Thursday, July 20, 2017

Help Science, Have Fun

Help Science + Have Fun = Win/Win

Got time on your hands? Feeling like it’s time to get involved in the world in new and productive ways? Looking for ways to become involved in something that can, in the long run, help others? If so, then check out the possibilities these hands-on approaches to scientific research. They cover a range of topics, and allow you to help organizations as little or as much as you would like.

The Online Wisdom Lab - A new suite of apps that will help University of Birmingham researchers learn about changes in thinking skills, decision making and health behavior during adulthood. By completing surveys and games within the app, members of the public will be able to learn more about their own thinking and behavior, and help researchers to understand how these skills change throughout the lifespan. 

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The Small World of Words project is a large study, based upon a questionnaire that volunteers take, designed to help universities in Australia and Belgium build a map of the human lexicon in the major languages of the world. Unlike a thesaurus or dictionary, this language map provides insight into what words and what part of their meaning are represented in the human mind. The results enable psychologists, linguists, neuroscientists and others to test new theories about how the human brain represents and processes language.

Today’s globalized world lets us connect in ways that have never been possible before. So, go on, step into the future and give science a hand; at a pace that works for you. Along the way, you might also learn some new skills and have fun. 

Nothing wrong with that, right?

To learn more about these and other volunteer opportunities, click here.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Modern Day Folk Heroes

  3 Modern Day Folk Heroes

Folk heroes are people we admire. While some do deeds as renegades who go against the grain and challenge authority, others quietly give of themselves to do what most of us believe to be valuable and important work.  A recent article by Hestie Barnard Gerber provides examples of such super human beings. Here are three modern day folk heroes who do things that will benefit others.

Jorge Munoz: 

From life as an illegal immigrant to presidential citizenry, this man understood the hunger pangs of illegal day laborers who were also homeless. Ready, willing, and able, he took on the task of feeding these under-the-bridge dwellers on a regular basis. His warm, cooked meals were served, come rain or shine. Estimates are that he has provided meals to more than 70,000 people in the Queens area of New York. Since his citizenship in 1987, he has paid for the food primarily with wages he earns as a school bus driver and donations from others.  His efforts earned him the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal by President Barack Obama.

Pushpa Basnet: 

It was a visit to a female prisoner in Kathmandu that this Nepalese student earning her degree in social work first encountered children living behind bars with their mothers. The scene motivated her to establish the non-profit Early Development Center and Butterfly Home that provide daycare, education, meals and medical care as well as other services. Along the way, she has also found time to help the women in prison learn handcrafts that can help them earn money to help pay for the care their children receive.

Aki Ra: 

As a very young boy he became a child soldier. Chosen by the Khmer Rouge, he laid thousands of mines and fought for the Cambodian army. He later applied his skills to clearing out landmines and, in time, collected enough of the defused artillery to create a collection that in time became known as the Cambodia Landmine Museum. He funded his effort by charging tourists a dollar each to see the material. In time, he switched from this illegal clearing to creating a non-governmental organization. Cambodian Self Help Demining allows him to legally clear out landmines. Along the way he has adopted injured and abandoned children in the villages he visited. 

Modern day folk heroes abound in today’s globalized world. We owe them gratitude because they are making a difference that benefit us all. To read the complete article, click here.

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