How many neurons make a human brain? For years, the answer has been (give or take) 100 billion. But neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel decided to count them herself. Her research approach involved dissolving four human brains (donated to science) into a homogeneous mixture -- in her lab at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Rio de Janeiro, they call it "brain soup." She then took a sample of the mix, counted the number of cell nuclei belonging to neurons, and scaled that up. Result: the human brain has about 86 billion neurons, 14 billion fewer than assumed -- but intriguingly, far more than other animals, relative to brain size.
She suggests that it was the invention of cooking by our ancestors -- which makes food yield much more metabolic energy -- that allowed humans to develop the largest primate brain. She's now working on elephant and whale brains to test her hypothesis.
What i like to think is, if she is correct then we seriously have to re think how we consume our food... Because now overfeeding & obesity starts from childhood and this has to be avoided. And hope that we stay in the steep curve of evolution, to evolve into a better species and earn the respect from our predecessors.
Arthur Benjamin makes numbers dance. In his day job, he's a professor of math at Harvey Mudd College; in his other day job, he's a "Mathemagician," taking the stage in his tuxedo to perform high-speed mental calculations, memorizations and other astounding math stunts. It's part of his drive to teach math and mental agility in interesting ways, following in the footsteps of such heroes as Martin Gardner.
Benjamin is the co-author, with Michael Shermer, of Secrets of Mental Math (which shares his secrets for rapid mental calculation), as well as the co-author of the MAA award-winning Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof. For a glimpse of his broad approach to math, see the list of research talks on his website, which seesaws between high-level math (such as his "Vandermonde's Determinant and Fibonacci SAWs," presented at MIT in 2004) and engaging math talks for the rest of us ("An Amazing Mathematical Card Trick").
Daphne Bavelier studies how humans learn -- in particular, how the brain adapts to changes in experience, either by nature (for example, deafness) or by training (for example, playing video games). At her lab, her work shows that playing fast-paced, action-packed entertainment video games typically thought to be mind-numbing actually benefits several aspects of behavior. Exploiting this counterintuitive finding, her lab now investigates how new media, such as video games, can be leveraged to foster learning and brain plasticity.
When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience -- and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS:
2007--2012 global financial crisis, is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the threat of total collapse from large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market also suffered, resulting in evictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment. The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of US dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008--2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can be dated from August 7, 2007 when a French bank with an auxiliary headquarters in the U.K. terminated withdrawals from 3 hedge funds citing "a complete evaporation of liquidity."
The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, which peaked in 2006, caused the values of securities tied to U.S. real estate pricing to plummet, damaging financial institutions globally.The financial crisis was triggered by a complex interplay of the overvaluation of bundled sub-prime mortgages, questionable trading practices on behalf of both buyers and sellers, and a lack of adequate capital holdings from banks and insurance companies to back the financial commitments they were making. Questions regarding bank solvency, declines in credit availability and damaged investor confidence had an impact on global stock markets, where securities suffered large losses during 2008 and early 2009. Economies worldwide slowed during this period, as credit tightened and international trade declined. Governments and central banks responded with unprecedented fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion and institutional bailouts. Although there have been aftershocks, the financial crisis itself ended sometime between late-2008 and mid-2009. In the U.S., Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the E.U., the U.K. responded with austerity measures of spending cuts and tax increases without export growth and it has since slid into a double-dip recession
A simple animated explanation of HOW the private Federal Reserve steals your money and WHY it must be stopped.
The AMERICAN DREAM is a 30 minute animated film that shows you how you've been scammed by the most basic elements of our government system. All of the Americans strive for the American Dream, and this film shows you why your dream is getting farther and farther away. Do you know how your money is created? Or how banking works? Why did housing prices skyrocket and then plunge? Do you really know what the Federal Reserve System is and how it affects you every single day? THE AMERICAN DREAM takes an entertaining but hard hitting look at how the problems we have today are nothing new, and why leaders throughout our history have warned us and fought against the current type of financial system we have in America today. You will be challenged to investigate some very entrenched and powerful institutions in this nation, and hopefully encouraged to help get our nation back on track.
The video creators understand that how the monetary system works can be very confusing to some and have done a brilliant job in explaining how the whole system is set up to keep you forever in debt. This is not what the original founding fathers of America had in mind.
Also, this is not just an American problem. It's the same scam in nearly all countries around the world.
Dear change seekers,
In recent weeks you have worked hard to make India a safer place. The recent Delhi gang rape dominated headlines and received world-wide attention, mainly due to your efforts. However, be mindful of certain worrisome negative aspects of this outrage. You may create a lot of noise, but not the desired change. It is important to understand India first.
India, no matter what your Civics teacher told you, is not an equal country. India is divided into four classes with different levels of power. For simplicity, let us call these classes the Ones, Twos, Threes and Fours (deliberately avoiding upper-lower classification).
The Ones are our political masters. They control India, primarily through control over land, resources and laws that govern us. They don’t directly own assets, but control the asset owners, the Twos.
The Twos are our industrialists and capitalists. They help secure and increase the power of the Ones. Business magazines honor them with terms like ‘the dynamic entrepreneurs of a new liberalized India’. While some may deserve such accolades, most don’t. The Ones allow the Twos to become rich through limited competition and tightly regulated approvals. Real estate, mining, infrastructure or most other sectors, no company in India can thrive without support of the political class.
The next class, the Threes, are people like you and me. We are people with a certain amount of affluence and education, comprising around ten per cent of India’s population. While life is a struggle for many Threes, they do have a basic standard of living. However, the Threes still do not get speedy justice, accountable leaders or a protective police force.
Notably, Threes have recently acquired a new media power. They are affluent and buy things advertisers want to sell. Hence, the media caters to Threes. The Threes dominate social media too. This power is real and substantial.
The Delhi gang rape victim was a Three, and the gruesome case made the rest of the Threes feel vulnerable like never before. They wanted the rape to be debated. Hence, for almost a month little else could be discussed in a country of 1.2 billion people. However, in the process, the Threes might have done some damage. For despite the well-intentioned outcry, they inadvertently showed that they care about themselves much more than another huge class, the Fours.
The Fours are the 90 per cent of the country, people with limited education, abysmal standards of living and little hope for a better future. They are our farmers, slum dwellers, domestic helpers and the hundreds of millions of Indians without proper healthcare, education and infrastructure. They get no debates on TV. People won’t protest for them on India Gate.
The Threes either shun them, or impose their new-found modern values on them. For example, Fours may see women-men relationships in a regressive way. The Threes, exposed to the latest Western beliefs, will mock them.
If you noticed the various debates and opinions on the case, the Threes only accepted ideas in line with their own liberal, modern value system. Nobody could dare say anything even slightly alternative or stress on the Indian reality without being ridiculed.
The Threes found a new power, but used it like the Ones and Twos — for selfserving purposes.
For will we ever passionately discuss the issues and lend our media power to issues that affect the Fours? Will we go to India Gate to help slum dwellers get proper drinking water, for instance?
As we alienate the Fours, we leave them open to be exploited by the Ones. The Ones echo the sentiments of the Fours and throw some scraps at them. In return, the Fours ignore the Ones’ misdeeds and bring them back to power. Meanwhile, we Threes keep screaming and watch our own self-created reality show.
This is no way to create a revolution, or even change. We have to take the Fours along. If we want people to change, we should not mock or deride. Instead listen and understand first and slowly nudge people towards change. Don’t just laugh at anyone who says women should cover up and not venture out at night. Suggest that while this old belief may come from a place of practical reality, this cannot be the primary solution. I am not saying these people are not regressive. However, if you want change, be inclusive.
India’s poor are a not separate species from us. If the politicians didn’t protect the Twos so much, we could open the economy further, truly liberalize and create a lot of opportunity.
Original Article in Times of India:
Jacqueline Novogratz tells a moving story of an encounter in a Nairobi slum with Jane, a former prostitute, whose dreams of escaping poverty, of becoming a doctor and of getting married were fulfilled in an unexpected way.
Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor. In her new book, The Blue Sweater, she tells stories from the new philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.
Ernesto Sirolli is a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development and is the Founder of the Sirolli Institute, an international non-profit organization that teaches community leaders how to establish and maintain Enterprise Facilitation projects in their community. The Institute is now training communities in the USA, Canada, Australia, England and Scotland.
In 1985, he pioneered in Esperance, a small rural community in Western Australia, a unique economic development approach based on harnessing the passion, determination, intelligence, and resourcefulness of the local people. The striking results of "The Esperance Experience" have prompted more than 250 communities around the world to adopt responsive, person-centered approaches to local economic development similar to the Enterprise Facilitation® model pioneered in Esperance.
I always wanted to help people, but then from Sirolli's speech i understood a new perspective. Yeah, i realized that we cant help someone who dont need it. We need to know what is needed to develop those individuals or as such a community. I have not read the book Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo mentioned by Sirolli, but now i am interested in reading it. I guess, that this book reveals on atleast, how not to provide aid.
Sirolli, sure knows to talk well, he can make us listen to him. Looking at this speech, i understand the difficulties we have to face when do such kind of work, not in this well established state, but when it was on the budding stage. I got inspired by him & below is the link to his website.
Quotes by Ernesto Sirolli :
“What you do [to provide better aid is] you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas.”
A teacher, writer and member of the Kenyan parliament, Joseph Lekuton has an inspiring vision for Kenya.
Born into a Maasai tribe in Northern Kenya, Joseph Lekuton was chosen to attend a missionary boarding school as a child -- sometimes walking 50 miles during vacations to find and rejoin his nomadic family. He won a scholarship to St. Lawrence University, then attended Harvard, and worked as a writer and history teacher in Virginia. He was named a National Geographic Energing Explorer for his work in sharing the culture of Kenya with America, including efforts to share educational resources with nomadic children through the BOMA Fund and Cows for Kids.
In 2006, after a plane crash killed five members of the Kenyan parliament, Lekuton decided to return to Kenya and stand for election to fill the seat in his region. He won a parliamentary seat in the 2006 by-election, and was a member of the winning party in the December 2007 elections -- the results of which continue to be contested throughout Kenya.
"In his first year in office, [Lekuton] compiled an impressive record. He channeled public funds to construct schoolrooms and boreholes for wells, lured Western development agencies to his constituency, mediated between ethnic groups in the region that have been clashing over livestock-grazing rights and access to water and distributed some of his ample salary to pay school fees and health-care costs for the indigent." New York Times Magazine
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
"Brené Brown is an absolute legend. This is groundbreaking - not in terms of peoples awareness of these subjects and what they mean... But in these messages enhanced communication made accessible to a wider audience on this level. I have a jumbled up jigsaw in front of me with pieces I've been putting together my whole life- and Brene Brown has just connected so many pieces. This makes so much sense on so many levels. Really awesome stuff. I will watch this a few times and recommend it to people!" jakesandersonaudio on YouTube
Brene Brown's thought & speech is very inspiring. I have learned a lot from her talk & I would recommend it to others. The following are some of her quotes:
“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
I am Harshavardhan B, a radiologist by profession. But I want to be more than that. I would like to live up to the meaning of my name HARSHAVARDHAN - creator of joy & happiness.