Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ed Links (Post Holiday Edition)

Orthodox Economic Education, Ideology and Commercial Interests: Relationships that Inhibit Poverty Alleviation (pdf)

Many factors have been cited for the continuing, intractable poverty condition in most poor countries. . . . However, there is still another cause that has been insufficiently elucidated. That cause is the combined and iterative impact of three unwholesome relationships: (1) the relationship between the narrow, ideological graduate economic education and the orthodox development perspective held by the international agencies - a perspective that emphasizes growth of output without emphasizing distribution effects; (2) the relationship between international agency policies and the ideological foreign policy interests of the USA and UK, interests that some argue seek to gain control over poor countries' resources while promoting implementation of a pro-democratic, free market ideology; and (3) the relationship between development policies introduced by the international agencies and the commercial interests of multinational corporations and international banking firms, the interests of which are interlaced with USA and UK foreign policy interests.

Top 100 Living Geniuses

British geniuses feature heavily in a recent list that notes the greatest living thinkers of our time - proportionately more than any other country. The top 100 living geniuses was compiled by a panel of six experts in creativity and innovation from Creators Synectics, a global consultants firm.

[FYI--#1 is the inventor of LSD. By turns a weird, irritating, and fascinating list. Mostly white men, of course. No bias here. . . .—AS]

A Fascinating Condensation of New Knowledge: The Edge Annual Question — 2008

When thinking changes your mind, that's philosophy. When God changes your mind, that's faith. When facts change your mind, that's science. WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY? Science is based on evidence. What happens when the data change? How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?" [Lots of psychologists and neuroscientists and other related stuff. For example “I set out to show that language didn't affect perception, but I found exactly the opposite. It turns out that languages meddle in very low-level aspects of perception, and without our knowledge or consent shape the very nuts and bolts of how we see the world.”—AS]

The Genetics of Language

Researchers are beginning to crack the code that gives humans our way with words.

Percent Who See America As Divided Between Haves and Have Nots.

[Note that the largest difference is between republicans and democrats—AS]

Disordered Eating Less Common Among Teen Girls Who Regularly Eat Family Meals

Adolescent girls who frequently eat meals with their families appear less likely to use diet pills, laxatives or other extreme measures to control their weight five years later, according to a new report.

Chimpanzees May Build Their 'Cultures' In A Similar Way To Humans

Scientists have found cultural differences among chimpanzee colonies. Socially-learned cultural behavior was thought, until now, to be unique to humans.

Why It Pays To Be Choosy: The Co-evolution Of Choosiness And Cooperation

Given that cooperative individuals can often be exploited, it is not immediately clear why such behavior has evolved. A novel solution to this problem has been found by scientists who show that when individuals in a population are choosy about their partners, cooperativeness is rewarded and tends to increase.

Physical Education And Active Play Help Teens Maintain Normal Weight As Adults

Adolescents who participate in physical education at school are more likely to maintain a normal weight as young adults, according to a new study. For each weekday of physical education at school the odds of being an overweight adult decreased by 5 percent. Participation in all five days of physical education decreased the odds of being an overweight adult by 28 percent.

Divorce May Widen Distance Between Teens, Fathers

The typical distancing from parents by adolescents is exacerbated by divorce for fathers, but not for mothers, according to a recent study. Although research demonstrates that fathers' involvement with children has increased in recent decades, mothers continue to do the majority of childcare while fathers are the less involved parent.

Lack Of Imagination In Older Adults Linked To Declining Memory

Most children are able to imagine their future selves as astronauts, politicians or even superheroes; however, many older adults find it difficult to recollect past events, let alone generate new ones. A new study reveals that the ability of older adults to form imaginary scenarios is linked to their ability to recall detailed memories.

Social Standing May Be Linked To Body Mass Index In Teen Girls

Teen girls who perceive themselves as being lower on the social ladder appear more likely to gain weight over the subsequent two years, according to a new report. Between 1999 and 2004, the percentage of American teen girls classified as overweight increased from 14 percent to 16 percent, according to background information in the article.

Novel Mechanism For Long-term Learning Identified

Practice makes perfect -- or at least that's what we're told as we struggle through of multiplication tables and piano scales -- and it seems to be true. That's why neuroscientists have been perplexed by data showing that at the level of individual synapses increased, repetitive stimulation reverses gains in synaptic strength. Neuroscientists have now discovered the mechanism that resolves this paradox. The findings are published in Science.

Mom's Obesity During Conception Phase May Set The Stage For Offspring's Obesity Risk

Researchers have examined whether fetal exposure to gestational obesity leads to a self-reinforcing viscous cycle of excessive weight gain and body fat which passes from mother to child. The results of a new study suggest they do.

Evolution Education Is A 'Must' Says Coalition Of Scientific And Teaching Organizations

A coalition of 17 organizations is calling on the scientific community to become more involved in the promotion of science education, including evolution. The introduction of "nonscience," such as creationism and intelligent design, into science education will undermine the fundamentals of science education, according to the coalition.

Blacks, Hispanics Less Likely To Get Strong Pain Drugs In Emergency Rooms

Despite increases in the overall use of opioid drugs to relieve severe pain, black and Hispanic patients remain significantly less likely than whites to receive these pain-relievers in emergency rooms, according to a new national study. Opioids are narcotic drugs used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain.

Bad Dreams Associated With Difficult Temperaments In Children

Bad dreams in preschoolers are less prevalent than thought. However, when they do exist, nightmares are trait-like in nature and associated with personality characteristics measured as early as five months.

Which Intervention Would Do The Most To Improve The Health Of The Extreme Poor?

Experts were asked to name the one intervention that would improve the health of those living on less than $1 a day. The collected responses--from health researchers and activists, journalists, academics, and communities living in poverty--highlight effective, low tech, and remarkably cheap ways to make a profound difference to the lives of the poorest people on the planet.

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