.  The first two articles featured this week explore the long-run impacts of this change at the societal level and in the life of an individual child with much to consider for us all.

Enjoy the weekend,

David

Food for Thought:

  1. Economist – Meritocracy and its discontents.  A book published 60 years ago predicted most of the tensions tearing contemporary Britain apart.
  2. ScientificAmerican – The Case for the “Self-Driven Child”.  In a new book, an argument for giving children more of a sense of control over their lives.
  3. WakeForestMag – First Among Equals How the black minister of a First Baptist church and the white minister of the other First Baptist church in Macon, Georgia, are working to heal racial divisions and transform community.
  4. VanityFair – When Old Hollywood’s Doors Opened for Tom Brokaw. When Brokaw moved to Los Angeles to become the 11 o’clock anchor, he found Hollywood’s doors magically open. Half a century later, he writes about getting to know the likes of Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and Rosalind Russell.
  5. The Globe and Mail – I have forgotten how to read. For a long time Michael Harris convinced himself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate him from our new media climate – that he could keep on reading in the old way because his mind was formed in pre-internet days. He was wrong.

Business/Economics:

  1. Wired – Inside the Two Years That Shook Facebook – And The World How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all.
  2. NYT – More Luxury Buyers Ditch the Imports and Pick Up a Truck  The priciest S.U.V.s and trucks are selling fastest. The high-end Lariat, King Ranch and Raptor models make up more than half of all F-150 sales,
  3. ProPublica – How VW Paid $25 Billion for Dieselgate — And Got Off Easy.  Volkswagen paid huge government penalties in the U.S., but virtually nothing in Europe. Two things now seem clear: Some very senior officials knew of the wrongdoing — and they’re not likely to face meaningful prison time.
  4. Economist – The next generation of wireless technology is ready for take-off Whizzy 5G tech has everything going for it barring a strong business case.
  5. SN – I Bought An Entire Outfit From Instagram Ads.  This interesting Youtube video looks at how Instagram and Facebook use your preferences from ‘likes’ and data from tracking your web movements to serve you ads in hopes to answer the question of how well their algorithms really know you.  Note – must speak fluent Millennial to watch.

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. ODD – The Best Way to Lose $5 Billion Dollars.   What NOT to Do to Stay Rich, Courtesy of the Vanderbilts
  2. SWA – After School Special – Credit BF – How one group of New Yorkers is changing the world of adult education, one free beer at a time.
  3. NYT – Is Your Dog Ready for Instagram?
  4. NYP – Oprah’s iconic ‘You get a car!’ moment was crazier than you thought
  5. NYT – Carolina Herrera’s Last Bow.  The designer is waving goodbye to the runway and hello to a new job. Whatever you do, don’t use the word retirement.