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What impact does alcohol have on the brain?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 14 Sep 2014, 08:36

Fig.1 Does alcohol have a permanent effect on the brain?

The answer is 'yes', though of course it is dependant on many variables: binge drinking is bad, like a blow to the head. This comprehensive heavy-weight article I Googled, 'Alcohol's Damaging Effects on the Brain' satisfies my initial curiosity, then the above shocking image catches my eye.

Dare I ask if we know any child who clearly showed such facial traits?

Far too late to do anything about it though.

After this paper like post from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism I eventually start looking to chase up a few references (the very best way to satisfy you curiosity and layer detail onto the ideas you are gathering) when I read that 'memory formation and retrieval are highly influenced by factors such as attention and motivation'.

From E-Learning V

This quote from Kensinger E A et al in the Journal of Neuroscience 2003. Title: What neural correlates underlie successful encoding and retrieval? Not Found in the OU Library so I cut and paste into Google Scholar and there it is to download as a PDF.

It is not surprising that scientific research shows (not speculation) that distraction diminishes attention and therefore retention, nor surprising that a low level distraction has less impact than a high one.

Does a teenager (or any of us) supposedly doing homework while

a) interacting on Facebook

b) answering text messages

c) streaming a movie and/or

d) playing a video game

... complete a task half as well than when focused?

Exam conditions aren't just best for exams:

turn off the radio and phone, shut the door, put up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign, give yourself a set period of time in which to concentrate ... and reward yourself at the end of it (not with alcohol though).

Why we all need a 'room of our own'? (Even if you have to wait until someone else vacates it).

Better an hour studying when motivated and focused, then three hours while streaming a movie, or answering email?

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Beware of Phishing ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Aug 2014, 12:33

You'd think I'd be more savvy. Recently I've had an authentic looking email and webpage link from the Inland Revenue suggesting I had a small tax rebate ... only on clicking on links from this that looped back to the same page did I realise something fishy was going on. The recent scam of emails from 'me' came about as I succumbed to what appeared to be an email from AOL saying the storage on my account had reached capacity - plausible having had an AOL account since they took over Compuserve in 1996. WRONG! This was the breach which has seen several hundred emails going to my contact list. AOL have now blocked this. If in doubt phone or text me and judge for yourself. Asking some question like, 'what did we call strawberry sauce on an ice-cream in Beadnell in the 1960s might do it!!'

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The quirks of technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 25 Nov 2012, 05:23

Loaded into DropBox (Picasa) this grab of a 17th century painting, or a 16th century character gets the 'networking' treatment. Isn't technology presumptuous.

Rogr%20CLifford%20Email%201564.JPG

This vast painting, known simply as the 'Great Picture' tells a poignant story, wealth and lands are involved, but also the desperate love of a daughter for her wayward father.

The%20Great%20Picture%20POSTCARD.jpg

Lady Anne Clifford in the left hand panel is shown age 15 at the time of her father's death. Her father, her brothers shown here also long dead, leaves his estates to his brother; something Lady Anne spends the rest of her life fighting to overtime. In the right hand panel, 41 years later, she had the lands - though only because the male line of her cousin also produced no male heirs.

It is a deeply personal story too, the image of a happy family suggested in the central frame is a myth. George Clifford was a womaniser, Champion to Queen Elizabeth, pirateer and gambler. By the time Lady Anne was at court, where she was sent age 13 years 2 months, her father was estranged from her mother and with his mistress.

The rows or heraldic devices left and right of the main picture tell the 200 year history of the Clifford Family from the mid 15th century, a line that ends with Anne. All the portraits are copies of miniatures, some made 50 years before this composite painting.

On the one hand it reads like a Hollywood Movie of three acts, the moment when it all goes wrong for Lady Anne she loses her father and inheritance), the conflict to take possession of the lands which the central panel indicate belong to this line of the Clifford family, and the final act when Lady Anne, now 56 years old, and twice married with daughters of her own, moves into her properties.

On the other hand, to modern eyes it is a homepage for a website. There would be over 70 clickable points, links into nuggets of information, on previous generations, on her brothers who died age 5 and 7, on her governess (Mrs anne Taylour) and tutor (Samuel Daniel), her aunts too (Baroness Wharton, Counterss of Derby, Countes of Warwick and Countess of bath), and her two husbands (the earl of Dorset and Phil, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery) ... on the books she read and the music she player, even her pet cat and dog.

Both her diaries and this painting suggest a daughter who craved her father's affection and on his death wanted what she felt should have been his gift to her - his lands. Clifford is shown in a pose he'd never recognise, a father and head of the family with his wife and children. He wears a suit of 'Star Armour' the equivalent today of being shown sitting in or standing next to a Royals-Royce Phantom.

Some story, some picture, some ideas on how to compress information into a three frames from the 17th Century.

It has all I'd look for in a website home page: a storyline, a choice of ways into the information (the choice to explore down to the use) and drama both in the events and the scale and nature of the picture.

There's pleasure today tracking down items from the Great Picture: the books are labeled, the pearls Lady Anne wears (a gift from her father), the star armour, the portraits and miniatures on which the Great Picture exist in galleries, collections and museums. The players have their stories too and Lady Anne kept a diary.

The journal Lady Anne kept reads like a modern blog, it trips between the issue of her inheritance and tussles over them with kings and husbands, as well as details like paying the housekeeper 3d to look after her cat when she was away (you can see the cat at Lady Anne's skirts in the right hand panel).

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H800: 4 The bud opens?

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H807, H808 to H800.

Either it is reflection of my growth through this course, or it is a blossoming of the MA ODE course. Looking at how we students will share contact details: Email, Skype, Blog and Twitter accounts suggests to me that any containment within the OU VLE is now cursory.

I feel this will increase its use, not diminish it.

This will remain the hub from which course materials, resources and context eminated with blogging, Skype and Twitter having their role to play.

All I can suggest to fellow students is to screen grab, cut and paste or download content you create beyond this platform as at some stage it is certainly going to form a significant part of your aggregated knowledge, possibly even evidence of participation.

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'Does WikiLeaks mark the end of privacy?'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 09:35

Prospect%2520SNIP%25201.JPG

'Yes', says the new editor of Prospect Magazine, Bronwen Maddox.

I have much respect for this journalist having read her in Broadcast Magazine, the FT and Times over a couple of decades.

She adds.

'Yes, I see it, and I refuse to be distressed: the good outweighs the bad, and the change is unstoppable.' Maddox, 2010. Prospect January 2010

Two points I'd like to develop here: privacy and the unstoppable nature of advances caused by e-technology.

Exposure, disclosure and loss of privacy has been discussed in the blogosphere for a decade. I recall the debate starting in 1999 when Ellen Levey (now a director of LinkedIn) had herself featured in the Washington Post. She had spent 1998 blogging about every meeting she had, looking for connections and links and pondering the value of such actions. Since then we've had many people exposed for the things they share online. Facebook and Twitter are simply expressions of the same desire to 'share' with blogs, social networking and twitter different expressions of this.

Are people recording and storing Skype conversations?

Probably.

Especially anyone with an Ego or a mischief in mind.

'Unstoppable'.

There is no going back to a world without e-learning. Though e-mail might be transposed by texting. Though MySpace has been flattened by Facebook (and who remembers FriendsReunited?) Though Google has superseded Netscape - and Amazon no longer only sells books. And at any moment something new will wash over this digital ocean like a Tsunami. (Pinterest? Instagram? StumbleUpon?)

In relation to e-learning I think we've barely started to see or fully consider the profound changes it will make to educaton - those who are e-taught could leave others in the wrong century when it comes to learning and developing potential.

REFERENCE

Maddox, B (2010) Foreword. Prospect. January 2011.

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