Preparing for online learning

Taking online courses can be very convenient for many people. However, this requires time management skills, self-discipline, willpower, and strong motivation, as it may be challenging for online learners to successfully complete their eLearning courses. There are 7 main ideas that can be used to successfully improve your experience with learning from online resources and take advantage of the freedom that they bring.

  1. Understand online learning practices and expectations. You should fully commit yourself and participate in the virtual classroom as required, become tech-savvy, work with others, complete your assignments on time, and be self-disciplined.
  2. Have a dedicated study space. Your study environment should be one of your main concerns when you are an online learner, so make sure that it enables your study routine. Furthermore, ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues to respect your “work mode” and consider turning off your phone and logging off of all social networks when studying; you will want to be neither interrupted nor distracted.
  3. Identify your learning objectives and goals.  You should read carefully your course requirements, create notes that are closely related to your objectives, and make sure that you review them thoroughly every time you start an assignment so that you stay focused on your goals. Finally, consider starting with the most difficult tasks, as this will improve both the effectiveness of your study and your performance.
  4. Build a study plan. Plan ahead, use a calendar system, create to-do lists, set time limits, and stay on schedule. Accept that you will have productive and less productive days, so stay positive and keep your chin up.
  5. Review, revise, repeat. Regular revisions of the things you have already studied will not only improve your memory, but they will also help you better understand what you are learning. Create your own flashcards for your keynotes and quiz yourself on the key concepts of the online course.
  6. Take study breaks. Your performance will decrease if you are feeling tired or frustrated while studying. Integrate some personal time into your study routine and you will be able to work more effectively. A mild physical activity, such as a walk around the block, will help you maintain balance, renew energy, and go back to studying with a clear mind.
  7. Stay motivated. Online learning is a wonderful tool that allows you the freedom to create your own study routine and enables learning at a comfortable pace. To enrich this experience, you can reward yourself every time you complete a challenging task, have healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy and make sure that you take some time for yourself to avoid burnout.

And in the end, don’t forget that learning is a lifetime commitment to yourself!

Source – abridged and adapted

Renewable energy enhanced by fiber optics

Fiber optic cables, it turns out, can be incredibly useful scientific sensors. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have studied them for use in carbon sequestration, groundwater mapping, earthquake detection, and monitoring of Arctic permafrost thaw. Now they have been awarded new grants to develop fiber optics for two novel uses: monitoring offshore wind operations and underground natural gas storage.

“One of the most expensive components of a wind turbine is the gearbox; they also tend to be the part that’s most vulnerable to failure,” said Wu, who is also head of Berkeley Lab’s Geophysics Department. “Often before they fail they produce abnormal vibrations or excessive heat due to increased or irregular friction. We intend to use fiber optic cables to monitor the vibrational, strain, and temperature signal of the gearbox, in order to pinpoint where problems are happening.” Wrapping fiber optic cables around the entire gearbox can provide a 3D map of changes with resolution at the millimeter scale. “It could help identify problems with the gearbox at an early stage, which would trigger emergency management, before a catastrophic failure causing loss of the whole turbine,” Wu said.

EM-TDR (or electromagnetic time domain reflectometry) is similar to the fiber optic technology except that it uses longer wavelength electromagnetic waves instead of visible light (also an electromagnetic wave but at much short wavelength) as signals. “EM-TDR sends electromagnetic waves into an electronically conductive material, and when there is a change due to damage, such as corrosion, you get an EM signal back which can help you identify corrosion or other degradations,” Wu said. And because the borehole is made of steel, which is electrically conductive, no downhole equipment will need to be installed. Thus, EM-TDR is very easy to deploy and can be used under many circumstances that prevent the use of other types of sensors. On the other hand, EM-TDR is still an early-stage technology; this new project will allow further testing and development.

Source

Bullying definition

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education released the first federal uniform definition of bullying for research and surveillance. The core elements of the definition include: unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition. There are many different modes and types of bullying. The current definition acknowledges two modes and four types by which youth can be bullied or can bully others. The two modes of bullying include direct (e.g., bullying that occurs in the presence of a targeted youth) and indirect (e.g., bullying not directly communicated to a targeted youth such as spreading rumors). In addition to these two modes, the four types of bullying include broad categories of physical, verbal, relational (e.g., efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted youth), and damage to property.

Bullying can happen in any number of places, contexts, or locations. Sometimes that place is online or through a cellphone. Bullying that occurs using technology (including but not limited to phones, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online posts) is considered electronic bullying (cyberbullying) and is viewed as a context or location. It involves primarily verbal aggression (e.g., threatening or harassing electronic communications) and relational aggression (e.g., spreading rumors electronically). It can also involve property damage resulting from electronic attacks that lead to the modification, dissemination, damage, or destruction of a youth’s privately stored electronic information. Some bullying actions can fall into criminal categories, such as harassment, hazing, or assault.

“To This Day is a project based on a spoken word poem written by Shane Koyczan (shanekoyczan.com) called “To This Day”, to further explore the profound and lasting impact that bullying can have on an individual.

Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

Animators and motion artists brought their unique styles to 20 second segments that will thread into one fluid voice.
This collaborative volunteer effort demonstrates what a community of caring individuals are capable of when they come together.”

 

Source and more information

 

Modeling social unrest and riot dynamics

Episodes of social unrest rippled throughout Chile in 2019. Researchers specializing in economics, mathematics and physics in Chile and the U.K. banded together to explore the surprising social dynamics people were experiencing. Social media is changing the rules of the game, and previously applied epidemic-like models, on their own, may no longer be enough to explain current rioting dynamics.

DCIM/181MEDIA/DJI_0033.JPG

In the journal Chaos, from AIP Publishing, the team reports that social media is changing the rules of the game, and previously applied epidemic-like models, on their own, may no longer be enough to explain current rioting dynamics. Using epidemiological mathematical models to understand the spread of infectious diseases dates back more than 100 years. “In the 1970s, this type of methodology was used to understand the dynamics of riots that occurred in U.S. cities in the 1960s,” said Jocelyn Olivari Narea, co-author and an assistant professor at Adolfo Ibáñez University in Chile. “More recently, it was used to model French rioting events in 2005.”

“Within a rioting context, someone ‘susceptible’ is a potential rioter, an ‘infected individual’ is an active rioter, and a ‘recovered person’ is one that stopped rioting,” explained co-author Katia Vogt-Geisse. “Rioting spreads when effective contact between an active rioter and a potential rioter occurs.” They discovered that the SIR model uses Hamiltonian mechanics for mathematics, just like Newton’s laws for physics.

When including such triggers, the team found the way a sequence of events occurs varies greatly based on the initial number of potential rioters and active rioters. “Even the sequence of rioting events can be chaotic,” Rica Mery said. “Rich dynamics reveal the complexity involved in making predictions of rioting activity.” The team pointed out it was surprising that the idea of disease spread can be well applied to rioting activity spread to obtain a good fit of rioting activity data.

Source

Caroca, P., Cartes, C., Davies, T.P., Olivari, J., Rica, S. and Vogt, K., 2020. The anatomy of the 2019 Chilean social unrest. arXiv preprint arXiv:2003.00423.

LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System

For LEGO and Nintendo lovers, this new toy seems like a fun pastime!

“Recreate classic Super Mario Bros. gameplay with this cool LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System! Place the Game Pack in the brick-built console. Turn the handle on the retro TV to make 8-bit Mario move across the screen. And place LEGO Mario from the LEGO Super Mario Starter Course in the slot on top so he reacts to the on-screen enemies, obstacles and power-ups, while the original game’s theme tune plays!”

Robot jaws tests new medicated chewing gum

The aim of the University of Bristol study, published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, was to confirm whether a humanoid chewing robot could assess medicated chewing gum. The robot is capable of closely replicating the human chewing motion in a closed environment. It features artificial saliva and allows the measurement of the xylitol released from chewing.

chewing_robot

Saliva and artificial saliva solutions respectively were collected after five, ten, 15 and 20 minutes of continuous chewing and the amount of xylitol released was recorded. Dr Kazem Alemzadeh, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the research, said: “Bioengineering has been used to create an artificial oral environment that closely mimics that found in humans. Our research has shown the chewing robot gives pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to investigate medicated chewing gum, with reduced patient exposure and lower costs using this new method.”

Nicola West, Professor in Restorative Dentistry in the Bristol Dental School and co-author, added: “The most convenient drug administration route to patients is through oral delivery methods. This research, utilising a novel humanoid artificial oral environment, has the potential to revolutionise investigation into oral drug release and delivery.”

Their most important finding is that the greatest amount of xylitol was released from the chewing gum within the first five minutes.

Source

Original paper

One dog year not equivalent to seven human years

Scientists have found in a study that reveals young dogs might be “older” than previously thought, suggesting that a one-year-old puppy is actually about 30 in the human years equivalent.

dog-age-2

Researchers at the University of California San Diego’s school of medicine describe how they focused on epigenetic changes to DNA – modifications that don’t change the DNA sequence but can switch genes on or off. The team looked at the way particular molecules, called methyl groups, accumulated in certain areas of the human genome over time and compared them with how they accumulated in similar areas in the dog genome.

The results, which draw on genetic data from about 100 labrador retrievers from puppies to elderly animals, reveal every dog year is not equivalent to seven human years. Instead, dogs show far more rapid accumulation of methyl groups in their genome than humans within their first year or so, suggesting they age at a much faster rate. However, as time passes, the rate of ageing in dogs, compared with humans, slows down. The relationship is described by the formula:

human age = 16 ln(dog_age) + 31

The findings suggest a one-year-old dog would have a “human age” of about 30, while by the age of four they’d be about 54 in “human years”, and by 14 they would be on a par with a human in their mid-70s.

Source

Original paper

How do carbohydrates impact your health? – Richard J. Wood

The things we eat and drink on a daily basis can impact our health in big ways. Too many carbohydrates, for instance, can lead to insulin resistance, which is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. But what are carbs, exactly? And what do they do to our bodies? Lesson by Richard J. Wood, animation by Qa’ed Mai.
A great explanation for everyone interested in nutrition. Choose your carbohydrates carefully, as they are essential for your brain and nervous system.
Pentru cine e interesat de nutriție și sănătate, recomand cartea “Ecuația slăbirii. Ghid de nutriție și antrenament pentru o viață de calitate” de Șerban Damian. Deși are ca grup țintă persoanele care doresc să slăbească, eu consider că este utilă oricui și poate ajuta la îmbunătățirea calității vieții prin promovarea unei alimentații variate și unui stil de viață activ.