Is it a bad idea to give every kid a trophy?

I have mixed feelings about the question in the headline above, but teacher Molly Knefel SAYS the answer is no: The disgust that so many adults feel at the idea of everyone getting a trophy has to do with creating incentives. If everyone gets a trophy then no one will try hard; if everyone gets basic food and housing to survive, then no one will work. Of course, this isn’t true. A soccer team full of 10-year-olds who all get participation trophies won’t all sit down and stop playing soccer– the kids who are good at scoring points will still...

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Believe it or not, we’re living through the greatest time in human history

Ezra Klein WRITES: The last 200 years or so have been, by far, the best in human history. Though pockmarked by tragedy, the story, on the whole, is one of relentless triumph: triumph over disease, over poverty, and over early death… What’s easy to forget, though, is that prior to the Industrial Revolution, human lives weren’t constantly improving. Living standard stagnated for decades and centuries. Mass starvation and disease often wiped out improvements in an instant. This is, Bordreaux says, the hockey stick of human...

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This list is sure to include a few of your favorite pop-psychology myths

Do you believe there’s an epidemic of autism in America? Have you heard that opposites attract? Do you think dreams have symbolic meanings? How about the theory that music by Mozart can make your baby a genius? Well, these and other claims are disputed, if not refuted,...

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Certain ethnic and religious groups are more successful and prosperous than others

It might be considered politically incorrect to say so, but Americans of certain ethnic groups or religious backgrounds seem to prosper more than others, as we see HERE: Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners. In the last 30 years, Mormons have become leaders of corporate America, holding top positions in many of America’s most recognizable companies. These facts don’t make some groups “better”...

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The most annoying, overused and abused words of the year

Timothy Egan makes a good case HERE for getting rid of certain words, including this one: GLUTEN-FREE It’s a public service to warn the less than 1 percent of the population who suffer from celiac disease that bakery products might contain something that could make them sick. But putting this label on things that have no connection is a cynical corporate play for clueless consumers who buy something simply because they think it’s healthy. Red Bull boasts of being gluten-free. So is paint...

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