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5 Industries That Could Change Life as We Know It

5 Industries That Could Change Life as We Know It

“Making the world a better place” is a tired cliché we hear a lot, but there’s a lot of good behind the phrase as well. Most people want to do more than just collect a paycheck, go home, and watch TV every day. Most of us want to make a difference in the world through the work we do. Some new industries that are emerging could have a positive impact on how we live, and shake up our lives in a big way. If you’d like to be part of something bigger, consider a career in one of these 5 industries. Because they’re new (or evolving) industries, you’ll have to think out of the box to score a job in one of these fields. Don’t let that stop you: these industries need talented, driven people to help ‘make the world a better place.’

1. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is here, and it’s only going to become more lifelike as time goes on. The industry isn’t just making our entertainment more immersive, it’s making everything more interactive and engaging. From the Game of Thrones exhibit, which allows viewers to visit the frigid Wall, to cellphone games that require collaboration with friends, to VR training for professional athletes, VR is changing the way we communicate and consume entertainment.

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If you are interested in joining this growing field, don’t expect to find a single curriculum to help you learn the skills and terminology you need to succeed. You may have to make your own training program and be prepared to do a lot of fiddling on your own before you become a competent VR designer.

2. Civil & Industrial Engineering

Engineers are essential to the growth of society and improving life as we know it. Infrastructure might not be an exciting topic for most people, but when bridges begin to crumble and electric grids become obsolete, we need talented engineers to come up with solutions for our expanding population.

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If you’d like to make a difference in how our communities function on a daily basis, there are many excellent engineering programs at universities across the country. If you’re logical, methodical, and ready to put in the work, you could be the perfect candidate for this field!

3. Blockchains

Internet security has become a hot-button issue these days, and there’s no wonder why. More cyber attacks take place globally every day, compromising identities, medical records, and credit cards. Blockchains are an audacious solution to these problems, and promise to make payment a safer, more user-friendly experience, by cutting out the middleman (i.e. 3rd parties that process payment, like big corporations). Bitcoin is the biggest example of blockchain technology. It’s using encryption and a historical “chain” of records to ensure the security of a transaction. This information isn’t stored in a central database and is essentially “open source” making the technology accessible to nearly anyone.

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If you’re interested in exploring the blockchain industry, get coding! C++ is a great language to get started with.

4. Bioengineering

Bioengineering isn’t a new field, but it’s come a very long way and could make a huge difference in how we live our lives. The field has resulted in some amazing advancements, including a major reduction in malaria deaths by bioengineering mosquitos. Through the program, there were 37% fewer cases of malaria and 60% fewer deaths. Though malaria is still a problem worldwide, bioengineers have significantly reduced the impact of the disease, and are still working toward fewer cases. Engineering the mosquitos to be sterile has reduced populations, and will continue to improve outcomes.

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Bioengineering is a tough field, but there are many excellent programs if you’d like to make a difference around the world.

5. Sustainability

Our planet is facing challenges, thanks to our modern lifestyle and massive use of resources. Fortunately, there has been a push toward more sustainable “green” initiatives in the last few decades. This field is only going to continue growing as we tackle the problems of rising global temperatures, overflowing landfills, and depleted resources.

If you’d like to work in the field of sustainability, the best way is to work for an agency that sets standards and regulations for green initiatives. Engineers and inventors can also contribute to this growing field. No matter what career you choose in the sustainability field, you’ll be helping to change life as we know it—for the better.

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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