November 26, 2008

Short Takes

Here are a few of my recent favorite things, for your Thanksgiving (U.S.) browsing pleasure:

Bora posts a great article on New and Exciting in PLoS ONE: an article entitled Whole Body Mechanics of Stealthy Walking in Cats and he asks for LOLCat submissions to illustrate the articles. I'd like to see that too!


I just bought the library a terrific book called Head First Statistics (O'Reilly, 2008), which I like for several reasons:
  1. It explains a bunch of statistics in a lot of different ways; and, quoting O'Reilly:  "brings this typically dry subject to life, teaching statistics through engaging, interactive, and thought-provoking material, full of puzzles, stories, quizzes, visual aids, and real-world examples."
  2. It's a great example of how books can be designed to effectively -- and professionally -- teach complex concepts.  (O'Reilly says the book "satisfies the requirements for passing the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics Exam" so it's clearly no slouch!). I'd might even call it a 2.0 book?!
  3. I got some good ideas of how to present study tips to my LIS students from page xxxiii entitled "Here's what YOU can do to bend your brain into submission," using tips like "Slow down" ... "Talk about it. Out loud" ... "Do the exercises. Write your own notes."  Interactivity improves learning.
Check out the book ... either to learn statistics, or to get ideas on how to make reading tough concepts manageable.


Heard some interesting (but not uplifting) brain science stories on the News Hour:
  • Misdiagnosing Dementia (Nov. 12 2008):  "About 5 million Americans suffer from dementia -- about half of those from suspected Alzheimer's disease -- according to official estimates. Now, researchers are looking for new treatments in a field that hasn't seen a major advance since the 1960s."  
  • Military, VA Confront Rising Suicide Rates Among Troops (Nov. 10 2008)  "The Army says that suicides among active duty personnel have doubled in recent years, and multiple deployments might contribute to that increase."
Read the transcript, download the audio, or watch the video on the News Hour site.  (Note to the News Hour: nice way to keep your content vibrant in this multimedia age!)

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