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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The 39 New Skills You Can Now Learn on LinkedIn Learning | New Courses - LinkedIn Learning

Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge, recommends Paul Petrone, Editor - LinkedIn Learning.

Photo:  Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning
And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 13,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 39 new courses covering everything from product design to motion graphics to leading your team through change.

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:

Additional resources 
Want to see what else we offer?  
View all of LinkedIn Learning's 13,000+ courses today.  

Source: LinkedIn Learning (Blog)  

Who Was Google Doodle Ruth Asawa? Facts and Quotes From Famous Wire Sculptor | U.S. - Newsweek

Nina Godlewski, breaking news reporter observes, Google is celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander month by releasing a doodle of famed sculptor Ruth Asawa

The Google doodle Tuesday was made to honor artist Ruth Asawa for Asian-American Pacific Islander month.
Photo: Google
The month of May is Asian-American Pacific Islander month also called Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. 

Born in 1926, Asawa was a teenager during World War II. Her family was forced to go to a Japanese internment camp where she, her five siblings and her mother lived in two horse stalls. That's where she gained new abilities in art that she learned from other inmates in the camp some of whom were animators with Walt Disney Studios, according to Google. 

After 16 months of forced internment, she was able to attend college to become an art teacher. She was prevented from finishing her education three years in when she was stopped from completing her student teaching due to her Japanese-American heritage. Following this racist setback at the Milwaukee State Teachers College, she transferred to North Carolina's Black Mountain College.

Once at the exploratory Black Mountain College she developed her art further and honed her abilities in sculpture while learning from some of the formative artists of her time. She worked with wire specifically to create some of her best-known art and her work is on display all over the world...

"Teachers there were practicing artists, there was no separation between studying, performing the daily chores, and relating to many art forms. I spent three years there and encountered great teachers who gave me enough stimulation to last me for the rest of my life — Josef Albers, painter, Buckminster Fuller, inventor, Max Dehn, the mathematician, and many others. Through them I came to understand the total commitment required if one must be an artist," she said about her time at Black Mountain College
Read more... 

Source: Newsweek

Fienburg memorial lecture talks sensationalism and statistics | CMU The Tartan Online

“Numbers do not speak for themselves,” said Sir David Spiegelhalter, a world-renowned statistician, to a crowd of nearly 100 professors and students who had gathered in McConomy Auditorium to hear him speak, according to Jacob Paul,  Layout Manager - The Tartan.

Sir David Spiegelhalter visited from Cambridge to discuss statisitcal reporting in the second Fienburg memorial lecture.
Photo: Jacob Paul/Layout Manager
“The stories we tell, the way they’re packaged makes all the difference to their emotional impact.”

We are living in the age of data. Technology plays a bigger role in people’s daily lives than ever before, and many of society’s core issues can be reframed as statistical problems. Yet it is also the age of misinformation, and the field of statistics is facing more challenges than ever before.

Sir David Spiegelhalter’s lecture on Monday, April 22, was the second installment of the Stephen and Joyce Fienberg memorial lecture series. Stephen Fienberg, who died of cancer in 2016, was the head of the Carnegie Mellon statistics department. He was highly respected and influential in the field of statistics for his dedication to applying statistics for societal good. Joyce Fienberg, Stephen Fienbergs’s wife who perished in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting last Oct., worked as a researcher at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh and was a great supporter and friend of the statistics department at Carnegie Mellon.

“Steve sets a high bar for how statistic are communicated,” said Sir David Spiegelhalter. In his lecture, he focused on how statistics are manipulated for sensational and persuasive means. Spiegelhalter serves as a chair at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, which is part of the University of Cambridge’s department of mathematics...

Spiegelhalter resolved that statisticians need to demonstrate trustworthiness by being honest about where uncertainty lies in their studies. Research has shown that audiences do not trust a range (between A and B) any less than a single result (A). For accountability, the background information of any study should be made accessible and readable.

Because of this responsibility, Spiegelhalter closed his lecture by calling for statisticians to be trained in ethics and communication, and to be more active in the public sphere.
Read more... 

Source: CMU The Tartan Online

The quest to understand human society scientifically | Around Campus - MIT News

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand and Senior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill.

In STS.047 (Quantifying People), MIT students explore the history of science from the 17th century to the present, through the eyes of statisticians and sociologists.

STS.047 is one of several courses featured in a new MIT HASS undergraduate concentration called "Computational Cultures," which brings together perspectives from the humanities and social sciences for students to understand and improve the social, cultural, and political impact of the computing tools and digital devices that shape our lives.
Photo: Jon Sachs/SHASS Communications
Is it appropriate to evaluate the causes of suicide but dismiss mental illness as a contributing factor? What happens when you talk about war deaths as colored wedges on a chart? Does that change the conversation in important ways?

MIT students grappled with these and similar questions this spring in STS.047 (Quantifying People), a new subject focused on the history of the quest to understand human society scientifically. William Deringer, the Leo Marx Career Development Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, says he developed the class to enable students to explore the questions that motivate much of his own research: “Why do we invest so much trust in numbers, and what are the consequences for who we are?”

Calculated Values:
Finance, Politics,
and the Quantitative Age
Deringer has written a book on the subject, "Calculated Values: Finance, Politics, and the Quantitative Age" (Harvard University Press, 2018), in which he examines the history of human efforts to use statistics to influence opinions and shape policy. “Many MIT students will likely be practitioners in the data field, so I want to encourage them to think about these issues,” he says...

This complex interplay of science and society is precisely what attracted Rhea Lin to the subject. “I wanted to take a humanities course that would give me the opportunity to reflect on how society has been impacted by science in the past and how my work as an engineer might affect people in the future,” says Lin, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

Source: MIT News

7 Essential Algorithms that Run the World | Innovation - Interesting Engineering

This is the second article in a seven-part series on Algorithms and Computation, which explores how we use simple binary numbers to power our world. The first article, How Algorithms Run the World We Live In, can be found here.

Algorithms have been around for thousands of years, but these 7 modern algorithms are essential to how our world works today, inform John Loeffler, writer and programmer living in New York City.

Photo: DepositPhotos

The oldest algorithms ever recorded were on ancient Babylonian tablets dating to about 1,800 BCE, explaining the specific procedures to compute different values like square roots and other measures. We still use one of the Greek mathematician Euclid’s most famous algorithms—his method for finding the greatest common divisor, first formulated around 300 BCE—in programming today because of its elegant simplicity.  

It wasn’t until the age of computers however that algorithms really began to take a mathematical approach to seemingly non-mathematical problems, and these modern algorithms are some of the most important solutions to problems currently powering the world’s most widely used systems.

Having discussed PageRank briefly in the first article in this series, Google’s PageRank algorithm is a great place to start, since it helped turn Google into the internet giant it is today...

The issue of efficiency doesn't just relate to the hardware however. The efficiency of the various algorithms can make or break a system. Fortunately, we know how to measure the efficiency of algorithms with mathematical precision, allowing us to find the right algorithm for the right problem.

Come back tomorrow for the third article in our series on Algorithms and Computations, Time Complexity: Why Some Algorithms Run for Billions of Years.

Source: Interesting Engineering

KCSE 2018: Universities and courses chosen by top students | Facts and Life Hacks -

Here is a breakdown of the courses and universities that the top student chose to pursue. Find out the course with the most students as well as the courses that were least chosen, continues

Photo:, @shufaayakut6
As the debate on which is the best education system in Kenya raves on, the students who sat for the KCSE 2018 are already choosing their preferred courses and universities. 

Let’s face it. The Kenyan education system has a long way to attain the standards of world-renowned teaching systems like that of Finland. However, students still have to learn, and this is the best time to find out the specific courses that the top students from 2018 chose to pursue.

The KCSE 2018 university admission has taken place with the top students opting for the traditional best courses to study. As you might have already guessed it, these top performers also landed in the highly-ranked institutions. You will get the entire breakdown of how the program placement agency – KUCCPS, did the allocation. On that note, let’s have a quick dive into what this agency entails. 

In full, KUCCPS means Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service. This government body replaced the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) after the Universities Act of 2012. One of its mandates is to establish a criterion for students to access the courses for which they applied and qualified.

KCSE 2018 university selection
Here is the breakdown of how the top brains from the 2018 KSCE got placements in different institutions and courses...

KCSE 2018 course revision 
For some reasons, not all the above placements will sit well with all the students and that why the KUCCPS will allow inter-institution transfer applications between May 1 and May 30, 2019. You will need to log into the portal to revise their options. 

Do you have a candidate who will be sitting for the KSCE 2019 exam? The above breakdown of the best courses as chosen by the KSCE 2018 students should give you a clue of what your child or sibling might want to pursue in university, TVET, polytechnic, or TTI. At the same time, you might want them to avoid the less competitive courses highlighted above. 


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bright Young Booksellers: Kate Mitas | Fine Books & Collections

Our Bright Young Booksellers series continues today with Kate Mitas, of Kate Mitas, Bookseller in San Francisco:

Photo: Kate Mitas
Like a lot of people, I stumbled into the book trade, although unlike some, I wasn't initially all that keen on rare books. I got my start in 2006 at Cellar Stories Bookstore, a used and rare shop in Providence, Rhode Island, when the owner joked that I'd checked the shelves for a title so quickly I ought to work there. I decided he was right and told him so, and he must've seen that I was serious because I started the next week, eventually becoming the manager and staying on for the better part of seven years.

It took a while for me to appreciate rare books, though -- in the beginning, I considered books valuable for their content alone, and thought only rich people bought rare books. Over time, as I helped customers with both rare and used books and saw how delighted they were with their purchases, regardless, I began to understand the value of the book as object, too, and the satisfaction of selling rare books. That became especially true when, after another year-and-a-half stint at Blue Jacket Books, in Xenia, Ohio, a used and rare shop, I landed a job at Tavistock Books, the first antiquarian shop I worked at, in Alameda, CA. There, with the aid of a weeklong immersion in the field at CABS, I was introduced to the more scholarly uses of bibliography and the breathtaking expertise that can be wielded by rare book dealers, collectors and special collections librarians. I also got my first taste of working with archival and vernacular material, which I immediately found I had a knack for, and enjoy immensely.

Source: Fine Books & Collections Magazine

Clare Carlisle: Philosopher of the Heart review – how to be human | Reviews - The Arts Desk

Follow on Twitter as @BoydTonkin
Great Dane unleashed: an immersive portrait of Kierkegaard, according to Boyd Tonkin, Senior Writer and Columnist.

Learning to live: Søren Kierkegaard
How close should a biographer come to her subject? Clare Carlisle stays by the side, and looks through the eyes, of Søren Kierkegaard at almost every step on his maverick journey. Philosopher of the Heart even closes with a glimpse of Carlisle in tears at a bicentenary celebration for Kierkegaard at the Danish Church in London. She surmises that those tears, prompted by the dramatisation of a work by the Danish writer and thinker, flow because this tribute to the figure she has studied so devotedly is “casting a sideways glance at my life as a whole, and seeing meaning there”. 

It’s a very Kierkegaardian moment, one of several in her book: unashamedly subjective, lyrical, impassioned and impatient with the buttoned-up, life-denying formality of conventional philosophy – conventional biography too, for that matter. Those qualities make her study of this ironic, ecstatic and anguished outsider a deep pleasure, but a challenge as well, for the curious lay reader. They also explain why anybody who seeks above all a straightforward, hand-holding introduction to the great Dane often labelled the “father of existentialism” should probably apply elsewhere. Carlisle has crafted a Kierkegaard-style portrait of an author who disdained the abstract philosophy of systems, doctrines and propositions in favour of writings that tried to capture “the compelling drama of being human that unfolds within every person”. Truth, for him, must be experienced without filters “in the middle of life itself”, not theorised from a safe distance. Carlisle knows, perhaps too well, that to reduce this pioneering mission – yes, an “existential” quest if you like – to a list of bullet-point axioms would be to betray the essence of his work. At the same time, at moments I did feel glad that more boringly didactic expositors, such as the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (at, have gone in for such helpful treachery. 

With that proviso, Philosopher of the Heart enacts Kierkegaard’s audacity and verve in thinking and writing, his “new way of doing philosophy”, in a thrillingly inward and intimate style. Carlisle (pictured below) avoids any blow-by-blow, concept-by-concept elucidation of events and ideas. Rather, she offers a series of immersive and impressionistic scenes, closely woven with lavish quotation from her primary sources. Much of her narrative pivots around a few key episodes in the fairly brief life (1813-1855) of this son of a pious, self-made Copenhagen merchant and a beloved mother who also came from the humblest peasant stock. Young Kierkegaard, indeed, only stood two generations away from serfdom...

Photo: Clare Carlisle

The 1840s saw the torrential production of one major work after another – Either/Or; Fear and Trembling; Repetition; The Concept of Anxiety; Works of Love; The Sickness Unto Death – in a flood of creativity that has precious few counterparts in the history of philosophy, or literature. Kierkegaard pushed philosophy off its shiny new academic tracks, as followed by the system-building Hegelians he despised, into the richer literary territory of the dialogue, the diary, the parable, the soliloquy, the sermon. They transformed his “innate tendency to hyper-reflection” into a vision of struggling selfhood in a lonely and anxious age. It has infused the work of his admirers and disciples from Kafka to Auden; from Wittgenstein to Sartre. His modes of thinking, of feeling, remain ours; not least in his exploration of anxiety, that florid symptom of freedom that he sees as “a blessing as well as a curse”, since “whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate”.  

Recommended Reading

Philosopher of the Heart:
The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard

Source: The Arts Desk

3 Tips to Read More Books You've Never Heard Before | Inc.

Jessica Stillman, freelance writer based in Cyprus notes, If you've already done the obvious things to read more books, then take these steps next.

Photo: Getty Images

t's not news that reading more and better books will make you smarter. Basically every business icon you hear about regularly on this site, from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos, is a huge reader. And because 'read more' is such common advice, so are a bunch of obvious strategies to accelerate your reading.

If you're interested in the topic at all, you've probably been told by now that it's OK to give up on books you're not interested in to make space for titles you'll devour. Likewise, it's probably occurred to you to spend less time browsing social media and more time with books. Maybe you're even read about the advantages of having a stack of unread books lying around so you'll always have options to pick up when you finish your last book.

But what if you want to go beyond these entirely solid but pretty well circulated suggestions? Then a new HBR post from author and podcaster Neil Pasricha is for you. In it he offers a host of offbeat but effective ideas to get you reading even more. You're pretty much guaranteed not to have heard them before.

Source: Inc.

Hitting the Books: When better living through technology isn't enough | Personal Computing - Engadget

Welcome to Engadget's newest series, 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.

Because who wouldn't want to live forever?, summarizes Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor at Engadget.

Photo: gremlin via Getty Images

The Transhuman Roots of Becoming Superhuman 

As a kid, I loved the opening sequence of The Six Million Dollar Man, which begins with footage of an aeronautic catastrophe. Astronaut Steve Austin is barely alive, and over scenes of surgery and bionic schematics a voice declares: "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better ... stronger ... faster." These three words are the title of the 2011 New Yorker profile of Tim Ferriss; two of them also appear in the title of the 2016 self-help book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. A clip from a 1970s TV show, of using science and technology to enhance human performance, lingers as a way of describing an aspiration to be superhuman.

Two of [mononymed author] Tynan's most popular titles are Superhuman by Habit and Superhuman Social Skills. Tim Ferriss's book The 4-Hour Body is, according to its subtitle, An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. The mantra of his TV show is that "you don't need to be superhuman to get superhuman results ... you just need a better toolkit." The bionic man's treatment was not only therapeutic: he was enhanced. Similarly, the goal of optimal hacking is to transcend the nominal.

Of course, the desire to rise above is not new. In Greek mythology, Icarus flew too close to the sun. In Abrahamic mythology, the people of Babel dared to build a tower that could reach heaven...

The ultimate irony of the extropian view, of better living through technology, is that the optimal life is achieved only when it ceases to be living, in the biological sense. Until then, though, there are lots of other hacks for being better, stronger, faster—and even smarter.

Excerpted from Hacking Life: Systematized Living and Its Discontents by Joseph M. Reagle, Jr. (The MIT Press, 2019)

Source: Engadget

The Best Books of 2019 (So Far) | Books -

Need to update your 2019 reading list? brings you the best fiction and nonfiction books of every genre, all year long.

If you were hoping you could ignore that book everyone's putting on their Instagram, sorry—it's good. Along with Sally Rooney's buzzy novel Normal People, here are 7 of the best books of 2019 so far, including the true stories of wayward women, memoirs of family discovery, and novels that twist reality enough to unsettle you. 
Read more... 


11 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. 

This week we bring you four memoirs and one near-memoir, ranging from a family history of old money (Janny Scott’s “The Beneficiary”) to an immigrant’s account of abuse and displacement (Grace Talusan’s “The Body Papers”), from a queer coming-of-age memoir (T Kira Madden’s “Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls”) to a celebrated biographer’s description of his methods (Robert A. Caro’s “Working”). The near-memoir? That belongs to the timeless Beat writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who with “Little Boy” has published an autobiographical debut novel at the age of 100.

You’ll also find a couple of environmental books — one about our landscapes and man-made spaces, the other about humanity’s uncertain future — along with poetry, novels new and old, and a story collection from one of Kenya’s greatest living writers.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times    

District implements Digital Awareness Month to promote smart tech use | Technology - Education Dive

With device use on the rise in students' school and personal lives, Hilliard City Schools in Columbus, Ohio, sets aside a month to cover topics including online safety, digital citizenship and wellness, observes Shawna De La Rosa, Journalist.

Photo: Pexels
Dive Brief:
  • Hilliard City Schools in Columbus, Ohio, recently introduced Digital Wellness Month as a way of promoting healthy use of digital devices and discouraging negative behaviors, District Administration reports. The idea was implemented by district Chief Technology Officer Rich Boettner, who was alarmed by the fact that, while dining out, he noticed that customers were too busy looking at their phones to engage with one with another.
  • Boettner sought input from technology teachers, coaches and administrators before launching the initiative, which now includes topics on internet safety, etiquette, citizenship and wellness.
    During the month, students learn device-related information, such as how to protect their vision through screen color modification and time limits, best-practice social behaviors, and how to reverse screen-time induced posture problems.
Dive Insight:
As digital natives, it is as important for K-12 students to learn how to be good online citizens as it is to teach kindergartners proper recess etiquette. Like it or not, current students will be using some type of digital devices the rest of their lives. As with any tool, they need to learn how to use them properly.
Read more... 

Source: Education Dive

Digital learning gains traction at SA institutions | Digital Learning - ITWeb

A study shows new online and open access ways of teaching and learning are gaining momentum locally, by Staff Writer at ITWeb.
Photo: ITWeb

New online and open ways of teaching and learning are gaining momentum in SA, but the advances still apply only to a handful of institutions.

This is according to a two-year study led by the University of Cape Town's Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT).

The study, conducted by CILT in collaboration with the University of Leeds in the UK, examined the emergence of online learning at institutions of higher learning in SA.

Sukaina Walji, online project manager at CILT, says the team's research focused on the changes currently under way in the higher education sector, which will ultimately lead to the unbundling of education provision at universities nationally.

She says these new forms of education provision involve digital approaches, to keep pace with the demands of an evolving digital world. Walji believes the importance of digital is around increased flexibility, scale and access.

More historically advantaged and "high-ranked" universities are adopting online, open-access and digital learning, and adapting to these global trends, she notes. But historically disadvantaged institutions continue to lag behind...

These new opportunities are not without their difficulties though, for students and educators, says Walji, adding that the need to level the playing field for students by providing unlimited access to the Internet, laptops and/or other devices is critical.

Similarly, she notes, for academics, altered roles and new teaching teams are just two of the challenges with which they need to become familiar.

Source: ITWeb  

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Why are Canadian universities so slow to adopt digital learning? | Academics - Maclean's

Jennifer Lewington, writer & editor says, Online courses are popular with students who juggle tough workloads. But only one in five institutions has a significant number of ‘blended’ options. 

Alison Carney facilitates a psychology lab at Queen's.
Photo: Andrej Ivanov

As a first-year student at Queen’s University in 2015, Alison Carney enrolled in introductory psychology, expecting the popular course would be delivered by a professor at the front of a 400-plus seat lecture hall—just like so many others on campus. She got that, and much more.

Along with a weekly lecture and labs, the course included online modules with readings, explanatory slides and quizzes designed by a professor to deepen understanding of the material. “It really sets students up well to learn,” says Carney of the so-called blended or hybrid learning format.

Web-enhanced teaching, as illustrated by the Queen’s psychology class, is growing in popularity as a tool to enrich the undergraduate learning experience and create new degree options for working professionals.

But some experts say higher education institutions need to quicken the pace of digital innovation. “There is momentum, but not fast enough for the needs of either the workforce or society in general,” warns Tony Bates, a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University and a widely recognized authority on technology-enhanced education...

For the past decade, he has practised “flipped classroom” strategies that put the onus on students to complete preparatory readings and refresher tests online before they come to his lecture. He also promotes peer-to-peer student learning through online discussions flowing from the material covered in class.

“The asynchronous environment offers the possibility to weave that [online discussion] in and come back to it when we reconvene as a whole class,” he says. Even with increased use of blended delivery, he says, “we are not getting rid of the lecture halls.”

Source: Maclean's

Women With Master’s Degrees Paid Less Than Men Without Them | Life - UNILAD

According to official data on graduate earnings, women who have a postgraduate degree still earn less than men who only have bachelor’s degrees. 

Photo: Pexels
The figures came from the Department for Education’s graduate labour market statistics. They revealed that women who have postgraduate degrees, such as a master’s or a doctorate, earn a median pay of £37,000 a year, while men with firsts from bachelor degrees earned an average of £38,500. Men holding postgraduate degrees were paid an average of £43,000.

The data also revealed the ‘graduate premium’ – the increase in wages for graduates compared to non-graduates – continues to be significant, with graduates earning around £10,000 more on average than non-graduates.

Since 2008, non-graduates’ wages have been rising faster than those of graduates. Despite this, graduates of all ages earn a median salary of £34,000, while non-graduates earned £24,000. People with postgraduate degrees did even better though, earning around £40,000, The Guardian reports.

According to reports, the figures do not reflect the continued struggle for younger graduates looking for employment since the global financial crisis 10 years ago. Though employment rates are increasing for both men and women, male graduates and the jobs they go into have benefited more from the recovery since the crisis.

Statisticians from the Department for Education said that, though the gender pay gap between non-graduates has remained stable, the median for male graduates has risen by £1,500 more than for women.

Source: UNILAD

A mathematician traces his journey from poverty to prominence | Numbers - Science News

In ‘The Shape of a Life,’ Shing-Tung Yau expresses his lifelong love of geometry, writes Diana Steele, Science News.

TAKE SHAPE  Calabi-Yau manifolds are multidimensional shapes that are important in string theory for describing the shape of hidden dimensions of the universe.
Photo: Lunch/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)

One of the first remarkable things that mathematician Shing-Tung Yau reveals in his memoir, The Shape of a Life, is that his name was not originally Yau. His family fled China to British-ruled Hong Kong in 1949 when he was an infant, and the name Yau came from a mistranslation on a registration form when he entered elementary school. No one in the family spoke English, so to fill out paperwork, they relied on an English-speaking teacher, who incorrectly translated his family name of “Chiu” to Yau.

At the time, neither Shing-Tung nor anyone in his family thought it mattered. Little did they know that the name Yau would become immortalized in physics and mathematics as half of the Calabi-Yau manifolds, which are geometric shapes that provide mathematical insight into string theory. Yau jokes that these names have become so inextricably linked that he almost believes his first name is Calabi.

The Shape of a Life, written with science writer Steve Nadis, traces the remarkable arc of Yau’s life, from poverty and exile in Hong Kong to international renown as a Chinese-American mathematician and the first Chinese winner of the Fields Medal, often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. Along the way, Yau encountered many tipping points that changed the trajectory of his life.

His book is filled with reminiscences of childhood in Hong Kong — both tragic and happy — including a charming anecdote of pondering geometric proofs when he was introduced to geometry in middle school. “I was amazed to see how far one could go, and how many theorems one could prove, starting from five simple axioms,” he writes. “For some reason, which I couldn’t quite put into words at the time, that idea made me happy.”...

Yau’s contributions to mathematics, and especially to the redevelopment of an academic culture of mathematics in China, are themselves manifold. He founded three mathematical institutes in China and has been outspoken about the need to develop a more innovative research culture there.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

The Shape of a Life:
One Mathematician's Search for the Universe's Hidden Geometry
Source: Science News 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bus serves as a musical learning experience for kids and young adults | The Connection

Blynn Beltran, Staff Writer at CRC Connection reports, Accessible and innovative. These two words best describes The Music Bus that is going around the Elk Grove area and teaching young kids about music.

Photo: The Connection
The Music Bus was originally founded in Arizona by Patti Graetz and is outfitted with instruments, studio headphones and funky carpets to boot. She parted ways with The Music Bus, and NewSongs School of Music Owner Michael Hemsworth purchased the buses to incorporate the concept to his music school in Elk Grove.

The Music Bus classes are limited to eight students and teaches them piano and ukulele. The bus can be found on Babson Drive on Mondays, Wilton on Wednesdays, Laguna on Fridays and Sheldon and Galt on Thursdays.

“We have set locations that we establish beforehand and we let everybody know,” NewSong Instructor Jason Elmore said. “People in the area can sign up for those lessons.”

Elmore, a Cosumnes River College alumni, acts as the driver and instructor of The Music Bus. Alongside Elmore is NewSongs Instructor Juan Gonzales, who is another CRC alumni...

Gonzales graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in music. After getting his degree, Gonzales said he talked to Hemsworth about helping with the buses.  

Source: The Connection

What Is Your Favorite Musical Instrument? | The Learning Network - The New York Times

Twelve artists select music to inspire you to love the piano, summarizes Jeremy Engle, The New York Times.

Photo: Angie Wang
Do you have a favorite musical instrument — one that you play or just enjoy listening to? What kinds of instruments are you most drawn to: wind, strings, brass, percussion or electronic?

To help you with your decision, you can find an illustrated list of musical instruments here.

Take a moment to think of your favorite instrument and hold all you love about its sound in your mind. Now imagine trying to convince someone else — someone who hasn’t yet appreciated its beauty, power and quality — of its value. What song would you select so that they could understand what draws you most and why you are moved by this instrument’s unique power?

In “5 Minutes That Will Make You Love the Piano,” The New York Times asked 12 artists, critics and artistic directors to tell us about music that matters to them. Each selected one song with the goal of persuading “curious friends to love the piano, the most powerful and protean of instruments.”..

Does your school have music classes or programs? Have you ever been involved in one? In your opinion, is music a valuable part of the educational experience? Do you think students should be required to take a music class at some point?

MuseNet generates original songs in seconds, from Bollywood to Bach (or both) | Artificial Intelligence - TechCrunch

Devin Coldewey, Seattle-based writer and photographer writes, Have you ever wanted to hear a concerto for piano and harp, in the style of Mozart by way of Katy Perry? Well, why not?

Photo: enjoynz / Getty Images under a Royalty free license.
Because now you can, with OpenAI’s latest (and blessedly not potentially catastrophic) creation, MuseNet. This machine learning model produces never-before-heard music based on its knowledge of artists and a few bars to fake it with.

This is far from unprecedented — computer-generated music has been around for decades — but OpenAI’s approach appears to be flexible and scalable, producing music informed by a variety of genres and artists, and cross-pollinating them as well in a form of auditory style transfer. It shares a lot of DNA with GPT2, the language model “too dangerous to release,” but the threat of unleashing unlimited music on the world seems small compared with undetectable computer-generated text.

MuseNet was trained on works from dozens of artists, from well-known historical figures like Chopin and Bach to (comparatively) modern artists like Adele and the Beatles, plus collections of African, Arabic and Indian music. Its complex machine learning system paid a great deal of “attention,” which is a technical term in AI work for, essentially, the amount of context the model uses to inform the next step in its creation...

In addition to being able to belt out infinite bluegrass or baroque piano pieces, MuseNet can apply a style transfer process to combine the characteristics of both. Different parts of a work can have different attributes — in a painting you might have composition, subject, color choice and brush style to start. Imagine a Pre-Raphaelite subject and composition but with Impressionist execution. Sounds fun, right? AI models are great at doing this because they sort of compartmentalize these different aspects. It’s the same type of thing in music: The note choice, cadence and other patterns of a pop song can be drawn out and used separately from its instrumentation — why not do Beach Boys harmonies on a harp?

Source: TechCrunch

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dragonfly 4.0 Is Here! the Engine of Scientific Imaging | Deep Learning - AiThority

Based in Montreal, Canada, Object Research Systems (ORS) Inc., is excited to announce the release of Dragonfly 4.0, which brings major enhancements and improvements to image processing and analysis workflows, as AIT News Desk reports. 

Designed for researchers and engineers in the fields of material and life sciences, Dragonfly provides qualitative and quantitative tools for material characterization, surface analysis, process evaluation, quality control testing or any analysis function that requires a high degree of accuracy. With the ability to handle large datasets, Dragonfly allows for extensible workflows, sophisticated 2D, 3D, 4D, nD visualizations, thorough segmentation routines, hyperspectral functions and deep learning capabilities.

Source: AiThority

What is machine learning and why should I care? | Tow Center - Columbia Journalism Review

You may not realize it, but you’ve probably already used machine learning technology in your journalism, explains Nicholas Diakopoulos, assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Communication, author of the forthcoming book "Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media" on automation and algorithms in news media.
Photo: Adobe Stock

Perhaps you used a service like Trint to transcribe your interviews, punched in some text for Google to translate, or converted the Mueller Report into readable text. And if you haven’t used it yourself, machine learning is probably at work in the bowels of your news organization, tagging text or photos so they can be found more easily, recommending articles on the company website or social media to optimize their reach or stickiness, or trying to predict who to target for subscription discounts.

Machine learning has already infiltrated some of the most prosaic tasks in journalism, speeding up and making possible stories that might otherwise have been too onerous to report. We’re already living the machine-learning future. But, particularly on the editorial side, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

To be clear: I’m not here to hype you on a fabulous new technology. Sorry, machine learning is probably not going to save the news industry from its financial woes. But there’s nonetheless a lot of utility for journalists to discover within it. What else can machine learning do for the newsroom? How can journalists use it to enhance their editorial work in new ways? And what should they be wary of as they take up these powerful new tools?...

Finally, because of the wide variety of machine-learning approaches available, part of the challenge for journalism is figuring out which techniques are appropriate (and useful) for particular journalistic tasks. One way to tackle this challenge would be to invite experts in machine learning to take up residence in newsrooms where they could determine which strains of machine learning could be most useful to the journalists there. Another possibility might be to invite editorial thinkers to do fellowships in computing environments. With more collaboration over time, we can flesh out where and when machine learning is most useful in journalism, and thus broaden the capacities of even the largest newsrooms to investigate the secrets hidden in the vastness of digital data.

In summary, I’m bullish on the capabilities and opportunities that machine learning presents to editorial work, but also cautious enough to remind readers that machine learning is not the answer to every journalistic task. The grand challenge moving forward is to experiment with when and where the different flavors of machine learning truly do bring new editorial value, and when, in fact, we may just want to rely on good ol’ human learning.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Automating the News:
How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Media
Source: Columbia Journalism Review