Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Z Generation

Shalini Shankar was on CBC yesterday being interviewed about her book which studied Generation Z children involved in spelling bee competitions.

“Bee kids are the bellwethers of Gen Z kids,” Shankar said, according to a news release. “Gen Z kids are learning to thrive in a highly competitive world, with great access to the internet and digital tools, and higher expectations of professionalism at a much younger age.”

In doing her research, Shankar discovered that South Asian-American parents, in particular, have enrolled their children in the spelling bee. Balu Natarajan (Weinberg ’92, ’96 MD, ’99 GME), who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 1985, was the first child of immigrants to win, according to the release. The last 11 trophies have gone to Indian-American winners.

And a few days before that I heard an interview on the winning strategies of Brad Rutter, Jeopardy Champion.  The story was how future contestants were training based on his style to become better at the game.  The buzzer seems to be the number 1 item - being able to hit the buzzer really fast.  Another was his aggressiveness that scares competitors.  He seems very willing to talk about his approach and strategies.  The spelling bee group keeps their methods proprietary.

Look at this field of buttercups in Strassburg, PA.  Fresh buttercups in the field can cause blistering of the mouth or skin, so are rarely eaten by animals in the field.  It makes me wonder if this horse is digging deeper and finding some simple grass.

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