Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Is There Such A Thing As A "Negativity Gene"?

Not exactly, say the authors of a new study. However, they have identified a certain gene variation that causes people to notice the negative more quickly while also experiencing emotional events more vividly.

What's the Latest Development?


A study published online last week in Psychological Science suggests that there may a genetic reason why some individuals "focus on the slippery rocks instead of the breathtaking scenery" during a nature hike. Researchers showed test subjects a series of words in quick succession and asked them to pick out two words in green displayed half a second apart. Due to a phenomenon called attentional blink, subjects would occasionally miss the second word, but if that word had a strong or dark emotional overtone (for example, "rape") they would remember it more strongly. Those who noticed dark words most successfully also had a specific type of gene that lacked certain amino acids.

What's the Big Idea?

The gene variation results in more norepinephrine in the brain, and it's that chemical that helps people remember emotionally charged events more vividly and, according to the researchers, notice more of the negative in real time. Study co-author and Cornell University psychologist Adam Anderson says, "This is a simple experiment, but there are probably pretty profound consequences to seeing negative things more readily." However, he adds that it's too soon to say that a "negativity gene" exists: "Instead of thinking this is a genetic sentence...think of it as a gene enhancing things related to your experience."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at The Washington Post

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

Future of Learning
  • Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
  • One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
  • "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Personal Growth

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

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