Friday, September 23, 2016

Things I learned lately - 23 September

  • Lord Stanley's Gift Monument is a project to build and install a monument to Lord Frederick Stanley who, in 1892, donated the Stanley Cup. The project is being financed mostly by taxpayer dollars, and partly by private donations. The designs for Lord Stanley's Gift Monument will  likely be scaled-back versions of what was originally envisioned. The original budget was $4.4 million, but was downsized to $2.8 million after private donors refused to fork over cash once they realized they couldn't have their names on the monument.
  • German startup Sono motors is building a car covered in solar panels that will get 18 miles (29 km) on a day's worth of sun.
  • France just banned plastic cutlery, plates and cups.
  • Canadian Pacific (railway) once owned most of downtown Calgary.
  • Calgary's Stephen Avenue is named after Lord Mount Stephen, CP's first president.
  • Even kids with genius-level IQs need teachers to help them reach their full potential. Since 1971, the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) tracked 5,000 of the smartest the children in America. SMPY's findings: Don't forget about the kids at the top. Kids who test in the top 1% tend to become our eminent scientists and academics, our Fortune 500 CEOs and federal judges, senators and billionaires." SMPY indicates that kids who show an early aptitude for science and math tend not to receive the help they need. Teachers devote the majority of their attention to under-achieving kids. SMPY reveals that assuming the smartest kids can achieve their full potential without being pushed is misguided. Grade-skipping can play a vital role in kids' development. If parents and teachers notice a child is gifted, the best evidence suggests they should never stop supplying that child with tougher and tougher work. The future of the world could depend on it.
  • There are more insects in a square mile of rural land than there are people on the planet.
  • The sugar industry worked with scientists in the 1950s and 1960s to downplay sucrose's role in causing coronary heart disease and other nutritional risks. Fat and cholesterol were singled out as the biggest problems in American diets. The Sugar Research Foundation paid to fund a project which argued that cholesterol — not sucrose — was the sole relevant factor in coronary heart disease. As the low-fat trend took hold, food makers began replacing fat with sugar — which is exactly what the industry had wanted.

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