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Why This Creepy Melody is in So Many Movies

You probably never realized how many times you've heard the same four-note logo during a sad, stressful, or foreboding scene in movies over the years. It's not as blatant as the inception BRAAAM, and it's far older. It goes back as far as the 13th century, believe it or not. Here's the song's history from Vox. -via Digg


Teaching Kids How to Behave Through a Game of Positive Reinforcement

Children don't have a built-in sense of what is appropriate or not in any situation. They acquire good behavior through interaction, experience, and instruction from parents and other authority figures.

But there are methods which might bring more harm than good such as verbal or even physical punishment. These methods of reproach could scar a child's mental and emotional well-being which could also lead to physical damage in the future.

So there are educators who employ a different manner of instilling good behavior in children through a game called the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG).

The game, which was first described in a 1969 paper in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, has been taught in schools by the PAXIS Institute since 1999. “We’re looking at behavior as a skill that we teach versus that we punish kids into,” says Ewen, who is the multitiered systems of support coordinator for the Missoula County public schools and a PAX GBG trainer.
PAX GBG can be played during any activity that challenges students’ focus, such as classes like math or reading or transitions between subjects. Children have 50 or more such transitions every day in elementary school, says Dennis Embry, president and chief scientist for the PAXIS Institute.

Based on several studies done regarding the effects of the PAX GBG method, the results were astounding and uplifting. Children who were exposed to this method of behavioral development were less likely to develop antisocial behavior, had less aggression, and exhibited more prosocial behaviors, among other results.

Of course, there could also be other factors involved such as how these children were raised at home, the kind of environment to which they have been exposed, and how they socialized with other children. But it is a good initiative to take so that children won't bear trauma into adulthood from humiliation or punishment.

(Image credit: Nicole Honeywill/Unsplash)


The Maker Movement in Egypt and North Africa

Big manufacturing companies, design laboratories, and R&D departments no longer have the monopoly of innovation as creativity hubs and spaces are emerging in various places around the world. Here, we see small teams of people coming up with new ways and ideas to change the way we live, think, and collaborate.

In Egypt, one such movement has become a new trend. It's called Makerspaces.

Makerspaces are collaborative environments where would-be creators and inventors find access to technological resources that would often otherwise be prohibitively expensive, as well as membership in a community of other makers.
Egypt’s growing maker movement focuses on giving entrepreneurs opportunities to build up their technical knowledge and products rather than ameliorating the employment market.

(Image credit: Erin Hayes/The Cairo Review)


Here Is The Dogs’ Side Of The Story During 9/11

Every year, we commemorate the 9/11 tragedy, sharing different stories that happened that day. From last calls, messages, to heroic deeds, these memories are remembered to remind the world that the events of 9/11 happened, and that the lives we lost won’t be forgotten. For this year’s 9/11 commemoration, twitter user Clays and Birds decided to focus on the dogs of 9/11:

image credit: via Clays and Birds


Museum Diplomacy: Spreading Influence Through Art and Culture

The arts are one way of exercising cultural influence on a global scale. Though we would often think of pop music as the top cultural export which any country could have, other means are emerging which could help countries exert some influence. One example is through museums.

Museums around the world in the 21st century are no longer solely dependent on government funding to operate internationally. Museums today build new branches in different countries, collaborate with global brands, and even generate their own profit.
Since the 2000s, when the Guggenheim Museum successfully implemented its global expansion, franchised museums have multiplied around the globe. Interestingly these strategies aren’t limited to Western museums.

Chinese and Russian initiatives are already making use of museums as a way of spreading their cultural influence abroad. Some examples being the K11 Art Mall which started in Hong Kong and the State Hermitage Museum from Russia.

These museums and foundations are using the same model that the Guggenheim implemented which was to franchise museums in different parts of the world along with collaboration as well as art programs and international exchange programs.

These cases from China and Russia do more than offer captivating examples of how the Guggenheim’s global expansion museum models have been successfully adopted and further transformed by museums beyond the western world.
They are evidence of emerging new alternative avenues of museum diplomacy that no longer depend on government commissions directed at serving immediate geo-political interests.

(Image credit: Baycrest/Wikimedia Commons; CC by SA 2.5)


Climate Change Could Accelerate the Spread of This Fungal Infection

Apart from warming our oceans and killing coral reefs, climate change can also affect the spread of diseases. Researchers say that there is a possibility for valley fever to expand its range of affected states and spread quicker.

“The range of valley fever is going to increase substantially,” said Morgan Gorris, a former UCI PhD student in Earth system science and lead author of the new study.
“We made projections out to the end of the 21st century, and our model predicts that valley fever will travel farther north throughout the western United States, especially in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains and throughout the Great Plains, and by that time, much of the western U.S. will be considered endemic.”

(Image credit: Brittany Colette/Unsplash)


The Chicken and Egg Dilemma of Chess

Some say that chess can help improve one's focus, concentration, memory, and strategic thinking. It has always been thought of as an intellectual game. But it's difficult to measure the benefits that chess has on someone who regularly engages and plays the game or whether just casually playing the game would have any benefits at all.

So Dr. David Poston, who is working on NASA's Kilopower project and is a chess enthusiast, wanted to conduct a study to measure the effect that chess could have on people who play the game. Can chess really enhance the academic performance or even the mental ability of a person?

Teaming up with Kathryn K. Vandenkieboom, the learning systems, assessment and curriculum director for the Los Alamos Public Schools, he tracked the academic performance (as measured by standardized test scores) of kids who participated in the chess club at Aspen Elementary School versus kids who did not.
Critically, the study examined seven years worth of data, covered 854 students (from kindergarten to 6th grade), and compared kids from diverse academic backgrounds with varying levels of chess experience. It also explored whether there is a "dose effect" of chess. In other words, does playing more chess lead to better academic outcomes?

To see the analysis of the data, check out the article on Real Clear Science.

(Image credit: Ed Lyons/Flickr)


The Best Experiment Ever

If you wanted to reward your hard-working graduate students with a new assignment, what would be better than an experiment that involved observing 40 kittens playing? And if you wanted to explain how the scientific method works to elementary students, you couldn't find a more engaging example than an experiment to find what kind of scratching toy those kittens prefer. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Two-choice preference tests were conducted to compare scratchers and preferred scratchers with or without additives (ie, catnip, catnip oil, cat hair) in six studies. Kittens (n = 40, *8 weeks old) had access to two scratchers on the floor of a simulated living room for 20 mins and interactions were video-recorded. The time each kitten spent scratching each scratcher was compared.

Facts and figures are presented, and there was a clear preference among the kittens for one of the scratching devices shown above. Can you guess which one? Since the results "were not in agreement with other survey-based studies," and the experiment did not include adult cats, the paper concludes that further research is indicated to determine if the difference is attributable to the cats' ages. Do tell. Where do we sign up to conduct the next experiment? -via Metafilter


The Origins of Waffle House

It has been more than 60 years since the first Waffle House opened and it is still going strong with more than 2,000 restaurants all over the country. But the successful restaurant chain actually started out as just a side hustle.

(Image credit: Waffle House)


It’s Emo Spider Man… But It’s Tom Holland!

Remember Tobey Maguire’s “Emo Spider-Man” in the film Spider-Man 3? Somebody just recreated it, but this time it’s Tom Holland.

YouTuber Aldo Jones decided to create a deepfake of this scene, replacing Maguire’s face with that of Holland’s, and the result is this.

I don’t know about you, but this is pretty awesome to me. What do you think?

Via Futurism

(Video Credit: Aldo Jones/ YouTube)


The Many Requirements of Good Hold Music

Alex Cornell meant it as a joke. But his song, "I'm on Hold," is often used as background music by call centers queuing up customers. It's appropriate because Cornell is the co-founder of a conference call service, so he knows the industry very well. Good hold music is something that that industry takes seriously, as NPR reports. When properly designed, hold music encourages patience and calmness:

David Green is the board chair of the Experience Marketing Association, and has been focused on hold music for more than two decades. (Formerly called the On Hold Messaging Association, the group gives out awards each year for the best on-hold experiences.) Green enumerated some things that can lead to a hold gone wrong: "Small loops of music that repeat over and over at short intervals might subliminally or consciously make you count the intervals, and make you aggravated that you've heard it three or four or five times," he says. Jingles on repeat are understandably irritating, as are some advertising messages. Auto dealers, he says, often play their radio ads over the phone, which is a mistake, because most customers call for repairs rather than sales. "Can you listen in your mind for a minute and imagine the typical car commercial on the radio?" he says. "Now imagine listening to that when you're placed on hold, not particularly happy that your car will cost $500 to repair."

-via Nag on the Lake


15 Things You Should Never, Ever Put in the Dishwasher

This could've been a funny list: don't put your children, pets, colored clothing, or electronics in the dishwasher. But instead it's a serious list that may protect your valuable kitchenware. Honestly, after reading this list of things you should not put in the dishwasher, it seems easier to say what you should put in the dishwasher: everyday dishes, flatware, and stuff you don't worry about replacing. However, there are reasons behind each prohibition. For example:

While technically the top of your Instant Pot is dishwasher-safe, it’s not the best cleaning option, as there are a number of important components in the lid of a pressure cooker. For instance, there are values that can get clogged with food particles, as well as seals that may be damaged by the dishwashing chemicals—both of which will shorten the lifespan of your appliance.

Now see, I had heard of instant pots, but I didn't know they were pressure cookers. You learn something new every day. I have a pressure canner that I always hand wash because it won't fit in the dishwasher. Learn the reasons why you shouldn't toss all your cooking things in the dishwasher at Food 52.  -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Carlos Paes)


My Terezín Diary

When Zuzana Justman was twelve years old, she and her parents and older brother were sent from Prague to Terezín, also known as the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Terezín was a peculiar establishment in Czechoslovaki that started out as a model Jewish ghetto for Nazi propaganda purposes, but over time developed into a concentration camp. Young Zuzana kept a diary for part of her time there. It contained only eight entries and some poetry.

On a freezing day in January, 1944, after my family and I had been confined at Terezín for six months, my mother was arrested by the S.S. and placed in a basement cell in the dreaded prison at their camp headquarters. Not even her lover, who was a member of the Terezín Aeltestenrat, or Council of Elders—the Jewish governing body—could get her released. I was twelve years old, and I was afraid that I would never see her again. But on February 21, 1944, all I wrote in my diary was “Mommy was away from us.” What is most striking to me today about the diary I kept seventy-five years ago is what I left out.

Justman looks back at that time and knows that her 12-year-old self was very cautious about her diary entries in case the Nazis confiscated it, but realizes that she was also protecting herself from her own emotions. Now, 75 years later, she tells the gripping story of her unconventional family, their time at Terezín, and her mother's arrest at the New Yorker. -via Metafilter


The Sound of Muzak

We've all heard the easy-listening sounds of instrumental pop music over the service known as Muzak. Once you reach a certain age, there comes a memorable day when you notice that the coolest, most rebellious song you ever heard when you were a teenager is now a Muzak instrumental played at grocery stores. But there's probably a lot you don't know about Muzak. For instance, it's very old. The company was founded (under another name) in 1922. They developed different playlists for different purposes.  

6. Muzak was designed to make factory workers more productive.

Muzak manufactured soundtracks, based on a theory called “stimulus progression,” that consisted of 15-minute segments of background music that gradually ascended in peppiness. The method was meant to tacitly encourage workers to increase their pace, especially during the productivity lulls that often occurred during the late morning and mid-afternoon.

7. Muzak helped calm anxious elevator passengers.

Since more advanced electric elevators diminished the need for elevator operators in the mid-20th century, passengers were often left alone with an unsettling silence that made them all too aware that they were hurtling upward or downward in a steel box. Soft, calming Muzak played through speakers offered the perfect distraction.

And that's what is meant by "elevator music." The word "Muzak" also became a term for any bland, instrumental song cover. The company lives on, although under yet a different name. Read 16 soothing facts about Muzak at Mental Floss.


Hypoxia City

It's not easy for people who are used to living near sea level to visit a high-elevation site for any length of time. But scientists are traveling to La Rinconada, Peru, to study the people who live there, both those who are healthy and those who suffer from altitude sickness. The town is situated high in the Andes at 16,700 feet, or twice the elevation of Aspen, Colorado.  

The scientists, led by physiologist and mountain enthusiast Samuel Vergès of the French biomedical research agency INSERM in Grenoble, had set up a makeshift lab here in the world's highest human settlement, a gold-mining boomtown at 5100 meters in southeastern Peru. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people live here, trying to make it—and, many hope, strike it rich—under brutal conditions. La Rinconada has no running water, no sewage system, and no garbage removal. It is heavily contaminated with mercury, which is used to extract the gold. Work in the unregulated mines is back-breaking and dangerous. Alcohol abuse, prostitution, and violence are common. Freezing temperatures and intense ultraviolet radiation add to the hardships.

La Rinconada's most defining feature, however, the one that lured the scientists, is its thin air. Every breath you take here contains half as much oxygen as at sea level. The constant oxygen deprivation can cause a syndrome called chronic mountain sickness (CMS), whose hallmark is an excessive proliferation of red blood cells. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, ringing ears, sleep problems, breathlessness, palpitations, fatigue, and cyanosis, which turns lips, gums, and hands purplish blue. In the long run, CMS can lead to heart failure and death. The condition has no cure except resettling at a lower altitude—although some of the damage may be permanent.

People whose ancestors have lived in high elevations for thousands of years have genetic differences that help them cope in a low oxygen environment. Some people who don't are able to adapt, but others get sick. Research into the differences between these groups may lead to breakthroughs in other heart and circulatory ailments, but actually performing that research is grueling. Read about La Rinconada and the search for answers about altitude sickness at Science magazine.  -via Digg

(Image credit: Hildegard Willer)

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