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Five years into teaching conflict resolution to elementary school students, Linda Ryden realized she was missing the mark.

“On the surface, it all looked good. But day after day I would see children, often some of our most vulnerable and troubled students, being sent to the office for fighting at recess,” Ryden, a peace teacher at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington, DC, writes for EdSurge. “Some of these kids would go straight from my classroom where we had been role-playing how to work out a conflict to the playground where they would get into a fight over who goes first on the swings.”

Despite all her work, Ryden concluded that her students simply couldn’t think clearly enough to make good choices when confronted with the actual moment of conflict. She went back to the drawing board, and found that the neuroscience of anger—the role of the amygdala in “hijacking” the brain’s higher-order skills, like self-control, for example—provided useful context for her students. Once they understood this framework, students quickly adopted the language of brain-based learning, Ryden says, with one student approaching her to insist that he was “all amygdala” and needed help with his self-regulation.

But understanding how anger works isn’t enough, Ryden knew. She had never been a meditator, she admits, “but as I was searching for ways to help my students I kept reading about mindfulness—in particular, breathing strategies that can calm us down in the moment. There isn’t much research about its impact on students, yet, but what is out there appears promising.”

The two strategies—the neuroscience of anger and the self-regulatory power of mindfulness—snapped together in a way that felt immediately useful. “Once I was able to teach my students what was happening in their brains when they were angry and how they could take care of their brains with mindful breathing, then working out the conflict was a breeze,” she says. “Giving my students these tools quickly began to change their lives, my life, and the climate of the school.”

Making It Tangible for Kids

To help her students understand what happens in their brains when they get angry, Ryden made a puppet using a mitten, googly eyes, and pompoms. The puppet is a tangible way to show her students what happens when their prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for thinking and executive function—goes offline when kids get angry and their amygdala—the part of the brain responsible for responding to threats and danger—takes over and begins making decisions for them. She realized this visual tool could be an important part of her practice after watching Daniel J. Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, use his hand to demonstrate what happens in the brain when we get angry.

Once her students, beginning as early as first grade and continuing through fifth grade, gain a basic understanding of what’s happening in their brains, Ryden begins teaching tools they can use to literally calm their brains. She does this by teaching them different techniques for taking deep and calming breaths, such as take 5 breathing, for example. “Neuroscientists have found that the act of taking deep breaths sends a message to your amygdala that everything is OK, that your amygdala can stand down and let other parts of the brain take over,” Ryden says, noting that this is a simplified explanation of a very complex process. “Then you can deal with the problem that’s causing you to be upset.”

Integrating Mindfulness During the School Day

At Lafayette Elementary, Ryden says teachers give students opportunities twice a day for what she calls “mindful moments.” This daily frequency and repetition is important because teaching, learning, and practicing mindfulness isn’t a quick fix. “It takes a very long time for people to change their patterns and how they behave,” she says. In class, teachers refer to a poster with nine different ways for students to practice mindfulness. These include gravity hands (sitting with hands palms up, breathing in while slowly lifting hands, then breathing out while slowly dropping them, palms down) and squeeze and release (tensing up muscles while breathing in, relaxing muscles while breathing out).

“A lot of mindfulness practice isn’t about calming down,” says Ryden. “It can be applied to life’s challenges in so many ways. The goal shouldn’t be: ‘These kids are out of control, let’s get mindfulness in here.’ Rather, it should help you understand yourself better, how you think about things, and eventually, help make the world a better place.”

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What The 1918 Flu Pandemic Can Teach Us About Covid

In some ways, an early 20th century event doesn’t provide a great analogue to how a modern disease might evolve. 100 years ago we didn’t have widespread air travel, nor did we have antibiotics, which can’t treat a virus but can help with the infections that often accompany respiratory diseases (and cause many of the deaths in a viral outbreak). 100 years ago, we didn’t even know what viruses were.

But one aspect of pandemics remains even a century later: non-pharmaceutical interventions. That’s the technical term for the non-medical precautions that governments and other organizations put in place to prevent the spread of an illness—in other words, social distancing measures. Closing schools and museums would be one non-pharmaceutical intervention. Implementing quarantines is another. And by looking at how the 1918 influenza progressed in various cities, we can see how the interventions they each took impacted the spread of the virus.

One classic example is the distinction between Philadelphia and St. Louis, as conveyed in a PNAS paper from 2007.

We can all learn from St. Louis Infographic by Sara Chodosh

On September 28, the flu had already been spreading across Philadelphia for at least 10 days—but the city went ahead with its Liberty Loan war-bonds parade anyway, in which roughly 200,000 people lined Broad Street. Cases took off just a few days later, and by the time the city took measures to fight back on October 3 it was already too late. Philly ended up with one of the deadliest flu outbreaks in any major American city.

St. Louis, in contrast, saw its first cases on October 5 and shut down most of the city two days later. In doing so they seem to have spared their citizens the worst of the disease.

This is an excellent case example, but of course it’s just one. To figure out whether that trend holds up, another research group looked across 43 cities in the continental US to examine whether early social distancing measures actually helped. And in a case of science confirming what is perhaps obvious based on common sense, they found that, yes, unequivocally, taking early precautionary interventions did help cities reduce deaths.

The peak death rate tended to be lower in places that acted early, whereas those that waited a week or more saw higher spikes. Of course, the data aren’t perfect—St. Paul, MN and Grand Rapids, MI both had very low peak death rates despite waiting weeks to implement any measures. Conversely, New York City started shutting down more than a week before the virus hit, yet still had a moderate spike in deaths. That’s perhaps no surprise given how densely packed NYC is compared to other American cities, and it could have been much worse.

But despite these anomalies, the trend still held: taking early action prevented deaths.

Taking action early really is effective Infographic by Sara Chodosh

Similarly, the earlier cities acted, the lower their total death counts were in general. Keeping peaks low likely kept health care systems from getting totally overwhelmed, and therefore enabled them to provide better care to each patient. The situation right now in Italy (and previously in China) exemplifies how quickly even a good system can get overrun, forcing health care providers to make tough decisions about who gets care and who doesn’t. A shortage of ventilators meant that patients who needed help breathing simply couldn’t get it. And in the US we’re likely to face even worse. An estimate from Johns Hopkins University stated that we’d likely need 740,000 ventilators to care for patients in a pandemic like the 1918 flu. We currently have 160,000, plus nearly another 9,000 in stockpile—not nearly enough to cover everyone.

We’re heading into tough times, in which we’ll have to make difficult decisions. The least we can do is try to learn from our past while we still have time to act.

Taking action early really is effective Infographic by Sara Chodosh

But the timing of early interventions doesn’t tell the whole story. Some cities, St. Louis included, implemented school closures and bans on public gatherings early, then released them as it seemed the danger was over. But the flu often rushed back as soon as interventions lifted. Denver and St. Louis both saw spikes in cases after they lifted their bans. None of the cities that kept their bans in place saw that second wave (really, a third wave—the fall of 1918 was already the second, deadlier wave in the pandemic).

Taking action early really is effective Infographic by Sara Chodosh

Our medical knowledge and typical way of life may have changed drastically in the last century, but the way viruses spread from person to person hasn’t—and neither has the effect of social distancing. Cities hoping to contain the spread of COVID-19 shouldn’t be waiting to implement those measures until it gets bad. By then, it’s probably too late.

Note: A previous version of the first chart incorrectly labeled the peak point on the line. That label has been removed.

Top 5 Data Ethics A Data Science Course Curriculum Teaches You

blog / Data Science and Analytics 5 Ethical Aspects for Data Science Professionals to Consider

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In an era where data has become the new oil, it is critical to recognize the ethical concerns surrounding its collection, analysis, and use. According to a 2023 Market Research Future (MRFR) Report, data protection as a ‘service market’ will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15.45% between 2023 and 2030, reaching a market size of approximately $307.24 million within the next seven years. With such rapid expansion, training future data scientists to handle data responsibly and ethically becomes paramount. This blog, therefore, delves into the significance of incorporating data privacy and ethics into the data science course curriculum and the consequences of failing to do so in education.

Why Should Every Data Science Course Curriculum Include Data Ethics and Privacy?

Teaching data ethics and privacy in a data science course curriculum is vital for several reasons. Firstly, it fosters learners’ awareness of the ethical implications of data usage. Secondly, it encourages responsible handling of sensitive information, ensuring privacy protection. Additionally, it empowers learners to make informed decisions, keeping ethical considerations in mind. Moreover, it equips future data scientists to address potential biases and discrimination within their analyses. Furthermore, it promotes transparency and accountability in the use of data. Lastly, integrating data ethics and privacy into the curriculum enhances the overall societal impact of data science, creating a more responsible and trustworthy field.

ALSO READ: How to Learn Data Science: Is It Still All the Rage?

Ethical Considerations Data Science Professionals Must Consider

Here are five ethical considerations every data scientist should be aware of:

1. Avoiding Bias and Discrimination 

First and foremost, data scientists should be aware of potential biases in their analyses. A priority, therefore, is to ensure that individuals from various demographic groups are treated fairly and equally.

2. Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality

Second, data professionals must prioritize safeguarding personal and sensitive information, implementing strong security measures, and adhering to privacy regulations. 

3. Assessing Societal Impact

Third, data scientists need to consider the potential societal consequences of their work. Moreover, they should prioritize minimizing harm while promoting positive outcomes.

4. Transparency and Accountability

Fourth, data professionals should maintain transparency in their methodologies and findings. In essence, this encourages scrutiny and promotes trust in the field.

5. Respect for Intellectual Property

Finally, data scientists must respect intellectual property rights by avoiding plagiarism and ensuring proper work attribution.

To sum up, data science professionals can navigate ethical challenges and contribute responsibly to the field when these ethical considerations are incorporated into the data science course curriculum.

ALSO READ: What is the Role of Data Scientists in the World of Big Data?

How Can Responsible Data Handling Practices Impact a Data Science Project’s Overall Trust and Credibility?

Responsible data handling practices significantly impact a data science project’s overall trust and credibility. For starters, implementing strong privacy safeguards, such as anonymization and encryption, assures individuals who provide their data that they are in safe hands. Secondly, transparency in the methods of data collection, processing, and analysis increases credibility by allowing stakeholders to understand the project’s integrity. Additionally, responsible practices such as addressing biases and ensuring data quality improve the dependability of project outcomes.

Furthermore, following ethical guidelines, regulatory requirements, and industry standards help strengthen the project’s credibility. Therefore, integrating these practices into a data science course curriculum can prepare future professionals to prioritize trust and credibility, foster responsible data handling, and raise the field’s overall reputation.

What are the Consequences of Ignoring Data Privacy and Ethics?

Failure to include data privacy and ethics information in the data science curriculum can be significant and far-reaching for learners. Let’s get into the specifics of six such outcomes:

1. Privacy Breaches 2. Ethical Dilemmas

Data science involves making decisions that have ethical implications. Without a foundation in ethics, data scientists may unknowingly make choices that result in biased algorithms, discriminatory outcomes, or unethical use of data. This can perpetuate social inequalities and reinforce biased systems.

3. Legal and Regulatory Non-Compliance

Many jurisdictions, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have implemented data protection laws and regulations. Data scientists need to understand these legal requirements to ensure compliance. Failing to incorporate privacy and ethics in the curriculum can result in legal noncompliance, leading to penalties and reputational damage for organizations.

4. Lack of Public Trust

Data-driven technologies have the potential to revolutionize various aspects of society. However, without a strong emphasis on privacy and ethics, the misuse or mishandling of data can erode public trust. This lack of trust can hinder adopting and accepting data-driven solutions, impeding progress and innovation.

5. Negative Societal Impact

Data science can influence decisions in areas such as health care, criminal justice, finance, and more. If privacy and ethics are not adequately addressed, the resulting algorithms and models may perpetuate biases, discrimination, and unfairness. This can lead to negative societal consequences, reinforcing existing disparities and marginalizing certain groups.

6. Reputational Damage

Organizations that overlook data privacy and ethics in their data science practices can suffer significant reputational damage. Instances of data breaches, ethical misconduct, or biased algorithms can harm an organization’s image, leading to customer loss, financial setbacks, and legal repercussions.

Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate data privacy and ethics into the data science curriculum to mitigate these consequences. This includes educating learners on legal frameworks, privacy-preserving techniques, bias mitigation strategies, and ethical decision-making frameworks. By doing so, data scientists can contribute to a more responsible, trustworthy, and equitable use of data-driven technologies.

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By Siddhesh Santosh

Write to us at [email protected]

What This Iphone 13 Case Can Tell Us About Apple’s Next Smartphone

We examined some iPhone 13 cases from a trusted vendor in search of evidence backing up claims that the upcoming Apple smartphone might see some noteworthy design changes.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

Overall, iPhone 13 design remains the same as its predecessor

A camera bump cutout hints at much larger lenses out the back

iPhone 13 may not have Touch ID embedded in its power button

Taking a closer look at Totallee’s iPhone 13 cases

Most of the rumors mention minor design changes, with a few notable exceptions.

According to the rumor mill and reliable analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo, most of the iPhone 13 innovation is saved for a completely redesigned rear camera system on the back. With that in mind, we’ve decided to dress up our iPhone 12 in an upcoming iPhone 13 case from Totallee to see if we could spot any notable differences to tell you guys about.

So we went hands-on with these upcoming iPhone 13 cases from a California company, dubbed Totallee, that specializes in ultra-thin minimalist cases for iPhone. Totallee has been successfully releasing iPhone cases ahead of Apple’s event since 2013.

The overall design stays the same…

Totallee’s cases suggest iPhone 13 design hasn’t changed much from that flat-edged look of the iPhone 12 family. Flat edges are here to stay, which is great. We should get a bit narrower notch and the entire phone could be a bit thicker at 7.57mm. If true, the difference between the new models and iPhone 12 ones, which come in at 7.4mm thick, could be indiscernible.

Cutouts for the volume buttons and the ringer switch on the left side show that even though existing cases may fit iPhone 13, the experience of using them leaves a lot to be desired.

…But the camera bump has swelled

Focusing on the case’s rear side, we can instantly tell that the rumors mentioning a massive camera bump for iPhone 13 are probably true. This is corroborated by cases from other vendors. As you can see for yourself, the rear camera cutout extends to more than half the width of the phone, and all the lens cutouts seem to have increased in diameter as well. With a camera bump that large, there’ll be no mistaking iPhone 13 Pro Max for its predecessor.

No Touch ID power button for you?

With iPad Air 4’s fullscreen design and no Face ID, Apple had to put a fingerprint sensor somewhere—that’s how we got a Touch ID power button. We heard whispers the same thing might happen with the next iPhone, but that doesn’t seem to be the case (pun intended).

The unchanged shape of the cutout for a power button seems exactly the same as that on the current iPhone 12 model. Rather than an elongated power button with an embedded fingerprint reader, this case seems to hint at an iPhone 13 without a Touch ID power button.

Why Totallee?

For the tenth year in a row, Totallee has cases for Apple’s next smartphones ready. Just to be clear, the branding-free minimalistic design along with the dimensions of the iPhone 13 case pictured in this article have all been confirmed by Totallee’s vendor.

One of the nice touches that immediately jumped at us, save for that huge camera bump, is a raised camera ring on the back of the case. That’s extra protection for when your iPhone is laying flat on a table—the phone will still wobble because of the camera bump but at least the sapphire lens covers won’t be making direct contact with the surface.

This isn’t a sponsored article, but we can honestly claim you won’t regret buying one of these minimalist cases from Totallee, especially if your goal is for the beauty of your iPhone 13 to show off through a thin, light case that practically doesn’t add any bulk.

For further information, check out the Totallee website.

See What Happens When Tapeworms Infest Your Brain

Pigs are a crucial part of the tapeworm life cycle. Pexels

Tapeworms are revolting no matter where you find them. But when they are in your gut, at least the parasites are in their natural habitat. We are, unfortunately, their primary hosts and, as parasites, their job is to colonize our intestines, shed eggs out our bums, and infect other animals.

Normally, they perform this job relatively quietly. They eat your food and hang out inside your guts, but they don’t generally want to kill you. That’d reduce their number of potential homes. That’s why many people infected with tapeworms stay fairly symptom-free (we regret to inform you that often folks realize they’re infected when bits of the worms start coming out in their poop). In the rare event the intestinal infection does cause symptoms, they usually include loss of appetite, weight loss, an upset stomach, and perhaps abdominal pain.

But that’s all assuming they stay in your gut.

As one tragic case report in the New England Journal of Medicine this week shows, that’s not always what happens. Tapeworms can get into other parts of your body and cause much more severe symptoms. A teenager in India who had been infected with tapeworms died as a result of numerous cysts—formed by the tapeworms—in his brain (he had them throughout his body as well), which doctors only found when he showed up at the emergency room in Faridabad with generalized tonic-clonic seizures. These full-brain seizures, plus his groin pain, eye swelling, and general confusion are fairly common symptoms for bodily infection with tapeworms.

It is possible for tapeworms to migrate out of human intestines, according to the Mayo Clinic, but this kind of full-body infection results from a different disease pathway and is far more common in another animal: pigs.

The kind of tapeworm infection an animal gets largely depends on which stage of life the worm is in when you ingest the parasite. Tapeworms, specifically the species Taenia solium, have a life cycle that depends on both humans and pigs (there’s also a beef tapeworm, but it doesn’t cause bodily cysts). T. solium begins life as an egg inside a human, though it quickly departs out the anus. Pigs who consume either feces or infected water also ingest the eggs. Those eggs travel to the pig’s guts, where they hatch, burrow through the intestinal wall, and migrate to the farm animal’s muscles and organs. There they become cysts. This kind of infection is known as cysticercosis, which is different from what we’d call “having tapeworms” the way most people get them.

Humans usually become infected because they eat undercooked pork with infective cysts, thus leaving the worms (called cysticerci) alive. The cysticerci travel to our guts, where they mature into adult tapeworms roughly 10 feet long, which in turn lay eggs and start the whole process over.

Technically, though, as this case study proves, if a human eats the tapeworm eggs, we can get cysts just like pigs. That’s what happened to this poor boy—he must’ve eaten the eggs at some point, gotten infected, and not realized until his body was riddled with cysts. (And please note, you can’t get these cyst just from eating undercooked pork.)

The specific form of the disease this boy had, neurocysticercosis, is very rare in developed nations because farms in those areas have hygiene standards intended to avoid any potential contamination of both pigs and humans. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it rare worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 2.5 to 8.3 million people suffer from neurocysticercosis every year, mostly in developing parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Subsistence farmers there don’t have access to the same resources to prevent disease, and thus infections are far more common.

If you’re reading this in a country like the U.S., though, you’re highly unlikely to ever even be exposed to tapeworm eggs unless you travel internationally. Consider yourself lucky.

How Scishow Explains The Science Of The World Around Us

By 2012, Hank Green had already been creating content on the VlogBrothers YouTube channel for five years, but he wanted to do more. Among the most popular videos he and his brother John have made are educational explainers, but creating those takes significantly more time than a normal video, due to the need for research and fact-checking. “You need to try harder to make sure stuff is right in an educational video than when you’re making a funny video,” Hank tells Popular Science. But despite being more resource-intensive to produce, they continued to make these videos because “We felt like it was good for the world.”

So that year, the Greens applied for and received a grant to create several new channels as part of YouTube’s Original Channel Initiative. One of the ideas they came up with was SciShow, a YouTube channel with the express purpose of educating the public about the science of the world around them. “For SciShow, we’re just excited about understanding people, understanding the world, understanding the universe, and that is the mission,” according to Green. And that mission is working—SciShow has nearly 3.7 million subscribers and its more than 1,000 videos have been viewed over 505 million times to date.

As video ideas are pitched, no matter the source, the staff considers how many principles must be explained to fully express the idea. The most interesting pitches, and therefore the most interesting videos, come about when the answer is counter-intuitive. De Pastino believes that’s especially true in science, because, “there are a lot of things out there that people either don’t know or think they know and is commonly misunderstood.” Rarely, he says, does an idea come up that the staff thinks is too difficult to convert into a video. Rather, if there are too many principles that need to be explained within a video (the more concepts that need to be explained, the longer a video will be), the staff will break the idea up into chunks and explain each principle individually.

SciShow and its spin-offs, SciShow Space and SciShow Kids, produce several different types of videos, and production for each of these takes different amounts of time. De Pastino estimates that it takes about a month on average between the time a script is assigned and when its filmed. However, scripts for the weekly segment “SciShow News” and “Space News” are written on Monday, filmed on Tuesday, and uploaded on Friday.

SciShow also does longer videos that dive deeper into subjects. Green has a particular affinity for one deep dive episode, “The Science of Anti-Vaccination,” which has been viewed over one million times. The episode is not actually about the effects of vaccination, but rather the psychology of the anti-vaxxer mindset and trying to understand the phenomenon. The reason he enjoys that episode so much is, “because it was an opportunity to frame that conversation in a scientific way,” He continued, “Instead of in a culture war way, where we’re like, ‘Here we are being angry at each other,’ we can be like, ‘Well how do we use science to help understand each other?’ and maybe use those sets of tools to heal that wound a little bit.’”

In this age of viral internet trends though, not every story can be worked on for weeks or comes with an embargo that gives science communicators time to prepare—sometimes a story or trend will take the world by storm, like “The Dress” did in early 2024. “We were all obsessing over it and fighting over what colors we saw, so we were like ‘Well, we have to do it,’” says Caitlin Hofmeister, SciShow’s producer. “Luckily that caught on first thing in the morning and we were able to write a script and shoot and edit it.”

While one editor will normally “carry” a video through the end of post-production, as Hofmeister puts it, multiple staff members may work on individual components simultaneously in such a case in order to get a time-sensitive episode up quickly. “We’re not worried about being the first to report on the gold and blue dress,” she continued, “but we know our audiences wants to know what we think about it so we’ll do a video.”

As with any creator on the internet, SciShow deals with its own set of “trolls,” internet users who express (or feign) outrage against content. Science can be particularly prone to this, between particularly vocal anti-vaxxers, the flat Earth society, those who don’t believe in climate change, and members of several other movements. According to Green, the best way for creators to protect their audiences from trolls, “is to try and create content for people who are a little more thoughtful and to try to not make content for people who aren’t.” While he acknowledges it isn’t the best solution, and can even allow trolls to find each other and create their own communities, he simply states, “you gotta do what you gotta do to protect your community.”

Green has seen many changes in the online video landscape during his tenure, the latest of which is the rise of Facebook as a video platform. He says both the viewer and creator experiences are very different on the social network than on YouTube. “Facebook content tends to be much more like a lighter touch,” he explains. “It’s the kind of content you can pop in and out of without any trouble. Whereas, YouTube, it seems like people are there to spend time watching video and they’re happy to spend five, 10, 15 [minutes], even an hour-long session on SciShow videos, which is much better for us.” He also says that there are SciShow viewers who only watch on Facebook, that hasn’t resulted in a dip in viewer numbers on YouTube.

While some episodes of SciShow are natively uploaded to Facebook, don’t expect to see much original SciShow content made for the social network. In October 2024, Facebook announced it was testing a “video matching technology,” similar to YouTube’s ContentID, which would allow creators to report a duplicate of their video uploaded to the social network. That feature, which Facebook calls “Rights Manager,” launched in April. Unlike ContentID though, Rights Manager doesn’t ensure that the creators of videos are paid for the views of their videos. In fact, Facebook doesn’t monetize the majority of the videos being uploaded to the social network (It was reported in June that Facebook does pay some media companies, including Buzzfeed and The New York Times, to produce videos). Until a revenue model is in place, SciShow won’t prioritize Facebook as a platform. “At the moment, it’s not a high-strategic priority for us to be growing on Facebook,” Green says, “because it seems like it’s really good for Facebook and not for creators.”

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