Want Geniuses? Welcome Immigrants

If immigrants to the United States were considered their own country, Najam wrote, their tally of Nobels would exceed that of every country but the United States.

.. An article about immigrants in The Atlantic just a few years ago noted that the four United States-based physicists who sounded the 1939 warning about nuclear weapons that led to the Manhattan Project were born outside the United States. The article went on to point out that “immigrants or the children of immigrants have founded or co-founded nearly every legendary American technology company, including Google, Intel, Facebook, and of course Apple (you knew that Steve Jobs’s father was named Abdulfattah Jandali, right?).”

.. among graduates of American colleges, immigrants are twice as likely to receive patents as native-born Americans. Her research further suggests that this doesn’t come at the expense of native-born Americans but in fact stimulates their innovation, too. “You’re bouncing ideas off each other,” Hunt told me.

.. if the foundation took into account children of immigrants as well as immigrants themselves, the percentage of its geniuses that reflects the benefits of immigration would be higher than 21.7. It’s also worth noting that for most of the grant’s history, foreign-born people constituted less than 10 percent of the United States population.

.. I asked her what she made of immigrants’ prevalence among MacArthur geniuses. “I think most of us feel very lucky to be here, so we work extremely hard,” she said. “I think maybe trauma is part of what drives us.” She added that in terms of innovation, “Having the different perspectives, having the different life experiences, makes you see things differently.” Fresh ideas and great art are often born that way.

.. They come with a sort of hunger and a kind of gaze that don’t subtract from what those of us already here have but, instead, add to it. They give us insights, inventions, art. Embracing their genius is the genius of America.

Should Acting Prizes Be Gender-Neutral?

the most newsworthy change for this year’s awards comes in the most routine category: the acting trophies, which will no longer be split up on the basis of gender, but simply given to the “Best Actor in a Movie” and “Best Actor in a Show.”

.. The Grammys long ago dropped this distinction (in 2011), but are helped by the fact that they hand out trophies to performers in 84 different categories. The Oscars only have four acting awards (lead and supporting, male and female), with five nominees for each category. In an industry still rife with institutional sexism, where male stars still dominate the amount of lead roles available, it’s easy to imagine wild gender imbalances from year to year

.. Since then, 15 of the 20 drama awards have gone to men

.. But some might argue that gender-neutral categories could be worth unbalanced nomination lists if they shed more light on Hollywood’s deeper systemic problems—including far fewer speaking roles for actresses and the dearth of female directors.

Angus Deaton: A Skeptical Optimist Wins the Economics Nobel

Over the years, the Swedes have often honored conservative economists who believe in the free market and who criticize well-meaning government programs. More recently, the prize has also gone to scholars who query market forces, such as George Akerlof and Robert Shiller. Deaton’s work can be cited by both sides of the markets-versus-intervention debate. (In a 2014 post, I took issue with some of his approach to inequality.) But inside the field of economics, few question his credentials or his commitment to scholarship.