Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tall Presidents bend the Constitution

"Most presidents have been several inches above the norm for their times, with the five tallest being Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, Thomas Jefferson, and Franklin Roosevelt - suggesting incidentally, that height predicts not just electoral success but perhaps also a propensity to subvert the Constitution. (This statistical anomaly works in the other direction as well; the shortest of American presidents was James Madison, who largely wrote the Constitution.)" - Steven Landsburg

This is in the chapter regarding why beautiful people earn, on average, 5% more and also how being tall is as important a determinant of wages as race or gender. While the defensibility of such a position is pretty ludicrous (especially given the extremely small and unrepresentative sample size of American presidents responding to specific needs of the time - i.e. I doubt Lincoln was thinking to himself after the 1860 election, "Alright! Now I finally get to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for a little while, yes!") but does highlight the entertainment that can come from analyses commonly used in economics. Lastly, during our professional development days this coming week (we have 2 days with no kids), everyone who went to a conference or other form of professional development is giving an "echo" talk to have a time where some of the main ideas from the conferences can be shared and discussed by the staff at large. I think this is an amazing way to increase the effectiveness of PD dollars and am very intrigued to see how these will go! My "echoing" of the Solo Conference is going to be a discussion on increasing student investment and so any best practices would be appreciated as I'm putting together the workshop! I hope everyone is doing well!

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