Academic

Academic (11)

The Academic category contains information concerning the cultural accumulation of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations and its practitioners and transmitters.  Diverse constituent groups have diverse, and sometimes conflicting, goals.  For example, one interest of this categroy is the conflict between improving teaching quality/availability and the need to manage costs.  Other interests include the conflicts between professional and trade education, secular and religious education, private and public education (or any combination of these sub-categories).

Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 17:58 Written by
Creativity - Far More than Deliberate Practice

Speed of expertise acquisition may matter, but so do a whole host of other traits.  The "10-Year Rule" makes for a sensational TED talk; however, the idea that it takes 10 years to become a world-class expert in any domain is not a rule. Creativity doesn't have an expiration date. Creativity seems to happen when it's ready to happen.  While expetise or technique certainly contribute, talent and personality are very relevant to creative accomplishment. 

LSD is Curative

Thursday, 14 April 2016 00:44 Written by
LSD is Curative

New studies given researchers an unprecedented insight into the neural basis for effects produced by one of the most powerful drugs ever created. One study could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Researchers suggest the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation that helped fund the study said, said: “We are finally unveiling the brain mechanisms underlying the potential of LSD, not only to heal but also to deepen our understanding of consciousness itself.”  A study appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how LSD reverses the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood.

How to be Good

Sunday, 13 March 2016 01:53 Written by
How to be Good

An Oxford philosopher thinks he can distill all morality into a formula. Is he right?

The philosopher Derek Parfit believes that neither of the people is you, but that this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that you have ceased to exist, because what has happened to you is quite unlike ordinary death: in your relationship to the two new people there is everything that matters in ordinary survival—a continuity of memories and dispositions that will decay and change as they usually do. Most of us care about our future because it is ours—but this most fundamental human instinct is based on a mistake, Parfit believes. Personal identity is not what matters.

Half Earth

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 03:22 Written by
Half Earth

Unstanched haemorrhaging has only one end in all biological systems: death for an organism, extinction for a species. Researchers who study the trajectory of biodiversity loss are alarmed that, within the century, an exponentially rising extinction rate might easily wipe out most of the species still surviving at the present time.

The crucial factor in the life and death of species is the amount of suitable habitat left to them. When, for example, 90 per cent of the area is removed, the number that can persist sustainably will descend to about a half. Such is the actual condition of many of the most species-rich localities around the world, including Madagascar, the Mediterranean perimeter, parts of continental southwestern Asia, Polynesia, and many of the islands of the Philippines and the West Indies. If 10 per cent of the remaining natural habitat were then also removed – a team of lumbermen might do it in a month – most or all of the surviving resident species would disappear.

Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Friday, 15 March 2013 13:33 Written by
Are You Smart on the Higgs Boson?

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, announced yesterday that they’re even more certain than they were last summer (like, more than 99.999999999 percent sure) that they've seen a Higgs boson particle—even if it’s not the Higgs boson particle.

Why does it even matter? Well, let's start with, this is a discovery that could potentially change our entire understanding of how the universe works. So, to avoid being a complete nub on this issue, what do you need to know and what can you say if someone brings up the subject?

You Can’t Read This Book

Friday, 09 March 2012 18:22 Written by
You Can’t Read This Book

Censorship in the Age of Freedom... Of course you can read this book if you want to. But, as the Observer journalist Nick Cohen argues with passion and wit, there are many important books you cannot read, not because they have been banned but because they have not been written. Their authors have been forced into self-censorship through fear of violence, financial ruin or death.

Pre-publication censorship is rare in today’s world. But there are many other ways of silencing writers. The most effective is fear. For all the advances of secularism, democracy and new technology, the forces of religion, wealth and the state continue to suppress ideas and information. In fact, as Cohen argues, censorship has become more powerful over the past 20 years, not less.

Addiction Research and Clinical Practice

Thursday, 01 December 2011 08:27 Written by
Addiction Research and Clinical Practice

Substance abusers seek help quitting drugs not as an end in itself, but as a means to escape these negative consequences and to gain a better life. Accordingly, while substance abuse treatment seeks to promote abstinence or at least significant reductions in substance use, its ultimate aim is to improve the patient’s quality of life (QOL).  Unfortunately,

Clinicians tend to focus on symptoms, whereas for clients, symptom management is a means to an end.

Alexandre B. Laudet, Ph.D., presents current concepts of QOL and tools used to measure it, summarize recent paradigmatic shifts in the SUD field that are leading to an emerging interest in QOL, and review the evidence bearing on QOL in the treatment of addiction.  Dr. Laudet also presents implications of incorporating QOL concepts into clinical practice and research.

Missing Plutonium?

Friday, 27 March 2009 18:01 Written by
Missing Plutonium?

An Energy Department investigation has alleviated fears that a significant amount of plutonium was missing from a national laboratory, but it has also heightened concerns about flaws in the system for controlling the U.S. stockpile of weapons materials. The investigation began in February, shortly after a routine inventory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico found a plutonium shortage estimated at 2.2 pounds, setting off a frantic national effort to determine what happened to the material.

Hard Science and Philosophy

Monday, 12 July 2004 15:58 Written by
Hard Science and Philosophy

Is it even possible for scientists and mathematicians to understand or appreciate philosophy? Do they lack a neccessary nimbleness to discern philosophical questions or the impact of such answers? For many (most) among the "harder" sciences, philosophy shares a stage with religion, art, or fantastic child-like whimsy. Why is this? Could it be they are too judgmental or inflexible in their beliefs? Might they be too acquisitive to be distracted by the philosophical implications of their work? Are they not clever enough to understand it? Perhaps they are too shallow to even grasp fundamental questions?

Mike Alder (a mathematician) explains why practicioners of hard science don’t like philosophy but discretely pursue it anyway. He offers explination to explain why scientists and mathematicians are inclined to be dismissive of the subject. Additionally, Mr. Alder explains how and why they still explore philosophy pseudonymously.

The scientist’s perception of philosophy is that a philosophical analysis is a sterile word game played in a state of mental muddle. When you ask of a scientist if we have free will, or only think we have, he would ask in turn: “What measurements or observations would, in your view, settle the matter?” If your reply is “Thinking deeply about it”, he will smile pityingly and pass you by. He would be unwilling to join you in playing what he sees as a rather silly game.

Do Words Move You?

Wednesday, 07 July 2004 12:00 Written by
Do Words Move You?

Have we forgotten how to experience the excitement that first-class literature was meant to instill? I stumbled upon this article. It's not earth shaking. The principle isn't revolutionary. The people are completely unknown to me. But it asks a question.

Can the lovesick violence of Wuthering Heights or the raw adventure of Moby Dick really make the heart beat faster?

It's a question that comparative literature student Paul Sopcak is exploring, using an intriguing mix of hard science and the arts. Who is Paul Sopcak? Does it matter? The German PhD student, studying at the University of Alberta, is researching the connection between literature and emotions in personal and moral development.

Left and Right Wing Brains

Monday, 12 April 2004 11:54 Written by
Left and Right Wing Brains

Researchers show that even in humdrum nonpolitical decisions, liberals and conservatives literally think differently. Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information. Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences.

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