The Cancer Code

18th March 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

The Cancer Code: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical Mystery, by Dr. Jason Fung.  This is an extraordinarily insightful book. If you simply have an interest in a disease that has killed far more than COVID has, or you fear cancer might be in the future for you or a loved one, this book will give you ideas for subtle tweaks that could make an enormous difference in what unfolds long term.

As the book begins, you might think—well, been there, done that—the book’s just describing how it’s carcinogens that cause cancer.  Oh yes, and maybe genetics.  But in Dr. Fung’s masterful hands, you gradually learn that cancer often involves a process where cells revert to primordial states. In these states, rather than playing nicely with the rest of the cells of the body, malignant cancers forge ahead on their own ancient kill-or-be-killed fashion, using ancient anaerobic pathways to fuel themselves while poisoning other cells and gaining building materials for new malignancies.  

You will gain extraordinary insight into cancer that is often not conveyed by cancer experts.  This is a not-to-be-missed book. Also great for audio.

Online Course of the Week

We are delighted to point LHTLers toward the fantastic lecture series “First Principles of Computer Vision,” presented by Barb’s friend Shree Nayar,  T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering at Columbia University. Shree is the real deal—a man totally dedicated to helping everyone learn about vital topics such as computer vision. You will love Shree’s gentle, happy demeanor, and the wonderful way he presents the material—we cannot recommend this lecture series more highly.  You can find the series on YouTube or on Columbia University’s website.  Enjoy!

From Education Revolution to Massive Success

We highly recommend this upcoming talk with Zvi Galil—the Georgia Tech mastermind behind bringing low-cost, high-quality graduate-level education to us all.  As this description page of the talk notes: “In March 2020, universities around the world were suddenly forced to move some or all of their teaching online.  Georgia Tech had begun this process six years prior. In January 2014,  they shocked the education sector by offering a fully-online version of their master’s in Computer Science (OMSCS), for a tenth of the tuition fee… OMSCS’ growth has been phenomenal. By this spring, the programme enrolled 11,300 students — and it is still growing every semester. It is apparently the largest master’s programme in the world in any subject online or on-campus. Their success has inspired similar MOOC-based programmes at other universities. The programme in itself contributes to a nationwide 10% growth of Computer Science graduates – one of the biggest skill shortages in the labor market. 

“The conversation will cover the story of OMSCS: how Dean Galil started it, the controversy, change management, reinventing the teaching and service model, artificial teaching assistants, what has been learned, and the role the programme and its successors have played before and during the pandemic. And perhaps most interesting: how the learners of the online vs the on campus programs are different and have different needs.  Dr. Zvi Galil will also share his view on the role that online programmes can play in the future of higher education.” Register today for this free, open-to-the-public, not-to-be-missed webinar.

Interview with Barb on MyTutor

Barb will be giving a quick half hour presentation on March 24th at 2:00 pm Eastern, 6:00 pm London time for teens on how to learn effectively, followed by a half hour of Q & A.  It’s an enjoyable way to have a quick learning review–or to introduce your kids or students to ideas on how to improve their learning. Sign up here!

How Being More Productive Starts With Doing Nothing

This persuasive but behind-a-pay-wall Wall Street Journal article by Annemarie Dooling weaves in a discussion with Barb. Key grafs: 

“In our efforts to squeeze every second from the day, it seems counterintuitive to watch a pot of coffee boil or gaze out the window. But your brain uses those free periods for important cleanup work, neuroscience research indicates. And during the pandemic, as the boundaries between work and home have blurred, it has become harder to create mental breaks.

“Even brief timeouts help the brain reinforce long-term learning and productivity. You come out of downtime able to learn more, and can access that learning faster. “‘When you take a break, you may want to do something mind-consuming to help with motivation, but technically your best way of taking a break is to do something mindless,’ says Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan who teaches a popular online course on how to open your mind to learning.” 

(And we know which course Annemarie means! 😉 )

Learning How to Learn is Helpful Even For More Advanced Materials

LHTLer Nikolai Pankratiev writes to tell us “I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU for your great course Learning How to Learn. I was looking for some tips on how to learn Tensorflow—a highly technical course from Google involving Artificial Intelligence. Someone mentioned your course as a good starting point. Despite initial skepticism, I decided to follow the course—it was a great experience! Very importantly I learned some psychologically liberating tricks that reinforced my engagement to learn. Thank you very much.”


Last week, we alluded to the eye-popping read, The Miseducation of America’s Elites,” by the former New York Times reporter Bari Weiss, noting that she had resigned due to the rampant anti-Semitism in the New York Times workplace. As several astute LHTLers have pointed out, Bari actually resigned due to a number of factors, including anti-Semitism, cancel culture, intolerance to differing opinions of management and staff, bad office environment in general, the firing of a colleague, and more. We stand corrected!

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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