February 16, 2018: Friday News Roundup

Greetings and happy Year of the Dog, roundup fans! We’ve got a couple of brain-related articles this week, the latest robot achievements, a reminder to brush up on your soft skills, and a lesson in teamwork from the Olympics.

What Working In A Dark Office May Do To Your Brain
Scientists have found that spending too much time in dimly lit spaces could affect your cognitive abilities. Specifically, after exposure to dim light, Nile grass rats “lost 30% of their the capacity of their hippocampuses (the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory)” and performed worse on a spatial task. Sorry, your roundup editor still prefers working in the dark.

Robots Skiing Remind Us How Far Away The Apocalypse Is
Next, we get to the latest installment of robots doing human stuff, sometimes better than us, sometimes not so much. When it comes to Alpine skiing, as the linked video shows, some of these robots need more time on the bunny slope. But before you get too complacent about your human superiority, check out the moves of the SpotMini robot. It’s impressive… and more than a little creepy.

The Latest Brain Hack To Get Ahead In Silicon Valley: Flashcards
Not surprisingly, there are lots of techies in Silicon Valley who are constantly searching for the next trick for optimizing their brain function. But this article examines one decidedly non-techie approach: memorizing information on flashcards. We hope they’re not undoing the benefits by working in the dark…

The Secret to Midcareer Success
This writer starts with a question: why do some star performers stay at a high level over their entire careers while others burn bright only to fade fast? He suggests the answer is social skills, like the ability to interact well with others. He cautions that your career will plateau if you don’t eventually move into a leadership or mentorship position—but you can’t become a leader if you lack social skills.

The Ski Team That Sleeps Together Wins a Lot of Gold Medals Together
If this article doesn’t make you want to run out, grab some friends, and hit the slopes, nothing will! Reading about the incredible cohesiveness of the Norwegian ski team, it’s notable how much these guys enjoy each other’s company and support each other unconditionally, even though they’re sometimes competitors. Their commitment to the good of the team, rather than the success of the individual, is what makes them a winning bunch. And they’ve got the medals to prove it.