Friday, 30 June 2017

[NASA HQ News] Connecticut Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

      June 30, 2017

Students at the Wallingford Public Library in Wallingford, Connecticut, will speak with NASA astronauts living and working aboard the International Space Station at noon EDT on Thursday, July 6. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television’s Media Channel and the agency’s website.

Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer will answer questions from students ages 5 and up gathered at the library. 

Whitson launched to the space station Nov. 17, 2016. Fischer launched to the station in April. Both astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth in September.

For more information on the downlink, contact Allison Murphy at 203-284-6435 or The library is at 200 N. Main Street.

The Children’s Department of the library has structured its summer reading theme, Race to Space, around the downlink and will be exploring the space theme throughout the summer break. Various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities will be offered in the Children’s Department through Aug. 12. Additionally, library visitors will be able to view official artifacts from an archived NASA collection, and students will participate in monitoring the growth of seeds that have been harvested from tomato plants grown on the space station.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in STEM. This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of NASA Education’s STEM on Station activity, which provides a variety of space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators.

Follow NASA astronauts on Twitter: @NASA_astronauts.

For more information, videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station, visit:


Let Us Learn The Virtue Of Tolerance - And Let That Infuse The Fabric Of Ghanaian Society

Thirty-five years ago today, three judges and a retired military officer, were brutaly murdered. It was a heinous crime that shocked the whole nation. Literally.

The vile and cowardly individuals who murdered  Justice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addo, Justice Kwadwo Agyei-Adjapong and retired Army Major Acquah, even tried to burn their bodies.

However, the day's intermittent rains, meant that their bodies were only partially burnt - which  made their identification a less arduous task.

Those  horrific events - some thirty-five years ago today - ought to serve as a reminder to all Ghanaians that as a people, at all costs, we must safeguard our democratic system of government - despite its many faults.

We must ensure  that the rule of law prevails in our country always - for tyranny's  handmaidens, lawlessness and impunity, are but its  building blocks that we must never allow to solidify in Ghanaian society.

That is why we must always fight against the impunity that breeds the unspeakable and unpardonable acts of barbarity of the kind that unfortunately ended the lives of justices Cecilia Koranteng-Addo, Kwadwo Agyei-Adjapong, Fred Poku Sarkodee  and retired Army Major Acquah.

Their only crime was that somehow they were perceived by the extremists of that dark era as enemies of the intolerant and tyrannical system then in place in Ghana at that time.

Let us all learn the virtue of tolerance - and let that infuse the whole fabric of today's Ghanaian society.

McKinsey & Company/Martha Laboissiere and Mona Mourshed: Closing the skills gap: Creating workforce-development programs that work for everyone

McKinsey & Company Home
Social Sector

Article - February 2017
Closing the skills gap: Creating workforce-development programs that work for everyone

By Martha Laboissiere and Mona Mourshed

The ‘‘skills gap’’ in the United States is serious. Here is how to do better.

“The land of opportunity”—that is the promise of the United States. And one of the reasons the country has been able to deliver on that promise is that it has been able to develop the talent it needs to create wealth and to adapt to ever-changing economic realities. But there are concerns that the United States can and should be doing better. This will require policies and actions on many fronts, for example on trade, taxation, regulation, education, and fiscal and monetary policy. In this article, we focus on a single subject: preparing people without college degrees for jobs with promising career paths. The need, for both business and society, is clear.

On the one hand, almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry-level jobs. Almost 60 percent complain of lack of preparation, even for entry-level jobs. On the other hand, this “skills gap” represents a massive pool of untapped talent, and it has dire consequences, including economic underperformance, social unrest, and individual despair.

The skills gap takes different forms. In some cases, it is a matter of youth struggling to enter the workforce; in others, it is midcareer learners who have lost their jobs because of factory closings or layoffs, and who now must adapt. Whatever the circumstance, when people are disconnected from the workplace, they often disconnect from other social institutions as well. This is not healthy—neither for those left out nor for the societies in which they live.

Recognizing the importance of this subject, McKinsey has done extensive research on global workforce-development programs and economic strategies.1 We have also worked with a number of state, local, and national governments.

So based on our research and experience, we have identified five principles that we believe should be the foundation of workforce-development programs—for funders, participants, and employers (Exhibit 1).
Exhibit 1
The US workforce-development system involves numerous stakeholders.

1. Define geographic assets and identify target professions. To get where they want to go, state and local agencies need to know where they are starting. Even at the local level, economies are complicated.
Would you like to learn more about our Social Sector Practice?
Visit our Education page

The most promising approach, then, is to identify sectors with high growth potential where there are shortages or a high turnover of workers. Governments should conduct job-market analyses to identify each area’s distinctive attributes and supply-and-demand dynamics, as well as the current state of the workforce. This means looking at posted job vacancies, public infrastructure investment, demographics, local university-research commercialization, venture-capital spending, and regulation. The analysis should be done at the city and regional levels, and then buttressed by interviews with major companies in the area.

We have found the best workforce-development solutions happen when leading employers come together to address the talent problem for an entire sector. Assuming there are no antitrust issues, such collaborations can be attractive to industry competitors because the training costs are shared and the risk of poaching is limited. Such efforts typically take three forms: down a supply chain, with an anchor company taking the lead in encouraging its suppliers to participate; by a functional profession (for example, mechatronics) that is in demand by employers in different industries in the same location; and by sector, with competitors collaborating because they all face the same talent problem. One example of the latter is the Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, which includes 19 automotive companies and 26 community colleges in 13 states.

In addition, government must ask itself whether it has the capabilities to meet the needs of businesses. This can be done simply—ask. Then, based on the responses, work with industry leaders, education providers, government agencies, and trade associations to identify the highest priorities on which to focus.

Successful economic-development efforts develop long-term strategies and make investment decisions based on hard data. A clear-eyed view allows decisions to be made based on a region’s actual strengths, and avoids chasing economic-development fads where there is no basis for competitive advantage. The advice is ancient, but pertinent: know thyself.

2. Deliver ROI to employers and workers. Hard evidence of return on investment (ROI) for workforce-development programs is scarce, for both employers and workers. That lack of proof is why many employers are reluctant to participate in workforce programs, much less to pay for them. Therefore, metrics that link such programs to business performance should be tracked, including the cost of program recruitment and training, employer productivity and quality outcomes, retention, and speed to promotion.

Recent federal legislation, known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), aims to make the workforce-development system more outcome driven and to emphasize training that leads to jobs. Gathering employer ROI data is not only important for employers but can also help local agencies meet WIOA requirements.

If the ROI case can be proved, our research and experience shows that employers are willing to pay for training programs—up to 15 percent (or roughly two months) of the employee’s annual salary, on average. In areas of extreme scarcity, they will do much more. Apprenticeship 2000, a consortium based in Charlotte, North Carolina, comprises eight manufacturers that collaborate with the local community college on a mechatronics apprenticeship. It costs members $175,000 per candidate over four years.

With respect to participants, few employment programs gather evidence of effectiveness. Some track job placement at completion, or retention after one to three months. Few programs, however, follow a range of metrics to show potential participants that their investment in time and effort will pay off with personal and financial well-being. No wonder many job-training candidates are wary. Successful programs, in contrast, can show candidates evidence that the program will place them in jobs with a future after finishing the course.

Once on the job, metrics to track include the income of program graduates before and after completion, continued employment, job promotion, and reliance on public support. These findings can help reveal what works—and just as important—what doesn’t. Programs that fall short can then be cut in favor of those that succeed.

3. Support comprehensive, demand-driven training methods. Local, state, and federal agencies have made numerous efforts to work with businesses, regional groups, education providers, and other stakeholders to deliver effective job training. Some training programs are excellent—others, not so much. Evidence does exist, however, of models that work in a variety of industry and regional contexts (Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 2
Effective training incorporates five components.

In successful programs, employers are involved from the start and guarantee interviews for graduates. Once providers decide which sectors and which high-scarcity or high-turnover professions to pursue, the next step is to shadow employees on the job in those professions. The goal is to identify which activities most differentiate high from low performers and to translate this insight into training for the right technical, behavioral, and mind-set skills which include attributes such as punctuality, diligence, and follow-through). Such observation is important, because our experience is that many employers are unable to accurately describe which skills matter most, leading to errors in program design.

In delivering training, one proven approach is to provide two- to three-month “boot camps.” During the boot camp, competency is assessed regularly, based on actual demonstrations. Employers collaborate with the training providers and can offer their staff as trainers. The boot camp must be practical, including in-person simulations, on-site apprenticeships, and “serious games” customized to the workplace, where learners can play virtually and repeatedly. Programs need to have a strong in-person component to deliver the necessary dosage of intensive practice and to build the trust that allows providers to support learners—many of whom face multiple life challenges. At the same time, technology-based solutions, such as online applications, mobile apps that track learner performance, and digital workplace simulations can significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these in-person programs.

To reach the people who need these programs most—meaning those at risk of being disconnected from the workforce because of background or education—accessibility is critical. Meeting their needs for transportation or child care during the boot camp, for example, helps make it possible for them to succeed. Programs that respond to these needs see higher completion rates. Some go even further, providing postgraduate mentorship for the first few months on the job, which is the period of greatest vulnerability. If individuals can make it through the first three months on the job, the odds of them continuing to thrive professionally and personally rise significantly.
E2E_1536x1536_Original Education to employment: Designing a system that works
Read the article

4. Assess and prepare learners before they start training. Programs need to start by ensuring that learners are ready to train for the professions to which they apply. For example, they must be able to meet job-licensing requirements, such as having a high-school diploma, or pass a background check or a drug test; they also need to show job-appropriate literacy and numeracy levels.

Once this basic screening is done, there are ways to improve retention in the program and in the job. One is simple: make sure that people know what the job is before they start the training. This explanation must cover both positive and negative aspects, and might include things such as showing videos, hosting discussions of a “day in the life” with workers, and spending time at the job site. Someone training to be a certified nursing assistant, for example, needs to know that the position can be physically demanding and requires shift work.

When people understand what it takes to succeed at a given job, they are more likely to choose one that is right for them. That, in turn, improves program completion, job placement, and retention. It also ensures that program resources are spent on those who are most likely to benefit.

5. Coordinate the workforce-development process centrally. Estimated spending on US workforce-development programs for those not going to four-year colleges—everything from federal and state jobs programs, workforce training and certifications, community college, and employer training—is at least $300 billion a year.2 Most programs, however, are deployed in isolation and are not integrated with other services deployed by other entities. For example, a common scenario is that responsibility lies in different places: job training lies with the state’s workforce department, child care and food assistance lies with the social services, and mentorship support lies with a local philanthropy or not for profit. All these components are essential to the learner’s success in completing the training, finding a job, and then succeeding at it. Such tight complementarity of service delivery to learners, however, rarely occurs.

State governments can deploy three strategies to ensure effective use of resources. First, have a clear view of all funding and efforts available for target learner segments and professions in a given location, and coordinate these to deliver holistic services to learners. Second, establish a set of outcomes and performance-management processes in which learner employment within 30 days of program completion, retention on the job, and income increases lie at the heart. Finally, ensure the provision of human, technology, and data-analytics capacity for program delivery that supports learners.

State and local public agencies want to help their citizens succeed. To do so, one priority is to better use the considerable resources that are available, by coordinating the mishmash of funding that now flows through numerous departments and agencies. A second is to improve job outcomes for program participants and employers in the WIOA context. A third is to do so on a large scale and at reasonable cost. There are proven ways to do this that benefit individual workers, companies, and the economy as a whole. By investing in talent in this way, governments and businesses will also be reinvesting in the American dream.
About the author(s)
Martha Laboissiere is a senior expert in McKinsey’s San Francisco office, and Mona Mourshed is a senior partner in the Washington, DC, office.
Article Actions


McKinsey Insights - Get our latest thinking on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
© 1996-2017 McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company/Rana Foroohar: Paying young Americans to learn

McKinsey & Company Home

Social Sector
Article - Financial Times - June 2017
Paying young Americans to learn
By Rana Foroohar
Article Actions

    Share this article on LinkedIn Share this article on Twitter Share this article on Facebook Email this article Download this article

Nearly one in six American workers is unemployed or underemployed, yet more than 6m jobs remain unfilled. Business has become the driving force behind a rethink of how training is organised.

When Levi Hall first saw the advertisement for a 12-week technology training programme that offered a stipend to students with only a high-school qualification and helped place them with a decently paid full-time job at the end of course, he thought it was a scam.

“They are going to teach you, pay you, give you a credential and then help you get a job? I thought for sure this is too good to be true,” says the 25-year-old, who was working in a minimum wage clerical job in Florida when he applied for the course. “When I filled out the application, just to be safe, I didn’t put in my real social security number.”

Several of the other young participants and graduates of the programme, run by consulting firm McKinsey at a training centre on the campus of Florida State College in Jacksonville, laugh knowingly. Like Mr Hall, they all graduated from high school.

But thanks to challenges such as an inability to pay for or complete a four-year college degree, secondary education that did not yield any marketable skills or personal problems such as single parenthood or a run-in with the law, they belonged to the growing group of unemployed or underemployed US workers. Nearly one in six American workers fits that description.

Yet as participants in McKinsey’s “Generation” scheme, which brings together employers and educators to train workers for jobs in high-growth areas like technology, healthcare and customer service, they all have full-time jobs, many of them at top national and regional companies. Nearly 1,000 others have gone through the US programme, adding to the 12,000 graduates globally.

“I wish I would have gone to a high school that taught me actual skills that would get me a job,” says Mr Hall, who earned a stackable computer programming certificate that qualified him for a better paid job in the IT department of a large regional healthcare practice. “But they don’t really exist any more. I felt like this was my last shot to make myself more employable.”
Rebooting labour

McKinsey’s initiative, which started about two years ago, has become the largest cross-border youth employment programme, which says a lot about the dysfunctional state of labour markets.

For years, a gap has been widening between the skills that companies need and those that workers have and educators teach. This is true globally—40 per cent of McKinsey’s clients say the skills gap is a key reason for job vacancies—but is particularly so in the US, where the lack of European-style vocational training programmes, social safety nets or extended family support has made it particularly difficult for many workers to learn the right skills that better jobs require.

Harvard academics have attributed as many as one-third of the US jobs lost during the great recession not to declining demand but to the skills gap. Business leaders have complained about the lack of middle-market technical skills in particular, as too many students graduate with heavy debts and useless degrees—at least in terms of employability.
Exhibit 1
US jobs openings are rising faster than hires

The US is suffering a youth unemployment crisis, with rates in double figures nearly 10 years on from the financial crisis—not to mention record levels of long-term unemployment, particularly among displaced older men in the rust belt. This was one driver of the populist politics that led to the election of Donald Trump and the popularity of Bernie Sanders among Democratic voters.

Yet more than 6m jobs remain unfilled. To get them, most workers will need a qualification between a high-school degree and a costly four-year college education. There will be 55m job openings in the economy in the decade ending 2020, with 65 per cent of all jobs requiring some post-secondary education, projections by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University show.

Nearly two-thirds of those jobs will require some post-secondary education students. But the majority of the fastest growing categories will be those in the “sub-BA” market which do not necessarily require a degree.

This is where programmes like Generation, as well as other public and private partnerships that push vocational training as a stepping stone to greater social mobility and earning power, come to the fore. “Aside from countries like Germany and Switzerland, workforce training has been viewed in much of the world, and certainly in America, as a poor stepchild to a four-year college degree,” says Mona Mourshed, head of McKinsey’s education practice and president of Generation.

In the US, this bias has a long history: since the 1960s, vocational education has been seen as a dumping ground for less fortunate students. Some worried that it could result in class- or race-based tracking.

Yet given the dismal state of secondary and tertiary education in the US today—nearly one in three high school take a degree, a tenth graduate from a two-year associates programme and a $1.4tn student debt bubble restrains consumption and economic growth—a fresh approach to vocational training is clearly needed.

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and improve training programmes. He has been pushed on the issue by his daughter Ivanka and a number of Fortune 500 chief executives including IBM’s Ginni Rometty and Dow’s Andrew Liveris. Mr Trump has talked up workforce training as an alternative to a degree, and visited a training programme in Wisconsin.

Ms Trump and Alexander Acosta, labour secretary, have spent time in Germany studying its vocational training model, which has helped bolster wages and employment relative to other rich economies, and would like to bring aspects of the model to the US.
Exhibit 2
A smaller proportion of US graduates are in employment

There are 500,000 official apprenticeships in the US. The White House wants to make it easier to expand the labour department’s model, which has been successfully deployed in the construction and building trade industries for years. Many manufacturing, technology and healthcare companies would like to run similar schemes geared towards their industries.

It is noteworthy that, while unions pushed the previous wave of interest in vocational training decades ago, this time it is employers. Half of the Fortune 20 companies run some type of programme, including major technology companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce and Aon.

Such employers have realised that not only is such training necessary to create a 21st century workforce but it can also significantly reduce turnover and recruitment costs, which can run into the thousands of dollars per worker even for entry level positions.
Exhibit 3
Change in US employment by occupation

Aside from encouraging private sector efforts, the Trump administration wants to merge the 43 federal workforce training programmes that sit in 13 agencies and represent nearly $17bn in spending into a single programme within the labour department. This highlights the fragmented and varied nature of vocational skills training. Public spending in the sub-BA market is spread across 50 states that have a multitude of systems, measures for success and means of collecting and sharing data.

Numerous private sector efforts make up the bulk of the $300bn-a-year market. There are small, high-end programmes, such as Siemens’ gas turbine apprenticeship in North Carolina that lures students from local schools into factory work by investing $175,000 in training them over three years. Public private partnerships such as IBM’s Pathways in Technology schools aim to reinvent secondary and tertiary education.
Transferable skills

It is a complex arena but lessons can be taken from some of the most successful and long running programmes in areas such as building trades and manufacturing: pay people while they learn, make sure that broadly accepted credentials and jobs are waiting for them at the end, and keep the skillset applicable to real work and different employers.

“Sector-based training works best when you have an employer who partners a community college to create a training programme,” says Harry Holtzer, a labour economist and professor of public policy at Georgetown. States such as Wisconsin, with concentrated manufacturing sectors, have done well on that score.

The much-copied Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, which has been running for more than 20 years, brings together large employers such as Harley-Davidson with smaller local components firms, community colleges and unions.

Together they create advanced manufacturing programmes that allow workers to move in and out of different companies through the course of seasonal business cycles. Workers earn while they learn, gaining experience from full-time yearly employment in a regional industry, rather than a single company.

This offsets risk for workers and companies, and keeps skill levels high in ways that mimic the German model.
IBM and New York
A template for high school and beyond

Most employers believe that skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or stem subjects, will be crucial for the workforce. But many companies think it is crucial that workers have a strong basic liberal arts education to go alongside the high-tech workplace skills that will be required for the “new collar” jobs of the future.

That’s the idea behind P-tech, or the “Pathways in Technology” high schools that were set up in 2011 as a partnership between IBM and New York City Public Schools. The model, which has since spread into 57 cities in six states serving 12,000 students, as well as being launched overseas in Australia and Morocco, aims to reinvent secondary education by giving graduates not only four years of high school but a two-year associates’ degree, plus work experience along the way.

“Six is the new four,” says Stan Litow, P-tech’s founder, noting that you need at least a two-year college degree to guarantee something more than a $15-an-hour future. P-tech graduates are first in line for positions at IBM and dozens of other blue-chip partners like SAP, Cisco and Global Foundries where many have already done their internships. It is a model that had broad support from Barack Obama, former president, as well as President Donald Trump, both of whom view it as a template for reinventing secondary education.

Gabriel Rosa, a 19-year-old who graduated from P-tech in Brooklyn a year ago after he completed his six-year programme in four years, is a good advertisement. He is now employed in a well paid job as an interface designer for IBM in New York City, while taking night classes to complete a four-year degree in computer science. “I feel like I’ve gotten where I wanted to be so much faster than I would have otherwise,” he says.

“You have a company like Harley, which might need a seasonal workforce for six to nine months, but they have a bunch of suppliers that need skilled people too,” says Mark Kessenrich, president of WRTP. “We work with the local educators to create training programmes and recruiting programmes that serve them both.
Exhibit 4
Employers says a skills shortage is the leading reason for entry-level vacancies

“It works really well within an increasingly just-in-time manufacturing industry,” he adds.

Encouraging the broader adoption of manufacturing-based apprenticeships like these will be a big focus for the administration as it tries to cater to the needs of the workers in a region such as the rust belt that helped vote the president into office.

Yet there may be even more growth for skills training in services, and among the most vulnerable in society, like those being served by Generation. Not only is that where the greatest need is, it is also where the fastest growing job categories are.

Generation trainees like the ones in Jacksonville may start low on the ladder, but the investment of even 12 weeks of training pays dividends for both companies, which see significant increases in retention and thus lower recruiting costs.

The workers see an average fourfold increase in their weekly wages on completing the programme. They are statistically more likely to go on and finish further training and education.

Mr Hall is looking to attend night classes at a community college. “I’d like to get a degree eventually,” he says. “But not if I have to go into a lot of debt. Right now, I’ve got someone who’s paying me to learn.”

This article originally appeared in the Financial Times on June 16, 2017, and is reprinted here by permission.
Article Actions

    Share this article on LinkedIn Share this article on Twitter Share this article on Facebook Email this article Download this article

McKinsey & Company Logo
Sign up for email alerts

Select topics and stay current with our latest insights
Email address


    Contact us
    Privacy policy
    Terms of use
    Local language information

Download on the App Store Download Android app on Google Play
McKinsey Insights - Get our latest thinking on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
© 1996-2017 McKinsey & Company

TechCrunch/Darrell Etherington: Facebook’s Aquila drone completes its second test flight, lands well this time


Facebook Aquila
Facebook’s Aquila drone completes its second test flight, lands well this time
Posted 22 hours ago by Darrell Etherington (@etherington)

Facebook’s plan to use large solar-powered high-altitude drones to connect areas of the world that traditionally haven’t had reliable internet access marked a significant milestone on Thursday. Aquila, its first functional aircraft, completed its second successful test flight — and landed successfully, too. The first time around, Aquila’s flight resulted in a structural failure that affected the craft’s landing and resulted in an NTSB investigation.

Aquila’s second flight occurred on May 22, with take-off occurring just after dawn, and a total flight time of one hour and 46 minutes in the air. The drone rose to a flight ceiling of above 3,000 feet, and climbed at a rate that was double that of the first test flight — Aquila ascended at 180 feet/minute, which the team working on the project says was a result of a number of “refinements” made to the Aquila platform as a result of info gleaned from the first test.

Facebook notes that by design, the Aquila craft doesn’t do anything terribly fast, despite the increases in climb rate; it only flies at about 10-15 mph when flying upwind, but it’s meant to provide consistent access to an area by staying over it for a relatively long time, so that’s actually advantageous. It can do this by sipping power generated by its solar gathering system — it runs on the same amount of power consumed by three blow dryers, Facebook says.

This second voyage for Aquila was also all about gathering data, specifically to help the team adjust the models they use to predict energy usage and optimize battery and solar system design, based on real-world data. These have, of course, been extensively modeled in simulation, but actually flying a drone in conditions similar to how it would be deployed when active commercially is the only way to get those details right.

Aquila also tested new spoilers it has incorporated into the design to help it increase drag and reduce speed, and it tested radio signal strength aboard the craft. Those added spoilers also help with landing, the process of which was revised based on the first flight’s issues.

Facebook says that this new process, which included locking the propellers horizontally to reduce damage, worked mostly as designed — though only one propeller on the craft actually locked horizontally, while the rest remained vertical until landing, as you can see in the clip above. All four motors stopped as intended, however, and the craft landed softly on a gravel surface, resulting in “a few minor, easily repairable dings,” which is a much better result than they had the first time around. The team still intends to tweak this to help ensure it works better in the future.

The plan eventually is for Aquila to fly for up to 90 days at a time, offering internet access to an area 60 miles wide using the giant craft, which has a massive 113-foot wingspan.

        Facebook is an online social networking service that allows its users to connect with friends and family as well as make new connections. It provides its users with the ability to create a profile, update information, add images, send friend requests, and accept requests from other users. Its features include status update, photo tagging and sharing, and more. Facebook’s profile structure includes …
        Menlo Park, CA
        Social Media, Social Network, Social   
        Full profile for Facebook   

© 2013-2017 Oath Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy About Our Ads Anti Harassment Policy Terms of Service Powered by VIP
Fonts by <Webtype>
TechCrunch: an Oath Brand

Scientific American: 10 Emerging Technologies to Watch - Innovations that are on the verge of making a difference to society

 Scientific American


10 Emerging Technologies to Watch
Innovations that are on the verge of making a difference to society

What if drinking water could be drawn from desert air easily, without requiring enormous amounts of electricity from a grid? What if a doctor could do a biopsy for a suspected cancer without a blade of any sort? What if we didn’t have to wait too long to find out? Technologies that make these visions a reality are expected to become increasingly commonplace in the next few years. This special report, compiled and produced in a collaboration between Scientific American and the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, highlights 10 such emerging technologies.air easily, without requiring enormous amounts of electricity from a grid? What if a doctor could do a biopsy for a suspected cancer without a blade of any sort? What if we didn’t have to wait too long to find out? Technologies that make these visions a reality are expected to become increasingly commonplace in the next few years. This special report, compiled and produced in a collaboration between Scientific American and the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, highlights 10 such emerging technologies.
To choose the entrants in this year’s emerging technologies report, we convened a steering group of world-renowned technology experts. The committee made recommendations and elicited suggestions from members of the Expert Network, the forum’s Global Future Councils, Scientific American’s board of advisers and others who are tuned in to burgeoning research and development in academia, business and government. Then the group whittled down the choices by focusing on technologies that were not yet widespread but were attracting increased funding or showing other signs of being ready to move to the next level. The technologies also had to offer significant benefits to societies and economies and to have the power to alter established ways of doing things. We hope you enjoy the result, and, as always, we welcome your feedback. Read the full report on the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017 here.

Mariette DiChristina, editor in chief, Scientific American, and chair, Emerging Technologies Steering Group

Bernard Meyerson, chief innovation officer, IBM, and vice chair, Emerging Technologies Steering Group

Rights & Permissions

 10 disruptive solutions are now poised to change the world?

    June 26, 2017|Credit:

    World Economic Forum

10 Emerging Technologies to Watch

Innovations that are on the verge of making a difference to society

    June 26, 2017

Blood Tests Allow for Scalpel-Free Biopsies

Ultrasensitive blood tests known as liquid biopsies promise to improve cancer diagnosis and care

    June 26, 2017 — Apurv Mishra

Off-Grid Devices Draw Drinking Water from Dry Air
Public Health

Sunlight-powered moisture-absorbing technologies are becoming economical

    June 26, 2017 — Donna J. Nelson and Jeffrey Carbeck

Deep-Learning Networks Rival Human Vision
Deep-Learning Networks Rival Human Vision

June 26, 2017 — Apurv Mishra

Artificial Leaf Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel
Artificial Leaf Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel

June 26, 2017 — Javier Garcia Martinez
Human Cell Atlas Opens a New Window to Health and Disease
Medical & Biotech
Human Cell Atlas Opens a New Window to Health and Disease

June 26, 2017 — Sang Yup Lee
Precision Farming Increases Crop Yields
Precision Farming Increases Crop Yields

June 26, 2017 — Geoffrey Ling and Blake Bextine
Affordable Catalysts Give Green Vehicles a Push
Affordable Catalysts Give Green Vehicles a Push

June 26, 2017 — Donna J. Nelson
Genomic Vaccines Fight Disease in Ways Not Possible Before
Medical & Biotech
Genomic Vaccines Fight Disease in Ways Not Possible Before

June 26, 2017 — Geoffrey Ling
Sustainable Design of Communities Dramatically Reduces Waste
Sustainable Design of Communities Dramatically Reduces Waste

June 26, 2017 — Daniel M. Kammen
Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible
Quantum Computing Becomes More Accessible
June 26, 2017 — Dario Gil

Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Neuroscience. Evolution. Health. Chemistry. Physics. Technology.
Subscribe Now!Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Follow us


    Press Room

Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers.
© 2017 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Michael Crow: How Science, Wedded with Good Policy, Has Created a Better World

By Michael Crow President at Arizona State University

How Science, Wedded with Good Policy, Has Created a Better World

June 22, 2017 • 574 Likes • 27 Comments

In the 20th century alone, smallpox killed over 300 million people, more than twice the number who died from mankind’s two deadliest wars. Its origins date back at least 3,500 years, a fact we know because pockmarks from smallpox have been found on mummies. In the 17th century, English historian Thomas Macaulay described this horribly painful and infectious disease as “the most terrible of all the ministers of death.”

It took the observation of English physician Edward Jenner to pursue a possible vaccine to prevent the deadly disease. In 1796, he heard and saw that dairymaids were not contracting smallpox after they had been infected with cowpox, a closely related but less destructive disease. So Jenner intentionally infected the eight-year-old son of his gardener with cowpox, and several days later scratched him with smallpox matter. The boy did not contract the disease, a result he confirmed by repeating the experiment with nearly two dozen others.

While Jenner’s use of human testing would be unacceptable today, his application of the scientific method—in brief, observation, hypothesis, systematic testing, conclusion—made it possible to assert causality and provide a significant advance to the modern world.

What Jenner learned more than 200 years ago demonstrates our ability to use reason, minimize bias and assemble facts to shape our fate. Such scientific enterprise was important then to build confidence in man’s capacity to improve life. And it remains central to our continuing progress and survival as a species, making it imperative that the widest possible population comprehends the role that science plays in the human endeavor.

Science is the most powerful sociological construct that humans have ever developed. It’s the means by which we unravel and understand nature. It’s how we advance solutions to our ills and differentiate ourselves from all other forms of life. We are knowledge-seeking creatures, and we use that knowledge to advance our insight, perspective and well-being.

Science is a fundamental tool to enhance understanding and social good rather than a tool for politics and political agendas. I’m a great believer that science is the means by which society progresses in dramatic, powerful ways.

And yet, we are witnessing a moment in which science is seen by some as more myth-making than methodology, more an expression of personal political bias than a reliable technique and systematic process to ask questions, gather facts, reach conclusions and do our human best to discern objective truth. Indeed, there is a dangerous scientific and technological illiteracy among many senior policymakers and elected officials, indifferent to the need to understand and engage complex technology-related social issues. Perhaps no example is more alarming than the current unwillingness to recognize the findings of climate science. 

To be sure, science and scientists are not infallible. This is a human endeavor, after all, and they can be culturally biased and isolated. At a time when a deeper focus on sustainability is critical to human health and the survival of our planet, for example, Western science is often employed to manipulate nature rather than accept natural systems and dynamics.

Nor does it help that too many of our citizens see science education as memorizing facts and loading up with pre-determined findings. This is a far cry from the kind of creative thinking, exploration and experimentation critical to the development of knowledge. In a recent interview with journalist Fareed Zakaria, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson talked about the need for a K-12 science class that is not focused on specific fields such as biology, chemistry or physics, but on “what science is as an enterprise--and how and why it works, and how it drives curiosity and inquiry.”

I agree. Such a course would also explore the role of science in achieving socially useful outcomes, indeed improving the quality of life on our increasingly crowded planet. This course would help explain how science’s essential value is not solely for the sake of knowledge; good science wedded with good policy really can change the world.

This brings us back to the history of smallpox. In 1798, Jenner published his findings, Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, Or Cow Pox. Yet as profound as Jenner’s work was in saving lives, the disfiguring disease continued to ravage millions and millions, year after year. Few countries were able to vaccinate enough people to avoid it spreading, and too many countries relied on vaccines that were below standard.

It was not until 1967, when the World Health Assembly passed a controversial resolution to eradicate smallpox from the globe. With limited resources, the World Health Organization created a plan to vaccinate 80 percent of the population in 50 countries with a vaccine of reliable potency. Within six years, they had eliminated smallpox in Latin America, Indonesia, every African country but one, and five countries in Asia.

But they still were challenged by more than a billion people in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Explained Dr. D.A. Henderson, who directed the campaign: “What we were doing with surveillance and containment was not working….So we mobilized 120,000 people and visited every house in India. Then we did the same thing in Bangladesh and also went to Pakistan.” 

In May of 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that smallpox was eradicated and that smallpox vaccinations could stop. It was a remarkable feat, the wedding of science and policy to create a better world.

It’s encouraging to note that, in a poll of the UK public, Edward Jenner was named one of the 100 Greatest Britons. (He came in number 78, one spot behind pop singer Robbie Williams. Charles Darwin was number 4.) Let’s hope more scientists can join the top ranks of polls like these, in the US and all over the world.
Written by
Michael Crow
Michael CrowPresident at Arizona State University

Gary B.
Industrial Technologies

Well, diversity and political correctness are far more important than scientific facts in our present society. Unless you have been completely isolated, Western Science has been declared "racist European dogma" by some influential lecturers. You thought religion was your enemy for hundreds of years, but now you have some adversarial secular societal forces. The New Dark Age
Pamela (Theophilus) Gardner
Retired but still writing

I totally agree with your statement Michael Crow that “science is a fundamental tool to enhance understanding and social good rather than a tool for politics and political agendas”. And it is certainly the case that “there is a dangerous scientific and technological illiteracy among many senior policymakers and elected officials”.

In addition to the example of climate scie
Susan Donnelly
High School Science Teacher at School

Here's another great example of how science has made the world a better, and tastier, place:
Billy Grierson
Experienced facilitator and trainer in NPD, problem…

As a scientist, I don't really care if people understand, or are even interested in, science. What I do care about is that they understand the difference between knowledge and opinion, and the difference between stories and evidence.

I see too many posts and newspaper articles where someone puts forward an opinion as if it is fact and backs it up with references to blogs
Aimé Mbeh
English to French Translator

How do you think people, the masses, would be able to make a difference between knowledge and opinion, if you as a scientist don't take time to state the facts and explain them?
It is as if you conduct your experiments in a lab, reach out to a conclusion that you keep in a drawer, fold you arms and expect Magic to present your findings to the public.
Scientists, keep in tou
Michael Gibbs
Engineer at Honeywell

Remind them that the plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence."
Nimish V.
Smasher Devourer ....

We also need to wed Science with Mythology, in order to, diminish / eradicate, confusion ...... ;)
There are 22 other comments.


How To Build A Continent-Wide Market For Ghana's Cocoa Products - And Insulate The Cocoa industry From Volatile Global Commodity Markets

It is instructive that Ghanaian leaders always receive a warm welcome everywhere they pay official  visits to  in Africa.

The warmness of President Akufo-Addo's receptions by his fellow leaders during visits to sister African nations, is the latest manifestation of that high regard Ghanaian leaders are held in, throughout Africa.

That great love fellow Africans have for Mother Ghana, and their respect for the welcoming  people of this great nation of ours, results directly  from the goodwill President Nkrumah built  for our nation throughout the continent during his tenure.

The uniqueness of the special relationship that exists between Nkrumah's Ghana and all the nations on the continent, is a lasting legacy of President Nkrumah's  pioneering role as an advocate for the  unification of Africa.

Our current leaders ought to capitalise on that tremendous goodwill for our homeland Ghana across Africa - by tapping export markets in nations all over Africa for the manufactured products of Ghanaian industry.

The head of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), and the managing director of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), for example, ought to be included in the entourages of the president and vice-president, whenever they pay official visits to sister nations on the continent.

Their job must always be to present the CPC's products to the First Ladies of the host nations - for them to enjoy with their families at home: and develop a taste for chocolate products from Ghana: and therby set a fashionable trend in those sister nations of ours for Ghanaian  confectionary products.

They must also request  meetings with the  owners and CEOs of the biggest supermarket chains in each host nation during such official visits - and offer to make own-brand confectionary products for them.

It wouldn't harm them to do some research - with the help of the commercial attaches of all Ghana's embassies in the continent -  on each potential African export market and make branded samples with which to pleasantly surprise the owners and CEOs of the largest supermarket chains in such countries, with, prior to such official visits to their nations, by Ghanaian leaders.

That way, we can slowly build a continent-wide  market for the CPC's marvellous dark chocolates - which are amongst the finest in the world - and the company's other  product lines.

Incidentally, they could make a start targeting the continent's wealthiest middle-classes in nations such as: Angola; Nigeria; South Africa; Senegal; Morroco; Algeria; Gabon; Botswana; Namibia; Equatorial Guinea; Kenya; The Seychelles; Mauritius; Uganda; Tanzania; DR Congo;  Congo Brazzaville; and Rwanda.

Would we not  insulate ourselves from the volatility of the global commodity markets  (that are so notoriously fickle) and protect hardworking cocoa farmers in Ghana, that way, I ask?

Dr. Joseph Mercola: No Matter Your Age, You Can Help Slow Down Disease

Why Strength Training Is so Important for Optimal Health

    June 30, 2017 • 8,331 views

Story at-a-glance

    Nearly everyone, regardless of age and gender, will benefit from strength training. It promotes fat loss, helps maintain healthy bone mass and prevents age-related muscle loss
    Strength training also improves insulin sensitivity, lowers your risk of metabolic syndrome, reduces perimenopausal symptoms in women, combats inflammation and improves cognitive function, mood and cardiovascular fitness
    Workout strategies that effectively boost muscle growth while being very safe for the elderly and/or unfit individuals include SuperSlow weight training, blood flow restriction training and the nitric oxide dump

By Dr. Mercola

Research confirms that exercise is the best "preventive drug" for many common ailments and chronic diseases, from psychiatric disorders and pain to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.1,2 As stated by Dr. Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge:3

    "Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is lead an active life."

Unfortunately, many make the mistake of focusing on cardiovascular exercise to the exclusion of everything else. Strength training is overlooked by many for a number of different reasons. Women may think they'll bulk up and look manly, the elderly might worry about it being too strenuous or dangerous, and parents might think weight training is too risky for their children for these same reasons.

The truth is, nearly everyone, regardless of age or gender, will benefit from strength training. Working your muscles will help you shed excess fat, maintain healthy bone mass and prevent age-related muscle loss, the latter of which can start as early as your 30s if you do not actively counteract it. As noted in a recent Time magazine article:4

    "For many, weight training calls to mind bodybuilders pumping iron in pursuit of beefy biceps and bulging pecs. But experts say it's well past time to discard those antiquated notions of what resistance training can do for your physique and health. Modern exercise science shows that working with weights — whether that weight is a light dumbbell or your own body — may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness."

Why Load-Bearing Exercise Is so Important for Health

As noted in the featured article, load-bearing exercises help counteract bone loss and postural deficits that occur with each passing year. During your youth, bone resorption is well-balanced, ensuring healthy bone growth and sustained strength. However, as bone loss accelerates, it starts to outpace your body's ability to create new bone. The more sedentary you are, the weaker your bones get as a result.

The same can be said for your muscle, and without good muscle tone, your mobility starts to suffer. Worse, muscle weakness in combination with brittle bone structure is a recipe for falls that can result in crippling disability. Resistance training also:

• Improves your insulin sensitivity, thereby lowering your risk of most chronic diseases. As noted by Mark Peterson, assistant professor of physical medicine at the University of Michigan, "Muscle is very metabolically active, and it uses glucose, or blood sugar, for energy"5

• Reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions (large waist circumference, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar) that raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Recent research shows working out with weights for just under an hour per week can cut your risk of metabolic syndrome by 29 percent.6,7,8 Other recent research found a twice-weekly resistance training program improved insulin sensitivity and reduced abdominal fat in older men who had already developed type 2 diabetes, without any dietary changes9

• Reduces perimenopausal symptoms in women, such as anxiety and depression, mood swings, irregular periods, weight gain and brain fog, in part by increasing production of testosterone.

While typically thought of as a male sex hormone that women don't need or want too much of, testosterone is actually beneficial for women during this stage of life, as during perimenopause, natural testosterone production can drop by as much as 50 percent.10 While women should not take testosterone, improving your body's natural production of this hormone is a safe way to address perimenopausal symptoms

• Lowers inflammation, a hallmark of most chronic disease, especially heart disease and cancer

• Improves cognitive function and reduces anxiety and depression, promoting greater well-being
Weight Training Also Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness

While it's generally recommended to include some form of cardiovascular and high intensity training in a well-rounded fitness program, strength training actually works your cardiovascular system as well.

As noted by fitness experts like Dr. Doug McGuff and Phil Campbell, you cannot fully access your cardiovascular system unless you perform mechanical work with your muscles. How you do that is up to you; you can do it on an elliptical machine, on weight training equipment or using free-weights.

So, weight training isn't just strength training, it's a cardiovascular workout as well. Moreover, to get a better grasp on why high-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as Peak Fitness or SuperSlow strength training (the HIIT version of weightlifting) is so much more effective than regular cardio and/or regular strength training, you need to know understand the metabolic processes of your heart. Your heart actually has two primary metabolic processes to provide fuel:

    Aerobic, which requires oxygen for fuel
    Anaerobic, which does not require oxygen

Traditional strength training and cardio exercises work primarily the aerobic process while HIIT and SuperSlow strength training work both your aerobic AND your anaerobic processes, which is what you need for optimal cardiovascular benefit. You're actually getting greater benefits from HIIT/SuperSlow than you do from an aerobic/cardio workout, and in a fraction of the time.

For example, you only need about 12 minutes of SuperSlow type strength training once a week, or 20 minutes of Peak Fitness sprints to optimize your growth hormone production. When compared to regular cardio, you're literally saving hours each week. Whether you're using weights or not, intensity is the key here. It needs to be high enough that you reach muscle fatigue.

The SuperSlow weightlifting technique involves removing the momentum. By disallowing muscle rest, you "super charge" muscle growth because your muscle has to continuously work throughout the entire movement. However, while intense, SuperSlow weightlifting is actually quite safe, because you're going very slow, using controlled movements and, typically, can get away with using lighter weights.

In this regard, SuperSlow weight training is ideal for older people, as it significantly reduces your risk of injury. To learn more, please see my previous interview with McGuff on his SuperSlow weight training recommendations.
Strength Training Basics

There are two basic terms you must understand before planning your strength training routine:

    Reps: A rep (repetition) indicates one complete motion of an exercise. Be mindful of performing each rep using full range of motion
    Set: A set is a group of reps

If you performed two sets of 10 reps of bicep curls, this means you did 10 bicep curls, rested, then did 10 more. How many reps should you do? That really depends on your fitness level and your goals. Here are some general guidelines:

    For building strength and bulk, it's generally recommended to do fewer than eight to 10 reps per set with heavier weights
    For tone and general conditioning, aim for 10 to 12 reps using more moderate weight
    For SuperSlow weight training, aim for only one set of eight to 10 reps. You should not be able to do the last rep no matter how hard you try. If you can do 11 then increase the weight. If you can't do eight then decrease the weight

Regardless of how many sets you do, make sure the last rep in your set is done to failure. You want to fully fatigue that muscle in the last rep, while still maintaining control of the weight so you don't lose your form, as this could lead to injury. Adjust the amount of weight you use for each exercise depending on which muscles you are working. Larger muscles such as your thighs, chest and upper back are stronger and will require a bit heavier weight. Smaller muscles, such as your shoulders and arms, require less weight.
Find Exercises That Match Your Current Fitness Level

As mentioned earlier, strength training is for everyone, regardless of your age. All you have to do is find a suitable starting point. I've previously published articles detailing sample workouts for differing levels of fitness and age groups, including a basic guide of seated balance and coordination exercises for the elderly and infirm, easy strength training moves for seniors, and a slightly more advanced strength training guide for fitter, older adults.

I've also addressed resistance training for young children, and have published a beginner's guide to strength training, SuperSlow instructions, "best of" sample strength exercises that deliver great results, advanced strength training suggestions, bodyweight exercises and much more. For ideas and guidance, simply browse through my fitness archive.
The Benefits of Blood Restriction Training

Another technique you may want to try — which is also excellent for the elderly, or athletes recovering from an injury — is blood flow restriction training or Kaatsu training. I'll publish a full-length article on this shortly but, in brief, it involves performing strength training exercises while restricting venous blood flow (but not arterial flow) to the extremity being worked.

A significant benefit of the method is that you can do strength exercises using just 30 to 50 percent of the weight you'd normally use while still reaping maximum benefits. By restricting blood flow to the muscle, lactic acid and other waste products build up, giving you the same benefit as heavy lifting but without the dangers associated with heavy weights. For this reason, it's a great strategy for the elderly and those who are recuperating from an injury.

Put another way, by forcing blood to remain inside your muscle longer than normal, you force more rapid muscle fatigue and muscle failure that sets into motion subsequent repair and regeneration processes.

It's said blood flow restriction training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-third of the weight, compared to standard weight training. In the video above, Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen, a leading proponent and teacher of Kaatsu in the U.S., discusses the method and its benefits.

A typical training session would involve three sets, with repetitions ranging from 20 to 30 reps per set, using half or less of the weight you'd normally use. Rest periods between sets is typically short, say 30 seconds. This means you end up doing upward of 90 repetitions of any given exercise.

The American College of Sports Medicine claims you need to lift a weight that is at least 70 percent of your single rep max (1RM) to produce muscle growth,11 but studies assessing low-intensity exercise in combination with blood flow restriction have shown you can go as low as 20 percent of 1RM and still reap the benefits.

For most, 20 percent of 1RM is lighter than a warmup, virtually guaranteeing you will not sustain any kind of injury. Indeed, blood flow restriction training is used to rehabilitate the old and infirm in Japan, allowing them to rebuild muscle and regain some of their lost mobility.
Nitric Oxide Dump — A Great Exercise for Aging Muscles

Another exceptionally safe way to improve your muscle strength and general fitness is the nitric oxide dump — a revision and, I think, significant improvement of my Peak Fitness program. Instead of doing 20 minutes' worth of HIIT on an exercise bike or elliptical machine, you can reap the same or better benefits doing four simple exercises that take just three minutes. These exercises should ideally be done three times a day, for a total of nine minutes a day.

For a full demonstration, see the video above. You can start with three sets of 10 reps but as you become more fit, you can increase to 20 reps. Even though this exercise is only a few minutes, it will make you short of breath. Please be sure to breathe only through your nose, not your mouth. The four movements are:

    10 squats, raising your arms parallel to the floor as you squat and getting your butt back as far as possible, making sure your knees stay behind your toes
    10 perpendicular arm raises, stopping when your arms are the height of your shoulders
    10 jumping jack motions without the jumping; just moving your hands overhead and touching on the upper and lower portions
    10 overhead shoulder presses, making sure to keep your chest out and shoulder blades pinched together

Do each set in rapid succession, without resting in between. When you're done, you'll have completed a total of 120 to 240 movements. Done three times a day, with at least two hours in between each session, you'll end up doing 360 to 920 movements a day. This exercise will:

• Trigger the release of nitric oxide, a gas with antioxidant properties that protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and lowering your blood pressure; stimulates your brain; kills bacteria and even defends against tumor cells

• Stimulate anabolic muscle building in addition to thinning your blood, making it less likely to clot and improving your immune function. Nitric oxide is a potent bronchodilator and vasodilator, so it helps significantly increases your lungs' oxygen-absorbing capacity

• Give you more exercise benefits in a shorter time. You get most of the benefits from this exercise that you would get from most things you do in a gym in an hour. And, if you do it three times a day, that means you may be getting three to 10 times the metabolic benefit you'd get by going to the gym. Not that going to the gym is unwise; it's just that your body needs exercise throughout the day

• Stimulate mitochondrial function and health. Your skeletal muscle derives its energy from your mitochondria — the energy storehouse of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. Mitochondria make up, on average, about 1 percent to 2 percent of your skeletal muscle by volume, which is generally enough to provide the needed energy for your daily movements.

Your mitochondria produce energy in their electron transport chains in which they pass electrons from the reduced form of the food you eat to combine it with oxygen from the air you breathe, ultimately forming water. This process drives protons across the mitochondrial membrane, which recharges ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate). ATP is the carrier of energy throughout your body.

Mitochondrial decline is closely linked to reduced cardiorespiratory fitness, and decreased resting mitochondrial ATP production may be involved in the development of insulin resistance with aging. By forcing your mitochondria to work harder, exercises such as this one will trigger your body to produce more mitochondria to keep up with the increased energy demand, and promote mitochondrial function and health
Non-Exercise Movement Is Equally Important

Hopefully, you realize the importance of exercise in general and strength training in particular, and feel inspired enough to get started. However, also remember that non-exercise movement is another crucial component for health and longevity. Compelling evidence suggests that even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting is itself a risk factor for chronic disease and reduced life span. So, ideally, you'll want to exercise regularly and avoid sitting, or frequently interrupt your sitting.

I've interviewed a number of experts on this topic, including Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of "Sitting Kills, Moving Heals" and Dr. James Levine, author of "Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It" — both of whom are leading trailblazers and researchers in this field.

Katy Bowman, author of "Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement," and Kelly Starrett, Ph.D., who wrote the book "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World," also testify to the importance of getting more movement into your day-to-day life. All of these interviews contain a wide variety of suggestions for how to break the cycle of inactivity and get moving.
+ Sources and References
Most Popular

    4th of July Sale
    healthy recipes ebook
    Fat For Fuel Online Course With Dr Mercola
    intermittent fasting

Post your comment
Show Comments (1)
Previous Article
Next Article
Subscribe to The World's #1 Natural Health Website†

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

    About Dr. Mercola
    Contact Us
    Employment Opportunities
    En Espanol
    Health Articles
    Health Videos
    Media Inquiries
    Mercola Community FAQ
    Mercola Social Responsibility
    Press Room
    Special Reports
    Terms & Conditions
    Updated Privacy Policy

    Special Info Sites
    Nutritional Typing
    Vitamin D

    Autoship Program
    California Residents
    GMO-Free Products
    Healthy Rewards Program
    Low Price Guarantee
    Online Catalog
    Online Shopping

    Our Service Commitment
    Premium Products
    Product Badge Glossary
    Return Policy
    Shipping Policy (Domestic)
    Shipping Policy (International)
    Store Locator
    Wholesale Program

FITNESS DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only. Vigorous high-intensity exercise is not safe or suitable for everyone. You should consult a physician before beginning a new diet or exercise program and discontinue exercise immediately and consult your physician if you experience pain, dizziness, or discomfort. The results, if any, from the exercises may vary from person-to-person. Engaging in any exercise or fitness program involves the risk of injury. or our panel of fitness experts shall not be liable for any claims for injuries or damages resulting from or connected with the use of this site. Specific questions about your fitness condition cannot be answered without first establishing a trainer-client relationship.

Home | About Fitness Panel | Fitness Articles | Products | Fitness Videos | Contact Us

© Copyright 1997-2017 Dr. Joseph Mercola. All Rights Reserved.

    Mercola Health Resources, LLC BBB Business Review
    McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
    TRUSTe online privacy certification
    Click to Verify - This site has chosen a GeoTrust SSL Certificate to improve Web site security
    Privacy Policy

Mercola Peak Fitness

Call Toll Free: 877-985-2695


Read Previous
Read Next

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Scientific American/Annie Sneed: World’s Largest Wind Turbine Would Be Taller Than the Empire State Building

World’s Largest Wind Turbine Would Be Taller Than the Empire State Building

Massive, flexible blades would bend with storm winds like the palm trees that inspired them

    By Annie Sneed on June 26, 2017

Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler Getty Images
Advertisement | Report Ad

Wind energy is soaring in the U.S.; the nation’s renewable energy capacity has more than tripled in the past nine years, and wind and solar power are largely responsible. Now businesses want to harness even more wind energy, at a cheaper price—and one of the best ways to lower cost is to build bigger turbines. That’s why an alliance of six institutions led by researchers at the University of Virginia are designing the world’s largest wind turbine at 500 meters tall—almost a third of a mile high, and about 57 meters taller than the Empire State Building.

Turbines are already noticeably larger than they were 15 or 20 years ago. Size varies, but today’s typical wind farm towers stand around 70 meters tall, with blades about 50 meters long. Their power output depends on size and height, but it generally ranges between one and five megawatts—on the upper end, that’s enough to power about 1,100 homes. “There's this motivation to go to larger wind turbines, and the reason is pretty much economics,” explains John Hall, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo, S.U.N.Y. One reason giant turbines are more cost-effective is that wind blows stronger and more steadily at greater altitudes. Thus, “you capture more energy” with a taller structure, says Eric Loth, project leader of the massive turbine project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E).

Another reason wind experts say bigger is better: longer turbine blades also catch the wind more efficiently, and taller towers enable lengthier blades. A turbine’s power is directly related to its “swept area”—the circular area covered by the blades’ rotation—explains Christopher Niezrecki, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Wind Energy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. And this relationship is not linear—if blade length doubles, a system can produce four times as much energy, Niezrecki explains. He notes that bigger turbines also have a lower “cut-in” speed, the wind speed at which they can start generating energy.

Loth’s team wants to design a 50-megawatt system with blades 200 meters long, much larger than today’s wind turbines. If the researchers succeed, they believe the turbine would be 10 times more powerful than existing equipment. But the scientists do not intend to simply supersize conventional designs; they are fundamentally changing the turbine structure. The ultralarge machine will have two blades instead of the usual three, lowering the weight of the structure and cutting costs. Loth says that reducing the number of blades would ordinarily make a turbine less efficient, but his team is using an advanced aerodynamic design that he says largely makes up for those losses.
Concept of SUMR project. Credit: Chao Qin

The team also envisions these gigantic structures standing at least 80 kilometers offshore, where winds tend to be stronger and where people on land cannot see or hear them, according to Loth. But powerful storms hit such places—off the U.S. east coast in the Atlantic Ocean, for example—so Loth’s team faced the quandary of creating something massive that is also relatively lightweight and still resilient in the face of hurricanes. To tackle the problem, the researchers looked to one of nature’s own design solutions: palm trees. “Palm trees are really tall but very lightweight structurally, and if the wind blows hard, the trunk can bend,” Loth says. “We’re trying to use the same concept—to design our wind turbines to have some flexibility, to bend and adapt to the flow.”

In the team’s design the two blades are located downwind of the turbine’s tower, rather than upwind as they are on traditional turbines. The blades also change shape with the wind’s direction, similar to a palm tree. “When the blades bend back at a downwind angle, you don’t need to build them as heavy or strong, so you can use less material,” Loth explains. This design also lessens the possibility that strong winds will bend a spinning blade toward its tower, potentially knocking the whole structure down [Video]. “The blades will adapt to high speeds and start to fold in, so there are less dynamic forces on them,” Loth says. “We’d like our turbines to be able to handle higher than 253-kilometer-per-hour winds” in nonoperating conditions. Above a wind speed of 80 to 95 kilometers per hour the system would shut down and the blades would bend away from the wind, so they could withstand violent gusts, Loth adds.

The 500-meter turbine still faces challenges—there are good reasons no one has yet built one close to this size: “How do you make 200-meter blades? How do you put them together? How do you erect such a tall tower? Cranes only go so high. And with offshore wind, [there are] additional complications,” Niezrecki says. The team’s design includes a segmented blade that could be assembled from pieces on site, but Niezrecki notes the wind industry has not quite figured out how to segment the blades just yet. “There are lots of research questions to be addressed,” he says. “It’s definitely high risk, but there’s also potential for high reward as well. I don’t think those problems are insurmountable.” Hall also questions whether such a massive turbine is the optimal size. “We are figuring out that bigger is better. The question is, how much bigger? We need to find that sweet spot,” he says. “We’re going to learn a lot from this project.”

Loth and his team have yet to test a prototype; they are currently designing the turbine’s structure and control system, and this summer they are building a model much smaller than the real thing—about two meters in diameter. Next summer they plan to construct a larger version with two 20-meter-long blades, which will produce less than a megawatt of power and will be tested in Colorado. Loth himself is not 100 percent certain his team’s mammoth turbine will become a reality but he is sure it is worth trying. “This is a very new concept, so [there are] definitely no guarantees it will work,” he says. “But if it does, it will revolutionize offshore wind energy.”
Rights & Permissions
Advertisement | Report Ad

Annie Sneed

Recent Articles

    Volcano Forecast? New Technique Could Better Predict Eruptions
    A Comeback for Electricity Tech Once Championed by Thomas Edison
    How Is Worldwide Sea Level Rise Driven by Melting Arctic Ice?

Read This Next
The Sky Is the Limit for Wind Power
The Sky Is the Limit for Wind Power

September 11, 2012 — David Biello
China Blows Past the U.S. in Wind Power
China Blows Past the U.S. in Wind Power

February 2, 2016 — Daniel Cusick and ClimateWire
Air Power: The Making of a Modern Wind Turbine and Wind Farm [Slide Show]
Air Power: The Making of a Modern Wind Turbine and Wind Farm [Slide Show]

October 20, 2010 — David Biello
Report Ad
Sign Up


Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Neuroscience. Evolution. Health. Chemistry. Physics. Technology.
Subscribe Now!Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Follow us


    Press Room

Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers.
© 2017 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

Scientific American/Javier Garcia: Artificial Leaf Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel

Artificial Leaf Turns Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel

Artificial-leaf technology converts carbon dioxide to fuels and more

    By Javier Garcia Martinez on June 26, 2017

Credit: World Economic Forum
Advertisement | Report Ad

The notion of an artificial leaf makes so much sense. Leaves, of course, harness energy from the sun to turn carbon dioxide into the carbohydrates that power a plant’s cellular activities. For decades, scientists have been working to devise a process similar to photosynthesis to generate a fuel that could be stored for later. This could solve a major challenge of solar and wind power—providing a way to stow the energy when the sun is not shining and the air is still.

Many, many investigators have contributed over the years to the development of a form of artificial photosynthesis in which sunlight-activated catalysts split water molecules to yield oxygen and hydrogen—the latter being a valuable chemical for a wide range of sustainable technologies. A step closer to actual photosynthesis would be to employ this hydrogen in a reduction reaction that converts CO2 into hydrocarbons. Like a real leaf, this system would use only CO2, water and sunlight to produce fuels. The achievement could be revolutionary, enabling creation of a closed system in which carbon dioxide emitted by combustion was transformed back into fuel instead of adding to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Several researchers are pursuing this goal. Recently, one group has demonstrated that it is possible to combine water splitting and CO2 conversion into fuels in one system with high efficiency. In a June 2016 issue of Science, Daniel G. Nocera and Pamela A. Silver, both at Harvard University, and their colleagues reported on an approach to making liquid fuel (specifically fusel alcohols) that far exceeds a natural leaf’s conversion of carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. A plant uses just 1 percent of the energy it receives from the sun to make glucose, whereas the artificial system achieved roughly 10 percent efficiency in converting carbon dioxide to fuel, the equivalent of pulling 180 grams of carbon dioxide from the air per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

The investigators paired inorganic, solar water-splitting technology (designed to use only biocompatible materials and to avoid creating toxic compounds) with microbes specially engineered to produce fuel, all in a single container. Remarkably, these metabolically engineered bacteria generated a wide variety of fuels and other chemical products even at low CO2 concentrations. The approach is ready for scaling up to the extent that the catalysts already contain cheap, readily obtainable metals. But investigators still need to greatly increase fuel production. Nocera says the team is working on prototyping the technology and is in partnership discussions with several companies.

Nocera has an even bigger vision for the basic technology. Beyond producing hydrogen and carbon-rich fuels in a sustainable way, he has demonstrated that equipping the system with a different metabolically altered bacterium can produce nitrogen-based fertilizer right in the soil, an approach that would increase crops yields in areas where conventional fertilizers are not readily available. The bacterium uses the hydrogen and CO2 to form a biological plastic that serves as a fuel supply. Once the microbe contains enough plastic, it no longer needs sunshine, so it can be buried in the soil. After drawing nitrogen from the air, it exploits the energy and hydrogen in the plastic to make the fertilizer. Radishes grown in soil containing the microbes ended up weighing 150 percent more than control radishes.

Nocera admits that he initially ran the fertilizer test just to see if the idea would work. He envisions a time, however, when bacteria will “breathe in hydrogen” produced by water splitting and ultimately use the hydrogen to produce desired products ranging from fuels to fertilizers, plastics and drugs, depending on the specific metabolic alterations designed for the bugs.
Rights & Permissions
Advertisement | Report Ad

Javier Garcia Martinez

Javier Garcia Martinez is a professor of inorganic chemistry and director of the Molecular Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Alicante in Spain. He is a co-founder of Rive Technology in Boston and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. He has published extensively on nanomaterials, catalysis and energy. The most recent books he has edited are Nanotechnology for the Energy Challenge and The Chemical Element: Chemistry's Contribution to Our Global Future.
Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017

    110 Emerging Technologies to Watch
    2Blood Tests Allow for Scalpel-Free Biopsies
    3Off-Grid Devices Draw Drinking Water from Dry Air
    4Deep-Learning Networks Rival Human Vision

Report Ad
Sign Up


Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Neuroscience. Evolution. Health. Chemistry. Physics. Technology.
Subscribe Now!Every Issue. Every Year. 1845 - Present

Follow us


    Press Room

Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers.
© 2017 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.

ThriveGlobal/Eric Barker: A Navy SEAL Explains 8 Secrets To Grit And Resilience

Wisdom // June 23, 2017
A Navy SEAL Explains 8 Secrets To Grit And Resilience
Ask for help, its encouraged.

    by Eric Barker

Sometimes you just want to quit. You know you shouldn’t but nothing seems better than crawling back into bed and hiding under the covers. (I am there right now, actually, with my laptop.)

The emerging science of grit and resilience is teaching us a lot about why some people redouble their efforts when the rest of us are heading for the door.

Research is great, but it’s always nice to talk to someone who’s been there firsthand, and to see how theory holds up against reality. So who knows about grit and persistence? Navy SEALs.

So I gave my friend James Waters a call. He was a SEAL Platoon Commander. BUD/S class 264 had a 94% attrition rate. Out of 256 guys only 16 graduated — and James was one of them.

James and I talked for hours but what struck me was how much of what he had to say about SEAL training and his time in the teams aligned with the research on grit, motivation, expertise and how people survive the most challenging situations.

So what can the SEALs and research teach you about getting through life’s tough times? Here we go.
1) Purpose And Meaning

To say SEAL training is hard is a massive understatement. The initial vetting phase (“BUD/S”) is specifically designed to weed people out who aren’t serious.

How do you get serious? Grit often comes from a place of deep purpose and personal meaning. Here’s James:

    At BUD/S you have to know what you’re getting yourself into and what you’re there to do. I still mentor a lot of guys who are interested in trying out for BUD/S and they always ask, “What do I need to do to make my pushups better?” or “Can you teach me the proper swim technique?” My first question is always, “Why do you want to be a SEAL? What is it about being a SEAL that appeals to you?”

And the research backs James up. Without a good reason to keep pushing, we’ll quit. Studies of “central governor theory” show our brains always give in long before our body does.

Via Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science Is Creating a New Generation of Superathletes–and What We Can Learn from Them:

    “…Overall, it seems that exercise performance is ultimately limited by perception of effort rather than cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic factors.”

But this isn’t just true for athletics, it also holds for careers. In a study of West Point alums, those that had intrinsic goals (“I want to serve my country. I want to test my abilities.”) outperformed those that had extrinsic goals (“I want to rise in the ranks and become an officer because that’s a really powerful position and it’s prestigious.”)

(For more on how people stay resilient in the most deadly situations, click here.)

So purpose matters. But what’s the attitude that keeps you going in the moment? It’s actually a bit less serious.
2) Make It A Game

When I hear something over and over from very different sources, I take notice. And “make it a game” is one of those things.

    What’s one of the things people who live through disaster scenarios have in common? They make survival a game.
    Happiness expert Shawn Achor said the best way to deal with stress is to see problems as challenges, not threats.
    Kids do better in school when it’s treated like a game.

James said the same thing about getting through the tough times at BUD/S:

    Many people don’t recognize that what they’re doing at BUD/S is assessing your ability to handle a difficult circumstance and keep going. It’s a game. If you want to be a Navy SEAL, you’ve got to play that game. You’ve got to have fun with it and you’ve got to keep your eye on the bigger picture.

(For more on how astronauts, samurai and Navy SEALs make good decisions, click here.)

Obviously, much of what SEALs do on a mission is quite serious but in getting through the training, treating it like a game is a great perspective. But how confident do you need to be?
3) Be Confident — But Realistic

In the book Supersurvivors the author makes an interesting distinction: People in tough situations need to be very realistic about the danger they’re in — but they need to be confident about their ability to handle it. Lack of confidence isn’t an option but neither is denial.

James echoed this same sentiment when talking about the attitude SEALs need to have when on a mission:

    When you lead a platoon, you want your guys to be confident in what they’re doing and know that they have the training to be able to go out and accomplish a mission and bring everybody home safe. You don’t want your guys to be overconfident because that’s always when a mistake happens. It’s always when someone gets hurt.

Research has shown that hope and despair can be self-fulfilling prophecies.

(For the three things you can learn about fearlessness from Special Ops and Navy SEALs, click here.)

Confidence is always good. But what builds confidence when you’re unsure?
4) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Marathons aren’t as hard after a few months of training. But if I said you had to run one tomorrow you’d probably cry.

Most people think SEALs are going from mission to mission, always in the field. Nothing could be further from the truth. James spent only 25% of his time deployed. He spent 75% of his time training. Why?

Skills are perishable and SEALs need to be so good at so much. Here’s James:

    Most people assume if you’re a SEAL, you’ve been deployed in the combat zone every waking moment of the time you’re on active duty which, of course, isn’t the case. We spend 75% of our time preparing for deployment and about 25% on the deployment. The reason for that is we have a lot of skills to cover and a SEAL’s trying to be a “jack of all trades, master of none.” There are many different disciplines to master, all of which require a lot of upkeep. It’s not like you jump out of a plane once and then you remember how to do it forever. It’s something you’ve got to constantly revisit. When you hang out in the mountains of Afghanistan, you don’t exactly get to work on your scuba diving.

According to the research, who survives catastrophic scenarios? The people who have prepared.

Via David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself:

    According to Johnson and Leach, the sort of people who survive are the sort of people who prepare for the worst and practice ahead of time. They’ve done the research, or built the shelter, or run the drills. They look for the exits and imagine what they will do. They were in a fire as a child or survived a typhoon. These people don’t deliberate during calamity because they’ve already done the deliberation the other people around them are just now going through.

Research shows that reducing uncertainty reduces fear. According to Dan Coyle, before the Bin Laden mission SEALs built two full scale replicas of the building they’d be entering and practiced the raid for three weeks.

(For more on how a good attitude promotes success, click here.)

So what do you do after you prepare?
5) Focus On Improvement

When you frame things as a win/lose scenario and they don’t go well, you’re a loser. And so you quit.

When you take the perspective that everything is a learning experience, there are no winners or losers. And you just keep getting better. James said this attitude is key for SEALs:

    Eric, this gets at my point of the SEAL experience, this constant learning, constantly not being satisfied. That’s one of the interesting things about the community: you never feel like you’ve got it all figured out. If you do feel like you figured it out, you probably aren’t doing it right. If you’re not willing to learn from other people then frankly you’re not doing all you need to do to be the best operator you can possibly be. It’s a culture of constant self-improvement and constant measurement of how you’re doing. That’s a theme I think that all SEALs would agree is critical.

Carol Dweck’s research at Stanford shows that a “growth mindset” (believing abilities aren’t fixed and you can improve) is a key element of success. And Angela Duckworth has found this attitude is tied to grit:

    …we have found moderate, positive associations between grit and growth mindset, suggesting that growth mindset, like optimistic explanatory style, may contribute to the tendency to sustain effort toward and commitment to goals.

And how do you become an expert? By focusing on your weaknesses, not your strengths.

SEALs take this very seriously, doing a debrief after each mission to review what happened and spending 90% of the time discussing what they could do better next time. Here’s James:

    When you go out on a mission, you always acknowledge your successes but much more important than that is you take a hard look at your failures and are willing to accept criticism. One of the key strengths of the SEAL Teams is the culture of constant self-improvement. No one ever says “That’s good enough.” On almost every real world mission I was on – even the most successful ones – we spent 90% of our post-mission debrief focusing on what we did wrong or could have done better.

Some of you are thinking, “Oh, they’re SEALs. They were just born experts.” Not true. As Angela Duckworth’s research on grit shows, gritty people often start out less talented. But by hard work they end up better than the naturally gifted:

    Our research suggests that prodigious talent is no guarantee of grit. In fact, in most samples, grit and talent are either orthogonal or slightly negatively correlated.

(For more on the science of how you can become an expert at anything, click here.)

So maybe you’re doing all these things and are well on your way to grit Valhalla. Great. But you can’t do it alone.
6) Give Help And Get Help

James had buddies who supported him and who he gave support to. Lone wolves don’t make it in the teams. Here’s James:

    The people who make it through BUD/S are the guys to whom the team matters more than anything, including their own pain. Many of the guys who quit at BUD/S are, on the other hand, people who frankly just don’t care as much about that stuff. You’ll be carrying a log in training that weighs a few hundred pounds and you’re carrying it with six guys for two and a half hours. Among other reasons, those who quit don’t seem to feel much remorse when they duck out from behind that log and ring the bell so they can take a shower and be done. Guys who ultimately make it would never even think about doing that because, even if they were in such dire pain, they just would never do that to their teammate.

The benefits of getting help are obvious. But by giving help and taking on the role of caretaker we increase the feeling of meaning in our lives. This helps people in the worst situations keep going.

As The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg explained, having a support network is vital to improvement. Seeing others achieve goals makes us believe we can. James expressed this same point about BUD/S:

    You’ve got to have that voice in your head that’s like, “Okay, I’m here to do this. I knew that it was going to be hard. At the end, I’m going to get to do something a lot cooler. If all these guys can do it, I can certainly do it.”

(For more on how you can increase your willpower, click here.)

Grit is great but what keeps us motivated when we’re under the most intense pressures imaginable and nothing seems to be going right? It’s the little things.
7) Celebrate Small Wins

The research on motivation is clear: “small wins” are a big deal. Taking a moment to appreciate the little good things that happen is far more motivating than thinking you need to win that Nobel Prize or Academy Award before you’re allowed to be happy.

James said almost the exact same thing about BUD/S. Appreciating the small fleeting victories is essential to getting through the hard moments like the infamous “Hell Week”:

    When you’re at BUD/S, it’s the small victories that matter. Let’s say you made it through a two and a half hour long PT session. You throw that log down, get together with your class, and go run a mile to dinner. That’s a small victory. It feels good. You sit down, have a nice meal, and feel like everything’s great. Then as soon as dinner is done, the instructors see you and say, “Go get wet and sandy.” They torture you again and you’re back down into the muck. BUD/S is a constant cycle of peaks and valleys. Even your brightest moments are constantly transformed into bad ones. When you finish Hell Week you feel like you’re on top of the world until you realize you still have nearly a year of training left to go. But you’ve got to be able to accept these peaks and valleys, these small victories and recognize that, yes, so many things are bad but they do have a start and an end.

The research on happiness agrees too: Lots of little good things beat infrequent great things when it comes to how good we feel.

(For more on how you can be more motivated, click here.)

Enough big fancy concepts and nerdy research. What’s something dead simple we’re all familiar with that SEALs and academics agree can help us be resilient when the world is treating us bad?
8) Find A Way To Laugh

A while back I interviewed Army Ranger Joe Asher and he said this about making it through the punishment of Ranger School: “If I can laugh once a day, every day I’m in Ranger School, I’ll make it through.”

James said the same thing about SEAL training:

    You’ve got to have fun and be able to laugh; laugh at yourself and laugh at what you’re doing. My best friend and I laughed our way through BUD/S. We still tell the same jokes whenever I talk him. It’s one of my best memories of going through BUD/S. There’s something about when you’re facing a really crummy situation, to look over at your friend and see him smile. It tells you, “Alright, I’m going to be fine. We’re going to be fine and it’s all going to work out.”

Experts say that humor provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear.

Via Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool:

    “Humor is about playing with ideas and concepts,” said Martin, who teaches at the University of Western Ontario. “So whenever we see something as funny; we’re looking at it from a different perspective. When people are trapped in a stressful situation and feeling overwhelmed, they’re stuck in one way of thinking: This is terrible. I’ve got to get out of here. But if you can take a humorous perspective, then by definition you’re looking at it differently — you’re breaking out of that rigid mind-set.”

(For more on how to be funny, click here.)

Let’s round this up with the key takeaways from James and the research.
Enough Reading. Time For Doing.

What we can learn from James, the SEALs and the research on how to have grit:

    Purpose and meaning. It’s easier to be persistent when what we’re doing is tied to something personally meaningful.
    Make it a game. It’s the best way to stay in a competitive mindset without stressing yourself out.
    Be confident — but realistic. See the challenges honestly but believe in your own ability to take them on.
    Prepare, prepare, prepare. Grit comes a lot easier when you’ve done the work to make sure you’re ready.
    Focus on improvement. Every SEAL mission ends with a debrief focusing on what went wrong so they can improve.
    Give help and get help. Support from others helps keep you going, and giving others support does the same.
    Celebrate small wins. You can’t wait to catch the big fish. Take joy where you can find it when good times are scarce.
    Find a way to laugh. Rangers, SEALs, and scientists agree: a chuckle can help you cope with stress and keep you going.

Real grit and dedication pays dividends long after the challenges are over. They build bonds that last a lifetime.

After James left active service he found out one of his teammates had tragically died in a training accident. Most of the platoon had already left their Hawaii training base and relocated all over the country.

But they all returned for the memorial service. Every single one. And it never occurred to him that everyone wouldn’t. Here’s James:

    We had guys in Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida – really all over the place. There was just no question we’d all come back for the memorial service. No question. Everybody was there and it was a really sad, sad event and we all miss Matt a lot… I was so proud of our guys. I think it said a lot about the quality of our experience and the caliber of our guys that there was no question they’d return. I think a lot of SEAL platoons are exactly like that. It was just nice to know that everybody’s got each other’s back, just like we always did.

In my next weekly email I’ll have more from James including his analysis of the type of people who make it through SEAL training (and people who don’t), along with discussion of the four methods the Navy used to increase SEAL passing rates. To make sure you don’t miss it, join here.

Join over 161,000 readers and get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

6 Hostage Negotiation Techniques That Will Get You What You Want

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

Originally published at
Self Improvement, Success
Eric Barker

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    “ People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. ”

— Marcus Aurelius

    About Us Careers Contact Partnerships - Corporate Partnerships - Media Partnerships - Commerce Press Team Privacy Terms

Thrive Global © 2017