The Most Proven Way to Get Smarter and Happier


TIME

Yes, It’s This Simple

Many of the fixes for our problems aren’t complex — something that’s clear in the things I recommend people do every day.

What’s a scientifically validated way to get smarter, happier, healthier and calmer?

Stop reading this right now and go for a walk.

It’s that simple.

Here’s why.

Exercise Powers the Body — and the Mind

They used to say you don’t grow new brain cells. They were wrong.

Via Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain:

As an illustration of just how new this territory is, I’ll go back to the story of neurogenesis, the once-heretical theory that the brain grows new nerve cells throughout life. “Ten years ago people weren’t even convinced that it happened,” says neurologist Scott Small. It was at his Columbia University lab, in 2007, where they witnessed telltale signs of neurogenesis for the first…

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There’s No App for Good Teaching


ideas.ted.com

See all articles in the series

8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom.

Bringing technology into the classroom often winds up an awkward mash-up between the laws of Murphy and Moore: What can go wrong, will — only faster.

It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards.

There’s no app for that.

But there are touchstones for bringing technology into the classroom. With educational goals as the starting point, not an afterthought, teachers can help students use — and then transcend — technology as they learn.

Children as early as Pre-Kindergarten at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia have access to the iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. https://www.flickr.com/photos/116952757@N08/14161914543 Starting in pre-kindergarten, children at Love T. Nolan Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, have access to an iPad to reinforce techniques taught in the classroom. Photo by Amanda…

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7 Things Learned From Watching TEDxCERN


1) Water is weird.
2) Thanks to a particle detector mounted on the International Space Station, scientists are keeping tabs on a lot of cosmic rays.
3) A surprising threat to the rainforest? Noise.
4) The future of antibiotics may lie in silver nanoparticles.
5) Cardiovascular medicine is becoming easier to get (in Cameroon).
6) We owe our lives to aerosol particles.
7) Despite what it may seem at times, we are living in a hugely exciting moment.

Read more about each thing at: 7 things learned from a day spent watching TEDxCERN

TED Blog

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Wednesday marked the second-ever TEDxCERN, the event organized by the folks at CERN, the famed particle physics research center in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for bringing us the World Wide Web, the Large Hadron Collider, and confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson. You know, just a few minor things.

TEDxCERN brought together a mix of experts from across the sciences and the world, people all working to answer the question: “What are the big ideas in science that will help us address tomorrow’s major global problems?” Particle physicist (and three-time TED speaker) Brian Cox served as quippy host, while more than a thousand attendees watched live in CERN’s Globe of Science and Innovation.

If you weren’t one of the lucky thousand, or were too swamped with work to catch the live webcast, don’t despair. We watched for you. And created a list of things we…

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What The Best Education Systems Are Doing Right


ideas.ted.com

In South Korea and Finland, it’s not about finding the “right” school.

Fifty years ago, both South Korea and Finland had terrible education systems. Finland was at risk of becoming the economic stepchild of Europe. South Korea was ravaged by civil war. Yet over the past half century, both South Korea and Finland have turned their schools around — and now both countries are hailed internationally for their extremely high educational outcomes. What can other countries learn from these two successful, but diametrically opposed, educational models? Here’s an overview of what South Korea and Finland are doing right.

The Korean model: Grit and hard, hard, hard work.

For millennia, in some parts of Asia, the only way to climb the socioeconomic ladder and find secure work was to take an examination — in which the proctor was a proxy for the emperor, says Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on…

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Disruptive Technology Is Changing How Kids Learn


TIME

In a few weeks, the halls of a school in Nanuet, N.Y., will teem with mini race cars. The vehicles will sport custom-designed wheels, each set carefully tuned in diameter and thickness to achieve maximum speed.

But the cars’ makers aren’t college-level engineers; they’re middle-school students attempting to learn about physics and technology by using a device that combines both–the school’s 3-D printer. “It’s rewriting what’s possible” in education, says Vinny Garrison, the teacher who organizes the races.

It’s not the only innovation doing so. Nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers use technology to motivate students to learn, according to a survey by PBS LearningMedia. And that tech is getting smarter: students can now virtually tour ancient worlds to learn history, take quizzes via smartphone and more.

Most of the changes are designed to better prepare U.S. students for careers in fast-growing fields like science and engineering. But they can come…

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What Can Our Education Systems Learn from Classrooms in the Developing World?


TED Blog

A group of students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at one location of Sugata Mitra's School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and Adam Braun, there's a lot that Western schools can learn about education from students in India. Students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at a location of Sugata Mitra’s School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and his Microsoft Work Wonders Project partner, Adam Braun, there’s quite a bit that Western schools can learn from classrooms in the developing world.

Adam Braun went to school in the US and now runs a nonprofit that builds schools in Ghana, Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In contrast, Sugata Mitra—the winner of the 2013 TED Prize—went to school in India and now is a professor in the UK, where his research on self-directed learning routinely brings him into elementary schools. Both of these education activists have seen how typical classrooms function in the Western world, and both have seen how typical classrooms function in the developing world. And both say, the West isn’t always better.

Braun and Mitra have teamed up through Microsoft’s Work Wonders Project to…

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5 Skills of Power and How You Can Learn to Use Them


ideas.ted.com

Eric Liu is on a mission to make civics “as sexy as it was during the American Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement.” As he describes in today’s TED Talk (watch: Why ordinary people need to understand power), we are at a moment of crisis in the United States. The average person simply doesn’t know how to participate in local government, and this means that clout is disproportionately concentrated in the hands of the few who do. Liu’s solution to this imbalance? That we teach everyone the basic skills of power.

As the people of Ferguson, Missouri, stand up against police brutality, the topic of how to take back civic power is on many minds. Through Citizen University, Liu is creating a shared curriculum of power that will be available soon. In the meantime, he offers up several basic skills it will include, to help anyone interested in influencing change right now.

Skill #1: Understand the system.

“Before you…

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The Future of Content Consumption


Gigaom

After years struggling through a public identity crisis it appears [company]Yahoo[/company] has decided, for better or worse, that it’s a content company. There will be no Yahoo smartphones or operating systems, no Yahoo Fiber, and no Yahoo drones, robots or satellites. But that doesn’t mean the company can’t innovate.

When it comes to the future of web content, in fact — how we’ll find it, consume it and monetize it — Yahoo might just have the inside track on innovation. I spoke recently with Ron Brachman, the head of Yahoo Labs, who’s now managing a team of 250 (and growing) researchers around the world. They’re experts in fields such as computational advertising, personalization and human-computer interaction, and they’re all focused on the company’s driving mission of putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.

Really, it’s all about machine learning

However, Yahoo Labs’ biggest focus appears to…

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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

What Humans Can Learn From Semi-intelligent Slime


As my third post on my WordPress I’m going to share a video that I’ve watched very recently.

This video is a TED Talk presentation made by Heather Barnett, inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, presenting a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas and exploring what people can learn from this semi-intelligent slime mold.

«A third experiment: the slime mold was invited to explore a territory covered in oats. It fans out in a branching pattern. As it goes, each food node it finds, it forms a network, a connection to, and keeps foraging. After 26 hours, it established quite a firm network between the different oats. Now there’s nothing remarkable in this until you learn that the center oat that it started from represents the city of Tokyo, and the surrounding oats are suburban railway stations.
The slime mold had replicated the Tokyo transport network — (Laughter) — a complex system developed over time by community dwellings, civil engineering, urban planning. What had taken us well over 100 years took the slime mold just over a day.
The conclusion from their experiment was that the slime mold can form efficient networks and solve the traveling salesman problem

An people still fear “robots”, bioinformatic programmes that can take revenge or try to correct/conquer us and your habits for efficiency standards, virus and programmable systems…but if someday scientists can replicate the slime’s biological systems to the digital world, even with good/correct reasons, maybe someday they can change our bio-information and (global) cities information, and change our views of efficiency and excellency, we are “screwed”…

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

Best regards,
Pedro Calado