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Books are good for your brain. These techniques will help you read more | Books - Popular Science

Turn yourself into a bookworm, recommend Dan Seitz, Popular Science.

Who can find time to read?
Photo: DepositphotosReading books can exercise your brain and even boost your emotional intelligence. Despite this, about a quarter of all Americans haven’t read a book in the last year and our overall book-reading time is on the decline.

Why you should embrace books Science has found that reading is essential for a healthy brain. We already know reading is good for children’s developing noggins: A study of twins at the University of California at Berkeley found that kids who started reading at an earlier age went on to perform better on certain intelligence tests, such as analyses of their vocabulary size.

Other studies show that reading continues to develop the brains of adults. One 2012 Stanford University study, where people read passages of Jane Austen while inside an MRI, indicates that different types of reading exercise different parts of your brain. As you get older, another study suggests, reading might help slow down or even halt cognitive decline...

Books can even help you get fit—that is, if they’re audiobooks. It comes down to a technique called “temptation bundling.” A University of Pennsylvania study found that people who were only allowed to listen to a thrilling audiobook at the gym hit the treadmill more often. Trashy thrillers, it turns out, are a great way to get in shape.

Finally, reading has the power to boost your productivity. Taking a break from one task to focus on another, one that uses different skills, can improve your focus and your short-term memory. So mentally stepping away for a moment lets you return to the task with a fresh vision and renewed focus. Next time you lose motivation at work, the solution could be taking in a few pages during your lunch break.

Source: Popular Science

9 traditional fields that are hiring more remote workers than ever | Remote Work - INSIDER

  • Remote job listings grew more than 50% in some unexpected fields last year, according to a FlexJobs report.
  • Fields that saw high growth in remote work for 2018 included law, science, and project management.
Nicol Natale, Editorial Intern at Business Insider notes, It's no secret that remote work is on the rise. 
Photo: from Pexels
According to a 2017 telecommuting report by FlexJobs, the number of US employees who "worked from home at least half of the time" grew 115% in twelve years, from 1.8 million employees in 2005 to 3.9 million in 2017.
Employees are looking to work for companies with missions that reinforce their values, and "flexible schedules and work-from-home options" are increasingly a high priority for millennial employees in comparison to previous generations, according to Gallup.
As a result, organizations are having to shift how they manage and optimize performance, and remote jobs are expanding into a variety of unusual career fields that haven't seen this kind of work in the past.
According to FlexJobs, here are 10 career fields that you might not typically associate with working from home, but that saw remote job listings grow more than 50% from January 1, 2018 to December 1, 2018. FlexJobs defines a "remote job" as any profession that "allows the worker to work from home either entirely or part of the time." The fields are ranked from least growth to highest.Read more...

Millennials can no longer be referred to as ‘kids these days’, scientist says | Tech -

Follow on Twitter as @jasperhamillJasper Hamill, Science & Technology Editor summarizes, Millennials are about to be overtaken by a new generation which hasn’t even got a proper name yet.

 A new generation is rising and it’s likely to be very different… 
Photo: Getty
Last year, experts published guidelines which said a millennial was anyone born between 1981 and 1996.

This means that even the youngest member of this ageing generation has waved goodbye to the early years of youth and adolescence.

So next time you read an article moaning about snowflakes and avocado aficionados, remember that this generation is about to be overturned by a new one which is likely to have radically different ideas about the world.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, data scientist David Robertson tweeted: ‘Today the youngest millennial in the world turns 22 and tomorrow the oldest one turns 38, so keep that in mind when someone uses “millennial” to mean “kids these days”.’...

‘Since the oldest among this rising generation are just turning 21 this year, and most are still in their teens, we think it’s too early to give them a name and we look forward to watching as conversations among researchers, the media and the public help a name for this generation take shape. 

‘In the meantime, we will simply call them “post-Millennials” until a common nomenclature takes hold.’


How to Teach Kids to Communicate in This Digital Age | Digital & Mobile Technology - The Tech Edvocate

When even the youngest children are spending the equivalent of a full work day looking at screens, it is perhaps no surprise that parents are wondering how to teach their children to communicate in the digital age, according to Matthew Lynch, The Tech Edvocate. 

Photo: The Tech EdvocateSince the parents themselves did not grow up with tablets and smartphones, the situation is even more challenging.

This is a multi-faceted problem. On the one hand, children need to learn how to have traditional, face-to-face conversations unmediated by technology. On the other hand, they also need to learn how to communicate appropriately using technology. Both of these kinds of communication will be vital to their success as adults.

Traditional communication requires extensive screen-free time in order to develop the ability to communicate well. Children need to be taught, for example, the importance of eye contact. They should also understand that there is some cultural variation on the appropriateness of eye contact in different contexts, and they should be prepared for that reality. They will also need time to develop an understanding of non-verbal aspects of communication—something that is foreign to most kinds of digital communication...

Unlike in the non-digital environment, students often lack the examples of proper role models in the digital sphere, which means that they might assume that some types of digital communication are acceptable when the adults in their lives would strongly disagree with that assessment. It can also be difficult for students to understand that what they post online won’t go away—it might impact their future in ways that are hard to predict.
Read more... 

Additional resources
Photo: The Tech EdvocateDigital Learning Theories and Models That All Educators Should Know by Matthew Lynch, The Tech Edvocate.

Source: The Tech Edvocate

Rwanda gets first public coding school | Technology - The New Times

Sixty young bright students have already been selected across the country to join the first cohort of the inaugural software programming school, adding impetus to the country’s efforts to become a regional tech hub, inform Athan Tashobya, News Reporter at The New times Rwanda.

A Rwandan woman programmer.
Photo: Eugene Rwagasore
Isaac Munyakazi, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education told The New Times that all is set for the first bunch of selected young tech enthusiast to begin their studies.

The school will be hosted at Nyabihu Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) School.

The facility worth over Rwf4 billion is located in Nyabihu District and was completed early last year.

“Everything is set, and the school will start this academic year,” Munyakazi said.

“We have already selected 60 students to start with and the number will increase as we move along,” he added.

The selected students include those that performed well in STEM subjects in last year’s O’Level national exams.

STEM subjects include chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, astronomy and physics...

At the coding school, students will pursue a three year course. 
“In those three years, students will also be sent abroad for 6-months training in some of the leading 

IT colleges and top tech companies as they share knowledge and experience with their peers and experts,” Mutimura noted.

The programme will be fully funded by the government. The best performers will get scholarships to advance their studies in some of the leading ICT schools around the world, the minister added.

Source: The New Times

Human behavior professor explains how to make New Year's resolutions | Melody Wilding - Business Insider

This post was originally published on
  • Melody Wilding is an executive coach, licensed social worker, and professor of human behavior.
  • She writes that even the most practical New Year's resolutions tend to bomb, often because the goal-setter has made the goals too big, gotten caught up in the holiday hype, or trying to do too much, too soon.
  • A better way to set goals you can keep, she advises, is to pick a theme for the year, aim for small wins in big goals, and decide ahead of time how you will deal with getting derailed.
There's a better way to set resolutions you'll be able to keep, writes executive coach and human behavior professor Melody Wilding.
Photo: PexelsIt's that time of year when we're likely to reflect back on the past 12 months, thinking about what went well, what didn't, and how we can do better in the New Year. Often, this goes hand-in-hand with making resolutions aimed at improving ourselves and our circumstances. 

The problem with New Year's resolutions, however, is that they're so darn hard to keep. We wake up on January 1 st with the best of intentions, lots of energy, and even a well-laid plan to tackle the resolutions, but in reality, by March most of these goals are simply a distant memory. Old habits return, and life goes on.
When we look at the psychology behind failed resolutions, there's a few reasons why even the most practical of goals tend to bomb: Read more...
Source: Business Insider

Not your usual textbook: A Duke professor is using ‘Star Trek’ to teach about science | Books - The News & Observer

Have you wondered how Captain America survived being in a state of suspended animation, if apes could grow as large as King Kong and why so many of the aliens in “Star Trek” look humanoid?

Mohamed Noor sits in the captain’s chair at the Starbase Indy “Star Trek” convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in November 2017. Noor, a biology professor at Duke University, recently authored the book “Live Long And Evolve.”
Photo: Savannah O'Connor 
It’s those kinds of questions that Mohamed Noor, a biology professor at Duke University, is asking by using science fiction to motivate people to learn more about science. Noor has taken his message wider with his recently published book, “Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Evolution, Genetics And Life On Other Worlds.”

“There are a lot of science-fiction fans out there,” Noor said in an interview. “A lot of these science-fiction fans are interested in science, but maybe they haven’t been engaged by their standard biology classes or even by nature shows and things like that.

“The objective, both from some of the classes I teach as well as my book which just came out, ‘Live Long and Evolve,’ is to try to catch people who already have an interest in science fiction and show them a lot of the real science they can learn from using the science fiction.”...

Noor, 47, is an award-winning scientist in evolutionary genetics who will become dean of natural sciences at Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences in July. He lives in Durham after having joined Duke in 2005.

But Noor is also a lifelong “Star Trek” fan who drew inspiration from a 2014 panel discussion at Dragon Con, a sci-fi convention that brings 80,000 fans to Atlanta each September...

Noor and Spana have gone on to speak at panels together on topics such as “Star Trek” vs. “Star Wars.” So when Duke asked Noor about teaching an accessible but educational weeklong course during spring break, he approached Spana to teach it with him.

The result has been “The Biology of Popular Science Fiction TV and Movies,” where Noor and Spana have for the last two spring breaks put students to the test trying to think of plausible explanations for some of the implausible things seen on screen

“The point of the class and the point of the book is not to critique science fiction,” Noor said. “We know that this is fiction. Obviously what’s happening here would not happen in real life

“The point is just to have an entry point to hypothesis testing and to exploring questions and learning what could make something possible.”Read more... 

Related link 

Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us
about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds Source: The News & Observer

The Philosophy of Science Fiction | Shout - The Daily Star

Imagine this: three people have spent their entire lives chained inside a cave, facing a blank wall, unable to turn their heads, as The Daily Star reports.
Photo: The Daily StarBehind them, at the other end of the cave, is a fire that allows shadows to be cast on the wall that the prisoners are faced towards. The space between the prisoners and the fire is used by the rest of the society to pass through with different objects and maybe even their pet/ domesticated animals. The prisoners start to name and classify their perceptions of the shadows as actual entities. One day, one of the prisoners is set free so he finds his way out of the cave. Experiencing what objects really look like for the first time, the prisoner has a hard time believing that the illusions he believed to be true were actually mere reflections. Gradually, his eyes start to adjust and he can look at reflections in water, objects themselves and even the Sun. Next, he goes back to the cave to educate his partners about the discoveries he just made but finds himself unable to observe the shadows as clearly as he used to be able to. Upon listening to his stories, his partners start to believe that the journey has made him blind and ignorant; hence, they resist any attempts to be freed.

As great as it would be as a plot for a science fiction novel or movie, this is actually a passage written and represented by Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, in his work 'Republic'. While science fiction and philosophy might seem like two completely unrelated disciplines, they have a deep correlation. Philosophy is a discipline that enquires into the nature of reality, ethics and humanity at its core whereas the genre of science fiction is one that seems to explore questions about who we are and what governs the world and humanity. Thus, science fiction is an ideal form of literature for exploring ideas and arguments of philosophy...

Unlike most genres that use the familiar to build images of the world around us, science fiction makes use of bizarre creations and worlds to portray the insanity of the world around us. Philosophy therefore, gives science fiction the perfect genesis to give us an insight on the possibilities of reality.
Read more... 

Source: The Daily Star

Why Creativity is the Most Important Skill in the World | Top Skills - LinkedIn Learning

Recently at LinkedIn Learning, using the power of our Economic Graph, we determined the skills companies need most.

Photo: PexelsAnd there was a bit of a surprise at the very top of the list: creativity. 

Technically, creativity is the second-most in-demand skill in the world, with cloud computing at the top. But cloud computing is a hard skill, which means it applies to only a section of the workforce and doesn’t have the staying power a soft skill has. 

Conversely, learning how to think more creatively will benefit you the rest of your career. And, macroeconomic trends suggest creativity will only become more important moving forward. 

Hence, it’s no stretch to say creativity is the single-most important skill in the world for all business professionals today to master. Why? 

Let’s start with the what...

But that’s not what it means to be creative, because creativity doesn’t mean artistry. Yes, an artist could be creative, but so could a software engineer, a mathematician, a salesperson or a CEO. 

What does it actually mean to be creative? LinkedIn Learning Instructor Stefan Mumaw, who has authored six books on creativity, has this definition: “Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty.”

Let’s break that definition down into its two parts:
  • Relevancy: Relevancy means actually solving the problem. As in, it was relevant to the problem at hand, and provided an actual solution to it. A solution without relevancy is no solution at all.
  • Novelty: Novelty is harder to judge, but it’s when you are able to solve a problem in an original way. A way that isn’t what’s expected or has been done before.  
Putting it together, creativity is really just solving problems in original ways. 
Read more... 

Source: LinkedIn Learning (Blog)

Math program is tailored to students’ different learning styles | Education - Canadian Jewish News

When it comes to teaching math, Hebrew Academy Grade 6 teachers Sheri Gray and Lauren Thurber are way ahead of the curve, explains CJN Staff.

From left, Hebrew Academy teacher Lauren Thurber, Grade 6 students Benjamin Bendaya, Ayelet Scheier and Aidan Knafo, and teacher Sheri Gray pose in front of their Super Mathio board, where students measure their progress.
Photo: Canadian Jewish News The two Montreal day school teachers have developed a self-paced math program that has been a huge hit with their students – so much so that the teachers were invited to share their creation at the recent Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers’ annual convention.

At a time when Hebrew Academy’s elementary school is increasingly applying differentiated instruction (DI), an educational framework that tailors learning to the individual needs of the student, Gray and Thurber’s program – which Gray calls “Math Quest” and Thurber calls “Super Mathio” – exemplifies this educational approach at its best, they say.

DI’s proponents recognize that in a classroom with dozens of students, effective instruction cannot be one-size-fits-all...

Each unit in the curriculum explores multiple concepts over eight lessons. For the first step – instruction – students might watch a mini tutorial online, read a lesson in their class textbook or request a one-on-one or small group lesson with the teacher. At times, the teachers might also give a brief class lesson.

“The students love to watch the videos because as they’re watching, they can pause and watch them again if they need to,” said Thurber. “They can’t do that with a teacher. Kids can also do an example along with the video.”

The students then practise what they’ve learned (Step 2) by completing exercises or activities, including workbook lessons and online games. They then self-correct their answers with those posted online and check in with the teacher to demonstrate that they’ve mastered the concept (Step 3).

Once they are given the all clear, students think about what they’ve learned (Step 4) by recording themselves on Flipgrid, a video-discussion platform that’s viewable by their classmates and teachers.

Source: Canadian Jewish News

How to choose right skill course in 2019? | Education - The Indian Express

Varun Saxena, founder, Career Anna – Online learning platform writes, In 2019, there would be 2.5 lakh IT jobs created for freshers in India. Jobs for data scientists, machine learning professionals, cyber security, augmented reality would see an upsurge in demand.

The right up-skill course should be technical, focused and short.
Photo: Representational Image
Landing a lucrative role in a reputed company is not a cakewalk. The professional world is constantly changing and the traditional education system often fails to equip students with the required skills suited for the jobs. The lifespan of skills acquired is getting shorter, and the demand for people with newer and advanced skills is increasing with each passing day. In such a scenario, up-skilling seems to be the only way forward. But how to chose the right course for yourself?

The crème de la crème of all skill up courses in 2018 were finance/ bitcoin/ blockchain, writing, digital marketing, project management and Google analytics. Online programmes on marketing, entrepreneurship and public speaking are always in vogue and the trend will continue in 2019.
Other courses to reign in 2019 would be based on hard skills which companies look for the most – SEO/SEM marketing, network and information security, perl/ python/ ruby and business intelligence.

In 2019, there would be 2.5 lakh IT jobs created for freshers in India. Jobs for data scientists, machine learning professionals, cyber security, augmented reality would see an upsurge in demand, over and above the specialist jobs in marketing, growth hacking and mobile application developers...

What is the right upskill course? 
The right upgrading of skills goes a long way in improving one’s productivity and overall performance. Reportedly, 68 per cent of employees prefer to learn at work and because up-skilling is a way to keep one abreast of industry trends and requirement.

Upskilling need not be strictly technical and functional. Familiarisation with the new technological trends in the contemporary digital age helps in aiming for higher opportunities, but soft skills such as communication, leadership, collaboration, and time management are equally important.

Source: The Indian Express

Seven data trends on our radar: machine learning to IoT | Data Analytics & Data Science - Information Age

Michael Baxter, Author says, Machine learning and related developments form part of O'Reilly Media's Ben Lorica's predicted data trends.

Machine learning is a key part of data trends.
Photo:  It is very difficult for organisations to discern which tools will bring them the most benefit in the year ahead, and which issues they need to plan for, such is the volume of technological choices available, data trends is no exception to this.

New technological developments provide the platform for the next generation of innovation, as we’ve seen with the evolution of ‘Big Data’ into advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. How can businesses navigate this increasingly-complex data landscape to make the wisest investments?

Here is our guide to the top seven data trends that should be on every organisation’s radar for the year ahead.

Source: Information Age

The Must-Read Brain Books Of 2018 | Healthcare - Forbes

This is part one of a two-part list; the second installment is here.
The must-read brain books of 2018 featured perception, emotion, hormones, psychedelics, culture, time, technology, addiction, and the biological roots of consciousness, inform
David DiSalvo, Contributor.

Photo: GettyThe eight books on this list all reveal important, timely insights about who we are, what we do and why we do it.

Source: Forbes

Off the Book Lists | Books - New York Times

Here is a collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry that didn’t make the “10 Best” or the “100 Notables,” but our editors still found them worthy of attention.

Photo: New York Times
Choosing the year’s 100 Notable Books and then the 10 Best isn’t easy. Campaigns are mounted and long debates ensue. In the end, there’s general agreement — on some books more than others — but sometimes there’s disappointment when a favorite doesn’t make the cut. So this year, we asked a few staff members on the Books desk to tell us about their “should a beens” or “could a beens” for 2018.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times

The 19 Best Books of 2018 | Culture - The Atlantic

Editor’s Note: Find all of The Atlantic’s “Best of 2018” coverage here.
2018 was a year whose realities sometimes seemed to approach the dystopias and dramas of fiction, as stories of family trauma, environmental disaster, and sexual assault played out on the world stage, according to The Atlantic Culture Desk

Photo: Katie Martin / The Atlantic
The books our writers and editors were drawn to this year include many that illuminate these struggles and inequities, whether in the form of visceral sonnets, lyrical history, or dizzyingly surreal detective yarns. But they also reach past political themes to the most intimate and universal of stories: a cross-continental meditation on transitory love, a warm and funny account of aging, a timeless reinvention of an ancient myth, and an absorbing deconstruction of faith, to name a few. Our list isn’t definitive or comprehensive, but guided by individual interests and tastes. Below, you’ll find essays, poetry, three striking fiction debuts, the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and more.

Source: The Atlantic

This Was a Great Year to Be a Math Geek | Technology & Ideas - Bloomberg

And 2019 is shaping up to be pretty good, too, argues Scott Duke Kominers, MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics.

Fun and games.
Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe
For math geeks like me, 2018 was a banner year: not only was it a year in which the field’s top prize was awarded, it was the only year in this century featuring days lining up with both the Golden ratio, an elegant proportion found throughout art and nature, and the mathematical constant e, which is at 
the core of calculus.

But the mathematician in me also can’t help but note that the number 2,018 has some ominous properties: It’s deficient, meaning that the sum of all its positive divisors is less than itself. And it’s also odious, meaning that it has an odd number of ones in its binary expansion, 11111100010. 1

This year is pretty cryptic, as well -- it features prominently in the first of the three Beale ciphers, an 1880s cryptographic puzzle that supposedly describes the location of a multimillion-dollar treasure. (Hint: check the cipher’s second line.)

And 2,018 is a crystallogen number, giving it a property derived from chemistry that means it’s slightly unbalanced: atoms with full shells containing 2,022 electrons are electronically stable. But 2,018? It’s, well, just a few short. (Maybe three years from now will be less volatile?)...

And 1,009 is happy, meaning that if you take the sum of the squares of its digits, and then take the sum of the squares of the digits of the result, and so forth, you eventually get to 1. It’s also lucky, which means that it survives the following curious elimination process: Start with the odd numbers, note the second-largest is three; and delete every third number. The third-largest number remaining is then seven, so now delete every seventh. The fourth-largest is then nine, so delete every ninth, and so on.

Source: Bloomberg

Shrinking job options for seniors | Letters - The Star Online

I REFER to Help seniors get jobs” (The Star, Dec 24). Although I sympathise with people who need an income post-retirement, companies are not charities. 

Photo: The Star OnlineThe reality is that many companies are finding that the bottomline is shrinking due to competition and higher costs. As such, we may not be able to change the retirement age or force companies to continue to employ people who may have passed the statutory retirement age.

Irrespective of what is going on in the world today, jobs remain the mainstay of income for the sustenance of the average human being. Privatisation, outsourcing and shared services allow jobs to cross borders at the snap of a finger. Let’s face it, the days of lifetime employment are over.

People are living longer and many jobs are being lost to robotics. There will be an ever increasing problem of an ageing population as well as a new generation of young workers who find it difficult to get jobs...

The Human Resources Develop­ment Fund under the Human Resources Ministry has a centre for retrenched workers. Perhaps they can initiate a special category for retired persons too.

Online job portals should consider having an initiative for seniors who are skilled and good in languages to offer their experience and service albeit at a lower cost.

Source: The Star Online

Artificial intelligence: What changed in 2018 and what to expect in 2019 | AI & Machine Learning - Information Age

In the artificial intelligence and machine learning space, 2019 will see the rise of the intelligent application, observes Nick Ismail, editor for Information Age.

The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning will solve business problems and bring new ideas to life to continue into 2019 as companies strive to get the most business value and competitive advantage from their existing data.
Photo: Information Age Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those technologies that excites the public and business imagination alike. Long since a favourite theme in science-fiction, it is now gaining traction in everyday practical scenarios.

In 2018, we saw a considerable rise in the adoption of AI around the world and across industries, with businesses using it to improve operations, generate new innovations and boost customer experience.

With financial services, telecoms and high tech leading the way in bringing AI into the mainstream, and other areas such as automotive, healthcare, energy and retail also embracing it, we expect the rapid growth of AI to continue in 2019 as companies strive to get the most value and competitive advantage from the data they capture. Let’s take a look at what’s been powering the rise of AI recently and what might be around the corner.

Source: Information Age

NC Teens To Learn About Artificial Intelligence | Education - WUNC

For students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, the future is now, says Lisa Philip, Education Reporter.

A $2 million gift to the North Carolina School Of Science And Math will support a new program in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Photo: NCSSM An alum has given $2 million to start an artificial intelligence and machine learning program at the public boarding school in Durham. 

The school’s chancellor, Todd Roberts, says students will be taught about the field through various lenses, from engineering to social science to agriculture.

“Along with the technology, and opportunities to create new technology and knowledge,” 

Roberts says, “[there is] the importance of making sure they understand from the beginning the implications and potential implications of our artificial intelligence and machine learning -- from a societal impact standpoint, ethical, and all of those.”...

Roberts says the $2 million gift will fund 3 to 4 additional faculty at the North Carolina School of Science and Math [NCSSM] for the artificial intelligence and machine learning program, which will start up on a small scale next summer. He says a core goal is to make the new curriculum and any resulting student projects open source.

Source: WUNC


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