The benefits of learning a language

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

At Highland, students must take two years worth of language credits. And many like to continue on for all four years.

But why should we be learning a second language? Just for fun? Or are there actual benefits besides being able to say you’re bilingual?

With that in mind, here are 6 benefits to learning a new language: 

  1. Improve Memory 

An experiment in the ‘Journal of Experimental Child Psychology’ found that learning another language improves your working memory. Learning a language takes effort from your brain, since you have to memorize a lot of new words and different pronunciations. This helps you get better at recalling information such as words, names, and facts. 

  1. Confidence in decision making

According to a research article in ‘Sage Journals’, if you think in a different language helps you make decisions because it reduces biases. This leads to less overthinking, making you able to make more decisions with confidence. 

  1. Helps improve your primary language 

When you learn a new language you’re introduced to more of the basics and specifics that languages are made up of — grammar, different tenses, and more that you don’t usually overthink since you’ve been talking for just about forever in your first language! This makes you more aware of these things in your primary language which decreases the chance of making mistakes. 

  1. Strengthens your mind 

Learning a new language is a great way to keep your brain working and growing! An article on Neurology.org states that learning a new language can reduce or delay Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and dementia. The brain keeps getting stronger because of the new neural pathways that are created as a result of learning a new language. 

  1. Improve focus and attention 

When you learn a new language you tend to get good at switching from your primary language and the one you’re learning. This improves your ability to refocus, as well as focus on switching between tasks. 

  1. Opens more opportunities

Knowing more than one language can open new doors for you. It can be a way to beef up your resume, making you a more unique candidate for a job. It can also open up a different place to travel to, to study abroad in, or to live! A new language can also lead to new relationships with other people because of a similar goal or ability. 

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Endangered species: tigers

By: McKenna Nutter

The tiger is a very popular and well known animal. The large cat is known for its unique pattern. Despite having grown up knowing a bit about these animals, I was surprised to find out that these animals are endangered. Since learning of the tigers endangerment, it has crossed my mind that there are many species that are facing the brink of extinction while many people are unaware. The overall tiger population of approximately 3,900 has earned tigers a place on the ‘Red List of Threatened Species’. 

3 out of the general 8 species of tigers have now gone entirely extinct. About a century ago, there were estimated to be about 50,000 to 80,000 tigers inhabiting the wild. Female tigers will only give birth to two to four tigers every two years.

The growing human population has caused growing communities. Because of this, tigers have lost so much of their habitat to society.

Tigers are a natural predator, but they also fall prey to hunters. Tigers, for a very long time, were large targets for trophy hunting because they were big, dangerous and beautiful. Tigers were also largely hunted because in some cultures, they believed that tiger bones had healing properties, and could cure disease. Some tiger bones were even used in traditional medicines.

Livestock farmers also have a very big place in their endangerment. As we pushed back on their habitats they have lost a lot of their natural prey. We have built farms, and on those farms are animals such as sheep, cows, chickens, etc. Many farmers have shot tigers in order to protect their livestock, and while this is required to take care of their business, it has had a major impact on the species.

While we may never get the tiger population back to what it was before, there are still ways we can help them hold on. WCS, or the World Conservation Society, is an organization that conducts research on tigers, then uses that research to inform and teach communities local to tiger habitats about tigers. They also reach out to wildlife rangers and wildlife conservations to teach them about tigers as well. Donations to any non harmful research societies and wildlife conservation organizations can do wonders for not only tigers, but other endangered species. 

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The future of architecture

By: Grace Helmke

The human race has long been graced with creatives in all fields. We have been subject to artists who have shaped our culture without us even knowing. Architecture is one the least acknowledged fields of art, yet it contributes a great deal to the society in which we exist.

Architecture is the physical representation of a society. It reflects how we see the world, and how we see ourselves. That being said, what does the future hold for architecture? How will society shape our physical world into a reflection of our newfound values? 

  1. Smart cities 

Technology has become an important part of the lives of practically everyone in society. It’s part of our everyday lives. Smartphones are the keys to city life, providing information on any topic you could think of. It allows us information on healthcare services, access to transit, traffic, restaurants, and even provides safety measures and alerts. According to McKinsey & Company, smart-city strategies are about “Using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.”

Creating architecture built around the idea of increased technological use would significantly impact all aspects of society. Citizens would fight crime, and improve public safety, make daily commutes faster if smart-mobility infrastructure is created, deliver a cleaner and more sustainable environment through electric and more sustainable applications. 

  1. Vertical cities 

As our world’s population continues to rise, we will have to accommodate for the increase in the need for living spaces. Currently, over 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This figure is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. Land will become scarce, especially if we continue to build out, instead of up. Creating vertical cities will not only provide a society that’s community based, but would expedite the goal of smart cities. 

  1. Bioarchitecture

Bioarchitecture is the blending of the art of architecture with biomimetics. It incorporates natural shapes to provide a structure that is essentially bioinspired, and eco-friendly. The architecture would mimic its surroundings to provide less of an intrusive existence.

This idea isn’t necessarily new. Ancient Greeks and Romans mimicked nature in their architecture. They incorporated leaf motifs into their structures. Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer in the bio architectural movement. He continuously pursued the idea of blurring the lines between his buildings and their landscapes. Even so, this movement will continue to increase as our society places a higher value on our own individual impact on the environment.

  1. Parametric architecture 

This type of architecture involves complex design and unique varieties of structures. It is characterized by free-from architectural concepts with sweeping lines, curves, and irregular shapes. This style presents as very futuristic. It rejects symmetry and uniformity, and instead creates works of art that vary in shapes, textures, and sizes. 

The future will indeed place a higher value on creativity and expression. This form of architecture will produce a work of art which can be doubled as living, working, and recreational spaces. It will produce a society free from the concepts of uniformity. 

  1. Space housing

Technological advancement in the field of aeronautics is happening at a rapid pace. We are closer and closer to achieving commercial space travel. And when the day comes that individuals may be able to travel to space for extremely low prices, an industry will likely emerge on other planets. Hotels and homes capable of housing humans in outer space and on other planets will develop. At first, these habitats will likely be inflatable. Bigelow Aerospace, a company in Nevada that specializes in space technology, has begun to produce these alternative housing solutions.

  1. Accessibility in architecture 

Hopefully, the future holds a greater opportunity for inclusivity. We do not currently have a society that’s built for all forms of life. One major issue for many disabled people is lack of adequate and accessible designs in public architecture. As we progress to become more aware of issues facing all walks of life, we will begin to develop ways in which everyone is benefited. 

Our future holds incredible opportunities for advancement. We may just become a society based upon inclusion, awareness, and desire for good. Our incredible architectural artists and talented technicians will no doubt help us to create a better world where our actions will be for the betterment of all. 

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