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Education and class: America’s new aristocracy January 24, 2015

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The Economist | Education and class: America’s new aristocracy http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21640331-importance-intellectual-capital-grows-privilege-has-become-increasingly?frsc=dg%7Cd via @theeconomist

More Baby Talk = More IQ April 10, 2013

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Children whose families were on welfare heard about 600 words per hour. Working-class children heard 1,200 words per hour, and children from professional families heard 2,100 words. By age 3, a poor child would have heard 30 million fewer words in his home environment than a child from a professional family. And the disparity mattered: the greater the number of words children heard from their parents or caregivers before they were 3, the higher their IQ and the better they did in school. TV talk not only didn’t help, it was detrimental.

Hart and Risley later wrote that children’s level of language development starts to level off when it matches that of their parents — so a language deficit is passed down through generations. They found that parents talk much more to girls than to boys (perhaps because girls are more sociable, or because it is Mom who does most of the care, and parents talk more to children of their gender). This might explain why young, poor boys have particular trouble in school. And they argued that the disparities in word usage correlated so closely with academic success that kids born to families on welfare do worse than professional-class children entirely because their parents talk to them less. In other words, if everyone talked to their young children the same amount, there would be no racial or socioeconomic gap at all. (Some other researchers say that while word count is extremely important, it can’t be the only factor.)

via The Power of Talking to Your Baby – NYTimes.com.

Explore A Virtual Human Body With Stunning Graphics December 6, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Cool Sites, health, Science & Technology.
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bdhumanIn the old days, learning about the components of the human body meant poring over a copy of Grey’s Anatomy. Or, if you were studying medicine, you could take a scalpel to a real cadavre of course.

Now, thanks to a fabulous web site at www.biodigitalhuman.com, you can learn about the makings of the human body without having to resort to boring textbooks or a lab.

With nothing more than a web browser and a decent internet connection you can browse the virtual skeleton.  You can choose between male and female, zoom and rotate the skeleton, and turn on/off the display of specific bodily systems such as reproductive, cardiovascular and so on. You can also view the location and symptoms of hundreds of common diseases.

via Explore A Virtual Human Body With Stunning Graphics.

Movie Deal for 14 year-old’s Garage Fusion Reactor August 14, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Science & Technology.
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Taylor Wilson always dreamed of creating a star. Now he’s become one. This story about a 14 year old prodigy will be directed by Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols. Wilson gained notoriety for experimenting with nuclear materials with his parents’ approval, and achieving nuclear fusion by the age of 14.

When his grandmother became ill with cancer, Wilson also attempted to develop a cure for the disease using short-lived isotopes.

The film will reportedly contrast Wilson’s story with the similar tale of Michigan teenager David Hahn, whose attempt to build a breeder reactor in his parents’ shed achieved results that were more dangerous than desirable. Link below is to original story. Picture is of Taylor in his garage.

via The Boy Who Played With Fusion | Popular Science.

In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop December 28, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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But what’s the advantage of a good job if the salary difference between that job and a non-college-level job is lost servicing student debt? It’s a reasonable question that has become more pressing as the amount of student debt required to get an education has risen.

At the same time several universities with world renown branding have begun offering online courses for free. MIT has been the pioneering institution in this. They were first to make practically all classes available online. Now they are beginning to offer some level of credential for completion of online courses through a new program they’re calling MITx.

We’re going back to the future: the modern office was birthed in 17th century coffee shops. Steven Johnson has argued that coffee fueled the enlightenment. It was certainly a more enlightening beverage than the previous choice of alcohol.

The need for offices grew as the equipment for mental work was developed starting in the late 19th centuries. That need appears to have peaked about 1980. It was a rare person who could afford the computers, printers, fax machines, and mailing/shipping equipment of that time.

Now a single person with $500 can duplicate most of those functions with a single laptop computer.  So the remaining function of the office is to be that place that clients know to find you… and that kids and the other distractions of home can’t.

via speculist.com » Blog Archive » In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop.

Get Your Education For Free On YouTube April 9, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Video, Web Site.
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Watch. Practice. Learn almost anything—for free.

What started out as Sal making a few algebra videos for his cousins has grown to over 2,100 videos and 100 self-paced exercises and assessments covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history.

via Khan Academy.

What to Teach in School February 19, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
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We need to rethink our education system so that it turns out more people who are trained for the jobs that will remain in the United States and fewer for the jobs that will migrate overseas. We cannot, of course, foresee exactly which jobs will go and which will stay. But one good bet is that many electronic service jobs will move offshore, whereas personal service jobs will not. Here are a few examples. Tax accounting is easily offshorable; onsite auditing is not. Computer programming is offshorable; computer repair is not. Architects could be endangered, but builders aren’t. Were it not for stiff regulations, radiology would be offshorable; but pediatrics and geriatrics aren’t. Lawyers who write contracts can do so at a distance and deliver them electronically; litigators who argue cases in court cannot.

via Free Trade’s Great, but Offshoring Rattles Me – washingtonpost.com.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior January 12, 2011

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What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it’s math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

via Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior – WSJ.com.

Is College Tuition the Next Bubble? August 8, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Right now, people are still borrowing heavily to pay the steadily increasing tuitions levied by higher education. But that borrowing is based on the expectation that students will earn enough to pay off their loans with a portion of the extra income their educations generate. Once people doubt that, the bubble will burst.

Many people with college educations are already jumping the tracks to become skilled manual laborers:  plumbers, electricians, and the like.  And the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that seven of the ten fastest-growing jobs in the next decade will be based on on-the-job training rather than higher education.  (And they’ll be hands-on jobs hard to outsource to foreigners).  If this is right, a bursting of the bubble is growing likelier.

via Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Further thoughts on the higher education bubble | Washington Examiner.

Why Have More Kids June 20, 2010

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While you can try and instill "Good Habits", Religion, Sports and Political affiliation is your most likely long-term influence, according to Research.

Many find behavioral genetics depressing, but it’s great news for parents and potential parents. If you think that your kids’ future rests in your hands, you’ll probably make many painful “investments”–and feel guilty that you didn’t do more. Once you realize that your kids’ future largely rests in their own hands, you can give yourself a guilt-free break.

…In fact, relaxing is better for the whole family. Riding your kids “for their own good” rarely pays off, and it may hurt how your children feel about you.

If you simply don’t like kids, research has little to say to you. If however you’re interested in kids, but scared of the sacrifices, research has two big lessons. First, parents’ sacrifice is much smaller than it looks, and childless and single is far inferior to married with children. Second, parents’ sacrifice is much larger than it has to be. Twin and adoption research shows that you don’t have to go the extra mile to prepare your kids for the future. Instead of trying to mold your children into perfect adults, you can safely kick back, relax and enjoy your journey together—and seriously consider adding another passenger.

via The Case for Having More Kids – WSJ.com. (more…)

Behind Obama’s Education Reform May 24, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in philosophy & politics.
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The U.S. spends more per pupil than any other but whose student performance ranks in the bottom third among developed nations isn’t failing its children for lack of resources but for lack of trained, motivated, accountable talent at the front of the class.

Before they successfully organized in the 1950s and 1960s, teachers endured meager salaries, political favoritism, tyrannical principals and sex discrimination against a mostly female work force.

But now a 165-page New York City union contract … not only specifies everything that teachers will do and will not do during a six-hour-57 ½-minute workday but also requires that teachers be paid based on how long they have been on the job. Once they’ve been teaching for three years and judged satisfactory in a process that invariably judges all but a few of them satisfactory, they are ensured lifetime tenure.

via The Teachers’ Unions’ Last Stand – NYTimes.com.

Why Teenagers Can’t Learn March 22, 2010

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…this temporary learning deficit could be traced to a remarkable change that occurs at puberty in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is involved in remembering places and integrating other kinds of learning. The change affects the GABA neurotransmitter system. GABA, which is present in all mammals, inhibits or down-regulates nerve signals, as opposed to exciting them; this calming, relaxing system is activated by tranquilizers like Valium and the popular sleep drug Ambien, which attach to GABA receptors and act similarly to GABA. But at puberty, female mice experience a 700% increase in an unusual GABA receptor that helps calm the nervous system, except when under stress.

GABA is not the only neurotransmitter system that goes out of whack at puberty, Giedd notes. Recent studies at Harvard suggest that dopamine receptors also temporarily proliferate, a change that might be related to the impulsiveness and risk-taking behaviors seen in teens. These bursts of brain changes seem to be connected to developmentally sensitive periods, says Giedd.

(See “Secrets of the Teen Brain.”)

Born to Be Bad? November 17, 2008

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The study found that children who were slightly impulsive and had mild behavioral problems in pre-school often faced harsh disciplinary action from parents and teachers. Instead of having the desired effect, these actions further alienated the children, often making the child more aggressive and preventing him or her from learning important social and cognitive skills.

As a result, these young children were unprepared for school and often developed social problems; punishments like being sent to the principal’s office meant losing more class time and falling further behind.

By the time the children were in their teens, their parents spent less and less time with them, possibly in order to avoid conflict. With the parents providing less supervision, the children gravitated to similarly estranged peers, Dr. Dodge said.

via A Cascade of Influences Shaping Violent Teens – NYTimes.com

Only 1 of 2 students graduate high school in US cities April 1, 2008

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Only 1 of 2 students graduate high school in US cities: study
Only about one-half (52 percent) of students in the principal school systems of the 50 largest cities complete high school with a diploma.”

Based on 2003-2004 data, the report said that across the country the graduation average for public school students is 69.9 percent, with the best success rate in suburbs — 74.9 percent — and rural districts — 73.2 percent.

Asian-Americans score the highest graduation rate, at 80 percent, with whites at 76.2 percent and Hispanics at 57.8 percent. Women graduate at a much higher rate than men, 73.6 percent to 66.0 percent.

In the country’s city schools, the study found that in urban areas generally, just 60.4 percent graduate, and in the principal school districts of the top 50 cities, barely half graduate. Detroit, Michigan’s main school district scored a graduation rate of 24.9 percent. New York, the country’s largest city, has a graduation rate for its main school district of 45.2 percent, and Los Angeles, the second largest, of 45.3 percent.

Winston Churchill Didn’t Really Exist, says British Teens February 5, 2008

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Winston Churchill didn’t really exist, say teens – Telegraph
A fifth of British teenagers believe Sir Winston Churchill was a fictional character, while many think Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur and Eleanor Rigby were real, a survey shows.

The canvass of 3,000 under-twenties uncovered an extraordinary paucity of basic historical knowledge that older generations take for granted

Despite his celebrated military reputation, 47 per cent of respondents dismissed the 12th-century crusading English king Richard the Lionheart as fictional. More than a quarter (27 per cent) thought Florence Nightingale, the pioneering nurse who coaxed injured soldiers back to health in the Crimean War, was a mythical figure.

Sherlock Holmes, the detective, was so convincingly brought to life in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, their film versions and television series, that 58 per cent of respondents believe that the sleuth really lived at 221B Baker Street.

Fifty-one per cent of respondents believed that Robin Hood lived in Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor, while 47 per cent believed Eleanor Rigby was a real person rather than a creation of The Beatles.

(more…)

Europe’s Philosophy of Failure February 4, 2008

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Foreign Policy: Europe’s Philosophy of Failure
In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination. Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias. Rooting it out may determine whether Europe’s economies prosper or continue to be left behind.

The deep anti-market bias that French and Germans continue to teach challenges the conventional wisdom that it’s just a matter of time, thanks to the pressures of globalization, before much of the world agrees upon a supposedly “Western” model of free-market capitalism. Politicians in democracies cannot long fight the preferences of the majority of their constituents. So this bias will likely continue to circumscribe both European elections and policy outcomes. A likely alternative scenario may be that the changes wrought by globalization will awaken deeply held resentment against capitalism and, in many countries from Europe to Latin America, provide a fertile ground for populists and demagogues, a trend that is already manifesting itself in the sudden rise of many leftist movements today.

Start School Late To Get Ahead January 16, 2008

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The Early Bird Gets the Bad Grade – New York Times
Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up, contributing to failure and dropout rates.

In 2002, high schools in Jessamine County in Kentucky pushed back the first bell to 8:40 a.m., from 7:30 a.m. Attendance immediately went up, as did scores on standardized tests, which have continued to rise each year. Districts in Virginia and Connecticut have achieved similar success. In Minneapolis and Edina, Minn., which instituted high school start times of 8:40 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively in 1997, students’ grades rose slightly and lateness, behavioral problems and dropout rates decreased.

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