Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,

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Do we learn faster in cities? Learning is defined here as: Acquiring tested, practical knowledge or skill from human and non-human sources.

Learning Faster -- in Cities
Is this the subconscious reason why some people leap into cities without safety nets? It seems the provincials have now a valid reason for doing that. I am dubious of the piece and I think this is going to be a hot debate.
The title of my reference is: Why We Learn Faster in Cities Than We Could On Our Own

'O'Mara argues that we must understand the unique history and geography of places like Silicon Valley if we are to replicate these places as hubs of talent, jobs, capital, and institutions.

'In our 'flat' digital world, in which we can connect virtually with anybody we want, one could argue that the notion of an innovation hub is outdated.

'However, in today's lesson, innovation guru John Hagel explores the paradox that, despite the fact that technology infrastructure has made location unimportant, we’re becoming more urbanized at a more rapid rate than ever before...'
http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/cities-of-knowledge-why-we-learn-faster-in-cities-than-we-could-on-our-own

  • Dec 25 2013: Did Newton acquired the tested practical knowledge ?

    Before Newton the knowledge of laws of motion didn't existed.

    The apple has fallen down from the tree before Newton also,everyone observed it but the way Newton observed it nobody observed.

    The observation of the Newton was totally different.

    He observed the fall of apple and the motion of objects thoroughly and also what was invisible and intangible.

    Then he tried to understand the laws of nature , Learned it, Analysed it,then using his imagination he synthesized the laws of motion.And the final result what he concluded through synthesis was knowledge.


    I chose this example because in schools the laws of motions are taught but the actual thing should be taught is never taught and that is Observation.

    Now watch this movie in your mind.

    Scene 1:

    A kid joins the automobile repairing garage, and through continous observation , and practically learning how to repair an automobile grows up into a person who has become expert.Now he not only has the sound knowledge of 4 stroke engine but also has developed the skills to repair it.

    Scene 2:

    A kid goes to the school and learns only through books about the 4 stroke engine as part of his physics subject.He acquires the knowledge about the 4 stroke engine through books . And then a question comes in his final examination about 4 stroke engine.He writes the perfect answer and scores 100/100.

    Scene 3:

    Now the kid from scene 2 also has grown up and he also owns the bike.One day his bike stops functioning properly and then he hires the kid from scene 1 who also has grown up now.The kid from the scene 1, upon hearing the sound of running engine of the bike tells the kid of scene 2 that where is the problem and how much time it will take.

    Now the question is who is knowledgable and educated the kid of scene 1 or the kid of scene 2.
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      Dec 25 2013: Excellent illustrations about observation Santokh!
      I believe that being observant is very important in acquiring knowledge.

      'Now the question is who is knowledgable and educated the kid of scene 1
      or the kid of scene 2.'

      Ahh... now I agree with what you're implying -- learning by watching and
      experience is better than book learning. Practical over Theory.
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    Dec 10 2013: Interesting that you have defined learning for your question. I think the scope of the answers becomes wider with undefined learning and may be the insights received could be deeper. But since you defined learning that way, I shall try a modified comment.
    First to clear a few things. I did not place any preference on cities as centers of learning :) Nor did I mean the village folks are less capable of learning. I was amused to see the debate going to the extent where many debated whether universities or schools can do better from villages. That's a very limited way to think about learning.
    I will think that by truthful knowledge and skill you mean intellectual resources that have high and moral values. If that is what you mean, fastness of learning will hardly be a local function. It will then be the function of the quality of the receptor of the knowledge and skill and that quality will likely be mentored in environments where distractions are less.
    In India we have this tradition of 'Ashrama' (knowledge commune) and Gurukul (Coaching tradition) where students/learners live a life of discipline and their faculties are refined to handle knowledge and skills at the purest of values. The same tradition is also prevalent in China, Japan and many Asian countries.
    Such seats of learning are difficult to be founded in cities, unless you would imagine university towns like Cambridge in Europe. So, no; learning will likely not be faster in cities with your definition of learning.
    There is a caveat though. Pure knowledge is truth itself. Pure skill too. But one should not ascribe an absolute value on this truth. The only absolute truth about such knowledge and skill is that these can change with time and place.
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      Dec 10 2013: lol I was afraid that the debate you sparked would become
      heated. But then, I was glad that your repliers were sensible and
      courteous.

      I thought hard about using the words 'truthful knowledge'. Well,
      what I had in mind wasn't moral values' first but the correctness
      of the knowledge source. If I used 'correct knowledge', truth can
      be considered out of it and that would be bad so I used 'truthful'.

      Are those Indian traditions religious? Hindu or Buddhist?

      'The only absolute truth about such knowledge and skill is that
      these can change with time and place.'

      There you are. If I used the word 'correct' instead of 'pure', the
      knowledge involved could become false with changes of time and places!
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    Dec 9 2013: I'm sure I'm biased, having grown up in rural New Zealand, but my experiences suggest that faster and greater learning doesn't happen in cities simply as a matter of course. I've lived in larger centres in the UK and visited a lot of different countries, mostly in Europe. There may be more opportunities for interaction in cities, but I've found actual interactions poorer, and sometimes fewer, than in country settings, not richer, as John Hagel suggests. People joke about the unwritten rules of the London Underground - things like 'whatever you do, don't make eye contact'. In contrast, it's normal to greet a stranger as you pass on a village street, or have a conversation with a country store shopkeeper about front page events as you buy a newspaper.

    I also found poorer diversity of people with whom I had meaningful interactions in cities. In workplaces I was more likely to be immediately surrounded by colleagues of the same level and discipline as myself. However, in smaller centres with smaller businesses, I was more likely to interact with every level and discipline in the organisation. In smaller country schools, I played with boys and girls, rich and poor, any ethnicity, because there just weren't that many of us. In larger schools, we somehow separated ourselves and were poorer for it.

    Also, in smaller communities with fewer services and resources, people need to be more self-sufficient. A wider range of skills and problem-solving abilities are important, and the more remote you are, the more important this is. If you live in the middle of nowhere, it's a good idea to know CPR, how to change a car tyre, how to grow vegetables, how to glaze a window.... The average farmer is an extraordinary person.

    As others have said, cities do offer wonderful pockets of concentrated information, like museums and universities, but they have to be deliberately sought out. Faster and greater learning in cities doesn't just happen as a matter of course.
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      Dec 9 2013: Great personal testimony Sara. Yes, interaction with strangers
      in rural areas is so much easier to achieve. City people tend to
      be snobs, ironically, because they're always in a hurry. I mean
      it's one downside to living (or learning) faster! I know that by
      experience too.

      As for school sizes, there's a mystery appeared we need to solve. In
      the Philippines, we have bigger primary country schools and more
      students in contrast with New Zealand country schools.

      '...cities do offer wonderful pockets of concentrated information,
      like museums and universities, but they have to be deliberately sought out...'

      In Indonesia, Innayah said they are forced to search city school learning.
      'In remote area, even teacher is coming once a week, and level of school
      is only available for primary only, they should travel or even move further
      to reach the teacher and school...'
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        Dec 10 2013: Thanks, Poch. Yes, you, Innayah and Carl John raise some good points, which I guess illustrate one answer to this question must be that it depends on the country/state/district in which you live, at least with respect to formal learning. That is, assuming greater accessibility of formal learning leads to greater speed of learning in those environments - which I'm sure it must, up to a point.
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      Dec 8 2013: '... learning is relative to the opportunities
      you have to learn and apply what you have learned.'

      Great illustration Jason. But it made me lean to outdoors
      becoming and being my lab lol. Yes, without self-initiative,
      learning, whether fast or slow, accomplishes little.
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          Dec 8 2013: We have 'field trips' in college but it's voluntary
          and for grade make-up. We go to places where we
          can use our individual talents. We even have it in public
          primary schools in the 1960s but just for exposure.
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    Dec 6 2013: sometimes we have to make a practical illustration of abstract information. My son could not "get" the addition and subtraction of numbers as long as they were symbolically presented on paper. So I bought a bag of penny candy and I laid out on the table the same thing he was seeing as symbols on paper. He got it and there was no stopping him. He made the highest score in his school on the ACT test. I think it depends on the individual and we should not be referring to rural people as "falling off the turnip truck. Location has little to do with leaning.
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      Dec 6 2013: In your son's case Helen, it didn't just depend on him
      but on the teacher's brilliant ideas as well! Thank you for the great story ma'am.
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        Dec 6 2013: You are quite welcome. I don't know why but the idea came to me when I saw him struggling.
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          Dec 6 2013: You probably read his mind ma'am. Common among moms and children :-)
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      Dec 6 2013: Hi Helen ..., "Location has little to do with learning" ... yes I quite agree. I´d say that have access to learning resources is even more important than location. For instance Internet is a rather simple example, it is an open window to knowledge as long as you have access to it and, know how to use it: you can share ideas, experiment experiences...
      Also be surronded by the right people , people who push you to pursue your goals, who are always there to help you with. We learn faster depending on our personal needs , people surronding us and, access to resources regardless of the place where we live.
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        Dec 6 2013: I must admit that it requires such resources as you mentioned. I don't know what you mean by push. I like teachers who engage students in the learning process in such a way as to make the student curious and consider learning fun instead of a chore. Peace.
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    Dec 5 2013: We can learn faster in cities because there are many talented or ambitious people in cities.
    They'll be our motivation to learn.

    Until 18, I lived in my own town(that is a remote area), and had thought "I'm the most capable people in the world". To go to the University, I came to Tokyo,a Japanese capital, finding a lot of clever ones and felt ashamed of my arrogance.

    Now, in our 'flat' digital world, we can see remote-living great men and women,
    but we tend to react as if they were the caracters in the novel.
    That doesn't bring us a sense of crisis.

    Only by looking at higher-ranking opponents or colleagues, in other words a worthy rival, at first hand,
    we come to have a burning ambition and start to learn seriously.
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      Dec 5 2013: Yes Yuma. Great illustrations and I see your point. In fact,
      one of the persons who greatly motivated me was my Japanese
      boss from Tokyo and he was the best boss I ever had. He
      imported an animation trainer and a rich investor (both teen-
      aged!) who also motivated our employees and office.

      Hai. There are much more formidable rivals in the cities whose
      challenges will make others want to equal them. Ganbatte Yuma.
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    Dec 5 2013: I dont believe we learn faster in cities. We just think we do. We learn so much about technology and pop culture and bits of the culture of people we may never have met in the countryside; but there are so many other realities of life and living that the small towns, villages and small communities reveal.

    Cities are usually under the siege of a desperate run after money and material things, status and the next big thing.

    There is so much to reach for, learn, and admire, in innovation. But if one is opportuned to do a deep sea diving to see the vastness of the life there, one would know that nature has far more amazing things than human inventions.
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      Dec 5 2013: '...nature has far more amazing things than human inventions.'

      Now that's one thing I definitely agree with Feyi! As I've said in
      my convo intro, I'm dubious that we learn faster in cities. I think
      we could do that too but there will be a health payback for over-
      loading our mental capacity.
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    Jan 3 2014: It really depends on what you are learning.

    People are exposed to more different cultures and viewpoints in cities, so cultural learning is definitely enhanced by living in a city. However, I've also lived in rural areas and found that people there are far from stupid, despite being portrayed often as "hicks" in the media. People in rural areas definitely learn more about natural systems.

    In a city, the pace is faster and there is more competition, so people have to work harder to stand out. Cities exaggerate people's personality traits, as well--again a function of needing to stand out.

    As for book learning, this can occur anywhere. For example, I can listen to a TED conversation here in San Francisco, or I can listen to the same thing in Mendocino, a tiny town north of here.

    One thing cities *do* provide are audiences and markets. Someone is much more likely, for example, to give a speech on molecular biology in a city only because there are more people who will come see it. The same speech in a town of 20 people might have no audience at all--not because the people aren't smart, but because they're not interested in the topic.
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      Jan 3 2014: 'Someone is much more likely, for example, to give a speech on
      molecular biology in a city only because there are more people who will come see it...'
      This is also why universities choose to give more choices of courses in cities. Same with
      firms giving grants and scholarships. Thanks John.
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    Dec 23 2013: Poch,it's an interesting question. what i can say is, First of all there are many reasons people migrate to cities, one of them is employment and the oppurtunities and urban way of life as depicted in visual entertainment media. Learning about what? All look to practical benefit of learning, since cities now are the engine of the economy, it is relevant for someone to venture there. Does learning in a city help one to live in a countryside i don't think so. from a sustainable point of view, learning by being in a city is sucidal. learning faster or slow is not a relevant questioning, but how effective is learning in a city is the right question i think so.
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      Dec 23 2013: Yes Uba. The important thing is learning effectively wherever we are. Thanks.
  • Dec 21 2013: I agree with Poch Peralta, Sumesh Kassie, sharp insight, well expressed, and I could not agree more; and it ties in well with Tino Virtanen's comment.

    Reference the International Express Newspaper 2 - 4 years ago: 30 female and 30 male of the top UK University entrants for that year, were given the 1950 11 (year) plus exam for grammar school entry: The pass score mark was 60 out of 100, If I remember correctly only two girls passed, with scores of 60 and 62.

    Today also reference many news articles in the International Express; city kids think milk is manufactured, tomatoes grow on trees, etc. And as stated by Tino Virtanen, they have come to rely on calculators, computers, and digital technology so much, that their minds have not grown dimmer; but rather they have not been educationally stretched; and so learning wise have regressed, in comparison to what was expected of, and learned by past generations of pupils and students.

    In the meanwhile, those practical skilled, and inventive and innovative, country folk, and kids, who were labelled as yokels and ockers; given greater access to education and the internet, have and continue to make greater strides forward; as they retain the practicalities of their rural experiences, along with a better level of education, and greater knowledge of the larger world, that exists outside the limits of their small communities.

    Another interesting article was in regard to a US study; wherein a group of students were all given the same test, and then questioned as to how well they had done in the test: It was found that those who had scored the highest marks, thought they had done far less well than they had. And in regard to the low scorers it was found, that the lower the score, the better the low scorer felt that he or she had done in the test

    Quite simply; it was summed up as: The stupid are too stupid, to be able to recognise just how stupid they are; I wonder how many were future Party/Corporate Politicians?
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      Dec 21 2013: Great illustrations Carl.

      'The stupid are too stupid, to be able to recognise just
      how stupid they are; I wonder how many were future politicians?'

      LOL If those students knew you were citing them, I wonder how
      small they would feel lol. And considering how many stupid pols
      we have, it's possible many of those students became puppet pols lol
    • Dec 21 2013: i think also motivation to studing, is getting weaker. "need to give more carrot". So people start studing themselfs.
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    Dec 21 2013: 'When the knowledge and skills assessed are corrected
    for environment, then we can see if speed of learning is comparable for each
    environmental cluster based on its specific norm...'

    Sharp insight Sumesh. I may add that most tested knowledge is applicable
    only to a specific time frame -- a tested knowledge becomes obsolete with
    passing time.
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    Dec 21 2013: What do we learn faster?
    There is so much to learn so choosing what you value is based on perspective.
    Leaning how to milk cows, grow crop, understand the impact of rain, or hunt wild animals, imitate bird calls, prepare food from scratch, build huts, fish...
    These are all skills that up to this day have extreme value to communities that still require them. Sadly these communities will not have a say when a city slicker with his well manicured hands, and sleep deprived mind, seeks answers to questions that are based on possible suppositions designed to test if some aspect of knowledge has validity.
    The question of whether cities foster learning better is only true if better refers to mathematics, computer logic and programming, financial management, sourcing knowledge, etc. i.e all aspect that are important to city dwellers.
    So my answer is yes but no. Yes the tests are designed by city folk for city folk assessing the rapidity at which city folk assimilate city tasks.
    But No: I disagree on the point that the knowledge and skill tested is all encompassing. When the knowledge and skills assessed are corrected for environment, then we can see if speed of learning is comparable for each environmental cluster based on its specific norm.
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    K H

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    Dec 16 2013: The ability for an individual to learn in a city is reliant on their response to external stimuli. There is no doubt that people who live in cities receive more stimuli on a regular basis: exposure to constant movement, new ideas, new people, etc. Cities are great for gaining knowledge and “street smarts”. People who grow up in cities tend to be more tolerant of new ways of thinking. Higher population leads to more competition and a greater rate of idea exchange (which is necessary for developing broader perspectives on the world). But one should also ask the question: Do cities suit certain individuals better than others? Will someone who has lived in a city the same number of years as someone else really achieve the same benefits intellectually? Some of the world’s greatest thinkers and artists grew up in the countryside or lived in the countryside a great portion of their lives. If they had grown up in a city, they could very well have ended up as different people, perhaps without the same unique ideas.There are some things one can’t learn from a database or by prolonged living in a city. Cities are definitely useful in nurturing some personality aspects, such as tolerance and adaptability. People in cities remain the most informed on the planet, but that does not necessarily mean they learn faster. Despite data being extremely accessible in a city, other factors prevalent in a city may inhibit a person from reaching their true learning potential. Cities are full of distractions, data streaming at you from basically all directions.
    I am definitely a city person, but I think the ability to learn in certain environments can vary by person. I might feel great amid the bustling activity of a city. But someone else might find that their thoughts flow best when away from all the noise. Having knowledge at your disposal is one thing. How you handle the knowledge is another.
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      Dec 17 2013: '...There is no doubt that people who live in cities receive
      more stimuli on a regular basis: exposure to constant movement,
      new ideas, new people, etc. Cities are great for gaining knowledge
      and “street smarts”...'

      That's keen observation KH. As for 'street smarts', I wonder if 'jungle
      smarts' is not more useful.

      '...Despite data being extremely accessible in a city, other factors
      prevalent in a city may inhibit a person from reaching their true
      learning potential. Cities are full of distractions, data streaming
      at you from basically all directions...'

      It's funny that very easy access to Data itself is probably the prime
      factor that may inhibit a person from reaching their true learning potential.
      City folks become addicted to social networking, become multitaskers
      (which could work negatively), etc...

      '...I might feel great amid the bustling activity of a city. But someone else
      might find that their thoughts flow best when away from all the noise...'

      You just cited my case KH. I learn and work best in quiet though my job
      requires more of time in cities.
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        K H

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        Dec 21 2013: I agree that "jungle smarts" do not seem to directly effect our survival anymore, assuming that by "jungle smarts" the meaning is survival in the wilderness (away from constant human contact). But street smarts can be interpreted as another form of intelligence, just perhaps a form of intelligence that is geared specifically to describing survival in human populations of high density. A few of our survival factors have changed with time. Now being able to survive amid members of our own species is of seemingly more immediate importance than working independently to survive the broader forces of nature (society as a whole already works to maintain its survival through collective problem solving and collaboration to provide ourselves with food, shelter, and water in the face of the elements). People in cities can survive just fine on going to the local supermarket, whereas those who live off the land rely on battling the forces of nature more directly. Now, more than half of all humans live in urban areas (at least at the moment, we never know what the future will hold). So I see what you mean by jungle smarts not appearing as immediate to our use as before, Poch, and I agree.
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          Dec 21 2013: 'People in cities can survive just fine on going to
          the local supermarket, whereas those who live off the land
          rely on battling the forces of nature more directly. Now,
          more than half of all humans live in urban areas...'

          Great obsservation KH. But it reminds me of people who were
          forced off the cities and became wildlife recluses. They learn
          to live in and love the wildlife then evil developers force them
          off again. They lose all food source.
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    Dec 11 2013: Poch, may I share a thought? I have been experimenting with a process of thought extraction and inception from the minds of people in my imediate surrounding. This experiment arose from a theroy I had during yoga training and meditation. I found and continue to find that my mind fills with thoughts that are not inherently my own. I had to first ask myself, "Where did these thoughts come from?".

    My conclusion continues to be that we comprise our thoughts from the will of the entites around us. If we migrate to cities where individuals have developed strong wills from acedemic conditioning or intestinal fortitude, etc. the thoughts of these indivduals radiate with greater intensity. We share thoughts through spoken words, writing, or multimedia with great synergy but they still radiate from our being with non-verbal communcation.

    To answer your question directly - we learn faster with greater frequency, intensity, type of stimuli, and duration which we are exposed. Would you say this would happen in cities? It may depend on what you are trying to learn.
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      Dec 11 2013: Excellent theory John and I see what you're pointing out.
      I study and practiced Yoga myself. The problem with a 'receiver' who
      involuntarily connects with the thoughts of others is that most of what
      we receive are negative vibes. They can pollute us.

      That was keen of you to observe that city folks radiate thoughts with
      greater intensity. I think it's simply because they are more 'intense' --
      tense and always hurrying. Yogists transfer thoughts easier when they
      are calm don't they?

      '...we learn faster with greater frequency, intensity, type of stimuli,
      and duration which we are exposed.'

      I agree but I won't gamble my health forcing my mind to learn fast
      when it isn't necessary.
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      Dec 10 2013: 'Truth is subjective not objective so what you consider truthful knowledge and what someone else does might not be the same.'

      Here is my reply to Pabitra concerning my use of the word 'truthful':

      I thought hard about using the words 'truthful knowledge'. Well,
      what I had in mind wasn't moral values' first but the correctness
      of the knowledge source. If I used 'correct knowledge', truth can
      be considered out of it and that would be bad so I used 'truthful'.

      So what word would you suggest I use instead of 'truthful'?

      'If you took a country person and a city person and had them
      switch places which would adapt faster ?'

      Now that's a tougher question! I think country folks would adapt
      faster since city resources are easier to acquire. A city folk
      learning farming? Most of them wouldn't even want to get their
      hands dirty!
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          Dec 10 2013: Tested and practical knowledge

          Bravo Jason. I think they're the correct words so I will use them.
        • Dec 11 2013: "Practical information" for rural life or jobs may not be the same for "practical information" needed in industries or businesses in the cities. The "tested-ness" , therefore, is conditional depending on where the knowledge is to be tested or utilized.
  • Dec 9 2013: I don't think that the notion of learn faster in the cities is uniformly true . It depends on what kind of knowledge or innovation you are talking about. There are two major reasons that situation in the cities is conducive to learning or innovation.
    1. The kind of individuals who tend to live in (or moved to) cities, then their children, even themselves, will tend to be more likely talented, or with better parental guidance to learn, especially in technological or scientific knowledge.
    2. There are usually more and better schools and colleges, in cities, which are specially catered to science and technology for the students' interest. The schools in the rural area simply don't have enough student population and the teaching resources to support such institutions. Even colleges in rural or small township could not survive without the attendance of mainly out-of-town student body. Some of the large (in size) universities, such as the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, actually almost made a small city by itself with the student and faculty/employees and the needed supporting small businesses to cater to their needs. Of course, there are also more scientific and technology institutions or businesses in large cities to hire the graduates, or serve for the internship or research project for colleges or even some high school seniors.
    The "education" through the internet telecommunication certainly facilitates the self or remote learning, but it is still lagging too far behind the actual functions for career training by academic institutions. Remember, remote learning didn't start with the internet, there were the so-called mail correspondence courses offered almost 100 years ago.
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      Dec 9 2013: Great analysis Bart and it's good you introduced the topic
      of remote learning (RL). The best use of RL is from a city to
      another city from a different country or nation. From Manila,
      I applied to the London School of Journalism and was accepted
      but I haven't got to starting the course yet.

      But with RL, learning fast is of course out of the question. The
      transfer of correspondence will eat up too much time even though
      the Net made RL faster.
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      • Dec 10 2013: Your first question is very easy to answer. Even if you just review many of the discussions on TED, you will easily find that parental guidance is usually listed as one of the most important contributors to fast learning You can check them by yourself.
        As to your 2nd query:
        "That is true but those students learning will be very compressed and limited to just those subjects while a student living in the country and then attending those colleges would have a more well rounded education."
        I could answer your comment with my own experience. I myself quit school at thae age of 14. But I kept on self study by going to the local libraries and buying used textbooks in the city of Shanghai. Since Shanghai was an international city at that time, I could find mant used textbooks in science and technology, thus I became a "well rounded" scholar on my own. Later on I skipped all of 5 years of formal high school AND 4 years of college undergraduate education and entered a graduate school in the U. S. and finished a PhD degree, by way of passing a series of qualifying tests for the high school and college bachelor's degree. The fact that I did live in the largest city did facilitate my learning a great deal because at that time, it was almost impossible to find or borrow books in science and technology in the rural area. Of course it's a little easier by the use of internet, still it is more convenient to live in a city.
        When my 2 children were ready to enter college, we were successful to get them into the best university in the entire southwest region in the U. S.; The Rice University in Houston, Texas. We actually lived in Houston too. But we still paid for them to live in the dormitory of the university. As a matter of fact, most of their classmates in the dormitory were also Houston residents. So they could concentrate on studying in school. Anyway, I personally can't see any difference, but at least your notion of rural students are fast learning is not applicable here.
      • Dec 11 2013: Please read my previous post carefully. I was saying that MY CHILDREN LIVED IN THE DORM OF THE UNIVERSITY IN HOUSTON WHERE MY WIFE AND I LIVED THERE. SO THE CONFUSION OCCURRED ON YOUR PART, NOT ON MINE.
        Also I am not sure you are that familiar about many large cities in the U. S. There are lot of slow learners, dropouts and truancy in the inner city public schools, but there are also vast number of excellent private and public school students who probably can compete with any students in other countries, and most likely to out-perform the students from rural America.
  • Dec 9 2013: In my country Indonesia, spreading in 17.000 more islands. Learning in big cities will give you a better education, somehow with lots of islands, distribution difficulty, political corruption and other barrier was not giving us (indonesian people) same standard of education. In remote area, even teacher is coming once a week, and level of school is only available for primary only, they should travel or even move further to reach the teacher and school. In Indonesia, homeschooling is not a solution yet due to internet infrastructure and economical development. If a family born in remote area but they has lots of money, they must sent their children to big city. So yes Big City is a must for Indonesian learner.
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      Dec 9 2013: You have illustrated valid reasons for going to
      the cities to learn Innayah. For some Indonesians and other
      nationalities, they are forced to.

      As to homeschooling where ever the location, pupils will not learn
      fast because of isolation. We learn faster if there is interaction with others.
    • Dec 9 2013: i totally agree with you,Innayah. in my contry, China, education environment of some rural area still very poor. i have heard an article that a 7 -year-old girl must get up in 3am and walk 30km to school.what surprising me most is that she must climb a bridge with only a single iron chain over big river on her way to school. But you know, our three public consumption is 960 billions in 2012. if they use a half of those money to improve the education environment and facilities, the little girl will have a more happy and enjoyable childhood.
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    Dec 8 2013: There are more people in the cities. Hence, there are more interactions between people in the cities. Hence, there is more information exchange. More shools, more institutions, more businesses, more cultural centers. It seems fairly straightforward. People do not learn "on their own" - they learn from each other.
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      Dec 8 2013: Most of us are in agreement with you Arkady.
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        Dec 9 2013: In the end it is beneficial from evolutionary point of view. The more complex the environment, more learning is imperative for survival.
        People learn to cheat and lie faster in Cities. That may look bad out of context, but such learning is part of adaptation.
        The question does not presuppose any moral underlining.
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        Dec 9 2013: Being exposed to conflicting information is, actually, good. If everything we encounter is in agreement with what we already know, there is no learning.

        Discerning truth from other stuff is a valuable learning skill. "Other stuff" is not necessarily "lies". Things that are not true include errors, inaccuracies, exaggerations, superstitions, prejudice, stereotypes, etc.
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          Dec 9 2013: @arkady
          I'm reminded of those persons who wouldn't take learning
          from others. If they already know everything, that makes
          them dumb since they would not learn anything new anymore.

          @jason
          Confusion is already enough danger from constant conflicting
          info.
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        Dec 9 2013: Re: "I would say it is only good if you have some model by which to discern that conflicting information."

        That's what parents and education are for. I agree that not all learning is beneficial.

        Growing up in small communities with strict values may have its own dangers. E.g. developing stereotypes and intolerance to things and people outside these communitites and "values".

        How much we should "protect" our children from the outside world is a fundamental dilemma faced by every parent. I don't think, moral decay comes from the conflicting messages coming from the outside world. Moral decay, perhaps, comes from the conflicting messages at home or, perhaps, from the lack of such any moral messages.
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          Dec 9 2013: It is better to live with conflicting ideas than fixed ideas, which tend to turn into doctrines.
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        Dec 9 2013: Yes, it seems to be another circular problem - a system with positive feedback, where output enhances the input driving itself to one of the extremes. A lot of social things work this way, unfortunately.
  • Dec 8 2013: Do we learn Faster in cities? As individuals I believe we all learn at different rates of speed due to the way our processors are linked in the brain. Do we learn faster in cities, this I don't believe to be true but do we have the ability to diversify the way we are taught and therefore reach parts of society that may be left behind do to teaching methods.....then I would say yes. A larger society in general should offer more options in learning diversity due to its magnitude of resources. Is that to say that living in the city is better then living in smaller communities, that answer lies to the individual at hand.
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      Dec 8 2013: '...but do we have the ability to diversify the way
      we are taught and therefore reach parts of society that
      may be left behind do to teaching methods.....then I would say yes.'

      An excellent suggestion Russell. But then again, the 'answer lies to the individual at hand.'
      • Dec 8 2013: how can it be on individual??? for majority of people, personality is an accumulation of the thoughts he/she derives from the environment around them then how cant environment around them cant play a major role.
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          Dec 8 2013: When we mentioned 'individual' here, we mean
          it's up to the individual person how motivated or determined
          he/she is to learn. If my answer doesn't satisfy, let's wait for
          Russell's answer.
  • Dec 7 2013: Poch,

    I am not sure if we learn faster in cities. Many companies grow around universities where the founders went to school and that is around cities, i.e. Silicon Valley (Stanford and UC Berkeley) and Boston (MIT, Harvard, Tufts, WPI). You need a critical mass of talent to make the companies successful, so the more Universities the better.

    Also, today many young professionals are bored in the suburbs and love living in the cities. They actually commute out to the suburbs today to get to their jobs. Several large companies are moving facilities, even headquarters into the cities, Motorola for example, to get closer to these professionals. It does mean that the middle and upper managers that live in the suburb need to commute into the city.

    On innovation, I need to bounce ideas off people and get feed back. These ideas lead to innovation but the interaction is important to me and I think to others. The 2 best programmers I know work in the same office just so that they can communicate immediately.
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      Dec 7 2013: 'You need a critical mass of talent to make the companies successful,
      so the more Universities the better.'

      Most firms and universities cluster in cities so most careerists go there.
      I think that proves we learn faster in cities Wayne.
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    Dec 5 2013: Sometimes being over stimulated can cause some people to learn slower. A simpler, slower life could be their answer. Less distraction, more focus.
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      Dec 5 2013: That's what I meant by info overload Colin. Getting ill because
      of that is worse than causing to learn slower. Effective multitaskers are few.
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    Dec 5 2013: Firstly, what a big city gives us is the oppurtunity to be whoever we want without the judgement of the small town, you can dress the way you want, you can bring whatever and sometimes you can even sing a song to yourself while walking and nobody'll bat an eye.
    So, our so-called freedom of the city gives us a little bit of peace that at least they don't judge you. Of course, the stress is a bigger factor, but what's important is that the city gives you chances.
    To meet more people like you, to meet someone who inspires you or to get somebody who would want to work with you. This means one more thing - you would probably feel better emotionally and socially and what makes studying better than a good mood?
    Also this urban surroundment could possibly give you a system you could put into your working plan.

    For example, I always study when I haven't had a meal, when I've got the plan in my head and when I think of the future. Future tells me : "You couldn't pass the exam because you didn't study enough that very day. That's why you're sad and disappointed". Then I realise I'm still in that very day and I can change the future! I can make myself proud and happy! And what's better than this?

    But in a small town it's harder to get the challenge. That's why you go there and give your best to win. Because I love winning!
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      Dec 5 2013: Your view of the 'Freedom of the City' is great Gloria. Yes. One
      bad thing in rural areas is the snoopy attitude of most residents
      which can ruin one's mood and slow you down.

      'But in a small town it's harder to get the challenge.
      That's why you go there and give your best to win.'

      Yuma wrote about that too:
      'Only by looking at higher-ranking opponents or colleagues (in cities),
      in other words a worthy rival, at first hand, we come to have a burning
      ambition and start to learn seriously.'
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    Dec 5 2013: Poch, Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences. Could I hone my cow milking skills in metro New York .. or learn to plow straight ... and by the same token I could not upgrade my skills I use in the city out on the range.

    Learning by the definition above is not restricted to a location therefore making the argument of speed of learning moot.

    I know people of all ages in both city and rural life that have learned little over the years .. either fast or slow.

    Be well my friend .... Bob.
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      Dec 5 2013: LOL your illustration makes me laugh but it's spot on Bob.
      And I'm definitely 'weller' now that we're in agreement again sir.
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    Dec 4 2013: Ufff..I do not really know. Faster? in big cities we always have to be on the ball. Everything happens so quick that you always have to be receptive to what is going on. The thing is what we learn , is it really worthwhile?
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      Dec 4 2013: It's really worthwhile Esther because hi-tech and fierce competition
      compels us to learn faster than others. It's like another game added
      to the rat race of society.
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    Dec 4 2013: You might enjoy this talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from.html Johnson too explains why people are drawn to places where there are more opportunities to share ideas with a wide range of people.
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      Dec 4 2013: I wish TED would allow 'related conversations' after a user has
      posted a convo. Thank you for the tip sir.
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        Dec 4 2013: Hi Poch - You should be able to hit "edit" on your conversation and add the related talk!
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          Dec 4 2013: My dumb Morton. I searched for the button earlier and I
          couldn't believe I missed it! Thanks!
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        Dec 7 2013: "I wish TED would allow 'related conversations' after a user has
        posted a convo."

        That's a new improvement that I haven't seen suggested on TED before and I thought that I'd seen it all here...
        If you have a Reddit account you're welcome to post that suggestion on the (newly created... by me) TEDconversations subreddit. http://www.reddit.com/r/TEDconversations/comments/1s8mh4/what_changes_or_improvements_would_you_like_to/
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          Dec 7 2013: Oh Jim. One kind lady of our TED chatters informed me
          that there is an 'edit' button if we want to do that. When I
          searched for the button again, there it was! lol I told her
          I couldn't believe I missed the button! You will find the button
          left corner below your submitted convo, idea, or debate title.

          I have a Reddit account but thanks anyway for suggesting it.
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        Dec 9 2013: I was well aware of the edit option. :)

        But when we create a new conversation we could always post related conversations in the explanation. But there isn't a field for related conversations like there is for related Talks...

        You seem to have stumbled upon what I find to be a great improvement for TED Conversations.
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          Dec 9 2013: Oh...I get it now. Well, I should be happy for what
          I stumbled upon lol
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    Jan 2 2014: I'm not sure about it. Everyplace has its own talents. It is more likely to be related to people's work or characterics. But it's undeniable that cities have better resourse to put into education than that in outskirts. And this may be the reason why learning is easier in cities rather than in rural places.
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      Jan 2 2014: '...But it's undeniable that cities have better resourse to put into
      education than that in outskirts. And this may be the reason why learning is easier in cities
      rather than in rural places...'
      Yes Yushu. That is surely one reason. Thanks.
  • Dec 29 2013: i'm not sure about that... as most of my friends went to suburbs for their important exams and they became successful... they feel most relax and learn better there!
    i don't know if it has any psychological reason or not but i've seen it between my friends!
    http://www.psychologueslaval.com
    http://www.psychologue-westisland.com
    http://www.toronto-psychologists.com
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      Dec 29 2013: No problem Pmta. I agree with you even without psy reasons.
      Thank you.
  • Dec 29 2013: In general learning of any kind, including great creativity and the development of new ideas progresses most quickly when a great need for them arises, usually through some sort of crisis. Consider the extremely rapid development of new technologies by the Nazi government in Germany during world war 2 when they developed and implemented the world's first jet fighter, ballistic missiles and all other means of defensive technologies as well as others for example new chemical technologies to develop paint without oil resources etc. This is typical of a great need, e.g. you are being stalked by a tiger, I believe your mind will work overtime at its highest level to help you to survive. In some cases cities provide such environments because they are economic powerhouses and given the greater concentration of human resources require a greater effort to succeed.
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      Dec 29 2013: 'In some cases cities provide such environments because
      they are economic powerhouses...'

      True Frank. You reminded me when I worked for an animation firm. Sometimes there
      would be rush deadlines for a project and we would work for 3 days and 2 nights almost
      without sleeping.
  • Dec 26 2013: I believe we learn to increase the rate at which we can process information in cities. There are so many sights and sounds in a city and if someone isn't adapted to it, they can become overwhelmed. Since humans mold to their surroundings we are able to learn how to process and accept these many signals that are coming into our brain after a period of exposure, noticing patterns and points of information a lot quicker than someone who is not accustomed to this influx of data. This could make learning easier and faster for those who live in cities compared to people who live in a quieter area who run into less stimulants through out the day. Interesting topic.
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      Dec 26 2013: I agree Paige. Although being 'coerced' into the city's
      fast pace has health drawbacks. Thanks.
  • Dec 26 2013: Thanks will reply later, have to go into the big city today; and look forward to it as I was born and lived in a far bigger city, some 63 years ago, but times and society were so different then; depression and mental illness were a rarity until the 60's; as was obesity etc. And Christmas was a time when all the shops were closed, and a time of peace and goodwill; not a marketing, shopping, hellish rat race.

    Cheers Carl
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      Dec 26 2013: Thanks for your time sir. I wish you a safe trip
      and all your family a happy holiday week.
  • Dec 26 2013: in some sense, yes. city provides facilities, and more importantly competition of ideas. However, sometime in the city it is difficult to create something unique, as everyone tends to follow some path.
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      Dec 26 2013: I agree Rio. You're talking about 'creating' now. That's Ok.
      You're statement is true anyway. Thanks.
  • Dec 26 2013: The question is a simple yes, no question. I would much rather ask: How can we learn faster in cities?
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      Dec 26 2013: Good suggestion Eddy. But your question seems easier to answer.
      Anyway, I hope some of us here will give you answers.
  • Comment deleted

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      Dec 26 2013: Before I visit your link, please give intro as to how is that related to learning.
  • Dec 25 2013: Lot of factors come into play in the learning process. The speed of learning is not solely dependent on the place.The attitude and mentality of the person also plays an active role in the learning process.

    Learning takes place when the brain is in a active state and it establishes the communication link with its immediate objects of the environment.

    The brain is in an active state when a tension is established in inside. And the tension is created when a strong need , desire or curiosity overpowers the mind.

    Introverts love solitude then how do they learn without frequency of interaction, and frequency of interaction much higher in cities ?
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      Dec 25 2013: Great info about how the mind works Santokh.

      'Introverts love solitude then how do they learn without frequency of interaction,
      and frequency of interaction much higher in cities ?'

      Many of us here agree that some learners learn faster in solitude. I don't have
      an answer yet to your question so I hope you give us some if you can. Thanks.
      • Dec 26 2013: Because all introspective learning takes place via the means of mental digestion e.g. entertaining books, are meant to be eaten quickly and not absorbed; educational books are meant to be eaten slowly, digested, and metabolised.

        All introverted learning/meditation requires a foundation of knowledge/fuel, and solitude, in order to bring all of ones intelligence + imagination. to a focus of complete attention on/to the subject matter; the result is creativity, innovation, invention, = education.

        The problem with this world and its cities; is a constant Incorporated bombardment of advertising over the phone, over the TV, over the radio, in the mail box, on the streets, it is totally universal and constantly distracting; with the only peace from it being gained when you are asleep.

        It is not the number or frequency of interactions that matters; it is the quality and content of the interactions that matter; and time allowed to absorb, digest/memorise, and metabolise/meditate the content; without constantly being blasted, by the interferences in ones life; by Corporate and Political money and power hungry morons.

        Newtons first law states that an object will continue forward in a direct straight line, unless an external force acts upon it.

        Reality: The centre of gravity of an object (Snooker Ball) will move directly forward in line with/from the point of impact, and cease when the energy of its impetus runs down.

        A direct straight forward linear motion of an object can only be achieved. if a constant external force is applied to maintain its straight motion; e.g. a rolling ball needs a flat surface; a projectile will curve with gravity, unless aerodynamics or other external forces are applied, you cannot walk in a straight line over the Earth's surface because it is curved, a straight line cannot be drawn, without pencil pressure, and a ruler to guide it, etc.

        How do I know; practical experiences, observation, education, meditation

        = Body - Mind - Solitude
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          Dec 26 2013: Great of you to stress digestive reading and meditation
          which both suggest slow pacing. Your illustrations are great too Carl.

          '...with the only peace from it being gained when you are asleep.'

          The alternative is to isolate self and 'disconnect' from the digital world.
          The majority allows tech to control them instead of controlling it.
          Discipline is required of true learning.

          Great rebuttal of Newton's law! It seems gun ammunitions didn't exist
          in his time yet.
        • Dec 28 2013: Awesome! Each word and each sentence speaks and reveals the ultimate truth about the learning process.
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      Dec 26 2013: @santokh
      I think Carl Dalton has just given you great answers.
  • Dec 23 2013: Poch I don't necessarily think that we learn faster in cities and less in other places (rural areas, informal settlements, space etc). The subject of learning becomes necessary wherever you are. Learning is also a capability that one must have, because there is more activity in the city does not mean that people learn more. People could choose to learn only that which is relevant to them and ignore everything else. As a necessary and continuous process people should learn and adapt to whichever environment they find themselves in.
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      Dec 23 2013: I agree Samkelo. It also depends on what someone
      is trying to learn. If we want to learn farming, then we will learn faster
      in the provinces.
  • Dec 21 2013: i have noticed that people arent getting brighter just the opposit dummer. cause theres so many things that help u do stuff that u dont have to think urself anymore.
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      Dec 21 2013: I have a TED post titled: If the Internet is making us dumber,
      in what ways does it do it?
      If you're interested Tino, you will get so many ideas about your reply.
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    Dec 21 2013: Does learning more mean being more?
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      Dec 21 2013: Great philosophical question Rodrigo.
      We can 'be more' either physically or spiritually. So it depends on what we
      give importance to.
  • Dec 19 2013: Living in cities is like getting a ton of stressful; at the same time motivational experiences.
    It certainly stirs one's instinct to think fast( to survive in the environment) and learn things quickly.
    But whether it means students in cities learn more deeply or not is a matter of how much they give credit for 'experiences' they get to have.

    I think we learn important life lessons from unexpected events in our lives or stupid mistakes, which are quite the opposite of the core of learning fast.
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      Dec 19 2013: 'But whether it means students in cities learn
      more deeply or not is a matter of how much they give credit for
      'experiences' they get to have...'

      That is what city folks have to learn. The cities make them move so fast
      they fail to recognize small but significant events. Most of the times I ride
      a city bus, I get writing ideas from bus videos. That's because I try to relax
      while on the ride.

      'I think we learn important life lessons from unexpected events in our lives
      or stupid mistakes, which are quite the opposite of the core of learning fast...'

      Sometimes I'm slow in getting the message of comments. Just earlier today,
      a replier explained his reply and added a beautiful philosophical sentence.
      If I was not slow, I wouldn't have triggered him to produce that eternal original statement!
  • Dec 11 2013: Learning is dependent on a person's innate ability and his survival instinct. To that extent learning will be faster in an environment where it is essential to one's survival could be a jungle, a village or a city. Learning is always conditional to what use the skills acquired will be put to. More immediate need to learn and apply one's skill more the learning
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      Dec 11 2013: I think the 'urban jungle' is wilder Sumeet, so we are forced to
      learn faster if we are there.
      • Dec 11 2013: While I agree with you Poch, decades of urbanization has made man instinctively better at surviving in the wilder urban jungle as opposed to rural areas or the forest. A skill learnt in the urban jungle may be be put to test several years later (education for instance) while skill learnt in the real jungle may be put to test immediately . Learning hence will be a function of the immediate environment, the challenges put forth by it and the opportunity for testing the environment provides .
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          Dec 11 2013: '...A skill learnt in the urban jungle may be be
          put to test several years later (education for instance)
          while skill learnt in the real jungle may be put to test immediately.'

          Ah yes. The test of skills learned from 2 different jungles.
          That was sharp Sumeet.
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    Dec 11 2013: I was born and brought up in a small village so I feel I could contribute in a better way. This may include what I have experienced. Secondly I cannot read each comments and give the favorable answer.

    I think I would come up with a blog on this topic. :)

    Thanks you Mr. Peralta
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      Dec 11 2013: Hey Rohan. Don't worry about giving favorable answers.
      Just speak what's on your mind. I can always flag rude replies :-)
      and no one's rude here.

      Send us the link to your blog about this topic. I'm interested.
      And just call me Poch ok?
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    Dec 10 2013: A Conflict with the Theory of Automatic Learning
    Automatism Illustrated
    http://pochp.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/a-conflict-with-the-theory-of-automatic-learning/
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    Dec 9 2013: I have redefined learning in the context of the question:
    Acquiring truthful knowledge or skill from human and non-human sources.
    It's funny and tricky when you ask questions concerning learning.
    The submeanings of 'learning' has become so vast you have to
    define the word clearly in the context of your question!
  • Dec 9 2013: Poch,

    Given that definition of learning, your statement is wrong. Check out Deep Spring College. It is in the middle of nowhere but 50% of its graduates get PHDs and 2 of its graduates have gotten the MacArthur Awards. There are a number of great colleges not even close to a large town. Carleton, Kalamazoo, Lawrence, Grinnell are just a few that in the middle of nowhere but produce great students and professionals.
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      Dec 9 2013: Thanks Wayne. I have just reverted to the original
      question and redefined learning in the context of my question:
      Acquiring truthful knowledge or skill from human and non-human sources.
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    Dec 9 2013: Bridgette Bennett was the second replier who rightly suggested that
    I 'define what you mean by learn.' Well, the learning I have in mind
    here is learning from school teachers and professors. I hope that's
    clear now. Thanks Bridgette.
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        Dec 9 2013: Well, if our convo becomes boring, I will redefine
        learning in a broader sense. Thanks Jase.
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      Dec 9 2013: Poch, if you want to narrow your question to the one you now seem to be posing, you might want to change it in your opening narrative above where people will likely see the clarification.

      Alternatively you could accept as useful the broader interpretations people give to your question.
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        Dec 9 2013: Don't worry sir. I will still accept broader interpretations
        and replies people give to the question of course.
  • Dec 9 2013: Keep in mind that groups of people exist in places other than cities, like on-line communities. For people in rural areas I think learning is just as fast out of shear need and through communites either on-line or otherwise. It is in rural areas we see DIY the most. This is also were a most homespun solar, gardening, mechanical projects are coming to light through the use of the internet in these areas which we did not see with the first introduction of dial up.

    I think the key would be to define what you mean by learn. Learning from a book, problem solving, creativity, etc. But interesting question.
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      Dec 9 2013: The learning I have in mind here is learning from
      school teachers and professors. Thanks for reminding me to
      make that clear Bridgette.

      'It is in rural areas we see DIY the most.'

      Great! You have cited a subject that makes learning in rural areas faster.
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    Dec 9 2013: @ Jason: You are presupposing a moral color of learning. First you mentioned 'beneficial' learning, then you mentioned learning conflicting information then you commented about positive adaptation. One can see the question rather simplistically. It is only logical to infer that a city as a social environment is more complex than a village. So one who lives in a city needs to learn more ways to handle information, beneficial, detrimental, conflicting, resonating, positive or negative just to survive. So one learns faster over a comparable span of time.
    If you dislike the word 'cheating' or 'lie', well I can re-frame those as 'deceiving' or 'untrue'. Biological evolution use both as adaptive strategy. Likewise, in complex social environment we use both as survival strategy and that's a favorable learning in a city where such complex social scenario is more likely to come up.
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      Dec 9 2013: I didn't know you're having a very interesting and intelligent
      discussion with Jason and Arkady until I read this your reply.
      Sorry. I'll join you from time to time as time permits.
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        Dec 9 2013: It's a good and overlooked point that interactions with nature also count as learning.

        Re: "I ask again- if a country person and a city person switched places which would adapt faster ?" -- there are quite funny movies about it e.g. "Crocodile Dundee".

        Isn't it like asking, "if you throw a human into water and pull a fish to the ground, who will adapt faster"? Who will learn faster? A farm boy to write computer software or a city boy to raise chickens? Why not let everyone adapt for their own environment and do what they do best? These arguments and situations are quite amusing, but what's the practical value of them?
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        Dec 10 2013: You might enjoy this story by O'Henry.

        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1805/1805-h/1805-h.htm#3

        The story is written almost a 100 years ago and makes fun of how the stereotypes about farmers were wrong even back then. I like stereotypes, but only in comedy movies. I'm sure, some city boys might survive in the country as well :-).
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        Dec 10 2013: Re: "Many farmers are college graduates and many colleges that became Universities started as agriculture colleges."

        Also funny that you mention that. I graduated from Oregon State University which started in 1850s as an agricultural college. Corvallis is a very small town. I could cross it on my bicycle in 15 minutes. My daily commute by bicycle was 10 minutes. I lived on what was considered "outskirts" and "far away from campus". There were advantages and disadvantages to living in a small town like Corvallis. On one hand, social life was fun. Almost all Russian-speaking students knew each other, there were parties, Russian plays produced by the OSU Russian language professor, etc. On the other hand, Corvallis was incredibly boring. I did miss a big city a lot. Now I live in Portland metro area. Life, in general, is a lot busier here. There are many places to go, many schools for kids to chose from, more job opportunities, more cultural events, etc. But social life is a lot more isolated. I rarely speak to my neighbors and life is so busy, there is little time for social gatherings.

        Thanks for good discussion as well.
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    Dec 9 2013: I think the human brain hungers for collaboration. For communication, for community because of the stimulation that direct interaction provides. Sure, this same stimulation can happen in an online community as well. If we're talking specifically about cities, life moves faster in big cities... so it's reasonable to think that as our pace hastens to keep up with the speed and stimulation of an urban center and our mental processes may also be faster.
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      Dec 9 2013: Science definitely proves that the human brain
      since infancy, hungers for collaboration (contact) Lisa. Innayah
      mentioned homeschooling and I replied:
      As to homeschooling where ever the location, pupils will not learn
      fast because of isolation. We learn faster if there is interaction with others.

      Stimulation can not only happen in an online community. It could even become
      an illness that is called 'Internet Addiction'!
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    Dec 9 2013: I think if it's related to learning about the knowledge on farming science or nature, it's faster for people to learn in the countryside with modern agricultural infrastructures and appliances. And also thanks to the beautiful sceneries and natural spectaculars which could inspire or enlighten some artists, it's also faster for some artists to learn artistic knowledge sometimes.
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      Dec 9 2013: A very good suggestion on learning arts and nature Yoka. Thanks.
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        Dec 9 2013: Thank you too. I appreciate your understanding, however, I'd like to say I prefer "a possibility" to "a suggestion". Thank you very much.
  • Dec 8 2013: I dont believe we learn faster in cities. We just think we do. We learn so much about technology and pop culture and bits of the culture of people we may never have met in the countryside; but there are so many other realities of life and living that the small towns, villages and small communities reveal.

    Cities are usually under the siege of a desperate run after money and material things, status and the next big thing
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      Dec 8 2013: Most of us agree with that TDH. In fact some of us prefer to learn
      in the quiet of the rural places.
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        Dec 9 2013: You mean with all your city library wisdom sitting in rural places? In rural places people learn how to milk cows, poultry, how to stack hey. There is no point assuming any primacy of learning in cities or villages. People learn faster in Cities, because life demands it.
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          Dec 9 2013: Yes Pabitra. 'People learn faster in Cities,
          because life demands it.' But there are people who learn
          faster in the quiet of the rurals. There are times when that
          happens to me.
  • Dec 8 2013: there should be a clear line between learning a secret of the nature and manifestation of its uses...

    day in and day out we are just finding newer ways to eat our earths resources and satisfying our never ending desires.....is man happy and satisfied at the end of all this...no....

    there should be a learning process wherein human quest for knowledge is satisfied and at the same time earth can breathe healthy....

    today the motivation of learning is make human work disappear and make mankind sit in a room and build a world around their hut......is this the direction we want for us and our future generations???

    first we need to define what we are learning......in which direction its taking our mankind.....then learn.....no matter where its provided
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      Dec 8 2013: '...first we need to define what we are learning....'

      I think I see your point now. Either we are learning selfishly or
      we're learning for the good of all.

      '...then learn.....no matter where its provided'

      Most of us agree with that. In fact some of us prefer to learn
      in the quiet of the rural places.
  • Dec 8 2013: define LEARNING.......
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      Dec 8 2013: I would define learning as:
      The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.
      or
      Knowledge or skill gained through schooling or study.
      • Dec 8 2013: knowledge and skill of what???.........

        if the motive of knowledge and skill is for the happiness and sustenance of humankind then what does cities offer more?
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          Dec 8 2013: If you will read most of the replies,
          you will find answers which are opinions of course.
          One thing cities offer more for sure is more interaction
          with others since cities are more crowded.
  • Dec 8 2013: sex,drugs,work etc is why most people want to go to the city..watch jay leno and see how smart they are..geniuses !?!
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      Dec 8 2013: I can't see why they have to go to cities for sex and drugs.
      I mean they're everywhere. Looking to make a living is sure
      but most only worsen their situations.

      I don't watch Leno. He's a mad racist implying Asian's are
      not people.
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    Dec 8 2013: Maybe its not learning more but obviously in big city life you have to memorize more things than you do in town.

    I am not saying that the people in big cities learn more and they are better in cognitional activities.

    I have experienced the difference between big cities and little cities. I can easily prefer the little ones because they have less stressful rhythm.

    This is an opinion from a guy who was born and lived until he was 18 in a city with 15 million population and then moved out to a city with 105 thousand population.
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    Dec 8 2013: In my opinion in this case is we do not learn faster in cities but we do learn more in big cities.

    All of the information exposure in big cities have a huge overplus on rural areas.

    Even finding a place in a big city is much more complex than in town.
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      Dec 8 2013: @Can
      'Even finding a place in a big city is much more complex than in town.'

      I live in the capital city of Manila, Philippines. I'm a kind of urban hermit
      who rarely go out. I'll go out and after a year or so, I feel lost because
      of new overpasses or bridges! We will surely learn geography in cities.

      Btw, I can't tell your citizenship by your name. Mind telling your ethnic root?
  • Dec 7 2013: maybe the learning pace is faster in the cities , but our brains are slower than the brains of the people from the province !
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    Dec 7 2013: In cities we have occasion to witness and consider ways of acting, thinking and learning which are not available in smaller communities. People from all nations, cultures and ethnicities are drawn to the cities to work, play and raise their families. There is a diversity and richness which, in the past, was savoured only by the wealthy few. Today, the nations of the world are coming to us, and we can enjoy their once-exotic culture daily in our schools, work-places and neighbourhoods.

    If we don't learn from each other, truly connect one-on-one, on a physical, in your face connection, then we aren't really connecting with anybody, including our true selves; we are living unexamined lives.
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      Dec 7 2013: 'If we don't learn from each other, truly connect one-on-one, on a physical, in your face connection, then we aren't really connecting with anybody, including our true selves;...'

      A sharp insight of the advantage of learning in the cities. Thank you Don.
  • Comment deleted

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      Dec 7 2013: I prefer that too Carl as long as there's internet connection
      to the suburb where I go. I need to be connected because I do most
      of my jobs online.
  • Dec 5 2013: If you have to.
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      Dec 5 2013: Can you please tell Keith which comment were you replying to?
      • Dec 5 2013: Do we learn faster in cities? is your question
        My answer is: If you have to.

        I'll write it all in one sentence:
        People learn faster in cities, if they have to.

        Our environment can cause us to learn faster if the pace is faster, however there are some very slow learners even in the city, they usually die, either run over or beat up. It's so crowded that if the herd is moving, you better move at the same pace. It is the quality that concerns me, just because you can walk faster or talk faster does not necessarily mean you are smarter. IMHO if you were smart you would be outdoor enjoying nature, not in the city enjoying the smog.
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          Dec 5 2013: Thank you for clarifying sir.
          You just made me realize that there are also hi-tech
          firms in some rural areas where workers are forced
          to learn fast. I realized too that even if you learn fast
          in cities, overcrowding will slow down your movements
          lol. Been my experience.
      • Dec 5 2013: Poch, as a system programmer for the biggest data center in Washington state I was also privileged to work with some really brilliant engineers from IBM. This was over forty years ago and whenever you mentioned an IBM employee most people thought of dark suits, white starched shirt and black ties working in the city. What they did not realize was the really brilliant ones wore what every the hell they wanted, grew beards and long hair and worked only when they wanted to. Most of them lived and worked a long ways away from the office and no one ever knew they worked for IBM. If you saw them you would think they were just hermits or even homeless but they were very wealthy and very smart.
        The State of Washington where I worked had rules like that but I just ignored them and nobody ever pressed me. My beard and hair were both over a foot long and I agreed to were slacks and a sports shirt but no way was I going to where a suit or tie... ever. When I lectured at Evergreen State College I felt right at home talking to a room full of bearded professors about how to make the best use of their brand new IBM computer system. I was 21 years old.
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          Dec 5 2013: Wow Keith. You are the first true-blue hippie techie I met here.
          I guess IBM banned hippies in the mid 80's. I acquired
          a short IBM programming scholarship and I didn't meet
          any hippie type employee. They were all in shirt and ties
          with neat hair works.
      • Dec 6 2013: Actually Poch they relaxed some of there standards in 1978. I was working in Hawaii as a systems programmer for Bishop Trust and writing an RFP for their new computer system. I was shocked when a couple of IBMers invited me to dinner to talk over their multi-million dollar proposal. They wore slacks and aloha shirts wow, how things had changed. Even if you worked at IBM you would probably not have know about the guys I am talking about. They never come in the offices and were not supposed to tell anyone they worked for IBM, it was an image thing... you know how they are. Even if they did, who would believe them? In those days very few people could even spell computer, little own know anything about them.
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          Dec 6 2013: 'They never come in the offices and were not supposed
          to tell anyone they worked for IBM,'

          Were they a secret IBM group ordered to be 'undercover'
          or that was only their own decision? I seem to remember
          Steve Jobs was rumored to have worked for IBM secretely.
        • Dec 6 2013: I was in Hawaii in 1974, consulting and finishing my graduate work. All IBMers wore Aloha shirts on Aloha Friday.
      • Dec 6 2013: As I under stood it they got to call most of the shots as long as they produced the software IBM wanted. They were secret and lived close to Poughkeepsie but as I mentioned they never came in the main offices. They had their own workstations and specs were hand delivered to them. Steve never worked for anybody as far as I know. He did have several business dealings with IBM when he started his Next computers and interfaced with IBM PC's through Unix but he also had a falling out with them as they copied his software also just as Microsoft had.
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          Dec 6 2013: I see Keith. So not being controlled by office is a
          reward and privilege to the star producers like you.

          Ahh... so if Steve died under suspicious circumstances,
          the biggest 2 tech giants would be prime suspects since
          Steve could blackmail them if he had evidence. Reminds
          of the case of activist Aaron Swartz. Whether he died of
          illness or homicide is still a big issue.
      • Dec 6 2013: Well Wayne it is a small world, I was working for Computab in the Amfac building then. We used to go right across the street to a bar named "the bank" and listen to Cecilio and Kapono for the price of a beer. And on the mall at noon Gabbie would play a little slack key, that was free. You gotta love Hawaii. My favorite place to drink was on top of the State Capital. We would sneak by the one or two security guards, ride the elevator to the Governor level and sit on the edge watching the Navy ships and I also watched America's Cup coming around Diamond head crater. Aloha Brudda
        Mele Kalikimaka n' Hau'oli Makahiki Hou
        • Dec 6 2013: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too. Just got back from Hawaii and before no one except locals went to kaena point or tantalus - now it seems everyone goes 8>)) everything changes. I do miss the new years party and the fireworks at new years eve

          .
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    Dec 5 2013: Come to think of it. Knowing 'everything' is mostly a privilege for intelligence officials.
    Now every avid Net geek can virtually know everything like the activist whistleblowers
    (and I wonder what the intel officials feel about that). A geek like that could learn fast
    or slow, no matter where, as long as the geek have a PC and Internet connection.
    • Dec 22 2013: You cannot learn practical skills this way... yet.

      Some functions require kinetic learning and there's always the part where you have to practice yourself to truly learn a skill.
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        Dec 22 2013: 'You cannot learn practical skills this way... yet.'

        I understand your last sentence Radoslaw. But please clarify
        what you mean by 'this way'.
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        Dec 22 2013: What do you mean by 'kinetic learning'?
        Do you consider Telemetry (gathering data from moving sources)
        as 'kinetic learning'?
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        Dec 22 2013: What do you mean by 'kinetic learning'?
        Do you consider Telemetry (gathering data from moving sources)
        as 'kinetic learning'? Just an added thought: Intrusive online tracking
        made 'Kinetics' (as a study) a dirty word.
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        Dec 23 2013: Ahh...just as I thought Radoslaw. Physical training.
        Good examples would be martial arts, any sports, machine operation, etc...
  • Dec 5 2013: I believe we learn best when there are opportunities to learn coupled with the right kind of stimulus to foster new learning. One may argue that a city provides such a combination, therefore cities are better suited for learning. Right?! Well, that all depends on WHAT learning we are speaking of. There are opportunities to learn all around us, all the time. WE really provide our own stimulus for learning. Therefore, what a person learns, how much they learn, how fast they learn, and how deeply they understand is entirely up to the individual and how motivated they are.
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      Dec 5 2013: '...therefore cities are better suited for learning. Right?! Well, that all depends on WHAT learning we are speaking of.'

      Now that you mentioned that, I now recall an instance where I learned in the city because the venue
      was not available in the provinces -- the IBM GLC where I studied a computer language. Anyway, the
      thing here is availability of venue, not learning faster. At least that points out there are more opportunities
      for learning in cities, but not learning faster.

      And yes Andre. The most important thing is the desire to learn -- whereever the opportunity is.
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    Dec 4 2013: Let's see if we can learn Net lingo, if not learn faster. I suggest that instead of using the word 'conversation' (in TED), let's use the internet slang 'convo'. It will save us 7 long letters.