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Neurobiological studies show that mathematical formulas stimulate the same parts of the brain as music and art do; a writer questions our surveillance nightmares; meanwhile, gay youth find solace on the Internet. These discoveries and more after the jump.

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The country suffers an impoverishment of ideas and analysis at a moment when we desperately need radical voices to make sense of the corporate destruction of the global economy and the ecosystem.The country suffers an impoverishment of ideas and analysis at a moment when we desperately need radical voices.

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan feels that "we're lying to our children" when we accept low student achievement standards, a policy that sees many states promoting children to the next grade despite being inept at reading and math. Also, Santa isn't real.

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Let me begin by raising a glass of champagne to the official closing of the math gap. It turns out that girls do not lack the math gene. Nor are they math-phobic. Nor is there any "intrinsic" difference -- thank you, Larry Summers -- between the abilities of girls and boys to succeed in the numbers business.

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NBC political director Chuck Todd, basking in hypotheticals, repeatedly explains that, while it simply isn't done, "if we called things like this you would say, 'OK, the pledged delegate count is over' " Guess which of the candidates featured this video on his YouTube channel?.

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The president may be urging algebra and chemistry on high-schoolers, but his administration can't run away from the chilling effect it has had on scientific inquiry For example, a young presidential appointee at NASA ordered Web designers to append the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang (scroll half-way down the article)
Wanna know what it takes to become a NASA spokesman? Well, it doesn't hurt to write columns linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, or insisting that Rumsfeld had nothing to do with the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandals.

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