Friday five on the brain

Today’s Friday Five starts with the mind. Specifically, the hottest article in this week’s Times, judging by the number of times emailed, debunked common myths about studying. Based on a review article in Psychological Science, it says there are no “left-brain” and “right-brain” learning styles, we all basically learn the same way!    Furthermore, you should study a mix of different things and not immerse yourself in one thing according to a study of college students and retired people in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.  Other studies say you should study in different rooms not just sit in one place because changes of scene and environment help you to remember.  Finally, spacing your studying, and testing, help you remember better over the long term. Ready to blame the teacher?  Turns out that’s hard, we don’t really know scientifically what makes a teacher successful at getting kids to learn, according to Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of the book “Why Don’t Students Like School?” (available on the 3rd floor of Snell Library!) Finally, an MRI scan can map brain development in children, according to research in the journal Science.  It could allow doctors to place children on a “maturation curve” just like we do with height and weight and perhaps even be alerted to signs of disorders.

Going Global

On Sunday, a few friends and I decided that the Christian Science Center was worth investigating after 2+ years of walking curiously in its shadow. Inside, we found this (above). This enormous glowing globe – house is called the Mapparium. Its a three story painted glass globe that you walk inside. It’s inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library on Mass. Avenue, and it’s preeeetttty awesome. There is a fee to enter the Mapparium, which is bogus, but hey, its a measly four dollars for a unique, thought-provoking experience — more than you’d get out of a Big Mac (also four dollars) from the McDonald’s next door. You enter on a bridge suspended in the earth’s core (super cool). Then a brief light show begins (super cool) during which you examine the foreign cartography of this three-dimensional map made in 1935 (super cool). Like, what is French Indo-China? Oh, and this happens to be super cool: the acoustics of the perfect sphere are quite unique. From the center, your voice is very loud. I happened to be standing in the center. I’ve never felt so powerful, or so entertained. Not to mention somewhat rude. From the edge of the bridge, your voice can be heard very clearly by the person on the other side of the bridge, but not by others in the center, so two can have a secret conversation in plain globe-light. Everything about this place is… well, I think you know how I feel about it. I vote we get one of these at Snell instead of an Alumni Reading Room. No offense, Mom (class of ’82).