Take Heart, Nerds—Science Says the Cool Kids Don't Stay Cool

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iStock

We have good news for young dweebs dreading returning to school: The cool kids in middle school don't stay that way. According to a longitudinal study that followed a group of American kids for 10 years, from ages 13 to 23, kids who get into minor trouble as 7th and 8th graders become less popular as their peers mature and begin to think things like shoplifting and getting drunk are less cool.

As noted in the study, published in Child Development, the adolescent use of behaviors such as minor delinquency or precocious romantic involvement to appear mature or "cool" among peers has long been recognized in both research and popular culture, from Rebel Without a Cause to Mean Girls. Unfortunately for the cool kids, the social cachet of rebellion doesn't last.

The study followed 184 youngsters into adulthood, finding that kids who exhibited minor delinquent behaviors in middle school of the kind that often impress other teens tend to be less well-adjusted in the long run. Kids who sneaked into movies or stole things from their parents; who dated more people; and who placed more importance on physical attractiveness as a prerequisite for friendship were by their early 20s less popular and rated less socially competent by their peers. Moreover, delinquent behavior in middle school predicted greater levels of drug use and criminal behavior in the future.

"You see the person who was cool … did exciting things that were intimidating and seemed glamorous at the time—and then five or 10 years later, they are working in a menial job and have poor relationships and such," lead author Joseph Allen, a psychology researcher at the University of Virginia, told CNN. "And the other kid—who was quiet and had good friends but didn't really attract much attention and was a little intimidated—is doing great."

Previous research suggests it's the less-mature kids who try to appear older. The researchers hypothesize that for these teens, “pseudomature behaviors replace efforts to develop positive social skills and meaningful friendships and thus leave teens less developmentally mature and socially competent over time.”

That’s not to say that being a little bit of trouble as a teen necessarily damns you for life. This study was based on 184 kids from the southeastern U.S., and 11 dropped out before the researchers made the follow-up in the subjects' early adulthood.

But it does suggest that kids benefit from spending a longer period of time being, well, kids—spending more time having sleepovers with their friends and learning how to interact without the social lubricant of drugs and alcohol. Add that to the substance abuse–prevention curriculum: Hold off on partying for a few more years, and you’ll be more popular in college.

[h/t: The New York Times]

Editor's note: This story originally ran in 2015 and was updated in 2018.

25 Amazing Ivy League Classes You Can Take Online for Free in 2019

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iStock.com/damircudic

If you resolved to further your education in 2018, there are plenty of opportunities to do so without leaving home. Free college courses are abundant online, and the convenience doesn't necessarily mean you have to compromise on quality. For the best, tuition-free education the internet has to offer, check out these free Ivy League classes compiled by Quartz.

The eight Ivy League schools—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale—offer about 396 free, active online courses between them. While many cover conventional subjects, like marketing, computer science, and Greek mythology, there are plenty of unique classes, including options like "Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies" and "The Ethics of Memory."

Many of the courses are self-paced and offer certificates for a fee. That certification may cost between $50 and $100—meaning your class won't technically be free, but it will still be a lot cheaper than attending an in-person lecture at Harvard.

Here are 25 notable free classes being offered by Ivy League universities this year.

1. "Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies" // Princeton University
2. "Artificial Intelligence (AI)" // Columbia University
3. "Animation and CGI Motion" // Columbia University
4. "The Global Financial Crisis" // Yale University
5. "Crowdfunding" // University of Pennsylvania
6. "Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content" // University of Pennsylvania
7. "Moralities of Everyday Life" // Yale University
8. "The Ancient Greek Hero" // Harvard University
9. "Visualizing Japan (1850s-1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity" // Harvard University
10. "American Capitalism: A History" // Cornell University
11. "Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (Part 1)" // Harvard University
12. "Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes" // Harvard University
13. "Super-Earths and Life" // Harvard University
14. "Women Making History: Ten Objects, Many Stories" // Harvard University
15. "Modern Masterpieces of World Literature" // Harvard University
16. "The Ethics of Memory" // Brown University
17. "Buddhism and Modern Psychology" // Princeton University
18. "Designing Cities" // University of Pennsylvania
19. "America’s Written Constitution" // Yale University
20. "Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic" // Harvard University
21. "The History of Medieval Medicine Through Jewish Manuscripts" // University of Pennsylvania
22. "The Science of Well-Being" // Yale University
23. "Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing" // Yale University
24. "Introduction to Italian Opera" // Dartmouth University
25. "Music and Social Action" // Yale University

You can find more free online offerings from the Ivys and other top schools at Class Central.

[h/t Quartz]

Ohio Is the Latest State to Reinstate Cursive in the Classroom

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iStock.com/PeopleImages

Many people have strong opinions on cursive, whether because they use it everyday or resent their elementary school teachers for wasting their time teaching it to them. In the wake of many schools abandoning teaching cursive writing in the classroom, legislators in Ohio recently took a strong stance in favor of the handwriting style: Beginning in kindergarten, students in the state will now learn to write in cursive in addition to print, WKRC reports.

On Wednesday, December 19, Governor John Kasich signed a bill mandating a cursive curriculum throughout elementary schools in Ohio. The course is optional for teachers, but students will now be required to write cursive legibly by the time they leave fifth grade. The same curriculum also makes it so that students must learn to print letters properly by the end of third grade.

Ohio's decision is part of a larger trend of schools bringing back cursive following a nationwide backlash. Once thought to boost the developmental benefits that come with writing by hand, research has shown that learning cursive isn't uniquely beneficial, and it may even slow down the learning process because it's more complex than regular manuscript. And as computers have become ubiquitous, cursive lessons have taken a backseat to typing in many school systems.

But cursive still has its champions: Linking letters together to create "whole" words promotes clearer, more complete thinking, according to cursive supporters. And even in today's digital world, knowing cursive has its uses, from reading historical documents to signing one's name.

Ohio joins more than a dozen U.S. states that have reinstated cursive lessons in classrooms. In just the past few years alone, Alabama, Louisiana, and New York City—the largest public school system in America—have all once again made cursive part of their curriculums.

[h/t WKRC]

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