The Swedish biologist Kirsty Spalding and others have found that your fat-storage cells persist for about a decade, which is good news for people who struggle to lose weight. It was long thought that starvation merely deflates fat cells rather than killing them off, leaving them to fill up again like grocery bags when a dieter tires of feeling hungry. But if you can stick to a healthy regimen for long enough, it seems that you can help to stabilize your weight by outliving some of your fat cells.
Your bones and muscles are constantly remodeled. About 3 percent of the dense outermost layers of your skeleton and up to a quarter of the porous bone in the knobby parts of your limb joints are recycled every year, and experts calculate an average life cycle of a decade or so for your skeleton as a whole. The muscle cells between your ribs live for about fifteen years, according to Nicholas Wade, and the collagen cores of your tendons are essentially permanent once they finish developing during your late teens.
The final obstacle is arguably the biggest: American attitudes toward practical skills and what Germans still unabashedly call “blue-collar” work. Attitudes are changing in Germany too. Globalization has brought the bachelor’s degree, unknown until recently, and with it, a new, broader interest in attending college. But there’s little sign that the growth in BAs is undermining apprenticeships. And in both settings, university and dual training, it’s agreed that the purpose of education is to prepare people for jobs. In America, we’re not sure. We’re committed to the idea of education that prepares people for life and suspicious of anything that smacks of training.
Many German educators we met on the tour had advice for Americans interested in importing apprenticeship. “You don’t have to take the whole bouquet,” one vocational education teacher told us. “Make sure the first experiments succeed,” someone else advised. But ultimately, no German expert is likely to have the answer for the United States. The adaptations and adjustments are going to have to come from within, and they aren’t as simple as it sometimes seemed in the heady discussions on our trip. Americans aren’t simply going to jettison old attitudes and decide, for example, that long-term gains, however broad, should trump short-term ROI.
So yes, they are going after Earth science education. And it’s not just the evolution-supporting bits they’re upset about. Creationists may be mostly preoccupied with the biological sciences just now, but geology’s almost as devastating to their worldview, and many of them know that. Don’t be shocked if a phalanx of them mount a sneak attack on the earth sciences when you’re not looking. They don’t want their kids to know they evolved from apes – they definitely don’t like them hearing about 4.5 billion years and a rock record that refutes Noah’s Flood.
They’re already in our professional spaces, earning the credibility and vocabulary they need in order to convince people who don’t know any better that they’re the real deal. Imagine how well it will go for the USGS and various state geological surveys when the creationists have enough politicians snowed, and have convinced enough people they’re legitimate scientists.
And they’re raising millions of kids, the future of our nation, to be pig-ignorant of real geology. I’ve got the books to prove it.
The Pew Center looks into what qualities people want to teach children and how that changes across political ideologies. The summary is here with links to the full report on that page.
As the public grows more politically polarized, differences between conservatives and liberals extend their long reach even to opinions about which qualities are important to teach children, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Conservatives Prioritize Teaching Faith, Obedience; Liberals Value Tolerance People who express consistently conservative political attitudes across a range of issues are more likely than other ideological groups to rate teaching religious faith as especially important – and the least likely to say the same about teaching tolerance.
By contrast, people with consistent liberal opinions stand out for the high priority they give to teaching tolerance – and the low priority they attach to teaching religious faith and obedience.
What happens when the educators of educators don't know much about biology? Richard Dawkins' blog notes a study that makes one wonder about the quality of the education of science educators. the full study is here
We’ve known for some time that multi-tasking is bad for the quality of cognitive work, and is especially punishing of the kind of cognitive work we ask of college students.
This effect takes place over more than one time frame — even when multi-tasking doesn’t significantly degrade immediate performance, it can have negative long-term effects on “declarative memory”, the kind of focused recall that lets people characterize and use what they learned from earlier studying. (Multi-tasking thus makes the famous “learned it the day before the test, forgot it the day after” effect even more pernicious.)
People often start multi-tasking because they believe it will help them get more done. Those gains never materialize; instead, efficiency is degraded. However, it provides emotional gratification as a side-effect. (Multi-tasking moves the pleasure of procrastination inside the period of work.) This side-effect is enough to keep people committed to multi-tasking despite worsening the very thing they set out to improve.
On top of this, multi-tasking doesn’t even exercise task-switching as a skill. A study from Stanford reports that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing which task to focus on. (“They are suckers for irrelevancy”, as Cliff Nass, one of the researchers put it.) Multi-taskers often think they are like gym rats, bulking up their ability to juggle tasks, when in fact they are like alcoholics, degrading their abilities through over-consumption.