Never too old to code: Meet Japan’s 82-year-old app-maker


When 82-year-old Masako Wakamiya first began working she still used an abacus for maths — today she is one of the world’s oldest iPhone app developers, a trailblazer in making smartphones accessible for the elderly.

Frustrated by the lack of interest from the tech industry in engaging older people, she taught herself to code and set about doing it herself.

The over 60s, she insists, need to actively search out new skills to stay nimble.

“As you age, you lose many things: your husband, your job, your hair, your eyesight. The minuses are quite numerous. But when you learn something new, whether it be programming or the piano, it is a plus, it’s motivating,” she says.

“Once you’ve achieved your professional life, you should return to school. In the era of the internet, if you stop learning, it has consequences for your daily life,” Wakamiya explains during an AFP interview at her home near Tokyo.

Wakamiya says her ultimate goal is to come up with “other apps that can entertain older people and help transmit to young people the culture and traditions we old people possess”.

“Most old people have abandoned the idea of learning, but the fact that some are starting (again) is not only good for them but for the country’s economy,” said Wakamiya, who took up the piano at 75.

Hinting that her good health is down to an active mind and busy life, she adds: “I am so busy everyday that I have no time to look for diseases.”


  • Why is it important to keep the brain active?
  • What are ways for people to keep their minds active?
  • What are some issues that are faced by older people?
  • Why is it important to engage older people?

A Stanford researcher’s 15-minute study hack improves test grades by a third of a grade — Quartz

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away | NPR

Read here:

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative note-taking pertains to “summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping,” while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim.

And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they’re hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweigh the drawbacks of not processing that information. On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at.

But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. “This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions,” Mueller and Oppenheimer write.


  • What’s your note-taking style? Do you feel that it’s beneficial to you? Have you tried other ways?
  • What are some other effective ways to take notes?

Jane Elliot and the blue-eyed children experiment

While today such an experiment on children in the public school system would likely see the teacher promptly fired and lawsuits against the district pop up, it should be noted that later tests done on the children Elliot ran this experiment on over the years (approximately 450 kids), performed by the University of Northern Iowa, showed that they were significantly less racist than other students their age, both compared to other students in the school itself, and the local community.  Not only this, but they also seemed to have helped make their fellow students who didn’t have the experiment run on them less racist, as the school as a whole scored better than similar schools in this way, with, of course, Elliot’s former students scoring the best of all.  Further, this effect was lasting as the children grew to adulthood.  So while it is a harsh method of teaching, the lesson seems to have been learned well- racism, particularly when based on arbitrary things like the color of something, is silly.


  • Do you think certain people are better than others? For example, the Chinese are better at Math than white people?
  • Why do people have stereotypes about others? Are these stereotypes useful or do they serve to distance people?
  • How can a more egalitarian world be built?

Economic disruption and our children’s future | The Straits Times

Many of these people are packing up and leaving their home countries to find jobs overseas, armed with master’s degrees and PhDs. They are prepared to go to China, learn Mandarin (some speak it even better than many Chinese Singaporeans), immerse themselves in the local culture and compete for jobs that pay non-expatriate packages.

If I were to turn the scenario around to our Singaporean graduates, how many of us are prepared to do the same? If your answer is yes, my next question is, what is the competitive edge you have that other people do not? Can you weather the uncertainty and disruption in today’s complex world?

Singaporeans are trained to spot 10-year series answers. My business counterparts in multinational corporations tell me they like to hire Singaporeans because we are honest, law-abiding and hard-working. We are good at following rules and instructions. For these reasons, we make great heads of internal audit, compliance managers and finance heads.

These are not bad things. But have Singaporeans become victims of their own strong values? The pessimists will say that we cannot be in leadership positions. Leaders are supposed to be flexible enough to manage ambiguity and complexity as they arise. Leaders are supposed to make judgment calls, even with incomplete and imperfect information. We often work well within a clearly defined structure, but may feel uneasy when asked to create something new from the whole cloth.


  • Does the current education system prepare students for the ‘real’ world?
  • Is it better to be a good student or have interesting experiences?

25 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About Earth, Space, And Physics | IFLScience

Which of these do you believe?

  1. The Sun is yellow
  2. The Sahara is the biggest desert on Earth
  3. Astrology can predict your personality or the future
  4. When you call someone, the signal bounces off a satellite
  5. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space
  6. The moon’s gravity pulling on water causes the tides
  7. Lightning never strikes the same place twice
  8. The Earth is a perfect sphere
  9. Mount Everest is the tallest thing on Earth
  10. Water conducts electricity
  11. The “dark side” of the Moon
  12. Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart
  13. Going past the edge of space makes you weightless
  14. Diamonds come from coal
  15. People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat
  16. Summer is warm because the Earth is closer to the sun
  17. Lightning causes thunder
  18. The Asteroid Belt is dangerous
  19. The moon is very close to the Earth
  20. You can only balance an egg during the Spring Equinox
  21. A nuclear weapon could destroy an asteroid
  22. Nothing can go faster than light
  23. The vacuum of space is cold
  24. Enrico Fermi developed the “Fermi paradox” about aliens
  25. There are only 3 phases of matter: Solid, liquid, and gas


  • Why is important to learn science?
  • What are some problems if people have wrong scientific ideas?
  • Is scientific progress always good?

Scientists followed 5,000 genius kids for 45 years — here’s what they learned about success | Business Insider

Unfortunately, much of the research from SMPY (pronounced simpy) indicates that kids who show an early aptitude for subjects like science and math tend not to receive the help they need. Teachers who see their brightest students mastering material and getting straight As choose instead to devote the majority of their attention to under-achieving kids.

As a result, the kids who may have gone on to invent life-changing medical devices or sit in the United Nations can fall into less influential roles.

SMPY reveals that assuming the smartest kids can achieve their full potential without being pushed is misguided. One of the many follow-up reviews in the study’s 45-year run showed that grade-skipping can play a vital role in kids’ development.

When researchers compared a control group of gifted students who didn’t skip a grade to those who did, the grade-skippers were 60% more likely to earn patents and doctorates and more than twice as likely to get a Ph.D. in a field related to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

Pushing bright minds to achieve more is important.

How Elon Musk Learns Faster And Better Than Everyone Else | Medium

View story at


In a previous article, I call people like Elon Musk “expert-generalists” (a term coined by Orit Gadiesh, chairman of Bain & Company). Expert-generalists study widely in many different fields, understand deeper principles that connect those fields, and then apply the principles to their core specialty.

If you’re someone who loves learning in different areas, you’re probably familiar with this well-intentioned advice:

“Grow up. Focus on just one field.”

“Jack of all trades. Master of none.”

The implicit assumption is that if you study in multiple areas, you’ll only learn at a surface level, never gain mastery.

The success of expert-generalists throughout time shows that this is wrong. Learning across multiple fields provides an information advantage (and therefore an innovation advantage) because most people focus on just one field.

For example, if you’re in the tech industry and everyone else is just reading tech publications, but you also know a lot about biology, you have the ability to come up with ideas that almost no one else could. Vice-versa. If you’re in biology, but you you also understand artificial intelligence, you have an information advantage over everyone else who stays siloed.

Despite this basic insight, few people actually learn beyond their industry.

Each new field we learn that is unfamiliar to others in our field gives us the ability to make combinations that they can’t. This is the expert-generalist advantage.

  • Is it better to learn deeply from one subject (depth), or learn from many subjects but at a more superficial level (breadth)?
  • What is the way that you learn best?