Five Best Tuesday Columns
Catherine Rampell on women in college, Jonathan Chait on Obamacare victims, Maria Bustillos on Reddit's Satoshi Nakamoto skeptics, Rafael Osio Cabrices on Venezuela, and Allison P. Davis on the worst Bachelor in history.
Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post on women in college. "A message to the nation’s women: Stop trying to be straight-A students. No, not because you might intimidate easily emasculated future husbands. Because, by focusing so much on grades, you might be limiting your earning and learning potential," Rampell writes. "The college majors that tend to lead to the most profitable professions are also the stingiest about awarding A’s. Science departments grade, on a four-point scale, an average of 0.4 points lower than humanities departments, according to a 2010 analysis ... And two new research studies suggest that women might be abandoning these lucrative disciplines precisely because they’re terrified of getting B’s," she explains. "I fear that women are dropping out of fields such as math and computer science not because they’ve discovered passions elsewhere but because they fear delivering imperfection in the 'hard' fields that they (and potential employers) genuinely love." The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova tweets, "Congrats @crampell on a great first column @washingtonpost. Why women should 'embrace meaningful mediocrity' for later success."
Jonathan Chait at New York on the woman who's saving on Obamacare. "Republicans have poured millions of dollars into a Senate ad in Michigan castigating Democratic Senate candidate Gary Peters, who voted for the Affordable Care Act, for done near killing a woman named Julie Boonstra, who has cancer. Boonstra — who also turned out to be the ex-wife of a Republican county chairman — sadly looks into the camera and explains how she had a wonderful insurance plan to treat her cancer, but Obamacare cancelled it, and now she could die," Chait explains. But it turns out that she'll actually save $1,200 a year on Obamacare. "If she doesn't want the money, I'll take it," Chait writes. The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien responds, "Republicans don't like to talk about the real Obamacare victims, because they're wealthy and healthy. So instead, they say that sick people who will be better off under Obamacare are victims. It takes awhile to disprove these fake Obamacare victims, so in the meantime people hear that cancer patients are getting hurt."
Maria Bustillos at The New Yorker on Reddit's Satoshi Nakamoto skeptics. "Reddit loves Bitcoin; Reddit loves a conspiracy theory. So it’s no surprise that the that the widely read online forum ... reacted with rage, delight, shock, and horror at the news, on Thursday, that Newsweek had unmasked Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s mysterious founder," Bustillos writes. "Nobody in the worlds of cryptography and peer-to-peer (P2P) networking had ever been able to identify the Satoshi Nakamoto who invented Bitcoin, though he (or she, or they) had posted on a number of online forums well before Bitcoin was launched," she explains. Now that it appears Newsweek did not find the real Nakamoto, perhaps the media should have listened to Reddit. "Reddit can be absurd, certainly, but on balance its contributors seemed to be on better terms with reality than some media professionals. On Thursday, Dorian Nakamoto’s house was immediately staked out by a flock of reporters. The mild-mannered train enthusiast was eventually whisked to downtown Los Angeles, where he spent two hours convincing the Associated Press that he wouldn’t know a bitcoin if it smacked him with a tire iron," Bustillos writes. Forbes' George Anders tweets, "In the furor about who invented Bitcoin, posters on Reddit become a surprising voice of sanity."
Rafael Osio Cabrices at The New York Times on Venezuela. "The violent demonstrations that have rocked Venezuela for weeks are threatening to wipe out what little democracy is left here after 15 years of systematic erosion by the state," Cabrices explains. "The government of Nicolás Maduro has responded with massive military force, raiding offices and houses without judicial orders, imprisoning civilians in military compounds and applauding the killing of protesters by paramilitary groups." Interestingly, "the riots do not portend a Venezuelan Spring. For the government they are a welcome deflection of public attention from a faltering economy and rising crime. They may even invigorate this flaccid dictatorship," Cabrices argues. "Venezuela isn’t undergoing a revolution. It is going mad." Mashable's Jim Roberts tweets, "Venezuela protests may backfire and invigorate Maduro government."
Allison P. Davis at The Cut on the worst Bachelor in history. The Bachelor, Juan Pablo, picked pediatric nurse Nikki as his girlfriend last night, leaving Clare in the dust in Saint Lucia. But Davis argues that nobody really won, "because Juan Pablo is the worst. The only winners here are viewers: It turns out having a terrible bachelor makes The Bachelor much more interesting." She explains, "Juan Pablo’s unpleasantness goes beyond [the] obvious debacles. On the show, he’s creepy, manipulative, inattentive, and disingenuous ... He speaks to grown women with the same cadence he probably uses with his kindergarten-age daughter. He barely asks the women questions about themselves, and if they display any genuine emotion or bring up 'relationship issues,' he turns into a vacant, blinky toddler. He responds to such overtures with a patronizing 'okay, okay' or perhaps 'you’ve been doing some thinking,' then proceeds to initiate a make-out." So "finally, after 27 seasons of the artifice, sunsets, and evening gowns, viewers got to see what actually happens when The Bachelor is vulnerable and exposed — it wasn't pretty, but it sure made for good television."
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