Knowledge and Learning In The News - 5/24/2005

Learning from Google Should humanity survive the next few hundred years, we'll look back at the early decades of 21st Century and think of that time as the learning revolution, much as we now think of the turning decades of the 19th century as the industrial revolution. BusinessWeek's Special Report on PodCasting Includes a podcast on podcasting. Several interesting features. The virtue and vice of audio Audio is a special medium: It's impossible to skim. When we listen, we have to hear every word in the order intended. We are taken from a start to the finish. And, of course, the nuance of the spoken word adds incredibly rich metadata to the mere content. There's a reason that "listening" implies appropriating what's being said in a way that "reading" doesn't. Why some of us choke under pressure Some people - even people who really know their stuff - just don't "test well." You can talk to them face to face, and they seem perfectly well informed and intelligent, but when the money's on the line, when they've sharpened their number 2 pencils and it's time to sit down for the big exam, they just crumble. The size of topics The Encyclopedia Britannica has about 65,000 topics spread across 32 volumes, for a total of 44,000,000 words. So now we know that that the average size of a topic is 676 words. This is deceiving, though, because the Britannica is famous for running articles up to 10 times longer than previous encyclopedias. The New Profile of the Long-Term Unemployed Today, the unemployment rate is relatively low at 5.2 percent and overall hiring has started to pick up again, particularly for younger workers coming out of college and professional schools. But the presence of middle-aged women and better educated white-collar workers among the long-term unemployed has increased.

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