Tag archive for productivity

Maybe you should rethink that all-nighter?

A new study published in Science hints at a connection between sleep (or lack thereof) and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  In both mice and humans, amyloid-beta peptide levels rose during waking hours, but then fell again upon sleep.  Amyloid-beta plaques (like those found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients) formed more readily in sleep-deprived mice.  Although certainly not a smoking gun, this research may indicate poor sleep patterns are a risk factor for development of Alzheimer’s disease.

…I think I’ll turn in early tonight…

[via Science/AAAS]

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So you’re writing your first post…

sharpie&paperYou found an article that really grabbed your attention and you cannot wait to share it. Great! So where do you begin? Start by choosing a specific idea, fact, or result and use it to focus your writing. Your enemy here is being overly broad and/or vague. Once you have a focus, prepare a list of 5-7 points/ideas/contexts/relationships/etc. that you may want to discuss. Do not concern yourself with order, length, or sentence structure as it is much more important to get your thoughts out of your head (I generally use a Sharpie and computation pad for this). Use your list to begin collecting appropriate references, links, images, etc. to support your argument(s). You may have to reframe your arguments in light of the information you collect. Use your research to rewrite each statement on your list into a clear and concise sentence. Consider these complete statements in the context of your topic and reorder (or eliminate) them in a coherent and logical sequence. Remember that there is not one correct way to arrange things – a little trial end error is warranted at this stage. Now that you have what amounts to a detailed outline, it is time to consider the length of your piece – is it a one paragraph summary, a five paragraph analysis, or should it be divided into a series? Once you have decided on length, use clear and concise language to layout and connect your statements/points; they should form a cohesive unit when combined. Construct strong and clear opening and closing statements to frame your work. Your reader may or may not continue reading on the basis of your opening statement so make it count. Review your piece as a whole and rewrite/edit as necessary. Reviewing and rewriting usually takes the most time and effort. You may want to consider having someone else read and comment on the work before submitting it for publication. When you are satisfied with your work, submit your post for review and publication, then sit back and bask in the accolades of a job well done!

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From Handle Bars to Energy Storage?

I’m all for wind and solar power, but the main obstacle to moving away from fossil fuels and toward these renewable energies is the ability to store the energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. There are two ways to store energy: rechargeable batteries and ultracapacitors. Research is being done at the University of Texas at Austin on the possibility of using graphene as an ultracapacitor. Graphene’s high surface area and high number of ions allow a very high level of charge to be stored.

The amount of electrical charge stored per weight of the graphene material has already rivaled the values available in existing ultracapacitors, and modeling suggests the possibility of doubling the capacity.

The pros of using ultracapacitors include longer life, higher energy storage, and lower maintenance. This new technology can be applied to the electrical grid of cities so that renewable technologies can begin to be installed nearby, as well as the powering of electric and hybrid cars.

The question, however, is which should be implemented or invested in first – the technology that will supply the clean power, or the ability of a city to incorporate the new flow of energy through its grid? The problem of energy transmission also arises, as wind farms are usually located far away from cities. It’s interesting how a string of molecules can have so many uses, from harmful gas sensors, to mountain bike handle bars, and now a way to store renewable energy.

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Back to School: 10 Great Web Apps for College Students

Seems like a decent list of online web apps ‘for students,’ though I think it’s appropriate for anyone. No. 1, Evernote, looks the most interesting to me, but as I’ve been using some version of DEVONthink for many years (Pro Office at this point) it would take something insanely great to get me to switch.

[via academhack ]

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