Category Archives: Around the World

“They are indistinguishable”

NPR: Math Looks The Same In The Brains Of Boys And Girls, Study Finds.

“There’s new evidence that girls start out with the same math abilities as boys.

A study of 104 children from ages 3 to 10 found similar patterns of brain activity in boys and girls as they engaged in basic math tasks, researchers reported Friday in the journal Science of Learning.

“They are indistinguishable,” says Jessica Cantlon, an author of the study and professor of developmental neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University.

The finding challenges the idea that more boys than girls end up in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) because they are inherently better at the sort of thinking those fields require. It also backs other studies that found similar math abilities in males and females early in life.”

NPR: New Study Challenges The Assumption That Math Is Harder For Girls. “Research shows that when boys and girls as old as 10 do math, their patterns of brain activity are indistinguishable. The finding is the latest challenge to the idea that math is harder for girls.”

“Geary says differences seem to show up later and involve very high-level math tasks. His own research has found that in most countries, female students perform just as well as male students in science-related subjects. Yet paradoxically, Geary says, females are less likely to get degrees in fields like math and computer science if they live in wealthier countries with greater gender equality.”

Space Analogies

Alexander Gerst’s Horizon Blog: Cave Life for Space. “When you ignore some details, it is amazing how similar cave exploration is to going to space. After my experience with CAVES, I can say that, so far, this is the best analogue that I know for astronauts to mentally prepare for space.”

See also ESA: Caves 2019. (YouTube, 5:50min)

“In September 2019 in Slovenia, astronauts from five space agencies around the world took part in ESA’s CAVES training course – Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills.

The six ‘cavenauts’ were ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Jeanette Epps, Roscosmos cosmonaut Nikolai Chub, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Joshua Kutryk and Japan’s space agency JAXA’s Takuya Onishi.

The three-week course prepares astronauts to work effectively in multicultural teams in an environment where safety is critical.

As they explored the caves, they encountered caverns, underground lakes and strange microscopic life. They tested new technology and conducted science – much like life on the International Space Station.

Inhospitable and hard to access, caves are untouched worlds and hold many scientific secrets. The astronauts performed a dozen experiments and were on the lookout for signs of life that has adapted to the extremes. They paid special attention to their environment, monitoring air and water quality, and looking for signs of pollution.”

“This isn’t a defense strategy. It’s a commandeering of communications and messaging to create an illusion about what’s happening on Capitol Hill.”

Slate: This Impeachment Won’t Be a Legal or Political Battle. It Will Be an Information War. “Republicans are willing to ignore what’s happening because they think they’ll get away with it. They might not be wrong.” By Dahlia Lithwick.

“Confusing and conflating the legal facts of impeachment with the political facts of impeachment is only the first step in the GOP effort to distort the impeachment process. The follow-up strategy is slowly emerging, and it’s as nihilistic as it is terrifying: The White House and Trump’s Republican defenders seem to understand that this is, at its heart, a messaging war. This is politics in the form of who dominates the airwaves. As such, the thrust of the new impeachment defiance will be to simply deny that any of it is happening in the first place. This isn’t an elaborate attempt to push back or to reframe or to counter the impeachment investigation; it’s a media tactic designed solely to deny its very existence. Wednesday’s revelation that Bill Taylor knew he was dealing with a quid pro quo should be the last nail in the bribery/abuse-of-power coffin. But it won’t be, because none of those concepts even figure in the Republican defense strategy.”

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Bayerischen Gypsy Brass, Funk Brass oder Alpen Jazz Techno

WDR Rockpalast: LaBrassBanda – Ein musikalischer Heimatfilm. (YouTube, 45min) Dokumentation von 2012.

“Die Band LaBrassBanda kommt aus Übersee in Bayern. Das kann man hören und sehen. Ihre Erfolgsgeschichte ist einzigartig und ungewöhnlich. Ihre Texte sind im Rest der Republik kaum verständlich. Sänger Stefan Dettl singt auf bayrisch. Und doch spüren die Menschen überall, worum es ihnen geht. Ihre musikalische Besetzung besteht aus Schlagzeug und Bass sowie Posaune, Trompete und Tuba. Mit dieser nicht alltäglichen Mischung schaffen es LaBrassBanda das Publikum mitzureißen. Ihre euphorischen Konzerte sind ein Erlebnis und bringen Menschen jeden Alters zusammen.”

“Women I meet every week assure me that they are never going to feel perfectly safe again”

Slate: Why I Haven’t Gone Back to SCOTUS Since Kavanaugh. “Some things are worth not getting over.” By Dahlia Lithwick.

“It is not my job to decide if Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. It’s impossible for me to do so with incomplete information, and with no process for testing competing facts. But it’s certainly not my job to exonerate him because it’s good for his career, or for mine, or for the future of an independent judiciary. Picking up an oar to help America get over its sins without allowing for truth, apology, or reconciliation has not generally been good for the pursuit of justice. Our attempts to get over CIA torture policies or the Iraq war or anything else don’t bring us closer to truth and reconciliation. They just make it feel better—until they do not. And we have all spent far too much of the past three years trying to tell ourselves that everything is OK when it most certainly is not normal, not OK, and not worth getting over.
[…]
Sometimes I tell myself that my new beat is justice, as opposed to the Supreme Court. And my new beat now seems to make it impossible to cover the old one.”

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