Why Asian-American Students Outperform Their White Peers


See also: Here’s One Reason China Dominates At Teaching Math – Business Insider

When it comes to academic achievement, Asian-Americans outclass every other ethnic group, with more than half over age 25 holding a bachelor’s degree—well above the national average of 28%. To find what gives Asian-Americans a leg up, a team of sociologists scoured two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students.

After crunching test scores, GPAs, teacher evaluations, and social factors such as immigration status, the team reports a simple explanation online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Asian-American students work harder.

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Deficit Models of Gender in Gaming & Tech Research


@joebaxterwebb

I’m trying to work through something which has been bugging me – gender deficit theories (i.e. the idea that male/female attitudes or behaviors are based on a lack of something). It’s hard to know how much to adopt defecit models when talking about gaming and questions of who plays what. There’s lots of literature in this post, but I’ve tried to use hyperlinks to non-paywalled sources where-ever possible. I’ll get into two main types of gendered deficit models I’ve seen, in relation to games, after a little bit of personal context.

The doctoral thesis I’m working on is based mainly around testing an idea present in a lot of the feminist lit. on games – that playing certain types of games has, over the years, given certain types of people (hint hint; the type with external genitalia) a sort of head-start in learning about and becoming enthusiastic about technology, programming etc. (for…

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LinkedIn: The “Other” Social Network Makes its Move


Nones Notes

linkedinWe may be reading quite a few news reports these days about Facebook and Twitter facing a plateau in usage … but LinkedIn’s fortunes continue to be on the upswing (financial losses notwithstanding).

In late April, the social network reported that it now has more than 300 million active members throughout the world, which is up more than 35% since the beginning of the year.

Too, the gender gap in membership is narrowing, albeit more slowly:  Today, ~44% of LinkedIn members are women, up from ~39% in 2009.

Even more impressive for a network that has the lofty goal of “creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce,” is the fact that two-thirds of LinkedIn’s active members are located outside the United States.

This is underscored by the top three countries represented  in LinkedIn’s membership, which are the U.S. (#1), India…

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Tells GMO Critics to “Chill Out”


Neil deGrasse Tyson – scientist, astrophysicist, author, science communicator and host of the television series “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” (2014) – known for defending climate science and the science of evolution, in a video recently posted on YouTube takes a strong stand on another hot-button scientific topic: Genetically modified foods and organisms.

Neil deGrasse Tyson answers a question posed in French about “des plantes transgenetiques” — responding with one of his characteristic, slowly-building rants.

Practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food,” asserts Tyson. “There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There’s no wild cows…You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it’s not as large, it’s not as sweet, it’s not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it. We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It’s called artificial selection.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

In fairness, critics of GM foods make a variety of arguments that go beyond the simple question of whether the foods we eat were modified prior to the onset of modern biotechnology. They also draw a distinction between modifying plants and animals through traditional breeding and genetic modification that requires the use of biotechnology, and involves techniques such as inserting genes from different species. – Chris Mooney

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Perspective and Reframing – Keys to Happiness, Success and…Everything


Rory Sutherland says that the circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them, making a compelling case for how perspective and reframing are the key to happiness, success, and all the chapters/steps of life at TEDxAthens (2011).

Things as simple as context change our perception and our view, even without noticing it.

Should Handheld Devices be Banned for Young Children?


On March of 2014, The Huffington Post posted the article “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12”.

It has been proven that handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013), as I’ve already posted on my blog (Preschoolers More Digital-Smart than College Students), but there are also side-effects and negative points on the matter, some of which you can explore on these posts:
Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?
Delayed Social Development Cost of Texting?

10 research-based reasons presented by The Huffington Post for this “ban”:

1. Rapid brain growth
2. Delayed Development
3. Epidemic Obesity
4. Sleep Deprivation
5. Mental Illness
6. Aggression
7. Digital dementia
8. Addictions
9. Radiation emission
10. Unsustainable future

(Read more about each reason on the original post here)

Megan Egbert – a librarian, blogger and mom – answered the article with 10 Reasons Why I Will Continue Giving My Children Handheld Devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1. Because banning things never, ever, ever works
2. Problem solving
3. Technology skills
4. Expectations in school
5. Interest
6. Because I care about their brains
7. Girls
8. Balanced life
9. Literacy
10. Reality

(Read more about each reason on the original post here)

My personal opinion is that we need to be smart and have a critical posture about how (future) kids use technology, gadgets, social media and connect to the World Wide Web in general, since it was and has been continuously scientifically and psychologically proven that the new technology paradigm is affecting some manual, social and language skills.
Recent reports and studies show that nowadays young children and teens have less and less hobbies and extracurricular activities, preferring instead to “stay online”, consequently not getting enough exercise, outside activities, etc., some are even using tech to bully, exploit themselves, post horrible things anonymously, etc., a new kind of social interaction and social/digital (inter)relation on digital communities/groups that require further analysis and practical investigations. Nevertheless, parents and care takers need to stay vigilant about how their kids and young children use tech, new gadgets and get connected to the World Wide Web.
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Smartphone app Human draws maps of urban movement


A New Hype

The creators of activity tracking app Human have visualised the routes taken by its users to create moving maps that show the world’s cities throughout the day:

Human-app-maps-Amsterdam-cycling_dezeenHuman-app-maps-LA-transport_dezeenHuman-app-maps-London-running_dezeenHuman-app-maps-New-York-walking_dezeenHuman-app-maps-San-Francisco-running_dezeen

LINK!

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7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to College


As my fifth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share a very interesting article posted today on Lifehacker which I’ve read and identified with, not only on regarding my education basis, but can be also applied on many other fields and life personal experiences.

Check it out here: Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Graduate School

The article is very insightful and interesting, discussing how if “you’re headed to grad school, the game changes”, and it really does, having a “reputation for being the most difficult time in a student’s life”, coming after a “long undergrad career, bringing empty pockets, longer classes, and teaching requirements to students—on top of the stress of independent studies or a thesis”, besides being an “eye-opening and fulfilling part of your academic career” and “opening doors you’ll appreciate for the rest of your life”.

«First and foremost, you need to ask yourself whether it is worth it to do grad school.»

I also suggest that you watch this open-minded and in the spirit of ideas worth spreading TEDx Talk (at Almada, Portugal, September 26th, 2012), combining to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group, from Fernando Santana – Catedratic Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and currently Director of the School of Science and Technology – discussing objectively  about why do you take an university/college course, sharing many conclusions of case studies and personal/professional experiences.

 

The author of this Lifehacker’s post, Alan Henry, speaks and discusses very openly and with great precision about a couple of things what he and others from Lifehacker’s team “learned from our graduate schooling that you can take with you going in”.
The listing is awesome and very precise, starting with:

1. Be Prepared for a Level of Competition You’ve Never Experienced Before
«
(…) my classmates were intent on making sure they were at the top of the class, well-known and liked by professors and classmates, and as active in class activities as possible.»

«Normally a little friendly competition is healthy, but when it came time to work together in teams or collaborate, the competition was ridiculous. (…) When it came to the grunt work, like compiling research, interest waned. Tread carefully and hone your people skills.»

2. Intelligence Isn’t As Important As You Think It Is
«
When you’re an undergrad, your intelligence is highly valued. In graduate school, and truthfully, anywhere after that, intelligence is important, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

(…) the degree to which you’re knowledgeable on a specific topic isn’t enough anymore. You likely won’t be the smartest person in the room, and even if you are, you need to be diligent, confident, and communicate well too. You’ll meet people less intelligent than you who are better at those soft skills. And you know what? You’ll see them getting their feet into doors you won’t, and it’ll sting.»

«Intelligence is certainly still a door-opener. But it will never get the job done on its own. Diligence, rigour, a reliable network, and finally not being a dick are essential qualities of not just software engineering but any profession that’s outside the little bubble called grad school.» – Manuel Ebert

3. Do Everything and Make Connections: That’s What You’re Really There For
«(…) make sure you take the time to meet people, spent time with different people, and, for lack of a better word, “network” with as many people as possible. You will tap into them at some point for postgraduate projects, and they’ll do the same with you.

Do everything extra you can: This applies to a bachelor’s degree too, of course, but I think the extra-curricular stuff in grad school is really way more important than it is during a bachelor’s program.» – Thorin Klosowski
«You may have heard this advice before: Do all the extracurriculars you possibly can. Go to the guest speakers and lectures. Join study groups. Go on offsites and class trips. Join student societies. Assist professors who are looking for grad students to help out. When you do, you’re building on our first point: You’re meeting the people you’ll make valuable connections with. You’re also learning how to network professionally without being sleazy about it, which is one of those soft skills that will take you places.»

4. Leave Your Comfort Zone Behind
«
It may cause you some anxiety—in my case, it was a lot of anxiety—but it’s one thing you should absolutely get ready for. No one will force you to attend those guest lectures, or travel for talks and conferences. No one will insist you go study abroad for a term, or work in someone else’s lab for a little while so you can offer your expertise. You could stay at home and coast, and ignore all of those events, just because it’s easier to. Don’t do it.»

5. Embrace the “Poor Grad Student” Stereotype, Even If You’re Not
«
Depending on your personal situation, that can be true. Even if it’s not and you can afford to feed yourself without resorting to ramen noodles and frozen vegetables, sometimes it’s better if you embrace that stereotype anyway.

We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a decent place to live and good food if you can afford it, but keeping your lifestyle neat, portable, and minimal now will serve you later when the student loan bills start coming in

6. Keep Your Textbooks and Find Your Niche
«
Unlike undergraduate schooling, which focuses on giving you a broad education on your major, in grad school you’ll expand on what you learned and drill down into specific topics. Don’t coast and just flow with the curriculum—take the time to find parts of your studies that really interest you. Ideally, this is how you’ll uncover your future career.

When you do find it, connect as much as possible with the people involved with it. As you study that specific topic, you’ll learn about where the best research on the topic is being performed and who you can talk to at your current school that’s involved with it.»

7. Don’t Expect Anything After Graduating
«It doesn’t really matter which field you studied, but just because you have a shiny new MBA doesn’t mean you’ll get a high-paying job the month you graduate. In the sciences, being a freshly minted post-doc just means you get to compete with everyone else who graduated that year for a slot in someone’s lab. You still have a long way to go.»

«If you have those connections we mentioned earlier, the whole process is a little easier. Your business school colleagues may have leads to share, or they may be starting their own companies. The professors you worked with may bring you into their labs, or write recommendations to help you get into great institutions. Even so, don’t expect anything—you’ll still need to work your ass off to get a job

Alan Henry argues that “if you’re expecting a miraculous sense of self-fulfillment or accomplishment when you graduate, you may be out of luck”, as Thorin Klosowski (who also went to grad school) notes:

Don’t expect to “get” anything when you graduate: Most liberal arts programs are about teaching you how to learn and how to think. A graduate program’s no different—and if you walk in expecting to finish some grandiose project or have a sense of completion, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, you’ll walk away being more confused about the world than when you started, BUT you’ll at least be able to explain your way through it a little better. To that point, I’d argue that when you’re picking out a school, atmosphere and culture-fit is WAY more important in grad school than in an undergrad program. Your general view of the world, and how you think about it will be tainted by the grad program you choose, so pick one that you think is relevant and interesting.

The author of the post ends beautifully by saying:
However, because grad school is part education, part work, and part professional networking, there’s more to the picture you should remember before diving in. If you’re headed for graduate school next term, hopefully this is useful to you. Grad school can be grueling, stressful, and challenging, or it can be easier than your undergrad schooling—a lot of it is how you approach it and what you take away from the experience. Have some fun, enjoy the journey, and as they say, consider the destination as its own reward. – Alan Henry

My faculty colleague and recently graduated in Communication Sciences, Sofia Cintra, added to my upper short texts of my brilliant WordPress (her words, not mine): “Don’t expect nothing and smile”, that’s how she graduated with an awesome average and is currently on her way to a Masters degree, good luck Sofia 😀

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

A Journey Through The Last 30 Years of Tech


As my forth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share a video of a TED Talk that I’ve watched recently.

This video is a TED Talk presentation made by MIT Media Lab founder, Nicholas Negroponte, a true tech visionary – pushed the edge of the information revolution as an inventor, thinker and angel investor -, [MIT Media Lab] which helped drive the multimedia revolution and presently houses more than 500 researchers and staff across a broad range of disciplines.

“If Nicholas Negroponte can achieve his ambition of distributing $100 laptops to the world’s disadvantaged children, he will help redefine philanthropy and see his name added to a list alongside the likes of Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller.” — Technology Review

My favourite part of the Talk is this one, which I quote:

«I think the challenge is to connect the last billion people, and connecting the last billion is very different than connecting the next billion, and the reason it’s different is that the next billion are sort of low-hanging fruit, but the last billion are rural. Being rural and being poor are very different. Poverty tends to be created by our society, and the people in that community are not poor in the same way at all. They may be primitive, but the way to approach it and to connect them, the history of One Laptop per Child, and the experiment in Ethiopia, lead me to believe that we can in fact do this in a very short period of time.
And so my plan (…) is to do this with a stationary satellite (…), and for two billion dollars, you can connect a lot more than 100 million people, but the reason I picked two, and I will leave this as my last slide, is two billion dollars is what we were spending in Afghanistan every week. So surely if we can connect Africa and the last billion people for numbers like that, we should be doing it.» – Nicholas Negroponte

The ending of the Talk, with the “last prediction” is also brilliant, scary, visionary and very possible in 20 to 30 years, with the technology advances we’ve seen just on the last century, changing and innovating the tech paradigm, year after year.

«(…) one of the things about learning how to read, we have been doing a lot of consuming of information going through our eyes, and so that may be a very inefficient channel. So my prediction is that we are going to ingest information You’re going to swallow a pill and know English. You’re going to swallow a pill and know Shakespeare. And the way to do it is through the bloodstream. So once it’s in your bloodstream, it basically goes through it and gets into the brain, and when it knows that it’s in the brain in the different pieces, it deposits it in the right places. So it’s ingesting.
(…) This isn’t quite as far-fetched, so 30 years from now.» – Nicholas Negroponte

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado

Middle Age in the Digital Age


The Lonely Typewriter

old-peoples-home-63615_640I always assumed that when people got older, they at some point starting feeling like their age. Now that I’m 40, on the verge of turning 41, I still feel like an immature 22-year-old who likes cartoons and laughs at fart jokes.

If I do live to be 70, I still won’t consider myself old, in the same manner in which I don’t currently consider myself middle-aged. I’ve vowed to continue driving fast, never to hold up lines in the grocery store and to refrain from complaining about the thermostat.

I won’t lie: turning 40 really screwed with my head despite my denials as such leading up to that milestone birthday. Now that I’ve had a year to mull this over, it’s not so bad. In fact, I feel like I’m at my peak in so many ways, especially with a career that I truly enjoy, and a revived interest…

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