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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Darwin, Marx, and Something Called Political “Science” | Culture & Ethics - Discovery Institute

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Discovery Institute founder and chairman of the board Bruce Chapman on the publication of his new book, Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others. Get your copy now! We are delighted to offer an excerpt below. Mr. Chapman will speak at the Heritage Foundation on June 26.


"A central progressive theme was historicism, crediting history almost exclusively with the development of culture" argues Bruce Chapman, Author at Evolution News.
 
Photo: Stump Speaking, 1886, by George Caleb Bingham, via Wikimedia Commons

The materialist influence of 19th-century thinkers still chills 21st-century thinking. It is true in biology, economics, culture, and government. In much of  the popularization and misuse of the claims of natural science and in much of modern German philosophy, tendencies toward atheism and gnosticism (searching for hidden meanings) are found. So are economic determinism and a serene resolve to change human nature. It was considered foolish by many 19th- and early 20th-century intellectuals to believe in God or self-evident truths, but “advanced” to aspire to the perfectibility of man.

Progress, you would have thought as an intellectual in that period, must proceed on “scientific” principles. Max Weber’s “fact/value” distinction meant that facts alone could be submitted to scientific inquiry, while issues of right and wrong (“values”) could be examined only from outside their own assumptions. In the new political science that developed in the Progressive Era, study of what constitutes wise opinion was dropped. Replacing it, as Martin Diamond has explained, was the study of opinion formation. The new political scientist was to abandon the supposedly played out mines of political theory. As Diamond says, the role of the political scientist thereafter was to “discredit the pretended grounds of the behavior and reveal its true sub-rational or a-rational ‘determinants.’” Here, then, is partly where we get our present day intellectual prejudice against crediting what politicians say they are doing and our constant suspicion that the real truth must be something else.

A central progressive theme was historicism, crediting history almost exclusively with the development of culture. It arose in Germany as an element of the “science of the state” (Statswissenschaft) and the “general theory of the state” (Allgemeine Staatslehere). And it fit well with the new science of politics, Politische Wissenschaft.  With the new method, known states were compared historically, with perfection of the state as the goal.

For Germans, the state was something larger than government, though less than all society.  It had a personality and “a being which is infinitely superior to the individual, which exists to realize an ideal beyond and above that of individual happiness.” German political scientists thought the history of the state was, in a Darwinian sense, evolutionary and un-directional. As Dennis Mahoney writes of historicism, “[T]here is neither better nor worse about it, but only more advanced and less advanced, newer and older.”

In the latter half of the 19th century, these ideas entered the United States in the heads of young Americans who, lacking domestic graduate schools in public law, embarked on studies in Germany. There they found that the new political science not only had the blessing of the government, but also was a participant in that government and helping to guide it. The students were impressed by such implicit power. The state commanded the universities and the universities taught the grandeur of the state. Prussian administrative skill seemed especially admirable. When Prussia united Germany and then won a war with France, the superiority of German efficiency seemed clear to the young visitors.
In time the concept of eugenics gained force in the Second Reich — decades before the Nazis employed it. When, in 1904, the German Empire exterminated almost the whole race of native Hereros in German Southwest Africa, it was publicly justified in terms of Darwinism. There were few protests.
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Additional resources  

Politicians: The Worst Kind of People
to Run the Government, Except for All the Others

Source: Discovery Institute


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The 20th Annual Battle of the Brains | Features - New University

The UCI campus was quiet by 7 p.m. on the night of Monday, May 14, but inside the Student Center, a group of students scurried about, as New University reports. 

Photo: courtesy of Maggie O’Hara

They were handing out raffle tickets, munching on cookies and snacks and practicing for the evening’s event, the 20th Annual Battle of the Brains.

The Battle of the Brains is a faculty and alumni-versus-students trivia competition held each year by the Campuswide Honors Program. Students in the program tested their knowledge against faculty from different departments, as well as alumni from several graduating classes. This year, professors Kieron Burke of the chemistry department; Nicola Ulibarri from urban planning and public policy; and Kyle Stanford, Jeff Barrett, JB Manchak, Cailin O’Connor and Jim Weatherall from logic and philosophy of science participated in the competition.

Student volunteers adorned the walls of Crystal Cove Auditorium with carefully painted images suited to the theme of the evening: fairytales. One banner showed Little Red Riding Hood skipping down a stone path. Another depicted  Goldilocks with three bowls of porridge. A third portrayed the giant’s famous “Fe Fi Fo Fum” from “Jack and the Beanstalk” in swirling green script. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” played in the background. In the audience, a purple rope separated the auditorium into two sections: supporters of the faculty and alumni sat on on the right and students on the left.

The stage was set up with two tables and a podium between them. Each of the tables had a set of colored lights — red for the students and yellow for the staff and alumni — connected to a set of four handheld buzzers for contestants to press when they knew the answer. Behind the contestants, an automated scoreboard and clock, also decorated to fit  the fairytale theme, kept time for each of the three 20-minute rounds.
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Source: New University


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What are the best software for learning how to sing? | Windows Report

"Do you love to sing and are looking for software for learning how to sing?" continues Windows Report.
 

Photo: Windows Report

Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, and you just want to sing better, you’re in for a real treat, because this article lists some of the best software for learning how to sing, so you can both enjoy the moment, and improve on your vocals in no time.

Like any other skill, singing requires regular practice and it has a lot of room for improvement. Most great artists are also regularly looking for new techniques for singing and better voice control, as they work on the perfect pitch, tone and time to hit the high notes.

However, becoming an accomplished singer isn’t a walk in the park – it takes time – but you can hear your improvements within a few lessons of starting the practice.

These software for learning how to sing also help you learn the correct and basic methods to build your singing expertise, correct bad habits from lack of training, develop your potential, access professional lessons, protect your cords from strain, develop a personal singing style, and enjoy training at your own time and schedule.

When looking for the best software for learning how to sing, consider one that matches your learning style, is affordable for you, is easy to understand yet thorough, has a variety of features for learning success, has written and audio materials for studying, is appropriate for your level of experience, provides several warm up exercises, and offers voice feedback that lets you know about your singing and areas of improvement.
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Source: Windows Report 


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From Buckets to Beethoven, More than 200 Paterson Students Show Off Musical Skills | Education - TAPinto.net

"The auditorium at JFK High School doubled for an orchestra hall on Saturday as more than 200 musicians from across the city showed off their skills in front of proud parents, siblings, and other family members" notes Steve Lenox, Editor.
 

Photo: Steve Lenox

With students from the Community Charter School of Paterson, School 1, School 15, School 26, and the Norman S. Weir Elementary School playing, the Paterson Music Project’s Spring 2018 Concert performances highlighted the talents that have been developed through the program that “uses music as a vehicle for social change.”

“When students study music seriously, it can open all kinds of doors such as performance, travel, and scholarship opportunities,” the program’s director, Elizabeth Moulthrop, told TAPinto Paterson. With opportunities to learn instruments ranging from clarinet and flute, to viola and cello, as well as how to use their voices and play a number of percussion instruments, from professional “teaching artists,” the students, Moulthrop continued, “develop life skills such as focus, perseverance, discipline, confidence, teamwork, and leadership.”

Paterson Board of Education Commissioner Vince Arrington, whose daughter was among the performers, expressed his appreciation for the fact that the Paterson Music Project has “no agenda.”

“They are sincerely here for our kids.”
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Source: TAPinto.net 


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The 7 Best Apps To Teach Your Kids About Music | Romper

Steph Montgomery - Romper inform, "There's no doubt about it: a majority of kids absolutely adore music. It can help soothe them to sleep at night, dance away their bad moods, and express their inner pop star or dancing queen." 
 

Photo: ksyusha_yanovich/Fotolia

But, what's a parent to do when they can't carry a tune, or have no idea how to add more musical magic to their kids' daily routine? Luckily, there are some awesome apps to teach your kids about music, available for iOS and Android and for kids of all ages and ability-levels.

Your toddlers and preschoolers will love Peg + Cat Big Gig, which puts them in the role of director, choreographer or ukulele player in a fun performance featuring music from the show. If your kids like dance parties (and who doesn't, really?), there's Go Noodle, which can help you chase away your toddler's tantrum or tween's "I'm bored"mood with fun and easy-to-follow songs and choreography.

If you are looking for an app to turn any device into a piano, there's Chordana Play, which teaches kids ages 4 and up to actually read music and play a tiny-sized keyboard. If your older kid is a DJ in training, they will definitely love Spotify Music, with free and subscription versions. No matter what their age or if they like to sing, dance, or simply listen to and appreciate music, there's an app to help them learn.
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Source: Romper


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UK to Offer Free Statistics Workshop for High School Students | UKNow

"High school students can get an expert introduction to statistics and related careers at a free three-day workshop June 4 through June 6" inform Mallory Powell, Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Statistics - Facts & Snacks 1 from UK College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.

The "Statistics Facts and Snacks" program, hosted by the University of Kentucky Applied Statistics Lab and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, will discuss what a statistician does, explore requirements to pursue higher education in statistics, and teach introductory statistical programming techniques. The workshop is geared towards any high school grade level and no statistics or computer science experience is required. 

Sessions will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the UK Multidisciplinary Sciences Building, room 333. 

Parents/guardians can register their students at https://stat.as.uky.edu/asl-events.

Please contact asl@uky.edu with any questions.

Source: UKNow


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Retooled Courses Help Students Avoid a Remedial-Math Roadblock to College | Mathematics - Education Week

"Math is a notorious stumbling block that trips up students seeking college degrees. Every year, tens of thousands of young people fail to graduate because they can't earn enough math credits" reports Catherine Gewertz, associate editor for Education Week.

Calculus, Statistics, and the Future of High School Math 


The landscape is daunting: Two-thirds of the students at community colleges, and 4 in 10 of those at four-year institutions, take remedial courses. Math is a much bigger sand trap than English: Far more postsecondary students fall into remedial math than reading, and fewer move on to credit-bearing courses.

To help students across that bumpy terrain, math educators have been trying new approaches that are designed to capture high school skills and college-level content on a compressed timeline. They're teaching math through real-world problems, and reworking course content to better mesh with students' career goals.
Community colleges are using the courses to help students avoid the math pothole. But high schools are starting to embrace them, too, as a way to bolster students with shaky math skills—or low confidence in their overall academic power—and boost the chances they'll earn college degrees.

The new approach rocked Skyler Puckette's world. The Madison, Wis., student was homeschooled since early childhood. She didn't soar in her studies, and her most intense struggles were in math, she said. As she fell further behind, a high school diploma became impossible.

Making plans to get her GED, Puckette learned about a program at Madison Area Technical College that would help her earn her high school diploma and associate degree. Enrolling last fall, she placed into a course called "math reasoning," one of the new breed of math classes designed to help students like her.

The course was very different from her earlier math learning, which focused on procedures. It used real-world scenarios to engage students, asking them to apply math formulas to calculating the dosage of a baby's medication, or analyzing the racial disparities in prison populations. It required them to work in groups, a technique to eliminate the isolation struggling students can experience.
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Source: Education Week and Education Week Channel (YouTube)


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Machine Learning and Human Resources | Technology - BBN Times

Naveen Joshi, Tech Guru says, "The application of machine learning in the recruitment industry provides useful information to HR executives to shortlist ideal candidates, predict performance levels as well as improve organisational performances."

Photo: BBN Times

One of the core responsibilities for a recruiter is to bring in candidates that can add value to the organization and be a good investment for the company’s time and resources. With innovations in technology, HR executives are looking for different ways of hiring candidates. With HR firms leveraging different technologies, machine learning in recruitment can be the technology that assists recruitment agencies to come up with the best candidates.

Obstacles in the Recruitment 
Process A major obstacle faced by recruiters is that they have too many contacts, but they cannot make a move to connecting with a candidate. Often when an HR executive interviews a potential candidate, they are expected to hire an individual in the shortest time possible. This method of hastened hiring leads to the HR executive hiring a candidate that is unworthy of the position. Another common problem faced by a recruitment company is that communicating minute details with candidates and wasting crucial time that can be used to contact other prospects.

Outdated hiring patterns are also equally responsible for a company’s failing recruitment team. With changing times, organizations need to keep track of how they can transform their hiring process. To transform their recruitment process, authorities can keep track of current market trends. With the availability of such information, organizations can then decide on how they want to tweak their hiring process to lure better candidates.

With the technological innovations evolving at a groundbreaking speed, authorities also need to keep up with how different technologies can add relevance to their organization's hiring process. When a company fails to adapt to the technological changes, its performance is bound to take a hit.
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Source: BBN Times


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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Neural network? Machine Learning? Here's all you need to know about AI | Technology, In Other News - Deccan Chronicle

AI is an umbrella term for a range of computer algorithms and approaches that allow machines to sense, reason, act and adapt like humans, as Deccan Chronicle reports.

The human-like capabilities include things like apps that recognise your face in photos, robots that can navigate hotels and factory floors, and devices capable of having (somewhat) natural conversations with you.
Photo: Pixabay

Artificial intelligence encapsulates a broad set of computer science for perception, logic and learning. One method of AI is machine learning – programs that perform better over time and with more data input. Deep learning is among the most promising approaches to machine learning. It uses algorithms based on neural networks – a way to connect inputs and outputs based on a model of how we think the brain works – that find the best way to solve problems by themselves, as opposed to by the programmer or scientist writing them. Training is how deep learning applications are “programmed” – feeding them more input and tuning them. Inference is how they run, to perform analysis or make decisions...

Training and Inference
There are two more quick concepts worth noting: training and inference. Training is the part of machine learning in which you’re building your algorithm, shaping it with data to do what you want it to do. “Training is the process by which our system finds patterns in data,” wrote the Intel AI team. “During training, we pass data through the neural network, error-correct after each sample and iterate until the best network parametrization is achieved. After the network has been trained, the resulting architecture can be used for inference.”

And then there’s inference, which fits its dictionary definition to the letter: “The act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.” In the software analogy, training is writing the program, while inference is using it.

“Inference is the process of using the trained model to make predictions about data we have not previously seen,” wrote those savvy Intel folks. This is where the function that a consumer might see – Aier’s camera assessing the health of your eyes, Bing answering your questions or a drone that auto-magically steers around an obstacle – actually occurs.
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Source: Deccan Chronicle 


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AI 101, Because We Can’t Escape the Inevitable (It’s Free Too) | Artificial Intelligence - Futurism

Helsinki University in Finland is offering the world’s first online artificial intelligence course geared towards beginners, as Engadget reports. 

Photo: Getty Images / Emily Cho

Artificial intelligence plays a role in nearly everyone’s life now, so it only seems fair that everyone should also have the opportunity to learn exactly what it is and how it functions. At least, that’s what Helsinki University in Finland thinks.

Not only can anyone with web access enroll, but it’s also free. Because the course only takes about 30 hours to complete, it’s possible it might help people get to know—and form opinions on—artificial intelligence. And that knowledge will be useful, since the technology is becoming more increasingly widespread.

Heslinki’s AI class is different from the program Carnegie Mellon University announced they’d be offering a few weeks ago. The Pennsylvania-based school, which already hosts one of the premiere robotics labs in the nation, will gear their program towards students who want to make a career out of AI development and research. The program will only accept four percent of newly-enrolled students, and will involve four years of challenging AI-based classes.

Helsinki University, on the other hand, will start their class with something simpler: What is artificial intelligence? From there, the lessons will branch out and explain what problems AI can help solve, how it’s being used now, and what qualifies as machine learning. These are the kinds of core concepts that will give Helsinki students background knowledge about, say, the AI Facebook uses for facial recognition, or the machine learning backing Uber’s pricing surges.

While students enrolling in Carnegie Mellon’s program will likely already have a decent grasp of AI’s founding principles, most lay-people do not. In March 2017, a worldwide survey of internet users found that three out of 10 people polled had heard of AI, but didn’t know much about it. With so few people understanding the tech, it make sense that they’re also wary of it: 41 percent of respondents in a 2017 Forbes poll said they couldn’t cite an example of AI that they trust.

As people enroll in Helsinki’s course, or courses like it, artificial intelligence can lose some of that ambiguity. And that’s a good thing because, as the technology develops, regulators are going to decide what practices will and won’t be allowed. Congress introduced a bipartisan bill for putting parameters on AI in December of last year, and based on what those two surveys show, not many Americans understood what their representatives were proposing.
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Source: Futurism


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