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Friday, March 23, 2018

They called my university a PhD factory – now I understand why | The Guardian

Academics Anonymous is the blog series where academics tell it like it is.

Check out this post in Higher Education Network, Academics Anonymous, "Senior academics warned that my university cared more about cheap labour than launching academic careers. It turns out they were right."

‘PhDs drop off the end of a conveyer belt, but no one cares what happens to graduates after that.’  ’ 
Photo: Alamy

As I reluctantly consider quitting academia after a year-long research fellowship, I find myself recalling a drug dealer’s line in the film Withnail and I: “If you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision – let go before it’s too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope?” His words describe my dilemma: do I hold on to my dream of a permanent university lectureship or abandon it as illusory and hazardous to my mental health?
I’m not, of course, the first postdoc to feel this way. As I neared the end of my doctorate in 2013, I read an essay by Rebecca Schuman, which argued that getting a literature PhD will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor. Her article added to an expanding genre known as quit lit, which reflects the growing disillusionment of many academics with university culture.

Perusing job ads, it strikes me that lectureship vacancies are rare, in contrast to the plethora of positions for university bureaucrats. When permanent jobs come up, the ensuing feeding frenzy sees hundreds of applications from superbly qualified candidates. I’ve got peer-reviewed publications and a book contract – and so has everyone else.

When I was considering whether to study for a doctorate, I heard my chosen university disparaged as a PhD factory. At the time, I took this to be a sign of efficiency. Now I understand. PhDs are manufactured; they drop off the end of a conveyer belt, but no one cares what happens to graduates after that. All universities care about are the fees paid by students and the cheap labour they provide. This is the opposite of efficiency: no factory would mindlessly churn out goods that no one wants...

 ...the overwhelming majority of PhD students I’ve encountered desperately want a career in academia. They didn’t saddle themselves with debt because they wanted intellectual stimulation.
Read more...  

Source: The Guardian

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Landmark moments for women in philosophy [timeline] | OUPblog

Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK. summarizes, "This March, in recognition of Women’s History Month, the OUP Philosophy team will be celebrating Women in Philosophy." 

Nine Living Muses of Great Britain by Richard Samuel. 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The philosophy discipline has long been perceived as male-dominated, so we want to recognize some of the incredible female philosophers from the past including Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Hannah Arendt, plus female philosophers doing great things in 2018 like Martha Nussbaum, Clare Chambers, and Kate Manne.

Find these and more in our reading list below, highlighting recent works in the field of feminist philosophy and classic female philosophers. Visit our Women in Philosophy page for more book recommendations, along with free access to online products and journal articles focusing on female philosophers and feminist philosophy.

Additional resources
  Blue and Gold Cover Book by Negative Space.
Photo: Pexels
Women in philosophy: A reading list by Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK.

Source: OUPblog (blog)   

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Article profiles inspiring female math professor emerita at UO | AroundtheO

Full story, see Celebrating Marion Walter — and other unsung female mathematicians.” - The Conversation.

Photo: Jennifer Ruef
Jennifer Ruef, Assistant Professor of Education Studies, University of Oregon, wrote about Marion Walter for The Conversation.

The contributions of women in mathematics have historically been pushed to the side, but more and more stories are surfacing. The 2016 movie “Hidden Figures,” for one, told the tale of the African-American women whose calculations helped launch the astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

 Thoughtful woman who tries to solve math problems.
Photo: Shutterstock

“But we still need more stories about women in mathematics,” Jennifer Ruef, a UO assistant professor of education studies, writes in a recent article for The Conversation. “While many mathematicians know of my colleague Marion Walter, she isn’t known well outside her field. And she should be, for her own story and the lessons she brings to our understanding of mathematics.”

UO Professor Emerita Marion Walter is one of the few mathematicians to have a theorem named after her: Marion Walter’s theorem, which determines the area of the hexagon created by trisecting the sides of a triangle. She also founded the Boston Area Mathematics Specialists, an organization focused on improving the quality of math education for elementary and middle school children, and authored several books and articles.

Walter was born in 1928 to a Jewish family in Berlin. Just before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, she and her sister were evacuated to England...

“The next time you have a reason to think about mathematicians, I hope you will remember Marion Walter,” Ruef writes. “Women and girls have been told, in many ways, that there is no room in math and science for them. Representations matter. The more powerful women we see in mathematics, the more evidence we have that mathematics is for all people.”
Read more... 

Source: AroundtheO

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

From Music to Mathematics: Exploring the Connections (Review) | Scientific American (blog)

This review first appeared in the December 2017 issue of the American Mathematical Monthly.

DOI: 10.4169/amer.math.monthly.124.10.979 Stable URL:

Follow on Twitter as @evelynjlamb
Check out this review of Gareth Roberts's book From Music to Mathematics: Exploring the Connections written by Evelyn Lamb, Freelance math and science writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Photo: Johns Hopkins University Press

If someone plays a sine wave with a frequency of 440 Hz, you will most likely perceive an A. (In fact, 440 is probably the most famous musical frequency. It is the tuning standard for most modern orchestras and instruments.) However, that A will not sound like an A played by any instrument in the orchestra. The flute probably comes closest to producing a pure sine wave, but even its sound is much more complex. If a harmonic analyzer took the sound of an instrument or human voice as its input, it would break the input into sine waves of many different frequencies, generally all integral multiples of one lowest frequency. The process works in reverse as well: By adding sine waves of various frequencies, computers and electric keyboards can create decent imitations of the sounds of these instruments. But if you start playing with sine waves a little, you will hear some surprises. Frequency is not destiny. For example, if you play a sine wave with a frequency of 440 Hz by itself and one with a frequency of 660 Hz a few seconds later, you will hear two distinct pitches, one a perfect fifth higher than the other...

Gareth E. Roberts’s textbook From Music to Mathematics: Exploring the Connections does a good job of separating the objective from the subjective in its discussion of pitch and frequency. There is a mathematical explanation for the auditory illusion in my example, sometimes called the missing fundamental: The perceived pitch is the greatest common divisor of the frequencies of the sine waves present. [Read more about the missing fundamental on this blog here and here.] The real explanation, however, belongs to cognitive science, not mathematics. Our pattern-recognizing brains, which must often make snap judgments with incomplete information, notice that 440 and 660 are among the expected frequencies that an instrument or voice would create when producing a note with fundamental frequency 220. The brain assumes it just missed picking up on sine waves with frequency 220 and fills in the gap, perceiving 220 where there is none...

Roberts, a mathematics professor at the College of the Holy Cross, developed the book for an undergraduate course in mathematics and music...

..Roberts makes some suggestions about how to use the text for either a year-long or one-semester class on math and music. I have not taught such a course, but it seems like the text would be appropriate for a freshman seminar or liberal arts math class with a group of students that is diverse with regard to their mathematical and musical backgrounds. 
Read more... 

Source: Scientific American (blog)

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

UA library to put bulk of books into storage | Arkansas Online

"Study space, not print editions, in demand" according to Jaime Adame, University of Arkansas Reporter.

Books fill the shelves Saturday in the Mullins Library on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus.
Photo: Andy Shupe 

Renovations to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville main campus library will result in up to three-quarters of books and other printed materials moving to a new off-campus storage facility.

The move comes as campuses nationally have seen declines in the number of items being checked out, with UA also seeking to add more group study space within Mullins Library to keep up with growing numbers of students.

About 1.2 million books and other bound printed materials sit on the shelves of the four-level, approximately 227,660-square-foot Mullins Library, said Kathleen Lehman, head of user services for UA libraries. She said the 1.2 million estimate leaves out some categories of printed materials, including textbooks kept on reserve, a collection of books for children, and oversized volumes.

An estimated 300,000 to 350,000 books and bound serials will remain after items are transferred into storage, said Joel Thornton, head of instruction and liaison services for UA libraries. Lehman said the moving will begin as soon as this summer, while renovation work is scheduled to begin in late 2018, according to information posted online by UA.

"Many libraries in the U.S. are going through this exact same process, or have been through it recently in the last five years," said Carolyn Henderson Allen, dean of UA libraries.

The number of items checked out at UA -- including some materials that are not books, such as DVDs -- decreased by about 49 percent in academic year 2016-17 compared with four years earlier. In 2016-17, initial circulations, not including renewals, totaled 31,320 across all UA libraries, down from 60,964 in 2012-13.

The decreases in circulation took place even as UA's total number of undergraduates increased to 22,548 in the fall of 2016 compared with 20,350 the fall of 2012. Last fall, UA enrolled 23,044 undergraduates and a total of 27,558 students, according to university data...

The Special Collections Department houses items such as the collected papers of former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, as well as some nonprint artifacts of historical interest. Some items will move to the new storage facility, Lehman said.

However, as libraries evolve, the emphasis is more on such historical items than the sheer size of a collection, Lehman said.

"We're less of a warehouse for stuff that other people have, and try to focus more on what can we provide that's unique," Lehman said.

In addition to special collections, at libraries it's now "more about what journals do I have access to, how quickly can my request be fulfilled," said Lehman, adding that there is greater emphasis on utilizing networks of libraries to provide access to materials requested by patrons.

Source: Arkansas Online

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Five Cub Scouts donate close to 600 books to promote literacy | WJBC News

Photo: Crystal Donaldson
Crystal Donaldson says, "Five second grade Cub Scouts collected close to 600 books as their first community service project of the year." 

Pack 3957 donated 575 books to the nonprofit organization Books to Benefit.
The pack said they wanted to promote literacy in the community.

Photo: courtesy Pixabay
President of the nonprofit, Jackie Langhoff, said Books to Benefit will donate proceeds from their semiannual book sale to STAR Adult literacy and YouthBuild McLean County literacy programs.

“We also try to re-hone books that are of scholarly value to academic and scholarly libraries across the united states,” she said.

The semiannual sale will take place June 14-17.

Source: WJBC News

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Suggested Books of the Week 11, 2018

Check out these books below by Ancient Origins and TradePub.

Genesis Characters and Events in Ancient Greek Art 

Genesis Characters and Events
in Ancient Greek Art

The Greek gods look exactly like people because they are people, glorified ancestors in the way of Cain, boasting of their exaltation of humanity as the measure of all things in the post-Flood world. Despite Socrates’ testimony that Zeus and Athena were his “ancestors,” this significant interconnection has remained the overlooked key to understanding our true origins—until now. (See for the human genealogy of the gods). The 170 full-color ancient vase and sculpture images in this extraordinary book depict:
  • Zeus’ and Hera’s relation to the serpent-entwined apple tree
  • Cain killing Abel on the Parthenon
  • Seth-men as Centaurs seizing Cain-women as their wives (Genesis 6:2)
  • How the Greeks remembered Noah’s Flood • Naamah (Genesis 4:22), the Cain-woman who survived the Flood as Ham’s wife
  • Naamah/Athena consecrating her grandson Nimrod/Herakles to the way of Cain
  • Nimrod/Herakles usurping the authority of Noah/Nereus
  • The altar of Zeus in Pergamum as the throne of Satan from Revelation 2:13
  • The post-Flood Cainite onslaught against the line of Seth
  • The true identity of the Amazons, and much more.
Read more...  

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization
The Cave and the Light:
Plato Versus Aristotle, and the
Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization

Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation.

However, the same Academy that spread Plato’s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato’s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor’s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture.

The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man’s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher’s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato’s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today.

From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato’s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers—but never outside their influence.

Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate. 
Read more... 

The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome

The Ancient City:
Life in Classical Athens and Rome
In this superbly illustrated volume, Athens and Rome, the two greatest cities of antiquity, spring to life through the masterful pen of Peter Connolly. For the first time ever, all the evidence has been painstakingly pieced together to reconstruct the architectural wonders of these mighty civilizations. By re-creating their public buildings, their temples, shops, and houses, Connolly reveals every aspect of a person's life in glorious detail, including religion, food, drama, games, and the baths.
The first part of The Ancient City covers the development of Athens in the hundred years following the Persian Wars, which began in the 4th century B.C. These chapters encompass the Golden Years of Athens; the establishment of democracy; the building of the Parthenon, the Erechtheum, and the municipal buildings of the Agora; a typical Athenian workday; and the construction of the Long Walls.

Part II examines the development of Rome in the hundred years from Nero (emperor of Rome from A.D. 54 to 68) to Hadrian (emperor of Rome from A.D. 117 to 138)--the great building period of Rome. Visit Nero's Golden Palace and the buildings subsequently built over it, the Colosseum, the Flavian Palace, the Baths of Trajan, the Temple of Venus and Roma, as well as other buildings such as the Circus Maximus, the Theatre of Marcellus, and Trajan's Forum and Market. In addition to reading about the great monuments and moments of classical Greece and Rome, readers learn about a typical day in the life of an Athenian and a Roman. They read about--and see--the houses people inhabited; attend 5-day festivals and go to the theatre; fight great battles and witness the birth of Rome's navy; visit temples and spend a day at the races. The fascinating artwork and vivid descriptions provide a window into the great history of these two extraordinary cities and civilizations. 
Read more... 

Why Collaboration Boosts Creativity
Download Now
British innovators can help you push the boundaries.

The UK is Europe’s leading App Economy country, with London being Europe’s leading App Economy city. From carbon fibre to graphene; microprocessor IP to IoT, UK Tech is in demand globally and account for 46% of all exports from the UK creative industries. 

Also home to 23 of the top 100 games development studios, the UK is at the forefront of global trends -  artificial intelligence, augmented reality, massively multiplayer online games (MMOG / MMO), mobile games, social, virtual reality. The UK is actively exploring the artistry of Virtual Reality (VR) and creative storytelling to push technology further. 
Trust British creative services to deliver your next big idea.

Break Through the Hype: Uncover the Reality of AI 

Download Now
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in commerce marketing and may be the fastest growing technology trend today. Experts believe AI will have a huge impact on our daily lives, our interactions with one another and the broader economy.
Remember that technology is simply a tool to expand and accelerate your own efforts. It’s the combination of your team’s expertise and the technology you use to automate marketing tactics that will win the day.
Read more...   

Robots in Recruiting

Download Now
Learn various ways that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way recruiters find, engage and screen candidates. AI is applied to machines and algorithms that mimic the cognitive functions of human beings. Although it does not and may never possess a “general intelligence” like that of a human brain, AI machines are constantly improving and evolving.
  • Lower your sourcing costs
  • Enhance the candidate experience
  • Leverage automation technologies
Learn how artificial intelligence is quietly changing the way recruiters find, engage, and screen candidates. 
Read more... 

Enjoy your reading!   

Source: Ancient Origins and TradePub

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“Fake news” versus “Fake statistics” | The Online Citizen

This entry was posted in Opinion.  

A friend asked me – with all the hoohah on “fake news” – got “fake statistics” or not?

Photo: The Online Citizen
Well, from my experience analysing statistics for the last two decades or so – “fake statistics” are very very rare.
What we have are often:
  • no disclosure of the statistics
  • partial disclosure of the statistics
  • omitting statistics
  • changing the definition of the statistics
  • changing the time period of the statistics
  • not reporting statistics using international norms
  • changing the base population of the statistics
  • a combination of the above
Let me try to give some examples to illustrate the above.

“no disclosure of the statistics” – the HDB does not breakdown the price of HDB BTO flats into contruction, land and other costs. All that we know is that land is charged at market rates

“partial disclosure of the statistics” – the employment growth statistics are broken down into locals and foreigners, but not Singaporeans

“omitting statistics” – the GIC’s annualised returns are for up to 20 years in US$ – but not the annualised return from its inception in S$. In contrast, Temasek also discloses its annualised return from its inception in S$

“changing the definition of the statistics” – a part-time worker used to be defined as working not more than 30 hours a week – this was changed to 35 hours. So, arguably, by the stroke of a pen – both the categories of full-time and part-time workers’ median wages increased

Source: The Online Citizen

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From rural to actuarial | Independent Online

"When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. This was the idiom young Sfundo Manyathi, a star achiever in the 2017 matric exams, said most accurately summed up is life and, more particularly, the last three years of high school" notes KwaZulu-Natal - IOL.

The confident pupil who recently matriculated from Star College in Durban, Sfundo Manyathi, who this year aims to pursue Actuarial Science at UCT. He scored a spectacular As in the NSC matric exams.
Photo: Supplied
Sfundo told The Mercury of his journey to achieving top marks in the 2017 NSC exams.
“I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with Star College, which opened doors to a new and improved life for me,” said Sfundo. “I was taken from a relatively poor township (Ntuzuma), where everything was jovial and easy, to a place where everything was challenging and serious.”
Sfundo said despite the independent school being the best thing that had happened to him, it presented a number of challenges.
One of those was trying to fit in, socially and academically. 
“It took a while for me to change my colours from street smart to academically smart, making new friends all around the school and most importantly, knowing and loving my teachers,” the charismatic student said.
Sfundo was offered a full scholarship, free stay in the school’s dormitory, free books…

He said people at the school were generous with help and emotional support throughout his schooling there and he wanted to make his teachers proud...
The principal, Osman Karayvaaz, said Sfundo was a great motivation and inspiration to other pupils.

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'Active Learning' Math Initiative Expands to 12 Universities | Inside Higher Ed

Photo: Doug Lederman
"A National Science Foundation-funded initiative aimed at expanding the use of "active learning" techniques in introductory mathematics courses is expanding from three to 12 universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities announced today" inform Doug Lederman, Editor at Inside Higher Ed.


The project, known as SEMINAL: Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning, has been led by San Diego State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, which have reworked their math curricula to improve student success in early courses, particularly students from underrepresented minority groups.

The nine universities joining the effort are California State University, East Bay; California State University, Fullerton; Kennesaw State University; Loyola University; Morgan State University; Ohio State University; the University of Maryland at College Park; the University of Oklahoma; and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

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