Headlines 

The Educational Tyranny of the Neurotypicals

Structured learning didn't serve me particularly well. I was kicked out of kindergarten for running away too many times, and I have the dubious distinction of having dropped out of two undergraduate programs and a doctoral business and administration program. I haven’t been tested, but have come to think of myself as “neuroatypical” in some way. “Neurotypical” is a term used by the autism community to describe what society refers to as “normal.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 59 children, and one in 34 boys, are…

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Arms industry spends millions to promote brands in schools

Defence groups sponsor lessons that promote building and sale of military hardware Arms manufacturers are spending millions of pounds a year promoting their brands in Britains schools, the Observer has learned. The companies, which between them have sold tens of billions of pounds of weapons to overseas governments, including those with poor human rights records, sponsor a series of school events at which their brands are prominently on display. In addition, they issue teaching materials for use in classrooms that promote the defence sector, sponsor competitions and award prizes. One…

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Too smart, too successful: Mongolias superwomen struggle to find husbands

Highly educated women far outnumber men in the capital making it difficult for them to find a partner At the UB comedy club at the back of a bar in central Ulaanbaatar, the audience is overwhelmingly female. Groups of smartly dressed women, just out of the office, sip from bottles of beer while watching a young Mongolian man on stage. Our women are beautiful, he says, nodding at a few men seated at the front. Theyre great to be friends with, but they are crazy. A few men chuckle but…

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Odds and Ends 

Microsoft launches AI and entry-level software development courses

Microsoft today launched two new courses in its online education program for developers: an entry-level software development class and an AI course for more advanced developers who want to expand their knowledge of machine learning. It’s no secret that there aren’t enough data scientists and machine learning developers available to fulfill the current demand. It’s no surprise, then, that a number of large companies have started to teach the fundamentals of these disciplines to their existing employees; starting today, anybody can take the AI courses that Microsoft first developed for its…

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May Plans Cabinet Shake-Up With Five Ministers Going, Times Says

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to make major changes to her cabinet in the new year, possibly sacking as many as five ministers, according to the Sunday Times. May has decided to bring younger members of Parliament into her government as part of a series of steps aimed at convincing voters she can do more than Brexit, the newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information. The ministers who could lose their jobs are: Patrick McLoughlin, Conservative party chairman Justine Greening, education secretary Greg Clark, business secretary…

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Theresa May’s Infrastructure Czar Quits, Lashing Out at Brexit

Andrew Adonis quit as Theresa May’s infrastructure czar, but not before delivering a blistering verdict on the Brexit policy being pursued by the U.K. prime minister and her Conservative Party. The Labour peer and former transport secretary described Brexit as a “populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump” in a unexpectedly quit, depriving her of a key figure in dealing with EU negotiators. And now, days from the end of the year, Adonis is departing with an excoriating verdict on the country’s direction. “Brexit is causing a nervous breakdown across…

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Apple Is Ramping Up Work on AR Headset to Succeed iPhone

With the headset at least two years away, Apple wants to make it easier for developers to bring new AR features to the iPhone. To that end, the company plans to release a new version of ARKit software tools as soon as 2018. They could help developers create software that remembers accurately where a digital object was placed in a virtual space, using a technology called persistent tracking; you look away, and the object is still there. The tools will also make it easier to create AR games for multiple…

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Odds and Ends 

Its Your First Day At A New High School. Can You Become Popular?

This feature requires JavaScript to function. Take a deep breath and march boldly through the front door. Go lie down on the grass instead. Wow, school. The place where knowledge happens. How exciting it is to be in your new stomping grounds. You’ve been told to go to the atrium, where your orientation buddy will be waiting to show you around the school. Go inside high school. “Are you Kevin? It is me, Ormul, your orientation buddy!” he says. “The school has chosen me to be your new best friend.…

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Imagine if every school played this Kid President ‘pep talk’ before class.

Wisdom comes with age, huh? Don’t try telling that to Kid President. The kid’s on fire in this insightful and funny pep talk that we can all most definitely take something from. Kid President doesn’t claim to know it all, but he does know a few things. And I tell you what, if you wake up in the morning with at least one of these five things on your mind, I bet you’ll conquer your day. Kid President tested. Kid President approved. 1. You matter. Don’t let anyone make you…

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Odds and Ends 

Amazons chat fiction app Rapids ties up with Amazon Studios with launch of Signature Stories

Todays kids arent just reading books. Theyre also tapping and playing with interactive stories on tablets as preschoolers, then delving into instant messaging-like chat fiction apps as teens. Amazons entry in this space, Amazon Rapids, was announced late last year as a way to bring this style of interactive fiction to readers in the 5 to 12 age range. The company more recently introduced a new program called Signature Stories that aims to make its stories more appealing by integrating characters from TV shows kids already know and love. The…

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Odds and Ends 

YC-backed Vidcode raises $1.5M to teach teens to code using Snapchat filters, videos, memes and more

Vidcode, a Y Combinator-backed startup focused on teaching teens how to code, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding for its curriculum. While there are a number of learn-to-code platforms out there today, Vidcodes approach is to make coding more interesting to teens by connecting it to their existing interests like Snapchat filters and memes while also allowing young coders to leverage their own photos, videos and audio in their projects. Last summer, for example, the company launched a Snapchat geofilter contest which saw over 10,000 entries, and the winner…

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