Daily Bread for 5.8.21 | FREE WHITEWATER
FREE WHITEWATER

Daily Bread for 5.8.21

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 58. Sunrise is 5:38 AM and sunset 8:04 PM, for 14h 25m 50s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 9.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the German Instrument of Surrender signed at Reims comes into effect.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Ben Tractenberg writes of Fighting the Last Free Speech War:

As legal scholar Heidi Kitrosser put it in a 2017 article in the Minnesota Law Review, there has been “tremendous imprecision” in the campus speech debate. “Many commentators,” she explained, “decry political correctness as a threat to free speech but leave unclear whether, by political correctness, they mean campus speech codes, informal social pressures, or something else.”

In other words, the incidents often cited as evidence of the “free-speech crisis” usually don’t involve censorship of speech. In fact, when it comes to actual censorship, today there is little appetite or support for it on either the left or the right. Thus, a recent National Review piece allowed that campus activists on the left no longer “disinvite” speakers with whom they disagree—but accomplish the same thing by not inviting them in the first place.

In The Big Lebowski, the Dude cuts to the chase: It’s “not a First Amendment thing, man.” If you express your ideas and people respond by laughing at you or even calling you a racist, they may be rude or unkind—but no one has trampled on your rights.

Alla Katsnelson reports A Novel Effort to See How Poverty Affects Young Brains:

It’s well established that growing up in poverty correlates with disparities in educational achievement, health and employment. But an emerging branch of neuroscience asks how poverty affects the developing brain.

Over the past 15 years, dozens of studies have found that children raised in meager circumstances have subtle brain differences compared with children from families of higher means. On average, the surface area of the brain’s outer layer of cells is smaller, especially in areas relating to language and impulse control, as is the volume of a structure called the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory.

These differences don’t reflect inherited or inborn traits, research suggests, but rather the circumstances in which the children grew up. Researchers have speculated that specific aspects of poverty — subpar nutrition, elevated stress levels, low-quality education — might influence brain and cognitive development. But almost all the work to date is correlational. And although those factors may be at play to various degrees for different families, poverty is their common root. A continuing study called Baby’s First Years, started in 2018, aims to determine whether reducing poverty can itself promote healthy brain development.

“None of us thinks income is the only answer,” said Dr. Kimberly Noble, a neuroscientist and pediatrician at Teachers College, Columbia University, who is co-leading the work. “But with Baby’s First Years, we are moving past correlation to test whether reducing poverty directly causes changes in children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development.”

Dr. Noble and her collaborators are examining the effects of giving poor families cash payments in amounts that wound up being comparable to those the Biden administration will distribute as part of an expanded child tax credit.

Cat carried away from Scottish polling station:

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