Elizabeth Weil has a longish piece about "teaching boys and girls separately." The alleged benefits of single sex schools have been questioned, and so have the credentials of the "researchers" who have been pushing this initiative. See this post for a critique [link via Brad DeLong].
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Women's colleges in the US, on the other hand, come out on top in a different study: "Graduates of women’s colleges are significantly more likely than women who graduated from other liberal arts colleges or from public flagships to have graduate degrees." This advantage extends to several other parameters as well.
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Have you heard about "embodied cognition"? I hadn't until I came across a couple of articles recently in Boston Globe and the Scientific American blog. The central idea is that our bodies also play a key role in shaping our thinking processes:
Our thoughts are constrained and influenced by the details of our flesh. How you move your arm or leg actually shapes the way you perceive, think and remember.
What is really interesting is the kind of evidence (from cleverly designed experiments) that researchers have managed to unearth to support this view. Neat stuff!
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Sometime ago, a NYTimes story on the origin of General Tso's Chicken (an enormously popular dish in Chinese restaurants in the US) prompted me to look for similar stories about the origin of Gobi Manchurian (an enormously popular dish in Chinese restaurants in India). We now have a worthy follow-up: the origin of fortune cookies!