7.4, We are all stars, really ⭐
“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” Nora Roberts
This week, I signed up for a pretty rigorous six-month course. Now, I already have a fairly large amount of things on my plate, between work, my hobbies and projects, and the general process of living. I’m looking at a full plate of things, a whole buffet!
I certainly don’t have to take this course. But I’ve wanted to do it for a while. I wondered if I should even be doing this at this particular moment in time, given all my various obligations. Maybe I should wait until things are calmer. But then I thought, life isn’t like an action movie, where the bad guys circle the hero, and patiently wait their turn to come at you one by one. Life is a bad motherfucker, and things will come at you in turbulent waves. They won’t wait their turn. There will never be a perfect time. So might as well do the thing. So I did.
Anyways, on with the links.
Neuromyths are common misconceptions about the brain. Some of the most common ones among teachers, educators, and trainers include the beliefs that:
We only use 10% of our brain capacity.
Children are less focused after consuming sugary drinks or snacks.
Listening to classical music helps make us smarter
Although very common, neuromyths can also be very dangerous.
Note the timing.
As legend holds, the fox demon has been around for thousands of years. It’s appeared in China, as well as India and each time it chooses to possess the soul of someone in power, manipulating them and causing all sorts of chaos, terror and misery.
Personalized tutoring is a very good method of education. It was the dominant form of education for the wealthy elite throughout most of human history. It’s no longer as common today, and that could explain why there are fewer relative geniuses today.
In turning education into a system of mass production we created a superbly democratic system that made the majority of people, and the world as a whole, much better off. It was the right decision. But we lost the most elegant and beautiful minds, those mental Stradivari, who were created via an artisanal process.
I believe that higher education will be wildly disrupted in the years to come. And Maryland’s new policy of no longer requiring a college degree for many state jobs is one of the emerging signs. In many industries, a college degree has become a gatekeeper credential that keeps many qualified but uncredentialled people out of appropriate jobs. [Official Maryland press release]
As an alternative qualification, Maryland will seek out “STARs” (Skilled Through Alternative Routes) — those who are “age 25 or older, active in the labor force, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have developed their skills through alternative routes such as community college, apprenticeships, military service, boot camps, and most commonly, on-the-job.”
It’s a rather dry headline. But, it’s a really important topic. Basically, scientific researchers using artificial intelligence to discover new pharmaceutical drug compounds were asked by Swiss national security to switch their drug discovery algorithm from “help people” to “kill people”. With predictable, yet shocking results.
In less than 6 hours after starting on our in-house server, our model generated 40,000 molecules that scored within our desired threshold.....These new molecules were predicted to be more toxic, based on the predicted LD50 values, than publicly known chemical warfare agents. This was unexpected because the datasets we used for training the AI did not include these nerve agents....By inverting the use of our machine learning models, we had transformed our innocuous generative model from a helpful tool of medicine to a generator of likely deadly molecules.
Below the Fold 👀
📚 Excellent Goodreads notes (that provide more context) by Emily St John Mandel on her novel Station Eleven. “Want to hear a true story about a terrible dinner party?” More writers should do this.
Harvard Scientist Reveals The Surprising Secrets To Age In Reverse , with Dr. David Sinclair, from The School of Greatness (1:49:47) (podcast)
Dr. Sinclair is Head of Longevity Research at Harvard, and has interesting ideas on how to improve your lifespan, current health and energy levels. I’m not sure I buy everything he says, but his key idea is that there is little reason people born today cannot live to at least 120 in healthy condition, and there’s things you can do right now to extend your healthy lifespan.
And you should listen to the above podcast because it turns out podcast listeners are smarter, less neurotic (and smarter and handsomer and more charming and can bench press a billion pounds)
Tweet of the Week 😎 ☀️
Blankets everywhere and all year round!
Okay, folks! Be your best selves. Best of wishes for a great week ahead! Thanks for reading!
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