Assorted links

  1. How the aroma of freshly baked bread makes us kinder to strangers– A story in the telegraph about a study demonstrating that fresh baked bread (as well as other pleasant smells) make people kinder to strangers. I know (from experience) that at least one person gets hostile at the smell, though.
  2. Barack Obama and the paradox behind his African-American support base– a story in the Guardian about Obama’s record for the African-American community. It touches upon the issue of whether equality means getting someone elected to office as the final point on the checklist or whether it means changing hearts and minds. It suggests that for many people the former holds true, while the latter has actually taken a step back under Obama’s presidency.
  3. Should Science Majors Pay Less for College Than Arts Majors– An essay in the Atlantic that discusses some of the pitfalls of the proposed Florida legislation that would make liberal arts degrees more expensive than STEM degrees. The article also pointed out that one of the motivators of this may be that Florida lags behind national averages in terms of those degrees.
  4. Driver who drove on pavement to avoid a schoolbus told to wear an “idiot” sign– A woman in Cleveland was filmed by a bus driver driving onto the sidewalk to avoid stopping for the bus unloading children. She is thought to have done this regularly. In addition to a suspended licence, the woman has been told to stand at an intersection with a sign reading “only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”
  5. Ancient Fears: The Return of the Flood Saga– An essay in the New Yorker talking about some of the discussion in the wake of hurricane Sandy as paralleling much of the language in the ancient flood sagas.

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