Student Reading: Runaway stows in the wheel well of an airplane..

And survives!

What a crazy story. Even crazier, from the article,

Since 1947, there have been 105 people who have similarly stowed away in wheel wells of passenger aircraft.


Can you guess how many of those lived?


I can’t believe it. That’s a < 25 % chance of surviving. And that means more than one person each year has tried it. Blows my mind. Can you guess what the survivors have in common? Read, read, to find out:

Santa Clara teen stowaway’s survival in jet’s wheelwell was literally death-defying, by Robert Salonga in The San Jose Mercury News


Student Reading: How Athletes Strategically Use Caffeine

One of my students took a double shot of espresso before his ACT and swore he performed better. I myself am super sensitive to caffeine, so this would be a relatively risky proposal for me to try, but for all of you who are not, perhaps it is worth considering.

This article features on those of a different type, though: professional athletes, specifically those of the Ironman Triathlon kind, the most grueling triathlon out there. At least so I’ve heard.

As always, please read the first paragraph of the article. Although I bet you’ll want to read more.

 How Athletes Strategically Use Caffeine, by Murray Carpenter in The Atlantic


Student Reading: What You Eat Could Be Wrecking Your Relationships

In hindsight, it seems a little obvious that going hungry would make us a bit angry. However, this study on married couples still is rather enlightening. And even more so when we consider that blood pressure spikes can be caused by what we eat, not just how we eat. Food that is more difficult to process tends to lead to fewer spikes and drops, at least from what I understand. I am no expert, but easily digestible foods (cakes, white breads, etc) top the list of items to avoid if we want to maintain our blood sugar.

And beyond our relationships, this can impact our tests, our sports, our everything, really. Imagine you’re in the middle of the SAT and your blood sugar drops. Suddenly you find yourself getting mad at how challenging the questions are instead of thinking through how to do them. You miss a question you would have gotten if you were able to allocate your brain resources well. And there’s a drop in score, in just one question, with just one poor choice of what to eat that morning before the test.

Fascinating stuff, really.

How Your Blood Sugar Could Be Wrecking Your Marriage, by David DiSalvo in Forbes


Student Reading: Tracing a Measles Outbreak using an online calendar

Hello, students!

This article follows the trail of one anonymous young woman who unknowingly contracted and then spread measles. Authorities used her calendar to trace her steps to determine who might have contracted measles from her so as to help stifle the outbreak.


Of course, if you were vaccinated against measles, you’re ok. But if you’re not, were you at Pikes Place market, a bakery, or a Kings of Leon concert on March 28 in Seattle?


As always, please read the first paragraph of every article.

Measles At A Rock Concert Goes Viral In A Bad Way, by Nancy Shute in NPR


Some More Information about the New SAT

The CollegeBoard has decided to release some more information about the upcoming changes to the SAT. There’s a lot of information out there right now, and it seems like each article offers something different to learn, which means CollegeBoard must have released a lot of information!

To see the source, go here: Delivering Opportunity and to sign up for updates, go here: Updates.

If however, you don’t want to root around the actual website and instead want to read what others have to say, you can check out some of these articles:

Revised SAT Won’t Include Obscure Vocabulary Words, by Tamar Lewin at The New York Times

CollegeBoard Provides a Glimpse of the New SAT, by Kimberly Hefling at Associated Press

Previewing the New SAT, by Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed

CollegeBoard Releases Preview of New SAT Exam Questions, by Nick Anderson at The Washington Post


Student Reading: Bill Murray awesomeness

I love Bill Murray. It’s hard not to. It’s hard to even find the right words to describe his comedic genius. I think Groundhog Day, I think Royal Tenenbaums, I think of his around the country tour of parties, I think even of his interviews. For another peak into the life of Bill Murray, I offer you this interview from Esquire, arguably the best source of interviews out there.

Bill Murray on Acting in a Wes Anderson Movie, by R. Kurt Osenlund in Esquire.

Fun fact: Did you know Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson were freshman roommates in college?


Test Prep Strategy: Winning Ugly

In tennis, we often use a phrase called “winning ugly.” I’ve heard it used elsewhere, too, but not as much as in the tennis world. Winning ugly is exactly as it sounds: win despite how you look, win even if you play uglier than your opponent. Now this doesn’t imply cheating or breaking the rules in any way, let’s be clear about that. Instead, it implies hitting the ball back one more time than your opponent, even if it’s an ugly backhanded chip shot that barely makes it over. It implies not caring what you look like, sound like, or feel like, so long as you win.

Applying that to the SAT or ACT, what does this concept mean? It means not always doing the question “the right way.” Maybe you’re staring down a question in algebra that you only half remember. You can get the first step or two, but then you’re stuck. At this point, you think maybe you should move on. 

But this isn’t winning ugly. This is actually just losing. You now only have a 1/5 shot of guessing that question correctly now, 20%. Not very good odds.

Winning ugly is about forcing yourself in there to see if you can eliminate some of those answers. It means reasoning through the possibility of a few of them. It means trying a few of the answers out, if you can. Even if you eliminate one answer, we’re looking at a 25% shot now. But if you eliminate it down to two answers, you have a 50% shot! Do that for a couple questions and your score could be in a completely different band than if you hadn’t. There are actually quite a few questions on the math test that you can work your way into the right answer by elimination alone. I’ve seen students bump up their scores 4 points on this willingness alone.

If you can do any given problem the “right way”, then by all means, go for it. But if you can’t, make sure you win anyway. Given the choice between losing pretty and winning ugly, choose to win every time.


Student Reading: Why You Look Like Your Dog

Happy Monday, students!

As most of you all have dogs, I assume you’ll like this one. The article provides some explanations as to why you (or someone in your family) looks like your dog. It’s not just a saying, it actually holds. I just google-imaged the phenomenon, and it’s pretty entertaining. I encourage you to do so as well!


Why You Look Like Your Dog, by Sarah Yager in The Atlantic


Student Reading: A Better Jet Lag App

Howdy students,

I just caught wind of a better jet lag app that will tell you exactly what schedule to adhere to when traveling between time zones. Actually, I didn’t know there even were apps for this, but now that I do, this one’s the best out there because of its reliance on math and rigorous testing.

This will be perfect for all of you on your spring break trips.

This Jet Lag App Does The Math So You’ll Feel Better Faster by Linda Poon in NPR