Thursday, February 11, 2016

SEARCHING FOR THE BRAIN’S INTERNAL CLOCK


“New research suggests we may use the same neurons to map time and space”
By: Emily Singer
Published: The Atlantic, Jan 29, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/01/brain-map-time-space/431643/ and Quanta Magazine, Jan 26, 2016, https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160126-how-the-brain-maps-time/ under the title “New clues to how the brain maps time”
Level of difficulty: ***
BEFORE YOU READ 
Perception of reality, flow of time and ourselves” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYzxi2dv6TU   
QUESTIONS
1.       The reason why scientists have been unable to pinpoint brain regions involved with judging time is the fact that
·         How the brain tracks time is a mystery
·         The brain doesn’t have a neural timekeeper
·         There is no one region that controls time
·         There is no center in the brain that monitors time
2.       It is suggested in the text that the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex may be involved in monitoring time for the following reasons:
3.       It can be concluded from Eichenbaum’s research that
·         The brain’ grid cells are pliable
·         The brain’s grid cells act like a dead reckoning system
·         The brain’s grid cells keep track of distance and time
·         The brain’s sense of space and time are intertwined
4.       The fact that grid cells and other GPS-like cells are multifunctional enables them to ………….
5.       The purpose of the experiment with the rats was checking to see…………………………….
6.       As a result of the experiment it has been proved that
·         Neurons all fire at different times
·         The duration of the period on the treadmill can be accurately estimated
·         The cells do in fact mark distance
·         Some cells in the brain are definitely linked to time
7.       The main difference between a stopwatch and cells controlling time in the brain is that the former ………………………………………….
8.       The conclusion that time cells rely on context was reached as a result of observing …………….
9.       Scientists don’t all agree on how versatile / multifunctional / skilled / independent the hippocampus is. Circle the wrong answer.
10.   Which of Eichenbaum’s views does David Foster not agree with?
11.   What does “It” refer to in the phrase “It is not precise enough”?
12.   Replace the phrase this mental activity with a phrase of your own.
13.   It may not really  be sensible to try and find hippocampal cells that keep track of time because………………………………………………………………………………………………………
14.   We understand from the experiences of H.M. that the hippocampus has the dual function of…………………………….and……………………………………
15.   What is the purpose of Eichenbaum’s new experiment?
WRITING TASK
Write a concise summary of the text you have read. You will need to reorganize the information and make connections to be able to do so so be careful
SEARCHING FOR THE BRAIN’S INTERNAL CLOCK KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This wonderful text is specifically for science buffs but at the same time should have universal appeal. The summary task is challenging and students may require some help.
1.       The third option
2.       The same cells that monitor an individual’s location in space also mark the passage of time / both regions of the brain are famous for their role in memory and navigation.
3.       The fourth option (the third one is a finding on which the conclusion is based
4.       Map experiences
5.       How the hippocampus monitors time
6.       The fourth option
7.       Are not adaptable or cannot be programmed
8.       Rats exploring a new environment
9.       Independent
10.   That cells can code for the pure passage of time
11.   The firing of cells
12.   Helping to remember the past and plot the future (Possible answer)
13.   The human brain often considers time and space interchangeably / Physicists consider space-time as a cohesive four-dimensional entity
14.   Organizing memories and making new memories
15.   To see how time cells modify their code to remember the order in which the events occured


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NEOLIBERALISM HAS BROUGHT OUT THE WORST IN US


“An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traitshas changed our ethics and our personalities”
Paul Verhaeghe
Level of Difficulty: ***
TAKE THE TEST
BEFORE YOU READ
WATCH AND LISTEN
QUESTIONS
  1. What misconception do we need to be disabused of?
  2. The reason why economic change is having a serious impact on who we are and what we believe in is the fact that……………………………………………………………………………………
  3. It can be concluded from the text that being glib is more important than being
·         Shallow
·         Frivolous
·         Profound
·         Insignificant
  1. Being glib is not enough on its own; it only becomes a bonus if it is accompanied by a propensity to……………………………………………………………………………………………..
  2. The above provides an added bonus the individual in the modern business world is completely free of …………………………………..
  3. The fact that modern man feels no accountability also means he is free to be as ………………………..as he likes. This results in secure /speculative / dependable / sound / dangerous endeavors.
  4. Currently, the EU is pressuring Turkey to open its borders to the refugees but closing their own borders to the same refugees. They are doing this because in the modern world it is more important to……………………..This is what the system,………………………, demands.
  5. Bullying is now witnessed in workplaces too because ……………………………………….
  6. The loss of self reliance and self dependence in the workplace can be linked to…………on the one hand and to ………………………….on the other.
  7. The serious drop in the levels of self respect people feel in the modern world is due to a lack of…………………………………………………………………………..
  8. The message of society that everyone can succeed if they try is ironical because in fact ……………………………………………..
  9. Why is the message of neoliberal meritocracy described as a fairytale?
·         Because it is extremely beautiful
·         Because it is completely ridiculous
  1. Read Zygmunt Bauman’s views concerning the age we are living in. Which of the following can be deduced about modern man?
·         We are far freer, in every respect, than we used to be
·         We are not nearly as free as we used to be
·         We think we are far freer in every respect
·         We think we are not nearly as free as we used to be
  1. Which of the following individuals would be ‘breaking the rules governing modern society’?
·         A new mother who prefers to return to work immediately and hire a nanny
·         A teacher who turns down a well paying job at a private university because he feels he has more to give students of a state university.
·         A young person with an excellent education who chooses to take up acting instead of pursuing a career.
·         A person who uproots his family to move to another city because he has got a promotion.
WRITING TASK
The first alternative:
“We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited” To what extend do you agree? Discuss.
The second alternative:
“The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us” To what extent do you agree? Discuss.
NEOLIBERALISM HAS BROUGHT OUT THE WORST IN US KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This brilliant text is full of some serious home truths about the current era and is, therefore, rather depressing. It should, however, provide plenty of food for thought and lead to some lively discussions. You should find it interesting to see how cynical or idealistic your students are.

  1. That our identities are stable and largely separate from outside forces.
  2. Meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalizes others.
  3. Profound
  4. To lie and feel little guilt
  5. Responsibility (for his own behavior)
  6. Flexible and impulsive / speculative
  7. Extract more profit from the situation / neoliberal meritocracy
  8. The impotent need to vent their frustration on the weak
  9. Constant evaluations / infantilisation of the workers
  10. Recognition
  11. The freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited (notice the key word is ironical so answers like an increasing number of people fail… will not work; there is no irony)
  12. The second
  13. We think we are far freer in every respect
  14. The second and the third

Friday, January 29, 2016

MONEY AND HAPPINESS; WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP?


Whether we’re born rich or poor, our lives are shaped by our unconscious beliefs about money. What are your ‘money scripts’, and what do they reveal about your attitude to earning, spending, saving and borrowing? The Guardian
Take the test, do your research and determine where you stand; then write your essay. Remember: your objective is to prove that your standpoint is the correct one.
Take the test
The major arguments for and against
·         Does money bring happiness? http://www.debate.org/opinions/does-money-bring-happiness
Reading material to make notes on:
·         The 3 reasons money brings satisfaction but not happiness http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/04/3-reasons-money-brings-satisfaction-but.php
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         How to buy happiness https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_norton_how_to_buy_happiness  
·         Can money buy happiness? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSIkdWxotKw

·         Can money buy happiness? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE-LjTjVYbI

Thursday, January 28, 2016

HOW DOES A CONARTIST TRICK YOU?


Conartists have always existed.  Do your research and write about what kinds of people they are, the tricks they use, who they target and why, and why they succeed. In your conclusion suggest ways in which people can protect themselves. While doing your research, you will learn about famous conmen. You will need to draw conclusions, discover similarities and generalize. When writing your essay, state what generalizations you can make and also provide examples.
Reading material to make notes on
·         The conman who pulled off history’s most audacious scam http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160127-the-conman-who-pulled-off-historys-most-audacious-scam
·         The best and worst ways to spot a liar http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150906-the-best-and-worst-ways-to-spot-a-liar
·         The hidden tricks of powerful persuasion http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150324-the-hidden-tricks-of-persuasion
·         How con artists trick your mind http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141003-the-mind-tricks-of-scammers
Documentary to watch:

Film to watch

·         The Great Pretender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji5ToaZ2M40

WHO WAS GEORGE-EUGENE HAUSSMAN?


Was George Eugene Haussman the greatest architect of all time or is he to blame? Do your research and decide to what extent Napoleon is to be applauded for giving him free rein in his architectural endevours.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
Reading material to make notes on
·         The man who created Paris http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160126-how-a-modern-city-was-born
·         Haussman and new Paris https://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255-s01/mapping-paris/Haussmann.html  Click the ribbon on the right to access details of the changes Haussman made
Reading material and accompanying audio to make notes on:
·         George Eugene Haussman http://uh.edu/engines/epi2523.htm
Videos to make notes on:

·         George Eugene Haussman’s urban renewal of Paris http://study.com/academy/lesson/georges-eugene-haussmann-s-urban-renewal-of-paris.html

Friday, January 22, 2016

THE POISONING OF A TOWN: FLINT’S WATER SUPPLY


Do you trust that the water you drink is as safe to drink as your water board claims? Water either looks ‘clean’ and is therefore ‘clean’ or looks murky and is not; right? Wrong! Many of the worst toxins are colorless and odorless. The added bonus: they not only destroy the quality of life or life of one generation, but the next one as well so think again. What happened in Flint Michigan is a cautionary tale that could be happening where you are living too. Do your research and tell the story. Remember to also discuss the effects of the specific toxin at issue, implications for the future and who is to blame.
Note to the student: you will find it necessary to use the past forms of modals, conditional structures, narrative structures while writing your essay. You will also have to think back to process descriptions  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         22 Powerful photos show the devastating reality of Flint’s water http://mic.com/articles/133019/22-powerful-photos-show-the-devastating-reality-of-flint-s-water-crisis#.5j4HQSjmV
Find out about lead poisoning:
·         http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/basics/definition/con-20035487 Follow the arrows to read about the symptoms, effects and the treatment.
The tragedy of Flint: watch the video
·         Undrinkable the Flint water emergency https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA53UEr2vaQ
Reading material to make notes on
·         Who’s responsible for poisoning Flint’s water supply? http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/12/whos-responsible-for-poisoning-flints-water-supply.html
·         Flint’s high lead levels have doctors struggling for answers http://www.wired.com/2016/01/flints-high-lead-levels-have-doctors-struggling-for-answers/ 
Videos to watch and make notes on
·         The effects of Flint’s lead poisoning disaster http://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2016/01/22/flint-water-crisis-lead-gupta-dnt-ac.cnn
·         Gov Snyder should be arrested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UlYD_umAIA

·         Lead poisoning causes violent crime https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHMVULy0pZU

Thursday, January 7, 2016

GEORGE ORWELL OR ALDOUS HUXLEY; WHO HAS IT RIGHT?


In a wonderful series of drawings comparing and contrasting Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, Stuart McMillen highlights some of the most important problems facing human society today. Study the drawings and decide who has it right then write an essay in which you defend your stand point.

Note to the student: this task is very deceptive and is , in fact, a lot harder than it may seem so be careful