Category Archives: Education

Vice President of LAUSD Board of Ed Speaks at Upcoming ‘Educating Young Minds’

*(Los Angeles) On Saturday, June 24th, 2017, at 6:00 pm, Educating Young Minds will hold its 19th Annual Awards Celebration with guest speaker, Vice President of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, Dr. George J. McKenna III, along with community leaders, EYM graduating high school seniors and alumni. The Celebration taking place at a private estate in Los Angeles, California will be an empowering and inspirational evening of entertainment and inspiration hosted by radio personality, Kevin Nash and a performance by the talented singer Abraham McDonald and surprised guests.  This year’s Awards Gala will be produced and directed by Mr. Bruce Cecil.

 Dr. George McKenna, has received over 400 citations and awards in recognition for his work. He has earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Xavier University, his master’s degree in mathematics from Loyola University and his doctoral degree in education from Xavier University.

 Dr. McKenna’s reforms at George Washington Preparatory High School have been copied nationwide and the story of Dr. McKenna’s turnaround of Washington Prep was made into a movie called The George McKenna Story, which starred Denzel Washington playing the role of George McKenna. 

Continue reading

Computer Games and Food Cravings Have More in Common Than Once Thought, Study Shows

Summer is fast approaching, and us moms all know what that means — a season of no school and unhealthy eating. Considering that 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in frozen desserts, it comes as no surprise that ice cream temptation is exceptionally high in the warmer months.

We all know how hard it can be to say no to our child’s plea for some ice cream because let’s be honest, we always want some ourselves. Despite knowing how important it is to start developing healthy eating habits from a young age, frankly, it is easier said than done.

However, there is a new computer game — I know, I know, but bear with me on this one! — that may make our jobs a little bit easier.

Psychologists at the University of Exeter, England have created an interesting game that helps teach children how to make healthy choices. The game is quite easy to play; the child has to press a button when a healthy food pops up on the screen and do nothing when junk food appears. Then, if the child gets it right, a happy face is shown with healthy food and a sad face with unhealthy food as a way to reinforce positive habits and behaviors.

The goal of the game is to change how the brain works. Lucy Porter, the lead researcher on the project, explains to Science Daily how the brain can be trained to create a healthier association with food:

“The sight of foods like chocolate can activate reward centers in the brain at the same time as reducing activity in self-control areas. Our training encourages people to make a new association — when they see unhealthy food, they stop.”

While this game surely won’t limit the number of ads for sugary food out there, it will give families the opportunity to control their cravings, Porter explains. After all, it is a free game and it may give your child satisfaction when they get rewarded with happy faces for choosing healthier foods — it is the little things that matter, right?

So moms, what do you all think? When released, will you try this out with your family?

Are You the Friend Who Is ‘Always Late’? Here’s How to Break the Bad Habit

*Hey, I feel you girl. You got stuff to do, who can expect you to do it all and be on time? What with making sure you moisturize that body until it gleams. Then you’ve got to put on the right amount of smell-good…especially in those places where it matters most. 

Then there’s hair to tighten, straighten, put on, curl just right, or just finger- comb. Either way, its gotta be tight!

Oh god: Makeup. Can we talk? If it’s not the hair, then its the makeup that takes up most of our time. Finally, what to wear? Do these shoes match that outfit? Do they hurt my heels or my arch or my pinky-toe?

Which pain can I take today? Continue reading

Study Shows Americans Must Use Green Grocery Bags At Least 50 Times to See Any Environmental Benefits

Sadly, Americans continue to damage the environment in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. One of the more not-so-subtle ways is the fact that, according to The Washington Post, Americans have contributed more to global warming than any other country.
But while many Americans disagree about the extent (and existence) of global warming, some environmental issues are more difficult to deny. Case in point: the millions of plastic bags currently filling up landfills and polluting bodies of water.

Already, plastic bags have contributed to a severe decline in the health of vulnerable ecosystems and increased pollution levels at home and abroad.

That’s because a single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to completely degrade inside a landfill. Even then, these plastic items don’t actually biodegrade; rather, they photo-degrade, meaning they break down into small toxic pieces. When these microplastics leak into bodies of water, they end up causing even more damage in the earth’s oceans by resulting in dangerous bioaccumulation in the food chain.

And when you consider the sheer number of plastic bags used today, it’s easy to see why plastic pollution poses such a great threat. For instance, the Galleria Shopping Center in Houston, Texas is one of the most popular shopping establishments in the entire world, with 35 million visitors annually, but that’s just a single site. If all 35 million annual visitors took just one plastic bag, that’s 35 million bags sitting in landfills for the next 1,000 years.
Fortunately, there are non-profit groups that are doing all they can to reverse this global pollution epidemic. Certain volunteer groups and companies spend hours every day cleaning up landfills and teaching people how to properly dispose of various harmful items like plastic bags.

In addition to these programs, some shoppers are doing their part as well.

According to a report from 2011, but which still holds true today, roughly 86% of consumers will spend more money for a better experience. To inspire eco-conscious shoppers, many stores are now encouraging shoppers to use reusable green grocery bags to help prevent further landfill buildup.

However, as ABC News reports, although these reusable bags are a much better option than plastic bags, they need to be used at least 50 times in order for any environmental benefit to be gained.

“If you’re able to do that over a long time frame, then you’re going to have an environmental advantage,” said Associate Professor Dr. Karli Verghese of the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT.

Grocery stores are perhaps the main culprits in the increased buildup of plastic bags, but clothing stores at malls like the Galleria also play a major role.

“If you have a look at some of the plastic bags that are given out by fashion companies, they’re pretty thick plastics,” Dr. Verghese added. “There’s a lot of focus on the supermarket shopping bag but there’s lots of plastic bags that are given out at lots of other shops.”
Ultimately, to permanently reverse the harm done by plastics, shoppers will have to learn to break their addiction to single-serving shopping bags.

‘Actually’ Explores Sexual Consent vs Sexual Assault on College Campuses

*As many of us send our high school graduates off to college this Fall, there is no doubt the issue of sex, and its consequences, is a talk we absolutely must have with our young men and women before they hit the campus.

Of course this is hopefully not the first time parents have spoken with their kids about such a serious issue, but its a grown-up talk now — not a birds and the bees talk. This means using real life scenarios as examples! Embarrassing stuff. Explaining how trickery and deception can come into play; and WHY they need to steer clear of alcohol and drugs for real. Most importantly, the conversation must center around…

…what consent looks like when it comes to sex.

A new study from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department claims  sexual assaults on American college campuses more than tripled from 2,200 in 2001 to 6,700 in 2014. It remains unclear if this is because assaults were happening, but were not being reported or if the actual assaults are happening more frequently. Either way, its disturbing. Continue reading

Department of Defense Plans to Use Technology and Brain Implants to Figure Out How Humans Learn

The U.S. Department of Defense is trying to figure out how the human brain works.

As a field agent, it is crucial to learn languages fast. This takes a lot of time and training, and the DoD wants to create a way to make it easier for their agents to do their job.

So, as a means to figure out how the human brain learns foreign languages, the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) has just given eight elite teams a combined sum of $50 million to discover how the nervous system can facilitate learning.

Scientists and researchers believe that humans learn through all their senses. Studies show that 83% of human learning occurs visually, 11% through hearing, 3.5% via smell, 1.5% with touch, and 1% through taste. With this in mind, DARPA researchers are looking directly to neurotransmitters to see if they hold the answer to all their questions.

All eight teams will work together on a four-year program known as the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) to search and hone in on the optimal levels of neurostimulation methods that will activate synaptic plasticity. Synaptic plasticity is how the brain synapses strengthen or weaken, and how these patterns create memories and learn new things.

DARPA’s target is pretty optimistic, as they are looking to see a 30% improvement in learning rates compared to their existing training methods. They believe that the expertise of their engineers has the potential to even surpass this goal.

“The Defence Department operates in a complex, interconnected world in which human skills such as communication and analysis are vital, and the Department has long pushed the frontiers of training to maximize those skills. DARPA’s goal with TNT is to further enhance the most effective existing training methods so the men and women of our Armed Forces can operate at their full potential,” says bioengineer and manager of the TNT program Doug Weber, to Science Alert.

DARPA’s electronic device will work in three stages. Their neurostimulation device will activate the peripheral nerves, which then stimulates synaptic plasticity, then neuronal connections are refined as a method to improve a person’s communication skills.

According to Slash Gear, the eight different teams will utilize non-invasive techniques, along with an invasive brain implant, on animals and human volunteers. All side effects will be monitored, including the viewpoint on the ethics of artificial learning.

This impressive innovation may be in part due to the numerous advancements within the circuit board industry. Circuit boards are responsible for connecting electrical signals to the component, and due to recent breakthroughs in the industry, these complex boards can now be made in five days or less, at a 75% faster time than the industry average.

DARPA is quick to point out that despite other similar brain research in the area, they are hoping that they can find out how to naturally advance people’s natural capacities of learning.

Eight Things The Happiest Couples Do Before Bed

*HuffPost recently ran an article that began by describing the marital bed.  They wrote:

“Your bed should be a place for sleeping, sex and conversation — not for scrolling mindlessly through your Instagram feed.”

At the risk of echoing Julie Andrews, sleeping, sex and conversation are a few of my favorite things, so HuffPost had by attention.

(Although ironically, Andrews sang that song with a bunch of kids in her bed, which is counter to one of the eight tips below…BUT I DIGRESS!)

“When the dog bites, when the bee stings…”

Although I don’t use Instagram, my Twitter feed and I have been an item for years, and I’ve certainly been known to “scroll mindlessly” through the minutia of the Facebook version of everybody else’s life.  Since I’m looking forward to my current marriage being my last, I kept reading.

The article is supported by specific tips from experts who sure sound like they know what they’re talking about.

Here are the highlights: Continue reading

Survey Lists Top II Safest Recreational Drugs…Are You Ready to Trip?

*Where all my hippies at? [sic] Holla! It’s your time! The annual Global Drug Survey has concluded that magic mushrooms — surely you remember those — have been deemed the  safest recreational drug. Let’s use the proper name for those of a more intellectual ilk: Psilocybin hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Now, now weed smokers — before you go feeling left out, marijuana came in a close second.

 The survey covered 120,000 from 50 different countries and more than 12,000 reported that they had taken “magic” mushrooms in 2016. Only a small percentage, 0.2% in fact, needed medical attention as a result.

Did you take this trip?

In contrast 0.6% of the marijuana smokers needed medical attention as a result; making it the second least dangerous drug, according to the study.  Continue reading