Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ed Links (Broadly Interpreted)

Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. The universality of his message is evidenced by its rampant popularity online. A typical review: "If you have not yet seen Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, please stop whatever you're doing and watch it now."

[This actually is a pretty fun talk—AS]

Engineers of Jihad

We find that graduates from subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world, though not among the extremist Islamic groups which have emerged in Western countries more recently. We also find that engineers alone are strongly over-represented among graduates in violent groups in both realms. This is all the more puzzling for engineers are virtually absent from left-wing violent extremists and only present rather than over-represented among right-wing extremists.


It’s a general belief that the circuitry of young brains has robust flexibility but eventually gets "hard-wired" in adulthood. As Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues report in the Nov. 8 issue of Neuron, however, adult neurons aren’t quite as rigidly glued in place as we suspect.

School Choice in Milwaukee: Follow-up Article on Bradley Foundation Funded Study that found Choice a Failed Reform

[Written by a former member of my Department—AS]

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute's recent study documenting that school choice "isn't a powerful tool for driving educational improvement in Milwaukee Public Schools" is a welcome finding from a conservative think tank that has long championed publicly funded, private school choice.

This report provides profound insight into the obvious.

Findings Could Ease Concerns About Troubled Schoolchildren

Educators and psychologists have long feared that children entering school with behavior problems were doomed to fall behind in the upper grades. But two new studies suggest that those fears are exaggerated.

5 Myths About Art, Age and Genius

"Why do people think artists are special? It's just another job." So said Andy Warhol, one of the greatest artists of the past century. He zeroed in on a myth that lives on in the art world and academia alike. Dazzled by genius, too many people assume that artists are born with mystical abilities unknowable to the rest of us. In fact, many innovations spring not from their creators' innate talent, but from their years of accumulated knowledge. Keep that in mind when you head to an art museum, settle into your seat at a theater or open a new book. Sometimes what looks like creative genius is just regular old hard work.

Social Change Relies More On The Easily Influenced Than The Highly Influential

ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2007) — An important new study appearing in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research finds that it is rarely the case that highly influential individuals are responsible for bringing about shifts in public opinion.

Enough to Live On: The case for guaranteed income and the end of the growth economy

If we are to move beyond precarious paid employment and ensure a decent standard of living for all, a critical step in this direction would be the introduction of a basic income—a universal, unconditional income granted by the state to all residents of a country that would meet the cost of essential needs and thereby ensure an adequate standard of living for everyone. Redefining work by providing a basic income for all would be an important step towards both social justice and environmental sustainability.

From Science rewriting book on genetics

From Cato Unbound, James Flynn on intelligence and its implications for education and intervention (and reaction essays). From California Literary Review, a review of What is Intelligence? Beyond the Flynn Effect by James Flynn (and more on why dad's not as clever as you). Get Smart(er): You're no genius? Don't worry — you can still beef up your brain with a little effort. Should we talk about race and intelligence? Peter Singer investigates. In DNA era, new worries about prejudice: Research is exploring how DNA explains racial differences, but it could give discredited prejudices a new potency. Science rewriting book on genetics: With better tools for cutting, splicing DNA strands and advances in genome sequencing data, many "certainties" are being overturned. From Graduate Journal of Social Science, Wietse Vroom, Guido Ruivenkamp and Joost Jongerden (WUR): Articulating alternatives: Biotechnology and genomics development within a critical constructivist framework. Getting better all the time: Genetic modification of humanity isn't just possible — it's a moral duty, and vestigial organs seem ripe for transhumanist tweaks. A review of A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by J. Craig Venter. More on Avoid Boring People by James D. Watson.

Slide Show of C. Wright Mills’s “Intellectual Craftsmanship

[only works in internet explorer]

Risk Of Disability Rises In States With Income Inequality

A massive survey reveals Americans living in states with high rates of income inequality are significantly more likely to have a disability that limits the completion of daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and mobility at home.

Actions Speak Louder: Why We Use Our Past Behavior To Determine Our Current Attitudes

Sometimes it's difficult for us to remember how we felt about a product. A new study reveals that when memory fails, consumers will use postpurchase actions as a proxy. In other words, if we gab about a terrible dinner and a boring movie with loved ones, we might mistake the positive memory of talking about the experience for positive memories of the experience itself.

[Pamela Moss and I found that this was a critical problem for portfolio assessment efforts—AS]

What's In A Name? Initials Linked To Success, Study Shows

Do you like your name and initials? Most people do and, as past research has shown, sometimes we like them enough to influence other important behaviors. For example, Jack is more likely to move to Jacksonville and marry Jackie than is Philip who is more likely to move to Philadelphia and marry Phyllis. However, if you like your name too much, you might be in trouble. Researchers found that found that liking your own name sabotages success for people whose initials match negative performance labels.

Certain Mature Neurons Can Retain A Youthful Form Of Plasticity

It's a general belief that the circuitry of young brains has robust flexibility but eventually gets "hard-wired" in adulthood. However, it turns out that adult neurons aren't quite as rigidly glued in place as we suspect.

Early Teen Sex May Not Be A Path To Delinquency, Study Shows

A new study by clinical psychologists has found that teens who have sex at an early age may be less inclined to exhibit delinquent behavior in early adulthood than their peers who waited until they were older to have sex. The study also suggests that early sex may play a role in helping these teens develop better social relationships in early adulthood.

[Study conducted and written by teens, of course—AS]

Little Evidence That Binge Drinking While Pregnant Seriously Harms Fetus, Review Of Research Suggests

There is little substantive evidence that binge drinking while pregnant seriously harms the developing fetus, finds a new study. Consistently heavy drinking throughout pregnancy has been associated with birth defects and subsequent neurological problems. But it is not known what impact binge drinking, in the absence of regular heavy drinking, might have. And this drinking pattern is becoming increasingly common, particularly among women, say the authors. They suggest that further research is required, but in the meantime it might be wise to advise women to avoid binge drinking during pregnancy, just in case.

Consider Supplemental Math Programs For Children

Parents of school-aged children might want to think of giving their children an enduring holiday gift this year: enrollment in a supplemental mathematics program. While it can cost anywhere from $80 to $110 a month, the results of practicing mathematics nearly daily is rewarding and builds self-esteem.

Big Ticket: You'll Spend More Thinking About Your Bank Account Than About Your Wallet

It has long been assumed that consumers are good judges of affordability, but a new study reveals that how much you're willing to spend is influenced by whether you think about a larger pool of resources (such as your bank account) or a smaller pool (the cash in your wallet). Counting calories? You're more likely to eat that slice of cake if you think about how many calories you have allotted for the week, rather than just for the day.

Social Change Relies More On The Easily Influenced Than The Highly Influential

Rarely is it the case that highly influential individuals are responsible for bringing about shifts in public opinion. Instead, scientists find that it is the presence of large numbers of "easily influenced" people who bring about major shifts by influencing other easy-to-influence people.

Brain Matures A Few Years Late In ADHD, But Follows Normal Pattern

In youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the brain matures in a normal pattern but is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared to youth without the disorder, MRI scans reveal. The delay in ADHD was most prominent in regions at the front of the brain's outer mantle important for thinking and attention. Both groups showed a similar back-to-front wave of brain maturation with different areas peaking in thickness at different times.

That Friendly Car Is Smiling At Me: When Products Are Perceived As People

A forthcoming study looks at how consumers anthropomorphize products, endowing a car or a pair of shoes with human characteristics and personalities. The researchers find that people are more likely to attribute human qualities or traits to inanimate objects if the product fits with their expectations of relevant human qualities -- and are also more likely to positively evaluate an anthropomorphized item.

Tool-wielding Chimps Provide A Glimpse Of Early Human Behavior

Chimpanzees inhabiting a harsh savanna environment and using bark and stick tools to exploit an underground food resource are giving scientists new insights to the behaviors of the earliest hominids who, millions of years ago, left the African forests to range the same kinds of environments and possibly utilize the same foods.

Men Talk More Than Women Overall, But Not In All Circumstances

A Gallup poll recently confirmed that men and women both believe that it is women who are most likely to possess the gift of gab. Some even believe that women are biologically built for conversation. This widespread belief is challenged by new research. Researchers found a small but statistically reliable tendency for men to be more talkative than women overall. With strangers, women were generally more talkative when it came to using speech to affirm her connection to the listener, while men's speech focused more on an attempt to influence the listener.

Male And Female Adolescents Equally Victims Of Physical Dating Violence, Study Shows

Physical dating violence (PDV) affects almost one in every 11 adolescents, according to new research. The study, which looked at data from the 2005 National Youth Risk Behavior Study, also found that contrary to common general perception, males and females equally report being victims of PDV.

Children's Peer Victimization -- A Mix Of Loyalty And Preference

New research into childhood prejudice suggests that loyalty and disloyalty play a more important role than previously thought in how children treat members of their own and other groups. A study into the 'black sheep effect,' shows that children treat disloyalty in their own group more harshly than disloyalty within different groups.

1 comment:

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