Where Did I Come From Mummy?

Who answers the hard questions nowadays? It is the right and responsibility of every parent to pass survival-skills to their progeny. In a bygone era, these skills could be rolled out in a leisurely fashion, sometimes into late teens. Today, the competition for a child's attention is much more fierce, and the code to live by is more likely to come from peers rather than parents. Perhaps we need to counter this with a more concerted effort in the early years. For generations, there was no substitute for sitting and reading stories at bed-time. Ultimate control was exercised by selecting the books brought into the home, with the possible exception of the odd Playboy that came in under the radar. The Internet has changed this landscape forever. The only useful suggestion I can make is that we try and replicate the success of shared-reading by extending time spent sharing the Internet-experience with our kids - perhaps way beyond what they would consider 'necessary'. Obviously teenagers would not tolerate this level of interference, so the process must occur earlier when parents still have some control over a child's environment.

​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?

  • 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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