theodp writes "Slate's Ben Paynter looks into why Indian kids dominate the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and concludes it's because they have their own minor-league spelling bee circuit (having the discipline to spell 7,000 to 8,000 words a day probably helps too!). Indian-Americans make up about 1% of the US population, notes Paynter, but this year an estimated 11% of the competitors at Scripps will hail from regional contests run by the North South Foundation. The NSF competitions function as a kind of nerd Olympiad for Indian-Americans — there are separate divisions for math, science, vocabulary, geography, essay writing, and even public speaking — and a way to raise money for college scholarships for underprivileged students in India. BTW, Strollerderby has the scoop on Whatever Happened to the Spellbound Kids? (RIP, Ted Brigham)."