Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

What may hamper creativity?

Legos, the popular toy bricks, may be great for stimulating creativity in little kids. But when it comes to adults, things might be a little different. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, when adults are given a set of Legos to solve a well-defined problem, their creativity may suffer when tackling subsequent tasks.

“There are a lot of studies that explore what enhances creativity. Ours is one of the few that considers ways in which creativity may be undermined,” write the authors of the study, C. Page Moreau (University of Wisconsin) and Marit Gundersen Engeset (Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Norway). “What we find is that a well-defined problem–in our case, following an explicit set of instructions to build something with Legos–can actually hamper creativity in solving future problems.”

The home we’ve ever known

We succeeded taking that picture (Voyager 1, in 1990 (NASA)from deep space), and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

From Dr. Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot

Future Health Technology

Probably you’ve head a lot about biotechnology. What is it? In short, bio technology is the technology based on biology. For instance biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve people lives and the health or using the biological researches to make useful food products, such as bread and cheese, and to preserve dairy products.

Also progress in biotechnology is currently working on environmentally-friendly biodegradation processes for a cleaner, healthier planet, experimenting with until-now untapped energy sources, and devising useful consumer chemicals such as adhesives, detergents, dyes, flavors, perfumes, and plastics.

The predicted capabilities of biotechnology include
End of world hunger, global starvation
Foods that are better for you and last longer
Disease and pest resistant crops
Accurate delivery of precise amounts of drugs, e.g., targeting cancer cells without damaging nearby healthy cells
Regenerative medicine, replacement organs
Designer organisms
Slowing or stopping aging
Biological computing, wearable computers
Biological fabrication of clothing, plastics, and building materials
Environmentally friendly manufacturing processes that minimize waste
Microbial cleansers
Ultra-strength, lightweight materials

God Particle

You have probably head about Higgs boson. Scientists working at the world’s largest atom smasher say they have enough evidence of the long-sought-after Higgs boson. What is wxactly Higgs boson and how does it work?

There is a gist of the standard model, developed in the early 1970s: The Higgs boson appeared 13.7 billion years ago in the chaos of the Big Bang and turned the flying debris into galaxies, stars and planets. Our entire universe is made of 12 different matter particles and four forces. Among those 12 particles, you’ll encounter six quarks and six leptons. Quarks make up protons and neutrons, while members of the lepton family include the electron and the electron neutrino, its neutrally charged counterpart. Scientists think that leptons and quarks are indivisible; that you can’t break them apart into smaller particles. Along with all those particles, the standard model also acknowledges four forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak. Here is the picture found online trying to get illustrated explanation of the subject.

As theories go, the standard model has been very effective, aside from its failure to fit in gravity. Armed with it, physicists have predicted the existence of certain particles years before they were verified empirically. Unfortunately, the model still has another missing piece – the Higgs boson.

“We think the Higgs boson is a manifestation of the fact that the universe is filled with a force that we haven’t been able to detect yet that gives other particles mass,” Lykken told NPR. “It exists for a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, or something like that, and then falls apart into other particles.”

Thus, scientists are in a bit of a quagmire, according to the AP. While they appear to have enough evidence to report the existence of the “God particle,” they still hedge on whether to report “a discovery.” It’s a fine line, indeed, but one that scientists will likely continue to debate.

Learn to Speed Read

How much more could you get done if you completed all of your required reading in 1/3 or 1/5 the time? Increasing reading speed is a process of controlling fine motor movement—period. Use this video to increase you reading speed.

The Future of Online Education

With the invention of devices such as the tablet computer and smartphones becoming capable of doing more than ever, it’s only a matter of time before our methods of education begin to change as well. Online education has become quite the viable option for students with prior obligations, careers, family or financial situations that prevent them from attending a campus each day. Plus, with the rising cost of tuition and textbooks, several students simply can’t afford to pay for a traditional classroom education.

In the future, students may be able to attend classes from their tablet computers with the invention of video conferencing. Professors and instructors can set up cameras in the back of the classroom if they wish and stream lessons directly to them in real time. They can also have interactive options for students to make them feel as if they are still right there in the room. Streaming classes and putting them in archives is another good option if students are ill or need to go back and review a lesson right before an exam. Doing this can also benefit the instructor if they have plans for a vacation, sabbatical or conference that they must attend. Rather than getting a substitute, they can instead record their lesson plans and offer them to the students online. This way the course work won’t be interrupted and both the student and instructor can easily slide back into the normal routine.

There are already innovations and applications being developed that will allow students to purchase textbooks online by buying one chapter at a time rather than having to buy the entire textbook at the beginning of the semester only to have to use half of it. Not to mention the fact that when they try to sell it back they may receive only a quarter of what they payed for it. And in some cases it can actually be less than this if they are able to sell the book back at all.

Although it may be an odd thought, there may be a day when the need for college and university campuses is eliminated altogether if there is enough of a demand for online education, or at least learning institutions won’t have to spend millions and millions of dollars on building new classrooms, dorms and learning centers for swelling numbers of students. That money can instead be used to improve on the quality of education both online and for the students currently enrolled in on-campus classes. One of the main frustration about attending class is the difficulty of finding parking. Student who attend classes online obviously won’t have do deal with this and can save both time and money on travel and gas as well as frustration.