Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ed Links

Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work

The fact that all three of these epiphany stories are pure fiction stops us short. As humans, we want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance, with great thunderclaps and echoing ahas. Innovators and other creative types, we believe, stand apart from the crowd, wielding secrets and magical talents beyond the rest of us.

This week’s irrelevant but fascinating: The Worst Building in the History of Mankind

It's the Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea, where the world's 22nd largest skyscraper has been vacant for two decades and is likely to stay that way ... forever.

Generation Gap? 'Online Gap' Widens Divide Between Parents and Children

A new Tel Aviv University research study has found that, despite what parents might believe, there is an enormous gap between what they think their children are doing online and what is really happening.

The Natural History of the Only Child

Modern life means small families. Starting about two centuries ago, families in Western Europe began to shrink, and then -- country by country, continent by continent -- the rest of the world followed suit. The trend is so big that it may rein in the world population's exponential growth, perhaps even causing it to stop growing altogether over the next century.

Adventures in Richistan
Robert Frank explores the life and times of America's newly wealthy

Genes And Environment Interact In First Graders To Predict Physical But Not Social Aggression

Research with 400 pairs of 7-year-old twins assessed the genetic and environmental effects on children's physical and social aggression (behaviors such as spreading rumors). Specifically, the researchers found that physical aggression in a friend is likely to interact with genetic tendency towards physical aggression; however, a child's social aggression was not affected by one's genetic disposition. Further, effects of friends' aggression on other children's aggression were only observed within the same type of aggression.

Reduced Sleep Can Increase Childhood Obesity Risk

Less sleep can increase a child's risk of being overweight or obese.. A new analysis of epidemiological studies found that with each additional hour of sleep, the risk of a child being overweight or obese dropped by 9 percent.

Discrimination Against Blacks Linked To Dehumanization, Study Finds

Crude historical depictions of African Americans as ape-like may have disappeared from mainstream US culture, but research presented in a new paper by psychologists at Stanford, Pennsylvania State University and the University of California-Berkeley reveals that many Americans subconsciously associate blacks with apes. In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human, according to the researchers.

Environmental Toxins Linked To Early Onset Puberty In Girls, Study Suggests

Certain environmental toxins, such as the mycoestrogen zearalenone produced by the Fusarium fungus species, can be found naturally in the environment, have properties similar to the female reproductive hormone estrogen, and are also structurally similar to anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding. A new study suggests that certain mycoestrogens may be directly linked to the early onset of sexual development in young girls.

Languages Evolve In Rapid Bursts, Rather Than Following A Steady Pattern

Languages change and evolve in rapid bursts rather than in a steady pattern. New research investigates thousands of years of language evolution, and looks at the way in which languages split and evolve. It has long been accepted that the desire for a distinct social identity may cause languages to change quickly, but it has not previously been known whether such rapid bursts of change are a regular feature of the evolution of human language.

Communing With Nature Less And Less

From backyard gardening to mountain climbing, outdoor activities are on the wane as people around the world spend more leisure time online or in front of the tube, according to findings. "The replacement of vigorous outdoor activities by sedentary, indoor videophilia has far-reaching consequences for physical and mental health, especially in children," one of the researchers said. "Videophilia has been shown to be a cause of obesity, lack of socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance."

Women Take Almost 50 Percent More Short-term Sick Leave Than Men

Women take almost 50 percent more short term sick leave than men, finds research in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. But they don't take more long term sick leave, the findings show. Physical health problems, physical work demands, and work fatigue were more commonly reported by women. And they were 46% more likely than men to call in sick for short periods of a few days. Women may be better at recognizing problems and going to the doctor for treatment, suggest the researchers.

Severe Stressful Events Early In Pregnancy May Be Associated With Schizophrenia Among Offspring

Children of women who undergo an extremely stressful event -- such as the death of a close relative -- during the first trimester of pregnancy appear more likely to develop schizophrenia, according to a new report.

Preschoolers' Exposure To Terrorist Attacks, Other Trauma Linked To More Severe Behavioral Problems

Preschool children exposed to both the World Trade Center attacks and another traumatic event were more likely to experience behavioral problems than children exposed only to one event or to none, according to a new report.

New Thoughts On Language Acquisition: Toddlers As Data Miners

Researchers are studying a ground-breaking theory that young children are able to learn large groups of words rapidly by data-mining. Their theory, which they have explored with 12- and 14-month-olds, takes a radically different approach to the accepted view that young children learn words one at a time -- something they do remarkably well by the age of 2 but not so well before that.

Why Serotonin Can Cause Depression And Anxiety

Mood disorders could be caused by a loss of our inherent, reflexive avoidance of aversive events, according to a new study. Researchers have used computational modeling techniques to integrate what appeared to be blatant contradictions between serotonin's roles in different states of health.

Parental Drinking And Parenting Practices Influence Adolescent Drinking

Adolescence is a critical time for the potential initiation and escalation of alcohol use. New findings underscore the impact of parental drinking and parenting practices on adolescent drinking.

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