Is cursive writing important to child development?

Legislators push to keep cursive in their schools' curricula, but experts seem split as to whether it's necessary.

Tracy Burns checks her third grade student Nikolai Wilkins' cursive writing during class. (Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
  • Ohio has joined many other states in reestablishing cursive in their schools' curricula.
  • Research shows the value handwriting has for developing children's fine motor skills and a connection between words and memory.
  • But experts seem split on whether it's a question of print vs. cursive, or cognitive fluency vs. disconnect.
Keep reading Show less

​How AI is learning to convert brain signals into speech

The first steps toward developing tools that could help disabled people regain the power to speak.

Pixabay
  • The technique involves training neural networks to associate patterns of brain activity with human speech.
  • Several research teams have managed to get neural networks to "speak" intelligible words.
  • Although similar technology might someday help disabled people regain the power to speak, decoding imagined speech is still far off.
Keep reading Show less

What I learned about disability and infanticide from Peter Singer

In the 1970s, the Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer began to argue that it is ethical to give parents the option to euthanise infants with disabilities.

Peter Singer at the Effective Altruism Global conference in Melbourne 15 August 2015.

In the 1970s, the Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer, perhaps best-known for his book Animal Liberation (1975), began to argue that it is ethical to give parents the option (in consultation with doctors) to euthanise infants with disabilities. He mostly, but not exclusively, discussed severe forms of disabilities such as spina bifida or anencephaly. In Practical Ethics (1979), Singer explains that the value of a life should be based on traits such as rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness. ‘Defective infants lack these characteristics,’ he wrote. ‘Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings.’

Keep reading Show less

The Most Debilitating Disease in the World Isn't Just in Your Head

For the first time, the World Health Organization has declared a new mental illness to be the leading cause of disability around the world.

 

Depression. Photo Diego Fornero [flickr.com/destino2003]

Keep reading Show less

Stephen Hawking, Given Two Years to Live in 1963, Is Going To Space Over 50 Years Later

Stephen Hawking has accepted an offer to go to space. He's one of the world's most famous scientists, who's been paralyzed due to ALS for much of his life.

Dr. Stephen Hawking delivers a speech entitled 'Why we should go into space' on April 21, 2008, at George Washington University's Morton Auditorium in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul. E. Alers/NASA via G

Keep reading Show less