Thursday, January 22, 2015

Is this Britain's smartest schoolboy? 11-year-old boy with higher IQ than Einstein

AN 11-year-old schoolboy has joined Mensa after scoring higher than Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Albert Einstein in an IQ test.

Ramarni Wilfred started showing signs of genius as a toddler, when his favourite book was an encyclopedia.

He could read and write by the time he started reception at school and last year, at the age of 10 and still in primary school, wrote a philosophy paper on fairness that earned him a 2:1 and a mock Oxford graduation.

When his reception class wanted to move him up a year, mum Anthea objected, wanting him to grow up with other kids his age.

Ramarni WilfredBoy Genius: Ramarni Wilfred is a member of Mensa at the age of 11
Prof. Hawking, Microsoft founder Gates and Einstein all have 160 IQs. Ramarni scored 162, putting him in the top 1% in the UK.

Anthea, 37, said: “He’s still just a little boy doing normal childhood stuff. While he reads the New Scientist and the Sky at Night, he still plays with his dog, watches the Disney Channel and reads comics.

“Mensa allows him to talk and be with other people as clever as he is for the things that go over my head.

“He doesn’t think it’s a big deal. I love his humility and I love having my own personal walking, talking dictionary/thesaurus/calculator!”

Ramarni, who will be starting Year 8 at secondary school next month, harbours hopes of one day studying at Oxford and becoming an astrophysicist.

The modest youngster, from Romford, Essex, said: “I can’t begin to compare myself to these great men whose hard work clearly proves that they are true geniuses.

“This is a great opportunity and I think it can open a lot of doors for me. But I also believe that having a high IQ isn’t that important unless you do something really special with it.”

PA / GettyProfessor Stephen HawkingBetter than Best: And it was higher than Professor Stephen Hawking
Ramarni’s former teacher, Valerie Mulae, described him as “remarkable”, adding: “He just stood out. He shone.”

Mensa’s chief executive, John Stevenage, said: “Anyone who registers an IQ score which places them in the top two per cent of the population has done remarkably well. The score Ramarni achieved therefore is very good and shows he has great potential.”


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Maya Penn: Artist. Coder. CEO. Philanthropist. Ninth-grader.

Maya Penn is a successful 14-year-old entrepreneur who wants to change the world by using her art and her business to help the planet and getting girls involved in tech.

I spent an hour talking on the phone to Maya Penn. We giggled and chatted about pizza and sushi, Facebook, bedtimes, and sleepovers. I forgot, for a moment, that I was in the TechRepublic office and not in my childhood bedroom, curled up on the rug with my old corded purple phone in my hand.

I had made friends with a 14-year-old. But more than that, I had made a connection with a young businesswoman -- one that I truly believe has the ability to change the world for the better. When we hung up, I wanted to call her back and pick her brain some more -- to ask her about her business plans, her book deals, her sociological insights, and her hopes for the future of technology.

In short, I was completely inspired.

Penn is the CEO of Maya's Ideas, which she founded when she was eight years old. Penn is an entrepreneur, a technologist, a philanthropist, an artist, an author, an animator, and a coder. Maya's Ideas is a site where she sells eco-friendly clothing and accessories like scarves, hats, and hair clips. She started the business because she liked sewing headbands, and people started asking her to make them. She began selling them on Etsy, but quickly realized she could build a brand of her own. And, this is more than just a cute idea -- Maya's Ideas generated more than $30,000 in 2012.

Penn lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her mother and father, two dogs, and two cats. Her parents collectively homeschool her. She is currently in the ninth grade, but she is as busy as any other startup founder you'll find.

"My mom especially always really encouraged me to do what I love, and my dad has opened me up to finding things I love," she said.

One of those loves is for technology. When Penn was just four years old, her father taught her to take apart a computer and put it back together again. It was amazing, she said, because she had never seen what a technology device was made of, or what it was capable of.

Last year, she gave a TED talk for TEDWomen2013 about being a young female entrepreneur. It was her first big speaking engagement, and she admitted she was very nervous.

"That's good it doesn't show, but I was definitely nervous," she said. "That was one of the biggest stages I have ever spoken on, and it went global."

Indeed it did. The talk has almost a million views on the TED website, and Penn has been asked to travel and do many other speaking engagements since then. "I do enjoy public speaking because I get to make a lot of new friends after I speak," she said.

At the TED talk, Penn debuted her first animation short, "Malicious Dishes," an animated series about computer viruses, which she plans to turn into full-length episodes soon.

The idea stemmed several years ago, when Penn had a virus in her computer. While she was waiting for the anti-virus programs to finish scanning, she wondered, "What if viruses in my computer have personalities?" So she drew an animation about the stories of these viruses, who traveled via USB drives around a computer world that humans were unaware of. Penn also drew another series called "The Pollinators" about bees and other pollinators and their impact on the environment.

And, her animation isn't limited to the digital world. She is an author of two children's books, which she illustrated herself. Penn is currently working on another book, a memoir about her journey as a young entrepreneur and her advice for children with similar aspirations.

As if that wasn't enough, Penn is also a self-described coder. She coded her company's first website on her own by learning basic HTML. She was 10.

"My interest in coding spurred from the company. At the time I was trying to get a more professional and customized website, and I wondered how people built websites from scratch, what were all the nooks and crannies, key parts of how websites were built, the actual raw code," she said.

The process helped her see how much work went into making a simple web page. Now, she is learning Python by taking a class with her father. She doesn't necessarily want to start a business around coding (yet), but she sees the importance in understanding it as a technology and business tool. The ultimate definition of being "tech savvy," she said, is being somewhat familiar with code, and that's especially important for girls.

"The field of tech isn't very even, gender wise, and I think that that really needs to change," Penn said. "Anybody can code, no matter your gender, race, how old you are...we need girls to represent and say 'Look we like to code and program and script just as much as anyone else does. We are just as capable,' and I speak on that to my nonprofits."

Oh, did I mention she donates 10 to 20 percent of her profits to nonprofits? Environmental stewardship is one of Penn's most notable platforms, and she is very knowledgeable about climate change and sustainability. She has her own non-profit, Maya's Ideas 4 the Planet. She also volunteers regularly at local food banks and recycling events in Atlanta.

She's currently working on a project to make biodegradable sanitary pads for women in developing countries that either do have to miss school when they are on their menstrual cycles or use mud and rocks, or other things harmful to their health. Traditional sanitary pads are harmful to the environment, so Penn is trying to fix that.

Penn is incredibly eloquent when she speaks, but she also has an infectious energy, and people have noticed. She has made a splash in the business world already, and has been written about by plenty of publications, especially since her TED Talk.

One of the most amazing things about children is their ability to simplify things that adults would ordinarily see as complicated. If a problem exists, there is usually an easy solution, and all we have to do is harness it. Penn is very wise for her age, but the simplistic honesty in her answers can't help but make you smile.

"When a lot of companies grow, they become too isolated with their customers, and might kind of ignore them in a way," she said. "Customers and fans are what got their business to grow so big, so why would you ignore them?"

Running a business has helped her grow both spiritually and mentally, Penn said. "You learn stuff in business you can use in everyday life, stuff you can't learn anywhere else. You have to just love doing it it and be willing to put the hard work and commitment into it."

For now, Penn is content with staying as busy as possible, trying to get as much done during the week and learning through both school and work. She knows it will take some time because, after all, her bedtime is still 9:00 p.m., and she's not supposed to work on weekends.

"I just have to see what the future will hold because I have so many different passions focused on so many different fields. I'm not even sure where all this will take me, but whatever I want to do, I want to give back in some way," she said.

When I asked her, what, more than anything, she hopes people say about her in 20 years, her response had nothing to do with her many business ideas -- those ideas she is already afraid she doesn't have enough hours in the day to do.

"I hope people take away that no matter who you are, where you're from, what your background is, you should be able to do anything you dream of and always do something that can help other people, help the planet in some way," Penn said. "You don't have to start a nonprofit to give back. It's the little things."

In her own words...
What are some of your other hobbies?

"I hang out with my friends, have sleepovers and different things like that. I go on church trips and like tennis and playing piano. I personally like origami. I don't know why I recently got interested. And sculpting, really almost any visual art I can get my hands on."

What food do you like?

"I like a variety of things...Pizza, sushi, I also like cake. And this is not a food, it's a drink, but me and my mom make green shakes from different apples, kale, broccoli. We eat organic and natural foods too, which are really nice and taste really good."

What tech tool are you most excited for?

"I personally am excited for Oculus Rift. I'm already into gaming myself, and I've always been interested in designing one of my own games in the future."

Who are your mentors?

"I know one is Lauren Faust, an animator and writer. She has worked on a lot of shows like Powerpuff Girls, and is one of my biggest inspirations for going forward with animation and my artistic passion... Pat Mitchell, the CEO for Paley Center of Media. I met her through the TEDWomen talk, and she is a really amazing woman and very inspirational and a good friend of mine. Also, Alexis Ohanian, one of the co-founders of Reddit. I met him on book tour for one of his new books."

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

"It's really important to live your life to the fullest and do what you love. Go for it, do it when you want to do it. And don't let [anything] set you back, if you love doing it and really want to just go ahead."


Monday, December 22, 2014

The Greg Jennings Foundation

A community where all educational needs for youth are met.

The Greg Jennings Foundation strives to partner with and assist other organizations in educating youth by providing the necessary resources in order for them to reach their academic potential. 

Empowering youth for improved educational awareness.



Educational Achievement




Monday, December 15, 2014

Business owner to help homeless

DES MOINES, Iowa —Years ago, Derrick Walton was homeless and had no help. Today he is the owner of Chef D’s Rock Power Pizza and he is making sure he serves up food and goodwill.

Walton made a promise to himself and just weeks after he opened his restaurant, he made sure he kept that promise; food at no charge for those in need;

“This week it’s baked chicken, rice, vegetable, a salad and bottled water,” said Walton.  “The name on the restaurant may say Rock Power Pizza, but on Monday nights, the menu changes to a full, home-cooked meal."

Raised in Detroit, Walton has seen tough times.  But after living in Des Moines for a dozen years, he decided to help others, who are still seeing tough times.  ”I've been doing this for so many years, it's just a passion,” said Walton.

He closes his restaurant on Monday nights and invites homeless and needy families to stop buy, and eat for free.

Volunteer Carrie Knudsen and her son stopped by to help.  It takes a lot of work to prepare a few dozen meals.   Another young volunteer is doing his best at becoming a waiter.

So far customers are hearing about Rock Power pizza through the grapevine.  Helen Christner stopped by Monday night for the first time, and found much more than pizza.  “I said wonderful, we're going to get a meal,” Cristner said.

Walton wants to spread the word.  His kitchen and his heart are open for anyone who needs help.  “I want them to know, you always have a place to come and eat."

Rock Power Pizza is open from 5 to 8 Monday nights to feed the homeless.

Walton says he accepts donations, which anyone can send to or drop off at the restaurant.   Otherwise it's money out of his own pocket.  But he loves doing it.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Multi-Talented High School Student Offered Hundreds Of College Scholarships

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Chad Thomas, a senior at Booker T. Washington, is a teen with many talents. So many talents, that he has received hundreds of college scholarship offers.

Thomas, 18, has received 150 scholarships for his skills on the football field, but also for his exceptional musical abilities—playing a total of nine instruments.

Of the football and music scholarships offered, Thomas has chosen to attend the University of Miami and will play football as a Hurricane, and also practice his musical talents at the University’s Frost School of Music.

Thomas helped lead the Booker T. Tornadoes to back-to-back state championships and win a national title this season. But it’s not only being on the field that he loves—Thomas says he fell in love with music at the age of three while listening to his late grandmother’s gospel CDS.

Thomas said his grandmother bought him a guitar and also signed him up for piano lessons. By the time he was five, Thomas was performing.

“My plans…I’m going to UM for music technology and I’m going to play football,” said Thomas.
So play for the NFL or a career in music production—for Thomas his focus in in both.

“So if I make it to the NFL that would be a blessing for me,” said Thomas. But his love for music remains a strong passion. “I have love for music and took it upon myself to learn and play the instruments I hear in the songs.”

Thomas plays the piano, trombone, euphonium (a small tuba), base guitar, regular guitar, snare, tuba, trumpet and drums.

CBS4’s Cynthia Demos asked Thomas, if he had to choose a career in either music or football, he paused for a moment but then finally answered.

“It would probably be music,” said Thomas.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Russell Westbrook Launches New Initiative to Promote Childhood Literacy

Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook’s latest move is a true reflection of NBA players caring about the next generation of community leaders.

On October 27th, Westbrook launched his new “Russell’s Reading Room” initiative at North Highland Elementary School in Oklahoma. Funded by his organization, Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation, the NBA superstar stocked the new reading center with 1,200 books for children of all ages and plans to open two more centers within the next couple of months.

Partnering with Scholastic for their National Read 100,000 program, Westbrook is challenging students to log 100,000 minutes of reading throughout the year. At the end of the school year, Subway will sponsor an assembly with Westbrook and the school that has the most students with logged in reading minutes.

“Reading is a key to success,” Westbrook tells NewsOK. “When people in my position are able to do things like this, give kids something exciting to see, give them some type of encouragement, give them access or some type of way to reward them for reading.”

Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation was launched in 2012 with the mission to inspire kids and encourage them to ask “Why Not?” when faced with the challenge of being told they can’t do something. Westbrook’s foundation hosts annual Thanksgiving and Christmas events for the community in order to provide resources for individuals in need.


Monday, December 1, 2014

The Science Behind America's Game

Did you hear the one about the MacArthur genius physicist and the NFL coach? It's not a joke. It's actually an innovative way to understand chaos theory, and the remarkable complexity of modern professional football.

In Newton's Football, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Allen St. John and TED talker and former Yale professor Ainissa Ramirez explore the unexpected science behind America's Game. Whether it's Jerry Rice finding the common ground between quantum physics and the West Coast offense or an Ivy League biologist explaining--at a granular level--exactly how a Big Mac morphs into an outside linebacker, Newton's Football illuminates football--and science--through funny, insightful stories told by some of the world's sharpest minds.

With a clear-eyed empirical approach--and an exuberant affection for the game--St. John and Ramirez address topics that have long beguiled scientists and football fans alike, including:

* the unlikely evolution of the football (or, as they put it, "The Divine Random Bounce of the Prolate Spheroid")
* what Vince Lombardi has in common with Isaac Newton
* how the hardwired behavior of monkeys can explain a head coach's reluctance to go for it on fourth-down
* why a gruesome elevator accident jump-started the evolution of placekicking
* how Teddy Roosevelt saved football using the same behavioral science concept that Dreamworks would use to save Shrek
* why woodpeckers don't get concussions
* how better helmets actually made the game more dangerous

Every Sunday the NFL shares a secret with only its savviest fans: The game isn't just a clash of bodies, it's a clash of ideas. The greatest minds in football have always possessed an instinctual grasp of science, understanding the big ideas and gritty realities that inform the game's rich past, as well as its increasingly uncertain future.

Blending smart reporting, counterintuitive creativity, and compelling narrative, Newton's Football takes gridiron analysis to the next level, giving fans a book that entertains, enlightens, and explains the game anew.

Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D. is a science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science.  She co-authored (with Allen St. John) Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game (Random House); and, authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books).

Before taking on the call to improve the public’s understanding of science, she was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale University.  Technology Review, the magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), named her as one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators for her contributions to transforming technology.  She has been profiled in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, CNN, NPR, ESPN, The Hartford Courant and numerous scientific magazines (Scientific American and Discover Magazine).

Dr. Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). Prior to being on the faculty at Yale, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey were she did award-winning research. She has authored more than 50 technical papers, holds six patents, and has presented her work worldwide.

She now focuses her energies on making science fun, and gave an impassioned called to action at TED on the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, which generated widespread enthusiasm. At Yale, she was the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays and hosted two popular-science video series called Material Marvels and Science Xplained.

As a graduate student she wrote as a science correspondent for Time magazine’s Washington D.C. bureau, which ignited her passion for communicating science.  Now, she speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, and several science museums.