Happy Friday to everyone,

As I’m sure it is for all of you, sleep is incredibly important to my mental and physical health, but I seem to not have enough time. My roommate turned me on to this article that discusses how our body feels rested and gives advice on how to get better sleep. Here is the gist: 1) More important than the number of hours of sleep you get is the time during your sleep cycle that you wake up (wake up at a time that let you sleep for a 90 minute interval) 2) Lots of advice on how to sleep best JC

So I know the last thing I sent out was on education, but oh well, because it’s a serious problem and this video is fantastic, both in style and content.  I hope you enjoy!


The Judge Rakoff thing is a tiny step in the right direction…we’ll see if other judges follow suit or if the SEC just shreds the docs for their new cases along with the old. Until then here’s just another reason to be pessimistic:

If I got to pick one. Either complete transparency and regulation of wall st OR completely remove lobbying and campaign funds from politics I’d have to think long and hard.


Amazing. Loved it, MM.  Posted on the blog :D
It’s strength is in the way that the issue is tackled. It draws the viewer in with a human, emotional and universal story - one nobody can stand against - and then throws in the controvercial issue at the end so that the viewer is obliged to see it objectively, or feel guilty otherwise. Great storytelling.
DD, the format isn’t new, it’s one that’s been used in advertising quite a bit. First person, hand held camera, is a great way to make the footage feel intimate, and to share a lived experience. 
Check out this series of tv commercials called ‘live the language’ for Learning First. (They do study abroad programs where you learn a language in a city that speaks it.) No controvercial issues here, but it’s one of my favorite campaigns. Though these are shot slightly differently than the ad mikey sent out, they do an equally nice job of sharing a lived experience. They give u a taste of what you can expect from the program, both in terms of living in the city, and learning the language. Brilliant. 
This is the link for Barcelona. They have them for a long list of cities!
Hope you all enjoy!


[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - May]


Time to Ditch the College-for-All Crusade?

by Robert J. Samuelson

     The college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it. Like the crusade to make all Americans homeowners, it’s now doing more harm than good. It looms as the largest mistake in educational policy since World War II, even though higher education’s expansion also ranks as one of America’s great postwar triumphs.
     Consider. In 1940, fewer than 5 percent of Americans had a college degree. Going to college was “a privilege reserved for the brightest or the most affluent” high-school graduates, wrote Diane Ravitch in her history of U.S. education, “The Troubled Crusade.” No more. At last count, roughly 40 percent of Americans had some sort of college degree: about 30 percent a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution; the rest associate degrees from community colleges.
     Starting with the GI Bill in 1944, governments at all levels promoted college. From 1947 to 1980, enrollments jumped from 2.3 million to 12.1 million. In the 1940s, private colleges and universities accounted for about half. By the 1980s, state schools — offering heavily subsidized tuitions — represented nearly four-fifths. Aside from a democratic impulse, the surge reflected “the shift in the occupational structure to professional, technical, clerical and managerial work,” noted Ravitch. The economy demanded higher skills; college led to better-paying jobs.
     College became the ticket to the middle class, the be-all-and-end-all of K-12 education. If you didn’t go to college, you’d failed. Improving “access” — having more students go to college — drove public policy.
     We overdid it. The obsessive faith in college has backfired.
     For starters, we’ve dumbed down college. The easiest way to enroll and retain more students is to lower requirements. Even so, dropout rates are high; at four-year schools, fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate within six years. Many others aren’t learning much.
     In a recent book, “Academically Adrift,” sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that 45 percent of college students hadn’t significantly improved their critical thinking and writing skills after two years; after four years, the proportion was still 36 percent. Their study was based on a test taken by 2,400 students at 24 schools requiring them to synthesize and evaluate a block of facts. The authors blame the poor results on lax academic standards. Surveyed, one-third of the same students said that they studied alone five or fewer hours a week; half said they had no course the prior semester requiring 20 pages of writing.
     Still, most of these students finished college, though many are debt-ridden. Persistence counts. The larger — and overlooked — consequence of the college obsession is to undermine high schools. The primacy of the college-prep track marginalizes millions of students for whom it’s disconnected from “real life” and unrelated to their needs. School bores and bothers them. Teaching them is hard, because they’re not motivated. But they also make teaching the rest harder. Their disaffection and periodic disruptions drain teachers’ time and energy. The climate for learning is poisoned.
     That’s why college-for-all has been a major blunder. One size doesn’t fit all, as sociologist James Rosenbaum of Northwestern University has argued. The need is to motivate the unmotivated. One way is to forge closer ties between high school and jobs. Yet, vocational education is de-emphasized and disparaged. Apprenticeship programs combining classroom and on-the-job training — programs successful in Europe — are sparse. In 2008, about 480,000 workers were apprentices, or 0.3 percent of the U.S. labor force, reports economist Robert Lerman of American University. Though not for everyone, more apprenticeships could help some students.
     The rap against employment-oriented schooling is that it traps the poor and minorities in low-paying, dead-end jobs. Actually, an unrealistic expectation of college often traps them into low-paying, dead-end jobs — or no job. Learning styles differ. “Apprenticeship in other countries does a better job of engaging students,” says Lerman. “We want to diversify the routes to rewarding careers.” Downplaying these programs denies some students the pride and self-confidence of mastering difficult technical skills, while also fostering labor shortages.
     There’s much worrying these days that some countries (examples: South Korea, Norway, Japan) have higher college­attendance rates, including post-secondary school technical training, than we do. This anxiety is misplaced. Most jobs — 69 percent in 2010, estimates the Labor Department — don’t require a post-high-school degree. They’re truck drivers, store clerks, some technicians. On paper, we’re turning out enough college graduates to meet our needs.
     The real concern is the quality of graduates at all levels. The fixation on college-going, justified in the early postwar decades, stigmatizes those who don’t go to college and minimizes their needs for more vocational skills. It cheapens the value of a college degree and spawns the delusion that only the degree — not the skills and knowledge behind it — matters. We need to rethink.


This will definitely be of interest to all the new yorkers on the list: Also any fans of art and/or Craigslist’s Missed Connections section Enjoy :) MM

[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - Apr 29th]

From WSJ: 

Class of 2012,

I became sick of commencement speeches at about your age. My first job out of college was writing speeches for the governor of Maine. Every spring, I would offer extraordinary tidbits of wisdom to 22-year-olds—which was quite a feat given that I was 23 at the time. In the decades since, I’ve spent most of my career teaching economics and public policy. In particular, I’ve studied happiness and well-being, about which we now know a great deal. And I’ve found that the saccharine and over-optimistic words of the typical commencement address hold few of the lessons young people really need to hear about what lies ahead. Here, then, is what I wish someone had told the Class of 1988:

1. Your time in fraternity basements was well spent. The same goes for the time you spent playing intramural sports, working on the school newspaper or just hanging with friends. Research tells us that one of the most important causal factors associated with happiness and well-being is your meaningful connections with other human beings. Look around today. Certainly one benchmark of your postgraduation success should be how many of these people are still your close friends in 10 or 20 years.

2. Some of your worst days lie ahead. Graduation is a happy day. But my job is to tell you that if you are going to do anything worthwhile, you will face periods of grinding self-doubt and failure. Be prepared to work through them. I’ll spare you my personal details, other than to say that one year after college graduation I had no job, less than $500 in assets, and I was living with an elderly retired couple. The only difference between when I graduated and today is that now no one can afford to retire.

3. Don’t make the world worse. I know that I’m supposed to tell you to aspire to great things. But I’m going to lower the bar here: Just don’t use your prodigious talents to mess things up. Too many smart people are doing that already. And if you really want to cause social mayhem, it helps to have an Ivy League degree. You are smart and motivated and creative. Everyone will tell you that you can change the world. They are right, but remember that “changing the world” also can include things like skirting financial regulations and selling unhealthy foods to increasingly obese children. I am not asking you to cure cancer. I am just asking you not to spread it.

4. Marry someone smarter than you are. When I was getting a Ph.D., my wife Leah had a steady income. When she wanted to start a software company, I had a job with health benefits. (To clarify, having a “spouse with benefits” is different from having a “friend with benefits.”) You will do better in life if you have a second economic oar in the water. I also want to alert you to the fact that commencement is like shooting smart fish in a barrel. The Phi Beta Kappa members will have pink-and-blue ribbons on their gowns. The summa cum laude graduates have their names printed in the program. Seize the opportunity!

5. Help stop the Little League arms race. Kids’ sports are becoming ridiculously structured and competitive. What happened to playing baseball because it’s fun? We are systematically creating races out of things that ought to be a journey. We know that success isn’t about simply running faster than everyone else in some predetermined direction. Yet the message we are sending from birth is that if you don’t make the traveling soccer team or get into the “right” school, then you will somehow finish life with fewer points than everyone else. That’s not right. You’ll never read the following obituary: “Bob Smith died yesterday at the age of 74. He finished life in 186th place.”

6. Read obituaries. They are just like biographies, only shorter. They remind us that interesting, successful people rarely lead orderly, linear lives.

7. Your parents don’t want what is best for you. They want what is good for you, which isn’t always the same thing. There is a natural instinct to protect our children from risk and discomfort, and therefore to urge safe choices. Theodore Roosevelt—soldier, explorer, president—once remarked, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Great quote, but I am willing to bet that Teddy’s mother wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer.

8. Don’t model your life after a circus animal. Performing animals do tricks because their trainers throw them peanuts or small fish for doing so. You should aspire to do better. You will be a friend, a parent, a coach, an employee—and so on. But only in your job will you be explicitly evaluated and rewarded for your performance. Don’t let your life decisions be distorted by the fact that your boss is the only one tossing you peanuts. If you leave a work task undone in order to meet a friend for dinner, then you are “shirking” your work. But it’s also true that if you cancel dinner to finish your work, then you are shirking your friendship. That’s just not how we usually think of it.

9. It’s all borrowed time. You shouldn’t take anything for granted, not even tomorrow. I offer you the “hit by a bus” rule. Would I regret spending my life this way if I were to get hit by a bus next week or next year? And the important corollary: Does this path lead to a life I will be happy with and proud of in 10 or 20 years if I don't get hit by a bus.

10. Don’t try to be great. Being great involves luck and other circumstances beyond your control. The less you think about being great, the more likely it is to happen. And if it doesn’t, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being solid.

Good luck and congratulations.

— Adapted from “10½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said,” by Charles Wheelan. To be published May 7 by W.W. Norton & Co.


[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - Apr 1st]

#NationalPoetryMonth Thread!


Another first-time submitter - this is an amazing thread! I’ve loved this poem since high school - I actually wrote it out and put it on my bedroom door, and my mom has left it there to this day - but it was only recently that I started to understand what it would be like to feel this way about another person.

Bei Dao, A Bouquet:

Between me and the world
You are a bay, a sail
The faithful ends of a rope
You are a fountain, a wind
A shrill childhood cry

Between me and the world
You are a picture frame, a window
A field covered with wildflowers
You are a breath, a bed
A night that keeps the stars company

Between me and the world
You are a calendar, a compass
A ray of light that slips through the gloom
You are a biographical sketch, a bookmark
A preface that comes at the end

Between me and the world
You are a gauze curtain, a mist
A lamp shining into my dreams
You are a bamboo flute, a song without words
A closed eyelid carved in stone

Between me and the world
You are a chasm, a pool
An abyss plunging down
You are a balustrade, a wall
A shield’s eternal pattern.


[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - Apr 1st]

#NationalPoetryMonth Thread!


First time sender… love this email group!

Here’s one of my favorites: Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - Apr 1st]

#NationalPoetryMonth Thread!


We Are Responsible Ina Hughes
We are responsible for children  Who put chocolate fingers everywhere  Who like to be tickled  Who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants  Who sneak popsicles before dinner  Who erase holes in their math workbooks  Who can never find their shoes  But we are also responsible for those  Who stare at photographers from behind broken windows  Who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers  Who are born in places we would not be caught dead  Who live in an X-rated world  We are responsible for children  Who bring us sticky fingers and fistfuls of dandelions  Who sleep with the dog, and bury goldfish  Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money  Who cover themselves with band aids and sing off key  Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink  But we are also responsible for those  Who never get dessert  Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them  Who watch their parents watch them suffer  Who can’t find any bread to steal  Who don’t have rooms to clean  Whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser  Whose monsters are real  We are responsible for children  Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday  Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and who pick at their food  Who like ghost stories  Who shove dirty clothing under the bed, and never rinse out the tub  Who get visits from the tooth fairy  Who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool  Who squirm in church and scream on the phone  Who’s tears sometimes make us laugh and who’s smiles can make us cry  And we are responsible for those  Whose nightmares come in the daytime  Who will eat anything  Who have never seen a dentist  Who aren’t spoiled by anybody  Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep  Who live and move, but have no being  We are responsible  For children who want to be carried…and those who must  For those we never give up on…and for those who don’t get a second chance  For those we smother…and for those who will grab the hand  Of anybody kind enough to offer it MK

[Apologies, these are old overdue posts - Apr 1st]

#NationalPoetryMonth Thread!


This is the most fun I have had reading emails :)

I was planning on just sending the first two short poems below - my favorites by Hafiz - but I came across some more that I could not resist sharing.  He wrote these in the 1300s - timeless!

Even after all this time,

the sun never says to the earth,

“You owe me."

Look what happens with a love like that.

It lights the whole sky.



This place where you are right now


God circled on a map for you.


Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move


Against the earth and sky,


The Beloved has bowed there—


Our Beloved has bowed there knowing


You were coming. 

Dropping Keys

The small man

Builds cages for everyone



While the sage,

Who has to duck his head

When the moon is low,

Keeps dropping keys all night long

For the









Do sad people have in




It seems


They have all built a shrine


To the past


And often go there


And do a strange wail and




What is the beginning of




It is to stop being


So religious


Like That.


Imagination Does Not Exist

You should come close to me tonight wayfarer

For I will be celebrating you.

Your beauty still causes me madness,

Keeps the neighbours complaining

When I start shouting in the middle of the night

Because I can’t bear all this joy.

I will be giving birth to suns.

I will be holding forests upside down

Gently shaking soft animals from trees and burrows

Into my lap.

What you conceive as imagination

Does not exist for me.

Whatever you can do in a dream

Or on your mind-canvas

My hands can pull - alive - from my coat pocket.

But let’s not talk about my divine world.

For what I most want to know

Tonight is:

All about




Watch on

One of my favorite TED Talks by Sarah Kay, performance poet:

If interested in catching Sarah and her partner live, upcoming shows are listed here:


Hello All (strangers and friends),

I am going to selfishly use you as a bank of people to discuss a few intimate questions with and hope our lack of knowing eachother will make it more honest/frank. I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about the impact of first-loves and how that impact may linger and mold (or, at the very least, inform) every other relationship we have. I came across this intriguing paragraph by Klosterman (follow the link and it’s the first complete paragraph on that page and then it stops): I’ve tried to have this conversation with close friends, but find that it’s hard to have an honest conversation since we’re trying to protect each other’s feelings. So when I ask them if they think our definition of love is defined by a revisionist-construction of an individual, I inevitably get a response that says “well _____ this”  or “I think you look at ____ like this…” So I want to use you all, who cannot blur your answers with personal context, and ask this question: Do we truly love a template–one created in our own mind with perhaps just a foundation in an individual? Or is this a cynical viewpoint? One that says we don’t actually fall in love with people we meet after our first love, but rather fall in love with how much they fill the love as defined by our original love? Perhaps this is not the purpose of MRYR, but I’d love to hear what you think. And at the very least, think this article is worth a read. Happy Carnival,

Read some old New Yorker issues on a flight last week, and came across this fiction piece. It’s really very good – basically explores 2 characters that both in their own way are dealing with a lot of crazy stuff in their heads. I won’t describe it much more than that as I think it’s more enjoyable to just start reading without knowing much about the story. Very well written, and from very original perspectives. Apologies to those who have read it already :) George Saunder’s Tenth of December Cheers, WS

I recently published a piece on “The Health Care Blog”, a fairly well-respected source of health information in the US. Anyhow, I write about how China’s health care reforms are being undermined by the bad habits that have fueled its growth.

The piece is here. I welcome response, which I will respond to. And if you like it, I wouldn’t be opposed to either a facebook share or a tweet since it would help me with landing future writing gigs at the site.