By Fareed Zakaria
“‘The good news is that more and more kids are going to college,’ said Carnevale, the director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. ‘The bad news is that higher education is becoming more and more stratified,’” writes Frank Bruni in the New York Times.
“In 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, roughly 75 percent of the students at the 200 most highly rated colleges came from families in the top quartile of income, he said. Only 5 percent came from families in the bottom quartile, and while that’s up from 3 percent in 1994, it’s no huge advance or cause to rejoice.
“Carnevale told me that since 1994, 80 percent of the white young men and women in this country who have headed off to college have gone to schools ranked in the top 500 by Barron’s. But 75 percent of the black and Latino young men and women who have entered college over the same period have gone to two-year or open-admissions schools outside the top 500.”
“To a certain extent, [the] lack of enthusiasm is hard-wired into the structure of the European Union. For starters, the European Parliament has not traditionally had much power,” argues Tom Clougherty in Reason. “It still can't initiate legislation, which is the sole preserve of the European Commission, the EU's permanent bureaucracy. What's more, the European Parliament—which houses representatives from more than 100 national parties, grouped into 12 European parties, and then grouped again into seven different alliances – feels very remote to most voters. What power the European Parliament does have is often exercised through back-room deals concluded by politicians the voters don't know, on behalf of parties and alliances they've never heard of. A vibrant democracy this most certainly is not.”
“And yet the 2014 elections – which begin on Thursday in the UK and the Netherlands – may be different.”
“Would You Kill the Fat Man? is the title of a recent book about a set of moral problems that philosophers like to ponder, and psychologists to put to their experimental subjects,” writes The Economist. “In the canonical form, you are on a footbridge watching a trolley speeding down a track that will kill five unsuspecting people. You can push a fat man over the bridge onto the tracks to save the five.”
“…Most people quail at the idea of shoving the man to his death. But alter the scenario a bit, and reactions change…[And] there are other ways to nudge people’s judgments, too. A rather counter-intuitive one was reported in a paper published last month in PLOS ONE, a journal. In it, Albert Costa of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain, and his colleagues, found that the language in which the dilemma is posed can alter how people answer. Specifically, when people are asked the fat-man question in a foreign language, they are more likely to kill him for the others’ sake.”
“Dr. Costa and his colleagues interviewed 317 people, all of whom spoke two languages – mostly English plus one of Spanish, Korean or French. Half of each group were randomly assigned the dilemma in their native tongue. The other half answered the problem in their second language. When asked in their native language, only 20 percent of subjects said they would push the fat man. When asked in the foreign language, the proportion jumped to 33 percent.”