“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov
The researchers found that genes that influenced the intelligence and ability of healthy people were the same ones that impaired cognitive ability and caused epilepsy when mutated. Photograph: Science Picture Co./Corbis
New genetic theory might pave way to understanding human intelligenceScientists from Imperial College believe that intelligence may be influenced by two networks of genes, possibly controlled by a master regulatory system
British scientists believe they have made a huge step forward in the understanding of the mechanisms of human intelligence. That genetic inheritance must play some part has never been disputed. Despite occasional claims later dismissed, no-one has yet produced a single gene that controls intelligence.
But Michael Johnson of Imperial College London, a consultant neurologist and colleagues report in Nature Neuroscience that they may have discovered a very different answer: two networks of genes, perhaps controlled by some master regulatory system, lie behind the human gift for lateral thinking, mental arithmetic, pub quizzes, strategic planning, cryptic crosswords and the ability to laugh at limericks.
Ninety-seven percent of qualified scientists say that the earth is getting hotter and human activity is to blame. Data shows that the global mean temperature is now 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. If humanity continues this course, we can expect more frequent and more intense extreme weather events, rising seas, and an unprecedented impact on humanity.
World leaders will be meeting in Paris later this month to try to come up with a international climate agreement. While the overwhelming majority of the world’s economies have laid out plans to cut their carbon emissions, they’re still short of the goal the United Nations has set for holding the line on global warming.
Ahead of the conference, VICE News wants to hear your thoughts on climate change.
-What do you think should be done to address climate change?
-What changes can individuals make to make a difference? How do you think individual actions can make a difference?
-What message do you want to send to world leaders?
People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in New York City on Friday to mark the 14th anniversary of the attacks.
People read the names of victims of the 2001 attacks at the 9/11 Empty Sky memorial in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., at sunrise Friday as the One World Trade Center tower stands in the background. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Mitch Ellicott, center, with sons Zachary, left, and Benjamin, remember a family member lost in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The Ellicotts were among those who gathered at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at …
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House on the anniversary of the attacks. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Gerard Chipura, a captain with the Fire Department of New York, takes a moment to remember his brother who was killed in the 2001 attacks. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
A family member of a victim attends the ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Friday. Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
A flag is placed along the South Pool of the World Trade Center site before the anniversary ceremony. A moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. EDT, the time the first plane struck the North Tower. Bryan R. Smith/Associated Press
Gary Mascitis, 14, remembers his uncle during the ceremony. Family members of the victims read the names of 2,983 people killed in the 2001 attacks and the 1993 bombing. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, lays a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in Washington on Friday. The Pentagon memorial has 184 individual benches to commemorate the 59 passengers and crew members who died on American Airlines Flight 77 and the 125 people killed in the Pentagon during the attack. Gary Cameron/Reuters
A visitor pauses on the observation deck of the Flight 93 National Memorial visitor center in Pennsylvania on Friday. The memorial, honoring the 40 passengers and crew who died when their hijacked airliner crashed in a field, officially opened Thursday. Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Time management goes only so far; the emotional reasons for delay must also be addressed
Chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, researchers say, and it can lead to difficulties in relationships, jobs, finances and health. Illustration: Yao Xiao
Putting off a work or school assignment in order to play videogames or water the plants might seem like nothing more serious than poor time-management.
But researchers say chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, and it can lead to significant issues in relationships, jobs, finances and health.
In August, researchers from Stockholm University published one of the first randomized controlled trials on the treatment of procrastination. It found a therapy delivered online can significantly reduce procrastination.
Psychologists also are studying other ways people might be able to reduce procrastination, such as better emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self.
Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences. It is opting for short-term pleasure or mood at the cost of the long-term. Perhaps we didn’t finish preparing a presentation on the weekend because we had house guests. That is just intentional delay based on a rational decision, says Timothy Pychyl (pronounced pitch-el), a psychology professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, who has published extensively on the topic.
The essence of procrastination is “we’re giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl says. “Procrastination is, ‘I know I should be doing it, I want to, it gets under my skin [when I don’t].’ ”
Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education
In September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.
Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.
COUNT WHAT COUNTS
A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.
Recognizing the importance of education, the prior Millennium Development Goals included a target of reaching universal primary schooling by 2015. Although developing countries did, in fact, substantially expand access to schooling over the past two decades, many have still not translated increased education into economic well-being. The reason is that too many countries focused on increasing the number of children attending school rather than on educational outcomes.
Police investigate incident near Arras, France, in which three US citizens – two of them soldiers – prevented attack by suspect reportedly armed with AK-47
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve praises the brave actions of two train passengers who reportedly helped overpower the gunman – link to video
A heavily armed gunman has opened fire on a high-speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris before being overpowered by three US citizens, two of whom were soldiers.
Two people were injured in the attack, including one of the Americans, who was admitted to hospital with serious injuries to his hand that needed surgery.
Barack Obama described the men as heroic following the attack on Friday.
A British passenger, Chris Norman, helped the Americans tie up the suspect, and French anti-terrorist police are now questioning him. He was arrested after the train made an emergency stop at Arras, near the French-Belgian border.
The suspect’s motive was not immediately known, but French prosecutors said counter-terrorism investigators were launching an inquiry. According to early briefings, the gunman, 26, was known to French intelligence services and was Moroccan or of Moroccan origin.
Belgian prosecutors said on Saturday they had formally opened an anti-terrorism investigation. “We have opened an inquiry as the suspect boarded the train in Brussels,” Eric van der Sypt, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said.
The shooting happened just before 6pm in the last carriage of the train, which was carrying 554 passengers. The man had several weapons in his luggage, including a Kalashnikov, an automatic pistol and razor blades.
Two of the Americans were in the military, their travelling companion and childhood friend Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University, said.
The one injured was named as air force serviceman Spencer Stone from Sacramento, California. The other was Alek Skarlatos, of Roseburg, Oregon.
“We heard a gunshot and we heard glass breaking behind us and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle,” Sadler said. The trio then saw a gunman entering the carriage with an automatic rifle, he added.
“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells: ‘Spencer, go!’ and Spencer runs down the aisle,” Sadler said. “Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”