Weekend reads: 4 personality types even skeptics agree on, the world's oldest drawing, are today's students coddled?

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

Public libraries offer much more than books. Some offer laptops, printers, or toys for patrons to check out. And the New York Public Library (NYPL) Riverside branch now lends out neck ties, bow ties, handbags, and briefcases to patrons. “They can use it for a school performance, or prom if they want a tie," says Michelle Lee, the young adult librarian who created the lending program. Lee came up with the idea when she spoke to local high school students about appropriate interview apparel—and found that many didn’t own a tie or briefcase. After Lee won funding from NYPL’s Innovation Project, she bought handbags and briefcases from Amazon and collected tie and pocket square donations. She plans to advertise the lending program at local high schools and colleges.

Archaeologists have discovered what they say is the world's oldest drawing: a cross hatch of lines, like a hashtag, on a rock flake. The scientists have determined that the drawing, which was found in a seaside cave in South Africa, is around 73,000 years old and was drawn with ocher, an iron-rich rock. "This would indeed be the oldest set of such lines that is made with an ocher 'crayon' rather than a sharp instrument, and constitute the oldest evidence of drawing with a crayon,” says Alison Brooks, a paleoanthropologist at George Washington University. “The very existence of such marks... expands the known repertoire of expressive capabilities among early members of our species in Africa,” says Brooks.

Emily Arnim's reads

Get ready to feel, well...average. After much debate, scientists are now recognizing that there are four distinct personality types—average, reserved, role model, self-centered—with the most common type being average. Scientists suggest that these personality types are determined by the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. If you want to know your type, you can take the test here.

A remote New Mexico solar observatory—located roughly 85 miles from the alleged UFO crash in Roswell—closed suddenly last week, and was blocked off by crime scene tape. Cue the alien conspiracy theories. The observatory is up and running again, but the FBI remains tight-lipped about the mysterious shutdown. One thing we know for sure? Scientists confirm that aliens were not involved.

Kristin Tyndall's read

John Warner's review of The Coddling of the American Mind might be the best book review you'll read all year, whether you agree with him or not. Warner gives Coddling a sympathetic reading, but concludes nevertheless that the authors overlooked the massive economic influences shaping the behavior of today's students and families. What Haidt and Lukianoff call "paranoid parenting" is actually a deeply rational response to today's world of "scarcity and precarity," Warner argues.

And Warner articulates what so many others have overlooked in this debate: the intense irony of it all. "Of course, these spaces are already homes for people like Haidt and Lukianoff," Warner writes. "In fact, one of the reasons they are so troubled over these issues is because they perceive their home being threatened. I wonder if they imagine what it is like to so desperately desire access to that kind of home, but find that access repeatedly denied."


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