Learning! Roundup: How to be funny, meditation, art education, sweexts, and more!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez.

Explaining the Joke

If you don't get a lot of humour, here is a thorough breakdown of being funny.

Meditation and the Brain

A chat between a molecular biologist-turned-monk and a neuroscientist about meditation seems worth the read.

Arts Education Still Matters

Perhaps it's because I work in the arts, but I feel like everywhere I turn there is another study on the value of arts in education. Sometimes I want to shout "DUH! WE ALL KNEW THAT!" at the people who seem amazed by this revelation that art is valuable, but part of how research works involves slowly and repeatedly testing assumptions.

Anyways, here's another study on how art is the best thing to teach young kids how to be ready for school.

Sex Tweets (Sweexts?) Predict STI's

The headline says it all. New analysis has shown that the prevalence of sexual tweets in an area can predict STI rates. I admit that I am a bit surprised people tweet that much about their actual sex lives.

Lifetime Personality Traits

A huge metastudy of personality traits across a lifespan has come out saying that we do, indeed, change as we age. Basically, we get more and more dull: our ratings on four out of the "Big Five" personality traits declines as we age. (The Big Five are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and agreeableness is the one that remains constant.)

How to Stop Blaming Muslims for Terrorism (if you're not Muslim)

Researchers tested various ways to stop people from blaming Muslims, as a whole, for terror attacks, and they found one clear winner: pointing out the hypocrisy of blaming all Muslims for the extreme actions of a few, but not all Christians for their extremist violence. This, of course, assumes you are talking to someone who is from a Christian (or Christian-sympathetic) background, but the principle could be applied to many groups.

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