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Scouts preventing bad spills and learning life skills | The Recorder - Opinion / Editorials

"Hauling buckets of sand, it turns out, can be a charitable act and an important lesson in life skills that we all could stand to learn" continues The Recorder.  

Photo: The Recorder
Troop 9 Boy Scouts 12-year-old Joseph Kirley and 11-year-old Otis Waggenbeek proved the point recently as they carried pails of sand to elderly Northfield residents who appreciated the help treating icy driveways and walkways this winter.

Northfield Council on Aging Director Heather Tower worked with the Scouts to deliver sand to about 30 households in December.

Tower considers the arrangement a win-win: the Boy Scouts engage with residents and perform community service, while the seniors feel comfortable knowing their driveways and walkways will be safe for not only themselves, but their visitors.

“It teaches us to be helpful and generous,” explained Joseph, adding, “It helps a lot of senior citizens.”

Joseph’s mother, Tracey, said when her son first got involved in the Boy Scouts, she thought it would be an outing club for boys, but discovered Troop 9 offered much more.

“I didn’t realize it taught these life skills, like how to be a good citizen ...,” she said. “We’re hooked. We love it.”.

Source: The Recorder 

Savani brothers open new chapter of running bookshop | Business Daily - Small Enterprise

"Trio picks the cue from father to serve a bigger market in the education field by going beyond books" inform John Wafula, Business Daily.
Parents and guardians buy textbooks at Savani’s bookshop in Nairobi last week.
Photo - file: nmg
Savani brothers Baiju, Gopal and Kishen are challenging the conventional concept of the bookshop as cement and mortar premises.
The trio has formed Educate Yourself Ltd— headquartered in Nairobi’s upmarket Westlands — which is a hybrid of traditional bookshop, an educational materials resource centre, and a books-on-order delivery hub.
They are taking the bookshop to customers, the three are saying.
‘‘We dedicate ourselves to our core calling — inspiring education,’’ is the motto on their website.
“When we talk of educational resources it is not all about books; we also consider special needs, for instance in early learning. We offer toys and sports equipment for games which go towards learning activities,” says Mr Gopal.
“We provide anything that aids education, but our main focus is books,” adds Baiju, a Finance and Accounting master’s degree holder from the United States University, Africa. Educate Yourself helps companies to stock up libraries and provide training materials.
“They can select a particular book that they need to train employees. We give them the various options available in the market... [or] import if they are not available locally,” says Baiju. 

The brothers ventured into the business after learning from their father who started the Savani’s Bookshop, a major conventional bookstore in Nairobi.
“Our main knowledge in the field comes from our father,” says Baiju, adding the father is their motivation.
Educate Yourself, which was founded in 2010, has all types of customers, including doctoral students, schools, institutions of higher learning, private and government institutions, NGOs, and individuals. 

Source: Business Daily (press release) (blog)

21st Century learning a priority for new SACE chief | Brand SA News - Innovation

Melissa Keogh says, "Science education expert and new South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) chief Professor Martin Westwell is leading South Aussie school kids into the future."

Photo:Brand SA News (blog)
No longer will our children hit the classrooms armed with just textbooks, pencils and papers.
Instead its about 21st Century learning involving online examinations, contemporary subjects and self-directed assignments.

As the SACE Board’s incoming chief executive, Prof Westwell will oversee a $10.6m program set to transform SA classrooms and prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

Changes include a move away from handwritten exams to electronic tests – a move that reflects how students are already learning and working.

English Literacy Studies will be the first to undergo the transition in 2018, with more subjects to follow by 2020.

“We are meeting the 21st Century needs of our students … the idea of writing essays long hand is outdated,” Prof Westwell says.

“But we don’t want to do electronic exams for the sake of it, we want to make sure it works well for us.”

More than 60 subjects have been reviewed to ensure they are relevant and meet the needs of a changing society, meaning Digital Studies will be taught for the first time in 2018...

While the Research Project was partly designed to allow students to gain skills needed at university, Prof Westwell says the SACE structure is for students pursing all pathways.

“Students might choose to do a trade or go straight to work and then go to uni, the pathway into university is not as restrictive as it used to be,” he says.

Prof Westwell is originally from the UK and in 1999, British newspaper The Times named him the ‘Scientist of the New Century’.

The father-of-two moved to SA 10 years ago after visiting in his role at Oxford University’s Institute for the Future of the Mind.

Source: Brand SA News (blog) 

Social unrest opens many doors to learning | The Seattle Times - Sponsored Education

Provided by Western Washington University.
Western Washington University offers a variety of courses in social justice including a Law, Diversity and Social Justice minor and Education and Social Justice minor. For more information, visit  
Academia responds with options as students react to societal changes with a desire to actively engage.

WWU alumnus TJ Martin with his Oscar. 
Photo: Western Washington University
It’s a new year, but the political and social unrest left in the wake of events in Charlottesville, Ferguson, Charleston, Dallas, St. Paul, Baltimore, Baton Rouge and Alexandria continues to leave an air of uncertainty for Americans working to promote social justice. At the same time, themes of diversity, equity and inclusion are becoming more commonplace – from politics to entertainment and even Super Bowl commercials.

According to director TJ Martin, it’s no accident his award-winning documentary “LA 92” about the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King decision illustrates the cyclical nature of violent civil unrest. Twenty-five years after the riots, Martin says “you come out [of the film] recognizing that we’ve been having this conversation for a very long time, and nothing is solved.”

“LA 92” has been shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination in 2018. If he wins it will be the second Oscar for Martin, who graduated from Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, and his co-director Dan Lindsay. The duo threads issues of class and racial inequity through nearly all of their work. They earned their first Oscar for “Undefeated,” which featured an underdog team of all-black football players and their white coach in North Memphis – a less violent but similar view of disparity in race and class in our society. Their Honey Maid ad campaign redefines “wholesome families to include interracial and gay couples and their children.

Scholars contend it’s become everyone’s work – regardless of chosen profession or educational concentration – to address poverty, the death penalty, environmental rights (racism), sexism, labor laws, civil rights and access to health care and education. Vernon Damani Johnson, Director of the Ralph Munro Institute for Civic Education and Professor of Political Science at Western Washington University, explains public universities are reinforcing that premise by incorporating social justice into courses across more majors and disciplines.
Read more... 

Source: The Seattle Times

Is Our Mind A Machine Learning Algorithm? | Forbes - Women@Forbes

Machine Learning algorithms are ubiquitous, but what is the relationship between our mind and a machine learning algorithm? How can we leverage science to create the change we want to see? Learn here!
Photo: Anna Powers "It is no doubt that everyone has come in contact with Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, perhaps without knowing that they have or what they are, but they certainly have" inform Dr. Anna Powers, entrepreneur, advisor and an award winning scientist. 

Photo: Shutterstock
For example when you are making a purchase online and some items are 'suggested for you,' this is an example of ML, another example is when a dating app tries to 'match' you based on previous matches you have selected or when social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, show you certain sponsored content. In all these instances some form an ML algorithm is used, which a powerful tool that many corporations are now adopting to derive more value.

So what is ML? ML is a type of computer algorithm which relies on a large amount of input data to make a future decision about a new data point. Basically, it is a type of algorithm that when it is fed data, it 'learns' and with more and more data, it becomes better at selecting the data points which best match the 'learning' data set which it was fed. The only thing ML can make decisions about is the data which was fed to it. For example, if you are shopping online for a black bag, the algorithm will suggest various black bags for you to chose from, but it will not suggest a blue or silver bag unless you look at some items which are black or silver.

When we think about our mind, it is much like an ML algorithm. We feed our mind certain data, in the form of stories we tell ourselves, the experiences we have, beliefs, things we read or watch, the music we listen to and the ideas we get from the people we interact with.

Source: Forbes

No need to fear the rise of the machines | The Times - Comment

"Artificial intelligence will continue to augment humans, rather than replace them, and we could all enjoy the benefits" insist Matt Ridley, writes mainly about science, economics and the environment.


In the early 1960s, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there was a disagreement about what computers would achieve. One faction, led by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, championed “artificial intelligence”, believing that computers would gradually replace human beings. The other, led by Norbert Wiener and JCR Licklider, the man who oversaw the creation of the internet’s precursor, championed “human-computer symbiosis”, believing that computers would augment human beings.

“Man-computer symbiosis is an expected development in co-operative interaction between men and electronic computers,” wrote Licklider in a crucial essay published in 1960. “It will involve very close coupling between the human and the electronic members of the partnership.” In his arresting analogy, computers would be to us as fig wasps are to fig trees: symbiotic partners.

Looking around us, Licklider was right. Augmentation rather than replacement triumphed, says the historian Walter Isaacson in his 2014 book The Innovators, especially after it was taken up by the hackers, hobbyists and hippies of the west coast. By 1968, at what came to be known as the “Mother of All Demos”, the visionaries Stewart Brand and Douglas Engelbart were demonstrating to an audience in San Francisco such symbiotic concepts as the cursor and the mouse.

We are in the middle of a hype cycle about AI and I think Licklider will be right this time too. The AIs we use, though we do not call them that, are augmenting, not replacing, people. My smartphone recognises the faces of my family, adds to maps the names of restaurants or theatres it spots in my diary, re-routes me around traffic congestion: it is my symbiont, not my nemesis. Note that AI is assisting the lives of consumers even more than those of producers.

The same symbiosis is true of the AIs coming in the near future. At a Microsoft lab I have watched experimental systems do in seconds that which takes a radiologist hours: delineate an organ on a series of scans, preparatory to cancer treatment. At Google’s Deepmind in London, algorithms are preparing to save the search engine company a fortune in energy bills by rethinking its electricity distribution system.

What about driverless cars? 

Source: The Times

How to read more books in 2018 | Los Angeles Times - Books

Photo: Jessica Roy
In this article, author Jessica Roy, Contact Reporter at the Los Angeles Times encourages, in this year, read more books.

Give yourself the gift of reading more this year.
Photo: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times
It's resolution time.

Will this be the year you hit the treadmill for an hour every day, make all your meals at home, learn a new language and max out your retirement savings accounts? Perhaps. But more often than not, New Year's resolutions are abandoned before the first gym payment goes through on your credit card.

This year, make a better resolution: Read more books. In fact, think of it less as a resolution, and more as a belated holiday gift to yourself.

Reading more was my resolution back in 2013. I realized I'd read maybe three books in the previous year. I joined Goodreads, a social media site for book lovers and got an L.A. Public Library card. I asked for an e-reader for Christmas that year. I joined a book club.

I set a goal to read 36 books. I wasn't too hard on myself as to what counted as reading a book. Audiobooks counted. Cookbooks counted, if I had read through most of the recipes. Graphic novels and comic books counted. Books I got halfway through and then abandoned for lack of interest counted.

Getting back into reading books has been one of the singularly most rewarding things I have done for myself in my adult life. I carry my Kindle everywhere, which means I always have something to do when I'm in a waiting room. And getting into a warm bed with a good book is one of life's singular great pleasures.

So do it. Read more books. Here are some ways to help you get started.

Buy an e-reader I love my e-reader. 
I have a Kindle that uses e-ink instead of backlighting, so it doesn't hurt my eyes or keep me up at night. I bought a cute cover that protects it inside my bag.

You can download thousands of free ebooks from Project Gutenberg and other sites. Download a bunch and peruse them at your leisure.

Use the library 
The L.A. Public Library is your secret weapon for reading more. I'm always surprised at how many people don't realize the library carries new releases in addition to classics. In just this year, I checked out and read new releases that include Roxane Gay’s “Hunger,” “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders, Lindy West’s “Shrill” and “Artemis,” the new novel by Andy Weir.

I regularly read book reviews, and when I see something I like, I put it on hold. It's not always immediately available, but I can use the LAPL's site to track where I am in the holds list and see when my book is on its way. If a book you're excited about is coming out soon, you can put a hold on it before it's released and be at the top of the list.

(Sometimes I forget I put the book on hold at all until I receive an email saying it's on its way, which is the free equivalent of getting a package you forgot you ordered from Amazon.)

The L.A. Public Library lets you check out ebooks with a program called Overdrive. You put a hold on the ebook you want, and when it's available, you just click a couple of buttons and it sends it to your e-reader. You never even have to go to the physical library. The book lives on your e-reader for three weeks – or indefinitely, if you turn Wi-Fi off.

Source: Los Angeles Times

A NASA Expert Says This Is The “Ultimate” Test for AI in Space Exploration | Futurism - Off World

In Brief 
Habitable worlds that hold the promise of extraterrestrial life are all extremely far from Earth. An artificial intelligence expert from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory thinks that reaching these worlds will be the ultimate test for AI in space exploration. 
What role does AI play in the search for life in the universe?

Photo: NASA
AI in Space Exploration 
Given the rate at which artificial intelligence (AI) has been advancing, it’s proving difficult to place bets on just how far the technology will be able to go. Not just here on Earth, but beyond, as researchers harness the power of AI in space exploration to take us to the outskirts of the universe.  According to Steve Chien, Technical Group Supervisor of the Artificial Intelligence Group and Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, not only is AI becoming an integral part of advancing space exploration, it has become clear that the search for extraterrestrial life could be the “ultimate test” for AI in space exploration. Such a search has long been believed to require the kind of creative and intuitive decision making that, for now at least, seems uniquely human.

Chien stated in an interview with Scientific American that “Unsupervised learning is extremely important to analyzing the unknown. A big part of what humans are able to do is interpret data that are unfamiliar.”

NASA is currently adopting a number of AI technologies, as are others working on space exploration ventures. According to Chien, the upcoming Mars 2020 Mission will incorporate three major areas of AI: the rovers themselves will be equipped for autonomous driving, the systems that assist the rovers in performing science tasks will make use of AI, and they will also have a “sophisticated scheduling system that enables them to be more dynamic” allowing the rovers to adjust their to-do list accordingly so that they don’t lag behind on productivity.

Life Out ThereWhile 
AI is a major tool to aid in space exploration, the search for life in the universe is also a testing grounds for those AI technologies.
Read more... 

Scientific American, NASA

Source: Futurism

The Verge 2017 tech report card: Artificial intelligence and robotics | The Verge - Robot

Photo: James VincentArtificial intelligence boomed this year like few other areas in tech, but despite the scientific breakthroughs, glut of funding, and new products rolling out to consumers, the field has problems that can’t be ignored, argues James Vincent, cover machines with brains for The Verge, despite being a human without one.
Photo: Hanson Robotics
Some of these, like company-driven hype and sensationalist headlines, need better communication from the media and experts. Others challenges are more nuanced and will take longer to address, such as bias in algorithms and the growing threat of tech firms becoming AI monopolies as they hoover up data and talent.

But first, the good stuff. Artificial intelligence was everywhere in 2017, and although you’re right to be skeptical when you hear this, it’s positive news. Experts compare AI to electricity because it’s a resource with the potential to transform a broad range of industries. Sure, there are particularly important technologies in each sector (like autonomous driving in transportation), but it’s the smaller implementations of machine cleverness that may add up to have the biggest impact.

Big tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook have poured tons of money into the AI field, but it’s fair to say the end-results are often small-scale. Google’s put AI in a camera that automatically snaps photos of your family, and Apple’s new animated emojis is powered by facial recognition. These things won’t change the world, but collectively they build new efficiencies and new experiences.

Compare to this steady drip of AI integration, academic research was a raging torrent. Labs and universities published papers at a higher volume in 2017 than ever before, and big names like DeepMind made significant breakthroughs. (The company’s work removing human knowledge from its champion AlphaGo algorithm and then proving its skills work in other games spring to mind.) Congratulations should be somewhat constrained, as there’s a case to be made that the current wave of AI is supported by too few core innovations. But by no means has basic research stopped, and some radical new approaches are showing the first stirrings of life. 

Robots also stirred to life in 2017, though the year revealed both the limits of current tech and its future promise. A lot of effort is going into applying the fruits of AI to current industrial robots, with companies like Kindred, Embodied Intelligence, Amazon, and Ocado working on dextrous and dynamic machines for warehouses and assembly lines. Advances here could have a huge effect in a range of industries, as robots get put to work pretty much anywhere stuff needs moving about.Read more... 
Source: The Verge 

AI is learning from our encounters with nature — and that's a concern | ABC Online - Analysis & Opinion

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
"The idea seems wonderful — a phone app that allows you to take a photo of a plant or animal and receive immediate species identification and other information about it." says Andrew Robinson,  Communications Scientist and Scholar at the Australian National University.  

A "Shazam for nature" sounds wonderful, but what are its true implications?
Photo: ABC Open contributor merrijignic
A "Shazam for nature", so to speak.

We are building huge repositories of data related to our natural environments, making this idea a reality.

But there are ethical concerns that should be addressed: about how data is collected and shared, who has the right to share it and how we use public data for machine learning.
And there's a bigger concern — whether such apps change what it means to be human.

Encounters with dandelions 
Oliver Sacks, the brilliant neurologist and author, once arranged to take a group of his patients on a field trip to the New York Botanic Garden. One of his patients, a severely autistic young man named Steve, hadn't stepped outside the facility for years. He never spoke; indeed, the doctors believed him incapable of speech.

In the gardens with Sacks, however, the invigorated Steve plucked a flower, and to the surprise of everyone, uttered the word "dandelion."
Over the last decade, this affinity so many of us feel for nature — what the famed biologist Edward Wilson termed "biophilia" — has resulted in an explosion of big data. In the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF, an online database run out of Copenhagen) there are 682,447 records of human encounters with dandelions. Overall, the database holds more than 850 million observations of over 1 million different species of flora and fauna.

It's an impressive achievement, a gestating, global catalogue of life. It allows us to see the world in new ways.

For example just this year, thanks to the more than 42,000 recorded sightings from more than 5,000 participants using, we've gained unprecedented insight into the behaviour of the world's largest fish species.

Or on an bigger scale, the millions of bird observations generated through an app called eBird have allowed us to visualise the precise migratory routes of over 100 different bird species.

At the same time, in an outcome largely unforeseen by its early collectors, info-engineers are using the data to train artificial intelligence (AI), particularly computer vision apps to help us interpret the plants and animals we see around us.

And these tools are raising some interesting, sometimes troubling questions.

Joseph Banks in your pocket 
In one sense, of course, such tools are magical. The fictional tricorder of Star Trek is a magnificent device, scanning alien life forms, making them familiar. If we had a version on Earth, it would be the equivalent of a pocket-sized Joseph Banks, a trusty sidekick of discovery, filling us with a sense of confidence and control.

In China the latest version of the Baidu browser (a so-called Chinese Google) comes with a plant recognition feature built into it. Point your camera at a dandelion and you'll see the Chinese name for it — 蒲公英.

Such apps are triggering a new wave of botanical interest among the general population in China.

But there are also questions about these AI tools interfering with our ability — perhaps a human need — to easily transfer our unique nature expertise to, or gain expertise from, other people. 
Read more... 

Source: ABC Online

As We Head Into 2018, Which Topics In AI And Machine Learning Are Still Mostly Hype? | Forbes

"As we enter into 2018, what are some of the topics in AI/ML that are mostly hype? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world" Quora , Contributor.

Answer by Hyrum Anderson, Technical Director of Data Science at Endgame, on Quora:

Photo: Shutterstock
As we enter into 2018, what are some of the topics in AI/ML that are mostly hype?

Let me break this down into a few categories. 
First, just a general note about how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been misapplied generally in the infosec market. While it’s not incorrect to label what some infosec companies are doing as “Artificial Intelligence”, it’s certainly imprecise, and one can’t help but wonder whether there’s some latent hope to impress by sophistication. Let’s all just agree to this: if we’re talking about an autonomous agent intended to behave and interact and reason, I’m totally fine labeling that as AI. If we’re talking about a model trained on data to make predictions, let’s stick with ML (a subfield of AI). It’s probably the case that 90+% of product features that companies market as “AI” is actually “narrow AI” and specifically “ML”, but might be intended to conjure up images of “general AI” Jarvis or Hal9000. I think this is a disservice to customers/users, who at this point are sophisticated and intelligent enough to tell the difference. (Full disclosure: at Endgame, we market our Artemis intelligent assistant chatbot an AI, because it is an “agent that behaves/reasons/interacts”. Our next-gen AV features that detect malware and evil? Machine Learning.)
Next, let me take a kinder view of “overhyped” AI/ML in the sense that there’s a lot of excitement and buzz, but the real end-user product implications have yet to emerge, especially in infosec. In my opinion, it’s important to not dismiss this as compelling research, but it might require a few more years to move from “cool research” to “useful product”. In this category of “interesting research, but hard to pull off reliably at scale”, I’m going to lump in things I’ve researched and published on: generative adversarial networks (GANs) for infosec, and reinforcement learning (RL) for infosec. These are really cool topics that are moving very quickly, but in my experience, don’t work “right out of the box” for many infosec applications. (I say this only because of the large number of hours of my life spent tweaking and fiddling trying to get them to perform as hoped for infosec problems. With some marginal success.) Generally speaking, GANs are seeing a ton of research activity with impressive results—the excitement is totally warranted. Unfortunately, there’s also been a lack of systematic and objective evaluation metrics in their development. See: [1711.10337] Are GANs Created Equal? A Large-Scale Study.Read more...
Source: Forbes 

2017 indicates that 2018 will be the year of AI phones | PCMag India - Artificial intelligence

Sahil Mohan Gupta, Editor, PCMag India inform, "Every major tech headline of 2017 has had one underlying theme — Artificial intelligence."

Photo: PCMag India
Every major tech headline of 2017 has had one underlying theme — Artificial intelligence (AI). It has been all about AI, machine learning or deep learning. In 2017, we saw the rise of GPU makers like Nvidia as their products took the lead in driving the focus towards hardware solutions tailored for AI. Interestingly we also saw some phones that have started to come with dedicated hardware optimised for AI. If 2017 is an indicator, 2018 is likely to be the year of AI of phones. Every year we see one underlying technology come to the fore. For 2017, we could say it was bezel-less screens, like 2016 was the year of dual camera phones and 2018, could very well be the year of phones that tout AI optimised hardware.

Who innovated in 2017 
Right now, there are three to four companies that come to mind. Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are the likely contenders who could take the lead in this space. Huawei and Apple design their own processors and have already added dedicated neural processing units in their latest Kirin 970 and A11 processors which are used in phones like the soon to be launched Honor View 10 and iPhone 8 / iPhone X. Google has designed the Pixel Vision Core co-processor which has been activated with the Android Oreo 8.1 update and going by Samsung’s intense focus on Bixby it could be working on something as well. AI services and ambient computing concepts are a big priority at Samsung and there is a high possibility that it could be working on something that augments and enhances Bixby in its Galaxy S9, though Samsung didn’t announce anything specific for AI when it announced the Exynos 9810 processor in November...

Who is likely to lead in 2018 
It goes without saying that Apple is going to be a leader in this space having been the first company to have a neural chip in a phone that’s sold at scale. Apple has been a big proponent of on-device processing for privacy purposes as well. The next generation of the iPhone will obviously be a big deal; however, one shouldn’t discount the current iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models which all also have this neural engine.

At the high-end of the spectrum, you can expect Google to double down on AI focused hardware. The Pixel Vision Core was its first attempt. For the Pixel 3, there could be something more advanced. Imagine, without even a processor on a phone that supports on-device machine learning Google was able to achieve incredible results on the Pixel 2 especially with the camera! Google was able to use its machine learning prowess to enable a portrait mode using just one camera. But then again, Google is the quintessential AI company. Google also bought HTC’s smartphone team to double down on the Pixel line, so one should expect something crazy AI focussed from Google in the latter half of 2018.

Samsung has been making some big jumps in the AI space. It bought Viv in 2016, which was created by the team behind Apple’s Siri. It then launched Bixby and has been expanding it as a platform. There is no hardware as of now to speak of, but Samsung can or rather should change this. It will be very surprising if they don’t have a mobile co-processor for AI for its phone next year.

Huawei is not be left alone in this space. Along with Apple, it is a leader in this space. It’s first AI focussed device was the Honor Magic which was a China focussed device. This year with the launch of the Kirin 970 processor, Huawei launched the Mate 10 devices this year, which have a huge AI focus. Yes, they may not sell even half as much as the iPhone, but for the Android pack, they have been leading AI implementations from a hardware perspective.
Read more... 

Source: PCMag India

Using Machine Learning To Study The String Landscape | Science Trends - Tech

Journal of High Energy PhysicsThe study, Machine learning in the string landscape was recently published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
Is fundamental physics unified into a single theory governing all known phenomena, or are we forced to accept a fractured state of affairs where different phenomena are addressed by different theories? reports James Halverson and Brent Nelson.

This question has long been of first importance to theoretical physicists. Einstein, for example, spent many of his later years in search for a unified theory, with little success. Despite his brilliance, the deck was stacked against him, as certain aspects of fundamental physics such as the strong and weak nuclear forces were only just being discovered at the end of his life.

Today we have a more complete picture of the interactions of elementary particles and also a strong sense of what is difficult in the search for a unified theory: combining general relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity, with quantum mechanics. The search for a unified theory is, therefore, a search for a quantum theory of gravity that has the ability to recover known phenomena in particle physics and cosmology, including the entire standard model of particle physics that has been tested for decades at particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. This search continues today.

String is a quantum theory of gravity that is perhaps the most promising candidate for a unified theory of physics. It satisfies a number of non-trivial necessary conditions that must be satisfied by any unified theory, including recovering general relativity at long distances and naturally giving rise to the building blocks of realistic cosmological and particle sectors. For these reasons string theory has been a primary focus of theoretical high energy physicists since an important breakthrough in 1984. In addition to continued progress toward unification, string theory has also spawned new subfields in physics and mathematics.

However, its extra dimensions of space must be wrapped up in a “compactification” in order to recover the three spatial dimensions that we observe, and there are many possible ways to do so. There are also many possible configurations of generalizations of electromagnetic fluxes in the extra dimensions. Together, these lead to a large “landscape” of solutions, known as vacua, and the different solutions realize many different incarnations of particle physics and cosmology. Taming the landscape is, therefore, a central problem in theoretical physics, and is critical to making progress in understanding unification in string theory.
Read more... 

Additional resources 
Machine learning in the string landscape (PDF) - Journal of High Energy Physics (2017)
"We utilize machine learning to study the string landscape"

Source: Science Trends

Let’s Have More Engagement From Lecturers | The University Times - Comment & Analysis

"In Trinity, we have world-leading lecturers with so much to give. Wouldn't increased student-lecturer contact make College a better place?" according to Alanna MacNamee, Contributing Writer. 

I recently met with one of my lecturers to discuss prospective essay titles for an upcoming assignment. Full disclosure: it was probably one of the most anxiety-inducing events of my month thus far (and I have the dubious pleasure of working in a bar during Twelve Pubs December).

I had to do pre-meeting deep breaths and I was horribly nervous about a potential handshake because my palms were so sweaty. I had to have a strong coffee afterwards.

I am an anxious person generally, and I would have to concede that my reaction was probably more extreme than that of the average student. But in light of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement’s findings about student dissatisfaction with student-staff interaction, I wonder whether my discomfort actually speaks to a university culture in which interactions between lecturers and students are all too rare, so much so that a face-to-face meeting becomes an occasion for worry and stress.

Seemingly, the major finding of the survey was that the interactions between students and staff were extremely dissatisfying as regards career plans and non-course specific activities and ideas. When I read this, my initial reaction was to wonder whether this was fair: can students really expect overworked lecturers to act as career guidance counsellors or to be involved in university life? 
If students feel as though lecturers are involved in university life surely they will feel more comfortable approaching their lecturers for advice and assistance?
On reflection, I think that maybe they can. If students feel as though lecturers are involved in university life, if they can establish a rapport, if not a relationship, surely they will feel more comfortable approaching their lecturers for advice and assistance? Furthermore, we are extremely fortunate in Trinity to have genuinely world-leading lecturers who would probably be better placed, with their experiential knowledge and contacts, than a generic guidance counsellor to provide students with subject-specific, real-world career advice.
Read more... 

Source: The University Times 

Things college professors called 'racist' in 2017 | Fox News - Education

Photo: Caleb ParkeCaleb Parke, associate editor for reports, "It seems like everything is racist these days, especially when it comes to American college campuses."
Professors have labeled everything from mathematics to college football as racist in 2017. 
Photo: istock In the era of microaggressions, trigger warnings, and “safe spaces,” professors, in their efforts to purge the world of racism, have labeled just about everything under the sun – and moon – as such.
Here are a few of the more off-the-wall ones from 2017:


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A math education professor at the University of Illinois argues that white privilege is bolstered by teaching mathematics.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as whiteness,” Rochelle Gutierrez wrote. “Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as white.”

Farmers’ markets
Did you know that “farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized”?

According to two geology professors at San Diego State University, farmers’ markets are contributing to “environmental gentrification.” 
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Source: Fox News 

Robo teaching is code for learning | Noosa News

"PEREGIAN Springs pre-service teacher Gillian Larcombe is helping create resources to impart coding skills and robotic programing to children from Prep to Year 6" notes Noosa News.

NEW FIELD: USC pre-service teacher Gillian Larcombe is testing new learning ground.
Photo: ContributedGillian is one of five University of the Sunshine Coast education students who recently worked with Meridan State College to evaluate the resources they had created.

She also presented these resources at a coding and robotics workshop for regional teachers at the Digital Tech Expo at Mountain Creek State High School.

USC associate education lecturer Natalie McMaster said the project, called Digital Learning Designers, was an innovative way for the university students to gain wider field experience and contribute to the profe- ssion to which they aspired.

Ms McMaster said the USC students each took home a robot to work out how its functions could link to school subjects other than digital technology.
Read more... 

Source: Noosa News

New Digital Learning Initiative Moves Fulton Students Into 21st Century | Oswego Daily News - Community

"The Fulton City School District has embarked on a Digital Learning Initiative to provide digital equality as a way to empower all students with 21st Century tools" continues Oswego Daily News.

Fulton seventh graders utilize Chromebooks during a math lesson in Todd Parks’ classroom. Through the Fulton City School District’s Digital Learning Initiative, all students will eventually have access to Chromebooks to enhance their learning.
Photo: Oswego Daily News
FCSD Technology Director Dominick Lisi said the undertaking will provide each student in grades three through 12 with a Chromebook, while the district will also explore age-appropriate solutions for students in grades kindergarten through second.

“These devices open up the world to both teachers and students which are traditionally limited by resources and classroom environments designed for 19th Century learners,” he said. “Projects like the DLI provide our young learners with the resources, tools and instructional methodologies that will help prepare them for the future.”

Utilization of Chromebooks will foster immersion and engagement in academic lessons across core areas and facilitate critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Lisi said as technology changes, the district will explore other device options that may best fit learning needs.

As of Dec. 15, all FCSD students in grades three, four, seven and eight were assigned Chomebooks, while the implementation of the device for students in grades five, six and nine through 12 will occur in the fall of 2018.

As the DLI moves forward, the district will provide a series of professional development strategies, programs and resources to fully prepare instructional staff for impending changes.

Diverse DLI connections for teachers are also available on the new FCSD Technology and Professional Development website to help the Fulton learning community follow the project, find relevant information and access professional development tools and resources.

The ongoing project began last year with pilot programs in several classrooms. Building upon knowledge gained throughout other districts across the nation will further ensure successful fulfillment of the local initiative, Lisi said.

Source: Oswego Daily News

Artscape: Striking A New Chord, Part 2 | Rhode Island Public Radio - Arts & Culture

"In part 2 of our series, "Striking a New Chord: A 15-Week Journey To Learning An Instrument," RIPR’s Morning Host Chuck Hinman continues to follow a group of adults learning to play string instruments for the first time." 

Beginners' ensemble at practice
Photo: Chuck Hinman / RIP
To really appreciate what it takes to learn this new skill, Hinman himself is part of the class and learning the cello. 

At this point, the class has completed more than half of the 15 scheduled weekly lessons, organized by the Community String Project, an group that specializes in making string lessons accessible and affordable to adults and children.

The students have been learning the basics: how to read music, use the bow and finger the notes, and how to develop their rhythm skills. It's all leading up to a concert recital at the end of January.

"As of right now, it's going to be Wednesday, January 31st," said the ensemble's teacher, Nathan Rodriguez. "We'll be playing in the Grand Ballroom at Linden Place, in Bristol."

Describing his experience learning to play the cello, RIPR's Chuck Hinman said he's been finding it rewarding, but also a bit frustrating, especially the practicing part. 

"It's a lonely activity," he said. "Just me and my impatience with the speed of my improvement."

But Hinman is quick to add that he's discovered an unexpected benefit to this attempt to learn the cello as an adult. It may be helping him avoid some serious brain disorders brought on by aging. 

"Research shows that learning to use a musical instrument in older age can help protect you against dementia and Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Jessica Alber, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program in Providence.
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Additional resources 
 Adult beginners, including RIPR's Chuck Hinman, on their first day of class.
Photo: RIPR

Artscape: Striking A New Chord by Chuck Hinman, Morning Edition host at Rhode Island Public Radio.   

"...RIPR’s Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman follows a beginning adult ensemble class for violin, viola, cello and bass in Bristol, RI."

Source: Rhode Island Public Radio     

The Importance Of Reflection And Free E-Learning | - Blog

Stefan Paulo, passionate about digital technologies and try to implement them in the sphere of education says, "We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got”."
But what many of us don’t realise is how to elevate ourselves, a process where reflection is key. The science and psychology behind reflection is telling and can be traced back to human instinct. We know intuitively that the only mistakes we ever make are the ones we don’t learn and grow from.

Until now it has been widely accepted that reflection meant being able to successfully question what you did and didn't do well in a situation. Now, however, one must challenge the world around them which requires distancing oneself from the passive listing of positives and negatives. And adopting an active approach that not only aids self-reflection, but may lead to self-discovery. As a tool, reflection encourages learning and without it we may never truly grow.

So what active reflection routes can you can take to maximise your personal growth? Consider enrolling on an online training course. Online courses allow you to work with a coach who guides your reflection through challenging and teaching - proven to be one of the most effective routes to reflection. No matter how remote your location thousands of online schemes offer you the flexibility to learn from home and can be tailored to suit your schedule. To assist you in making the best choice of online scheme, we have narrowed down our favorite five.

For the creative individual, the International career institute offers many design courses including Fashion and Jewelry Design. Both courses are 14-31 weeks long and are available in three-levels of completion: Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma. And with no previous work or education requirements needed for entry, you can enroll at any time. 

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