Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No Monkey Business with Math Calculating Primates

Most of us have difficulty with math. The exercise lands in the categories somewhere between going to the dentist and paying bills. However, math is an important function of higher order thinking. It requires the ability to understand quantities of information and put those into symbols for manipulation. According to a recent study in the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Rhesus Monkeys have the ability to do math using similar methods as humans. 

Using three Rhesus Macques that are four and five years old the researchers put them into an intense math learning program. The monkeys studied two to four hours a day and were rewarded with treats. Sometimes these monkeys studied seven days a week in their own learning classes. 

The monkeys touched a screen choosing between two options (1). The touch screen only required them to touch the right answers to get rewarded (conditioning). They were taught 26 abstract symbols by reinforcing correct learning. The monkeys were able to touch the biggest number 90% of the time.

The monkeys were able to move from using physical quantities to abstract Arabic numerals. Larger numbers received larger rewards. Correct answers created satisfaction in the learning. As an example they were taught the difference between XXX xx XXX xx or 11 as a higher number. It requires a fundamental shift in what these symbols represented to the monkeys. 

Humans are still the best in math and can learn more quickly than monkeys. However, the study does help us find the 97%+ similarities found between the two species. It is possible that monkeys have the capacity to use some of the mental processes of humans as well as the ability to think abstractly about numbers. Researchers have known for a long time how smart rhesus monkeys were and have used those in various programs include space flight. They now know they are capable of much more with the right education.  

Webinar: Persistence Vs. Retention: Legislation And The Changing Paradigm Of Student Success

Wednesday, May 7, 2014  1:00-2:30 EDT
Venue: online webinar

Improving the retention and success rates of undergraduate students continues to be a major topic of discussion for higher education administrators and other stakeholders. Retention refers to an institution's ability to retain students from one performance period to the next. Persistence is the student's ability to continue enrollment from one term to subsequent terms. While postsecondary institutions have emphasized retention, the push for greater accountability by tying student completion outcomes to eligibility for federal student aid programs (Partnerships for Affordability and Student Success Act, S. 1874), requires postsecondary institutions to focus on strategies to increase student persistence to degree completion.

This interactive webinar will discuss the higher prioritization of persistence as a driver of student success to bolster retention. Participants will learn the importance of shifting priorities from a retention-based approach to a persistence-driven student success model.

*Examine the impact of proposed legislative changes on how student success is measured
*Explore student perspectives on the correlation between persistence, retention, graduation, and ultimately, successful student outcomes
*Infuse persistence into student success programming as part of the strategic plan
*Review cost-benefit analysis (return on investment or ROI) for persistence

Web address:

Kenpo: Strking Asp and Striking Snake Modifications

Striking Asp is a Kenpo move designed to pin the opponent’s arms while using your right arm to strike. It is quick and reversed momentum of the opponent while knocking them into a level of confusion making further attacks difficult. The defensive move doesn’t require a lot of skill and this is one of the reasons why it can be so effective during difficult situations. 

Keeping all actions within the right arm helps beginners to remember the sequence and maintain action throughout the process. As one gains skills they can use that arm in different ways when the opponent does unexpected movements or successfully blocks thereby breaking the sequence. This is an inherent benefit of learning both the traditional and modified moves.

At times the modified methods can be used with greater effectiveness. The names to do not always match up but they do resemble similarities in movements. We will call the two different, but similar moves, Striking Asp and Striking Snake. 

Striking Asp A (Opponent Grabs Both Lapels):

-Reach over the top of your opponent’s arms with your left hand and pin opponent’s left wrist with your left hand while stepping back with your left foot (Pin should be a cupping of the hand and not a grab). 

-Rotate hips to the right as you bring your right arm back and around to deliver a raking punch to opponent’s head. (Keep momentum after hit to bring fist close to left ear.)

-Deliver a back knuckle punch to opponent’s right temple. 

Striking Snake Modification (Opponent Grabs Both Lapels):

-Reach over the top of your opponent’s arms with your left hand and pin opponent’s left wrist with your left hand while stepping forward with your right foot (Pin should be a cupping of the hand and not a grab).

-Deliver right middle finger fist to opponent’s solar plexus.

-Bring right arm up and complete full inward block to clear opponent’s arms away from body.
-Deliver right handed chop to neck. 

-Right elbow to the left side of opponent’s head.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zesty Cod-Kale Salad Recipe Offers High Protein and Low Calories

Healthy food full of vitamins and minerals doesn’t need to be difficult to find or hard to prepare. Consider a charbroiled cod-kale salad to fulfill your appetite while not adding to your waistline. It is full of protein and helps in fostering muscle growth to support your fitness goals. Best of all it is under 500 calories for a large serving and won't leave you hungry.

Kale is also considered a wonder salad. It is has no fat, lots of vitamins, full of anti-oxidants, low calories, lowers cholesterol, full of fiber, and is anti-inflammatory (1).  It means that it is one of the hottest types of health food on the market. According to Medical News Today kale supports hair and skin while fighting against major diseases (2).

A healthy serving of fish will not do you harm. Cod is often cooked with butter and this adds to bad fats even though it improves taste. It is possible to reduce these bad fats by using more spices and lemon to augment the flavor. The olive oil (or alternative) provides an opportunity to charbroil the sides to a crispy conclusion while not adding to bad fats.


-Squeeze lemon sauce, salt and pepper (other spices), and light olive (or alternative oil) on cod and place on grill. Grill and charbroil until cooked and slightly blackened. (Calories 190-230/41 g protein).

-Wash and place kale in bowl (40-60 calories).

-Add walnuts, onions, salt, mushrooms, and dried raspberries (140 calories).

-Mix salad with honey-mustard yogurt dressing 2 tablespoons (45 calories).

-When cod is finished grilling place on salad and serve (Calories 400-475 total meal).