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The Week in Ideas 3/17

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  March 17, 2014 09:00 AM

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The poor neglected gifted kid: Amy Crawford on whether we’re squandering an important piece of our national potential by not putting more tax dollars into identifying and cultivating our most gifted kids.

What the GDP doesn’t show about America: Diane Coyle on the limitations of our most widely cited economic metric. GDP is taken as shorthand for the strength of our economy, but there are many ways in which it doesn’t capture how well off we really are. Coyle proposes three other measurements that might give us a more well-rounded picture of how we’re doing as a country: a national balance sheet, a national income ratio, and a national economic “dashboard,” like the ones many businesses use today.

The joy of cooking insects: Chris Wright interviews Marcel Dicke, co-author of the new book, “The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet.” Dicke explains that insects—rich in minerals, high in protein—make a good and environmentally sustainable substitute for meat, and can taste delicious, too.

Plus: Britt Peterson on the long war over the Ukrainian language.

And: Kevin Lewis on how kids think black people feel less pain; how pedestrians on cellphones are less likely to help others in need; how people with easy-to-pronounce names are regarded as more honest; and more.

Image by Gary Clement for the Boston Globe.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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