To learn is to be free

Meet Shameem Akhtar, who posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school.

In this heart-warming, personal talk, Shameem recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life – and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.

The nature of innovation

creativity.jpgAuthors of a recently published book, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the WorldProfessors Anthony Brandt of Rice University of Texas and David Eagleman of Stanford University say that we keep begging as a society for more innovators, but we seem to be moving in the wrong direction in training them.

According to them, we are the only species which does things which are creative, and this is what differentiates the human brain from other species’ in this massive way. The human brain takes an input, mashes it up and puts out new versions. The point is: how can we shape the educational system so that we can make the most of this capacity in young people, largely untapped so far? Continue reading

Should good leaders still be learning?

followership.pngHow does experience influence the fact of being a good leader? And what role can education play in forming a good leader?

These seem pretty obvious questions, because of course both experience and education go hand in hand to create a good leader. The true question is, however: is it all about it? Is it enough to pair good education to a significant experience to automatically have a good leader? The answer is not as straight as it ought to be. Continue reading

Why we are distracted and won’t admit it

distractions-700x420Any of us reading these lines in this very moment would reply with a clear-cut “yes” if I asked: “would you define yourself as a multitasking person?”. Instead, if I asked “are you usually distracted when pursuing a really important and complex task?”, the “yes” would be certainly less convinced.

We commonly persuade others and ourselves that we are able to manage many tasks at the same time, limiting distractions as much as possible. However, a study from the neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and the psychologist Larry D. Rosen, published in the book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World (MIT, 2016), show that our brain is not structured to deal with many tasks simultaneously. Continue reading

To raise brave girls, encourage adventure

We are raising our girls to be timid, even helpless, and it begins when we caution them against physical risk. The fear we learn and the experiences we don’t stay with us as we become women and morphs into all those things that we face and try to shed: our hesitation in speaking out, our deference so that we can be liked and our lack of confidence in our own decisions.

Caroline Paul, the video, in the aftermath of the International Women’s Day:

People with autism in the Israeli intelligence: the case of Unit 9900

Unit 9900 of the IDF, the Israel Defence Force, is the section dedicated to visual intelligence. The satellite captures images that should be analysed to determine risks and suspicious movements in a certain area.

It has been a few years since Unit 9900 recruited young men and women with autism. This job requires extraordinary – and uncommon – capacities for visual thinking and attention to detail, both of which lend themselves well to the highly specialised task of aerial analysis. According to a study from the University of Cambridge, those skills often come with autism. Continue reading

Setting a broad ground to a sustainable economic growth: a perspective glance by President Obama

dnews-files-2015-11-miracle-plant-670-jpg.jpgThe hope for a new future must be of an economic growth that is not only sustainable, but shared.

These are the final words to the article by the President of the US Barack Obama for The Economist. It is a message that shows progress and sets a way to development, that is about growth and points to the direction.

Speaking of the US he recalls many topics, valid for Italy and Europe as well: unemployment, inequalities, sustainability, access to education. These are factors that, intertwined, create a big picture that requires a detailed and multifaceted intervention that works as a domino effect to achieve the target of an inclusive, and sustainable, growth. Continue reading