How Artificially Intelligent Digital Textbooks Can Speed Learning

Technology in the classroom is an often talked about goal that has shown few results to date. But that may change as certain high school students in Houston begin receiving artificially intelligent digital textbooks.

Technology in the classroom is an often talked about goal that has shown few results to date. But that may change as certain high school students in Houston begin receiving artificially intelligent digital textbooks. Initially programmed to instruct mathematics and physics lessons, the books measure a student's progress and respond accordingly, providing further explanation for problem areas and emphasizing related material that might otherwise trip students up. 


"The adaptive textbooks also incorporate a learning method called retrieval practice, in which material that students have already learned pops up again in occasional quizzes. This method has been shown to enhance students' ability to retain material, and the algorithmic textbooks will be able to decide when to ask questions based on past exercises."

The books are not meant to replace the human element in teaching: teachers remain essential for establishing bonds with the students and stoking their curiosity in ways that technology cannot. The books will also help teachers identify patterns, pointing out whether a particular lesson has been difficult for the entire class and therefore merits reviewing.

Creator of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, Nicholas Negroponte discussed why teachers must learn to use digital teaching tools to augment their efforts:

Read more at New Scientist

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Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

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  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
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Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

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Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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