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Archive for Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Latest research just a bunch of tall tales

September 5, 2006

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Random thoughts from the end-of-summer holiday weekend:

¢ A new study from Princeton University suggests that taller people tend to earn higher wages - something that's been long-established - because, well, they're smarter.

"As early as age 3 - before schooling has had a chance to play a role - and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests," say Anne Case and Christina Paxton. "Furthermore, we show that taller adults select into occupations that have higher cognitive skill requirements and lower physical skill demands."

Both scholars, incidentally, are 10 feet tall.

¢ NASA on Thursday chose Lockheed to build the next generation of American spacecraft - a capsule much like the old Apollo spaceships of the 1960s, only bigger, so it can hold more people.

There are good reasons to think that going back to the moon is a waste of our nation's time and resources, but I'll let other people make the case. I'm looking forward to see humans land on the lunar surface in my lifetime; and I'm going to see if I can sneak onto any ship bound for Mars.

¢ On a semi-related note: Just one more month until the newest season of "Battlestar Galactica." Yes, I'm a geek.

¢ Kudos, by the way, to the Hall Center for the Humanities at KU, which sponsored last week's speech by Andrei Codrescu, the writer and NPR commentator.

Codrescu isn't everybody's cup of tea - as evidenced by one angry gentleman who spoke up during the Q&A session, frustrated by the bleak picture of New Orleans that had been presented.

But KU does a wonderful job of bringing in interesting speakers throughout the year, helping make Lawrence a stimulating place to live. In recent years, I've seen Chuck D, Robert Caro, Sherman Alexie, Bill Clinton and others. Good stuff.

¢ It's September, and incredibly, the Royals are still playing. For the sake of fans, players and everybody else: Shouldn't a team's season automatically end when it gets, say, 30 games back of the division leader?

This might muck things up a bit for the remaining teams on the Royals' schedule, but shouldn't there be some kind of mercy rule for all levels of sports - even for the guys making a million dollars a year?

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