"As these first few weeks of the college semester begin, professors look out expectantly into grand lecture halls, where they see, rather than faces of students, the backs of open laptops," Timothy Snyder writes for The Christian Science Monitor. "The students, for their part, are looking intently at the laptop screens. … I teach at Yale, where lecturing is taken seriously - and in history, which boasts some of the best teachers. My ratings as a lecturer are consistently high. But even here, I would not have the attention of these very gifted students if I did not ban laptops and smart phones from my classroom. Part of the problem is that students are not paying attention at a given moment, part of the problem is that they often lack the ability to pay attention at all. … After university, students who could not concentrate in the classroom will become workers who cannot concentrate in the workplace."
Hoary and Tory?
Belgian researchers have found that growing older was associated with lower levels of self-esteem among those on the liberal side of the political scale, Miller-mccune.com reports. But conservatives were spared that decline, leading the psychologists to conclude that "conservatism buffers the negative effect of age on self-esteem." They argue that a social-conservative belief system, which values your culture or society above others, would elevate your personal status, thus propping up your self-esteem. "Right-wing beliefs are good for old people," they write.
Sweating and glowing
"[Japanese]researchers discovered that men on average start perspiring much more quickly than women and then twice as much when they are in the middle of exercising," The Daily Telegraph reports. "But while this may make men look less cool than women in the gym, it actually means their bodies are working more effectively. … The scientists at Osaka International University and Kobe University in Japan found that men lost twice as much moisture per square inch of forehead, chest, back, forearm and thigh at any one time."
In 1915, Lawrence Bragg, 25, won the Nobel Prize for physics, becoming the youngest laureate, for his work in X-ray crystallography. He shared the prize with his father.
BBC News Magazine
Astronomy: 90 per cent
The heliosphere protects our solar system from up to 90 per cent of the cosmic rays that come our way. Over the past two decades, it has shrunk, allowing more cosmic radiation to enter.
Los Angeles Times
A six-year-old boy in Missouri, bothered by a road sign indicating a single curve ahead when there were in fact many, wrote to highway administrators. They phoned him the next day to say he was right and they'd change it.
Frugality: Canned music
"The Washington Ballet will dance before an empty orchestra pit this season, citing financial constraints in its decision to use recorded music."
The Washington Post
Thought du jour
"I attribute my success to this - that I never gave or took any excuse."
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), British nurse and educator