Habla a la macchina

It’s new, it’s fresh, and apparently it works (as well as Google Translate). So why do you still want to learn a foreign language?

Google is taking on Apple’s $160 wireless AirPods headphones with a direct competitor: Google Pixel Buds.

Google introduced the headphones during an event on Wednesday morning in California, alongside new entries in the Google Home smart-speaker line, a new Chromebook laptop, and the next generation of the company’s Pixel phone.

The $160 Pixel Buds headphones aren’t entirely wireless, as you can see above — a cable connects each side of the headphone set, unlike Apple’s completely wireless AirPods. In most other ways, though, they’re nearly identical to what Apple’s offering.

In a demo on stage during Google’s event, one Google employee spoke to another — except one was speaking Swedish while the other was responding in English. The headphones were able to translate what the other person was saying in real time, similar to the “babel fish” concept in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

You can use this translation feature for 40 languages. You don’t need a new Pixel for it — you just need an Android phone with Google Assistant, meaning most new Android phones, as well as last year’s Pixel (and the new Pixel 2, of course).

And if you want them to use them solely as wireless headphones, you can — they’re Bluetooth headphones, so they’ll work with anything that uses Bluetooth connectivity.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Google-s-taking-on-Apple-s-AirPods-with-160-12253403.php

Write, Don’t Type

Neuroscientist and Cal State East Bay Assistant Professor Pradeep Ramanathandoesn’t just teach his students about the brain. He teaches them about how to use their brains to learn more effectively.

“It may seem like a simple question to ask ‘What part of the brain is involved with learning?’” Ramanathan says. “But the reality is that complex functions such as learning are not localized to individual areas, so it’s pretty much the entire brain. The brain as a whole is a vast network of more than a hundred billion neurons, and likely over a hundred trillion synapses. It is the single most powerful computing device [in the world.]”

And that means proper care of the brain is critical for attention and memory — two areas Ramanathan says are very important for student learning performance.

Want to know how you can use your brain’s natural functions and some research-driven techniques to improve your chances of success next quarter? Read on. But first, there are a few obvious health habits that Ramanathan says create the foundation for learning — and if you’ve heard them before, you can probably thank your mother and father for always knowing best.


Ramanathan says a lot of students — many because they have to work full time while earning their degrees — are chronically sleep deprived. It turns out, not only will you struggle to concentrate the next day, but you probably won’t retain as much of what it was you were trying to learn.

“Many students are overextended so … they withdraw from their sleep budget [to study], and that has consequences to learning — one being that your attention is lacking, but another is that sleep is critical for consolidating our memories, so [losing sleep] is a double whammy,” Ramanathan explains. “What a person studies in the few hours before sleep is especially well consolidated by sleep. So, if a student studies for several hours in the evening, and then gets a good night’s sleep, they will consolidate all of that learning very well. But, if they just keep studying until late and end up sleep deprived, all of that extra time spent studying is pretty much going down the tubes.”


What you eat and drink has direct consequences (good and bad) on your ability to learn. Caffeine can be helpful not only because it allows an otherwise foggy student to focus, but also, Ramanathan says, because research shows it appears to improve long-term memory. So feel free to enjoy a cup of joe, but don’t drink it at night to stay awake and stay away from sugary coffee beverages — the caffeine jolt isn’t worth the cost of consuming lots of sugar and the inevitable crash that follows. One recent study explored long-term impacts of the Western diet on human cognition and the brain, and showed that while sugar in the form of glucose is fuel for the brain, excessive consumption of sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) can lead to brain insulin resistance and impaired learning, memory and other cognitive functions.

Students who drink alcohol may also suffer a loss of brain cells and experience adverse effects to their memory — both in the short term (don’t party before a big test) and later in life. Even mild social drinking impairs memory and learning performance.


In addition to food, Ramanathan says those who exercise more often have better cognitive skills. And that doesn’t necessarily mean running on a treadmill every day. According to a study done at the University of British Columbia, walking 30 to 60 minutes a day beyond what you’d normally do on campus improves brain function and can increase alertness in the classroom and help retain information.

And now, five recommendations from the professor for things you can do to maximize your learning potential this fall.


Research findings have been somewhat mixed about the effects of classroom seat location on student learning. Traditionally, and as supported by studies such as this one from the University of Colorado at Boulder, educators believe that sitting at the front of class may be of benefit because it allows a student to hear better, see better and there are fewer peers in a student’s line of vision to be distracted by. An exception? Ramanathan says a student who is self conscious about being called on in the front row, to the point of becoming distracted by nerves, should consider sitting a few rows back.


Ramanathan says most students these days can type almost as quickly as he lectures. But he warns students against relying on laptops, explaining that many students devolve into transcriptionists, which robs the student of a key factor in learning — the use of metacognition, or “thinking about your thinking.”

“Handwriting places a much bigger responsibility on you to stay intentionally engaged, which means you’ll retain more.”

“When you [write by hand] …  you’re forced to do something important that requires metacognition,” Ramanathan says. “Since you can’t keep up with the professor verbatim, you end up having to summarize in your notes. So, you have to ask yourself a lot of metacognitive questions in real time about how well you are learning and understanding what is being said. You tend to ask yourself, ‘Am I understanding what the professor is saying, what is the gist, what are the main points or key takeaways that I need to remember?’ and then you have to put that into your own words. All of this engages a huge network of brain areas and significantly improves learning. Handwriting places a much bigger responsibility on you to stay intentionally engaged, which means you’ll retain more. When you type, it tends to be more ‘in-one-ear-out-the-other.’”

In addition, the professor cautions that laptops and other internet-enabled devices mean students are vulnerable to distractors such as texts, social media apps, email and other online elements with pop-ups that are designed to grab attention — and can break focus.


As the saying goes, if you can teach something, then you really know it. Ramanathan says one of the most effective study strategies a student can use is to try and teach the material to someone else. You can do this alone or in a group — have each person take turns presenting a specific portion of the information.

But the technique isn’t limited to the availability of study partners.

“You don’t need an audience, you can even do it silently to an imaginary audience,” he says. “Just make sure you’re getting deep enough into the information, putting it in your own words and talking about it without looking at the supporting materials.”


So, what to do if you’re an overworked, stressed-out, beer-drinking, multitasking student who doesn’t exercise?

Ramanathan says in recent years there’s been a cultural shift toward celebrating the skill of multitasking, but that it actually has negative consequences on learning.

“Focused attention is absolutely critical to learning. Multitasking is the opposite of focused attention — it involves either divided attention or alternating attention. We all multitask a little bit and the human brain is certainly capable of it, but there are two aspects that make it detrimental to learning,” he says. “One, when you’re in class and are distracted and multitasking, you’re watering down that focused attention that you’re supposed to be allocating toward learning. In addition, there’s a cost you incur when switching your attention back and forth because each time you have to ramp up your understanding again and there’s time and energy wasted in that process. All of this results in poorer comprehension and reduced memory for the material.”

Bonus point: The professor also reports that individuals who demonstrate the ability to control their attention have been found to have higher IQs and are more successful performing cognitive tasks, according to a study published in Cognitive Psychology. But, he cautions that the jury is still out as to whether cultivating improved attention and working memory can increase your IQ, though he personally believes future research will bear that result.


So, what to do if you’re an overworked, stressed-out, beer-drinking, multitasking student who doesn’t exercise beyond walking from the parking lot to class and never goes anywhere without a laptop and mocha frappuccino with extra caramel and whip?

Lucky for you, Ramanathan says the brain is always developing and is actually “plastic” in nature, which means with time and concerted effort, it can be trained to improve focus and retain more information. The best way to do that? Use the tips above and consider meditation.

“In mindfulness meditation, when you’re meditating and your mind wanders, you bring it back to your breath,” Ramanathan says. “Since your mind keeps wandering, you’ll have to do this repeatedly, and this cultivates focused attention. It can also help calm the nervous system, keeping the brain more alert and better able to process information, all of which enhances your learning skills. Additionally, studies such as this one suggest that meditation can increase cortical thickness in areas of the brain associated with attention and higher level cognitive processing.”

Source: https://www.ebtoday.com/stories/write-don-t-type

The Benefits of Talking to Yourself


A stranger approached me at a grocery store. “Do you need help finding something?” he asked. At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant. Then the realization kicked in: I was talking out loud, to myself, in public. It was a habit I’d grown so comfortable with that I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

The fairly common habit of talking aloud to yourself is what psychologists call external self-talk. And although self-talk is sometimes looked at as just an eccentric quirk, research has found that it can influence behavior and cognition.

“Language provides us with this tool to gain distance from our own experiences when we’re reflecting on our lives. And that’s really why it’s useful,” said Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.

When we talk to ourselves we’re trying to see things more objectively, Mr. Kross said, so it matters how you talk to yourself. The two types of self-talk you’re likely most familiar with are instructional self-talk, like talking yourself through a task, and motivational self-talk, like telling yourself, “I can do this.” It might be corny, but motivating yourself out loud can work.

One study published in Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences researched the effects of both motivational and instructional self-talk on subjects playing basketball. It found that players passed the basketball faster when they motivated themselves through the task out loud.

Even how you refer to yourself when talking to yourself can make a difference. Mr. Kross and his colleagues studied the impact of internal self-talk — talking to yourself in your head — to see how it can affect attitudes and feelings. They found that when their subjects talked about themselves in the second or third person — for example, “You can do this” or “Jane can do this” instead of “I can do this” — not only did they feel less anxiety while performing, but their peers also rated their performances better. Mr. Kross said this was because of self-distancing: focusing on the self from the distanced perspective of a third person, even though that person is you.

“In terms of why psychological distance helps, the example I like to give is to think about a time with a friend or loved one ruminating about a problem,” Mr. Kross said. “As an outsider, it’s relatively easy for you to advise them through that problem. One of the key reasons why we’re so able to advise others on a problem is because we’re not sucked into those problems. We can think more clearly because we have distance from the experience.”

So if you’re frazzled and need a motivational pep talk, you might consider giving it in the second or third person, which can help you look at the situation from a logical, objective perspective rather than an emotional, biased one.

Beyond motivational self-talk, talking to yourself out loud in an instructional way can speed up cognitive abilities in relation to problem-solving and task performance.

So, for example, when you’re searching for that item you just can’t find at the grocery store, talking to yourself out loud may help you find it faster. This is because of the feedback hypothesis.

“The idea is, if you hear a word, does that help you see something?” said Gary Lupyan, a researcher and psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

According to the feedback hypothesis, the name of an item and its label make you think of what that item looks like. “This helps you distinguish it from other items with different names,” Mr. Lupyan said.

Mr. Lupyan wanted to test the feedback hypothesis with self-talk. In a series of experiments, he and his team asked subjects to search for different objects in different situations. In one experiment, subjects were asked to search for a picture of a specific item, like a banana, among 20 pictures of random items.

“We had some of the subjects say the name of the object out loud to themselves,” he said. “The idea was, does saying the name actually help you activate its visual features?”

Mr. Lupyan and his colleagues found that when subjects said the word “banana” before searching for a picture of one, they found the picture faster and more accurately. Saying the word out loud, the study found, made the subjects more aware of its physical traits, which then made the banana stand out among other objects.

It’s worth noting, however, that this type of self-talk isn’t as effective if you don’t know what the item looks like. In other words, if you’re searching for a papaya and you have no idea what a papaya looks like, asking yourself, “Where are the papayas?” probably won’t do much for you.

“The finding was that saying a name out loud helps, but only with objects they have familiarity with,” Mr. Lupyan said. Without that familiarity, talking to yourself out loud can slow you down, he added.

Instructive self-talk can be useful beyond finding your lost car keys or picking out a friend in a crowd. The aforementioned basketball study also found that players passed and shot the basketball more accurately when they instructed themselves through the task out loud, suggesting that talking to yourself about what you’re doing can keep you focused. The study concluded that motivational self-talk worked best on tasks based on speed, strength and power, while instructional self-talk worked best with tasks that involved focus, strategy and technique. In the real world, this might translate to parallel parking, following a recipe or putting together an Ikea side table.

“My bet is that self-talk works best on problems where you’re trying to stay on task and there are possible distractions,” Mr. Lupyan said. “For tasks with a multistep sequence, talking to yourself out loud can help you keep out distractions and remind yourself where you are.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/smarter-living/benefits-of-talking-to-yourself-self-talk.html

Un petit oiseau, un petit poisson… (et Jeanne Moreau)

  • … s’aimaient d’amour tendre
  • Mais comment s’y prendre
  • Quand on est dans l’eau?

Jeanne Moreau est morte à l’âge de 89 ans

L’actrice, à la beauté sensuelle et à l’inimitable voix grave, qui a fasciné les plus grands réalisateurs, a été retrouvée morte à son domicile parisien.

Le Monde.fr avec AFP |  • Mis à jour le 

La comédienne, chanteuse, actrice et réalisatrice Jeanne Moreau est morte lundi 31 juillet à l’âge de 89 ans, a annoncé son agent à l’Agence France-Presse lundi. L’actrice à la beauté sensuelle et à l’inimitable voix grave, qui a fasciné les plus grands réalisateurs au cours d’une carrière de soixante-cinq ans, a été retrouvée morte à son domicile parisien, a précisé Jeanne d’Hauteserre, maire du 8e arrondissement. Elle a été retrouvée par sa femme de ménage tôt lundi matin, selon plusieurs sources.

Née le 23 janvier 1928 à Paris d’un père restaurateur et d’une mère danseuse anglaise, l’inoubliable interprète de la chanson Tourbillon dans Jules et Jim, de François Truffaut, a tourné dans plus de 130 films. Le président Emmanuel Macron a rendu hommage à « une artiste qui incarnait le cinéma dans sa complexité, sa mémoire, son exigence ».

« Il est des personnalités qui à elles seules semblent résumer leur art. Jeanne Moreau fut de celles-ci. (…) Sa force fut de n’être jamais où on l’attendait, sachant s’échapper des catégories où trop vite on aurait voulu la ranger. Telle était sa liberté, constamment revendiquée, mise au service de causes auxquelles elle croyait, en femme de gauche ardente, toujours rebelle à l’ordre établi comme à la routine. »

« Dans une société corsetée, elle aura montré à toute une génération de femmes le chemin de l’émancipation et de l’affranchissement, a rappelé l’ancien ministre de la culture Jack Lang. Envoûtante et inoubliable, Jeanne Moreau nous entraînera toujours dans le tourbillon de la vie pour nous émouvoir et nous émerveiller inlassablement. »

Le président de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, a rendu hommage à une actrice dont le talent « a marqué la culture européenne » et dont le travail a « toujours reflété les valeurs de l’Union »« Jeanne Moreau a marqué avec son talent la culture européenne et son art continuera à charmer et à enchanter tous les publics bien après sa disparition », a-t-il affirmé dans un communiqué.

Le monde de la culture lui a également rendu hommage. Brigitte Bardot a salué la « personnalité hors du commun » de l’actrice, avec qui elle avait partagé l’affiche dans Viva Maria en 1965. « J’ai beaucoup de chagrin. Jeanne était avant tout une femme belle, intelligente, séduisante, avec une voix et une personnalité hors du commun, qui ont fait d’elle une actrice aux multiples facettes », a-t-elle souligné dans un communiqué.

« Jeanne Moreau a eu une vie extraordinaire. Je crois que tout le monde l’aimait. Je garde le souvenir d’une femme libre, d’une femme très libre (…) », a pour sa part dit l’acteur et réalisateur Jean-Pierre Mocky sur RTL.

Panthéon filmique

Jeanne Moreau passe une partie de son enfance à Vichy, avant de revenir s’établir avec sa famille à Paris, où elle achève ses études secondaires. A l’adolescence, elle se prend de passion pour le théâtre. A 19 ans, après le Conservatoire, elle fait ses débuts à la Comédie-Française, qui représente pour elle « la discipline, l’exactitude ». Un choix que désapprouve son père, qui la jette dehors.

Un antagonisme profond la sépare de son père, « un homme élevé par des parents du XIXe siècle » qui supportait également mal que sa femme lui échappe. « Ça m’a rendue enragée de voir comment une femme pouvait se laisser malmener », confiait-elle. Son goût pour la lecture lui vient de son oncle, « un homme extraverti » qui lui donnait des livres – « ce qui était interdit, j’ai toujours lu en cachette » –, et lui payait des cours de danse. « J’ai découvert la sexualité sur le tard, à travers les livres et parce qu’on a vécu dans un hôtel de passe à Montmartre » à Paris, s’amusait cette grande séductrice.

C’est sur les planches qu’elle fait ses premiers pas – elle jouera dans une soixantaine de pièces tout au long de sa carrière. En 1946, elle rentre comme auditrice au Français. Elle se fait remarquer quelques années plus tard alors qu’elle joue le rôle d’une prostituée dans la pièce d’André Gide Les Caves du Vatican, mise en scène par Jean Meyer en 1950.

Un an plus tôt, elle entame une carrière au cinéma, avec Dernier amour, de Jean Stelli, sorti en 1949. La même année, Jeanne Moreau se marie avec l’acteur et réalisateur Jean-Louis Richard et donne naissance à leur fils, Jérôme, avant de divorcer en 1951. Plus tard, son ex-époux devient le coscénariste attitré de François Truffaut, sous la direction duquel Jeanne Moreau tourneraen 1962, Jules et Jim, l’histoire d’un triangle amoureux tragique. Elle y chante Le Tourbillon de la vie et incarne une amoureuse affranchie, emblématique des héroïnes modernes qu’elle va régulièrement camper pour le cinéma.

Mais c’est avant sa rencontre avec le réalisateur des Quatre cents coups qu’elle joue un rôle décisif pour sa carrière, celui d’une amante complice du meurtre de son mari, dans Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, de Louis Malle, sorti en 1957.

Les années 1960 sont fastes et assoient son statut de star internationale. Elle tourne Le Procès (1962), sous la direction d’Orson Welles, avec qui elle tournera de nombreux films, dont Une histoire immortelle. Fidèle à ses metteurs en scène, à qui elle a apporté sa confiance avant qu’ils n’entrent au panthéon des cinéastes, elle retrouve Louis Malle pour Les Amants (1958), Le Feu follet (1963) et Viva Maria ! (1965). Arborant une chevelure blond platine, elle se transforme pour les besoins du film de Jacques Demy La Baie des Anges (1963), où elle incarne une flambeuse doublée d’une femme fatale.

Tout au long de sa carrière, elle s’entoure des plus grands réalisateurs, comme Buñuel, dans Journal d’une femme de chambre, Antonioni dans La Notte,Losey dans Eva ou, plus tard, Wenders dans Jusqu’au bout du monde. En 1974, elle donne la réplique à Gérard Depardieu et Patrick Dewaere, dans Les Valseuses, de Bertrand Blier. Le film fait scandale.

Multiples récompenses

Deux ans plus tard, elle passe à la réalisation, avec Lumière, un film sur l’amitié féminine dans lequel elle se met en scène au côté, notamment, de Lucia Bosé, sa partenaire dans Nathalie Granger. Dans ses autres films et documentaires, elle rend hommage aux actrices de son époque.

En 1992, elle reçoit le César de la meilleure actrice pour La vieille qui marchait dans la mer, un film réalisé par Laurent Heynemann. Lauréate du prix d’interprétation féminine 1960 à Cannes pour Moderato cantabile de Peter Brook, elle fut la seule comédienne à avoir présidé deux fois le jury de ce festival, en 1975 et 1995. Elle y a aussi été plusieurs fois maîtresse de cérémonie. En 1998, elle obtient un Oscar d’honneur pour l’ensemble de sa carrière, ainsi qu’un César d’honneur en 1995. Plus de dix ans plus tard, elle reçoit un « Super César d’honneur » lors des César 2008.

A la veille de ses 80 ans, elle reconnaissait avoir vécu dans son métier des moments de passion qu’elle n’avait pas vécus dans sa vie. « On dit toujours qu’en vieillissant les gens deviennent plus renfermés sur eux-mêmes, plus durs. Moi, plus le temps passe, plus ma peau devient fine, fine… Je ressens tout, je vois tout », notait-elle avec son phrasé inimitable.

Source: http://www.lemonde.fr/disparitions/article/2017/07/31/jeanne-moreau-est-morte-a-l-age-de-89-ans_5166891_3382.html#gvMvSG7f48wyZTUU.99