Friday, March 31, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Cell division, how to survive a nuclear attack, religion and pornography, and more!

Learning! Roundup: Cell division, how to survive a nuclear attack, older moms are better moms (maybe), and rejecting implicit biases

Cell Division

Watch a frog egg multiply from a single cell into over a million. COOL!

Move and Learn

New research shows that kids learn better when they can move around. Imagine a future where classrooms are not built around desks and chairs, but space to move, engage, and learn? LOVE IT.

How to Survive a Nuclear Attack

Not the blast itself, of course. As much as they loved the duck and cover method back in the Cold War, there's not much you can do when the bomb goes off except wait and find out if you're dead or not. If you're not dead, well now you've got your work cut out for you. Here's a guide to where the best places are to hide (to avoid nuclear fallout) to increase your chances of survival.

Personally, I don't like the idea of fighting for my life in a post-nuclear apocalypse society. I'll take the quick ending in a flash of light, thanks.

Religion and Pornography

A new study shows that states with higher percentages of Evangelical Protestants, theists, and Biblical literalists have more searches for the word "porn" than other states. Now, I would not be surprised if all these repressed folk are just guiltily googling sexy images at 3am, because that's part of what denial does to people, but there is an alternate explanation: protest.

When you are against something, and want to actively fight it, your google search history will probably include that term quite a bit. A pro-lifer would have the word "abortion" come up a lot, too. It doesn't mean that they are looking up resources for their secret abortion.

That said, it's still an interesting correlation.

Asparagus? More Like Aspara-gross!

I actually love asparagus. Which is why I was sad to learn that it has a HUGE carbon footprint.

Old Mom/Good Mom

Just to throw more mom-judgement out into the world: new research shows that older moms have kids with less behavioural problems and improved language and social development skills than those who give birth at a young age.

On one hand, this is nice to hear since my friends (and I, presuming I get around to having a kid at all) are mainly in the "older mother" category. With all the anxiety around the health risks of bearing children in your mid-thirties, it's nice to know that there are benefits.

On the other hand, let's all chill out about younger parents. Who knows what causes this (the researchers guess that older parents are more laid-back and less disciplinarian, but that's just ONE theory) and kids born to young parents turn out JUST FINE.

How to Overcome Implicit Bias

Implicit Biases: we all have them. They are the unconscious biases or snap judgements we make, based almost entirely on the images we have seen and stories we have heard our whole lives - even if our conscious minds reject them, they get filed away in the back of our minds no matter who we are. Case in point: Femi Otitoju, a black gay woman who was surprised to find that she had implicit biases that favoured white people. Why? Because she grew up and was educated in an environment where the only positive examples were white people.

How did she fix it? EASY! She educated herself about black history and the contributions of black people to society, and surrounded herself by positive images of black people. The next time she took the test, no bias existed.

Check out this CBC article on her story, with a link to take the implicit bias test so that you can see where you need to educate yourself.


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