School Starts Too Early #newsfornerds

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 8/29/2014 |
  • 10:00 am
School Starts Too Early  #newsfornerds

This week's batch of News for Nerds stories:

  • Why do schools start classes so early?
  • The waiting is the hardest part . . . but it's good for you
  • Why you'll lose friends in mid-life
  • Monkeys don't own the rights to their own selfies
  • A robot rides a hovercraft!

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It's easy to pick on kids for being lazy and sleeping too much, but would you be surprised to learn that the truth is just the opposite?

In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most kids are dangerously under-rested, leading to issues as wide-ranging as bad grades, obesity, and depression. For developing minds and bodies, a minimum of 8 1/2 hours sleep is recommended, but most high school seniors get less than 7.

One possible solution: later start times for schools. Many, myself included, have been calling for this shift for years.

But not so fast, says Kristen Amundsen, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. While the concept of pushing back the first morning tardy bell makes sense in theory, implementation is tricky. If everyone started school at a later time, there are a lot of logistical questions that don't have easy answers -- not enough buses, not enough time for after-school activities and sporting events, not enough time for homework at night, and so on.

Still, Virginia's Fairfax County is expected to vote on this exact issue in October. If it passes, this could be the first of many dominoes to fall. Stay tuned.

- story from CNBC, photo from Alessandro Zangrilli via Wikimedia Commons

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To quote my dear friend Inigo Montoya: I hate waiting.

Except maybe I shouldn't, because a series of new studies published in the journal Psychological Science seems to indicate that one of the keys to happiness is waiting.

Think about it this way. If you have a big beach vacation coming up, you will no doubt enjoy the actual time spent with your toes in the sand and an umbrella drink in hand. But before that even happens, you'll get weeks of excitement and anticipation as your vacation approaches. And that build-up has value. Scientists are getting good at measuring and studying it.

What's more, waiting for an experience brings much more happiness than waiting to purchase an item. Studies have shown that customers waiting in line to buy tickets to a concert are happier and more positive than people waiting to buy a new gadget, like a phone or tablet. They're more well-behaved, too.

The bottom line? Embrace the wait, and let a little delayed gratification into your life. Or to put it differently: don't rush a miracle, son. You'll get a rotten miracle.

- story from Tech Times, photo from S. Sepp via Wikimedia Commons

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Here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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