100 Debates About the Environment

Forest

Canadians are heading to the polls this year to elect a new federal government and GreenPAC wants everyone in Canada to engage in a debate about the state of our environment. On October 7th, 2019 they’re running non-partisan all-candidates debates in 100 ridings across Canada from St. John’s to Victoria. If you care about Canadian politics and the environment then please considering helping organize one of the debates. T

This election we’re holding 100 debates to make sure the environment is the issue everyone’s talking about. We need all the help we can get to pull it off.

If you’ve got a bit of time and energy, and are passionate about the environment, use the form on the right to get involved.

We need committed people in many different fields: organizers, videographers, photographers, social media experts, canvassers and much more. Join us and help supercharge our project

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Using an Escape Game to Educate Radiologists

Escape room

Last year my company, Wero Creative, was hired to make an escape game all about radiology. We designed it to be a fun experience which incorporated knowledge that radiologists need to effectively do their job. It was a fun project to work on and through the process my knowledge of radiology went from zero to….a higher number. Luckily our client, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), provided all the actual knowledge and information the players needed to know. The results of the game have been excellent (which makes me feel good), and has been written up in an academic journal.

You can read the full text of the journal article or get the highlights from Radiology Business.

The escape room included both mental puzzles and physical puzzles, with teams of four to six participants being sent in as a group. One challenge, for instance, involved knowing the names of imaging diagnoses based on a description and certain “buzzwords.” A full-sized skeleton prop was also used, with participants being tasked with answering various questions about muscles and anatomy. A “debriefing” period was also built into the process, allowing participants to discuss the experience as a group.

“This helped players learn from each other and relate the activity to the reality of their future lives,” the authors wrote.

Overall, the escape room was held at RSNA 2018 in Chicago 27 times, with 144 residents participating. Sixty-four percent of participants were male, and all of them were millennials born between 1982 and 2000. While it was the first time 45% of participants had experienced an escape room, all teams escaped. The shortest escape time was 27 minutes and 28 seconds, while the longest time was more than 58 minutes.

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Plant Blindness and You

golf

Can you tell the difference between a big leaf maple and a Japanese maple tree? If not, then you may suffer from plant blindness. Hopefully you can tell them apart when looking at them though. The concept of plant blindness is not so much being able to name every species as it is to appreciate the variety of species that exist. It’s also very easy to cure – just go look at plants.

One key to reducing plant blindness is increasing the frequency and variety of ways we see plants. This should start early – as Schussler, who is a professor of biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, puts it, “before students start saying they are bored with plants”. One citizen science project aiming to help with this is TreeVersity, which asks ordinary people to help classify images of plants from Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum.
Everyday interactions with plants is the best strategy, says Schussler. She lists talking about conservation of plants in local parks and gardening.

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Get Off the Internet and Onto Your Life

Stop reading this post and get out outside. I mean it, put down your mobile or walk away from your computer. The weather isn’t good? Doesn’t matter. Go, get away from this techno surveillance society that is always tracking you. Go be with yourself – it isn’t scary. I believe in you!

Odell finds the focus on getting people to put down their screens or log off from social media limiting; fixating on changing an individual’s behaviors ignores what can be done collectively. She sees this new kind of consciousness-raising as a vehicle for political action. As she writes in How to Do Nothing, “I am less interested in a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter than I am in a mass movement of attention: what happens when people regain control over their attention and begin to direct it again, together.”
Odell is not a technophobe. She uses the iNaturalist app on her phone during hikes to identify plants, and in her research-heavy writing, the internet is an indispensable resource. Without it she wouldn’t be able to go down rabbit holes on subjects like the “free” watches advertised on Instagram, a journey into the world of dropshipping that reveals cascading levels of capitalism based on dishonesty and shoddy information.

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Learning Junk Food Marketing Manipulates, Teens Consume Less

a couple, bicycles

Healthy eating can be a challenge when millions of dollars are spent everyday trying to convince us to eat junk food. It turns out that telling the truth to teens may help them eat healthier. Informing teens about the financing and exploitation that goes into big food gets them to think critically about the marketing and rebel against it. Plus, starting healthy eating practice in the teenage years sets them up for a lifetime of health.

In the study, “A Values-Alignment Intervention Protects Adolescents from the Effects of Food Marketing,” published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Chicago Booth’s Christopher J. Bryan, University of Texas at Austin’s David S. Yeager, and Booth PhD candidate Cintia P. Hinojosa find that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. The method works in part by tapping into teens’ natural desire to rebel against authority.

Among the two biggest findings in the experiment: The intervention produced an enduring change in both boys’ and girls’ immediate, gut-level, emotional reactions to junk food marketing messages. And teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria.
“One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods,” said Bryan.

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