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It’s not too late to start writing: Advice from Janet Asimov

8 Dec

Janet Asimov makes the argument:

“Never assume that you must have a big block of uninterrupted time for writing. The motto for writers should be carpe diem—seize the day. Or the morning or the time sitting on the john or while stirring the stew, or whatever.”


Never too late to learn

7 Dec

Forget about expensive brain training software, instead, adopt challenging learning projects. If you need inspiration check out this illustration from Bored Panda:


Dance in a Year Ted talk

17 Nov

I was sad to see that the Dance in a Year website no longer exists.

Here is Karen X. Cheng’s Ted talk about her learning project.

Learning to dance in a year

16 Nov

The New York Times on the accomplished elderly

26 Oct

A piece in The Times on older people who continue to make creative contributions. The list includes Tony Bennett (age 88) and E. O. Wilson (age 85).

Ginette Bedard, now 81 years old, “will run in her 12th consecutive New York City Marathon this year.”


Making and keeping neurons

24 Oct

A study in Current Directions in Psychological Science tells us “The Adult Brain Makes New Neurons, and Effortful Learning Keeps Them Alive.” Here is the abstract:

“The brain continues to produce new neurons throughout life. For instance, the hippocampus (a brain region necessary for select learning processes) produces thousands of new neurons each day. However, a significant number of them die and do so within just a few weeks of their birth. Laboratory animals that are trained to learn a new skill between one and two weeks after the new cells are generated retain most cells that would have otherwise died. The types of skills that keep new cells alive are not limited to those that depend on the hippocampus but rather include those that are effortful to learn, requiring more training trials or time spent training. Importantly, training alone is not sufficient to increase cell survival; animals that are trained but do not learn do not retain more cells than animals that are not trained. Therefore, learning increases the survival of newly generated cells in the hippocampus as long as the learning experience is new, effortful, and successful. Once rescued, the vast majority of these cells differentiate into neurons, thereby forming synapses and generating action potentials as they become incorporated into the existing architecture and functional circuitry of the adult brain.”

Note the sentence: “learning increases the survival of newly generated cells in the hippocampus as long as the learning experience is new, effortful, and successful. ” So there’s no excuse, it’s time to take up a challenging learning project.

Here is the paper’s author, Tracey Shors, speaking on adult neurogenesis:

Becoming a lawyer without law school

3 Aug

I am a big fan of adult learning projects. Here is an article from The New York Times about the several states that allow you to take the bar exam without going to law school:

” In Virginia, Vermont, Washington and California, aspiring lawyers can study for the bar without ever setting foot into or paying a law school. New York, Maine and Wyoming require a combination of law school and apprenticeship.”



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