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  • 5 Places to learn Online for Free

    According to neuroscience professor Ken Kosik, adult education, or specifically engaging in challenging new learning experiences, encourages brain plasticity. And plasticity is associated with flexibility, innovation, and joy.

    Equally as compelling, continued learning has been shown to protect your brain from developing diseases like Alzheimer's.

    Finally, in today's charged political climate, it's worth noting that an educated populace has always been shown to withstand challenging times more effectively.

    Here are a few ways to get educated this year, quickly and powerfully:

    1. Coursera

    Take classes from universities like Stanford, Penn, Duke, or Yale without the $60,000-plus per year price tag. Coursera offers over 1,500 courses from over 145 university partners.

    Courses usually include videos and coursework like online quizzes monitored by a professor. You can search by topic or university.

    Sample classes:

    • Positive Psychology: This course looks at research findings in the field of positive psychology as well as practical applications that you can put to use immediately to help you live a "full and meaningful life."
    • Become a More Effective Manager: Learn how effective managers assess performance and use coaching to create clear expectations and accountability, as well as how to have powerful conversations that get results.
    • Securing Digital Democracy: Learn about the potential security risks of electronic and internet voting. This course covers the past, present, and future of election technologies.
    • The Making of the U.S. President: A Short History in Five Elections: The course description says: "As Trump takes office as 45th president of the U.S., this course explores presidential elections in historical perspective.... It tells the story of key campaigns, and by doing so it investigates how politics changed over time--and how understanding the past sheds light on the current campaign."

    2. Alison

    If you're an entrepreneur or a globally-minded businessperson, you'll love Alison, a U.K.-based learning hub. It's got classes in English, French, and German, with practical courses on everything from American copyright law to nonprofit fundraising. Sample courses:

    Completion of a course grants you "certification," a British designation.

    3. Academic Earth

    The advantage of Academic Earth is that it creates curated playlists, collecting relevant lectures from different courses around a specific topic. Sample playlists:

    It also has interesting and occasionally entertaining video electives, such as:

    4. 99U

    With the tagline "Empowering the Creative Community," 99U is kind of like TED for entrepreneurs only: Its focus is heavily on creativity, innovation, and business development. Sample lectures:

    • Why Unrest Is Gold for Creatives: "In an era of upheaval and crisis, creative expression takes on new urgency.... For those creatives feeling discontent in these fractious times, it's a reminder that the simmering feeling of anger can be best used to issue a call to action and serve as a tool for change."
    • How to Beat the Imposter Syndrome Feeling: "Approximately 70 percent of us will experience a period of self-doubt at least once in our lives. Rebuild your confidence using these five strategies."
    • Paola Antonelli: Rejection Is a Sign You're Onto Something New: "Your creative work can make the world a better place. But only if you allow yourself to shock, disgust, and--yes--even fail."

    5. Udacity

    If you're serious about learning how to code this year or need to bone up on computer science or math skills, this clean site is ideal. It includes an icon next to videos to let you know just how advanced a course is, so you can start with an easier one if you're new to a subject. Sample courses:

    • Android Basics Nanodegree by Google (beginner): "Get a solid grasp on the basics of foundational programming skills used in creating mobile apps."
    • VR Developer Nanodegree (intermediate): "Virtual Reality is the future of creative content. Job opportunities are skyrocketing, making this the perfect time to launch your career. Built by Google VR, Vive, Upload Collective."
    • Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree (advanced): "In this program, you'll learn the skills and techniques used by self-driving car teams at the most advanced technology companies in the world. Built by Mercedes, Nvidia, Otto, Didi, BMW, McLaren, NextEv."

    "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." --Albert Einstein

    Source: inc.com

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  • 11 Important Signs That We Don’t Drink Enough Water

    There’s not much in this world more refreshing than a tall, ice-cold glass of water. I don’t think there’s anyone alive that can deny that sometimes, a simple glass of water can be more satisfying than a cup of coffee or a can of soda. Despite this, too many of us don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. By depriving ourselves of the world’s most natural resource, we are continuously damaging our bodies. If you recognize any of the following signs in yourself, we recommend you go and drink a glass of H2O straight away.

    1. Your mouth is dry

    This seems pretty obvious, but the ramifications might not be so. Of course, any time you feel that sticky, nasty feeling in your mouth, you’d obviously reach for some sort of liquid. But sugary drinks are only a temporary solution to a larger problem. Drinking water lubricates the mucus membranes in your mouth and throat, which will continue to keep your mouth moist with saliva long after that first sip.

    2. Your skin is dry

    Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so of course it needs to stay hydrated. In fact, dry skin is one of the earliest signs of full-on dehydration, which can lead to much larger problems. A lack of water means a lack of sweat, which leads to a body’s inability to wash away excess dirt and oil accumulated throughout the day. If you want to stave off breakouts, your first recourse should be to drink more water.

    3. You’re overly thirsty

    We went over dry mouth already, but thirst goes beyond a desert-like tongue. Anyone who’s ever had a hangover can tell you that, upon waking up, your body just can’t get enough water. Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, and drinking water sends ’YES PLEASE!’ signals to the brain until your fluid levels get back to baseline. Listen to what your body is telling you; it knows what it’s talking about!

    4. Your eyes are dry

    By now it should be clear that drinking water affects more than just your mouth and throat. A lack of water intake leads to dry, bloodshot eyes (again, think of that last pounding hangover). Without water in the body, your tear ducts dry up. If you’re thinking ’So what if I can’t cry?’, realize that this could cause much more harm to your eyes, especially if you wear contacts on a daily basis.

    5. You experience joint pain

    Our cartilage and spinal discs are made up of about 80% water. This is an absolute necessity to keep our bones from grinding against each other with every step we take. By keeping your body hydrated, you ensure that your joints can absorb the shock of sudden movements, such as running, jumping, or falling awkwardly.

    6. Your muscle mass decreases

    Your muscles, also, are comprised mostly of water. Obviously, less water in the body means less muscle mass. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout not only keeps you hydrated and comfortable, it also brings water to the right places in your body, and decreases the chance of developing inflammation and soreness related to exercise and weightlifting.

    7. You stay sick longer

    Drinking water allows your body to continuously flush out toxins. Your organs work to filter our certain waste products like a machine, but if you don’t fuel the machine with water, it cannot work properly. What ends up happening in a dehydrated body is organs start to pull water from stored areas like your blood, which leads to a whole new set of problems.

    8. You feel fatigued and lethargic

    As we just mentioned, when a body is dehydrated it "borrows" water from your blood. A lack of properly hydrated blood leads to a lack of oxygen being brought throughout the body. Of course, a lack of oxygen leads to sleepiness and outright fatigue. A lack of stamina means you’ll start to experience that 2pm crash earlier and earlier in your day (and remember, coffee won’t help in the long run).

    9. You experience hunger pangs

    When you’re dehydrated, your body might start to think it needs some food. This happens throughout the day, and overnight when you wake up craving that midnight snack. However, eating food creates more work for your body, whereas drinking water purifies and your organs and supplies it with the fuel it needs to go through the other processes a body goes through.

    10. You experience digestive problems

    We spoke before about the mucus in our mouth and throat, and how keeping hydrated allows the membrane to function correctly. This also applies to the entire digestive system. Without proper hydration, the amount and strength of mucus in the stomach lessens, allowing stomach acid to do some major damage to your insides. This leads to what we commonly refer to as heartburn and indigestion.

    11. You experience premature ageing

    The amount of water our bodies retain naturally decreases as we age. Obviously, what this means is that, as we get older, we should consciously increase our water intake. While premature ageing is more evident on the outside, the damage it does to our insides will ultimately be felt over time. To decrease the risk of running your body raw, it’s important to continue to drink water throughout your lifetime.

    Source: brightside.me

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  • Teddy Afro: At the top of his game

    Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ethiopia’s best selling artist, controversial, often times poetic, at all times talented, released his long awaited album – Ethiopia –last week. It has since shot to number 1 in Billboard’s World Album chart – a milestone for Ethiopian music. At home, relaxed, uplifting and vulnerable at all the same time, he hosted Samuel Getachew and Dawit Endeshaw of The Reporter as he opened up on his family, career, Ethiopia and what it means for him to be loved by millions of people around the world. Excerpts:

    The Reporter: Congratulations Teddy on your new album. Since we saw you four years ago, you have become a second time father. You seem more in love with your wife.  How is it different to perform, not just as an artist, but as a father?

    Teddy Afro: The difference is perhaps felt more by others who observe me when I perform. It is true, being a responsible husband and a father has given me a sense of who I am and where I belong. It has changed me. It has helped me become a better person, a better artiste. It has given me a home, a place to belong. It is something to behold.  It really has been a blessing and a happy experience for me.

    Going to your latest work, inside the album cover, you describe yourself as “Ra’ey” (vision). What exactly are you referring to? Are you referring to yourself having a vision, your country’s vision or something else?

    As you saw for yourself, I included pictures of my parents, my father, mother and a picture of Emperor Tewodros II.  It is to be a remembrance, a memorial. As a child, I called my mother Ra’ey. For me, Ra’ey is to be Ethiopian. Ra’ey is to be given by God. That is what I meant.

    Your album is a hit and has given a sentiment value to your fans. You named your album Ethiopia. What does Ethiopia and Ethiopianism mean to you?

    I have often been asked that question and I have always been frank with my assessment of what it means. I have reflected on it a lot by the way. For me, being Ethiopian is to be free, kind, patient and humble. It is to have and hold on to better ideals for oneself.

    The current generation, sees you as the voice of a generation. Even at the beginning, when you released your Abugida album, you were seen as a voice of that generation. The current generation also sees you, as the current generation’s voice. You seem to have a way with every generation. Do you see yourself as the voice of a new generation?

    I cannot be far from any generation, especially my own generation. I can only reflect on an experience. Mine or others!

    Woubshet Werkalemahu, has congratulated you on your interpretation of the iconic book “Fikir Eske Mekabir”. The book is 600 pages. Do you think your interpretation in a four-minute song is inclusive of the message of the book?

    It’s true, the book is 600 pages and it’s long. I believe I only reflected the main characters in the book, which is the story of Bezabih while he was trying to find Seblewengel. Basically, the song narrates the story of Bezabih from Gojam to Addis Ababa. It talks about when Gudu Kassa helps Bezabih when he tried to find his love. So I have tried to capture this part of the book.

    Was there anyone aside from you who was involved in writing the lyrics for the song entitled Fikir Eske Mekabir?

    No, there wasn’t. I finished both the lyrics and the melody in one night. Then I made some improvements after. So, except the contribution from the author of Fikir Eske Mekabir itself the song belongs to me.

    Some say you’re all over everything.  Given your popularity and fame people involved in the music industry always want to work with you. So how are you planning to work and mentor those young producers and musicians who want to be the next Teddy Afro?

    Well, when I do my music, I always try to use every possible resource at my disposal. I always want and try to work and collaborate with other musicians. I go out of my way to do that. We have tried many times but effort couldn’t go beyond trying.

    Speaking of your new album, in one of your songs, which is about Emperor Tewodros II, the style of your voice you used in this song is somehow unique and resembles with the tone of the so called Azmaris. How did you come up with the song and such unique ways to capture the unique voice of an Azmari?

    I always found myself attracted with such unique and old voices. By the way, it was not the first time that I have played with such tone. Previously, I played the song by Bahru Kangne. So it comes from emotion and compassion. It was not planned. It just happened.

    When did you write the song about Emperor Tewodros II?

    It has been a while since I started to process the song but there were improvements made on the way. It was this year that I have completed the whole song about him.

    Some people relate your song on Emperor Tewodros with the recent political unrest that erupted in the city of Gondar. Did you write the song after violence in Gondar?

    Well…some may link it with what happened in Gondar. However, the song has nothing to do with the unrest. So my answer is; this was not the first time I sung about our emperors and praise them at all the same time.

    After the release of your album, we have seen many people lineup to purchase your album. It must be nice to be appreciated and loved by many people.

    All is because of the grace of God; it is a blessing from the almighty God. But seeing this from my perspective, it is really hard. Having all this acceptance and recognition by itself put a sense of pressure. So I have no words to express my gratitude for the love and acceptance I get.

    In a number of times you sang about Emperor Haile Selassie I. Speaking about Emperor, people have different opinion on him. Some consider him as god, others as a prophet and many asking. How do you see him?

    The amount of grace and knowledge that our forefathers and emperors had is not something that would be easily explained. By their time, our kings were feared and respected by the world. So for me Emperor Haile Selassie I was a very kind leader – a leader who has ruled his country with grace and compassion.

    So you see him as an Emperor?

    Yes

    One of your admirers is The Weeknd. He has listed you, along with Aster Aweke and Mulatu Astatke, as his musical heroes. He has said how his mother used to play your songs all the time. Are you open to the idea of working with him?

    The simple answer is yes. I would be happy. He seems like a nice, decent young man. I met with his family inside a plane. It was indicated to me how much he loves my music. He is a talented artist. The simple answer is yes, I would love to work with him.

    There are new artists, in their teenage years, in their twenties who are struggling and want to follow in your footsteps. What advice do you have for them?

    The first thing is to know your real talent and your own potential. You need to have the right attitude. One has to be able to listen to different kinds of music. Attitude and confidence is the foundation to a great success in art. Build the foundation early. Be a team player.

    Your wife is staring in a movie currently in local cinemas. You are both talented artists.  Will there be any chance for a collaborative effort for both of you?

    We have already teamed up (laughs). We worked on the video, for the song, Mar Eske Tuwaf. She was the star, playing Seblewengel and she was also the director. We saw the finished product yesterday and it was beautiful. I expect it to be released very soon. 

    Source: The Reporter

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