Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ed Links

Totally Cool if Irrelevant: Digging Up an Ant City

Beauty in the banal

[Walter] Benjamin read the modern era from its refuse: cityscapes, word puzzles, quotations from forgotten books, Russian toys, shopping arcades. He believed, writes Leslie, “that contemporary literacy has less to do with the ability to read words and more to do with reading images”.


[Neils] Bohr's discerning conviction was that the invisible world of the electron was essentially a cubist world. By 1923, de Broglie had already determined that electrons could exist as either particles or waves. What Bohr maintained was that the form they took depended on how you looked at them. Their very nature was a consequence of our observation. This meant that electrons weren't like little planets at all. Instead, they were like one of Picasso's deconstructed guitars, a blur of brushstrokes that only made sense once you stared at it. The art that looked so strange was actually telling the truth.

He's Not as Smart as He Thinks

A British researcher reports that the male ego is often larger than his actual IQ. But you might be surprised by what women think of men's intellect.

Mapping the Most Complex Structure in the Universe: Your Brain

"The 'wiring diagram' of the brain could help us understand how the brain computes, how it wires itself up during development and rewires itself in adulthood," said Sebastian Seung, a computational-neuroscience professor at MIT. . . . A full set of images of the human brain at synapse-level resolution would contain hundreds of petabytes of information, or about the total amount of storage in Google's data centers, Lichtman estimates.

Teen Drivers Would Benefit From Greater Restrictions

Most states have graduated licensing for teen drivers but such programs should be even more restrictive, according to a new study. Teens are at excess risk, they say, for all crash types, which include a combination of various elements: characteristics of the teen driver, time of day, day of week, driver behavior and the context within the vehicle.

Your shopping buddy turns to you and asks, "Which one of these would you get?" Or, you're talking with your spouse about which candidate you'd like to vote for before switching on the nightly news. Turns out simply being asked to make a choice -- especially if you're in a hurry or have something on your mind -- will make you like the next thing you see more.

About nine percent of teenagers may have metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors that put them on the path toward heart disease and diabetes in adulthood. This shocking statistic represents some of the first concentrated efforts to define and measure metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents -- a necessary starting point for combating the problem, but one that has proven even trickier in youth than it has been in adults.

Babies conceived during a period of famine are at risk of developing addictions later in life, according to new research. Researchers studied men and women born in Rotterdam during the Dutch "hunger winter." Those whose mothers had suffered severe food shortages and starvation during their early pregnancy were significantly more likely to be receiving treatment for addictive disorders.

A new study shows that only about half of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, exhibit the cognitive defects commonly associated with the condition and further, found that in populations where medication is rarely prescribed to treat ADHD, the prevalence and symptoms of the disorder are roughly equivalent to populations in which medication is widely used.

'Truthiness,' according to television satirist Stephen Colbert, represents the human preference to follow our intuition despite the presence of facts or evidence. For example, the more ambiguous an answer to a question, the more likely an individual will believe it is truthful. At least that is what psychologists Rick Dale of the University of Memphis, Michael Spivey of Cornell University and the late Chris McKinstry found when they asked college students questions that ranged in levels of vagueness and tracked their corresponding arm movements to clicking 'yes' or 'no' on a computer screen.

Kids may roll their eyes when their mother asks them about their school day, but answering her may actually help them learn. New research reveals that children learn the solution to a problem best when they explain it to their mom.

Children from low-income families in the United States do not have the same access to qualified teachers as do wealthier students, according to a new study. Compared to 46 countries, the United States had the fourth largest opportunity gap, the difference between students of high and low socioeconomic status in their access to qualified teachers.

Gender disordered children as young as ten are being denied desperately needed hormonal drugs leading to bullying, violence and even suicide according to new research. Dr Simona Giordano from The University of Manchester says British doctors are depriving children relief from "extreme suffering" caused by their condition - forcing their families into seeking help outside the UK. Homophobic bullying in schools is experienced by 89.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in the UK.

Children undergoing PAS are manipulated by their custodial parent, who tries to turn them against their father/mother, arousing in them feelings of hatred and contempt for the other parent. Children usually not only reject the noncustodial parent, but also his or her family and close friends.

The term 'posttraumatic embitterment disorder' (PTED) was recently introduced to describe a subtype of adjustment disorders, characterized by prolonged embitterment, severe additional psychopathological symptoms and great impairment in most areas of life in reaction to a severe negative but not life threatening life event. The aim of this study is an empirical description and validation of the clinical concept of PTED, by comparing clinically defined PTED patients with patients suffering from other mental disorders on measures of posttraumatic stress and psychopathological distress.

New research supports the idea that sleep plays a critical role in the brain's ability to change in response to its environment. This ability, called plasticity, is at the heart of learning. This research clarifies this phenomenon, supporting the idea that sleep plays a critical role in the brain's ability to change in response to its environment. This ability, called plasticity, is at the heart of learning.

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