Little Acorns is a place for me to share tidbits from the week that I found valuable or interesting, but are too brief for their own posts. Even the smallest ideas can help build a greater understanding of the world around you, so grow your mind with this weekly wrap-up.
I was in Columbus, OH for most of this week on my first business trip, so this week’s wrap-up is a short one!
However, on a related note, this week I learned that Columbus has really improved in the last several years! If you’re into being outside, the Scioto Mile trails are perfect for running and biking, and you can kayak and stuff on the river. It’s also a perfect place for date night, with super cute swings and a gorgeous fountain. (Get a selfie with the weird deer, too)
I also learned that Columbus has an unexpectedly strong fashion scene, due to the clothing giants headquartered there (including Victoria’s Secret), strong fashion schools, and a rotating population that stays young due to Ohio State University. Due to this, there were a million small boutiques everywhere with well-constructed, unique designs. I wish I could have shopped more!
Finally, I got a chance to tour the Idea Foundry and 400 W Rich, which are fantastic resources for artists, vocational and technical workers, and entrepreneurs that need working spaces to take their hobbies and businesses to the next level. There may be similar resources in your city, too, if you look! I’m hoping to visit Cleveland’s free version of the Idea Foundry soon.
Something You Should Know Ep 104
This episode is a good reminder to always check your facts! Charles Seife, the author of Proofiness: How You’re Being Fooled by Numbers, speaks about the ways in which numbers are used to sway your perceptions and opinions.
Quoting statistics tends to give someone’s argument an air of authority and knowledge, because concrete numbers hint at scientific methods of study, which help us seek the truth in an unbiased way. But how often do you double-check these numbers?
Seife reminds us that it’s smart to ask for sources and methodology, as studies and statistics can be biased by a wide variety of things, from who is sponsoring the study, to the way polling questions are phrased, to how the final data is presented.
For example, calling him just “Obama” in the question creates a lower approval rating than “Former President Obama”. Also, a longstanding and continuing problem in data regarding child kidnappings and abductions is that it tends to be skewed very high due to how these terms are defined, sometimes mixing what the public traditionally thinks of as a kidnapping with kids lost by their caretaker for at least an hour, or runaways and custody disputes.
This podcast also linked me to a very interesting article (basically a free e-book) on test-taking, which was well worth the read:
How To Master Test Taking by Fred A. Anderson
If you have to take any sort of tests, I would go ahead and read this piece. While relatively short, it gives a great overview of everything you need to know about effectively passing tests, including prep work, dealing with questions you don’t know, and post-test review.
Some parts that stuck out to me were:
- “At Columbia University, research was conducted to determine what constitutes success”… “To be considered successful by your standards, and by others, three elements are essential: skill, knowledge and attitude. Not being satisfied with just identifying these factors, they sought to determine the relative importance of each. The results of their research was that attitude makes up 93% of success! Skill and knowledge were responsible for only 7%.”
- There are seven methods of answer selection, ranked here from best to worst: recall of knowledge, computation, limited association, process of elimination, test construction clues, educated or reasoned guess, and uneducated guess.
- A Cornell University investigator surveyed 240 high school students, who were high-scoring test takers. They were asked what suggestions they would give a new student unfamiliar with the school’s ‘tests. Their tips are rank-ordered and listed in the main article (“read directions” and “don’t spend too much time on one question” at the top). Similarly, a group of college students reported that the two most important reasons for their high performance on tests were “test understanding” and “comprehension and reading ability”. Interestingly enough, knowledge of the subject matter was NOT usually listed among the top reasons given by any of the studies in which students themselves were asked about test success.
The author gives a detailed and very interesting breakdown on how to narrow down and guess the answers on any multiple choice test, even in subjects you’re not familiar with.
Random Cleaning Reminder
Time to dust! Get all of those hidden, random places that get gross, like blinds, on top of lamps and books, and more. Also, get new pillows for your bed if it’s been a while. No one likes dust mites!
Also published on Medium.