You Are the Essence of Learning, Not a School or University

If you're learning, you're being taught, no matter who is doing the teaching or where the lesson is taking place (and conversely, if you're not learning, you're not being taught).

If you're learning, you're being taught, no matter who is doing the teaching or where the lesson is taking place (and conversely, if you're not learning, you're not being taught). That message reflects the mission of the Khan Academy, an online learning platform that offers free lessons to anyone, anywhere, in subjects ranging from algebra to art history.


Created by Salman Khan after tutoring his cousins by telephone, the Khan Academy not only teaches academic subjects, but it also develops skills like grit and determination that are needed to take ownership of information. And this, says Khan, is what the essence of education is all about:

"There's this illusion that is created in our classical education system and even at university that someone is teaching it to you. Really they're creating a context in which you need to pull information and own it yourself. ... And when you think online, that becomes that much more important."

​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.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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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.

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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