Wide-ranging, flexible and broad learning, the kind we encourage in high-school and college, may actually be in tension with the ability to develop finely-honed, controlled, focused expertise in a particular skill, the kind of learning that once routinely took place in human societies. For most of our history, children have started their internships when they were seven, not 27.
Aaron Lake Smith:
Youth culture, and the parameters of cultural rebellion, have always been defined by market forces. The lush alternative landscape of the mid and late '90s, fed by the tech boom and Clinton surplus cash, was like a historical indolent child, at liberty to rebel because it had been given everything. The early '90s depicted in Slacker feel closer to our current epoch -- the recession-tainted youth aimlessly wandering the streets, emailing their resumes into the void.
The open road impulse, along with a resurgence of the lo-fi film aesthetic has spawned endless blogs, Tumblrs and Flickr streams dedicated to documenting the carefree existence of pretty naked young people who are too busy dreaming to care how boring they look.
W. David Marx:
As with all post-industrial societies, young people were not interested in following their parents' footsteps in the hard work of high-quality manufacturing. Thus, most small artisanal factories have closed, with the remaining few headed in that very direction.
Ironically, Japan's young brands all understand the value of locally hand-sewn clothing, but due to the nation's youth's refusal to take up artisanal crafts, these workspaces will be closed within a decade.
People seem to like the fact that a female bear can kill someone while protecting her cubs and be acquitted of the crime. They want grizzlies to have the benefit of the doubt.
The zero-tolerance policy for man-eating bears invites an obvious question, though. Once a bear kills someone, whether it's out of some wild-animal psychopathy or a natural inclination to defend her young, why wouldn't she eat the corpse? Everyone agrees that it's natural for grizzlies to eat carrion -- they're scavengers, after all.
There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs.
Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in the field.
But it's questionable whether those youths will be able to find work when they get a PhD. Although jobs in some high-tech areas, especially computer and petroleum engineering, seem to be booming, the market is much tighter for lab-bound scientists -- those seeking new discoveries in biology, chemistry and medicine.
Bart, don't make fun of grad students! They just made a terrible life choice.