It's discovery day here at Spotlight because we encourage lifelong learning.

There are a million different things that distract us. You're probably riding the Metro, listening to your iPod, thinking about your day's tasks and reading this column all at the same time! So how the heck do we stay focused?

George Washington University neuroscientist Sarah Shomstein has dedicated her career to answering that very question. Her life's research addresses how humans pay attention amidst everyday stimuli. She'll be speaking on this topic Tuesday at Busboys and Poets (1025 Fifth St. NW). Her lecture "Pay Attention! A Neuroscientist Ponders What It Takes To Stay On Task," is part of a series by the D.C. Science Writers Association, a group that covers a wide range of topics from ecology to quantum mechanics. This event is free and starts at 6:30 p.m.


Let's be honest, there's nothing worse than hearing a mosquito buzzing in your ear as you're trying to fall asleep. Spring may bring many wonderful things but bugs are simply not one of them. Sponsored by the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Harold Harlan from the Armed Forces Pest Management Board will be teaching us all about mosquitoes, ticks, filth flies, rodents and dreaded bed bugs Tuesday evening at the Silver Spring Civic Building (1 Veterans Place). The program, properly titled "Bed bugs, Mosquitoes, Ticks: Urban Pests and Their Impact On Our Health," honors National Pest Management Month. Live and preserved specimens will be on display for us to see, though it just might give you the heebie jeebies.

The free program begins at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.medicalmuseum.mil.


Every year, Young Playwrights' Theater showcases plays that are created and directed by a select number of talented young teens through their In-School Playwriting Program. Professional actors, dramaturges and directors work closely with these young writers to bring their scripts to life. Out of 850 plays, only 12 playwrights will get the chance to present their shows Tuesday evening at the Gala Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St. NW). These shows range from anything such as the struggle to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to a sloth with an appetite for humans.

Performances start at 7:30 p.m. and may not be appropriate for children under age 13. For more information, call 202-387-9173.