‘Vermont Medical School Says Goodbye To Lectures’

Audie Cornish, writing for NPR’s All Things Considered:

Have you had pushback to this move?

Certainly, we’ve gotten some pushback, but what I tell the average clinical faculty member is: “OK, if you like doing appendectomies using an old method because you like it, and you’re really good at it, but it’s really not the best method for the patient, would you do it?” Of course, the answer is always no. And then you turn around and say, “Well this method of teaching is actually not as good as other methods. Would you do that?” When confronted with a question like that, medical faculty typically tend to understand and agree.

I first heard about Active Learning at Minerva — my CCA students have been great beneficiaries.

It’s a lot more work to teach this way, but in my anecdotal experience, it’s substantially more effective, in large part beacuse students have a teacher and other students available when they get stuck doing something.

‘Please Forgive Us at Blue Apron for This Week’s Meals. We’ve Been Having a Tough Time Lately’

Lucy Huber, writing for McSweeney’s:

This box contains the ingredients and recipes for this week’s Blue Apron meals. We know you’ve come to expect a high standard of quality from Blue Apron and normally we are happy to provide you with the best quality recipes and ingredients possible, but look, stuff has been rough for everyone lately and we’re doing our best. Things kind of got away from us this week.


‘Lyme Disease’s Worst Enemy? It Might Be Foxes’

Amy Harmon, writing for the New York Times:

Interestingly, the predator activity in Dr. Hofmeester’s plots did not decrease the density of the mouse population itself, as some ecologists had theorized it might. Instead, the lower rates of infected ticks, Dr. Hofmeester suggested in the paper, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, may be the result of small mammals curtailing their own movement when predators are around.

The ecologists must have theorized multiple possible mechanisms of action.

I wonder what else was on their list.

‘Is This the Next Green Revolution?’

Marla Broadfoot, writing for Scientific American:

Typically a plant can detect when pests are afoot by the presence of special chemicals called elicitors in the saliva of chewing insects. Gary Felton, an entomologist at Pennsylvania State University, and his colleagues discovered that some beetles and caterpillars can mask these telltale molecules by spitting up gut microbes onto the leaf, tricking the plant into reacting as if it were bathed in bacteria rather than ravaged by bugs. The misguided response to microbes actually disrupts the plant’s ability to defend against insects.

Fascinating stuff.

As a non-expert, the complexity of biological systems in the wild often feels to me that it defies our ability to manipulate it. Take antibacterial resistance, for example: how does it take a specific baterial population to develop resitance to a specific antibacterial? Does resistance always appear?

We can understand a system and yet not know how a new input will modify it. Do we win these battles because we can adapt to new system states faster than the system overcomes our new inputs?

‘She was the PTA mom everyone knew. Who would want to harm her?’

Holy cow.

A good reminder that people like this exist.

‘Bernie Sanders’s New Political Group Is Met by Staff Revolt’

Alan Rappeport and Yamiche Alcindor, writing for the New York Times:

A principal concern among backers of Mr. Sanders, whose condemnation of the campaign finance system was a pillar of his presidential bid, is that the group can draw from the same pool of “dark money” that Mr. Sanders condemned for lacking transparency.

Politician acts hypocritically. News at 11.

‘Dinner, Disrupted’

Daniel Duane, writing for the New York Times:

One delicious irony, for Californians of a certain age, is the inversion of an old joke about Northern Californians hating the superficial glitz of Los Angeles and Los Angelenos never thinking much about Northern California. This made sense for the mid-to-late 20th century, when the entertainment and defense industries secured Southern California’s place at the center of West Coast economic power. Now Los Angeles is where San Franciscans move when they can’t afford Oakland. Every young artist and musician I meet in San Francisco tells me that he or she wants to move south for cheap rent and a better creative scene.

Sad but true.

Matthew Broussard on Conan

This self-styled “douche” is hilarious!

‘Who Are All These Trump Supporters?’

George Saunders, writing for the New Yorker:

It’s viral, and Trump is Typhoid Mary. Intellectually and emotionally weakened by years of steadily degraded public discourse, we are now two separate ideological countries, LeftLand and RightLand, speaking different languages, the lines between us down. Not only do our two subcountries reason differently; they draw upon non-intersecting data sets and access entirely different mythological systems. You and I approach a castle. One of us has watched only “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the other only “Game of Thrones.” What is the meaning, to the collective “we,” of yon castle? We have no common basis from which to discuss it. You, the other knight, strike me as bafflingly ignorant, a little unmoored. In the old days, a liberal and a conservative (a “dove” and a “hawk,” say) got their data from one of three nightly news programs, a local paper, and a handful of national magazines, and were thus starting with the same basic facts (even if those facts were questionable, limited, or erroneous). Now each of us constructs a custom informational universe, wittingly (we choose to go to the sources that uphold our existing beliefs and thus flatter us) or unwittingly (our app algorithms do the driving for us). The data we get this way, pre-imprinted with spin and mythos, are intensely one-dimensional. (As a proud knight of LeftLand, I was interested to find that, in RightLand, Vince Foster has still been murdered, Dick Morris is a reliable source, kids are brainwashed “way to the left” by going to college, and Obama may yet be Muslim. I expect that my interviewees found some of my core beliefs equally jaw-dropping.)

We are not one America.

‘Why European Children Are So Much Quieter Than Yours’

Carrie Lukas, writing for Acculturated:

The differences in the use of public spaces explain behaviors outside of the playground too. Americans find it jarring when they are sitting at a European café or restaurant and someone takes the empty seat at their table. If someone is sharing our space, we assume we have to interact. Europeans presume that they and others will enjoy privacy even in close quarters. Just as American parents teach their children to look people in the eye and politely greet them, European children are taught how to interact quietly to avoid bothering people around them.

Interesting analysis.

‘This Is Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer’

Spectacularly accruate!