children · education · learning

Developing minds

Lots of cool news came out recently about human development, from chimps to little humans:

Wild chimps have been shown to understand fire and how it moves, and don’t freak out like other animals do. This is exciting because humans so far had been the only animals documented as keeping their cool around fire…for the most part.

Since we’re in the jungle, it’s once again been show that it’s good for kids to go roll around in the dirt; for one thing it correlates with lower heart disease when they’re older.

But back to brain wiring, kids who get intensive language training when they’re young, like reading, actually have their brains re-wired, in a good way.

New education research is also showing that kids may understand Math at a much earlier age than previously though, and there are ways that they can learn the concepts just as early as we try to teach them language.

One of the skills kids can develop is compartmentalization, which it turns out cavemen could also do much earlier than previously thought; for example, they made different, compartmentalized work stations in their camps, rather than spread everything around and sleep right next to the meat-processing spot.

Speaking of stone-age types, a study has come out that counters the idea that hunter-gatherers didn’t eat any grains at all.

All this data almost makes me want to grab some popcorn and pop it over a fire while playing math games. But not before I go work in my garden patch.


culture halted and culture preserved

Comet over Canada killed Clovis? (ooh, alliteration):
Rafe has already debunked it.

I don’t know why I thought the Smithsonian would be immune to political pressure, especially when you’re just down the street from the White House…:

Six states in India ban sex-ed because it might be offensive to Indian culture. According to the article, India has the highest amount per capita of HIV.

THIS is what I would love to do as a living: help people preserve traditional culture like this woman is doing in her village
Pull quote: “Traditions were always meant to serve the present,” she says. “We may not be fully nomadic, as we were in the past, but we still travel to visit family, or pay respects, or attend initiation ceremonies. Hunting is still hunting, even if our men use rifles and Land Cruisers. Our culture doesn’t teach us to hide from new things, and in many ways modern life is easier and less violent than our old ways. But that doesn’t mean the altyerre is any less important or sacred to us.”
The native Australians and Maori seem to be the most successful at preserving and maintaining, just on what little I’ve read. It’d be fun to figure out what they’re doing right and if it could be applied to U.S. (even if it’s just nicer politicians).