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Sunday, December 09, 2018

6 Fiction Books For Maths Nerds | Learning Corner - Analytics India Magazine

Here is a list of fiction books for people who enjoy mathematics and literature alike, summarizes Ram Sagar, master's degree in Robotics.

Photo: Analytics India Magazine
Using maths and fiction in the same sentence may turn many heads and raise many eyebrows. Having said that, there is something exquisite about mathematical proofs and dramatic plots. A lot of creativity goes into bringing them out. 
Read more... 

Source: Analytics India Magazine

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The Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2019 | Books -

Olivia Ovenden, Digital Writer reports, Including a collection of short stories by the 'Cat Person' author and the long-awaited sequel to 'The Handmaid's Tale'.

Along with useless aspirations like losing weight or tying to be nicer to your parents, aiming to read more is one of the most common New Year's resolutions in our increasingly screen-dependant times. 2018 was crammed with excellent novels some of which explored how love can bloom in turbulent political times or posed uncomfortable questions about the relationship between sex and power. That with a new short story collection from Lauren Groff and a book of essays by Zadie Smith rounded off a bumper year for books.
In 2019 there's plenty of gems to look forward to, from Ian McEwan's tale of an AI love triangle to a fantasy-tinged adventure from Booker Prize winner Marlon James.

Remember to actually crack the spine after bulk ordering on Amazon.

Happy reading.


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The Paper Published a Holiday Books Guide in 1851 — and Every Year Since | Inside the List - New York Times

It turns out that people have liked to give books as gifts for a long time. Here’s a peek at how tastes have changed over the years, says Tina Jordan, Editor & columnist at the New York Times. 

Thanks to the holidays, book sales soar in November and December. People often turn to gift guides — like The Times’s most recent edition — for inspiration.

It’s been that way for a while. In 1851, the year it began publishing, The Times ran two holiday gift-book guides — one for adults, which recommended such titles as “The Women of Early Christianity” and “Legends of the Flowers” (“imaginary conversations between lilies, jasmines, violets and the rest”), and one for children, which highlighted “Queer Bonnets” (“a story with a very excellent moral for these days of lavish dress”) and “Contentment Is Better than Wealth” (“admirable tales for young folks”). Beautifully illustrated books were popular then; the paper noted plenty of “heavy cream-tinted paper, broad margins and the finest engravings,” “luxurious bindings” and “extremely rich and elaborate illustrations.”

At first, the gift books were largely nonfiction — many of them special editions and keepsakes — but as the years passed, The Times began to include more fiction...

By 1906, the holiday books guide had grown so large that it had to be split into two issues. An article in the paper that year stated, “We take no little pride in our double Holiday Book Number, which … will comprise 56 pages, and in the rich variety and value of its contents this special number certainly surpasses any previous achievement in literary journalism.”

Source: New York Times

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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.

Let’s celebrate the eccentrics and obsessives this week, the visionaries and reclusive cranks who spend decades on a single project or a singular body of work and wait for the culture — that is to say, for you and me — to catch up.

We have biographies: of the eccentric neo-Victorian artist Edward Gorey, the elusive painter Cy Twombly (by a biographer who became a bit obsessed in his own right) and the novelist Anthony Powell, whose 12-volume novel “A Dance to the Music of Time” was published over the course of 24 years.

We have a graphic novel about Weimar-era Berlin that was two decades in the making. We have meditative essays by an experimental Danish writer; short stories by an acclaimed master of speculative fiction; and glossy art catalogs, ready for the coffee table, featuring the work of the painters Henry Taylor and Bridget Riley. (Fair warning if the Riley is on your wish list: It costs $700 and consists of five volumes. You might need more than one coffee table.)

On the dark side of reclusive genius, we have a popular history of the movie mogul Howard Hughes and his unhappy influence on the women in his orbit.

You’ll also find a biography here of Lord Byron’s daughter, the amazing Ada Lovelace, and her mother; and another of the crooner Bing Crosby, a talent who didn’t need to wait for the culture to catch up because he was very much in step with his time.

Source: New York Time  

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The Best Science Books Of 2018 | Listen - Science Friday

Ira and a panel of guests round up their favorite science books from 2018.

Here at Science Friday, our jobs involve reading a lot of science books every year. We have piles and piles of them at the office. Hundreds of titles about biology and art and technology and space, and sometimes even sci-fi. 

Now, the time has come for our annual roundup of the books we couldn’t forget. And we’ve been asking you, our listeners, to send us voice memos with your picks for best science book of 2018. 

Here’s just a few:
Jeff Grant in Batavia, Illinois:
“My book recommendation for 2018 is The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. Dr Brusatte writes in an eloquent way that is easy for everybody to understand and he sheds new light on dinosaur evolution. It is a must read for all of you dino buffs out there.”

Julie G. in Mantua, New Jersey:
Origin Story by David Christian gives you the big history of everything just like it says. It’s really informative and I’m still picking up the pieces of my mind that it blew while reading it. Definitely deserves a second read.”

Steve in Seattle:
“I recommend The Promise of the Grand Canyon: John Wesley Powell’s Perilous Journey and His Vision for the American West. In addition to just being an exciting read about Powell’s journey through the Grand Canyon, it also addresses his being way ahead of his time in dealing with issues we’re still addressing today. Land use issues, environmental issues, the government and private industry. I think it’s a great read! Thanks a lot.”

We have plenty of picks from from our panel of expert guests: Stephanie Sendaula of Library Journal Reviews, Deborah Blum of MIT’s Knight Science Journalism Program, and Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research. Check out their top picks below.

Source: Science Friday

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Is Gender Identity Unique to Humans? | The Crux - Discover Magazine

This work first appeared on SAPIENS under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license
Read the original here.

Evidence from our closest evolutionary relatives suggests that we might not be the only animals with a sense of gender identity, argues Jay Schwartz, Ph.D. candidate in the psychology department at Emory University.

Photo: Oleg Senkov/shutterstock)
This summer, in the introductory course I teach on the evolution and biology of human and animal behavior, I showed my students a website that demonstrates how to identify frog “genders.” I explained that this was a misuse of the term “gender”; what the author meant was how to identify frog sexes. Gender, I told the students, goes far beyond mere sex differences in appearance or behavior. It refers to something complex and abstract that may well be unique to Homo sapiens. This idea is nothing new; scholars have been saying for decades that only humans have gender. But later that day I began to wonder: Is it really true that gender identity is totally absent among nonhuman species — even our closest evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos? 

Before tackling this question, it is necessary to define “sex” and “gender.” Sex refers to biological traits associated with male and female bodies. Sex isn’t a perfect binary, but it is relatively simple compared to gender.
Gender is multifaceted, complex, and a little abstract, and not everyone agrees on exactly what it means. That said, there are a couple of aspects of gender that most experts say are essential. The first is the existence of socially determined roles. Gender roles refer to the range of behaviors that society deems normal or appropriate for people of a particular gender based on their designated sex — the norms that (at least in many Western cultures) cause us to expect men to be assertive and brave, and women to be caring and accommodating, for instance.

It’s common for people to believe that gender roles are natural or innate, ranging from religious claims that they are God-given to the argument made by evolutionary psychologists that On the contrary, while some aspects of gender-correlated behaviors are probably largely genetic in origin (researchers don’t have a great sense of which are and aren’t), most experts agree that many gender-related expectations, such as that girls play princess and boys pretend to be soldiers, are socially determined — that is, we learn them from our culture, often without even being aware of it. This socially learned aspect is as fundamental to gender as the roles themselves...

First, let’s look at the question of socially determined roles. Plenty of nonhuman species show sex-based differences in behavior. From beetles to gorillas, males of many species are more aggressive than females, and they fight with one another for access to resources and mating opportunities. Males are also often the more flamboyant sex, using showy body parts and behaviors to attract females—for example, take the peacock’s tail, the mockingbird’s elaborate song, or the colorful face of the mandrill (think Rafiki from The Lion King). Females, on the other hand, are in many cases more nurturing of offspring than males; after all, by the time an infant is born the female will have already devoted significant time and energy toward forming, laying, and subsequently protecting and incubating her eggs—or, in the case of us mammals, she has gone through an intense process of gestation. The costly nature of reproduction for females limits the number of infants they can have; that’s why it generally behooves females to be conservative, expending their time and energy on mating with only the highest-quality males. Being choosy in this way has, over evolutionary time, generally yielded fitter offspring. As a result, females of many species have evolved to be the choosier sex, and their mate choices can direct the course of evolution (an idea that scandalized Victorian England when first proposed by Charles Darwin)...

It’s been said that if chimpanzees are from Mars, then bonobos are from Venus. Bonobo society is generally female-dominated. Unlike female chimpanzees who mostly, though not always, keep their noses out of politics, female bonobos reign by forming male-dominating coalitions. They bond partly through genito-genital rubbing (it is what it sounds like), forming stronger relationships than female chimps typically have with one another. As for male bonobos, they are much less violent on average than male chimps. Unlike with chimpanzees, lethal aggression has never formally been observed in bonobos (though there has been one suspected instance); bonobos are more likely to share food (and maybe sex) with a stranger than to fight.

Source: Discover Magazine (blog)

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Saturday, December 08, 2018

Speaking two languages may help the aging brain | Health and Science - Washington Post

This report was first published in Knowable Magazine.

Ramin Skibba, Science Writer and Freelance Journalist observes, Bilingualism seems to help kids as they learn to speak and may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Photo: iStock
Even when you’re fluent in two languages, it can be a challenge to switch back and forth smoothly between them. It’s common to mangle a split verb in Spanish, use the wrong preposition in English or lose sight of the connection between the beginning and end of a long German sentence. So, does mastering a second language hone our multitasking skills or merely muddle us up?

This debate has been pitting linguists and psychologists against one another since the 1920s, when many experts thought that bilingual children were fated to suffer cognitive impairments later in life. But the science has marched on. Psycholinguist Mark Antoniou of Western Sydney University in Australia argues that bilingualism — as he defines it, using at least two languages in your daily life — may benefit our brains, especially as we age. In a recent article, he addressed how best to teach languages to children and laid out evidence that multiple-language use on a regular basis may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics | Science & Math -

Check out this New Golden Ratio book by Gary Meisner entitled "The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics".

The Golden Ratio: 
The Divine Beauty of Mathematics

The Golden Ratio – The Divine Beauty of Mathematics is a unique and beautiful 224 page book with over 200 color illustrations.

Its author is Gary Meisner, founder and author of and developer of PhiMatrix, the design and analysis software inspired by the golden ratio.
Read more... 

Enjoy reading this book! 


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What is the Fibonacci Sequence – and why is it the secret to musical greatness? | Classic FM

Geniuses from Mozart to Leonardo da Vinci have used the Fibonacci Sequence. But what is it and why does it make great music?, as Classic FM reports. 

The Fibonacci Sequence appears frequently in music and art.
Photo: Getty Images / Classic FM

The Fibonacci Sequence has been nicknamed ‘nature’s code’, ‘the divine proportion’, ‘the golden ratio’, ‘Fibonacci’s Spiral’ amongst others.

What exactly is the Fibonacci Sequence? Simply put, it’s a series of numbers:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610…

The next number in the sequence is found by adding up the two numbers before it. The ratio for this sequence is 1.618. This is what some people call ‘The Divine Proportion’ or ‘The Golden Ratio’.

When you make squares out of those values, it makes a nice-looking spiral:

The Fibonacci Spiral.
Photo: Classic FM

Seem familiar? You've probably seen it before...

The bass clef and Fibonacci spiral.
Photo: Classic fM
This sequence, pattern and spiral crop up in many things you might have never noticed. It is used in art and music; just look at how Leonardo da Vinci employed it in one of his most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa:
Read more... 

Source: Classic FM 

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Adult Learning Institute announces December programs | Hudson Valley 360

The Adult Learning Institute has announced its programs for December. 

Photo: sheelamohan at
All programs are held at Columbia-Greene Community College, 4400 Route 23, Hudson. Call the ALI Office at 518-828-4181, ext. 3431 or email to register.

Open Pinochle Group 1:30-4 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 17 in the Faculty/Staff Lounge with Madeline Dickerson. This group, which generally meets twice a month on the first and third Monday, provides a wonderful opportunity to learn, share and meet new people with a similar interest.

Bridge Group with Bridge Lessons 1:30-4 p.m. Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 in the Faculty/Staff Lounge. The ridge group generally meets every week and is open to all members of ALI. If interested in learning to play bridge or just need to brush up on skills, a bridge class is offered. all Margaret in the ALI Office to register for the class. Bridge will follow the Holiday Party on Dec. 11.

Mahjongg 1:30-4 p.m. Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 in the Faculty/Staff Lounge with Barbara Troy. Mahjongg is a fascinating rummy-like game played with tiles rather than cards and the group meets three Wednesdays each month. Experienced players can call the office and RSVP with Margaret. If interested in learning to play Mahjongg, contact Margaret in the ALI Office and your name will be added to the list for the next beginner class.

Estate Planning—It’s Not Just Wills 10:30 a.m.-noon Dec. 6 in the Faculty/Staff Lounge with Morgen Bowers. Who will care for your children and your pets when you die? How will you manage your finances or your healthcare if you cannot make decisions for yourself? How can you make your wishes known in advance?

ALI will host a presentation by local attorney Morgen Bowers who will explain why everyone needs an estate plan. Proper estate planning ensures that your wishes for yourself, your family, your assets, and even your pets are respected and protected even when you can’t protect yourself.

An estate plan is a group of documents setting forth your instructions for how to manage your assets, your medical care, your minor children or special needs members of your family, and your pets if you are mentally or physically incapacitated, as well as specifying the distribution of your assets after you die. 

Source: Hudson Valley 360

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