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POV: 20 Years Later, Learning from 9/11

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POV: 20 Years Later, Learning from 9/11 SPH Dean Sandro Galea on how the lessons we learned that day might help us prepare to mitigate the consequences of other large-scale events, COVID in particular

Twenty years ago, at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, followed, 17 minutes later, by United Airlines Flight 175, crashing into the South Tower. Two other hijacked planes, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93 were hijacked that same day, crashing respectively into the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001, and about 6,000 people were physically injured. The immediate aftermath of the attacks cost at least $10 billion in property damage and about $3 trillion in total costs. The long-term global consequences of the attacks continue to be felt to this day—9/11 resulted in the launch of global wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with about 500,000 people dying in Iraq and likely a comparable number of deaths in Afghanistan.

I was in New York City on 9/11, just starting my career as an epidemiologist. Along with millions of New Yorkers, I watched with horror as the World Trade Center unthinkably collapsed. Stunned by the obvious destruction, our team quickly became concerned with the potential longer-term mental health consequences of the attacks. Working with colleagues around the country, we designed and conducted a series of studies aimed at documenting the mental health aftermath of the attacks in New York City. The first study, conducted a month after the attacks, was one of the earliest to show that large-scale attacks like 9/11 can affect populations far beyond just those groups who were directly exposed to the events themselves. We estimated that about 7.5 percent of Manhattan residents had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 9.7 percent had depression that month, for a total of approximately 67,000 persons with PTSD and 87,000 with depression. This suggested a prevalence of PTSD and depression two to three times higher than what one might have expected at baseline. 

We subsequently studied residents in the entire New York City metropolitan area, finding a substantial burden of PTSD and depression throughout the region. Other work showed that the burden of mental illness subsided over the first six months among most of those affected, even as it persisted in a small but important subgroup who continued to experience mental illness years after the attacks. This was particularly the case among direct witnesses to the attacks.  

Studies by other research groups have documented the full range of the attacks’ long-term health consequences, evincing strong associations between exposure to the attacks and mental illness—including substance abuse and respiratory illness, particularly among rescue and recovery workers. Ongoing studies continue to monitor many of those who were exposed to 9/11, and this long-term work will undoubtedly document more definitively the physical health consequences of the disaster.

At this point, we probably have more research documenting the health consequences of the 9/11 attacks than we have for any other disaster in human history. Several books have since compiled the state of our knowledge about the consequences of disasters, including one I coedited about a decade after 9/11. Before the attacks, the study of trauma and its consequences focused, with few exceptions, on interpersonal trauma affecting individuals. The 9/11 attacks exposed us to an entirely new world, where large-scale disasters had effects that were experienced by hundreds of thousands of people at the same time, affecting the health of entire populations.

We now face a disaster that is in many ways of even greater magnitude than 9/11, in COVID-19. The pandemic has killed over 600,000 Americans, and millions around the world. At one point, the daily death toll in the United States was so great that it exceeded that of 9/11. In addition to challenging our physical health, the pandemic has also undermined mental health in ways we are just beginning to fully understand. In research conducted during COVID, we found depression prevalence to be threefold higher in the United States than before the pandemic struck. Recent reports suggest as many as 42.4 percent of adults in the United States continue to report symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. These outcomes were strongly mediated by socioeconomic context. In another study, for example, our team found that more assets—like income, savings, home ownership, marital status, and education—helped lower the level of probable depression among populations—the more assets someone had, the lower their level of the disease.

Just as the health consequences of 9/11 remain with us, the health consequences of the COVID moment will likely linger for decades, if not generations. As we look back on 9/11 then, a pause to ask: what are the key lessons we learned after the attacks? How might these help us prepare to mitigate the consequences of other large-scale events, COVID in particular? I suggest that three main lessons about health emerged after 9/11, informing my thinking about trauma and its consequences.

First, the consequences of traumatic events are pervasive. September 11 was perhaps the first disaster experienced in real time by millions, as an increasingly interconnected world allowed people all over New York City to know that they were under threat—and to experience the consequences of that fear—in real time. Billions around the globe were able to watch what was happening and see the world change literally in front of their eyes. The scientific work after the attacks showed us, perhaps not surprisingly, that the scope of the consequences of 9/11 did not stop with those who were in or near the twin towers, but affected whole populations. Subsequent research about other large-scale events—including, perhaps most notably, Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States and bombings in the United Kingdom—have confirmed and extended what we learned after 9/11: that large-scale terrorist attacks or disasters have consequences that shape the health of whole populations, changing the trajectory of health for decades after the attacks. This unfortunately teaches us that the challenges to population health are very real and potentially devastating for thousands after an attack, and that a responsive system needs to be prepared to deal with these consequences both in the short term and in the long term.

Second, the consequences of traumatic events extend well beyond physical injury. Standard accounts of the 9/11 attacks suggest that 6,000 people were injured that day. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Behavioral illness—including PTSD, depression, and use of substances—will affect far more people than just those who were physically injured by these events. Behavioral illness is also tightly interlinked with the expression of a broad range of other illnesses, including, for example, asthma and respiratory disorders. The full story of the health consequences of 9/11, particularly among direct survivors and rescue workers, remains to be written, and it is likely that the full range of consequences of the attacks extends across generations, as several studies have now documented the intergenerational transmission of the health consequences of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders. This suggests the need for health system sensitivity to the potential consequences of these events, with the long-term surge capacity to effectively tackle a fundamentally different picture of population health.

Third, while the consequences of large-scale traumatic events are driven very much by the sentinel traumatic experience itself, these events are but one driver of population health. As we have seen during COVID, the effects of traumatic events are part of a complex set of factors, including underlying socioeconomic context and ongoing traumas and stressors, all of which contribute to the health of populations in the medium term and long term. Simply put: the consequences of traumatic events do not occur in a vacuum, and it is often marginalized groups already experiencing a range of other traumas and stressors who suffer the greatest burden of the long-term consequences. Unfortunately, these groups are also the groups that frequently have least access to the resources that may mitigate the consequences of traumatic events, suggesting that it is only through careful attention to the foundational drivers of population health that we can effectively ease the consequences of terrorist attacks and disasters.

While many of us have moved on from the experiences of 9/11, thousands of others continue to live with the consequences of that day, every day. It seems to me that perhaps the best way, maybe the only way, to honor the victims of 9/11, and the millions who have been killed or harmed in its wake, is to make sure we do not forget what we learned after the attacks, and to apply these lessons as we address disasters going forward. In particular, it would be fitting indeed if the lessons learned as a consequence of the sorrow of 9/11 could be used to reduce suffering in this COVID moment, the legacy of one tragedy helping to ease the burden of another.

Author’s note: I refer to work I conducted, but that is a simplification for the sake of writing efficiency. I had the privilege of being a part of large teams of investigators across the world who conducted this research. I acknowledge in particular epidemiologist David Vlahov, a Yale School of Nursing professor, and Dean Kilpatrick, a University of South Carolina professor of medicine, both of whom I worked with at Columbia University and without whose mentorship I would never have had the opportunity to conduct any of this work.

Sandro Galea, Robert A. Knox Professor and dean of BU’s School of Public Health, can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @sandrogalea.

Find a list of all those with ties to the BU community killed on 9/11 here.

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After 11 Years, Nasa’s Asteroid

An artist’s impression of Dawn between Ceres and Vesta. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Running low on fuel, NASA’s Dawn mission is about to come to an end after 11 successful years in space. Dawn’s mission was a unique one in NASA’s roster of explorers. While slightly lesser-known than the Curiosity rover on Mars or spacecraft like New Horizons, which flew past Pluto some say Dawn was the first truly interplanetary mission because it orbited two planetary bodies during its journey—the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet, Ceres. It’s unusual in other ways too—unlike most other NASA missions, Dawn is not an acronym. Instead, it’s named after the missions goal—to look back into the dawn of the solar system.

To do this, the spacecraft orbited both Vesta and Ceres, two bodies that are wildly different from each other, but both may hold answers to questions about the earliest days of the solar system. Vesta is the second largest object in the main asteroid belt, and a majority of meteorites that have been found on Earth are believed to come from Vesta. Ceres on the other hand is unique in that it’s the largest body in the asteroid belt, after all it’s large enough to be classified as a dwarf planet. It’s believed that Ceres formed much further out in the solar system and spent millions of years migrating inwards, making it a perfect combination of outer solar system meets inner solar system.

Bodies like this haven’t been altered by weather or geological processes the way Earth has, with it’s windstorms and volcanoes. In some ways, Vesta and Ceres are time capsules of the earliest days of the solar system, so any chance to study them can teach us a lot about what sort of materials were around billions of years ago as well as the types of processes that eventually gave us the solar system we know today. Dawns Principal Investigator, Dr. Carol Raymond, says that Vesta and Ceres “represent two different chapters in the solar system’s history. Vesta is a good example of the inner solar system—it’s a dry rocky body whereas Ceres formed with much more water.”

Overall this mission with a relatively modest 500 million dollar budget, has delivered well beyond its expectations. Every part of the spacecraft is still working perfectly, but the hydrazine fuel that is used to keep the spacecraft oriented towards Earth is running dangerously low. If Dawn can no longer point its antenna towards us, then NASA engineers can no longer communicate with it, making any further observations useless.

NASA thinks that the mission will end sometime between mid September to mid October. Once they can no longer connect with the spacecraft, we will know the mission has ended. The spacecraft will remain in orbit around Ceres for 20 years or longer, but eventually it will impact Ceres. Because the planet turned out to have so much water and icy and might still be geologically active, planetary protection required that the spacecraft not impact the surface for fear of contaminating future research. Planetary protection guidelines say that they need to keep the spacecraft away from the planetary body for at least 20 years in order to give NASA time to launch a new mission. There is a chance we might go back to Ceres with new astrobiological glasses on to see if life exists there, or if it once did. And while every mission’s end is bittersweet, Dawn’s team are reflective and thankful for all that Dawn delivered. “It’s been a long and awesome journey,” says Raymond. Dawn’s mission director Marc Rayman agrees; “I’m both sad that its ending and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how successful it’s been.”

Let’s take a look at a few highlights from the Dawn mission:

An ion propulsion system. NASA/JPL


The Dawn spacecraft is often referred to as a tie-fighter; think Star Wars meets actual space exploration. The Dawn spacecraft’s main propellant is made from an element called xenon and is used in an ion engine to accelerate through space. Ion propulsion is ten times more efficient than other types of propulsion used on Earth, even if it takes a while to get up to speed. While it takes Dawn four days to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour, after 11 years of travel it’s managed to reach speeds of up to 25,000 miles per hour. The force of these charged particles of xenon getting pushed out of the engine is so weak that it pushes the spacecraft with about the same amount of force as a piece of paper resting on your hand. But that’s all you really need in space where gravity is non-existent. Keep that engine running longterm and it is one of the most efficient ways to navigate around space. Dawn proved how successful this type of propulsion can be and the blue glow of xenon is probably likely to appear in future missions as a result.

The first image of Vesta taken by Dawn after achieving orbit. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Global image of Vesta:

This is Vesta, nearly 300 miles across and made up of the primordial building blocks of our solar system. Until Dawn approached this large asteroid, it was just a blurry rocky body imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout its time in orbit around Vesta, Dawn discovered that this asteroid actually resembled more of a baby planet, giving scientists hints about what proto-planets really look like. “Vesta is a time capsule of the very early days of solar system formation, “ says Raymond. After gathering data directly from orbit, the team can now trace the evolution of Vesta through modeling and what they found is Vesta likely formed within 1.5 million years of our solar system. That means that the first pebbles that existed around our star helped make the asteroid. As far as space rocks go, they don’t really get much older than Vesta.

A map of dark materials found on Vesta. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/UMD

Dark spots on Vesta:

After some initial exploration, Dawn spotted some strange features on the surface that were unexpected. “One of the things that really surprised us,” says Raymond, “was there was a patch of hydrated dark material on Vesta. “It was thought that Vesta was drier than the moon because of its gravity. The moon can hold onto more ice because of that, but what we found was this patch of hydrated material at the equator that was enriched in hydrogen.”

The team discovered that while it wasn’t exactly damp within that dark patch on Vesta, the actual minerals themselves were hydrated which they did not expect to find. Also called hydroxyl, hydrated minerals contain water within their crystalline structure. Hydrated minerals have also been found on Mars. While it’s not water, it’s evidence of a water-related history. “It’s not free water or ice but this was a big surprise and a big discovery.” says Raymond.

A false-color image showing Ceres, as seen by the Dawn spacecraft. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Global image of Ceres:

Ceres was once classified as an asteroid, but now joins in the ranks along the larger of the smaller bodies in our solar system next to Pluto, Eris, and other dwarf planets. Ceres is around 600 miles across (that’s a little less than the distance between New York City and Detroit.) While that might seem pretty small, compared to other planets, for something residing in the asteroid belt it’s enormous. After departing Vesta, Dawn entered orbit around Ceres and captured this image of the icy world. The team wasn’t sure what Ceres’s story would turn out to be, but it ended up being a lot more fascinating and complex than they anticipated. After some initial reconnaissance they found that Ceres likely once had a subsurface ocean and might even still be geologically active. Weird bright spots began to appear scattered in size around the planet and after closer examination were found to be hydrated salts.

Inside Occator crater on Ceres. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

Inside Occator Crater:

When Dawn first spotted these bright spots on Ceres, scientists wondered what could be causing such a difference in contrast from the surface. With closer study, they realized these were salty ice mounds getting pushed upwards, towards the surface of the dwarf planet. We know that Ceres likely formed in the outer solar system, where it was cool enough for water to freeze, instead of burning away in the hot sun. Over many millions of years Ceres migrated inward, but like many outer solar system bodies it has retained a lot of its water.

Ceres’ lonely mountain, a probable cryovolcano. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI

Ahuna Mons

Ceres has one enormous 13,000-foot-tall mountain and it is called Ahuna Mons. This striking landmark is evidence that the dwarf planet was recently geologically active—and it might still be. The white streaks along the sides are sodium carbonate. This material is not common in the solar system. It’s found here on Earth, in the plumes of Enceladus and on Ceres. What could those three have in common? We know life exists here, and researchers think there’s a chance it might exist on Enceladus. Could it exist on Ceres? There is only one way to find out. With Dawn about to run out of gas, another future mission will have to continue its mission of exploration.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Revisited: Is It Worth Buying One Year Later?

Zarif Ali / Android Authority

At Android Authority, we cover a lot of phones, and in 2023, we saw a large variety of devices that were extremely competitive in the flagship arena, with the Xiaomi Mi 11 among those devices. In our original review, we stated that the Mi 11 had “the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market.” Of course, that was way back in February 2023.

Now, just shy of a year later, let’s see what’s good and what’s not so good about Xiaomi’s affordable flagship as we revisit and reevaluate the Mi 11.

Check out: The original Android Authority Mi 11 review

The good


Zarif Ali / Android Authority

The display on the Mi 11 is beautiful and surpasses many of the other devices within its price point. The Mi 11 has a 6.81-inch WQHD+ AMOLED panel that supports 120Hz and can go all the way up to 1,500 nits of brightness. The best part: you can enable its high refresh rate and higher resolution at the same time.

Related: These are the best Xiaomi phones you can buy

It’s worth mentioning the screen is curved, but not how you’d typically expect. Instead of just curving over the sides, the Mi 11’s screen slightly curves over the top and bottom as well, which has the side benefit of making all four sides of the screen’s bezels the smallest they can be. With its resolution, refresh rate, and extremely thin bezels, the Mi 11’s display is still one of the best affordable flagships for media consumption.

Performance and charging

Zarif Ali / Android Authority

Equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, there’s no question that the Xiaomi Mi 11 can hang like a true flagship, even a year on. In day-to-day usage, the Mi 11 has little to no hiccups running apps and games. Throw in a 120Hz panel and 480Hz touch sampling and you’re not going to miss a beat with this device.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 can hang like a true flagship, even a year on.

While we’re on the topic of fast things, the Mi 11 supports 55W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Unlike many top phones today, this phone actually ships with a power adapter in the box, so you’ll be able to get those ridiculously fast charging speeds from day one. In terms of actual battery life, it’s nothing too impressive. With the stock display settings of FHD+ and at 60Hz, you’ll make it through a full day of usage, but as soon as you bump it up to the WQHD+ and 120Hz, you’ll definitely need to charge closer to the evening.


Zarif Ali / Android Authority

The Xiaomi Mi 11’s camera module sports a main wide, an ultrawide, and a telemacro. On paper, this looks to be a flagship-level setup, especially with a 108MP main sensor and video recording available up to 8K at 30fps, but in execution, the camera on the Mi 11 is a mixed bag.

I want to be clear here, the camera on Mi 11 isn’t bad by any means, it’s simply just not on par with other flagships at this price point. The main sensor pulls some very pleasing results, and the 12MP ultrawide can produce some decent shots in the right conditions. When it comes to the telemacro lens, however, it feels like a waste of space, especially because the quality out of its 5MP sensor doesn’t yield anything extraordinary. Its lens has a narrow field of focus that results in large subjects being partly out of focus, while the image overall looks mushy.

Check out: The best camera phones you can get

Here are couple of samples from the Mi 11’s camera system:

My biggest gripe with the whole camera experience on the Mi 11 was its handling of skin tones. The device can shoot great photos of people in proper lighting, but it misses the mark with color accuracy that makes skin look a bit unnatural. Paired with the phone’s beautification and skin smoothing, the final result can look overprocessed.

As you can see, none of these pictures are inherently “bad” by any means, but when looking at similarly priced phones like the Pixel 6, Samsung’s Galaxy S21, and the iPhone 13 series, the Xiaomi Mi 11 can’t consistently keep up with those phones in terms of image quality, color accuracy, and sharpness.

Xiaomi Mi 11

One cool customer, but is it a Galaxy S21 killer?

Xiaomi has created a compelling phone in the Mi 11. It has the right price and the right specs to compete with the current crop of flagships in the market.

See price at Amazon

See price at Amazon

See price at AliExpress

How To Use The New Task Manager In Windows 11 2023 And Later

Windows 11 came with an attractive UI and fluid windows. Microsoft slowly redesigned all the major apps in it like Photos, Windows Media Player, and others. The new one to add to that revamped and redesigned list is the Task Manager behaves in the native system style like Light or Dark modes and glossy UI. In this guide, we show you how to use the new Task Manager in Windows 11 2023 version 22H2 and later.

How to use the new Task Manager in Windows 11 2023

We all have used the Task manager earlier and we know how to use it to end or run processes. The new Task Manager comes with a new UI that we need to understand to use as efficiently as the earlier Task Manager. To understand and use the new Task Manager, you can follow this guide.

Overview of tabs in the Task Manager

Run Task or End Task

Use Efficiency Mode

See and Delete App History

Disable Startup apps

See Last BIOS time

Customize the new Task Manager

Let’s get into the details of each one. You can open the Task Manager from the Start menu or Win+X menu or by using Ctrl + Shift + Esc on the keyboard. The first thing you will notice is that the menu and tabs have been moved from the top to the left side.

1] Overview of tabs in the Task Manager

We used to have tabs on the top bar of the old Task manager. In the new Task manager on Windows 11 2023, the tabs are limited to icons in the left sidebar. We need to know each one of them to use the Task manager efficiently. There are seven tabs available on the new Task manager. They are:

Processes: It shows all the running programs and their processes on your computer. You can see them and their disk usage and end them if you choose to.

Performance: In the Performance tab, you can see the visual aspects of the CPU, Memory, Disk, GPU, etc through graphs dedicated to each one, updating in real-time.

App history: It shows the apps used by the current user account you’re logged in with from the time, you set in the Settings of the Task manager.

Startup apps: It shows the list of apps that run in the System startup. You can disable them, enable them, see their impact, their publisher, etc.

Users: The users’ tab in the new Task manager shows the list of user accounts available on the computer. You can see their usage of CPU, RAM, and Memory. You can disconnect them or manage user accounts from that tab.

Details: The details tab in the new Task manager shows all the available processes on your computer and their details like Process ID (PID), Status, Username, CPU, Memory, etc.

Services: The Services tab contains the list of all the services available on your computer. You can start them, stop them, or customize them from the Task manager or open the Services window.

2] Run Task or End Task

3] Turn on Efficiency Mode

The Efficiency mode that is available on the new Task manager is a great feature that helps you manage system resources and make processes that seem unnecessary use fewer resources. Currently, the Efficiency mode is not available to every program and process on your PC. But most Microsoft programs can be put into Efficiency mode.

4] See and Delete App History

5] Disable Startup apps

Read: Task Manager is not responding, opening, or disabled by administrator

6] See Last BIOS time

If you are curious to know how much it took BIOS to enable all the hardware on your PC and to make processes start, you can see the precise time in the Task manager app. You can find the Last BIOS time in the Startup apps tab of the new Task manager.

7] Customize the new Task Manager

You can customize a few things about the new Task manager on Windows 11. You will find the gear icon or Settings icon at the bottom left of the Task manager window. In the settings, you can change the Default Start Page to any of the 7 tabs available in the left sidebar, Real-time update speed, Windows management, and Other options. They are pretty simple to use and customize.

8] Use Task Manager to Stop, Restart or Start Services

You can also Stop, Restart or Start Services using the Task Manager.

Read: How to add columns to Task Manager

What happened to Task Manager in Windows 11?

The Task Manager in Windows 11 is redesigned and revamped to match the Windows 11 UI. An efficiency mode is added to the Task manager to put the high system resources using apps to sleep or put them in the background. The tabs are changed into icons on the left sidebar and some other changes like that.

How do I edit Task Manager in Windows 11?

You can customize which tab or page to appear on the home screen of the Task manager when you open it, change the way the Task manager window behaves when you minimize it and change the way the data updates in real-time in the Settings of the new Task manager on Windows 11.

Related read: Windows Task Manager Tips and Tricks you may not be aware of.

Cave Drawings From 20,000 Years Ago May Feature An Early Form Of Writing

A cryptic group of markings found in caves throughout Europe possibly served as a pre-historic animal encyclopedia. Archaeologists have known about these markings for at least 150 years, but now scientists predict that the pairing of these sequences of dots, lines, and other shapes combined with drawings of animals could have expressed information about the deer, cattle, wild horses, and mammoths that once roamed the continent. The marking themselves date back to at least 20,000 years, roughly when the last Ice Age peaked.

[Related: Humans may have arrived in the Americas 15,000 years earlier than we thought.]

In a new study published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal, a team of researchers found that rather than recording speech or sentences, these markings recorded information numerically and reference a calendar. This means that the markings aren’t writing in the same sense of Sumerian writing systems (pictographs and cuneiform) from about 34,000 BCE onward. Instead, the researchers call this a “proto-writing” system that pre-dates other similar systems by at least 10,000 years.

“The meaning of the markings within these drawings has always intrigued me so I set about trying to decode them, using a similar approach that others took to understanding an early form of Greek text,” said co-author Ben Bacon, an amateur archaeologist and independent researcher, in a statement. “Using information and imagery of cave art available via the British Library and on the internet, I amassed as much data as possible and began looking for repeating patterns. As the study progressed, I reached out to friends and senior university academics, whose expertise were critical to proving my theory.”

Birth cycles in similar present day animals were used as a reference point to figure out that the number of markings associated with Ice Age animals was actually a record, by lunar month, of when the animals were mating.

For example, they believe that a “Y” sign meant “giving birth” and found a correlation between the number of marks, the Y’s position, and the months when modern animals mate and then birth their young.

“Lunar calendars are difficult because there are just under twelve and a half lunar months in a year, so they do not fit neatly into a year. As a result, our own modern calendar has all but lost any link to actual lunar months,” said co-author Tony Freeth, a professor of mechanical engineering at University College London, in a statement.

[Related: A discovery found in Germany’s ‘Unicorn Cave’ hints at Neanderthal art.]

Freeth has extensive work in deciphering the ancient Greek space clock called the Antikythera Mechanism. This clock uses a 19-year mathematical calendar to calculate astronomical events. This calendar is more simple, using a meteorological calendar tied to temperature changes instead of celestial events like solstices and equinoxes.

Freeth and Bacon then slowly devised a calendar that helped explain why it was so universal across caves in Europe. According to the team, it shows that hunter-gatherers in the Ice Age were the first to use marks and a systemic calendar to document major ecological events within a calendar.

“The implications are that Ice Age hunter-gatherers didn’t simply live in their present, but recorded memories of the time when past events had occurred and used these to anticipate when similar events would occur in the future, an ability that memory researchers call mental time-travel,” said co-author Professor Robert Kentridge from Durham University, in a statement.

The team hopes that decoding this proto-writing system further will offer insight into the types of of information that early humans valued.

“As we probe deeper into their world, what we are discovering is that these ancient ancestors are a lot more like us than we had previously thought. These people, separated from us by many millennia, are suddenly a lot closer,” concluded Bacon.

Lifelong Learning: What Is It And How Do You Benefit From It?

blog / Career Lifelong Learning is the New Normal. Here’s How You Benefit From It

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In the words of Mark Twain, “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning”. That’s the essence of lifelong learning. When you’re in a constantly evolving world, it requires you to level up or you get left behind. As humans, we have a penchant to evolve – learn new skills, habits or hobbies. Our ability to learn is innate. It just depends on how we utilize this knowledge. 

Having that said, lifelong learning is more than just about killing the time to keep your mind active. It can help enhance your professional or personal development. Let’s dive a little deeper here.

The Rising Momentum of Lifelong Learning #1: Staying Ahead of the Curve

Future-proof education is a myth. The only way to future-proof your education is through lifelong learning by brushing up on skills and knowledge before the need arises. 

#2: Filling the Skills Gap

The need for reskilling and upskilling is constant. The job market now bids for skills rather than titles. And, the only way forward is to arm oneself with an endless stream of knowledge.

#3: Learners Want to Invest in Themselves

According to the Emeritus Global Consumer Sentiment 2023 Report, learners see education as a means to future-proof themselves in the race for possessing the latest armory of skills and knowledge. 

#4: Future of Learning is Online

And it looks very bright! Almost 65% of respondents to the Emeritus Global Consumer Sentiment 2023 survey, claim their interest in pursuing online education has increased, as opposed to the pre-pandemic world. Thanks to its convenience and safety, e-learning is preferred by most learners. 

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is best seen in some of the following areas:

On-the-job training

Internships and apprenticeships

Learning a new language

Vocational courses 

Upskilling or reskilling

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all areas of lifelong learning. At the end of the day, lifelong learning, irrespective of its type or motivation, focuses on the voluntary nature of the learner, as opposed to compulsory, formal schooling. 

Is Lifelong Learning for White Collar Only?

Lifelong learning aims to add to one’s knowledge for a specific purpose – personal and/or professional. So, it depends on who’s pursuing it. 

Is it an entrepreneur learning how to expand their business through a business management course? Or is it a customer service executive who is learning sign language to communicate with their customers? The concept of lifelong learning stems from the need to have long-lasting skills. However, its purpose and nature determine its end user.

Learning is for Everyone

Denise Marques, who attended our Mastering Sales: A Toolkit For Success program affiliated with Kellogg Executive Education last year, recounts her experience. She says, “it has motivated me to find a new career pathway and to open my own business.” 

At the other end of the spectrum, as life expectancy increases, lifelong learning is attracting people of all ages to pursue higher education. For senior citizens, the motivation lies in finally graduating and being able to say that, yes, they have a degree! Whereas, younger professionals seek lifelong learning in their professional and personal development approach to stay relevant. 

Organizational Lifelong Learning

More often than not, organizations seek a lifelong learning attitude and aptitude within their employees. This type of learning reflects well on the organization as a whole. In addition, it provides a plethora of skills to the employees. 

Lifelong learning is a core component of employee development. However, not all organizations support this with resources as much as they would like to. So the onus falls on the employees to pursue learning opportunities while on the job. 

Irrespective of employer-funded or self-funded education, the convenience of e-learning is driven by certain factors:

Highly economical

Requires minimal effort and time

And it’s convenient!

Having said that, what are the benefits of lifelong learning? And why is it important at the end of the day? Let us find out!

The Benefits and Importance of Lifelong Learning Impact on Personal Development

Teaches you discipline and motivates you to pursue your goals throughout your life

Helps you build a sturdy network of like-minded individuals from all walks of life

Impact on Professional Growth

Enhances your job prospects extensively, putting you ahead of your competitors

Equips you with the confidence to make bold career decisions

The primary objective of lifelong learning lies in its ability to provide fulfillment and happiness in the long run. 

Lifelong Learning: The Cornerstone of the Emeritus Mission

At Emeritus, we pride ourselves in enabling learners to invest in themselves. Our mission lies in supporting learners turn into lifelong learners through a variety of competitive and cutting-edge online courses.

In 2023, Emeritus saw a 109% increase in student enrolment and doubled the number of education partners with whom it collaborates. 

In 2023, Emeritus introduced approximately 190 new programs.

The types of courses offered are diverse:

Degree programs in Latin America

Bootcamps for early-career professionals and career-switchers 

Senior Executive Programs Online (SEPOs)

Emeritus Insights, a bite-sized learning app

Our mission is to help learners from every corner of the world invest in themselves. We’re present virtually everywhere, from Brazil to India, and have pledged to turn these virtual courses into lifelong learning opportunities for professionals at all stages of their lives. Globally, Emeritus has seen spending on courses increase by 100% in FY21 compared to FY20. Moreover, with the introduction of new long-duration and short-duration courses, these numbers are expected to rise this year for both upskilling and reskilling. 

Our steps are in alignment with feedback from our learners throughout the years. Here’s what we understood from our learners in 2023: 

Respondents prefer short-term courses for quicker upskilling

Long-term courses provide deeper knowledge of the subject matter

Learners are willing to spend more; 92% of respondents say that they would consider a paid option to pursue further education

Lifelong Learning: An Experience 

Lifelong learning is a common pursuit among high-performing and driven individuals. From CEOs to presidents, many men and women have inculcated lifelong learning habits in themselves from their days of struggle.

Our learners share exciting insights into their learning experiences with us. Let’s go through a few of them to demonstrate the fulfillment that comes with pursuing one’s goals as a lifelong learner:

Younass, a trained nurse, had a clear vision: “I want to be a beast in sales. I want to develop, enhance my skills, and grow.” His extensive product knowledge and passion for health care and orthopaedic technology made him the perfect candidate for a career in sales. However, sales are still a dynamic field that requires training. Having spent his early career working in hospital services, he gathered in-depth experience and expertise with materials and procedures in casts.

Widya, Product Strategy Discovering, Developing, Managing, and Marketing Products as a Business (Kellogg Executive Education)

“This pandemic has limited all of us in motion, but the existence of this program – allows us to gain useful knowledge and experience. Many of the strategies taught in this program are relevant to current conditions. So that I can stay in my current job well.”

“The program formulated specific thinking about what ideas would work in this space, and how to structure and select them. The association with MIT and Emeritus has also played a positive role in connecting with people.”

Our learners come from all walks of life to learn across a wide range of disciplines. Some switch careers, some reskill, while some others turn out to be successful entrepreneurs. Irrespective of their job designation and experiences, learners come together to form the Emeritus family. This allows us to help them invest in themselves and also become lifelong learners.

By Iha Sharma

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