This One Simple Thing Can Help You Learn Better

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Listening to Music

Next time your dormie tells you to turn the music down, just reply, “it’s helping me learn!” A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that listening to music can help the brain focus and organize information.

Listening—And Learning

For decades, researchers have been studying the link between learning and listening to music. The concept was introduced into the popular imagination in the early 1990s, when Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis coined the phrase “the Mozart effect.” The term referred to Dr. Tomatis’ finding that listening to Mozart could temporarily improve performance on certain spatial-temporal reasoning tasks, such as the Stanford-Binet IQ test. People quickly mis-translated the finding to “listening to Mozart makes you smarter,” and a new industry was born: To this day, there are all sorts of “intelligence-boosting” products available that claim to harness the power of Mozart.

The link between music and learning isn’t all hype, however. A 2009 study by Joseph M. Piro and Camilo Ortiz published in the Psychology of Music journal found that children who were exposed to music training performed better on vocabulary and reading comprehension tests than those who were not. The researchers hypothesized that studying music helped the children develop the mental coding systems necessary to learn language. Although they acknowledge that this is only a preliminary study—simply having different language instructors may have led to measurable differences in ability—the project is part of a growing body of research that suggests that music and learning are correlated.

Music Helps the Brain Focus

Enter the research team at the Stanford University School of Medicine. During a study designed to measure how the brain sorts out different events, they stumbled upon a concrete physiological link between the acts of listening to music and learning. The researchers played short symphonies by obscure 18th-century composers to subjects while scanning their brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI. The research group found that music “lights up” areas of the brain involved with making predictions, paying attention and committing details to memory.

But don’t switch on that stereo just yet—peak brain activity actually occurred between musical movements. Dr. Vinod Menon, the study’s senior author, noted that “In a concert setting, for example, different individuals listen to a piece of music with wandering attention, but at the transition point between movements, their attention is arrested.” In other words, you get the most brain activity just after, or between, intense musical movements.

“I’m not sure if the baroque composers would have thought of it in this way,” Menon added, “but certainly from a modern neuroscience perspective, our study shows that this is a moment when individual brains respond in a tightly synchronized manner.”

So what does this mean for students? While Stanford hasn’t published a “learning with music” guide just yet, we think it probably can’t hurt to incorporate some tunes into your studying routine. Just remember: Study during the interludes.

Source: Study.com

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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8 Inefficiencies in the Architecture + Design Industry (and possible solutions)

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MRad

LOS ANGELES, California – (February 7, 2018) – Every industry has their fair share of inefficiencies which can stifle production. But once in a while, a leader comes along who can not only identify the problems, but also offer solutions. These thought leaders have the ability to revolutionize an industry. The world of architecture and design is not immune to inefficiencies, but one industry leader has some ideas on how to fix the broken system.

“You never bathe in the same river twice, because things change, which keeps everything fresh and interesting,” explains Matthew Rosenberg, the founder of M-Rad Architecture + Design, located in Los Angeles. “The same goes for the architecture and design field, where for far too long the river was standing idle, becoming stagnant. Our business model and proposed solutions are helping to get it flowing once again.”

As a forward thinker in the field, Rosenberg has identified 8 major inefficiencies in the architecture and design industry, as well as a solution for each of them. They include:

  1. PROBLEM: Brokers. Paying a middleman to find projects takes away revenue for the architect.
    SOLUTION: Cut out the Broker by forming relationships directly with developers and clients.
  2. PROBLEM:Underpaid, overworked designers and architects. The architecture industry is notorious for low wages, heavy workload, stressful deadlines until you “make it” to the top.
    SOLUTION: Allow the designers and architects to take equity in their projects.
  3. PROBLEM:Designing independently from actual community needs.  When architecture firms design a building for a client without considering the needs and wants of the surrounding area, the project may not benefit the community or the client.
    SOLUTION: Use a positioning tactic to understand what the community is lacking and incorporate these ideas into the project.
  4. PROBLEM:The industry is heavily reliant on unpredictable markets. With the real estate marketing and cost of living in constant flux, it’s difficult to predict the stability of the industry, which is reliant on the financial status of the client.
    SOLUTION: Consistency, strategic business moves, and keeping an eye on markets allows architecture and design firms to be proactive and shift their practice to better suit the economy.
  5. PROBLEM:City planning process and restrictions. Sometimes designing or building structures takes many years, as they are stuck in the city planning process. One minor mistake can set a project back months or sometimes even years.
    SOLUTION: It can be difficult to get around or speed up the city planning process, but being involved in the community, town hall meetings, and voting on city measures can help improve the process.
  6. PROBLEM:Politics within the industry. Politics occur in every industry, but when millions of dollars are exchanged, expectations are high, and egos can get in the way of business.  The political elements in Architecture can get sticky.
    SOLUTION: Stay professional and only partner/work with people who have positive reputations.
  7. PROBLEM:The scope of the architect is becoming smaller. Technology advancements cause more complex buildings, which causes increase in liability and legal aggression which prompts architects to hand off elements of the design process to “experts in their field,” ultimately chipping away the responsibility and profits of the architect.
    SOLUTION: Increase the scope of the architect.
  8. PROBLEM:Stealing intellectual property. It’s hard to determine when a design is stolen or original.
    SOLUTION: No real solution. Can try to prevent your design being stolen by trademarking, keeping records, photographing the design progress, certifying the design, and by being careful of releasing designs to public view.

“At our firm, we have gone to great lengths to determine effective solutions to the inefficiencies within the architecture and design field,” added Rosenberg. “By making these changes, we are benefiting those who work in the field, as well as those we build the projects for. It’s a win-win for everyone to create the most efficient field that we can.”

Rosenberg‘s firm is on a mission to create better communities, neighborhoods, and cities. Their system includes a multi-faceted approach that starts with pre-architecture, maintains during the architecture phase, and continues during post-architecture.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, Rosenberg spent nine years studying architecture and environmental design. Rosenberg has earned bachelor degrees in fine arts and environmental design in architecture, as well as a master degree in architecture. When he was ready to bring his architectural influence back to the West, he headed to Los Angeles to launch M-Rad and start making a difference.

About M-Rad Architecture

M-Rad Architecture + Design, based in Los Angeles, is revolutionizing the industry by revealing inefficiencies and creating solutions to universal problems. Their multi-faceted business model, allows M-Rad to expand the scope of the architect and build resilient communities through enhanced experiences. The M-Rad team is currently working on projects around the world; from apartment buildings in Los Angeles, to a private members club in Philadelphia, to a boutique hotel in Taipei. They have created mixed-use towers, luxury hotels, sports parks, and more. For additional information on the company and to view their unique business model, visit: https://www.m-rad.com.

 

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Ford Pilots New Exoskeleton Technology to Help Lessen Chance of Worker Fatigue, Injury

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ford auto worker

Putting dishes on a high shelf or changing an overhead lightbulb occasionally might not be difficult, but could you imagine performing either of these tasks 4,600 times per day? How about 1 million times a year?

These are the approximate number of times some Ford assembly line workers lift their arms during overhead work tasks. At this rate, the possibility of fatigue or injury on the body increases significantly. But a new upper body exoskeletal tool – the result of a partnership between Ford and California-based Ekso Bionics – helps lessen the chance of injury.

“My job entails working over my head, so when I get home my back, neck and shoulders usually hurt,” said Paul Collins, an assembly line worker at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant. “Since I started using the vest, I’m not as sore, and I have more energy to play with my grandsons when I get home.”

Called EksoVest, the wearable technology elevates and supports a worker’s arms while performing overhead tasks. It can be fitted to support workers ranging from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 4 inches tall, and provides adjustable lift assistance of five pounds to 15 pounds per arm. It’s comfortable to wear because it’s lightweight, it isn’t bulky, and it allows workers to move their arms freely.

Designed and built for dynamic, real-world environments like factories, construction sites and distribution centers, the non-powered vest offers protection and support against fatigue and injury by reducing the stress and strain of high-frequency, long-duration activities that can take a toll on the body over time.

“Collaboratively working with Ford enabled us to test and refine early prototypes of the EksoVest based on insights directly from their production line workers,” said Russ Angold, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ekso Bionics. “The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker’s body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day – increasing both productivity and morale.”

With support from the United Automobile Workers and Ford, EksoVest is being piloted in two U.S. plants, with plans to test in other regions, including Europe and South America.

“The health and safety of our membership has always been our highest priority,” said UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles. “With the proven success at the piloted locations, we look forward to expanding this technology to our other UAW-Ford manufacturing facilities.”

EksoVest is the latest example of advanced technology Ford is using to reduce the physical toll on employees during the vehicle assembly process. Between 2005 and 2016, the most recent full year of data, the company saw an 83 percent decrease in the number of incidents that resulted in days away, work restrictions or job transfers – to an all-time low of 1.55 incidents per 100 full-time North American employees.

“Our goal has always been to keep the work environment safe and productive for the hardworking men and women we rely on across the globe,” said Bruce Hettle, Ford group vice president, Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “Investing in the latest ergonomics research, assembly improvements and lift-assist technologies has helped us design efficient and safe assembly lines, while maintaining high vehicle quality for our customers.”

Continue onto Ford’s Newsroom to read the complete article.

Working, Beating Hearts Will Soon Be 3D-Printed From Patients’ Own Cells

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Heart cells grown in a lab and assembled in the shape of the organ will eventually start beating in unison–and create a heart for a patient that has a higher chance of success in a transplant than one from another human.

Inside a lab that will open in a couple of months in Chicago, a biotech startup will soon begin perfecting the process of 3D-printing human hearts that could eventually be used in transplants.

“What this is set up to do is to make a patient-specific, fully functioning heart that’s viable for transplant, using the patient’s own cells,” says Stephen Morris, founding partner and CEO of the startup, Biolife4D.

The process combines several steps that have been developed by various researchers in university labs. First, a patient’s heart will be scanned using an MRI machine to create a digital image of the heart’s shape and size. Next, doctors will take a blood sample. Using techniques that have been developed over the last decade, the blood cells will be converted into stem cells–and then converted a second time into heart cells. Those new heart cells will be combined with nutrients in a hydrogel to make a “bio-ink” that can be used in a specialized 3D printer.

Printing one layer at a time, with a biodegradable scaffolding to keep everything in place, the cells can be formed into the exact shape of the patient’s original heart. The new heart will be moved to a bioreactor to strengthen it. Amazingly, new heart cells outside a body will begin to self-assemble.

“When we’re done ‘bioprinting,’ we have something that looks like a heart, but it’s just individual cells in proper places,” says Morris. “Within a couple of days, the cells just know . . . ‘I’m a heart cell, you’re a heart cell, we’re supposed to join together and start beating.’ And they do that.”

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Code.org is bringing computer education to Alaska Airlines’ in-flight entertainment

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Code.org has partnered with Alaska Airlines to offer free educational videos on how computers and the Internet work, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi wrote in a blog post.. The video series, which stars Microsoft founder Bill Gates and other industry leaders, will be available beginning in April on Alaska Airlines flights.

“Whether you use a PC, a smartphone, a wearable device, a connected home appliance, or a self-driving car, the same principles explain how all these computing devices function,” says Bill Gates. “In the 21st century, these computer science ideas are part of digital literacy that every student and adult can benefit from.”

The series entails short lessons on binary and data, circuits and logic, CPU, memory, input and output, and hardware and software. The series is designed to be easy for everyone to understand, Partovi wrote.

In addition to making them available on airlines, Code.org will integrate the videos into its middle and high school curriculum. They will also be available on Khan Academy, a startup that offers computer science education, and tools for parents and teachers.

“With hubs up and down the “Tech Coast”, we’re both witnessing and leveraging the innovations that we see occurring every day in our own backyard,” says David Scotland, Manager of Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity at Alaska Airlines. “Code.org’s new series is an entertaining and approachable way for us all to gain a basic awareness of how computers work. We’re pleased to offer over 40 million guests the opportunity to view Code.org’s new video series inflight through our partnership.”

Continue onto Tech Crunch to read the complete article.

NewME, A Pioneer in Tech Diversity

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NewME Angela Benton

Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through their online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators and equity portfolio. They pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. They’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some of whom have raised venture capital funding ($25+MM to be exact).

NewME has announced the relocation of its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Miami with $191,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The support will also help NewME expand existing programming focused on providing entrepreneurs with the advice, skills and access to resources that will support their success. By expanding its programming, NewME aims to improve the success of black-led startups through mentorship, coaching and community convenings. Through the program, black entrepreneurs and their businesses will further learn from and be exposed to angel and venture capital investors, along with NewME’s professional investor network.

NewME will target both local and global talent through weekly programming and monthly events, and connect them to online resources through the NewME platform. In addition, the accelerator will host quarterly one-week residential boot camps, which bring together a select group of tech entrepreneurs from around the world; industry experts then work with entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses. Additionally, NewME will hire a Miami-based program manager who will support the growth and sustainability of local black and other underrepresented minority-owned businesses.

“Relocating NewME to Miami was a natural choice given its diverse makeup,” says Angela Benton, founder of NewME. “Miami is already an international hub for innovation and the local community is rich with talent. I’m excited to continue my work with NewME in our new, inclusive home.”

Source: knightfoundation.org

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

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Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneralfrom Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

There’s green in being gay: LGBT businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy

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The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), a trade group that represents businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders, reported this week that the typical LGBT business has been in business, on average, for more than 12 years and that LGBT businesses contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and have created more than 33,000 jobs.

The report serves as a reminder of the enormous and growing role LGBT entrepreneurs and business owners have in the United States. But it also sends a message to the community: if you’re an LGBT business then get certified as one. Otherwise, you’re missing out on some money.

More than 10 years ago the chamber created a certification program to recognize its best-in-class members. According to the chamber’s press release “over a third of the Fortune 500, many top federal agencies (including the Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture), the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, major urban municipalities (including King County, WA; Essex County, NJ; and San Francisco, CA), and the Public Utilities Commission of California actively seek out certified LGBT businesses

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete article.

A 14-Year-Old Made An App To Help Alzheimer’s Patients Recognize Their Loved Ones

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After watching her grandmother struggle to remember her own family members, the young coder Emma Yang decided to figure out how to use AI and facial recognition to help her–and others coping with the illness.

When Emma Yang was 7 or 8 years old, her grandmother became increasingly forgetful. Over the next few years, those memory problems, caused by early Alzheimer’s disease, worsened. Yang, who learned to code at an early age, decided to create an app to help.

“I have personal experience with how the disease can affect not only the patient, but also family and friends. When I was about 11 or 12, I got really interested in using technology for social good to help other people around the world,” says Yang, who is now 14.

In her app under development, called Timeless, Alzheimer’s patients can scroll through photos of friends and family, and the app will tell them who the person is and how they’re related to the patient using facial recognition tech. If a patient doesn’t recognize someone in the same room, they can take a picture and the tech will also try to automatically identify them.

“I saw a lot of things about how AI and facial recognition were really evolving and being applied in more and more areas, especially healthcare,” she says. She partnered with mentors at the tech company Kairos, which makes the facial recognition software that is now used by the app, and learned to code for the iPhone for the first time.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Amazon’s automated grocery store of the future opens

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Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) will open its checkout-free grocery store to the public on Monday after more than a year of testing, the company said, moving forward on an experiment that could dramatically alter brick-and-mortar retail.

The Seattle store, known as Amazon Go, relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back. Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.

For grocers, the store’s opening heralds another potential disruption at the hands of the world’s largest online retailer, which bought high-end supermarket chain Whole Foods Market last year for $13.7 billion. Long lines can deter shoppers, so a company that figures out how to eradicate wait times will have an advantage.

Amazon did not discuss if or when it will add more Go locations, and reiterated it has no plans to add the technology to the larger and more complex Whole Foods stores.

The convenience-style store opened to Amazon employees on Dec. 5, 2016 in a test phase. At the time, Amazon said it expected members of the public could begin using the store in early 2017.

But there have been challenges, according to a person familiar with the matter. These included correctly identifying shoppers with similar body types, the person said. When children were brought into the store during the trial, they caused havoc by moving items to incorrect places, the person added.

Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go, said in an interview that the store worked very well throughout the test phase, thanks to four years of prior legwork.

“This technology didn’t exist,” Puerini said, walking through the Seattle store. “It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”

Continue onto Reuters to read the complete article.