Do teachers give higher marks to students with attractive names?

The answer is YES: according to the results of The Name Experiment at the opening of the 2008 Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The experiment involved over 6000 people indicating whether the most popular first names in the UK sounded successful, lucky, and attractive.

Past research has shown that such perceptions can become self-fulfilling prophesies, with teachers giving higher marks to children with attractive names and employers being more likely to promote those who sound successful. These new findings could help parents wishing to find the perfect name for their children.

Click here for full details on The Name Experiment …

Gallup World Poll

GALLUP, Princeton NJ: The boldest scientific endeavor of its kind, the Gallup World Poll is a window into the minds of all the more than 6 billion people in the world.

Imagine the possibilities. What could you do with constant access to the opinions and behaviors of 6 billion global citizens?

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The Gallup World Poll, an entity like nothing of its kind, brings the thoughts and actions of the world’s population to life. The Gallup World Poll is a new way to view the world.

More importantly, the World Poll is the single most accurate source of global behavioral economic data in existence today — the source necessary to drive change and create new opportunities around the world.

••• Click here for vision on the Gallup World Poll …

‘The Policeman’s Dilemma’

The Dilemma: A policeman arrives at a burning truck where the driver is trapped and is about to burn to death. To save him this final agony, should the policeman shoot him?

What do YOU think?

Bishop Harries and Richard Dawkins have collaborated on several occasions to promote the proper teaching of science in UK classrooms. They discuss the Policeman’s Dilemma and mercy kiling and other strong questions of religion, science and ethics including faith schools, homosexuality and Christianity, the school curriculum and the media. They also do it rationally and respectfully.


To Richard Dawkins believing in God is like believing in a teapot orbiting Mars. Although, Dawkins says he is ‘a member of Atheists for Jesus’.

This is a fascinating video interview with Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford by Richard Dawkins, the famed evolutionary biologist, atheist and popular science writer.

Dawkins holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position created for him in 1995 by Charles Simonyi, the Microsoft millionaire.

Watch the interview on video here …

Celebrities in Cognitive Science

What is Cognitive Science?

Wikipedia: Cognitive science is a rapidly evolving field that deals with complex cognitive processes, intelligent systems, and the emergent behavior of large-scale real-world computational systems. It is an interdisciplinary study. It draws from converging evidence and methodology of diverse fields, including psychology, physics, neuroscience, philosophy, information science, computer science, anthropology and linguistics.

The term cognitive science was coined by Christopher Longuet-Higgins in 1973.

Rendering of human brain

Who are the Celebrities in Cognitive Science?

Here are writings by and about leading thinkers in cognitive science, and critics and observers of the philosophy of mind.

Some of the great thinkers in this field are:

Charles Babbage

Noam Chomsky

Antonio Damasio

Daniel Dennett

Howard Gardner

Douglas Hofstadter

Marvin Minsky

Seymour Papert

Alan Turing

Germany: Michael interviewed by Florian Rustler

German expert on Thinking Skills–Florian Rustler–asks Michael about teaching thinking and the universal brain software (CVS2BVS) …

Michael, you created the School of Thinking (SOT). For some people that might be an unusual concept that you need a school that teaches you how to think. A lot of people are of the opinion that they know already how to think. Why is there a necessity for having a School of Thinking?

Click through here for the interview …

An additional lobe for your brain?

I think a new era begins today. A genuine quantum leap. A real tangential break-away.

What if you could hold in your hand a magic wand that could, in effect, give you an additional lobe to your brain?

What if, like Aladin, you could just tap it with your finger to make it work for you?

Well, abracadabra … you can. It’s a magic wand: an additional lobe for your brain.

It’s called the iPhone3G … from Steve Jobs and his clever team …


Is it true? Is it really that good?

Yes, it is!

It can help you escape like never before.

It can help you search like never before.

It can help you think, like never before.

And, mirabile dictu, just like your brain it’s completely portable. You can take it with you wherever you go.

Watch how many people throw away their Blackberries in the coming weeks and months. I’m throwing mine away today and replacing it with an additional lobe to my brain, god knows I can use one!

• Check it out here …

Google could be superseded: Berners-Lee


GOOGLE may eventually be displaced by a company that harnesses the power of the SEMANTIC WEB, according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

What is the semantic web?

The semantic web is the next-generation web technology.

Google could be superseded: Berners-Lee

One example frequently given is of typing a street address which, if it had “semantic data” built into it, would link directly to a map showing its location, dispensing with the need to go to a site like Google `maps, type in the address, get the link and paste it into a document or e-mail.

••• Click through to Australian IT for more on this article …

••• Click through to video of Tim Berners-Lee on the Semantic Web

Positive Thinking makes you happier

Dr Martin Seligman is Director and founder of the Positive Psychology Center at University of Pennsylvania.

This is a new branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.

His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier – to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances.

Positive psychology interventions can also lastingly decrease depression symptoms. The research underlying these rigorously tested interventions is presented in the July/August edition of the American Psychologist, the journal of the American Psychology Association.

There are some useful resources here including the Signature Strengths Questionnaire …


The Edge Annual Question – 2008:


When thinking changes your mind, that’s philosophy.
When God changes your mind, that’s faith.
When facts change your mind, that’s science.


Science is based on evidence. What happens when the data change? How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?”

•• You can click through here for thought-provoking answers to this question from over 100 of the world’s leading scientists and thinkers …


Post how you’ve changed your mind below …