Are You a Bird Brain? You May Wish You Were!

Alex the African Grey ParrotOn those days when you start to feel that your coursework is taxing your brain, take a moment to think about Alex, an African grey parrot, who was the subject of a thirty-year (1977-2007) experiment by an animal psychologist named Irene Pepperberg, initially at the University of Arizona and later at Harvard and Brandeis University. Before her work, scientists believed that a large primate brain was needed to deal with complex problems related to language and understanding and that birds were not intelligent and only used words by mimicking.Pepperberg’s accomplishments found that birds may actually be able to reason on a basic level and to use words creatively. She reported that Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old human and the emotional level of a human two-year-old at the time of his premature death (from an unexpected catastrophic event associated with arteriosclerosis) when he was about thirty years old (the average life span for African grey parrots is fifty years). At the time of his death, he could identify 50 different objects and recognize quantities up to six and could distinguish seven colors and five shapes. He understood the concepts of “bigger,” “smaller,” “same,” and “different,” and was learning “over” and “under.”Among a number of his skills, he had a vocabulary of 150 words and appeared to have understanding of what he said. He could label an object when asked about its shape, color or material. He could also add to a limited extent, and understood the concept of zero, answering “none” when asked the difference between two objects if there was indeed no difference!When the bird was tired of being tested, he would indicate that he wanted to go back to his cage by saying, “Wanna go back.” If he said, “Wanna banana,” and was offered a nut instead, he would stare in silence, ask for the banana again, or take the nut and throw it at the researcher before requesting the item again!And talk about “famous last words,”Alex’s last words to Dr. Pepperberg were, “You be good. I love you.”

Privacy Concerns When Submitting Online Applications For Employment

Sooner or later, most people will have to apply for a job online. The number of employers who utilize the online application method to find the best people continues to grow. Some people feel that the online application process limits their ability to showcase particular skills and stand apart from the competition. It really does not have to be that way.  Here are some suggestions on  how to use the electronic application process in an effective manner. Continue reading…

Speaking 1,000 Words Without Opening One’s Mouth…the remarkable aspect of nonverbal communication.

In Argentina, the “thumbs up” and “okay” gestures we use regularly in America are considered to be really vulgar. In Cambodia, it is bad manners to meet the eyes of someone who is older than you. In Turkey, people routinely stare – at foreigners and at each other! In China, winking is considered to be highly offensive. In India, it is expected that one will allow an arm’s length of distance from another in conversation, to provide personal space. Similarly, in Britain. In Mexico, however, people who converse stand very close to one another as do people in Russia and backing away appears rude. In Thailand, a nod doesn’t  mean “yes,” but is merely a sign of respect. In Japan, one must point with the entire hand, as pointing with the index finger is rude.One of the most sought after transferable skills (a skill that can be taken from one job to another) for those who work in the medical industry, is the ability to perceive nonverbal messages. It is through nonverbal messages that people communicate their real feelings and their intentions become evident.  Continue reading…

The Past Decade in Only Three Minutes-A Remarkable Video!

The ABC-TV show, “Good Morning America,” had a remarkable video recently that managed to overview the entire past ten years within three minutes. I was surprised by how many things I had forgotten about that were covered in the content and also surprised that we all survived the decade in light of all of the goings on. If you have not seen this video, you need to check it out and see how much you remember.

How And Where Did Kennedy Die? Your answer may provide insights into how you fit into the new workplace.

four-generations1In the current job market, there are four different generations working, the first time in American history that this is the case.  Each generation has a different way of communicating and different values and expectations. 

According to Greg Hammill, a human resources specialist, there are distinct attitudes, motivational “buttons,” behaviors, habits and expectations identified within each generational group. Research has revealed that individuals communicate based on their generational background. Generational differences can affect hiring, the building of teams, motivating and managing people and, ultimately, increasing productivity. Generational differences can also result in misunderstandings, employee turnover, problems in attracting good employees and keeping employees loyal. Learning how to communicate with the different groups can eliminate a great deal of confrontations and misunderstandings in the workplace. Follow past the jump for profiles of the four generations sharing the modern workplace. Continue reading…


Poem “Invictus” Inspires Movie

invictus_smallposter2There is a new movie out called Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The movie takes its title from a poem of the same name, “Invictus,” the best-remembered work of British poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903). Invictus is a Latin word meaning “unconquered,” and the poem was written in 1875 as a demonstration of the poet’s resilience following the amputation of his foot due to tubercular infection. Freeman plays Nelson Mandela in the movie and the poem was recited by Mandela daily for motivation during the thirty years of his political imprisonment in South Africa. Click through to read more about the movie and the poem that was its inspiration. Continue reading…

Are you carrying cocaine in your pocket?

coke_dollars_0817A group of scientists from the University of Massachusetts tested banknotes from more than 30 cities in five countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan, and found what they termed “alarming” evidence of cocaine use in many areas.   For the scary details, follow me over the fold. Continue reading…

2009 Graduation Photos

10On Thursday, June 6th, 2009, at the Queens College Colden Auditorium, a ceremony was held honoring the largest Allen School graduating class in its almost fifty year history – a full 1400 graduates – which included graduates from the Medical Assistant and Nursing Assistant programs and the first group of graduates from the Allen School’s new Online Medical Insurance Billing & Coding program. The online graduates who attended with their families were not only from New York, but also from such distant places as Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio. Continue reading…