A new book argues the problem with schools in the U.S. has to do with our cultural outlook on intellect; Jeff Bezos, the new owner of The Washington Post, may be able to teach newspapers a thing or two about the big picture; meanwhile, fast food workers continue to strike, and they’re not budging until their wages do. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Why the World Is Smarter Than Us Why does the U.S. lag behind our peers when it comes to educating our students?

Archaeologist Found This Huge, Beautiful Mayan Frieze Completely Intact in Guatemala Archaeologists have struck upon a “once in a lifetime” find, an incredibly well-preserved 26-by-8-feet frieze buried beneath a temple in Holmul, a jungle-filled pre-Columbian research site in northeastern Guatemala.

26 Years of Growth: Shanghai Then and Now Reuters photographer Carlos Barria recently spent time in Shanghai, China, the fastest-growing city in the world.

Invisible Hand or Thoughtful Design? Ownership and Influence in the Sale of The Washington Post The modern newspaper owner can exert control over their company through the infrastructure and design of the paper, Ananny argues.

76 Countries Where Anti-Gay Laws Are As Bad As Or Worse Than Russia’s It is illegal to be gay in 76 countries. Punishments range from fines to short and lifelong prison sentences, hard labor, forced psychiatric treatment, banishment, whippings, and death by public stoning.

Newspapers Should Be More Like Amazon What’s intriguing about Jeff Bezos, who purchased The Washington Post last week, is not that he’s a digital guy or that he has a lot of money—though both certainly help—but that ever since he founded Amazon, he’s specialized in the long view.

The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not Be as Disruptive as Some Had Imagined In California, the MOOC revolution came to a halt unceremoniously.

Fast-Food Strikes Fight The Slide Into Junk Wages — For All Of Us While President Obama continues his economic speaking tour, walkouts at fast-food restaurants rippled across cities nationwide last week, calling attention to the nation’s growing wealth gap.

Vlad the Impaler Obama may have canceled a summit, but when it comes to power politics there’s only one master.

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