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Monday, September 30, 2019

I Quit Actuarial Science for Classical Music: Singer Maryolive Mungai Speaks | Entertainment -

She talked to the Saturday Nation about how she went about it.

Richard Kamau, passionate writer notes, “I’m a lover of life, music and art. I’m also a thespian, though the last film or theatre production I participated in was a long while back. But to me, classical music is acting as well because we are telling stories through melody and emotions.

Maryolive Mungai, 31, took a leap of faith when she quit a lucrative corporate job to follow her dreams in music.

Growing up, I always loved music, especially rock and RnB. Classical music came to me much later, when I had just finished high school in 2007. My friend introduced me to the choir at the Nairobi Music Society. I was hesitant at first because the classical genre just didn’t sit right by me. But I signed up immediately I heard the choir sing.

I started singing with the choir more frequently, up until I met my voice teacher, Nancy Day, helped me discover my voice, open up and explore the classical scene. The first two years of my vocal studies featured pop music, interestingly.

One day, Ms Day randomly said, ‘Hmm. You have a really interesting voice. Why don’t we try classical music?’ And I was scared because all I had practised in my life was pop and RnB. We gave it a shot anyway and it was definitely awkward. (Laughs). It is a very interesting technique and it took a year for everything to set in and make sense...

Music has been a full-time job for me since then. I balance between performing and teaching. I started the latter in 2014, once I got my ABRSM papers and built my reputation as a singer. I decided to pursue a degree in music in 2014 from the Technical University of Kenya because I wanted to be absorbed in music.

I did not want to be mediocre or approach it with one foot at the door. I was all-in. I was willing to crash, if that’s what was to happen, as long as I was happy. While there, I got a one-year vocal scholarship to Liverpool.

I do peripatetic teaching, meaning it’s more of a consultancy and part-time teaching in schools, most of which require my services in the afternoons. 


Norwegian Genealogy: How To Find Your Ancestors | History - Life in Norway

Thanks to a new historical population registry, it’s never been easier to research your own Norwegian family heritage, according to David Nikel, founder and editor of the Life in Norway blog.

Example handwritten records from Kaupanger.
Photo: Marianne Herfindal Johannessen / National Archives.
I know many of our regular readers are Norwegian Americans with relatives who left Norway several generations ago. I also know many have struggled to trace their ancestors.

Norwegian genealogy Genealogy is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. There are difficulties in researching genealogy in a different country, not least the language barrier and seeking out paper records.

Now, a new genealogical research project should make it easier to access information.

The Norwegian Computing Center has been working on the registry for six years. Norway's Arctic University is managing the project with several partners, with finances from the Research Council of Norway...

To digitise the documents and records, the centre turned to artificial intelligence. Although there were plenty of humans involved, too! Fifty data analysts, mathematicians and statisticians played a part.

Source: Life in Norway

Mathematician: Everything We Know About Math Could Be Wrong | Hard Science - Futurism - The Byte

Daniel Robitzski, Science Journalist and Fencing Coach reports, It turns out that a great deal of mathematicians simply trust that the foundations of a new discovery are sound, Motherboard reports.

Photo: João Trindade/Victor Tangermann
Theoretical math tends to be so complicated that even the researchers pushing the field forward can’t quite grasp it all.

If a prominent researcher cites a mathematical proof in their work, others may assume it’s true without actually checking for themselves. And that has Imperial College London mathematician Kevin Buzzard concerned that the whole field is about to go up in flames...

Automated Academics 
To help mathematicians reach sound conclusions without making them dive into thousands of pages of inscrutable operations, Buzzard suggested in his opening talk at a math conference that the field turn to artificial intelligence tools that can do the grunt work for them.
Read more... 

Source: Futurism - The Byte

Sunday, September 29, 2019

19 of the most beautiful bookshops around the world | Lifestyle - Metro

Book-lovers, look away now unless you fancy spending a lot of money on plane tickets, says Ellen Scott, Lifestyle editor at Metro. 

Take us there.
Photo: Livraria Lello
Because this list might make you want to go on a worldwide tour of bookshops. You’ll suddenly feel a need to visit every single one. Your life won’t be complete unless you buy a book from each. 

It’s a bookshop bucket list, and it might be the only thing that saves us from resorting to Amazon every time we need a new novel. 

Sure, online shopping is easier. But can that ease really compare to the joy of wandering through seemingly endless shelves of books, surrounded by stunning high ceilings and cosy chairs? 

We don’t think so.
Read more... 

Source: Metro

Book Review: Does the Book Have a Future? | Books - Wall Street Journal

Was there ever an age of pure, immersive reading? Ernest Hemingway claimed to love ‘Ulysses,’ yet the pages in his copy were left uncut, says Sam Sacks The Wall Street Journal.

Photo: Harrison/Getty Images
“The typical civilized man is an exhausted, spiritually hysterical man because he has no idea of what it means . . . to face calmly with his whole life a great book,” wrote Gerald Stanley Lee in “The Lost Art of Reading,” his lament of the distracted, harried state of modern life as he saw it when his essay was published—in 1902.

As Leah Price observes in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Books,” “The history of reading is also a history of worrying.” Her book is a witty, tonic rebuttal to the latest round of doomsday prognostications about the fate of literature, exemplified by valedictions like Sven Birkerts’s “The Gutenberg Elegies” or—forgive the echo—“The Lost Art of Reading,” by David L. Ulin. Ms. Price teaches a course on book history at Rutgers University, and her aim is to demystify the practice or reading by considering it within the context of changing eras. However different the technology, from the earliest leather-bound codex to mass-market paperbacks to e-readers, she finds that two things remain constant: Reading has always been an improvised, free-for-all activity, and there have always been cultural overseers tut-tutting about the ways that people do it wrong.

What do we notice when we “put books under a microscope rather than on a pedestal?” Ms. Price makes light of the pieties of present-day “biblioactivists” who promote the therapeutic value of books, pointing out that just over a century ago Victorian moralizers admonished that reading novels was a frivolous pastime that enervated the mind and hindered the task of self-improvement. “If literature cultivates empathy,” she asks in reference to studies claiming that reading activates compassion, “why do I leave every English department meeting wanting to strangle my colleagues?”...

Some contributors ponder a future of digitized books. What happens to pagination when a text unscrolls on a screen? Will footnotes be wholly replaced by endnotes? A virtue of “Book Parts” is that it frames these shifts as ongoing evolutionary adaptations rather than a traumatic break with timeless tradition.

If it’s age-old tradition you want, you have to go back long before Gutenberg’s movable-type press to the rhapsodes of ancient Greece and the equivalent classes of tale-tellers from around the world. “The story of humankind is the story of the human voice, telling stories,” writes Meghan Cox Gurdon in “The Enchanted Hour,” a celebration of the main place in contemporary life where the oral tradition lives on: the evening interim when parents read bedtime stories to their children.

Source: Wall Street Journal 

The Best Nonfiction Books of 2019 Span Everything From True Crime to Scammer Culture | Book - Esquire

These are our favorite reads of the year to help you expand your mind by Adrienne Westenfeld, writer and editor at Esquire.

There's nothing like a good book of nonfiction to expand the mind—and the heart. Whether it's a deeply reported investigation into a timely topic or poignant memoir about one writer's lived experience, nonfiction challenges us, informs us, and moves us. Here are 21 of our favorite nonfiction reads of 2019, spanning topics like gender, true crime, and scammer culture. 

Source: Esquire

West Asheville bookstore collects books for imprisoned readers | Local - WLOS

Helping people behind bars get their hands on certain books: that was the goal at Firestorm Cafe in West Asheville Saturday by WLOS staff.

Photo: WLOS staff
The co-op teamed-up with Asheville Prison Books. to collect donated reading material for inmates...

The book drive caps-off Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read.

Source: WLOS

Books: Events for week of Sept. 29 | Books - The Advocate

Baton Rouge
Sunday, Sept. 29.

Photo: The Advocate

Author Event: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., EBR Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Catharine Savage Brosman and Olivia McNeely Pass will talk about and sign their book, "Louisiana Poets: A Literary Guide," which presents the careers and works of writers whose verse is closely connected to the peoples, history and landscapes of Louisiana or whose upbringing or artistic development occurred in the state. Books will be available for purchase.

Wednesday, Oct. 2  
Computers without Fear: 9:30 a.m. to noon, EBR Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Learn computer basics without the worry of breaking anything.
Introduction to the Internet: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., EBR Eden Park Branch Library, 5131 Greenwell Springs Road.

Source: The Advocate

7 books that influence Stephen Chbosky's writing | Books - The Week Magazine

The Perks of Being a Wallflower author recommends works by Harper Lee, Stephen King, and more.

Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Stephen Chbosky is the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the best-selling young-adult novel that he adapted into a 2012 film. 

In Imaginary Friend, his first book in 20 years, the disappearance of a 7-year-old unleashes supernatural forces.

Source: The Week Magazine

Friday, September 27, 2019

Adult Learning in Scotland: working towards a new strategy | Education & Lifelong Learning - Holyrood

In the wake of the announcement of an Adult Learning Strategy in the Programme for Government, this event will examine what more can be done to futureproof the provision of adult learning in Scotland by Holyrood.

This will include looking at models of collaboration between third sector organisations, local government and higher education institutions in the context of our changing communities and job market needs.

Shaping the future of Adult Learning in Scotland
This is a crucial time for the adult learning sector in Scotland. Five years on from the publication of the Adult Learning Statement of Ambition the Scottish Government has announced a new Adult Learning Strategy. The 2010 sets up a vision for adult learning and literacy in 2020:

By 2020 Scotland’s society and economy will be stronger because more of its adults are able to read, write and use numbers effectively in order to handle information, communicate with others, express ideas and opinions, make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners

But with just months left until 2020, how has the adult learning landscape changed in Scotland? What new challenges will the Adult Learning Strategy need to address?...

Who should attend?  
The event will be useful to teaching staff and anyone who is involved in developing adult learning plans and planning and delivering education in Scotland.

Source: Holyrood

How to develop digital dexterity in your organization | HR Technology - People Matters

Manav Seth, freelance feature writer at People Matters How dexterous have organizations been in developing a digital-ready workforce and being ready for the future?

Photo:  People Matters
What is digital dexterity? 
Digital dexterity can be considered as the ability to leverage new-age technologies and information in innovative ways to transform existing business practices and succeed in the digital age. Naturally, organizations and employees that have a higher level of digital dexterity are more likely to make the most of new ways of working. Several factors, like organizational agility, workplace culture, leadership priorities, long-term vision, and a willingness to experiment, contribute to an organization’s digital dexterity.

However, despite the importance of being ready for the future and being digitally dexterous, research suggests that organizations are struggling to build digital capacities. For example, one study found the overall readiness for digital transformation in companies has declined from 2012 to 2018. Similarly, Gartner found that 83 percent of leaders struggle to make meaningful progress on digital transformation, and merely 7 to 18 percent of organizations around the world possess digital dexterity...

How to develop digital dexterity?
Developing digital dexterity in an organization requires reimagining how we have been undertaking skilling and training so far. We need a tremendous amount of collaboration and coordination throughout the organization to develop mission-driven teams that are goal-oriented and follow the values and beliefs of the organization. A few factors include having clear goals and projects, incentives-based on skills and abilities, minimal hierarchies, free flow of information and feedback, and high levels of trust and transparency. Here are a few other vital strategies to successfully develop digital dexterity in your organization:

Source: People Matters

The Essentials of Blended Learning (Contributed) | Government Technology

Photo: Patricia Adriana De Saracho
Patricia De Saracho, works for the University of San Diego explains, The concept of blended learning has been around since the 1960s, but only recently has it taken off as a methodology, enabled by technology, for integrating traditional and virtual classrooms.

Countless teachers and school districts have been engaged in blended learning for a number of years.
Photo: Shutterstock

The educational practice commonly known as “blended learning” has been around for quite some time now, but a universally agreed upon definition is still hard to come by. So, what is blended learning? 

At its most basic level, the term refers to the use of online learning methods and technologies to complement and enhance the traditional classroom experience. “Blended learning is one of the most powerful and influential innovations in education,” according to, because it combines “the benefits of face-to-face education with the anywhere-anytime power of the Internet.” 

The concept of blended learning dates to the early uses of technology to enhance training in the 1960s, and the term itself has been in use since the advent of the Internet in the 1990s. The practice began to grow in popularity following the 2006 publication of The Handbook of Blended Learning, which sought to introduce a more concrete definition to describe learning systems that “combine face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction.” 

The Online Learning Consortium describes blended learning as an educational practice in which “a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning.”...

The Blended Learning ‘Learning Curve’ 
The high-tech, online aspect of blended learning means there is often a learning curve involved for teachers who may be less familiar with next-generation educational technology. 
Interestingly, the well-established benefits of online learning can also come into play in the teacher education scenario, now that more colleges and universities are utilizing virtual technology tools and methodologies to deliver Master of Education degree programs.
Read more... 

Source: Government Technology  

The Artist Creating a New Mythology for the North Pole | Art - The New York Times

Inspired by her own journey to the Arctic Circle, Himali Singh Soin upends traditional stories of exploration in her new commission for Frieze.

As part of her practice, Singh Soin stages experimental spoken-word performances, often accompanied by moving images and live music.
Photo: Carlotta Cardana

In her sunlit live-work space overlooking Brick Lane in East London, the artist Himali Singh Soin is spinning a narrative about the farthest reaches of our planet. Singh Soin, a poet and artist from north-central India, has spent the past couple of years contemplating, among other things, the earth’s polar caps. “It’s a blank screen to project so much on it, it’s almost asking for hyperbole and fantasy,” she says. “These two spaces seem like the closest to outer space.”

Singh Soin is primarily a writer of poetry and art criticism, but her language also spills off the page and into immersive audiovisual environments, film and spoken-word performances that often dwell on the environment, issues of identity and the nature of deep time. She’s made recent appearances in exhibitions and performances at Somerset House, the Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery in London but is lesser known to audiences outside the United Kingdom. With a new commission from Frieze, that looks set to change.

On a roving residency aboard a sailboat in the North Pole in 2017, Singh Soin met the science historian Alexis Rider and learned that Victorian-era Britain was abuzz with anxieties about the imminent arrival of another ice age...

In her new Arctic narrative, she hopes to give equal weight to visual art, science and other sources of knowledge and interpretation. Among the many forms of expression that she’s folded into her film — it includes not only the artist’s performance, poetry and video footage of the Arctic but also archival materials from the journals of Victorian-era explorers and Rider’s research — music tells another story about the North Pole. Singh Soin’s partner, the musician David Soin Tappeser, has composed an original score, performed by an all-female quartet, that accompanies the film. It incorporates fragments from the Romantic era of classical music, including Edward Elgar’s “The Snow,” as well as Singh Soin’s recordings of the Arctic soundscape, and responds to her field notes about latitudes, longitudes and temperature variations. Tappeser was thinking of what it might mean to create a folk music of the Arctic.
Read more... 

Source: The New York Times

Paper Tiger offering 2 paid internships for people eager to learn about music, shows production and operations | mySA

Paper Tiger, a small concert venue, announced the gigs via Twitter on Tuesday, explaining that the internships will require 15 to 20 hours per week, inform Priscilla Aguirre, breaking news reporter.

Photo: Fabian Villa And Steven Casanova / For
The venue said the opportunity will allow the interns to explore all aspects of the business such as calendar management, show production, venue operation and hospitality...

If you are intrigued, submit your resume to and explain why you want to join the team.

Source: mySA

Learning life skills through music | Life - Journal of the San Juan Islands

While schools across the nation are shuttering the doors to their band rooms, the San Juan Island School District is fortunate to have a funded music program by Reporter Heather Spaulding, The Journal of the San Juan Islands.

“The district has been very generous,” Cart Nelsen. Friday Harbor High and Middle school band teacher said, who has been teaching at Friday Harbor High School for five years. Under his watch, the high school bands have received superior ratings in festivals judged by music professionals.

Last year, the concert band received three superior ratings at the San Juan Music Educator Association Large Group Band Festival, which took place at Western Washington University. The ensemble competed against approximately 30 bands from around the world during that competition...

Bruno noted he believes music is one of the best ways to communicate with the world.

“Creativity is at the helm of any music production, and typically music is the release of pure emotion, oftentimes impacting the listener and musician beyond expectation,” he explained. “Interacting and emotionally connecting to musician can be a seriously rewarding experience that leads to soul felt joy for both musician and the audience.”...

Source: Journal of the San Juan Islands 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Teaching for future | Science - Mirage News

Games in sports classes, digitization in law, the basics of chemistry and machine learning as professional skills qualifications, continues Mirage News

Photo: Patrick Seeger
The University of Freiburg has given its teaching prize of 70,000 euros, the Instructional Development Award (IDA), to each of four projects. The projects run for a maximum of 18 months and begin on 1 October 2019. In this time, the money is available to the prizewinners to use for their projects. For instance they can use it to engage someone else to take over their classes or to hire research assistants or temporary staff...

Machine learning has developed rapidly in recent years and is entering more and more new areas – such as image and speech recognition, robotics and medicine. As a result, it is increasingly becoming a key qualification in university studies, and is in great demand among students. The aim of this project is to develop a cross-disciplinary teaching concept for machine learning that meets the high demand for it as well as a variety of different objectives. To this end, a modular framework of various teaching units will be designed; it will be available digitally and so can be integrated into existing teaching formats in many subjects.

Source: Mirage News

Replicating Dinosaur Movements Through Robotics |Robo Dev - Robotics Business Review

Editor’s note: This article, with the original headline “A fossil as a friend”, originally appeared in driven: The maxon motor magazine.

Combining fossils with robotics helps researchers understand the evolution of land vertebrates, explains Kamilo Melo, studied electrical and mechanical engineering obtaining a Ph.D. in robotics.

Kamilo Melo has a BSc in Electronics (2004), MSc in Mechanics (2005) and PhD in Robotics (2013). His research at the Biorobotics Laboratory consists in the developement of biologically Infomed robots. His efforts are aimed to the understanding of animal locomotion and use of such principles for the design of Bio-robots and components for its deployment in disaster response missions. 
Photo: EPFL Lausanne, 19.02.2019 © Fred Merz | Lundi13
Making a legged robot walk is not as simple as it looks. Coordinating the motion of all its joints to achieve smooth motions, close to those of real animals, requires advanced engineering and careful observation of moving animals. But what if we don’t exactly know how the animal looks or moves, as it has been extinct for 300 million years?

This is the story of Orobates pabsti, an early tetrapod that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs existed. Its fossilized bones were recovered in what today is Germany in 2004. The excellent state of preservation of its fossilized bones, nearly complete and articulated, was complemented with fossilized footprints, also found in the region. This helped engineers like me in the Biorobotics laboratory of EPFL (working with Tomislav Horvat and Auke Ijspeert) and a great team of biologists (led by John Nyakatura at the Humboldt University of Berlin) to reconstruct its locomotion using a robot.

But why is the locomotion of Orobates important?...

Field test in Africa
Testing with the robot was also a great experience. It looked alive. To control this machine, it was necessary to solve inverse kinematics and dynamics problems, to coordinate the motion of the legs and the spine. To achieve smooth locomotion, the robot’s on-board computer sends commands to the motors at rates around 100 times per second. The actuators used are driven by a powerful and efficient maxon DC motor. We used 28 actuators, five per leg and eight in the spine. Few times a robot that complex and close to a real animal has been controlled to execute all these diverse motions. 


Source: Robotics Business Review

How can we STEM the tide of women graduates leaving science? | Gender Parity - World Economic Forum

Designing a new world means we need a mixture of new policies and stories about women making waves in science, technology and innovation by Shamika Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics.

Full STEM ahead ... career choices are not free from the constructs of social barriers.
Photo: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett
Gender bias can be illustrated using a simple Google exercise. Type into Google Translate: “She is a scientist. He is a nurse.”

Translate it into a language that does not have gender pronouns, such as Georgian or Turkish.

When it comes back in English, the result shown after automatic translation is: “He is a scientist. She is a nurse”.

Just as the devil is in the detail, the bias is in the algorithm.

According to the 2015 UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030, women now account for 53% of the world’s bachelor's and master's graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) but just 30% of researchers. Women leave the sector at much higher rates than men, which represents a waste of social investment and individual effort, and suggests that there are structural problems around retaining women in STEM carriers...

Bringing women into the fold So how can we attract and retain women in STEM fields? Well, different countries face different challenges.

Recent research suggests that the reasons why STEM professions do not appeal to women in some societies are multiple and complex.

But what seems to matter most are aspirations that are molded by parental expectations, social norms and lack of information that affect career decisions, and institutional bias that constrain women’s entrance and progress.

Source: World Economic Forum

How Safe Are We From Machines Becoming Smarter Than Us? | AI - Forbes

Hisham Abdulhalim, Product Manager at Paypal and a PhD candidate researching the field of Software Ethics says, They say all men are created equal. What about machines? 

Photo: Getty

I picked up my recently purchased car the other day. It's equipped with cutting-edge detectors and sensors that cover its entire body, looking out for my personal safety and comfort as well as instructing me how to drive while making sure I am entertained by changing the music and ambient lighting based on my mood.

On my way back from the dealership, I started thinking about how cars became so intelligent. How all specifications are well-designed to personalize the best possible experience and make sure I feel a unique bond with my new machine. I tried to imagine what services and offerings we’ll enjoy once autonomous cars become a part of our daily routines.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are in a rapid phase of advancement and adoption, following developments in mathematics and computer science, computing power, and the ability to capture and store large amounts of data. AI is essentially the concept of statistical-driven relationships, supplemented by algorithmic rules of reasoning and learning or self-correction, that are then applied as a contributing factor to making more accurate decisions...

Philosophers like Immanuel Kant believed in autonomy. This freedom is one of the most fundamental rights of any person. The question of autonomy is related to the question of the violation of liberty and the scope of compensation if one arrives. Kant argues that a person is autonomous through his/her intelligence and that this is the supreme authority. Some interpreters, Friedrich Nietzsche being the most distinguished among them, claimed that man becomes his own "God." It is controlled by his intelligence and at the same time becomes autonomous through it.

Source: Forbes

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

How Can I Create a Platform for Difficult Conversations in the Online Classroom? | 20-Minute Mentors - Magna Publications

Photo: Stephanie Delaney
As in any classroom, it can be necessary to have difficult conversations with online students by Stephanie Delaney, PhD the vice president of instruction at Renton Technical College.

Photo: Magna Publications

However, in the online classroom, visual cues that can help when communicating sensitive information are missing. In this program, explore a simple framework to engage in a difficult conversation, apply the framework to scenarios that might come up in the online classroom, and gain strategies to have successful resolutions to difficult topics.

Purchase the How Can I Create a Platform for Difficult Conversations in the Online Classroom? 20-Minute Mentor program, presented by Stephanie Delaney, PhD. In this 20-minute session, learn the importance of having a difficult conversation and identify resources for having the conversation...

This program will benefit: 
  • Professors
  • Instructors
  • Instructional designers
Source: Magna Publications

New Life for Legacy Systems | New Horizons - EDUCAUSE Review

Replacing a legacy student information system is complex and expensive. The strategies described here offer the potential to eliminate many of the weaknesses of the legacy SIS at a fraction of the cost of system replacement.

Photo: Michael Berman
Nearly every higher education institution depends on a core administrative student information system (SIS), reports Michael Berman, Chief Innovation Officer and Deputy CIO at California State University, Chancellor's Office. 

Because the SIS sits at the center of so many of the day-to-day operations of managing students, courses, and grades, it becomes extremely important, expensive to operate, and hard to change. Every software system has limitations, of course, and system administrators soon find they need to either modify the way they work or modify the SIS. Because changing the way people work requires changing human behavior, changing the software is often simpler and more expedient.

Over time, these changes accumulate. Eventually, the resulting complicated and deeply embedded system can no longer support modern interfaces and new ways of doing business. At some point, campus leaders find themselves investing in the complex, risky, expensive, and politically fraught process of replacing their SIS in the hope of providing better service to students, improved access to data, and a more flexible technology environment for the future.

It's too soon to know whether or not the emerging generation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems will meet the promise of better service and longer-lasting technology, since the long-term benefits are not yet proven. However, the decision to replace an SIS generates unavoidable costs—primarily financial, but also political—especially at a larger university or university system. Every higher education leader understands that financial and human resources will always be limited and that the money and energy needed to replace an SIS leave fewer resources to invest elsewhere. But eventually legacy software no longer matches campus need, and the drumbeat of "replace the SIS" becomes too loud to ignore.

The California State University (CSU) operates a complex and expensive SIS environment, with a single software system currently servicing 22 campuses (23 by the end of 2021)...

In Conclusion 
The last two issues noted above—Outdated Models and Product End-of-Life—are somewhat less amenable to the strategies described above. To the extent that higher education moves away from traditional models of terms, courses, and credits, the assumptions embedded in a 1990s model of higher education will become progressively obsolete and will not fit the evolving business model of our institutions. However, based on current trends, we don't see this change coming to our institutions in a substantial way in the near term. Product end-of-life could make the existing system too expensive and risky to maintain, so it's a real threat; but at this time we expect to have close to another decade before we hit this wall.

For many higher education institutions, replacing an SIS may become inevitable in the long run. In the meantime, using strategies to extend its life while eliminating many of its weaknesses can represent good stewardship of institutional resources.

Source: EDUCAUSE Review

John Nash’s Nobel Prize for Economics set to auction at Christie’s | Medals & Militaria - JustCollecting News

Simon Lindley, online journalist notes, The Nobel Prize awarded to John Forbes Nash, Jr., the American mathematician who inspired the film A Beautiul Mind, is heading for auction at Christie’s.

The 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics medal and certificate awarded to John Nash, estimated at $500,000 – $800,000
Photo: Christie’s

Nash was presented with the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to Game Theory, which provided far-reaching insight into complex human behaviour.

His Nobel medal is now expected to sell for $500,000 – $800,000 when it goes up for sale on October 25, as part of Christie’s Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts auction in New York.

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928 – 2015) was a genius who overcame his struggles with mental illness to help change the face of economic analysis, and inspire generations of mathematicians, economists and scientists...

In 1998 Nash’s life was the subject of the unauthorized biography A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and later adapted into the 2001 Hollywood film of the same name.

The widely acclaimed film, which starred Russell Crowe as Nash, won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and brought the mathematician’s remarkable life story to a wider audience.

Source: JustCollecting News

Youth’s passion for math brings success | Our Endz - Loop News Jamaica

Scores of students trickle into the room where the M & M Jamaica Math competition is being held in St Elizabeth, as Loop News Jamaica reports.

Past participants of the e M & M Jamaica Math competition .
They face their opponents, decked in the kaleidoscope of uniforms from high schools in the parish; some as young as 12 years, the oldest no more than 17 years. 

The energy is palpable. 

These are math geniuses among their peers and each characteristically begins to calculate the probability of winning...

Four such stories belong to past participants Coswayne Samms and Dowega Hylton, formerly of Black River High school, Natasha Dyer of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and Lateisha Daley of Lacovia High school.

Source: Loop News Jamaica

How Companies and Governments Can Advance Employee Education | Education - Harvard Business Review

Advice for organizers, speakers, and attendees, inform Anand Chopra-McGowan, First Hire and now VP, Managing Director at General Assembly, responsible for the international expansion of the company’s enterprise business, where he spends his time advising large companies on how to prepare their workforce for the future. 

Photo: Eoneren/Getty Images
The business world is undergoing an unprecedented rate of change. While core metrics like CEO tenure, shareholding periods, and product inventory levels are stable or slowing, our access to an extensive amount of data — from social media, online browsing, and an increasing number of mobile devices — makes it feel as though things are moving faster. The more information we gain access to, the faster we are able to react, transform, and improve. Companies that do so tend to gain a market advantage, and in turn, the pressure to keep up grows.

This is largely the result of digitization. Today, a company’s systems, processes, and products are underpinned by a layer of technology. McKinsey & Co. recently reported: “Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions.” In short, businesses that make fast and bold investments in digitization will see outsize gains.

So what does it take to successfully digitize?...

Upskilling can also help ensure that employees’ expertise are being put to the best use as new tools and technologies come to the forefront. Deanna Mulligan, CEO of the Guardian Life Insurance Company, believes upskilling actuaries is crucial to the success of her 160-year-old firm. Like all insurance companies, Guardian’s business depends on its ability to articulate and act on patterns found in vast quantities of data. Historically, the bulk of this work has been done by actuaries — highly trained statisticians who calculate insurance risks and premiums using a number of variables. Today, however, new technologies like Fitbit monitors, car sensors, and others are generating important data about health risks, driving habits, and a plethora of data that can help companies calculate the risk of insuring a person or a business more precisely. These sources churn out an astonishingly higher volume of information than simple actuarial tables and demographic metrics had in the past.

This is where the skills gap begins. For insurance companies to make better calculations and stay competitive, actuaries need new tools to make sense of all the data at their disposal. Purchasing these tools is one thing, but training employees to use them is another. 

Source: Harvard Business Review

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Climate science needs professional statisticians | Environment - The CT Mirror

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece is the part of a larger series exploring how Connecticut and the nation are grappling with the effects of climate change.

Climate science needs its own specialized 'climostatisticians' as integral members of multidisciplinary research teams, according to Daniel Cooley, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University and Michael Wehner, Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley.

Photo: Samuel Mann - Flickr
“Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get!”

This old cliché rings true, for climate is the distribution of weather. Weather’s distribution depends on season, location, internal variability, and external influences, both natural and human. As it is weather, not climate, that is observable and measurable, any study of climate is inherently statistical in nature.

Climate change is one of the most important social issues of our time. The climate science community faces the immediate, important task of informing difficult decisions that must be made regarding our economic, environmental, and public health systems. Confidence in the effectiveness of these decisions derives from confidence in the underlying climate science. Appropriate statistical analyses can increase such confidence...

Integration of statisticians into climate science does not have the long history that biostatistics has. However, there are many important and successful examples of joint work between statisticians and climate scientists, and some of this work has influenced policy at the federal government level. In one such example, statisticians played a role in producing and reviewing the 2006 National Research Council report on paleoclimate reconstructions [North et al., 2006], which aimed to reconcile the “hockey stick” controversy arising from the congressional inquiry into the work of Mann et al. [1998].

Another example of collaboration between climate scientists and statisticians that should influence climate science practice is that of Paciorek et al. [2018]. This research shows that in the context of event attribution—that is, attributing the occurrence or severity of specific weather events to climate change —naïvely implemented (but commonly used) statistical bootstrap techniques quantify uncertainty poorly, particularly when estimating the small probabilities associated with attributing causes to individual events.

Source: The CT Mirror