Monday, August 29, 2011

Majority of Americans say Dr. King's dream has been realized

Well, a slim majority. On the eve of the opening of Martin Luthor King's new memorial in DC, 51% of Americans say his dream of racial equality has been realized. 23% say major progress has been made, another 23% say minor progress has been made, and only 3% say no progress has been made. I created a chart:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What drug epidemic?

How many Americans use illegal drugs? The numbers are probably much lower than you think.

Only 8 percent of Americans have used any illicit drugs in the past month. If you subtract marijuana from the equation, it drops to 4 percent. And most of that 4 percent is accounted for by the nonmedical use of pain relievers.

So that's the epidemic: About 4 percent of Americans using marijuana, 4 percent using pain relievers when they shouldn't, and 92 percent sitting at home knitting and playing Jenga, without any drugs whatsoever (except alcohol and tobacco, of course.)

What about meth? "Meth epidemic" gives us 1,860,000 Google results, including a Newsweek cover article of that name. But only 0.3 percent of Americans have used methamphetamines in the past month. The number was so low that federal researchers changed the survey and did it again, only to confirm the low result.

Source: Bet You Didn't Know, by Cheryl Russell.

"What happened to our market?" - other Jesse

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What grade would you give our public schools?

Everyone knows our schools are failing. In fact, in a "report card" survey taken a few years ago, a paltry 16 percent of Americans gave the nation's public schools an A or a B.

But the more interesting results from that survey came when people were asked to rank their local schools: a much larger 45 percent gave them an A or B.

Even more interesting, when asked to rate the school their own child attends, fully 67 percent awarded them an A or a B.

What's going on here? It's simple: when we rate our local school, we know what we're talking about, and when we rate the nation's schools, we don't. We don't have first-hand knowledge, only snippets we've heard from the mass media. And the mass media doesn't do reports titled, "Nation's schools not that bad; many parents satisfied."

Source: Bet You Didn't Know, by Cheryl Russell.

PS. Here's some more education news beyond our borders, from Charles Kenny in Getting Better:

Ratio of female to male literacy worldwide: 59%80%
Literacy in sub-Saharan Africa: 28%61%

PPS. This stock photo was described as "a young boy looks up with excitement and happiness with his A+ grade" but I think it equally could have been known as "a young boy curses the universe and vows revenge as his heavy backpack causes him to topple backwards."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Radio interview with Patricia Raskin's Positive Living

A few days ago, I had the honor of being a guest on Patricia Raskin's radio show, Positive Living, on VoiceAmerica. Her tagline is "changing attitudes with positive buzz" so it was a perfect fit for The Secret Peace. Take a listen to the episode below (it's about 25 minutes long):

Or, download the MP3 file here.

Thanks for having me on the show, Patricia!