Friday, July 26, 2013

Obama's Preschool Proposal is Not Based on Sound Research | Brookings Institution

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems - Issue 3: In Transit - Nautilus

Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems - Issue 3: In Transit - Nautilus:

"Modeling a simplified version of a transportation problem presents one set of challenges (and they can be significant). But modeling the real world, with constraints like melting ice cream and idiosyncratic human behavior, is often where the real challenge lies. As mathematicians, operations research specialists, and corporate executives set out to mathematize and optimize the transportation networks that interconnect our modern world, they are re-discovering some of our most human quirks and capabilities. They are finding that their job is as much to discover the world, as it is to change it.

"

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Science Prodigy Zhao Bowen Wants to Crack a Genetic Mystery: What Makes Some People So Smart? - Wired Science

Science Prodigy Zhao Bowen Wants to Crack a Genetic Mystery: What Makes Some People So Smart? - Wired Science

Now, at 21, he oversees his own research project at BGI Shenzhen—the country’s top biotech institute and home to the world’s most powerful cluster of DNA-sequencing machines—where he commands a multimillion-dollar research budget.
Zhao’s goal is to use those machines to examine the genetic underpinnings of genius like his own. He wants nothing less than to crack the code for intelligence by studying the genomes of thousands of prodigies, not just from China but around the world. He and his collaborators, a transnational group of intelligence researchers, fully expect they will succeed in identifying a genetic basis for IQ. They also expect that within a decade their research will be used to screen embryos during in vitro fertilization, boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points. In theory, that’s the difference between a kid who struggles through high school and one who sails into college.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Shocking Truth About Doug Engelbart: Silicon Valley's Sidelined Genius -SVW

The Shocking Truth About Doug Engelbart: Silicon Valley's Sidelined Genius -SVW: "Tributes to the genius of computer pioneer Doug Engelbart are flooding the web following the announcement of his death at the age of 88. Yet in the final four decades of his life no one would fund him and he felt he had wasted the last years of his life."

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Carrot Facts (RealCarrotFacts) on Twitter

From Carrot Facts (RealCarrotFacts) on Twitter:

"To add carrot taste to anything just add a carrot to it"


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ending the Stoplight Excuses | Hands Free Mama

Ending the Stoplight Excuses | Hands Free Mama:

"I could say I was sleep deprived—two young children who weren’t sleeping through the night.
I could say I was under a lot of stress—just moved to a new city, husband traveling, feeling isolated and depressed.
I could say my children were not in the car with me … and I was just making a quick call.
I could say those things, but they don’t matter—they don’t matter when you find yourself blowing through a red light and the grill of a truck comes within feet of your car door."

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero - NYTimes.com

The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero - NYTimes.com:

"Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left behind. He was Pete Best twice.
Then again, he wasn’t remotely. What Everman did afterward put him far outside the category of rock’n’roll footnote. He became an elite member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, one of those bearded guys riding around on horseback in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban."


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Breaking the Seal on Drug Research - NYTimes.com

Great article: Breaking the Seal on Drug Research - NYTimes.com:

"PETER DOSHI walked across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in a rumpled polo shirt and stonewashed jeans, a backpack slung over one shoulder. An unremarkable presence on a campus filled with backpack-toters, he is 32, and not sure where he’ll be working come August, when his postdoctoral fellowship ends. And yet, even without a medical degree, he is one of the most influential voices in medical research today."

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What Accountable Health Care Means - Richard Gunderman - The Atlantic

What Accountable Health Care Means - Richard Gunderman - The Atlantic:

"One of the reasons our health-care system is ailing is the fact that we habitually insulate decision makers from the consequences of their choices. Many patients have no idea of the costs that are being generated when their physician orders a test or performs a procedure. As a matter of fact, many health-care professionals, including colleagues of mine in the medical profession, have little idea of the retail prices or actual payments collected for the work we do every day."

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Why do we need more knowledge in the English curriculum? | Tabula Rasa

Why do we need more knowledge in the English curriculum? | Tabula Rasa:

"The importance of knowledge in the English curriculum is something I see every single day in my classroom. Whenever I begin teaching a new text, I am always astounded by just how little the students know about many important contextual factors. For example, whilst teaching the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet I was amazed to hear that the majority of my set 2 year 11 students didn’t know where Verona is, or what Catholicism is. Whilst teaching poetry, I was shocked to find out that they thought Iran and Iraq were the same country. Other shockers include “Sydney is in California”, “My star sign is Leprechaun” and “Is Henry VIII the Queen’s son?”"

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Do we really have high expectations of our students? Or is it just talk? Part Two: Curriculum. | Tabula Rasa

Do we really have high expectations of our students? Or is it just talk? Part Two: Curriculum. | Tabula Rasa:

"I want to argue that by emphasising the importance of relevance and engagement above all else, we are treating children as weak minded and therefore incapable of tackling a genuinely challenging and rich curriculum. Furthermore, this is an inaccurate understanding of what actually interests children, and what will help them to become well-rounded members of society. By structuring the curriculum around content that we think students will find interesting, we are trapping them within their own narrow horizons, and risk not equipping them with the tools they need to escape them."

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Children can’t think if they don’t learn facts - Telegraph

Children can’t think if they don’t learn facts - Telegraph

"When future generations come to study the causes of Britain’s global decline, Exhibit A will be a letter in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, signed by 100 academics from across the country. In it, the various professors attacked Michael Gove’s proposed national curriculum for consisting of “endless lists of spellings, facts and rules”. My God, the madness! Sometimes the Education Secretary must wake up in the morning and wonder whether it’s all worth the struggle. His opponents are of such a deep strain of perverse idiocy that it is impossible to argue with them – ideology has defeated reason.". . . How can you have a worthwhile thought about governments and constitutions if you don’t know your kings, queens and prime ministers? How can you think up a new mathematics theorem if you’ve never learnt your 12-times table? If you don’t know anything, you end up like the poor fool in Philip Larkin’s poem “Ignorance”: “Strange to know nothing, never to be sure / Of what is true or right or real, / But forced to qualify 'or so I feel’, / Or 'Well, it does seem so: / Someone must know.’ ” . . .Needless to say, none of this wicked, anti-learning philosophy makes its way into private schools, where learning spellings, facts and rules – often by rote – remains sacrosanct. Surprise, surprise, British private schools are rated the best in the world, while our state schools don’t even limp into the top 20 for reading. You do the maths – if you’ve been lucky enough to have been taught any.Private schools impose the rigorous learning of facts, from which pupils extrapolate to produce thought. Most state schools don’t, because they’ve been riddled with the ignorance-is-good philosophy cooked up by muddle-headed educationalists for the past 50 years.Last year, I gave a talk on Latin and the Romans in Britain to a state primary school in north London. Few of the seven-year-olds, although bright and eager to learn, had heard of Latin. A week later, I gave a similar talk to seven-year-olds in an upmarket prep school in Notting Hill.“Now, when do you think the Romans came to Britain?” I asked, in a super-slow, easy-to-understand way. “It depends,” said one girl, sitting in the front row with her hand in the air. “Do you mean Julius Caesar’s invasions in 55 and 54 BC? Or Claudius’s in 43 AD?”Which class do you think had been forced to learn by rote? Which class will end up providing the doctors, lawyers – and thinkers – of the next generation?

Just Google it | The Modern Miss

Just Google it | The Modern Miss:

"If your flatmate asked for help in locating a green sweater that she had somehow misplaced, you’d be able to help her look for it in a genuinely useful way. You know what a sweater is, you know what green is, and you know where it’s likely to be, or at least, you know where it’s highly unlikely to be – it won’t fit into the butter dish, for example.
But what if she asked you to help find her almposh?* It’s a bit harder to help, as you don’t know what it is. Is it edible? Soft? Hard? Large? Small? Will it fit into an envelope? Could it have slipped down the drain? What colour is it? What does it do? How will you know you’ve found it, if you don’t know what it is?
You have good finding skills, but you lack the knowledge of what you’re meant to be finding. The only way to be sure, is to present every item to your flatmate, in the hope that it’s what she’s looking for. It’s going to be a long, frustrating search."

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Atlas of True Names, Maps That Replace Location Names With Their Original Meanings

» Who You Run With Changes Who You Become | Man of Depravity

» Who You Run With Changes Who You Become | Man of Depravity:

"Children are often taught to choose their friends wisely. We teach children this lesson because as adults we’ve learned that the people we choose to interact with ultimately shape us into the people we become.
Somewhere along the line this became a lesson for children and not adults."

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Think Inside the Box - WSJ.com

Think Inside the Box - WSJ.com:

"We advocate a radically different approach: thinking inside the proverbial box, not outside of it. People are at their most creative when they focus on the internal aspects of a situation or problem—and when they constrain their options rather than broaden them. By defining and then closing the boundaries of a particular creative challenge, most of us can be more consistently creative—and certainly more productive than we are when playing word-association games in front of flip charts or talking about grand abstractions at a company retreat."

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This Octopus's Camouflage Is Almost Unbelievable - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic

There is no Such Thing as Invention — I.M.H.O. — Medium

There is no Such Thing as Invention — I.M.H.O. — Medium:

"Calculus was invented twice, Natural Selection discovered twice and the telephone was patented twice.
There’s a pattern of simultaneous invention throughout history that’s either an unbelievable co-incidence or evidence that something different from what we usually think of as inspiration is going on."

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Less Sleep, More Slacking - Harvard Business Review

Less Sleep, More Slacking - Harvard Business Review:

"For every hour that sleep was interrupted the previous night, research participants monitored during a 42-minute task spent an additional 8.4 minutes cyberloafing—checking personal e-mail or visiting unrelated websites—according to a team led by David T. Wagner, of Singapore Management University. The fact that sleep-deprived people are more apt to give in to cyberloafing temptation can also be seen on the first Monday after the switch to daylight saving time, when Google users search for 3.1% to 6.4% more entertainment-related websites than on other Mondays, the researchers say."

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Steal away home: Stunning portraits of men and women who were born into slavery and photographed seventy years after the Emancipation Proclamation | Mail Online

Steal away home: Stunning portraits of men and women who were born into slavery and photographed seventy years after the Emancipation Proclamation | Mail Online:

"In the 1920s and 1930s, an interest in slave narratives was rekindled, and as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Progress Administration, more than 2,000 first-person accounts of slavery were collected, as well as 500 black and white photographs.
The collection was compiled in 17 states between 1936 and 1938. Many of the former slaves interviewed were well into their 80s and 90s – some were even past 100. "

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How Technology Is Destroying Jobs | MIT Technology Review

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs | MIT Technology Review:

"Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. ­Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that impressive advances in computer technology—from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. Even more ominous for workers, the MIT academics foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted not only in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work but in professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine."

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Sleep Deprivation in Hospitals Is a Real Problem - Peter Ubel - The Atlantic

Sleep Deprivation in Hospitals Is a Real Problem - Peter Ubel - The Atlantic:

"The importance of sleep is perhaps most realized when we become sick. When we are hospitalized and most in need of every ounce of health, though, hospital care practically guarantees that we won't get good sleep. Fortunately, two approaches hold promise to improve sleep for patients: one organizational, and the other a common trick of the trade among those of us working in behavioral economics."

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In Bid for Better Care, Surgery With a Warranty - NYTimes.com

In Bid for Better Care, Surgery With a Warranty - NYTimes.com:

"What if medical care came with a 90-day warranty?
That is what a hospital group in central Pennsylvania is trying to learn in an experiment that some experts say is a radically new way to encourage hospitals and doctors to provide high-quality care that can avoid costly mistakes.
The group, Geisinger Health System, has overhauled its approach to surgery. And taking a cue from the makers of television sets, washing machines and consumer products, Geisinger essentially guarantees its workmanship, charging a flat fee that includes 90 days of follow-up treatment.
Even if a patient suffers complications or has to come back to the hospital, Geisinger promises not to send the insurer another bill."

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How observing others’ behavior can increase cooperation | National Academy of Sciences

How observing others’ behavior can increase cooperation | National Academy of Sciences:

"The scientists targeted residents of 15 homeowners associations in Santa Clara County in California, asking people to volunteer in the program via flyers. Sign-up sheets were posted in communal areas near homes, such as shared mailbox kiosks. The researchers varied whether these public posted sheets required residents either to print their names or only a randomly generated code. Participants were not aware they were taking part in an experiment.

Residents who could see what their neighbors did were nearly three times more likely to participate in the program than residents who could not. This effect was nearly seven times greater than offering a $25 incentive for signing up, the company’s previous policy.\

“We all kind of knew that reputation would matter for these kinds of things, but what was surprising was how big that effect was compared to financial incentives,” said study coauthor Moshe Hoffman, an economist at the University of California, San Diego. “It was just so big an effect for so little cost.”

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Group-Work | Scenes From The Battleground

Group-Work | Scenes From The Battleground:

"If you want to learn how to cooperate effectively with others, then the last place you’d start is in a group of teenagers being made to do school work. This is like saying the best way to learn how to make pork sausages is by being imprisoned in a pig farm with a half-dozen rabbis. Putting together people who are neither experienced at doing something, or particularly inclined to want to do it, is not how you learn to do that something. Of course, it would be useful for a surly teenager to practice teamwork skills. Letting him or her join a team of adults who already know how to work in a team would be a great educational experience. Forcing them into a group of other surly teenagers and letting them fight it out amongst themselves over who is to blame for getting nothing done is less constructive."

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“Healthcare” lands: Announcing the Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation | An Ounce of Evidence | Health Policy

“Healthcare” lands: Announcing the Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation | An Ounce of Evidence | Health Policy:

"The journal Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation is an effort to nudge us toward a better, sustainable path for our healthcare system.  The mission of the journal is simple:  to play a meaningful role in fostering real change in the healthcare delivery system.  The journal wants to be a venue for sharing the best ideas for delivery science, payment innovation and smart use of health information technologies.  The journal was conceived by Amol Navathe and Sachin Jain, who have been thinking long and hard about compelling new approaches to bring about change in the healthcare system.  It took years of persistence to line up a terrific publisher, put together a top notch editorial board and recruit some of the nation’s best minds to lead individual theme areas.  And it paid off handsomely.  On June 21, 2013, Healthcare officially launches with its premier issue, and what an issue it is."

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Winnowing Oar - Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity

Winnowing Oar - Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity: "I realized that we really tend to think about mistakes wrong, in the context of music performance but also in the context of academic performance."

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