Fixed vs Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

Courtesy of Brain Pickings:

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightful Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library), which explores the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.

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Australia’s brutal cull proves humans are deadlier than sharks

Courtesy of The Independent:

This week, in response to the kind of public hysteria that should really have its own theme tune, the state government of Western Australia (WA) began killing sharks near its beaches. According to the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week website, you’re more likely to be bitten by another person than by a shark. To put things in perspective, humans kill more than 100 million sharks and billions of other sea animals every year in contrast to about 10 people killed worldwide by sharks each year.
Sharks have been around longer than dinosaurs and they play an essential role in our oceans. But today, the great white or white pointer shark is a threatened species. The WA government’s policy of catching and killing them makes a mockery of the federal government’s own White Shark Recovery Plan, which recognises that the great white shark is fully protected in both Commonwealth and WA waters.

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Great white sharks are so imperiled that they are on the World Wildlife Fund’s “10 Most Wanted” list, which cites a burgeoning trade in teeth, jaws, and fins, coupled with increased commercial and sport fishing, as having pushed them into the ranks of wildlife most at risk from unregulated international trade. Sharks are particularly vulnerable because they grow and mature slowly, have long gestation periods and produce few young at a time. At least 100 species of sharks are known to inhabit WA waters. These sharks, along with dolphins, turtles and other marine life, will be at risk of serious injury and death if they are hooked on baited drum lines.

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Drilling surprise opens door to volcano-powered electricity

Courtesy of The Conversation:

Can enormous heat deep in the earth be harnessed to provide energy for us on the surface? A promising report from a geothermal borehole project that accidentally struck magma – the same fiery, molten rock that spews from volcanoes – suggests it could.

The Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, IDDP, has been drilling shafts up to 5km deep in an attempt to harness the heat in the volcanic bedrock far below the surface of Iceland.

But in 2009 their borehole at Krafla, northeast Iceland, reached only 2,100m deep before unexpectedly striking a pocket of magma intruding into the Earth’s upper crust from below, at searing temperatures of 900-1000°C.

This borehole, IDDP-1, was the first in a series of wells drilled by the IDDP in Iceland looking for usable geothermal resources. The special report in this month’s Geothermics journal details the engineering feats and scientific results that came from the decision not to the plug the hole with concrete, as in a previous case in Hawaii in 2007, but instead attempt to harness the incredible geothermal heat.

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Stem cell ‘major discovery’ claimed

Courtesy of The BBC:

Stem cell researchers are heralding a “major scientific discovery”, with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine.

Scientists in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid.

Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already being trialled for healing the eye, heart and brain.

The latest development, published in the journal Nature, could make the technology cheaper, faster and safer.

The human body is built of cells with a specific role – nerve cells, liver cells, muscle cells – and that role is fixed.

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However, stem cells can become any other type of cell, and they have become a major field of research in medicine for their potential to regenerate the body.

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Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive

Courtesy of Penn State News:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State and University of Florida researchers. The team also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) — an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive — is highly toxic to honeybee larvae.

“We found that four of the pesticides most commonly found in beehives kill bee larvae,” said Jim Frazier, professor of entomology, Penn State. “We also found that the negative effects of these pesticides are sometimes greater when the pesticides occur in combinations within the hive. Since pesticide safety is judged almost entirely on adult honeybee sensitivity to individual pesticides and also does not consider mixtures of pesticides, the risk assessment process that the Environmental Protection Agency uses should be changed.”

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According to Frazier, the team’s previous research demonstrated that forager bees bring back to the hive an average of six different pesticides on the pollen they collect. Nurse bees use this pollen to make beebread, which they then feed to honeybee larvae. Continue reading