Tag Archives | Literacy

RNC Chair Candidates Stumped When Asked To Name Favorite Book

How do you silence a politician? Ask them to name their favorite book. Republican Party leaders are not bullish on reading, apparently, because when Tucker Carlson floated the question to the candidates for Chair of the Republican National Committee at their January 3 debate, it elicited the sound of crickets, followed by a range of awful, stammered non-answers. My favorite response is from Michael Steele, who blurts out, “War and Peace,” and then misquotes Charles Dickens.

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Did Literacy Steal Brain Power From Other Functions?

Warning: Reading this may cause parts of your brain to become powerless. From Ars Technica:

The human brain contains many regions that are specialized for processing specific decisions and sensory inputs. Many of these are shared with our fellow mammals (and, in some cases, all vertebrates), suggesting that they are evolutionarily ancient specializations. But innovations like writing have only been around for a few thousand years, a time span that’s too short relative to human generations to allow for this sort of large evolutionary change. In the absence of specialized capabilities, how has it become possible for such large portions of the population to become literate?

The authors of a paper that will be released by Science today suggest two possible alternatives to explain this widespread literacy. Either reading is similar enough to something that our brains could already do that it’s processed by existing structures, or literacy has “stolen” areas of the brain that used to be involved in other functions.

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