The ability of young children to distinguish fact from fiction varies considerably with exposure to religion, two new studies have found. Children who did not attend parochial (religious) schools or church were significantly better at identifying characters in religious or fantasy stories as pretend than those who did. The studies have been published in Cognitive Science.
For the investigations, researchers enrolled 5- and 6- year old children and separated them into four groups: children who attend public school and church, children who attend public school but not church, children who attend parochial school and church and children who attend parochial school but not church.
They then exposed the children to three different types of stories- biblical (religious), fantastical (where the divine element was replaced with magic) or realistic (all supernatural elements removed). They then asked the children to judge whether the protagonist (lead character) was fictional or real.
Unsurprisingly, they found that all children judged the protagonist to be a real person in the realistic stories that described ordinary events, irrespective of religious background or schooling. However, when the children were read religious stories, such as Noah’s ark, there were significant differences in judgment. Children exposed to religion, either through school or church, decided that the characters were real, whereas secular children judged them to be fictional.
The ‘gap’ in space
This ‘gap’ in space is actually Barnard 68, a molecular cloud about 500 light-years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Serpent-holder. The gap is an example of a Bok globule, which are dark clouds of dense cosmic dust and gas that appear opaque in the visible light spectrum. There are around 3,700 stars within this globule, which is half a light year across. Barnard 68’s interior is very cold – about -257°C.
The biggest star
The biggest known star in the Universe is VY Canis Major, a red supergiant star that is also classified as a hypergiant because of its very high luminosity. It is located 5,000 light-years away and is 500,000 times brighter and about 30 to 40 times more massive than our Sun. If our Sun was replaced with VY Canis Majoris, its surface could extend to the orbit of Saturn.
The oldest star
While the image may not be impressive compared to other images of stars, the star itself is extremely impressive due to its age. The Methuselah Star (HD 140283) is the oldest star with a determined age. Astronomers in the 1950’s noticed it had a deficiency of heavy elements compared to other nearby stars, suggesting that it formed in a very early period in the Universe. The star likely formed in a primeval galaxy which was later shredded by the Milky Way over 12 billion years ago. Early estimates put the star’s age at 16 billion years old, which would make it older than the accepted age of the universe (13.8 billion years). The star is now estimated to be around 14.5 billion years old (plus or minus 0.8 billion years), which has the star’s age overlapping with that of the Universe.
CCN reported on the government of Ecuador’s decision to ban Bitcoin, along with all other cryptocurrencies, via a National Assembly majority vote on July 23rd.
An outright ban placed on Bitcoin by one nation, or another, has always been inevitable. What is more interesting (and unexpected), in the case of Ecuador, is its concurrent announcement of plans to create its own national cryptocurrency.
Ecuador is small South American country situated in the Andes, between Peru and Colombia. The country’s booming mining economy and hydro-electric output is sizable and in 2013, Ecuador’s economic growth surpassed that of it’s giant neighbor, Brazil.
Glossing over the practical benefits such as a public record of government transaction, elimination of counterfeiting, reduction of public sector corruption, etc., the announcement is significant because it apparently defies two key principles of the cryptocurrency domain, namely:
1. Can decentralized cryptocurrency be centralized?
2. Could cryptocurrency function meaningfully once removed from the open sourced, community-owned Bitcoin model?
This commentary will focus on the technical and conceptual challenges posed by the Ecuadorian cryptocurrency proposal. However, before we explore these issues, let’s get the obvious politico-economic bugbear out in the open: With global central banking in trouble, Ecuador’s decision could not have been made on a whim and, in all likelihood, is not intended to maintain the global economic status quo.
In What to Consider If You’re Considering University, Canadian academics Bill Morrison and Ken Coates offer a stern warning. They feel too many parents push their kids into university when they would be better off at polytechnics, colleges or apprenticing, because what they’re really after is a quick route to a good job, and universities can’t always deliver. They point out that the first-year dropout rate at 13 Canadian universities is 30 per cent and conclude that about a third of students shouldn’t have gone in the first place.
Think about that. Could it really be that a third of university students don’t belong? Doesn’t that go against the Canadian ethos to give as many people as possible a chance to better themselves? Either way, it’s a scary proposition if you’re a 17-year-old trying to decide what’s next.
To get a better idea of what the authors are thinking, consider their five-part “Curiosity Test.” First question: “Do I like to read? More precisely, have I read many works of serious fiction other than what some teacher has forced me to read?” Zombie books, Dan Brown and Oprah’s self-help books don’t count. Second question: “Do I watch foreign films, art films, CBC documentaries, or thoughtful PBS programs and series?” This time, horror films and Adam Sandler movies don’t count.
The conclusion is that if you weren’t interested in things like foreign films, Malcolm Gladwell or The Nature of Things in high school, you’re not curious enough to get much out of university.
While the curiosity test seems like a fair way to weed people out of elite programs such as Arts One at UBC or iSci at McMaster, it’s asking too much of most teenagers.
“If we’re only going to have students who are curious,” says Maryellen Weimer, a Pennsylvania State professor emeritus, teaching consultant and editor of The Teaching Professor newsletter, “most of our universities are going to be shutting down.”
Linkedin has been getting a bit of a bad press from my colleagues and peers lately. What was once the darling of the upper end professional with it’ gated community approach has now become the last bastion of recruiters, SEO "specialists" and sorry to say it but spammers. Mobile seems to have saved Facebook and now Twitter. But can mobile save Linkedin? It thinks so and so do I (but it will need to do some work...)
"As commented on below - the algorithm they use for the Newsfeed and Pulse might have to be the first thing they change."
But first - The New "Mobile First" User.
A small story...
You see my wife who, works for a successful small law firm, has only just joined LinkedIn, and so it was lovely to see what she did when she joined.
Jim Carrey, a Canadian-born actor who became a U.S. citizen in 2004, is an actor and producer famous for his rubbery body movements and flexible facial expressions. The two-time Golden Globe-winner rose to fame as a cast member of the Fox sketch comedyIn Living Color (1990) but leading roles in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Dumb & Dumber (1994) and The Mask (1994) established him as a bankable comedy actor.
The famous psychotherapist, Dr. Albert Ellis, helped launch America's sexual revolution. He is well known for stating his views on love and sex in an earthy tone. For women he offers this advice: "She’d better let her partner know, in no uncertain terms, what she really wants in bed and what he can do to help her get what she wants.” (Ellis, The Sensuous Person: Critique and Corrections pp. 15-16.)
Here is a sample of Ellis' ideas that apply to having an extraordinary love-sex life:
1. The sexual revolution that started in the 1960s encouraged people to choose what they sexually wanted to do, and what they did not want to do. This invigorated communications among couples about being loving as well as sexual.
2. Sexual flexibility (choosing among positive alternatives and acting with openness to experience) is consistent with good mental health. Although this is less likely today, some still suffer from rigid, puritanical, sex ideas, such as sex is wrong and wicked. This sex is sordid view places artificial restrictions on sexual enjoyment and can lead to sexual guilt.
The infinite space of social media creates a false sense of anonymity. A significant number of Fcbk users will post, share, and/or like things online that they would not in public (or they will “like” or “follow” a cause that they could not explain if you wanted to know the details). Most importantly, the vocabulary, lack of grammar, and complaining environment of the Fcbk space is annoying.
9. Social Politics
With my business clients and professional networks, with my coworkers at the water-cooler, and as often as possible with my friends & family, I stay away from discussions of party politics, government actions / inactions, religious views, and entertainment news media unless I know that the present company can have an educated and passive conversation. Similar to precarious conversations about religion or politics, Fcbk has created a new type of social politics that is easy to get sucked into and fall victim to the backlash.
8. Huge Amount of Risk (Personal & Professional)
Ever hear anyone say “we broke up because of Facebook,” or “I lost my job because of Facebook?” Personally, I firmly believe that responsibility lies within our own actions and that the blame isn’t really on Fcbk. The truth though, is that people are sharing, communicating, and are more closely connected than ever before. One mistake- shared with thousands- could lead to personal, professional, financial, and reputational losses that could significantly change the trajectory or outcome of your future.
7. Better Ways to Connect
I feel that Facebook has given friends, family, co-workers, and clients an easy excuse to be impersonal and feel okay or complacent about it. “THAT MAKES NO SENSE” you’re probably screaming; especially after I just wrote that we are more connected in 2014 than ever before. The thing is, I believe in deep waters not vast shallow kiddie-pools…. The people I physically spend time with, the people that I verbally talk to on a regular basis and who call me, the friends I meet for coffee, or the people I play sports with are the relationships that I strongly rely on. “Following,” re-posting or sharing, “Liking,” or sending birthday messages because the computer reminded you are not the ways in which I want to connect.
As I'm prepping for CNBC's Squawk Alley this morning, here's the big story on my mind:
Let's put it this way: Facebook's earnings last night showed it's in a class of its own in the social media world.
Revenue came in at $2.92 billion. Profit (as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) came in close to $2 billion. Mobile ads delivered 62% of overall ad revenue. And 1.32 billion people logged into Facebook at least once a month.
These numbers so far outstrip any other social media player, you'd be forgiven for picturing Mark Zuckerberg as the Juggernaut with his helmet super-glued on. (Comic book fans will know what I'm talking about.) Unstoppable, basically.
Are you disgusted by the promotion of inept or mediocre executives?
How many times have you seen the mediocre, or even inept executive not get fired, but get promoted -- 1, 5, 10, 100 times?
You have to ask how dumb are the big bosses, or the boards? I just read an article that corroborates this entitled, “Higher Paid CEOs Do A Worse Job – Study Says.”
The January 30, 2013 study, “Performance for Pay? The Relation Between CEO Incentive Compensation and Future Stock Price Performance,” was authored by Michael J. Cooper , University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business; Huseyin Gulen Purdue University - Krannert School of Management; and P. Raghavendra Rau University of Cambridge; UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.
There's no heartbreak like the heartbreak of first love, and when it comes to politics, no disappointment more bitter than that of a young person who grows up to realize her one-time idol is all too human.
That's the explanation offered by Harvard Institute of Politics pollster John Della Volpe and IOP Director Trey Grayson for the precipitous drop in Millennial generation support for President Obama in this year's annual Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service.
"We are now seeing a sea change among this critical demographic," Grayson said. "The president has experienced a double-digit drop among Millennials over the past seven months and that rating is now the lowest we've seen during his presidency."
The poll, conducted between October 30 and November 11, found that the president's approval among 18- to 29-year-olds had dropped from 52 to 41 percent over the course of the year, and that younger Millennials—those between 18 and 24—were trending less Democratic.
"For the better part of four or five years, young people have been the outliers. They've been the folks who have been the most optimistic and most trusting of the president and Congress to actually solve the problems they most care about," Della Volpe said, explaining what happened.
Women who smoke while they’re pregnant may actually be impairing the DNA of their future babies. A new study comparing nearly 900 infants identified 10 genes with newly established links to maternal smoking.
A plethora of problems could result from smoking during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: premature birth, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and a cleft lip or cleft palate, for example. Certain health and behavioral problems could follow these children into adulthood.
We have a limited understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying these effects, Science explains, though one possibility is epigenetic changes. That’s when environmental factors, like smoking or diet, chemically modify DNA by turning certain genes on or off. DNA methylation is one such epigenetic modification. This occurs when a methyl group -- a chemical tag consisting of one carbon bonded to three hydrogen atoms -- is added to certain DNA bases.
A team led by Christina Markunas from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) conducted an epigenome-wide association study to investigate the alterations in DNA methylation in infants who were exposed “in utero” to tobacco smoke by their mothers. A genome-wide association study is a tool used by researchers to compare DNA from people with a disease (or a set of circumstances of interest) to similar people without it, in order to see what shows up more frequently with the disease being studied.