Knowledge and Learning In The News - 12/23/2006

The Youngest Grocer In America YouTube
After the only grocery store in Truman, Minn., closed earlier this year, 17-year-old Nick Graham bought and re-opened it to help save the struggling community. Note: CBS News video.

The interaction between genes and environment - ADC
Many have alluded to the importance of the environment on the developing brain. As a neuroscientist, I root and endorse that view in the bump and grind of brain cells. You are born with most of the brain cells you will ever have. It is the growth of the connections between the brain cells that accounts for the growth of the brain after birth. What is exciting is that the environment will influence the configuration of those connections. So even if you are a clone—that is, an identical twin—you will have a unique pattern of brain cell connections. Also, see Taxi drivers' knowledge helps their brains grow.

Brain Gain: Mental Exercise Makes Elderly Minds More Fit - Scientific American
The research holds out hope that simple mental exercise may play a key role in staving off dementia and other cognitive declines that currently afflict at least 24 million people worldwide. But it is not as simple as continuing to do the crossword or sudoku puzzles that you love, the brain must be continually stretched and challenged. To drive this effect, you have to practice things that you don't like or things you don't regularly practice.

Another Guru Sharing the Same Old Myth - Will at Work Learning
And here's another example of a well-respected industry analyst lazily sharing the biggest myth in the learning field.

How does a brain do what it does? - Baltimore Sun
Like animals, Minsky observes, people exhibit instinctive reactions: They hear a sound and turn toward it. From parents (or other "imprimers") they learn to react as well, looking both ways before they cross the street. Deliberative thinking allows human beings to consider alternatives before making a decision. Reflective thinking permits an evaluation not only of external phenomena but of activities inside the brain. And self-reflection thinking makes it possible to consider a decision in light of a person's self-image. Confusion and conflict, Minsky maintains, force us to use some (cognitive) roads less traveled by. Positive reinforcement, by contrast, can lead to rigidity.

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