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joshjournel · 10 years
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WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER WHEN YOU ARE IN A BAD MOOD?
Reading a fresh crisp newspaper!
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.
Marie Curie (via neuromorphogenesis)
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Brain baloney has no place in the classroom
If you want to make a neuroscientist’s head explode, all you need to do is confidently and triumphantly tell them that humans only use 10% of their brains. Or that right-brained people are more creative than left-brained people. Or that jiggling your head around gets more blood to the brain so you can think more efficiently. These are myths about the brain that have now been around for so long, it’s a wonder they haven’t had a congratulatory message from the Queen.
Unfortunately, because they’ve been around for so long, neuromyths have taken hold in a broad range of aspects of everyday life. Nowhere is this more problematic than in the education system. A new article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience this week has cast a critical eye on the issue, and reveals some worrying statistics about the extent to which brain baloney have infiltrated the beliefs of teachers around the world.
The survey, conducted by Paul Howard-Jones at the University of Bristol, asked 938 teachers from five different countries whether they agreed or not with a number of statements relating to popular myths about the brain. The results paint a picture of a global epidemic of neurononsense. In the UK, 91% of teachers surveyed believed that differences in hemispheric dominance could account for differences in preferred learning methods for students – in other words, ‘left-brained’ students think in a different way to ‘right-brained’ students. Among Chinese teachers, 59% agreed that we only use 10% of our brains. Across all five countries – the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece and China – on average, a whopping 96% of surveyed teachers agreed that students learn most effectively when taught in their preferred learning style (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic).
But why is this the case? Howard-Jones argues that there’s a number of reasons why neuromyths persist, but they essentially all boil down to inadequate communication between neuroscientists, educators and policymakers.
In particular, an ongoing issue is that neuroscientific counter-evidence to dodgy brain claims are difficult to access for non-specialists. Often, crucial information appears in quite a complex form in specialist neuroscientific journals, and often behind an exorbitant paywall – for example, the Journal of Neuroscience charges $30 for one day of access to a single article. And yes, ironically it’s worth noting that the neuromyths paper is, frustratingly, also behind a paywall.
Another problem is misinterpretation – particularly when it comes to neuroimaging studies. Without a proper grounding in how to interpret scans of the brain, images showing different areas ‘lighting up’ perpetuates a misconception that these areas are active but isolated from each other, with the rest of the brain inactive at that point in time. “To non specialists”, Howard-Jones argues in the paper, “apparently well-defined and static islands on one side of a brain are more suggested of a new phrenology than of a statistical map indicating where activity has exceeded an arbitrary threshold.”
And so we’re left with a situation in which neuromyths have largely been left unchallenged in the education system. But, at least there’s a spark of hope that this is changing. Both teachers and neuroscientists alike are starting to see an increased need for better communication. A new field of ‘educational neuroscience’ is starting to develop, in part bolstered by a 2011 report from the Royal Society looking at some of the implications of neuroscience within a teaching and learning setting. And teaching unions are eager to look at the possibilities for using neuroscience – they just need to be careful that they do so in an objective, evidence-based way.
Two things spring to mind that can be done immediately. Wouldn’t it be great if Nature Reviews Neuroscience dropped the paywall for this article, and sent it to as many teachers and schools as possible? Alternatively, let’s give teachers a core textbook of their own: Christian Jarrett’s excellent book Great Myths of the Brain, which came out this week. Required reading before thinking about neuroscience-based education policies. And yes, it will be on the exam at the end of the year.
By the way, if you want to make a psychologist’s head explode, all you need to do is ask them if they can tell what you’re thinking. Or ask them whether it’s a proper science. Just don’t mention anything about p values or replication.
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joshjournel · 10 years
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Female Gamers React To #Gamergate
After hosting a #Gamergate conversation with Brianna Wu and 8chan founder Frederick Brennan on Tuesday, HuffPost Live sat down with three female gamers on Wednesday to get their views on the movement.
Watch the entire video here for the full conversation with Georgina Young, a staff writer at Gamesided, and gamers Jennie Bharaj and Jemma Morgan
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joshjournel · 10 years
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As the content of video games has begun to expand, some gaming fans are intent on shutting down new perspectives. Simon Parkin on Gamergate:
"At their best, video games promote empathy and understanding by allowing us to experience virtual life from another’s perspective. Those who...
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Copywrong
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Why have copyright issues grown and grown? In this week’s issue, Louis Menand asks what the intellectual-property battles really mean:
“Before the Internet, the social cost of this obstacle was minimal. … But today, when everything can be made available to the entire world at minimal expense, it seems absurd to hold enormous amounts of content hostage to the threat of legal action from the odd descendant.”
Illustration by Thomas Burden
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joshjournel · 10 years
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There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (via bookmania)
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joshjournel · 10 years
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 someone great once said: “All simplicity is a lie” 
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Viral ad hopes to inspire ‘pretty brilliant’ girls
(Photo: Verizon via YouTube)
A new ad from Verizon begs the question: “Isn’t it time we told her she’s pretty brilliant, too?”
Continue reading
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Don’t let others decide what your experience will be.
Miles Doran, CBS News (via isabellafaife)
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joshjournel · 10 years
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joshjournel · 10 years
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There are plenty of bad essays in the world, plenty of quickly churned-out opinion pieces dumped onto the public’s lap in order to have a Hot Take scheduled before noon.
On Deciding What Counts: Elizabeth Ellen and What Makes A Victim, http://ift.tt/1vGR3JY (via feministreads)
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Is Paula Deen asshole of the day for comparing herself to “that black football player” (Michael Sam)?
Deen says, “I’m fighting to get my name back,” adding, “I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out,”…
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joshjournel · 10 years
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You win this round cheese
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joshjournel · 10 years
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This Is How The Media Chooses To Profile A Female Activist
Cecily McMillan, the 25-year-old Occupy Wall Street activist who was jailed for elbowing a police officer during a protest, returned to court on Thursday, where a cadre of hard-hitting journalists greeted her with questions about her courtroom attire.
“My editor told me to ask who you’re wearing,” a photographer was spotted eagerly asking McMillan, according to The Village Voice.
McMillan, who was earlier this month released from Rikers Island — one of the country’s most notoriously violent jails — explained that although she was free, she no longer felt safe in New York “because I was sexually assaulted and then put in jail for it," according to the Voice. McMillan has alleged from the start that the officer involved in her assault case forcibly grabbed her breast from behind during the protest; after elbowing him, she was promptly arrested and put in jail.
Upon hearing her explanation Thursday, a Post reporter responded, “Well, you look fabulous! But you should eat more.”
The interactions resulted in a blatantly sexist portrayal of McMillan sprinkled with mocking details about her fashion choices — all of which fail to mention that she was asked such questions by the press.
The Daily News went straight to the sartorial details with the headline, “Occupy Wall Street protester wears Calvin Klein to court.”
The Post’s own coverage included a previously dated photo of an emotional McMillan with the caption, “McMillan cries in court in May after being given an outfit she had already worn." The paper led with the headline "Rikers Island: The new way to lose weight.”
Rikers is currently at the center of damning allegations of officer abuse, contraband smuggling by officers, regular beatings of the mentally ill, and corruption.
McMillan has been using her newfound freedom to speak out against the treatment of inmates at Rikers — a cause that is essentially being buried for more important notes on her outfit choices. Well done, New York media!
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joshjournel · 10 years
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Parliament passed the first of three anti-terror bills last week.
The 1st bill (now passed) gaols journalists and whistleblowers who disclose classified info and makes it easier for ASIO to spy on our net.
The 2nd bill makes it easier for cops to barge into Aussies’ homes.
The 3rd bill gives the Government more access to our internet metadata.
The last two bills can still be stopped with your help. #StopDataRetention
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