Troubled Water: A Journey Around the Black Sea

15th March 2023

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

Troubled Water: A Journey Around the Black Sea, by Jens Mühling. Barb glanced at the title of this book and thought, “The last thing I need is to be diving into, (amidst the hundreds of samples already downloaded onto the Kindle), is a book about the Black Sea.” Out of curiosity, she took a look at the first couple pages, and suddenly she was one hundred pages in, hooked by Mühling’s combination of scintillating prose (which comes across even in the translation by  Simon Pare from the original German) and remarkable ability to bring out fascinating bits of local lore and culture.  Troubled Water, as it turns out, is a compendium not only of adventure travel (fortunately, Mühling has a remarkable talent for holding his alcohol), but also of semi-forgotten and little-known groups. Mühling has no more than to hear about an outlying cultural group, whether it’s Turks in Romania, Bulgarians in Turkey, Greeks in Russia, or simply a hermit, and off he goes on the hunt to meet them. And we learn of all sorts of other aspects of the biology of the Black Seafor example, the fact that its unusual top layer of fresh water and bottom layer of salt makes a poisonous mixture that leaves three-thousand-year old sunken vessels as fresh as if they had sunk yesterday. 

If you want a “you are there” reading experience that gives you a good feel for a vitally important region, you couldn’t do better than to read Jens Mühling’s fantastic Troubled Water. Highly recommended!

Lessons From This ‘Golden Age’ of Learning Science

Barb was on a panel at SXSW with EdSurge journalist and podcaster Jeff Young and her friends, neuroscientist Andrea Chiba and Norwegian educational expert Olav Schewe. The reaction from the audience was awesome—don’t miss the podcast, here!

Our very own Terry Sejnowski in the New York Times: “Why Do A.I. Chatbots Tell Lies and Act Weird?”

As this New York Times article notes: “One of the pioneers of artificial intelligence argues that chatbots are often prodded into producing strange results by the people who are using them… Like any other student, an A.I. system can learn bad information from bad sources. And that strange behavior? It may be a chatbot’s distorted reflection of the words and intentions of the people using it, said Terry Sejnowski, a neuroscientist, psychologist and computer scientist who helped lay the intellectual and technical groundwork for modern artificial intelligence.

‘This happens when you go deeper and deeper into these systems,’ said Dr. Sejnowski, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, who published a research paper on this phenomenon this month in the scientific journal Neural Computation. ‘Whatever you are looking for — whatever you desire — they will provide.’”

Barb & Beth Rogowski together on Principal Center Radio

Principal Center Radio provides the best insights in professional practice for school leaders.  In this episode with host Justin Baeder, Barb teams with Beth, her co-author and co-instructor in the Uncommon Sense Teaching book and online specialization to bring you new insights from brain science about teaching.

121 Great Podcasts for HR Professionals in 2023

If you like podcasts, and are in HR, this list by London-based speaker agent Patrick Nelson provides a lot of ideas for good listening and learning!

IQ scores sinking in the US 

For many decades, IQ scores have increased around the world.  However, a recent study reveals that from 2006 to 2018, IQ scores declined within the US—evidence points toward educational systems.  As Terry and Barb’s essay in Law & Liberty suggests, unfairly dismissing  the vitally important habitual learning system (“drill is kill” rather than the much more accurate “drill leads to skill”) could be an important factor in the decline.  

Inspiring words from a learner!

We received this delightful email:

“Thank you for the fantastic course “Learning how to learn”, that is the best learning that I have received in my adult life. I am the person who definitely needs to receive this course. Now I am a postdoctoral scientific researcher, but I have always had many problems with concentrating and as I am very emotional, this also affected my focus. With much effort, I was able to achieve my professional objectives, but I paid a high price due to the time I had to put in, not to mention the accompanying frustration. Over the years, I developed some procedures that really improved my focus. The magic of this course is that it confirmed that I was on the right track. I was excited for each video, they were a good motivation during my intense work in my current position. You always focus on scientific work, which makes this course highly reliable. You are high quality professionals, it is evident. I am very happy now to understand more how my brain works, and how I can manage it to improve my life. Thank you for this fantastic, exciting, 

incredibly interesting course!! Today is better than tomorrow to watch this course.  Best wishes, Ana.” 

That’s all for now. Have a happy month in Learning How to Learn!

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

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