11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… good grades and a great work ethic only get you so far. Read of the week!

About 40% of Boston’s valedictorians make less than $50,000 a year.
Photograph by Otis Imboden, National Geographic

How does our learning framework support lifelong learning?


… how self-compassion, not self-esteem, supports academic motivation.

“Self-compassion leads to learning goals instead of performance goals — such as trying again after messing up. It’s a better academic motivator than self-criticism. It’s a motivation of care instead of a motivation of fear.”
Photograph by Taylor Mickal, National Geographic

Learn how an archaeological site in Georgia hints at the evolution of compassion.


… why the U.S. Census starts in the most remote villages in Alaska.

The ~600 residents of Toksook Bay, Alaska, will begin the U.S. Census less than a year from now.
Photograph by Eric Ellefson, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-2.0

Use our reference resource to better understand the strategy and value of the U.S. Census.


… the geopolitics of petroleum.

The common-knowledge logic of supply-and-demand does not really apply to oil.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic

What is petroleum? Our reference resource is an excellent paired text for this excellent article.


… why a medieval woman had lapis lazuli in her teeth.

The beautiful blue in this 14th-century illuminated manuscript was created by a pigment using lapis lazuli. (Yes, that’s the medieval Louvre in the background.)
From the From Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, courtesy Musée Condé. Public domain

How were illuminated manuscripts created during the Middle Ages?


… some body painting protects against mosquitoes.

A new study indicates that white, painted stripes on the body protect skin from insect bites. Among indigenous peoples who wear body-paint, like this Aboriginal Australian in the Kimberley region of Australia, the markings “thus provide a certain protection against insect-borne diseases.”
Photograph by Paul Chesley, National Geographic

Are mosquitoes outsmarting mosquito nets?


… the “ugly food” movement is more complicated than it seems.

Most “ugly food” is not wasted—it’s almost always used in food products such as soups, sauces, salsas, jams, and ice creams.
Photograph by Brian Finke, c/w Everybody Somebody Inc.

Ugly food is not synonymous with food waste—learn more with our explorer Tristram Stuart.


… reliance on ancient DNA is making archaeologists’ jobs a little more difficult.

This mock title borrowing from colonialist history of archaeology describes one interpretation of the relationship between genetics and archaeology: “Ancient DNA Reveals Massive Population Turnovers in the Humanities: The aristocratic lab scientists arrived with their superior technology and displaced the pre-existing researchers and their primitive truth-implements and overcomplicated belief systems.”
Sculpted bust of Kennewick Man by StudioEIS based on forensic facial reconstruction by sculptor Amanda Danning. Photo by Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

Let our short video introduce you to bioarchaeology.


… how to navigate the entire U.S./Mexico border.

Photograph courtesy Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde, National Guard

Take a virtual visit to the border with photographer Krista Schlyer.


… the long, strange route of a text message.

Photograph by Garry Knight, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-2.0

How is text messaging helping people in underdeveloped regions make better lives for themselves?


… Australia is so hot bats are falling out of trees.

In Adelaide, Australia, large colonies of bats and pups are becoming heat-stressed and falling to the ground.
Photograph by Stanley Breeden, National Geographic

Use our reference resource to learn more about the weird and wonderful fauna of Australia.

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