Educator Mia MacMeekin made this infographic about ways to inspire students to think more deeply about how innovation applies to them. It’s a helpful way to begin a conversation about what it means to innovate, a word that sometimes seems to belong in the adult domain of business and is estranged from how students think about living their lives.
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Despite the popularity and trend of the term “makerspace”, educators have to search hundreds of articles, websites and books to determine what this term is, how to begin, where to locate materials and determine the educational significance. Another complication is that the resurgence of this DIY movement found its grassroots in the public population and is just starting to make its way back to education. This makes navigating materials from an educational lens even more challenging. Makerspace for Education, is a collaborative digital space for educators to explore how to create and use makerspaces in their own environments and will help to transform pedagogies of individual educators through immersion in the context and the support of a community of practice.
There are two unmistakable sides to the debate concerning the future of artificial intelligence. In the “boom” corner are companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft aggressively investing in technology to make AI systems smarter and smarter. And in the “doom” corner are prominent thinkers like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking who’ve said that AI is like “summoning the demon.”
Now, one of the the most advanced AI outfits, Google’s DeepMind, is taking safety measures in case human operators need to “take control of a robot that is misbehaving [that] may lead to irreversible consequences,” which I assume includes but is not limited to killing all humans. However, this paper doesn’t get nearly so apocalyptic and keeps examples simple, like intelligent robots working in a factory.
The published document was a joint effort between Google’s DeepMind and Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, which as its name suggests, wants there to be a future for humanity. Founding director Nick Bostrom has been vocal about the possible dangers of developing AI for decades and has written whole books discussing the implications of super-intelligent robots.
How long does it take to build a house? Obviously it depends on the size of the house and other factors, but somewhere around six or seven months is a good estimate. Chinese construction company HuaShang Tengda thinks that’s pretty funny, and have essentially laughed in the face of traditional construction by 3D printing a 400-square-meter, two-story house in a mere month and a half.
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"One of the great things (among many) about 3D printing is that not only is it an important skill in itself, it’s also a valuable tool for learning about other things. Just look at 3D printed organ models, for example – they’re becoming increasingly common in hospitals and clinics as a way for surgeons to plan operations before operating, but they also allow medical students and professionals alike to study the human body – and all of its quirks and malfunctions – more closely and thoroughly than ever before.
3D printing, and its ability to create perfect replicas of microscopic particles and blow them up to thousands of times their original size, has also enabled researchers and students to study things like pollen, for example, in a tactile way that wasn’t previously possible. At the other end of the spectrum, 3D printing can scale the universe down to a cube that can be held in the palm of a hand.
There’s virtually no limit to the concepts that can be elucidated with a 3D printer, and a group of scientists at the Institute of Materials Science in Barcelona (ICMAB) have designed a course that uses the technology to teach high school students about the growing field of materials science."
The chemist who gave us the artificial leaf has genetically engineered bacteria to absorb hydrogen and carbon dioxide and convert them into alcohol fuel.
When Harvard Professor of Energy Daniel G. Nocera announced he was working with bacteria last year, other scientists cautioned it would be difficult to achieve a productive level of efficiency. At the time, Nocera was aiming for 5 percent efficiency—about 5 times better than plants. This month at the University of Chicago, he announced his bug, dubbed by his colleagues the “Bionic Leaf,” converts sunlight ten times more efficiently than plants.
“Right now we’re making isopropanol, isobutanol, isopentanol,” he said in a lecture to the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago. “These are all alcohols you can burn directly. And it’s coming from hydrogen from split water, and it’s breathing in CO2. That’s what this bug’s doing.”
Nocera’s artificial leaf, developed while he was at MIT, made a splash five years ago because the wafer of silicon and other elements can be dropped in water, exposed to sunlight, and it will continuously split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen, a clean burning fuel, is typically made from natural gas in a process that emits greenhouse gases.
The leaf hasn’t lived up to its promise, Nocera said, because the world isn’t ready for hydrogen fuel.
“If I give you my renewable hydrogen the only thing you’ll do is blow up balloons with it,” he said. “There’s no infrastructure for hydrogen.”
Ever since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been the grand unifying theory of biology. Yet one of our most important biological traits, consciousness, is rarely studied in the context of evolution. Theories of consciousness come from religion, from philosophy, from cognitive science, but not so much from evolutionary biology. Maybe that’s why so few theories have been able to tackle basic questions such as: What is the adaptive value of consciousness? When did it evolve and what animals have it?
The Attention Schema Theory (AST), developed over the past five years, may be able to answer those questions. The theory suggests that consciousness arises as a solution to one of the most fundamental problems facing any nervous system: Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed. The brain evolved increasingly sophisticated mechanisms for deeply processing a few select signals at the expense of others, and in the AST, consciousness is the ultimate result of that evolutionary sequence. If the theory is right—and that has yet to be determined—then consciousness evolved gradually over the past half billion years and is present in a range of vertebrate species.
Does the thought of doing long division, or solving a bit of algebra give you the shivers? You’re likely to have maths anxiety. In our recent research, my colleagues and I found that in 80% of countries, girls have more negative feelings towards maths than boys.
But this higher level of maths anxiety in girls is not justified by their actual level of performance and may put them off continuing a career in maths-related subjects, such as physics and computer science.
May 22, 2016 -- For now, how seriously one takes warnings about possible risks associated with radio-frequency waves emitted by cellphones largely depends on whether one believes the many studies that suggest there are links to risks of cancer or...
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