Radar Trends to Watch: September 2022 Developments in AI, Privacy, Biology, and More — from oreilly.com by Mike Loukides


It’s hardly news to talk about the AI developments of the last month. DALL-E is increasingly popular, and being used in production. Google has built a robot that incorporates a large language model so that it can respond to verbal requests. And we’ve seen a plausible argument that natural language models can be made to reflect human values, without raising the question of consciousness or sentience.

For the first time in a long time we’re talking about the Internet of Things. We’ve got a lot of robots, and Chicago is attempting to make a “smart city” that doesn’t facilitate surveillance. We’re also seeing a lot in biology. Can we make a real neural network from cultured neurons? The big question for biologists is how long it will take for any of their research to make it out of the lab.



Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should: What Genetic Engineers Can Learn From ‘Jurassic World’ — from singularityhub.com by Andrew Maynard


Maybe this is the abiding message of Jurassic World: Dominion—that despite incredible advances in genetic design and engineering, things can and will go wrong if we don’t embrace the development and use of the technology in socially responsible ways.

The good news is that we still have time to close the gap between “could” and “should” in how scientists redesign and reengineer genetic code. But as Jurassic World: Dominion reminds moviegoers, the future is often closer than it might appear.


How an Escape Room Is Building Students’ Digital Skills at Northampton Community College — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt of description of podcast:

We spoke with Beth Ritter-Guth, associate dean of online learning and educational technology at the college, to find out how the Learning Lab is engaging students, building digital literacy and providing valuable training in the job skills of the future.

Also see:

Breakout EDU gamifies learning to create an engaging and empowering experience for students of all grade levels.

Five Concepts You Can Teach Through Geocaching — from freetech4teachers.com by Richard Byrne


Geocaching is one of the things that I spend a good bit of time talking about in both my workshop and in my webinar about blending technology into outdoor learning. Geocaching is a great activity to do to get kids outside for hands-on learning experiences. Here are five things that you can teach through geocaching activities.

From DSC:
This next one may be useful for educators and/or parents, but it’s useful for pretty much all of us

Tip of the week: A great group packing tool — from Jared newman


As an alternative to clunky spreadsheets or endless email chains, WhoBrings is a brilliantly simple way to figure out who’s bringing what.

Just type the name of your packing list into this free website, add some items, then share the link with the rest of the group. Anyone who has the link can then claim responsibility for an item or add new items to the list. You can also specify a number of units for any item—12 beach towels, for instance, or three packs of beer—and people can choose how many they’ll bring.

Also see:

Learning, doing, and teaching biology through multimedia — from MIT Open Learning
Producing multimedia for online courses involves lifelong learning



Radar trends to watch: May 2022 — from oreilly.com
Developments in Web3, Security, Biology, and More


April was the month for large language models. There was one announcement after another; most new models were larger than the previous ones, several claimed to be significantly more energy efficient.


Also from Eva Keiffenheim (on Medium.com, on Twitter), see:

What Most People Get Dangerously Wrong About Building a Second Brain
And how to fix it.

Also relevant/see:

Analysis: 6 Brain-Based Learning Strategies and Study Skills That Help Teens Learn — from the74million.org by Hank Pellissier


Teens zoning out during Euclidean geometry or citing TikTok influencers in an expository paper doesn’t always mean they are bored or lazy, argues neurologist and teacher Judy Willis, co-author of Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from Neuroscience and the Classroom. “The demands on students are squishing their natural curiosity and joy of learning,” Willis says.

Brain scientists suggest that students absorb information best if they work in what’s known as the flow state. This mindset is reached when their consciousness is fully “in the zone,” entirely focused on activities they find so pleasurable that time flies and all distractions disappear. Try these brain-based learning strategies and study skills that can help teens enter this open state of more productive and enjoyable learning.



Largest-Ever Collection of Brain Maps Charts How the Brain Changes Over a Lifetime — from singularityhub.com by Shelly Fan


Our brains are unique snowflakes that change shape throughout our lives. Yet buried underneath individual differences is a common throughline, with the brain growing rapidly during childhood then slowly declining with age.

But that’s just a crude sketch of an average brain’s lifetime. What are we missing?

A team of international scientists just gave us the first answers with a remarkable project called BrainChart. In a tour de force study published last week in Nature, they combined almost 125,000 brain scans covering the entire human lifespan, from before birth to death. The youngest sample was 15 weeks after conception; the oldest, a centenarian.

Even at this massive scale, the charts are just the first edition. The entire work is open sourced (you can check it out here), published with tools that allow other contributors to match up their brain scan data to the charts.

“You could imagine them being used to help evaluate patients screened for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, for example, allowing doctors to spot signs of neurodegeneration by comparing how rapidly a patient’s brain volume has changed compared to their peers,” said Bethlehem.


Radar trends to watch: April 2022 — from oreillky.com by Mike Loukides
Developments in Programming, Biology, Hardware, and More

5 Digital Transformation Themes for Higher Education — from
Explore key topics and event recordings from our latest deep dive into Digital Transformation in Higher Education.

The semiconductor decade: A trillion-dollar industry — from mckinsey.com by Ondrej Burkacky, Julia Dragon, and Nikolaus Lehmann

Drilling down into individual subsegments, about 70 percent of growth is predicted to be driven by just three industries: automotive, computation and data storage, and wireless.

Addendum later on 4/8/22:


2022 10 Breakthrough Technologies -- from the MIT Technology Review

2022 10 Breakthrough Technologies — from MIT Technology Review; with thanks to Mr. Paul Czarapata for posting this out on Twitter

About the list:

Our annual list of 10 Breakthrough Technologies highlights the technological advances that we think will have the biggest impact on the world in the years to come. Every year, our reporters and editors survey a wide range of topics, from medicine to energy to digital technologies, to select advances that will affect our lives in meaningful ways. Some have already started to change the way we live and work, while others are poised to do so soon. This is the 21st year we’ve published this list. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the future.

Also relevant/see:


MUHC uses artificial intelligence to train neurosurgery students — from montreal.ctvnews.ca by Rob Lurie


“I think above all it just provides an opportunity for junior learners to get some hands-on exposure,” said medical student Ali Fazlollahi.

“Basically, it was inspired by the idea of how do we prevent error in the operating room,” said Neurosurgeon Dr. Rolando De Maestro. Maestro says virtual reality has been a game-changer when it comes to teaching.


The case for nurturing an infant -- a recording by Dr. Kate Christian

The case for nurturing an infant — from grcc.hosted.panopto.com by Dr. Kate Christian

Yes, Kate is one of my wonderful, talented, intelligent, and compassionate sisters! She is a Professor of Psychology at the Grand Rapids Community College.


TITLE/THEME:   The relationship between infant nurturance and the developing brain, and implications for long term physical and mental health

Question: How much time should you spend in direct interaction with your infant? 

  1. CONCERNS: Many people are concerned that paying too much attention to an infant will have negative consequences. (Words like “spoiled”, “dependent”, “mama’s boy”, etc.) 
    1. John Watson (1878-1958) wrote “The Psychological Care of Infant and Child” in 1928, arguing that infants and children should be treated like young adults, and that too much love and affection were damaging—children should not be kissed, hugged, or touched. Ideas such as strict feeding schedules (withholding nourishment if not on schedule) for infants were not uncommon during the first half of the twentieth century. 
    2. Behaviorist views emphasize rewards and punishment in shaping behavior. Today few behaviorists would argue for limiting affection. However, some may argue to let an infant “cry it out”, citing research that indicates infants can learn to self-soothe by about 7 months.
  2. HOWEVER, a wealth of evidence (theoretical, observations, animal studies, and neuroscience research) shows that nurturing an infant provides long term physical and mental health benefits. 
    1. PSYCHOANALYTIC theory:
      1. Sigmund Freud (1836-1959) coined the term “schizophrenogenic mothers”, claiming that especially for male infants, a failure of attachment to the mother could lead to schizophrenia, and that the mother’s lack of sensitive, caring behavior was the cause of attachment failure.
      2. Erik Erikson (1902-1994) established the idea of a psychosocial “crisis” during infancy in which the infant either learns to develop a sense of trust in the world (due to sensitive caregiving) or mistrust (due to unreliable, unpredictable or abusive care). 
      3. John Bowlby (1907-1990) is the founder of Attachment Theory, which maintains that caregiving in the first year of life sets up an unconscious, internal working model of relationships that shapes behavior and thoughts later in life. (Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999) came up with a measurement tool.) Secure attachment develops from sensitive, responsive caregiving, according to Ainsworth and Bowlby.Support for attachment theory varies, and many developmental psychologists today believe that early attachment is moderately predictive of later outcomes. (Things like divorce or death of a parent change the internal working model, or therapy, etc.) But infants with a secure attachment are more likely to explore their environment and be INDEPENDENT!!
    2. OBSERVATIONS: Rene Spitz (1887-1974) compared infants raised in orphanages to infants whose mothers were with them but in prison (in the 1940’s), the primary difference being maternal vs. professional nurse care. When the infants were first placed in the orphanage, Spitz found that for the 1st two months of separation, the infant would weep, scream, and/or be unapproachable. After 3 months, the infant would often become listless, lethargic, and demonstrated bizarre finger movements, and couldn’t sit or talk. 38% of the infants in the orphanage developed marasmus and died within 2 years, whereas all of the infants raised in prison with their moms were alive at follow up (age 5).  You can see video Click Here of infants who appeared dull and listless, or engaged in rocking back and forth or beating their heads on the crib. The infants were well fed and diapers changed, etc, but they had negligible physical touch or affection.Infants in institutions are less likely to play and interact with toys in the environment: Click here for video examples
    1. Rat pups   The amount of licking given to rat pups by maternal dams has predicted the level of anxiousness (vs. relaxation) in the rat, as well as inhibitory (vs. exploratory) behavior on a maze. Research has shown there are changes in neurobiology (such as hormones and brain receptors in the amygdala) that impact how the rats react to stress. In other words, the more the mother rat licks/grooms the pup, the more she sets up that rat to stay calm and resilient in the face of stress, and to feel confident to explore the environment.  nih.gov
    2. Harlow’s monkeys Monkeys in Harry Harlow’s experiment chose to spend nearly 23 hours a day in close contact with an artificial monkey that was covered in soft cloth and had big eyes (vs. a wire mother than administered food and drink). 
    3. Rhesus monkeys: Neuroscientists have found changes in the basic architecture of the amygdala and areas in the limbic system among rhesus monkeys deprived of touch, eye contact, and adult nurturing during infancy. (p. 129 Marian Diamond, Ph.D.) 
    1. Face-to-face interaction between infant and caregiver help wire the infant brain (use-dependent) and set up the basic architecture of the brain. Infants who experience positive interactions have a neurophysiological response (being smiled at calms the brain!) and neural connections that interact with biological hormones and systems regarding stress regulation get established in a positive way. This leads the infant to grow up better able to handle stress and adversity. 

Research using the ACE scale (adverse childhood experiences) found that children who face a great deal of adversity but are in relationally healthy, nurturing environments will show few long term negative effects (and the reverse is true—a child with even one ACE in an emotionally deprived environment will show significant poor outcomes).   (From Bruce Perry lecture) 

This infant nurturance also shapes the brain’s reward centers. Dr. Bruce Perry argues that infants deprived of nurturance grow up to feel dysregulated, and seek rewards in unhealthy behaviors (overeating/poor diet, substance use, thrill seeking, etc.) 

    1. Example: kangaroo care is the practice of holding an infant skin to skin, and it has been shown to increase weight gain among premature infants. 
    2. What about CELL PHONES?
      • Using a cell phone while caring for an infant has been shown to increase the risk of infant injury by 10%.
      • It also interferes with the face-to-face interaction needed for the neurobiological positive effects to occur!!
    3. Again… how much time to spend in direct interaction with an infant?
      • It doesn’t have to be 24/7, but most infants are not getting enough time. (Hunter gather—spend nearly all day in close proximity to adults, infant child care centers,  4:1 ratio)
      • Hold, sign, rock, touch, play together!
    4. But can’t you overdo it? Are you SURE you won’t spoil the infant or make him/her dependent?
      • There is virtually NO evidence to suggest that “too much” attention in the first year of life is harmful. (Again, you don’t have to spend every minute together… both you and the infant need breaks!) But this cultural perception that it is possible to “over nurture” an infant has got to change!!
    5. What about Co-Sleeping?
      • Worldwide, some form of co-sleeping is the norm.
      • A study found that in the U.S., infants who co-sleep grow up to be MORE independent (secure attachment) than those who don’t.
      • However, there are physical concerns, such as studies finding higher SIDS rates among infants who co-sleep. Also, if a parent is a deep sleeper, is drunk, or sleeps in a chair, if space between wall, etc, these are hazards.


© 2022 | Daniel Christian