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Want to Raise a Smart, Young Scientist? Try This
Amazon introduces a monthly STEM toy subscription box aimed at kids – because we're all born curious.
Amazon has unveiled a STEM Club subscription plan, that delivers educational toys for $19.99 each month. The program takes a learn-through-play approach, like many STEM programs for kids. It’s a growing product, especially since the future is moving more towards science, technology, engineering, and math-related jobs.
These are the fields of the future as factory and labor jobs move towards automation. For many looking to the future, this is an investment for our economy. But not much is needed to light the spark of curiosity of a child.
“If you’re a child, you are curious about your environment,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told us. “You put things in their midst that help them explore. Why don’t you get a pair of binoculars, just leave it there one day? Watch ‘em pick it up. And watch ‘em look around. They’ll do all kinds of things with it.”
Not much is needed to fuel a kid’s imagination. Encouragement is the primary weapon in a parent’s arsenal. In order to help an inquisitive mind grow, it’s always good to throw in some new gear. Amazon’s STEM Club is a smart business move, monetizing on a growing market and idea.
What’s more, their toys are marketed towards boys and girls.
Many toys for girls are "pinkwashed" as this Barbie typewriter shows, simplifying play rather than encouraging young girls to explore mechanics and work through problems. For too long the toy market has been built on the assumption of a gendered play pattern, says Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of Goldieblox.
When she first went to the New York Toy Fair with a prototype for Goldieblox, industry veterans thought her mission was a “noble cause,” but ultimately it wouldn’t sell. So, she turned to crowdfunding to let the consumers vote with their dollars. The response was overwhelming, and her pitch video went viral. The people wanted this product. By the end of the campaign, Sterling had a million dollars before making a single unit.
Toy makers, much like the STEM industry itself, have been under this assumption that women don’t fit into inquisitive or constructive play styles, or these industry roles. This assumption was created by marketing, constrained by the design of gendered toy aisles. These distinctions are beginning to become blurred with the rise of internet marketspaces. Amazon, for instance, doesn’t make the distinction “For Boys” or “For Girls” in its toy section. Toys "R" Us, first a brick-and-mortar toy seller, allows online shoppers to filter products by gender if they choose, but the toy company does not use gendered categories to its organize in-store offerings.
Editor's note: A prior version of this article failed to distinguish between how Toys "R" Us organizes its toys online versus in-store.
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A study looks at the ingredients of a good scare.
Catching fear in a bottle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYyNzg1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQwMTcyMn0.WtpJ1E_dhK2o09fBpKARynj4_p5NXeklgsXsbd7xr9w/img.jpg?width=980" id="8ff51" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f10dd9188b173f4a36e85e9325507c6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Photo Boards/Unsplash<p>Previous studies have tracked physiological signs of fear arousal, but none have established a one-to-one correlation between that arousal and specific, actual fear events.</p><p>Andersen says that much of the research has been conducted in lab settings with weak fear stimuli, observing subjects as they experience things like scary videos. Scares in these situations tend to be weak and difficult to measure. Even harder to track in these situations is the link between enjoyment and fear. </p>
Eyes everywhere<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/109695164" width="100%" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="267ba87cfb8591ed5830499574d2272a"></iframe><p>Andersen and his colleagues conducted their experiments at <a href="https://dystopia.dk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dystopia</a> Haunted House, a commercial attraction in Vejle, Denmark constructed in an old, run-down factory. The Recreational Fear Lab has a long-standing partnership with the spook shack.</p><p>They outfitted 100 volunteers with heart monitors and sent them on their terrifying way through the 50-room horror mansion. The facility incorporates a number of fright mechanisms including frequent jump scares in which a sudden threat takes a visitor by surprise.</p><p>Researchers surreptitiously observed their participants on closed-circuit video as they made their way through the attraction. They tracked each individual's scares, scoring them for intensity according to their visible reactions. After exiting the attraction, individuals self-reported their experiences in the haunted house.</p><p>Combining these self-reports with observer notes and each participant's heart-rate data gave the researchers subjective, behavioral, and physiological insights into the ways in which fear is experienced, and when it's a good thing or not.</p>
A pair of inverted U-shapes<p>In analyzing their data, the researchers saw two separate inverted u-shape curves. One depicted participants' enjoyment based on their self-reports and observed behavior. A similar u-curve was detected in their heart rates showing that just the right amount of heartbeat acceleration is associated with fun, but too much is too much. It's the terror Goldilocks zone.</p><p>Says Andersen, "If people are not very scared, they do not enjoy the attraction as much, and the same happens if they are too scared. Instead, it seems to be the case that a 'just-right' amount of fear is central for maximizing enjoyment."</p><p>The research suggests that being scared is enjoyable when it represents just a quick minor physiological deviation from one's normal state. When it goes on too long, however, or triggers too severe a physiological change, it becomes disturbing. Game over.</p><p>Andersen notes that this is not dissimilar to the factors known to make interpersonal play enjoyable: just the right amount of uncertainty and surprise. These are, maybe not coincidentally, also the ingredients of a successful joke.</p>
A meteorite that smashed into a frozen lake in Michigan may explain the origins of life on Earth, finds study.
- A new paper reveals a meteorite that crashed in Michigan in 2018 contained organic matter.
- The findings support the panspermia theory and could explain the origins of life on Earth.
- The organic compounds on the meteorite were well-preserved.
Meteor streaks through Michigan sky<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b7f30820153b35fc515592d7475f53"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPu2qnqMYBo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The meteorite that smashed into Strawberry Lake carried pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds.
Credit: Field Museum