I think that we are dumbing down pretty much all education. I am noticing a trend toward mediocrity in most every subject, with written and verbal skills being the most obvious, as we use and see them in action every day. In terms of written and spoken word, it’s not only a case of people using vernacular, as I see a similar pattern of mediocrity in communication across social and economic groups. I can’t tell you how many people I have worked with to help them improve their written communication skills at work. As a business analyst and project manager, I know the power of effective communication and I have noticed that younger people are coming out of university with insufficient skills for the workplace. Are parents failing to work with their kids to make sure they learn from an early age? Yep. Are schools failing to teach students more liberal skills like writing and speech in preference for easily quantified skills like math and reading comprehension? Yep. In general, we are not teaching how to communicate well or how to think critically and our country will suffer for this deficit. I don’t like sounding like an old fart bemoaning the shortcomings of the younger generation, but what I’m seeing is not making me feel good about this culture’s future.
Lanxon writes "An architecture and design firm called Choi+Shine has submitted a design for the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition which proposes giant human-shaped pylons carrying electricity cables across the country's landscape, reports Wired. The enormous figures would only require slight alterations to existing pylon designs, says the firm, which was awarded an Honorable mention for its design by the competition's judging board. It also won an award from the Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture competition."
j0ris writes "The Klingon are passionate opera-lovers, but little is known about their highly evolved form of musical expression. Floris Schonfeld is the initiator and director of 'u', the first authentic Klingon opera on earth. He studied Klingon music theory for over a year, and together with several experts developed various indigenous Klingon instruments. The Terran Klingon Research Ensemble has been set up to further develop a coherent Klingon musical practice amongst human musicians. 'u' premieres on September 9 in The Hague, Netherlands. An invitation by Klingon language expert Marc Okrand has been sent to Kronos, home planet of the Klingons, via radio telescope."
jamie writes "Incensed by a 'no tresspassing' sign, Jeff Deck launched a cross-country trip to right grammatical wrongs. He enlisted a friend, Benjamin D. Herson, and together they erased errant quotation marks, rectified misspellings and cut unnecessary possessive apostrophes. The Great Typo Hunt is the story of their crusade." We have already covered the duo's fight with The National Park Service.
dotarray writes "Everybody knows that there's a certain risk one takes when playing addictive, engrossing games can be trouble when you're meant to be doing something else. The prevalence of awesome games on the iPhone hasn't helped that risk. A Plants Vs. Zombies loving police officer has learned this the hard way after an escape."
A study authored by Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, says that our personalities stay pretty much the same from early childhood all the way through old age. From the article: "Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance)." This must explain my overriding need to be first captain when we pick kickball teams at the office.
Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov has taken old World War II photos and photoshopped them over the locations in present day. The scenes from places like Prague, Vienna, and Moscow are incredibly well done and a neat way to appreciate history.
astroengine writes "Yesterday morning, at 08:55 UT, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a C3-class flare erupt inside a sunspot cluster. 100,000 kilometers away, deep within the solar atmosphere (the corona), an extended magnetic field filled with cool plasma forming a dark ribbon across the face of the sun (a feature known as a 'filament') erupted at the exact same time. It seems very likely that both eruptions were connected after a powerful shock wave produced by the flare destabilized the filament, causing the eruption. A second solar observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, then spotted a huge coronal mass ejection blast into space, straight in the direction of Earth. Solar physicists have calculated that this magnetic bubble filled with energetic particles should hit Earth on August 3, so look out for some intense aurorae — a solar storm is coming."
gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"
Are these people just plain insane? Hurricanes are a vital part of the atmospheric and oceanic environments. They are gigantic engines that help drive both systems. True that they are destructive and lethal, however the bone headed humans can actually mitigate both by not building in areas that are decimated by hurricanes. Hey, I have a brilliant idea, how about humans develop strategies and technologies that help them cope with hurricanes rather than trying to short circuit the very natural systems that preserve our planet. And yes, I know about hurricanes. I live in Houston and am very familiar with the destruction that was delivered to the Bolivar peninsula and upper bay. I am also a proponent of not rebuilding human habitations on the peninsula. As much as I love that area and have fond memories of going there on vacation, I understand that there are some things you should not mess with and mother nature is on the top of my list.
Already being done. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/berksh