Weekly Roundup 5-5-13

School: A pretty convincing argument about what’s wrong with American education, with suggestions for how to start fixing it.

And…a pretty convincing argument that American education is doing quite well, thank you very much, especially when compared with the rest of the world.

Psychology: Despite the recent focus on deaths resulting from mass shootings, exponentially more people die each year from suicide. In addition, suicide rates in the U.S. have spiked in recent years. Currently more people die annually from suicide than car accidents – a shocking statistic. When you look a little more closely at the numbers, men are by far the largest group to die by suicide; look even closer and you see it’s middle-aged men. Even worse, some experts think suicide is “vastly under-reported” (for a variety of reasons).

This subject has clearly touched a nerve, there are currently 968 comments on the NY Times article about the spike in suicide rates. I’ve read through many of them, and it’s quite hard; a lot of very sad stories are shared. But someone pointed out that if women were killing themselves at the rate men are, it would be a national emergency. I think that’s an excellent point. Is it time we sounded the alarm for this growing crisis affecting men’s mental health?!

Scholarship: I recently discovered Retraction Watch – a blog that tracks scientific articles that are either flagged for concern or have been retracted for a variety of reasons. It’s a little like reading a gossip column about scientists (check out the most retracted scientist of all time! Read about the scientist being investigated for embezzlement! This scientist threatened to sue Retraction Watch!) Be warned: once you start thumbing through the posts, it’s kind of hard to stop!


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