Archive for the ‘Insight’ Category

I found out about this experiment from the video presentation “Steven Pinker: The Elephant, the Emperor, and the Matzo Ball”,

Steven Pinker asks:

“Why are bribes, requests, seductions, solicitations, and threats so often veiled when both parties know what they mean?”

The article starts….”You want to go to the hottest restaurant in town. You have no reservation.”

Bruce Feiler has a plan for you.

Source: Pocketful of Dough – Tips on Tipping: 2000s Archive :

If the Bechdel test existed when this show was on the air, Daria would have passed with flying colors. Whether she and her best friend, Jane Lane, were waxing philosophic about being judged on their looks, or Daria and Jodie Landon (more on her later) were discussing the school dynamics at Lawndale High, plenty of the female characters spent the majority of their time not consumed with crushes on boys. Because of that, it allowed for more interesting conversation and character development, and reminded teenage girls that there is more to life than being someone’s girlfriend.

This is a powerful statement:

“Don’t confuse outputs for outcomes. We often celebrate the outputs of our work. When something gets launched or when we cross another checkbox off of our to-do list. But by celebrating outputs instead of outcomes, we lose the spark of what motivated us to innovate in the first place. We don’t do what we do to cross items off a list, we do what we do because it has an impact. “Don’t get blinded by the output and celebrate the wrong win,” Reynolds stated. His example? Building a well isn’t what we celebrate. Instead, celebrate when the well is providing clean water and better health for an entire village.”

via How to Fuel Collaboration & Innovation: 2015 99U Conference Recap 1 – 99U.

Power, Button, Off, On, Red

Access to electricity (% of population) | Data | Table.

Deaths from heroin overdose increased in all regions of the country, but the biggest rise was seen in the Midwest, where the heroin death rate rose 11-fold between 2000 and 2013. The death rate quadrupled in the Northeast, tripped in the South, and doubled in the West, the CDC report said.

via Heroin Overdose Deaths Nearly Quadruple in 13 Years – Scientific American.

I recognize that this could politicized, and that’s not my intention for sharing this. Educators, after all, work best when they approach educating with an open mind (or open mindset) and flexibility. This is a reason education is both an art and a science. On the other hand, we should be careful about being “early adopters”. We should explore new ideas and tools, but we should approach these explorations with awareness and with special attention to measuring (somewhat objectively) what we hope to achieve against what was actually achieved (somewhat objectively).


The Neurocritic: Against Initiatives: “don’t be taken in by the boondoggle”.


Here’s Professor Leah Krubitzer, who heads theLaboratory of Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Davis:

“From a personal rather than scientific standpoint, the final important thing I’ve learned is don’t be taken in by the boondoggle, don’t get caught up in technology, and be very suspicious of “initiatives.” Science should be driven by questions that are generated by inquiry and in-depth analysis rather than top-down initiatives that dictate scientific directions. I have also learned to be suspicious of labels declaring this the “decade of” anything: The brain, The mind, Consciousness. There should be no time limit on discovery. Does anyone really believe we will solve these complex, nonlinear phenomena in ten years or even one hundred? Tightly bound temporal mandates can undermine the important, incremental, and seemingly small discoveries scientists make every day doing critical, basic, nonmandated research. These basic scientific discoveries have always been the foundation for clinical translation. By all means funding big questions and developing innovative techniques is worthwhile, but scientists and the science should dictate the process.”


A search of the literature on learning styles reveals thousands of journal articles, books, conference presentations, magazine articles, websites, and so on. The sheer volume of the literature may suggest that the hypothesis at the heart of the theory, that matching instructional style to students’ learning style leads to improved learning, has been well studied, but that would be incorrect. Scholars who have taken inventory of this literature have noted that the vast majority of it is theoretical and descriptive in nature rather than empirical and tends not to appear in peer-reviewed journals. Worse still, very few of the empirical studies were methodologically strong and featured a randomly assigned control group.The few remaining studies, including this most recent one, do not support the learning styles hypothesis. 

via Skeptic » Insight » The Myth of Learning Styles.


Train yourself to recognize “your physiological signs of stress,” says Gonzalez. Perhaps your neck stiffens, your stomach clenches, or your palms sweat. These are all the result of what’s happening inside your body. “The minute you start to experience stress, your pulse races, your heart beats faster and hormones [including cortisol and adrenaline] are released,” she says. “This compromises your immune system and your ability to experience relaxation.”  When you’re able to recognize the signs — instead of ignoring them — you’ll be able to start addressing the underlying cause of the stress.

via How to Handle Stress in the Moment – HBR.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats.

the new realistic simulation demonstrates that the tiny birds make use of unsteady airflow mechanisms, generating invisible vortices of air that produce the lift they need to hover and flit from flower to flower.

“You might think that if the hummingbird simply beats its wings fast enough and hard enough it can push enough air downward to keep its small body afloat. But, according to the simulation, lift production is much trickier than that.”