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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Celebrating 50 years of The Open University | Open University

I wish you a happy birthday!

It's our birthday: the Open University turns 50 today!
Since 1969, more than 2 million people have come through the OU's virtual doors. From 24,000 students in our first intake, we’re now one of the largest providers of Higher Education in Europe, with over 174,000 people studying with us.

For five decades, it has been our mission to be open to all people, places, methods and ideas. Our flexibility and ground-breaking learning have made us a key partner for employers to address skills gaps and improve business performance.
Thank you to our partners across different nations and sectors who took the opportunity to say “happy birthday” to us:


The Open University at 50 


As The Open University turns 50 today, we are celebrating the partnerships we have with businesses, organisations and educational institutions around the world. We invite you to join in the celebrations by using the hashtag #OU50.

Thanks to the following for your messages so far: Paul Milner at IBM, Laura Powell and Clare Frost from RSPCA, Kate Kelly at Public Health England, Ivan McDougall from the City of London Corporation, Leigh-Ann Elliott of Babington, Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, Heidi Mulvey, Tamsin Markina-Wastell and Merrin Hagger from Cambridge University Press, Talat Yaqoob of Equate Scotland, Elaine Everitt-Smith from Leonard Cheshire and Charlotte Blant and team at Youthforce.

Don’t miss the BBC documentary ‘Happy Birthday OU: 50 Years of the Open University’ on BBC Four on Thursday 25 April, at 9pm.
Read more... 

Source: The Open University

Monday, April 22, 2019

12 of the most important books for women in philosophy | Arts & Humanities /Philosophy - OUPblog

To celebrate women’s enormous contributions to philosophy, here is a reading list of books that explore recent feminist philosophy and women philosophers, writes Panumas King, marketing executive at Oxford University Press.

Photo: “Great treasure books” by Aliis Sinisalu Public domain via Unsplash

Despite their apparent invisibility in the field in the past, women have been practising philosophers for centuries. Some of the great social and cultural movements have also been enriched by the female minds and their indefatigable efforts. Explore books on feminist philosophy, gender oppression, and women’s empowerment by female authors who approach pressing issues with analytical clarity and insight. Learn more about the classic female philosophers and their legacies.
Read more...

Source: OUPblog

For the First Time a Bulgarian Won a Scholarship from the Hertz Foundation | Society - Novinite.com

23-year-old Alex Atanasov is the first and only Bulgarian who has won the prestigious scholarship for young scientists of the American Hertz Foundation, iNews.bg learned from him.

Photo: Alex Atanasov
The Hertz Foundation scholarship is awarded once a year to the most prominent US graduate students in Applied Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering.

Each year, the Foundation examines the scientific developments and abstracts of more than 800 PhD students, with about 40 finalists selected. The finalists pass through two heavy two-hour interviews with a specialist in the field. Finally, the scholarship is awarded to 10 to 15 students. These selected youngsters are among the most prestigious group of young scientists, engineers and mathematicians in the world. Over the last 56 years, 1226 awards have been awarded by the Foundation.

Among the winners are: Nobel laureates; Turing Award winners, Medal holders in the field of mathematics, other major awards in the field of science; 40 members of National Academies; founders of more than 200 companies; military generals; holders of over 3000 patents; and hundreds of renowned academics.
Read more...

Source: Novinite.com

The way we teach STEM is out of date. Here’s how we can update it | Science & Tech - Qrius

This article was originally published on the World Economic Forum’s website.

What can be done to support more humane, ethical, and effective technology? Can teaching STEM differently make a difference? argues Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman of the Board, Mozilla.

Photo: Pexels 908284
The Internet’s dark side is more evident than ever, as “Big Tech” platforms give users tools to manipulate opinion, spew hate, and incite violence. To restore the Internet’s positive potential, we must ensure that those who drive its progress learn to assess the social, economic, and political consequences of their work.

After a prolonged honeymoon for the digital economy, the dark side of the Internet, social media, and “Big Tech” has become increasingly apparent in recent years. Online, what is good for business is not necessarily good for individuals or societies. Big Tech platforms make it easy to manipulate opinion, spew hate, and incite violence. 

We once naively believed that mass access to the World Wide Web would inevitably democratize information; today, we worry about the emergence of an “addiction economy” that is bad for everyone. What can be done to support more humane, ethical, and effective technology? 

One important way to address this problem in a systemic way is by reforming education in the so-called STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. Policymakers worldwide are already focusing on increasing the number of STEM graduates and the diversity of STEM students. But we should also expand the scope of STEM education, to ensure that students learn to evaluate and respond to the social, economic, and political consequences of their work...

Fortunately, the seeds of this educational revolution are already sprouting. Some universities are adding ethics classes to the STEM curriculum. Stanford University, with its deep links to the tech industry, has recently added courses with topics like “Ethics, Public Policy, and Technological Change” and “Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy.”

Stanford has also recently launched a new Human-Centered AI Initiative, which recognizes that “the development of AI should be paired with an ongoing study of its impact on human society, and guided accordingly.” Last year, Cornell launched the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity. 

These early initiatives can serve as important testing grounds for new curricula and methods. But the real change will come only when all STEM programs provide students with the tools they need to carry out a credible assessment of their work’s effects on humanity.
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Source: Qrius

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Two books to read that will change one’s perception of manga | Arts - The International Examiner

Paul Mori, Author at International Examiner recommends, If you have never entered the world of manga or have dismissed it for whatever reason, two books intend to change and widen the perception of manga, not only for the uninitiated, but also for the ardent fans, and do so by very different means.

Japanese Notebooks:
A Journey to the Empire of Signs
Hokusai X Manga: Japanese Pop Culture Since 1600 makes the case that many older cultural and historical forces shaped the evolution of manga into the popular form that is known today. It seeks to show that such esteemed artists such as Utamaro, Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi and Hokusai provided the pathway for manga’s development, by laying the groundwork for creating a narrative style and a visual language based on certain themes.

Although it may not seem so today, but in their own time, these artists were largely creating art for the consumption of the common man, and not for the elite. The depictions of worlds beyond, inhabited by ghosts, monsters and exotic places have parallels in the manga that became popular in the 20th century. It should not surprise anyone who knows Japanese horror films, that the grotesquely disfigured ghosts and monsters in those artists’ paintings were predecessors of what was to follow.

Even the notorious erotic content of Japanese modern manga has roots in the Shunga (pictures of spring) paintings of the Edo Period, dating back to 1770 – these range from the mildly erotic to the very graphically sexual (note: the book contains such examples) and were often officially banned, but sold secretly...

Igort writes about quirky topics of Japanese history and culture that interest him, defying convention while adding a personal stamp on everything he does. Although the abrupt shifts to historical topics and sidebars may seem initially jarring, readers will join the journey of discovery and settle in with the book’s rhythm. Though not explicit, some of the topics are of an extreme adult sexual nature, so Japanese Notebooks is clearly not for children.
Read more...

Source: The International Examiner

The Genius of Marie Curie was Formed at an Underground Illegal University | Vintage News

In 1903, Marie Sklodowska Curie and her husband, Pierre, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for joint research on radiation. (Radiation had been identified as a phenomenon by Professor Henri Becquerel.), according to Ian Harvey, Author at The Vintage News.

Marie Curie’s notebook.
Photo:Wellcome Images CC BY-SA 4.0

In 1911, Marie won, completely on her own merit, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.”

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that Marie Curie was not only the first woman awarded a Nobel Prize but also the first person to win the award twice, and she came from a country where women were not allowed to attend University.

Higher education was not considered necessary for women in a large part of the world at the time, so the female Curies, Marie and her sister Bronya, had to overcome obstacles to continue their learning past their early teens...

Marie was finally considered to be one of the top scientists in the world and hobnobbed with people like Albert Einstein, Hendrik Lorentz, and Max Planck. The Curies had two daughters, Irène and Ève.
Irène and her husband Frédéric were the recipients of the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry for continuing Irène’s parents’ work in radioactivity. Ève became a concert pianist, a war correspondent, was active with UNICEF and became a published author who wrote of her parents and their work. 

The constant exposure to radiation took its toll on the health of the Curies. Marie died at the age of 66, in 1934, from aplastic anemia, a disease of the bone marrow most likely contracted during her work.
Read more...

Source: Vintage News

This is the tech hack that I used to read books faster | Work Life - Fast Company

Tom Gerencer, career expert at Zety.com, an ASJA journalist, and regular contributor to Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines explores, This author stumbled on a new trick that allowed him to finish more business books (and it’s not listening to audiobooks).

Photo: Konstantin Dyadyun/Unsplash]
We all need to read more. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading. Bill Gates reads a book a week. Reading is the only way to stand on the shoulders of the giants all around us. But 1,000 books get published every day. As a burned-out workforce, it’s challenging to find the time to read one book a week.
 
As a business owner, I used to read voraciously. But with two young children and ballooning work demands, finding the time to read has become more and more difficult. For years now I’ve read a half a page a night while nodding off to sleep.

Why audiobooks didn’t work for me 
I found audiobooks helpful, but there are problems. They cost more. You can do Audible, but then you have to read on their schedule or lose credits. Plus, once you buy one, you’re stuck listening and can’t switch to reading. Also, not all books come out on audio. Finally, the voice talent isn’t always “on it,” and for me, that disrupts the reading experience.

Then I stumbled on an iPhone trick that got me reading business books like crazy. It takes zero time and lets me toggle any e-book back and forth from print to audio. Now I’m reading three to five Kindle books and library books a week just for fun. In the process, I’ve gained valuable insights that catapulted my productivity to the moon...

Since I learned this trick, I’ve been devouring more business books and articles than I can count. I’ve learned a ton, and it’s effortless and a lot of fun. I canceled my Audible subscription too, and I’m back to loving reading and learning like I’m in a master’s program, without spending any extra time. 

One significant insight I picked up already got me saving 4% of my income. From another, I discovered that successful people don’t use to-do lists. Instead, they budget time like money, scheduling the steps to reach their goals. I tried it and “found” 15 additional hours a week.
Read more... 

Source: Fast Company

Michael Shannon’s 10 Favorite Books | One Grand Books - Vulture

Bookseller One Grand Books has asked celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is actor Michael Shannon’s list. Shannon is currently starring in Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune on Broadway.

Check out  Michael Shannon's ten favorite books.

Photo: Vulture and Getty Images

Michael Shannon's ten favorite books include the works of Charles Bukowski, Dr. Seuss, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Yates, and more.
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Source: Vulture

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

Follow on Twitter as @johnwilliamsnyt
Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by John Williams, Daily Books Editor and Staff Writer.





Troubling history lives on, vividly and urgently, in this week’s recommended books. Julián Herbert’s latest book revisits, with “shame and fury,” the massacre of 300 Chinese immigrants in the city of Torreón during the Mexican Revolution. Mark Bowden follows detectives as they crack open a 40-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of two sisters. “The Lions’ Den” examines how thinkers on the left have grappled with the idea and the reality of Israel. And the starkly titled “Hate” is about the history — and the present — of anti-Semitism in France.

We also look at one of the year’s most highly anticipated novels, “Normal People,” Sally Rooney’s follow-up to “Conversations With Friends,” and at two debut novels: one comic and one terrifying.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times    

Hitting the Books: How calculus is helping unravel DNA's secrets | Medicine - Engadget

Welcome to Hitting the Books. With less than one in five Americans reading just for fun these days, we've done the hard work for you by scouring the internet for the most interesting, thought provoking books on science and technology we can find and delivering an easily digestible nugget of their stories.

It's not just for the hard sciences anymore! suggests Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor at Engadget.

Photo: koto_feja via Getty Images
Calculus has provided humanity a window into the inner workings of the world around us since the fateful day Isaac Newton got conked by a falling apple. But we've only ever really applied these mathematical tools to our "hard" sciences, like physics or chemistry. Heck, we probably wouldn't have discovered Neptune if not for calculus. That's changed in recent years as the studies of between the discipline and big data, computer learning, AI, and quantum physics have increasingly overlapped.

In the excerpt from Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe below, author Steven Strogatz examines a novel application of calculus to the "soft" science of biology. Previously used to model how HIV spreads and overwhelms infected immune systems, calculus can now help researchers better understand the process by which nature manages to twist, fold and condense an entire double-helix strand of DNA into a package small enough to fit inside the nucleus of a cell.

Calculus has traditionally been applied in the "hard" sciences like physics, astronomy, and chemistry. But in recent decades, it has made inroads into biology and medicine, in fields like epidemiology, population biology, neuroscience, and medical imaging. We've seen examples of mathematical biology throughout our story, ranging from the use of calculus in predicting the outcome of facial surgery to the modeling of HIV as it battles the immune system...

In the early 1970s an American mathematician named Brock Fuller gave the first mathematical description of this three-dimensional contortion of DNA. He invented a quantity that he dubbed the writhing number of DNA. He derived formulas for it using integrals and derivatives and proved certain theorems about the writhing number that formalized the conservation law for twists and coils. The study of the geometry and topology of DNA has been a thriving industry ever since. Mathematicians have used knot theory and tangle calculus to elucidate the mechanisms of certain enzymes that can twist DNA or cut it or introduce knots and links into it. These enzymes alter the topology of DNA and hence are known as topoisomerases. They can break strands of DNA and reseal them, and they are essential for cells to divide and grow. They have proved to be effective targets for cancer-chemotherapy drugs. The mechanism of action is not completely clear, but it is thought that by blocking the action of topoisomerases, the drugs (known as topoisomerase inhibitors) can selectively damage the DNA of cancer cells, which causes them to commit cellular suicide. Good news for the patient, bad news for the tumor.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Infinite Powers:
How Calculus Reveals
the Secrets of the Universe
Source: Engadget