News and Features

Awesome social science reads: #TDOPicks of the week

Editor’s Note: This week, starting on Sunday, we bring you #TDOPicks: our choice of the most interesting news and features on social sciences this week. Tell us what you’re reading by tweeting @DailyOpium with #TDOPicks.

“Technology shortens language, but the meaning stays,” Kim Magi, The Record.

When teenagers shorten and abbreviate their messages, the language they use can go over some adults’ heads. But the meaning of their words isn’t lost at all, says a University of Toronto linguistics professor.

“In fact, what teenagers are doing is banal,” Tagliamonte said. “Absolutely everything you heard about is teenagers littering their speech with acronyms and it’s just not true. There’s a difference between the form and its function.”

“Sex, Economics, and Austerity,” Jeet Heer, The American Prospect.

A cultural historian unpacks the long tradition of making homophobic slurs against the economist John Maynard Keynes and argues, maybe rightly, that economics is inseparable from life’s most intimate details, including sex.

“Keynes was not childless by choice. He and Lydia Lopokova wanted to have a larger family, but failed due to a heart-breaking miscarriage. Moreover, childless people of any sexual orientation are more than capable of caring about the future of the species. Would we want to dismiss such famous non-parents as Immanuel Kant, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, and Beethoven, not to mention Christ, of being exclusively focused on the present moment?”

“The Philippine Electoral Almanac,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

The Malacañang communications office has prepared this detailed yet accessible compilation charting the country’s electoral history, covering most national elections, referendums, and plebiscites.

“Kids of Tiger Moms Get Lower Grades and More Depressed,” Paul Tullis, Slate Magazine.

A major study indicates that “tiger mom” parenting doesn’t work:

“Children of parents whom Kim classified as ‘tiger’ had lower academic achievement and attainment—and greater psychological maladjustment—and family alienation, than the kids of parents characterized as ‘supportive’ or ‘easygoing.'”

“From Winterfell to King’s Landing,” Frank Jacobs, Foreign Policy Magazine.

One of our favorite bloggers, Frank Jacobs of Strange Maps, writes a quick overview of the geography of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (brought to life on the small screen as HBO’s Game of Thrones):

“One of many similarities with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings cycle is not just the reliance on maps as guides to the story, but even the look and feel of them. Like Tolkien, who created the maps that illustrated The Hobbit and the Ring trilogy, Martin himself assumed the role of First Cartographer, and his own maps appear in the books. Even though Martin is a Bayonne-born New Jersey boy, his anglophilia is evident in his reverence for Tolkien’s trailblazing tale — maps and all — and the inspiration by certain key moments in British history.”