E-learning

Science teammate for NASA says Kepler mission is “taking baby steps” | WGN Radio

Photo: jraineswgnam
"Jason Steffen, associate professor in physics and astronomy in Las Vegas, joins Matt Bubala to talk about the latest Kepler announcement." reports , author at WGN Radio.


Photo: Jason Steffen
“There were a couple of planetary systems that have been studied in the past, but there was someone teamed up with a collaborator at Google and they used machine learning to analyze data again. In doing so, they discovered a new planet in each of those system and they discovered an eighth one,” Steffen says.

So where does the Kepler excitement come from? Steffen says “this is the first time where there is a search of algorithms where this machine learning that has been applied to Kepler data to make a discovery.” Also, the systems that these were discovered around were discovered from a relatively small planet. He says it was only twelve percent larger than the size of Earth...

...has been repurposed to the K2 mission, which allows the equipment to point at different parts of the sky. Since it’s hard to point at measurements, the space craft look at parts of the sky using light to to help steer it. He says it’s important to look at stars of all ages. 
For more information on NASA’s or to access Steffen’s work, visit his website.
Read more...

Source: WGN Radio

How Will Machine Learning Address Cyber Security Problems in 2018? by Quora, Contributor | HuffPost

Can AI/ML solve the problems in InfoSec in 2018? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Photo: DigitalVision/Getty Images
Answer by Hyrum Anderson, Technical Director of Data Science at Endgame, on Quora:
Can AI/ML solve the problems in InfoSec in 2018? 

Before I bring out my crystal ball on what problems AL/ML might solve in 2018, let me just categorically state that: (1) ML can be really useful for detecting “unknown threats”, but (2) I don’t believe that ML is going to be a silver bullet panacea for all security problems in 2018. Rules and signatures and IOCs and threat intelligence and especially hard-working infosec professionals are all going to be critical for solving infosec problems in 2018.
To be more concrete, here are a few challenges in 2018 that I think ML can help with. My colleague, Amanda Rousseau, recently forecasted what she thought would be the security problems of 2018. I’ll cherry-pick a couple that I think ML can really help with, albeit (as in the previous paragraph) not as a do-it-all panacea.
Read more... 

Source: HuffPost

Could artificial intelligence brainwash us? | New Zealand Herald

Photo: Jamie Morton"Could robots change the way we think? Researchers fear AI could hijack our language" argue Jamie Morton, Science Reporter at NZ Herald. 


Kiwi researchers have shown it took only around 10 per cent of people to own a speech-enabled robot to completely dominate the usage of words.
Photo: 123RF While that might seem the stuff of dark science fiction, New Zealand artificial intelligence (AI) experts say there's real fear that computer algoritms could hijack our language, and ultimately influence our views on products or politics.

"I would compare the situation with the subliminal advertising that was outlawed in the 1970s," said Associate Professor Christoph Bartneck, of Canterbury University's Human Interface Technology Laboratory, or HIT Lab.

"We are in a danger of repeated the exact same issue with the use of our language."

Bartneck has been working in the area with colleague Jurgen Brandstetter and other experts at the New Zealand Institute of Language Brain and Behaviour and Northwestern University in the US.

Their project has investigated how language changes and involves over time, and how robots and computers could influence not just the words we use, but our attitude toward those words.

Remarkably, the researchers showed it took only around 10 per cent of people to own a speech-enabled robot to completely dominate the usage of words.

One study involved pre-testing what word participants would normally use in a context, and then attempting to change this behaviour by consistently encouraging them to pick another word instead.

Following the experiment, the researchers checked whether the participants had switched to using the alternative word, and also whether their view toward that word had changed. "It did," Bartneck said.

"Given that this form of influence works in principle, it can be used by the companies that currently provide technology to influence consumers."...

"Trying to change the behaviour of people is in itself not necessarily unethical, but we need to be aware of it."Read more...
Source: New Zealand Herald   

How to explain AI to your family over the Christmas turkey | Wired.co.uk - Artificial Intelligence

Photo: Matthew Reynolds"If you believe Elon Musk, then AI is going to kill us all. So why is it in everything from home assistants to washing machines?" insist Matthew Reynolds, Staff Writer at WIRED UK.
 
Photo: iStock/composite
Depending on who you ask, artificial intelligence is either going to save humanity or kill us all. At the same time, AI seems to be in everything from home assistants to washing machines. But what is AI, and why is everyone going on about it?

Here’s how to explain artificial intelligence to your family over Christmas when they ask whether they’ve unwittingly inviting the AI apocalypse into their living room.
What is artificial intelligence?
Roughly speaking, artificial intelligence research is all about creating computers that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. Speech and image recognition, translation and complex decision making are some examples of the kinds of tasks that, until now, have always required a human touch.
So it’s just a fancy way of describing computers then?
Not really. Many tasks that computers perform now don’t do anything that looks much like intelligence. Just look at the word computer: a computer computes. It's a glorified calculator (sort of). The computer takes an input from a human – a number, image, or command – performs a series of predefined calculations, and spits out an answer.

And what does AI do that’s different? 
Maybe it’ll help to talk about how humans perform tasks, to see how we’re so different. Say we see a nice dog in the street. Most of us can pretty immediately recognise that it’s a dog, even if we can’t see most of it, or perhaps can only hear it. We’re pretty good at recognising dogs no matter what they look like – even if they’re just cartoons or weird sketches. And we learned all this without anyone explicitly sitting us down, pointing at all these different kinds of dogs, cartoon and real, and telling us that they are indeed dogs. Most kinds of computing tasks just don’t work like that – older versions of computer recognition software required humans to tell the computer precisely what to look out for in order for it to recognise an image...

What does the future of AI look like?
One area that researchers are really interested in is called artificial general intelligence (AGI). Humans aren’t just good at learning really specific tasks, we’re also pretty great at transferring knowledge between tasks too. Once we’ve learned to pick up a mug, for example, we don’t need to relearn from scratch how to pick up a book. AGI researchers are interested in creating machines that are able to transfer knowledge from one domain into another. That’s why the researchers at Google’s machine learning outfit, DeepMind, are so chuffed that their AlphaGo algorithm, which beat the world’s best Go players, can also learn how to play chess.
Read more...

Source: Wired.co.uk

5 ways to shape our digital future | International Chamber of Commerce

Information communication technology (ICT) has been recognised as an underpinning tool to facilitate achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Yet there is also recognition of the need to equip populations with the necessary digital skills, including literacy, technical and soft skills to meaningfully use and reap the benefits of digital technology.
A workshop, during the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva today, has highlighted some of activities being undertaken by a range of stakeholders to build skills in this area and address the growing need for a broader digital literacy culture.

Photo: International Chamber of Commerce
The multistakeholder workshop was organized by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative, the Centre for European Policy Studies, the Government of Mexico and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Current research suggests that more than 50% of the adult population in 28 OECD countries can only carry out the simplest set of computer tasks, such as writing an email and browsing the web, or have no ICT skills at all. And despite the development of Information and communication technology (ICT) in education policies, the integration of technology in classrooms across sub-Saharan Africa remains insufficient to meet the needs of the 21st century labour market.

Thomas Whitehead of  BT moderated the session and said: “The Internet Governance Forum  is at the intersection of what governments, businesses and civil society do best which is to help adjust skills to allow people to really work together to function well in what we see as a new burgeoning technological future.”

Here are our five key takeaways from the discussions:

1. Teachers need to be equipped with the resources and skills
Jon Chippindall, a teacher and participant in BT’s Barefoot Computing Project, joined discussions remotely with students from a primary school in Manchester, England to share experiences on the resources they have used to learn the skills of coding. Mr Chippindall described the learning as cross circular. “When curiosity is ignited students go away and share it in their own time,” he said.
Read more... 

Source: International Chamber of Commerce

Cutting time at university won’t cut inequality | Cherwell Online - Comment

Proposed plans to shrink university courses to two years ignores the true value of higher education, writes Lydia Higman, Cherwell.

Photo: Wikipedia The claim that universities are bastions of privilege is virtually axiomatic. Systemic inequality within the education system culminates to reflect a demographical and financial imbalance within universities. The most controversial aspect being the shift in the burden of pay from the state to the student.

As it stands, university tuition fees are at £9,500 per year with a 4.6% interest rate, deterring less-privileged prospective students from applying. This is a perversion of the principles of the right to education. Indeed, it was the miscalculation of the impact of tuition fees that so famously buried the Liberal Democrats in the coalition.

The consensus on the need for change (or reaction to the pressure for change) is broadly shared, hence Theresa May abandoned the planned £250 increase in fees for 2018-19. Similarly, in July this year, Damian Green stated that student debt in its current form is a “huge issue”. Acknowledging the flaws in the university system is a non-partisan apprehension. But Universities minister Jo Johnson’s most recent ‘solution’ to the problem of astronomical student debt, to reduce university courses to two years, is short-sighted and lacks a clear rationale.

His proposal to amend the Higher Education and Research Bill would allow for more ‘flexible learning’ and offer a higher annual fee limit for accelerated courses, subject to Parliamentary approval. For Johnson, an overwhelming majority of courses could be done in two years, especially with the development of the internet which has had a transformative impact on teaching methods.

An efficiency drive of this nature relates to a key assumption about academia: that the humanities don’t offer as much in terms of skill set as other more vocational degrees. For Simon Jenkins, newspaper columnist for The Guardian and past editor of The Times, the humanities are content with the valuation of education as an inherent good. Jenkins neglects to mention that the humanities will arm an individual with the ability to conduct a critical investigation, such as this one.

It is a valid statement that engineering will literally give a student a more tangible skill set. But valuing engineering above philosophy is characteristic of a paradigmatic view towards education that is driven by economic output and productivity. This is precisely the indictment that Stefan Collini makes in Speaking of Universities. For Collini, the systemisation of funding and governance has forced universities to engage more in market behaviour and entrepreneurialism. The imposition of these values from policy-makers has detracted from the value of universities as centres of learning. 
This detraction takes a very literal form in Johnson’s proposal to cut the three-year course.
Read more...

Source: Cherwell Online

UW-authored books and more for the Dawg on your holiday shopping list | UW Today

"At this festive time of year, University of Washington faculty creations can make great gifts. Here’s a quick look at some gift-worthy books and music created by UW talents in the last year or so — and a reminder of some perennial favorites" inform Peter Kelley, Public Information Officer.

Photo: UW Today
A novelist’s thoughts on storytelling, a geologist’s soil restoration strategy, an environmentalist’s memoir, a celebration of Latino music influences, a poet’s meditations on her changing city …

“American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music” by Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley and Michelle Habell-Pallán was published in December. The authors also created an American Sabor playlist.
Photo: UW PressYes, and a best-selling author’s latest work, a podcast reborn as a book, a collaboration of world-class violists and even tales of brave Icelandic seawomen — at this festive time of year, University of Washington faculty creations can make great gifts for the Dawg on your shopping list.

Here’s a quick look at some gift-worthy books and music created by UW talents in the last year or so — and a reminder of some perennial favorites.
Read more...

Charles Johnson, The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling.” Johnson, National Book Award-winning author of “Middle Passage” and longtime professor of English, discusses

“The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling,” by Charles Johnson, UW professor emeritus of English, was published this fall by Scribner.
Photo: Crystal Wiley-Brown
his art in a book stemming from a year of interviews. “There is winning sanity here,” the New York Times wrote: “Johnson wants his students to be ‘raconteurs always ready to tell an engaging tale,’ not self-preoccupied neurotics.”
Published by Simon & Shuster.  

David Shields, “Other People: Takes & Mistakes. Shields is a professor of English and the best-selling author of many books, starting with his 1984 novelHeroes.” 

“Other People: Takes & Mistakes,” by UW English professor David Shields, was published by Knopf in February.
In 2017 he brought out this collection of essays that the New York Times called “a triumphantly humane book” and him “our elusive, humorous ironist, something like a 21st century Socrates.” The paper’s praise continued: “He is a master stylist — and has been for a long time, on the evidence of these pieces from throughout his career. . . All good writers make us feel less alone. But Shields makes us feel better.” 
Published by Knopf 

Scott L. Montgomery, “The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science, Volume Two.”  
 The second edition of “The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science” by Scott L. Montgomery, published in February 2017 by University of Chicago Press Books.
Scientific research that doesn’t get communicated effectively to the public may as well not have happened at all, says geoscientist Montgomery in this second volume of a popular 2001 book. A prolific writer, Montgomery is a lecturer in the Jackson School of International Studies. “Communicating is the doing of science,” he adds. “Publication and public speaking are how scientific work gains a presence, a shared reality in the world.”  
Published by University of Chicago Press.  
Read more...

Enjoy the Read! 

Source: UW Today blog   

200 universities just launched 600 free online courses | Quartz

This post originally appeared on FreeCodeCamp 
Photo: Dhawal Shah"200 universities just launched 600 free online courses. Here’s the full list" inform Dhawal Shah, Founder of Class Central.


Skip the degree and go straight to the learning.
Photo: Reuters/Chip East
If you haven’t heard, universities around the world are offering their courses online for free (or at least partially free). These courses are collectively called MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.
 
In the past six years or so, close to 800 universities have created more than 8,000 of these MOOCs. And I’ve been keeping track of these MOOCs the entire time over at Class Central, ever since they rose to prominence.

In the past three months alone, over 200 universities have announced 600 such free online courses. 

I’ve compiled a list of them and categorized them according to the following subjects: Computer Science, Mathematics, Programming, Data Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education & Teaching, Health & Medicine, Business, Personal Development, Engineering, Art & Design, and finally Science. 

If you have trouble figuring out how to signup for Coursera courses for free, don’t worry — here’s an article on how to do that, too

Many of these are completely self-paced, so you can start taking them at your convenience.
Read more... 

Source: Quartz

Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism by Matthieu Ricard and Wolf Singer | The Atlantic

Beyond the Self
Conversations between
Buddhism and NeuroscienceThis article has been adapted from Matthieu Ricard and Wolf Singer’s book, Beyond the Self: Conversations Between Buddhism and Neuroscience.
A scientist and a monk compare notes on meditation, therapy, and their effects on the brain. 

Photo: Getty
Can training the mind make us more attentive, altruistic, and serene? Can we learn to manage our disturbing emotions in an optimal way? What are the transformations that occur in the brain when we practice meditation? In a new book titled Beyond the Self, two friends—Matthieu Ricard, who left a career as a molecular biologist to become a Buddhist monk in Nepal, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—engage in an unusually well-matched conversation about meditation and the brain. Below is a condensed and edited excerpt. 

Matthieu Ricard: Although one finds in the Buddhist literature many treatises on “traditional sciences”—medicine, cosmology, botanic, logic, and so on—Tibetan Buddhism has not endeavored to the same extent as Western civilizations to expand its knowledge of the world through the natural sciences. Rather it has pursued an exhaustive investigation of the mind for 2,500 years and has accumulated, in an empirical way, a wealth of experiential findings over the centuries. A great number of people have dedicated their whole lives to this contemplative science.

Modern Western psychology began with William James just over a century ago. I can’t help remembering the remark made by Stephen Kosslyn, then chair of the psychology department at Harvard, at the Mind and Life meeting on “Investigating the Mind,” which took place at MIT in 2003. He started his presentation by saying, “I want to begin with a declaration of humility in the face of the sheer amount of data that the contemplatives are bringing to modern psychology.”

It does not suffice to ponder how the human psyche works and elaborate complex theories about it, as, for instance, Freud did. Such intellectual constructs cannot replace two millennia of direct investigation of the workings of mind through penetrating introspection conducted with trained minds that have become both stable and clear.

Wolf Singer: Can you be more specific with this rather bold claim? Why should what nature gave us be fundamentally negative, requiring special mental practice for its elimination, and why should this approach be superior to conventional education or, if conflicts arise, to psychotherapy in its various forms, including psychoanalysis?

Ricard: What nature gave us is by no means entirely negative; it is just a baseline. Few people would honestly argue that there is nothing worth improving about the way they live and the way they experience the world. Some people regard their own particular weaknesses and conflicting emotions as a valuable and distinct part of their “personality,” as something that contributes to the fullness of their lives. They believe that this is what makes them unique and argue that they should accept themselves as they are. But isn’t this an easy way to giving up on the idea of improving the quality of their lives, which would cost only some reasoning and effort?
Read more...

Source: The Atlantic

Philosophy in the classroom: ‘It’s okay not to find an exact answer’ | Irish Times - Education

Photo: Joe Humphreys"Young Philosopher Awards seeks to recognise critical thinking and communication skills" according to Joe Humphreys, journalist with The Irish Times, and author of the weekly ‘Unthinkable’ philosophy column.


Every Wednesday, teacher Elizabeth O’Brien takes a double-class which has no textbook and will lead to no exams.

Over blocks of eight weeks, 30 students at Our Lady’s School in Terenure, Dublin, push the tables aside and form a circle of chairs.

“In fact, we don’t actually call ourselves a class, we call ourselves a community,” explains Isobelle McLoughlin, a student in transition year.

At the start of the first day, students must listen to each other without talking, what Isobelle describes as “paying real attention to each other”.
Conversation develops, and is mediated with the use of an orange squishy ball passed from speaker to speaker.
Should anyone feel uncomfortable about the direction the dialogue is going they can reach for another prop – a yellow duck – although to date, O’Brien explains, this hasn’t been required.
What’s going on? It’s philosophy – perhaps not as you know it. O’Brien also teaches maths and chemistry but says this subject is like no other.
“It’s different in terms of atmosphere in the room. I don’t think the girls would walk into my classroom at another time and say: ‘This is our maths community’.
For other subjects, it’s teacher-driven content, whereas this is life-driven content; this is reality-driven content–- and the concepts are bigger.
“It’s different as well in that, while it looks quite passive – if you were looking in the window it looks like they’re not doing much – and students don’t come out with bundles of paper, the one thing they all say is that they come out exhausted, as do I.”
Philosophy has long been part of the school curriculum in countries across Europe but only this year has it officially arrived in Ireland – in the form of a Junior Cycle short course that is optional under the revised programme for second and third years...
O’Brien recalls a recent class was very interested in the question of personal responsibility, “and whether you can be held responsible for all your thoughts and actions”.
To get deeper into the topic, she introduced materials and video on Hannah Arendt and her reports on the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
“It’s very much student-led. Depending on their interests, and whether they are hungry to delve more in it, we might have a more research-based follow up to a topic.”
The benefits of philosophy have been documented in research overseas. A study at Durham University, which tracked over 3,000 pupils who did a one-hour weekly P4C class over the course of a year, found those from disadvantaged backgrounds improved their reading skills by four months above the norm, their maths results by three months and their writing ability by two months. Other studies highlight philosophy’s ability to develop critical thinking and communication skills.Read more...
Source: Irish Times 

10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them | Big Think - Staff picks

Photo: Scotty HendricksIn this article by Scotty Hendricks, Iowa based writer, educator and part time philosopher says,"There are many famous schools of thought that you have probably heard of, but did you hear the truth or just get a caricature of the idea?"  

Photo: Big Think
For your reading pleasure, here are ten schools of philosophy you should know about. Some of them are commonly misunderstood, and we correct that problem here. 

Nihilism 
The leading philosophy among angsty teens who misunderstand Nietzsche. 

The root of the word 'nihilism' is derived from the Latin nihil, meaning "nothing", and it is a more of a series of related positions and problems than a single school of thought. The key idea of it is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy. For example, moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist; metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have metaphysical facts; existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value—this is the kind that most people think of when they hear the word. 

As opposed to popular understanding, Nietzsche was not a nihilist. Rather, he wrote about the dangers posed by nihilism and offered solutions to them. Real nihilists included the Russian nihilist movement.

Existentialism
The leading philosophy among angsty undergraduates who understand Nietzsche.
 
Existentialism is a school of thought originating in the work of Soren Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Existentialism focuses on the problems posed by existential nihilism. What is the point of living if life has no inherent purpose, where can we find value after the death of God, and how do we face the knowledge of our inevitable demise? Existentialists also ask questions about free will, choice, and the difficulties of being an individual.
 
The existentialists also included Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Martin Heidegger. Albert Camus was associated with the movement, but considered himself independent of it...

Logical Positivism
Photo: Big ThinkHave you ever wondered if we can base absolutely everything on logic and empirical evidence?

The logical positivists had a good try—until they found it a dead end. This school was popular in the 1920s and '30s, and was focused on the idea of verifications, which sought to base all knowledge on either empirical data or logical tautologies. By this idea, metaphysics, ethics, theology, and aesthetics cannot be studied philosophically as they don’t offer ideas with truth values. As it turns out the core tenet of verificationism cannot be shown to be true either, posing an unsolvable problem for the school.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Søren Kierkegaard, the man who invented the word "angst".
God's Answer to Nietzsche, the Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard by Scotty Hendricks, Iowa based writer, educator and part time philosopher. 

Source: Big Think  

Monique Keiran: Printed books thrive in digital age | Times Colonist - Opinion

"I recently interrupted Nature Boy while he was reading. Remarkably, he wasn’t reading from his laptop or phone. He was reading a printed book" reports Monique Keiran, Times Colonist.

Photo: Storyblocks.com
The item in question was typical of many such devices used during the past five centuries to share ideas and information across time and distances.

You might recognize the technology from yesteryear or the annual Times Colonist book sale. It comprised many sheets of paper printed with text and bound and glued into a light-cardstock cover decorated with pictures and more text.

In recent years, tech-pundits have pronounced (and others have lamented) print books obsolete — alongside cassette tapes, vinyl LPs, photographic film and office doorknobs. Digital books and e-book readers broke publishers’ grip on commercial and trade-book publishing. They allowed anybody with a computer, technical know-how and a story to reach the masses.

The advancing e-tide seemed inevitable.

Yet data from the Association of American Publishers indicate print books’ obituary was published prematurely. In 2016, sales of print books in the U.S. increased by 3.3 per cent, while e-book sales declined even further than the 14 per cent drop noted in 2015.

According to Pew Research, even in the e-book-devoted U.S., 65 per cent of readers perused a paper book the year before, while only 28 per cent read an e-book. Print’s popularity has remained steady since 2014. It is attributed to older consumers who refuse to let print go and younger consumers who seek the tactile pleasures of owning and sharing analog tomes.

This ties into other trends for retro, pre-digital technologies among younger generations. Last Christmas, U.S. recording artists and labels saw a 140 per cent increase in cassette-tape sales over the previous year, while ICM Unlimited reports almost half of the buyers of vinyl records in 2016 were 35 or younger...

...future of books will bring. What we do know is that reports of the death of printed books are greatly exaggerated.
Read more...

Source: Times Colonist

5 books you won't want to miss this week, including one by Pope Francis | USA TODAY - Life - Books

Follow on Twitter as   
@JocelynMcClurgJocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY's Books Editor, scopes out the hottest books on sale each week.


Photo: Storyblocks.com1. Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe by Deborah Cadbury (Public Affairs, non-fiction, on sale now)  
Queen Victoria's Matchmaking:
The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe What it’s about: By the 1890s, when she had more than 30 grandchildren, the queen of England was determined to expand her empire through dynastic marriages, but the royal kids didn’t always like her love matches.
5. Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson (HarperOne, non-fiction, on sale Dec. 19)
Waking Up in Winter:
In Search of What Really
Matters at MidlifeWhat it’s about: Known for helping others, Richardson this time assesses her own life and marriage in this self-help title.Read more... 
Source: USA TODAY

7 Books To Help You Improve Your Business Networking And Build Real Relationships | Forbes - Entrepreneurs

Photo: John Hall
"If your 2018 resolutions include building better, more authentic business relationships, these books will show you how" says John Hall , Contributor.

Photo: Shutterstock
Top of MindThis past year, I had both the challenge and privilege of writing my first book, “Top of Mind.” In it, I did my best to share real-life stories, advice, and proven tactics that would help readers connect with their audiences and always find ways to provide more value to them. Writing this book prompted a lot of research on my part, and it got me thinking about other business relationship books out there, too.

Here are seven key books that have helped me build better business relationships, and I think they’ll help you improve your networking and relationship-building, too:

1. “Superconnector,” Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh
Superconnector: Stop Networking
and Start Building Business Relationships
that Matter
According to Gerber and Paugh, collecting as many business cards as possible just isn’t going to cut it, especially when you consider all the other resources at our disposal.

To become a skilled “superconnector,” you have to leave traditional networking habits at the door and start building connections between communities. I found this book to be extremely effective in conveying the importance of efficiency in networking and building better business relationships among various social circles...

6. “Give and Take,” Adam Grant
Give and Take:
Why Helping Others
Drives Our Success In this book, The Wharton School’s youngest tenured professor presents a holistic approach to building better relationships by categorizing three types of leaders: givers, takers, and matchers. The ideal style is that of — you guessed it — the giver, who injects helpfulness and energy into any room.


Grant combines storytelling, case studies, and research to present a compelling argument against takers, who historically run their companies into the ground. Building business relationships with a giver mindset opens the door for better, more authentic business opportunities to come your way.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading
100 Ways to Build Your Business Online by John Rampton, Contributor. 

Enjoy the Read! 

Source: Forbes

Philosophers of the year, 2017: Beauvoir, Nietzsche, & Socrates [quiz] | OUPblog

This December, the OUP Philosophy team marks the end of a great year by honouring three of 2017’s most popular Philosophers of the Month, inform Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK. 

Duke Humfrey’s Library Interior in the Bodleian Library, Oxford by David Iliff. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
The immeasurable contributions of Simone de Beauvoir, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Socrates to the field of philosophy ensure their place among history’s greatest thinkers. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a quiz highlighting the lives and works of each.
Read more...

Source: OUPblog (blog)

What is the value of rationality, and why does it matter? | OUPblog

Photo: Ralph Wedgwood"In the past, most philosophers assumed that the central notion of rationality is a normative or evaluative concept: to think rationally is to think properly or well—in other words, to think as one should think. Rational thinking is in a sense good thinking, while irrational thinking is bad. Recently, however, philosophers have raised several objections to that assumption" argues Ralph Wedgwood, Professor of Philosophy at University of Southern California.
 
Photograph of a boy in front of a chess landscape by Positive Images.
Photo: Pixabay
Rationality is a widely discussed term. Economists and other social scientists routinely talk about rational agents making rational choices in light of their rational expectations. It’s also common in philosophy, especially in those areas that are concerned with understanding and evaluating human thinking, actions, and institutions. But what exactly is rationality? In the past, most philosophers assumed that the central notion of rationality is a normative or evaluative concept: to think rationally is to think ‘properly’ or ‘well’—in other words, to think as one ‘should’ think. Rational thinking is in a sense good thinking, while irrational thinking is bad. Recently, however, philosophers have raised several objections to that assumption.

First of all, how can it be true that you should never think irrationally, if you sometimes can’t help it?

Secondly, picture a scenario where you would be punished for thinking rationally—wouldn’t it be good to think irrationally in this case and bad to keep on thinking rationally?

And finally, rationality requires that our mental states (in other words, our beliefs, choices, and attitudes in general) are consistent and coherent. But why is that important, and what is so good about it?

Having considered these three arguments, we can now debate which side is right. Does thinking ‘rationally’ mean thinking ‘well and ‘properly’, or not? However, looking at both sides of the issue, it becomes evident that we still need considerable philosophical arguments and analysis before we can arrive at any conclusion. The reason why is because the problem itself is not clearly defined, since we don’t know the meaning of some of the key terms. Therefore, as a next step in the analysis, we will review some recent work in linguistics, specifically semantics.

Most linguists believe that the key terms—’should’, ‘can’, ‘good’, ‘well’, and so on—are context-sensitive: the meaning of the word depends on the context. For example, ‘can’ sometimes expresses the concept of what a particular person has an ability to do (as when the optician asks, “Can you read the letters on the screen?”). At other times, it expresses the concept of what is possible in a more general sense (as when we say, “Accidents can happen”).
Read more... 

Supplementary Information

The Value of Rationality,
The Nature of Normativity
Ralph Wedgwood, author of The Value of Rationality, The Nature of Normativity. 

Source: OUPblog (blog)

Cybersecurity arcade game aims to improve high school students’ skills in English and math | Los Angeles Times - Education

Photo: Priscella Vega"Coastline Community College has created a cybersecurity-themed online game to help improve area high school students’ English and math skills" says Priscella Vega, education reporter for the Daily Pilot.

Drake Sisk, 14, a freshman at Early College High School in Costa Mesa, says Cyber Attack is an entertaining way to practice educational skills.
Photo: Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer
Cyber Attack” quizzes players about grammar and math. If players answer correctly, they stop a hacker from compromising a bank’s security data. If they answer incorrectly, the bank’s information is compromised.

Plans to create the online game began in 2014 when the Fountain Valley-based college noticed students interested in its cybersecurity program were performing poorly in math and English.

“They didn’t think it was a problem,” said Judy Garvey, who leads Coastline’s Extended Learning team. “We needed some kind of fun way to prepare them for the placement tests and brush up on math and English skills.” 

The college received a grant from Orange County Pathways — an organization that connects educators with business leaders — to create the game.

Initially, faculty developed about 200 questions per subject. With money to spare, Garvey said they took it a step further by sprucing up the graphics for both the online version and the eight arcade-style machines they made. Those have been loaned to Early College, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach high schools.
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Source: Los Angeles Times

27 students barred from HE, but could be many more | University World News

Tehran’s representative in the Iranian Parliament, Mahmoud Sadeqi, says 27 graduate students have been banned from continuing their education in the current Iranian academic year, but analysts suggest the number could be a lot higher, reports Radio Farda.
 
Photo: Storyblocks.com
Citing Sadeqi, state-run Iranian Labour News Agency reported that despite attempts, 12 PhD and 15 masters students were not allowed to enter the universities this year. According to Sadeqi, 151 PhD and 398 masters students deemed ‘starred’ (deemed to be politically unreliable or undesirable) were allowed to register and continue their education after signing a written commitment to ensure students stay away from political activities.

But there are conflicting reports as to how many students have actually been barred this year. Other sources report much higher numbers.
Read more...

Source: University World News

Four Surprising and Innovative Uses of eLearning in 2017 | eLearningInside News - Editor’s Picks

"In the sphere of eLearning, countless businesses, educators, and individuals not only helped to develop new education technology; they implemented it in exciting and creative ways" says Henry Kronk, began his writing career as an intern at The Burlington Free Press in Burlington, Vermont, his hometown. 

Photo: eLearningInside News
By all accounts, 2017 has been a year unlike any other in recent memory. And we’re not talking about troubling politics–both domestic and international–or social movements or the media. 2017 has, overall year, been a remarkable year when it comes to education technology.

Below we’ve compiled some unconventional and strange (but also, effective) eLearning initiatives that caught our eye.

KFC’s VR Training Module 
There was once a time when new fry cooks-in-training at Kentucky Fried Chicken would receive instruction from a manager or one of their superiors. But this summer, the fast food chain proved that the old model of employee training was downright 2000-and-late.

The new method they introduced included a VR simulation. But it was just some low-stress way to learn the dance steps: it was a gamified escape room-style module replete with the ghost of Colonel Sanders himself heckling you at every turn. Learners are not allowed to leave the room until they correctly prepare a basket of fried chicken.

Needless to say, employees enjoyed the new method far better than the previous training. What’s more, while it took an average of 25 minutes to bring new employees up to speed with in-person training, it took employees an average of 10 minutes to successfully complete the VR simulation...

Robots in Michigan State University Classrooms 
Many online degrees allow students to stream in to lectures at the brick-and-mortar version of their university, chat with their peers, or skype with their professors. But in some graduate education programs at Michigan State University, remote students are literally taking a seat at the table.

They do this through the use of cameras (equipped for two-way live audio and video streaming) mounted on self-balancing robots. Students can control the robots, move them around the room, pivot them to look at their peer’s or instructor’s face, and adjust several other features. By and large, it allows students to participate in a class discussion as if they were really in the room.

“I teach graduate courses where the primary pedagogy is discussion-based,” Professor Christine Greenhow said. “When you’re in a discussion with some people in the room and others streaming in, you have these faces on the screen and you’re trying to talk to someone, look at their face, look at the camera, and look at other people in the room. You can’t have the same interpersonal experience.” The robots have begun to solve this problem.
Read more...

Source: eLearningInside News

Boosting student performance with robot learning | Digital Journal - Technology

Photo: Tim Sandle"Remote learning is a growing means of delivering education. A downside is with student engagement" summarizes Dr. Tim Sandle, Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news.

File photo: A person at his workplace, communicating via a Video Relay Service video.
Photo: SignVideo, London, U.K
This can be overcome, according to new research, when robotic assistants are used.

The Michigan State University research has concluded that online students who elect to use the innovative robots can feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and students in the classroom. This, in turn, leads to better understanding on the part of the student and improved educational attainment.

In trials the researchers used robots located in the classroom. Each robot was equipped with a mounted video screen. The screen can be controlled remotely by the student who is undertaken the lesson online. This facility allows the student to pan around the room, looking at the teacher or other students or anything else that’s happening...

Commenting on the outcome, the head researchers, Professor Christine Greenhow notes that teachers also benefit from the experience. Here, instead of looking at a screen full of faces as per traditional videoconferencing, the teacher can look a robot-learner in the eye (via digital means)...

The results of the study have been published in the journal Online Learning. The research paper is headed "Hybrid Learning in Higher Education: The Potential of Teaching and Learning with Robot-Mediated Communication." 
Read more... 

Source: Digital Journal

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