February 16, 2018
A new study from the McGovern Institute suggest “that one of the most effective ways to stimulate children’s brains from a young age is back-and-forth conversation,” writes Elise Takaham for The Boston Globe. “We think that it’s because back-and-forth conversation is not only about hearing more words, it’s also about practicing paying attention to someone else and involves lots of emotional and social bonding,” said Prof. John Gabrieli.
Carey Goldberg writes for WBUR’s CommonHealth about this year’s USA Memory Championship, which is taking place at MIT. “[M]emory is a skill, it's not an innate capacity," says Robert Ajemian, a research scientist at MIT’s McGovern Institute. "And that's the message that we want to get out, both to the scientific community and to the lay community."
MIT researchers found that the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate increases when supplemented with a common dietary amino acid, writes Victoria Forster of Forbes. Prof. David Sabatini, a co-author on the study, “is hopeful about the prospects for supplementation improving the therapy in the future,” says Forster.
MIT graduate students Ellen Shakespear and Stephanie Lee are opening “an artist workspace and exhibition pop-up,” known as Spaceus, in the historic Roslindale substation, reports Jules Struck for Boston Magazine. The startup, which is partly funded by MIT, “provides a sustainable service to local artists, but also serves as a neighborhood gathering place,” according to Lee.
A new paper by Assistant Prof. Salvatore Vitale finds that studying the rare pairing of a neutron star and a spiraling black hole could allow researchers to determine the universe’s rate of expansion, writes Jeremy Fox of The Boston Globe. The positive detection of a collision could “potentially give a dramatic contribution to our understanding of the universe,” says Vitale.
Profs. Abhijit Banerjee and Benjamin Olken speak with NPR’s Jason Beaubien about their efforts to improve Indonesia’s Raskin, or Rice for the Poor, program. "There's a certain tendency among both social scientists and policymakers to assume that the solution to a complex problem has to be complex,” says Banerjee, “and I don't think that's always true."
A new paper by Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson argues that machines and automation will replace specific tasks rather than entire jobs, writes Adi Gaskell for Forbes. As an example, Gaskell notes that there are 26 tasks associated with radiologists, and while “analyzing medical images is well suited to AI, interpersonal skills are currently not.”