The 20 Things I Learned in 2013

That sleep helps clean our brain. Or in the words of the journal Science, “Observations showed that when mice sleep, channels between neurons in their brains expand, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flush out detritus, such as proteins that in human beings are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” (Source)

How truly symbiotic animals we are. “Researchers have found that the trillions of bacteria living inside the human body play vital roles in determining how the body responds to challenges as different as malnutrition and cancer—a realization that Science’s editors named a runner-up for Breakthrough of the Year. To be effective, future personalized medicine treatments will need to take these microbial guests into account.” (source)

Evidence that epigenetics underlies heritable traits and even emotions like fear. Again from Science, “a provocative study presented at an evolutionary biology meeting last month found that heritable changes in plant flowering time and other traits were the result of epigenetics alone, unaided by any sequence changes.” (source here and here and here and here)

I learned that TED doesn’t think all ideas are worth spreading. (source)

That Wikipedia is becoming less reliable as editorial control gets centralized. (source)

That there are common myths and misconceptions surrounding vaccinations. The reasons for the anti-vaccination movement, though thoroughly debunked, I think are symptomatic of a deeper distrust of corporations and government. (source)

I learned what Innovation Engineering is all about and went through black belt training. (source)

Yet more studies show that America is falling behind in math and science – and how some creative people are working to fix that. (source)

More evidence that those that are educated, want more education. (source)

Human brains are actually shrinking. (source)

Learned that I scored frighteningly high on the Autism Spectrum Quotient. (source)

Rupert’s new book, Science Set Free, came out in paperback in the United States.

Helped Rupert start a Tumblr blog.

Took the following classes:

  • Book of Genesis from the Great Courses series
  • Class from the University of Virginia, Design Thinking for Business Innovation, with the amazing professor Jeanne Liedtka (Coursera)
  • Data Analysis from Johns Hopkins University (Coursera)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior from Duke University (Coursera)
  • Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression from The University of Melbourne (Coursera)

Learned that all men alive today can trace their lineage back to a male chromosome that originated in Africa, relatively recently. (source)

That turmeric may be as effective as Prozac for treating depression. (source)

There is a virus even bigger than Mimivirus, Pandoraviruses. (source)

Books I read in 2013:

These were some of the cool things I learned in 2013. Keep on learning new stuff…

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