Month: February 2013

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools

>>The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools<<

Interesting to see how one school district turned themselves around to become one of the top performing schools in their district despite harboring an underprivileged student body. I think the main takeaway from this, which applies to more than just schools, is innovative strategy and continuous improvement. This opinion piece doesn’t exactly say what the school district did to turn themselves around but that’s almost good in a certain sense. Improvements and innovations don’t come one size fits all.


Gaming and Violence

>>Shooting in the Dark<<

This article doesn’t really reach any conclusions, but it’s interesting to see the research out there comparing violent video games to violence in the real world. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that playing a violent game would lead people to act more aggressively but the perspective that playing such a game helps people get out their innate aggression in an acceptable manner is also plausible.


The Secret Life of Trader Joe

I came across this article a few years ago when it first came out, but I have often – several times a year, at least – referenced it to my friends.  It’s always when someone talks about how home-grown the brand is.  Or how amazing it is that all the food tastes so good while being generic.

Did you also think Trader Joe’s was a quirky American brand with an amazingly delicious selection of store-brand food?  Would it blow your mind to hear that it’s privately owned by a German family?  Or that the seemingly generic products are outsourced to your favorite Whole Foods brands?  Read that and more here:

>> Inside the Secret World of Trader Joe’s <<

– Sandra

How Alcohol Affects Sleep Quality

>>Sleeping it Off: How Alcohol Affects Sleep Quality<<

This article mentions how heavy drinking can cause the REM stage of sleep to be decreased. So the more you drink, the more restless your sleep is. I’ve also heard that the surge of energy that many feel after waking up post partying, is your body producing adrenaline. This adrenaline is due to the lack of rest your body gets while sleeping after boozing.


Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?

For our generation, and those younger than us as well, standardized testing has been a fact of life. The thing about standardized tests though (ask anyone who has been through this torture and they will tell you), it’s not really a very good indicator of a person’s intelligence or capability. Rather, standardized tests, test your ability to perform on said tests. This article breaks this down and talks about how those who usually perform better in school, perform worse on these tests due to their incapability of performing under stress and pressure. On the other hand, those who do score well on standardized tests and the ones who are fueled by stress and pressure.

An interesting excerpt:

-Pg 5: Standardized testing is competition that threatens. Since the only real thing anyone cares about in said test is the score( as opposed to the learning process, or the knowledge gained by studying for/taking said test), even those who normally enjoy competition and performing under pressure may get weighed down by the stress these tests pose.

>> Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart? <<


Memory and Aging

So it’s common knowledge that the elderly, as they age, are plagued by deteriorating memory.  But this isn’t just because their bodies are failing.  It’s because they’re not able to get adequate amounts of restful sleep!

>> Sleep Deprivation May Be Behind Memory Loss in Elderly << 

Scientists at UC Berkeley conducted surveys where they tested subjects of all ages on memory retention and then tested them again after a night of sleep.  While most of the subjects performed on par with one another before sleeping, the elderly performed much more poorly afterwards.  So seniors aren’t actually worse at remembering; their brains are actually impaired by the inability to process new memories brought on by lack of restful sleep!

So for those of us who are not getting adequate amounts of deep sleep, we’re basically performing at the cognitive level of senior citizens.

– Sandra