The Lives Of 27 Year Olds In Charts

20 Something

The Article: Highly Educated, Highly Indebted: The Lives of Today’s 27-Year-Olds, In Charts by Jordan Weissman in The Atlantic.

The Text: What’s are today’s young adults really like? For those who’ve spent too much time gazing into the dark recesses of Thought Catalog or obsessing over “Girls,” the Department of Education has a new report that offers up some enlightening answers.

In the spring of 2002, the government’s researchers began tracking a group of roughly 15,000 high school sophomores—most of whom would be roughly age 27 today—with the intention of following them through early adulthood. Like myself, many of those students graduated college in 2008, just in time to grab a front-row seat for the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the economic gore fest that ensued. In 2012, the government’s researchers handed their subjects an enormous survey about their lives in the real world. Here, I’ve pulled together the most interesting findings.

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Now, Even The Wealthy Are Worried About Inequality

World Economic Forum

The Article: Inequality may spark unrest, Davos elites worry by David Cay Johnston in Al-Jazeera.

The Text: There’s trouble coming as the chasm between the richest of the rich and everyone else continues to widen. So says a report prepared by the World Economic Forum, the nonprofit foundation that hosts its annual conference of business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, popular with the world’s billionaires.

The forum’s 14th annual assessment of risks, issued just ahead of the Davos gathering, makes clear that social instability, whether measured in mere riots or in bloody revolutions, is the likely outcome of increasing inequality.

The report speaks of a lost generation of young people worldwide who are finishing school only to find a paucity of jobs, which in turn creates pressure to lower wages.

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Why Lawyers Kill Themselves

Lawyers Suicide

The Article: Why lawyers are prone to suicide by Patrick Krill in CNN.

The Text: If you accept that all human life has value, and that suicide is a cruel and devastating end, you might conclude that a segment of society whose members are three to six times more likely to kill themselves might deserve some extra attention and resources. Makes sense, right? Of course.

Now, does your answer change at all if I tell you that the group I’m referring to is lawyers? Be honest. And no, this isn’t the setup for a punch line.

Sometimes revered and sometimes reviled, lawyers are both the guardians of your most precious liberties and the butts of your harshest jokes. Inhabiting the unique role of both hero and villain in our cultural imagination, lawyers play a key part in the proper functioning of society while also repelling any tendencies for people to feel sympathy or compassion toward us as human beings.

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Why Stories, Not Science, Explain The World

Stories

The Article: ‘Life Keeps Changing’: Why Stories, Not Science, Explain the World by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic.

The Text: The natural world is a source of wonder and even horror for Jennifer Percy, author of Demon Camp, but science can only explain so much. After Percy read Lawrence Sargent Hall’s “The Ledge” for the first time in college, she dropped her physics major—and started asking questions about story, memory, and narrative. Stories, she now says—invented, reported—better capture the full, complex reality of human beings and our surrounding universe.

In Demon Camp, a work of immersion journalism, Percy tells the story of a rural faith community where people “receive deliverance” through Christian exorcisms. The Covenant Bible Institute is funded, in part, by the efforts of Army Sgt. Caleb Daniels, who came home from Afghanistan suffering from suicidal ideation and frightening hallucinations Percy grounds the story—in which she plays a central role—in the history and science of trauma-induced hysteria. But scholarship is never used to dispute or dispel the visceral “realness” of the demons her haunted subjects live with. Percy’s willingness to entertain her characters’ logic reaches its height in the book’s climax—when she agrees to undergo an exorcism herself. Last week, the New York Times Book Review compared Demon Camp to James Agee’s classic Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

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On Google, Parents Ask About Sons’ Intelligence–And Daughters’ Weight

Google

The Article: Parents Ask Google If Their Sons Are Geniuses And If Their Daughters Are Fat by Amanda Marcotte in Slate.

The Text: One of the unintended consequences of the digital era is that it leaves a historically unprecedented pile of evidence of our innermost thoughts and concerns. Google’s simple search bar has turned into a dumping ground for the questions that we may be afraid to ask out loud, which is why it’s a perfect place to look and see if modern parents, who are often careful to claim publicly that they treat male and female children equally, are privately exerting different expectations and pressures based on gender.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes for the New York Times on his research looking at the different concerns that parents bring to Google when it comes to sons and daughters. He finds, unsurprisingly, that despite a decade-plus of “girl power” cheerleading, parents still believe that what matters about sons is their intelligence and what matters about girls is their looks.

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