The Teenage Brain

Parents have long been frustrated with their teenager’s “what was he thinking” moments.  Why do bright, thoughtful adolescents so often do things that are foolish and reckless?  We now know the reason:  their brains are not finished growing.  Specifically, the pleasure center is not completely hooked up to the judgement center.

The good news is that, contrary to what people used to believe, the teenage brain can change, which means that there really are “late bloomers.”

Neurologist Frances Jensen, with journalist Amy Ellis Nutt, as written a book on the subject The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.  Read from a review after the jump. [Read more...]

Totalitarianism reconsidered

Some intellectuals are arguing that democracy cannot effectively address climate change–and, indeed, makes it worse–and that what we need to save the planet  is to eliminate political freedom and to turn towards a totalitarian government.  Others don’t go quite that far, but they hold up as the role model for effective government the People’s Republic of China.  (Never mind that China has the worst pollution on the planet!)

After the jump, an excerpt that demonstrates this from a study of the “Sustainability” ideology by the conservative academic organization the National Association of Scholars.

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“Everything is groundless and gratuitous”

More from Oswald Bayer, who shows the connection between justification and creation, as underscored in Luther’s Small Catechism:

The world was called into being without any worldly condition, in pure freedom and pure goodness.  Creation out of nothing means that everything that is exists out of sheer gratuity, out of pure goodness.  “All this is done out of pure, fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all!”  That is how Luther puts it when explaining the first article of the creed in the Small Catechism.  The terms “merit” and “worthiness” both belong directly to the language of the theology of justification.  Yet they do not occur in the exposition of the second and third articles of the creed, only in the exposition of the first.  This is a striking feature, and it indicates the breadth and depth of the justifying Word.  This Word concerns not just my history but world history and the history of nature.  It concerns all things.

Those who live in the dispute of “justifications,” asking about the ground of their own lives within this world, are told that everything is groundless and gratuitous, and they need not ground or justify themselves; it is grounded and justified only by God’s free and ungrounded Word of love.  Under no obligation and without any condition, God promises communion, communion through and beyond death.  The justification of the ungodly, the resurrection of the dead, and creation out of nothing all happen through this promise and pledge alone.  The promise of God lets us live by faith.  (Living by Faith , Chapter 6)

 

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Weird matter

Dark matter constitutes 85% of the universe.  New research shows how weird this stuff is.  Not only is dark matter invisible, it can pass through not only ordinary matter, but also other dark matter. [Read more...]

Watch people experiencing color for the first time

A company named EnChroma has developed glasses that allow color blind people to see colors.   The technology, developed by accident, is interesting in itself.  (See this and this for details.)  But what most struck me is the video showing people experiencing color for the first time in their lives.  See it after the jump. [Read more...]

Happy Super Pi Day: 3.14.15

Today is “Pi Day,” the 14th day of the 3rd month (3.14).  Not only that, it is “Super Pi Day,” with the rest of the date giving the next two numbers: 3.14.15.  Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.  Though circles are everywhere, their numeric ratios can never be exact.  The mysterious number represented by the Greek letter π has been proven to be an “irrational number,” one which has an infinite number of non-repeating decimals.  And, yet, the ratio has to be used in all kinds of common calculations, from figuring the area of a circle to analyzing subatomic and astronomical phenomena.

After the jump, an excerpt and a link to an essay on π and pi day by Cornell mathematicisn Tara S. Holm.  Do go to the link for an account of the history of our knowledge of the concept, including a government attempt to regularize it at 3.2 by passing a law.  My favorite part is how Prof. Holm is celebrating the day:  Getting her family together at 9:26 and 53 seconds (the next five numbers) and eating a piece of pie. [Read more...]


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