Recently perused articles

Here are some articles that’ve captured my attention in the past few weeks:

  • A piece from The Atlantic on Finnish educational success — apparently they kick ass in international test scores. The writer, using the Fins as an example, also focuses on how the American education system may do best veering away from obsessive standardized testing, its lack of focus on individual needs / creativity, and the fixation upon excellence (for some) over equality (for all) that rests at the heart of the American ethos.
  • A fascinating and lengthy account in The New Yorker from last December on a former California DMV employee named John Quijada who created his own language, Ithkuil, from scratch. It’s even more interesting than it sounds.
  • A review in the TLS of a new biography of the late great scribe David Foster Wallace, incorporating the writers’ works.
  • A particularly encouraging article in The New York Times focusing on the connection between beer (and other lightly fermented beverages) and the start of human civilization, as early as 10,000 years ago: “With the help of the new psychopharmacological brew, humans could quell the angst of defying those herd instincts,” and expand their socio-biological boundaries.