Hey tumblr! Did you know that if you suffer from depression / anxiety or any other mental illness, you can register your dog as an emotional support animal, making it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to you? That’s right. No breed restrictions, no weight restrictions, no matter what, they are not allowed to refuse.
This includes cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, etc.!! Go here to register your pet as an ESA :~)
I’ll take two.
I went to a conference on learning and the brain once, to help teachers understand how the latest brain science could help us become better teachers. The two pieces of the brain I learned the most about during those two days were the Hippocampus and the Amygdala — and it turned out that those two pieces of information have been the keys to my best teaching days in the last six years. Any time I forget these pieces of information, I have a bad class or a bad day or a bad week. Any day I remember these pieces of information, I have a great class — and chances are, my student will, too.
Want to know them? Here they are:
1) The amygdala takes all the sensory data you receive, and analyzes it based on two themes, every 6-8 minutes. The two questions it asks of the data are “Am I safe? Am I having fun?” If the answer to the first question is no, it immediately turns off the brain’s connections to the front hemisphere of the brain — where all the learning happens; the person relies exclusively on the back-brain, where well-learned responsible operate from. So if a kid doesn’t feel safe in school, the kid won’t learn anything. If the answer to the first question is yes, the amygdala asks the second question, and if the answer is no, I’m not having fun, the brain begins rooting around looking for some way to create novelty and entertainment, even if that entertainment puts others at risk. So if a kid is having fun, she’ll learn the material presented, but if she isn’t, she’ll create disruptions, including disruptions that cause other people not to feel safe — and thus shut down their learning. So you can work with “class clown” kids who keep things on topic, but you have to get kids out of the room who behave in ways that make other kids feel unsafe.
That’s number 1.
2) The Hippocampus controls three things: position in space/time (it keeps track of where you are and what ‘time-ish’ it is there), short-term memory, and long-term memory. In other words, the key to knowing some piece of information is remembering where you were when you learned it. It turns out that the ancient storytellers, seers, and lawyers were right, too, and you can use Palaces of Memory to keep track of things you must remember, and navigate through your memories by tracking in what sort of place you stored them. The really cool thing about this is that your palace of memory can be a real or a fictional place — the hippocampus doesn’t care if it’s being fed false sensory data or true sensory data — if you close your eyes and ‘remember’ standing in your hometown public library, and you go over to the shelf where your mental copy of Beowulf is stored, you have a much better chance of recalling word-for-word quotations than if you just close your eyes. You still have to do the hard work of memorizing the quotation, but remembering the place you memorized it may help bring the memory back even if you forget.
And that’s what I learned at the Learning and the Brain conference.
photographed by Spike Jonze