Each week, members of the WFPL news team spotlight interesting stories we’ve read and enjoyed, for your weekend reading pleasure:
Devin Katayama: “By the beginning of this year, almost half the states required teacher reviews to be based in part on test-score data,” Amanda Ripley writes in The Atlantic. With all the obsession over teaching quality, this story suggests school systems may benefit from including student evaluations of their teachers in the overall evaluation system. Read Why Kids Should Grade Their Teachers.
Gabe Bullard: Budget overruns, cocaine, speakeasies, a subplot about a magical car. This article about the making of the movie Blues Brothers has everything. Read Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers.
Joseph Lord: Louisville saw a spike in homicides in 2012. Task forces have been assembled to address violent crime. New positions are being created. Louisville Metro Police have created a new unit assigned to take aim at the city’s most violent offenders. Though not quite to scale, the situation harkens to the drastic rise in crime in New York and other cities in the latter years of the 20th Century. Was the economy responsible then for crime? A rise in drugs? This Mother Jones story suggests an environmental cause. Read America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead.
Laura Ellis: This profile piece about professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins also gets into the neuroscience of pickpocketing and magic. Most magic tricks work because of what our brains tend to focus on, and how much we can miss when we’re focused on something else. The whole piece is fascinating, but my favorite parts are the beginning, when he picks the pocket of magician Penn Jillette, and the end, when he describes the trick that will be the finale of the autobiographical stage show he wants to put together. I totally want to meet this guy now, and let him pick my pocket. That’s not a euphemism; I want him to steal my stuff. Read A Pickpocket’s Tale.