A conversation with urban sociologist Zachary Neal on his new book, The Connected City.
Cities are obviously more than just the sum of their physical assets — roads and bridges, offices, factories, shopping centers, and homes — working more like living organisms than jumbles of concrete. Their inner workings even transcend their ability to cluster and concentrate people and economic activity.
As sociologist Zachary Neal of Michigan State University argues in his new book, The Connected City, cities are made up of human social networks.
Neal took time to discuss his book and research with Atlantic Cities, explaining how cities work as living organisms and why what happens in Las Vegas cannot stay in Las Vegas.
If two birds meet deep in the forest, does anybody hear? Until now, nobody did, unless an intrepid biologist was hiding underneath a bush and watching their behavior, or the birds happened to meet near a research monitoring station. But an electronic tag designed at the University of Washington can for the first time see when birds meet in the wild.
A new study led by a biologist at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews used the UW tags to see whether crows might learn to use tools from one another. The findings, published last week in Current Biology, supported the theory by showing an unexpected amount of social mobility, with the crows often spending time near birds outside their immediate family.
A study led by St. Andrews University in Scotland tagged New Caledonian crows to learn about their social behavior.
The study looked at crows in New Caledonia, an archipelago of islands in the South Pacific. The crows are famous for using different tools to extract prey from deadwood and vegetation. Biologists wondered whether the birds might learn by watching each other.
The results, as reported by St. Andrews, revealed “a surprising number of contacts” between non-related crows. During one week, the technology recorded more than 28,000 interactions among 34 crows. While core family units of New Caledonian crows contain only three members, the study found all the birds were connected to the larger social network.
"Think about it … what do kids want? What do you want? How about the chance to be masters of tasks, have lives with purpose, and have the choice of when, where, and how when it comes to engagement in learning and teaching? The classroom is no longer a physical place. Perhaps it never has been. Learning is experiential and it occurs, usually not on schedule, but 24 hours a day. What does this mean in an age of Common Core standards and high-stakes testing?"
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