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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Best Science Books of 2018: Your Winter Reading and Gift Giving Guide | Science - Inverse

Sarah Sloat, writer based in Brooklyn summarizes, When the weather outside is frightful, space, megafauna, and microbes are delightful.

Photo: Inverse
Even though it’s going to be a warmer-than-average winter, you can still partake in the bad-weather ritual of holing up at home with a good book. This year, prepare for the season’s start by squirreling away books that seek to answer the mysteries of the cosmos, the puzzles of the past, and indelicate questions about the perplexing present. In other words, head to the science section.

Here below are seven of Inverse’s picks for science books to nestle in with this winter:

Source: Inverse

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Best Business Books 2018 | Business Literature - strategy+business

In the 18th edition of strategy+business's Best Business Books section, our writers identify the three most compelling reads in seven genres. 
See also Top Shelf Picks: Best Business Books 2018. 

Photo: Martin León Barreto

Rules of Engagement

“Low key feel like books r making a comeback,” the Grammy-nominated R&B star SZA tweeted earlier this fall. She’s right. The more digital media pervades our lives, the more currency people seem to place on one of the oldest forms of media.

According to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018–2022, books are the only form of physical media whose sales are growing — and are expected to continue to grow. The big-box bookstores that dominated the retail chain in the 1990s may be contracting, but the ranks of independent bookshops are growing. All of which serves to ratify the attention we lavish on books at strategy+business.

Books require those who produce them to think deeply about their subject matter, to construct arguments and analytic frameworks carefully, and to muster mountains of data and evidence to support a contention. In short, books force their producers and readers to build and exercise their intellectual muscles.

Source: strategy+business

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Teach Your Kids Empathy With These Old-School Chapter Books | Reading - Lifehacker

I began to plow through chapter books almost as soon as I could read, and I distinctly remember a handful of “a-ha” moments while submerged in these novels, notes Jaclyn Youhana Garver, Providing concise, audience-focused writing, editing, & marketing.

Photo: Jaclyn Youhana Garver

These moments occurred as I read about experiences I’d never had and people I never knew (I grew up in a pretty homogenous bubble—lots of white, Christian people).

A variety of studies and articles over the years have debated whether reading fiction can increase a person’s empathy. In one of the most widely cited, published in 2013 in the journal Science, researchers focused on whether the type of fiction mattered. Its findings? Reading literary fiction can, in the short term, improve readers’ ability to pick up on and understand others’ emotions. (Nonfiction, romance, horror and sci-fi, not so much.)

In particular, I remember how these old-school books (published in the 1980s or earlier and straight off my own bookshelves) presented compelling stories that can help expand a child’s empathy:

Source: Lifehacker 

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12 New Books We Recommend This Week | Book Review - New York Times

Follow on Twitter as @GregoryCowles
Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by Gregory Cowles, Senior Editor, Books.

Now that Election Day is behind us — like an exorcism, maybe: “Get behind us, midterms!” — the natural question is what it all will mean. Books can help with that. (Books can help with everything.) Our recommended titles this week offer context for some of the country’s most pressing political issues across a range of perspectives and genres. In “Melting Pot or Civil War?,” Reihan Salam tries to find middle ground on immigration. In “She Wants It,” the TV writer Jill Soloway provides a personal take on the politics of gender and transgender identity. In “American Dialogue,” the historian Joseph Ellis asks what the founders would make of our current divisions. Jane Sharon De Hart’s “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” traces the Supreme Court justice’s route to becoming a feminist icon. Kiese Laymon’s excellent memoir, “Heavy,” and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s excellent story collection, “Friday Black,” both unfold against a backdrop of national dysfunction and racist violence. And Max Boot explains why he has turned away from his longtime home in the Republican Party.

Or maybe you prefer to forget about politics for a while. Books can help with that too: We bring you Lee Child’s latest thriller, Kathryn Harrison’s latest memoir, a biography of Nietzsche and two books (a memoir and a story collection) from the unjustly neglected 20th-century writer Lucia Berlin, who is finally and happily starting to get her due.

Source: New York Time  

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Proofs and Guarantees | Math - Scientific American

Photo: James Robert Brown
We can prove things in math, but does that mean they’re true? argues

Photo: Getty Images
Let us assume what most mathematical readers would take for granted anyway: There are mathematical objects such as numbers and functions and there are objective facts about these objects, such as 3 < 5 and the set of primes is infinite. Truth on this view is banal. ‘‘3 < 5’’ is true because the objects 3 and 5 are in the less than relation to one another, just as ‘‘Bob is shorter than Alice’’ is true, because Bob and Alice stand in the shorter than relation.

Why bother assuming this? There are plausible alternatives. We say: ‘‘Bishops move diagonally’’ is true and we say: ‘‘Sherlock Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street’’ is true. What makes them true, however, is a conventionally adopted rule in one case and a literary fiction in the other. Truth in mathematics, on the account I’m taking for granted, is no different than truth as normally understood in, say, physics. A proposition is true when it correctly tells us how things objectively are. I hope most readers are still with me, in spite of the mundane mathematical metaphysics so far. The interesting point comes next.

Why do we believe that 3 < 5 and that there are infinitely many primes? Most would say that’s an easy question with an obvious answer: proof. Here is a tougher question: Is proof the only sort of legitimate evidence in mathematics? Many will say—indeed, they will shout—yes, proof and proof alone is the source of mathematical evidence. Proofs are both necessary and sufficient. We know a theorem is true, they might add, when we have a proof, or we don’t know it’s true when we lack a proof—it’s all or nothing...

Timothy Gowers has written interestingly and extensively on the philosophy of mathematics in various places. His views on evidence have been summed up in a slogan suitable for a bumper sticker: Proof = explanation + guarantee.

Gowers himself and those who have discussed his work have focussed on ‘‘explanation,’’ which is a hugely interesting and important notion in mathematics and philosophy. A proof provides evidence that a theorem is true, but some proofs also produce insight into what is going on. Gowers is trying to understand this phenomenon when he discusses explanation. I, however, will take a different tack: I will focus on ‘‘guarantee,’’ which Gowers and others take to be the evidence that shows the theorem is certainly true. A proper proof that there are infinitely many primes is a guarantee that this is true. As proof is normally envisaged, we couldn’t ask for better than this sort of guarantee. This is the gold standard. The natural sciences don’t have a hope of matching it.
Read more... 

Additional resources 
Reprinted with permission from the Mathematical Intelligencer.
Download PDF 

Source: Scientific American

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Math Behind Machine Learning | Machine Learning - insideBIGDATA

Math for Machine Learning:
Open Doors to Data Science
and Artificial Intelligence
What math subjects are used in machine learning, and how are they used? In this research paper by Richard Han, Ph.D. online math educator and has authored the successful books Linear Algebra for Beginners: Open Doors to Great Careers and Math for Machine Learning: Open Doors to Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, we look at the mathematics behind the machine learning techniques linear regression, linear discriminant analysis, logistic regression, artificial neural networks, and support vector machines.

Machine learning is a wildly popular field of technology that is being used by data scientists around the globe. Mastering machine learning can be achieved via many avenues of study, but one arguably necessary ingredient to success is a fundamental understanding of the mathematics behind the algorithms.

Some data scientists-in-training often try to take a shortcut and bypass the math, but that route is shortsighted.

Download the full paper HERE.
Read more...  

Source: insideBIGDATA

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Is this AI? We drew you a flowchart to work it out | Intelligent Machines - MIT Technology Review

Karen Hao, artificial intelligence reporter for MIT Technology Review explains, The definition of artificial intelligence is constantly evolving, and the term often gets mangled, so we are here to help.

A back-of-the-envelope explainer.
Photo: Karen Hao
What is AI, exactly? The question may seem basic, but the answer is kind of complicated.

In the broadest sense, AI refers to machines that can learn, reason, and act for themselves. They can make their own decisions when faced with new situations, in the same way that humans and animals can.

As it currently stands, the vast majority of the AI advancements and applications you hear about refer to a category of algorithms known as machine learning. These algorithms use statistics to find patterns in massive amounts of data. They then use those patterns to make predictions on things like what shows you might like on Netflix, what you’re saying when you speak to Alexa, or whether you have cancer based on your MRI.

Machine learning, and its subset deep learning (basically machine learning on steroids), is incredibly powerful. It is the basis of many major breakthroughs, including facial recognition, hyper-realistic photo and voice synthesis, and AlphaGo, the program that beat the best human player in the complex game of Go. But it is also just a tiny fraction of what AI could be.

To clear things up, I drew you this flowchart on the back of an envelope so you can work out whether something is using AI or not.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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Universities call time on handwriting | World Round-up - University World News

Rising numbers of students in the United Kingdom are doing their exams on computers, rather than having to complete handwritten papers, in a move that could spell the death of the pen-and-paper test, write Sian Griffiths and Julie Henry for The Sunday Times.

Photo: @energepic-com-27411 via Pexels

Universities such as Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge are testing the move – but adopting different policies on whether to allow spell-checking. While undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge are not allowed to use the spell-check function during the trial exams, Brunel University London’s director of learning, Simon Kent, said it tried to make assessment as authentic as possible. “In the real world, students will have access to spell-checkers in their everyday work, so it is reasonable to allow them to use a spell-checker in the examination. We don’t award degrees for good spelling,” he said.

More than 60% of universities have brought in ‘e-exams’ in at least one or two modules, while one in five have introduced it in entire departments, according to a survey by the Heads of eLearning Forum, a network of academics. Professor Alan Smithers, from the University of Buckingham, said he worried the move could lead to “the death of handwriting”. Critics also complain that allowing access to spell-checking in exams is dumbing down.  
Full report on The Times site

Source: University World News

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15+ Creative Online Classes to Spark Your Imagination This Week | Classes - My Modern Met

Growing up was when many of us fostered a life-long love of learning, notes Sara Barnes, Freelance Writer & Illustrator. 

Photo: Nik MacMillan

For just as many, however, formal schooling stopped in our early twenties. But this fact doesn’t mean that you have to cease all class time. Through the magic of the internet, there is a bevy of online creative classes that’ll teach you a new skill or cultivate what you already know. Best of all, you can take them at your own pace.

Are you looking to diversify your interests? Perhaps you’re a photographer who would like to know more about drawing—you never know how it might inspire you. With this in mind, Bluprint (rebranded from Craftsy) has created a streaming platform that’s like Netflix for makers. They have over 3,000 hours of classes that range from art and craft to cooking and much more. And for the holidays, they have Bluprint boxes that include all of the supplies you need to try a new craft, and the boxes pair with a specific class from their Startup Library. Bluprint will definitely give you the most bang for your buck, but if you’re interested in a specific class, Craftsy is still offering that, too.

Craftsy and Bluprint aren’t the only places you can get enrolled in creative online learning. We’ve found great courses on CreativeLive and Creativebug as well. Check out our picks below and visit our classes category to see what else we’ve picked in the past.

Try online creative classes today! Scroll down to see our picks for this week. 

Source: My Modern Met

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Leadership 'key' to personalized learning success | K-12 - EdScoop News

The Friday Institute's Nancy Mangum told a conference audience that personalized learning needs unified institutional support to thrive.

Photo: Brad Flickinger / Flickr
Personalized learning is flourishing in K-12 schools, but needs support from top leadership to succeed, state education leaders told an audience at a national conference this week.

Educators attending the State Education Technology Directors Association conference in Washington D.C. praised personalized learning for its benefits to students while recognizing the importance of administrative support for the model’s durability and scalability. 

Often supported by digital tools and resources, personalized learning approaches have grown more popular in recent years in part due to advances in technology platforms and digital content. However, according to a 2018 study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, at the district level, personalized learning often lacks consistent engagement by school leaders and needs to be established as a district priority to succeed.

“The leader is key in helping innovation come to fruition,” Nancy Mangum, associate director of Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative at the The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, told SETDA conference attendees on Tuesday.

Mangum said schools should develop a unifying vision around personalized learning with common commitments and approaches. “It can’t be ‘I want to do this,’ it has to be, ‘we,’” she said.

This position is supported by a 2018 study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education that found a successful transition to personalized learning requires buy-in and a common action plan at all levels...

Students have different and diverse learning styles, Mangum said. “That’s why we need personalized learning,” she said. “By designing for the average, we are designing for none.”
Read more... 

Source: EdScoop News

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