Better Hit the Brain Gym

Discoveries about neuroplasticity--the brain's ability to rewire itself throughout life by creating neural connections in response to mental activity--has led to the new brain centers, which "promise to keep older minds sharp with computer, walnuts and green tea."

The Wall Street Journal weekend edition discussed a new trend among senior citizens -- brain gyms. But can computer games and green tea really ward off dimentia?


Discoveries about neuroplasticity--the brain's ability to rewire itself throughout life by creating neural connections in response to mental activity--as well as Americans' growing fear of age-related dimentia, has led to the new brain centers, which "promise to keep older minds sharp with computer, walnuts and green tea."

According to the Journal, "Sparks of Genius, in Boca Raton, is a Florida start-up drawing older adults with "scientific-based brain-fitness workouts." In southern California, a dozen "Nifty after Fifty" fitness clubs are combining traditional exercise with time in front of computer screens, claiming that mental calisthenics work best after physical exercise. Canyon Ranch, a Tucson, Ariz.-based spa operator, has added a series of "Memory & More" programs at its Lenox, Mass., resort, which include classes in brain nutrition, genetic workups, and cognitive training."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.