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Sunday, August 20, 2017

New learning portal = More screen time? | The Straits Times

"Parents worry kids may be glued to devices; experts say students can be taught to manage time" insist Calvin Yang.

Social studies teacher Tay Peiyong with his students from Admiralty Secondary School on Wednesday. The school is one of 62 where the Singapore Student Learning Space is being piloted.
ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

While parents are excited about the new e-learning platform that gives students access to a range of learning tools, they worry it will mean more screen time for their children.

The Singapore Student Learning Space, which is being piloted at 62 primary and secondary schools, will be rolled out to all schools from next year.

With the online platform, students can learn at their own pace anywhere, any time by having access to videos, games and animations that will reinforce the learning of subjects, including English, mathematics, history and even physical education.

Mr Joseph Chua, 40, who is self- employed and has an 11-year-old son, said: "Students can use these valuable resources and learn at their own pace."

But another parent, Mrs Patricia Tan, 41, worries that her 10-year- old son may end up spending too much time on devices. "They may end up fiddling with their devices even when they are not using the resources," she said.

Studies bear out her concern.

A recent one by think-tank DQ Institute and Nanyang Technological University found that 12-year-olds already spend almost 46 hours a week - or over 6½ hours daily - glued to a screen. Even nine-year- olds are spending over 24 hours a week, or about 3½hours daily, doing the same.

However, National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah believes that with the portal, students may learn to better use their screen time.
Read more...

Source: The Straits Times  


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How Advancements In AI Could Radically Change The Way Children Learn In The Classroom | Forbes - CommunityVoice

Photo: Andrew B. Raupp
"To best equip tomorrow's leaders, we must provide students with technologically rich, dynamic learning tools that emphasize critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills" summarizes Andrew B. Raupp, Founder @stemdotorg, democratizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through sound policy globally.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

Advances in technology continue to change the way we live, earn a living and learn. These shifts affect not only the types of courses that college students take, but also may soon alter the very capacity of our brains’ abilities to create and store memories. The story of how technology affects the way we live and learn is one that is still being written, but we’re excited to track the ways in which the future is already happening -- in our classrooms and in our minds.

Distance Learning, Online Learning
According to a 2017 study, 30% of all enrolled higher education students take at least one distance learning course. Distance learning refers to any courses that take place fully in an online space with no in-person meetings or class requirements. Distance learning classes typically feature a blend of learning approaches, some traditional and some more innovative.

One innovative approach that’s being used in both distance learning courses as well as in-person courses is commonly referred to as online learning. Unlike distance learning, online learning does not necessarily happen far from the classroom walls; rather, online learning refers to a blended learning strategy that incorporates online learning tools into the classroom experience. 

Online learning allows students to learn in a broader range of styles instead of simply sitting and listening to an instructor. It's also the form of learning that is conducive to the advancements being made in artificial intelligence, and is arguably more effective for the needs of our modern workplace. But there are new challenges that come along with new approaches as well.
Read more...

Source: Forbes


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Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs | WIRED

Follow on Twitter as @JamesSurowiecki
"Everyone thinks automation will take all our jobs. The evidence disagrees" says James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and a senior story producer at VICE News Tonight.

Photo: zohar lazar. lettering by braulio amado.

Last year, the Japanese company SoftBank opened a cell phone store in Tokyo and staffed it entirely with sales associates named Pepper. This wasn’t as hard as it sounds, since all the Peppers were robots.

Humanoid robots, to be more precise, which SoftBank describes as “kindly, endearing, and surprising.” Each Pepper is equipped with three multidirectional wheels, an anticollision system, multiple sensors, a pair of arms, and a chest-mounted tablet that allows customers to enter information. Pepper can “express his own emotions” and use a 3-D camera and two HD cameras “to identify movements and recognize the emotions on the faces of his interlocutors.”

The talking bot can supposedly identify joy, sadness, anger, and surprise and determine whether a person is in a good or bad mood—abilities that Pepper’s engineers figured would make “him” an ideal personal assistant or salesperson. And sure enough, there are more than 10,000 Peppers now at work in SoftBank stores, Pizza Huts, cruise ships, homes, and elsewhere.

In a less anxious world, Pepper might come across as a cute technological novelty. But for many pundits and prognosticators, he’s a sign of something much more grave: the growing obsolescence of human workers. (Images of the doe-eyed Pepper have accompanied numerous articles with variations on the headline “robots are coming for your job.”)

Over the past few years, it has become conventional wisdom that dramatic advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have put us on the path to a jobless future. We are living in the midst of a “second machine age,” to quote the title of the influential book by MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, in which routine work of all kinds—in manufacturing, sales, bookkeeping, food prep—is being automated at a steady clip, and even complex analytical jobs will be superseded before long. A widely cited 2013 study by researchers at the University of Oxford, for instance, found that nearly half of all jobs in the US were at risk of being fully automated over the next 20 years. The endgame, we’re told, is inevitable: The robots are on the march, and human labor is in retreat.
Read more... 

Source: WIRED


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Friday, August 18, 2017

Digital inclusion leaves older Australians out | Talking Aged Care

"The latest results on Australia’s Digital Inclusion Index have revealed that people aged over 65 are among those scoring the lowest on digital inclusion" continues Talking Aged Care.

Photo: Pexels

Focusing on three key areas of digital inclusion: access, affordability and digital ability, not only does it see older Australians among the lowest scoring, it also shows that as older people age, their digital inclusion declines. It also reports that among older Australians, women are less digitally included.

While the Australian Government has been offering digital support for older Australians through Broadband for Seniors since 2008, National Seniors Advocate Ian Henschke says it is clear from the research that more work needs to be done to ensure older Australians are not missing out.

“The facts are quite clear – there is lots of research and data that shows that we have got issues when it comes to digital inclusion and older Australians and we have to accept the fact that it is a big problem,” Mr Henschke says.

“The over 65’s is a large group of people and something that we need to take into account is that more people are accessing services online and to have this large group of people missing out is a huge issue.
 
“It’s not just older Australians missing out and not able to be digitally inclusive, those from low-socio economic areas are impacted too which shows that this is a cost and educational issue.”

The new Be Connected program that the Australian Government announced late last year is currently in the development stages and aims to build on the framework of Broadband for Seniors to provide a family and community approach to supporting, coaching and teaching older Australians to improve their skills and confidence using digital technologies. 
Read more...

Source: Talking Aged Care


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Bhagwant University – Offering Higher Education A Special Meaning | eGov Magazine - Elets

Follow on Twitter as @IamDrAnilSingh
It is must to develop professional competence in students and faculties to use their intrinsic potential for uplift of the society, says Dr Anil Singh, Chairman, Bhagwant Group, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
 
Photo: Bhagwant University

To make students professionally competent, what strategies are being adopted by Bhagwant University in teaching-learning process?
Bhagwant University, located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, is a co-educational private university, which emphasises on practical training of students. We encourage students to organise and participate in seminars and workshops. Eminent industry leaders, professionals and esteemed professors are invited to deliberate on latest industry trends and technologies. Technical experts from reputed organisations are employed as senior faculty members to teach and guide students about core subjects, practical training and projects.

Tell us about the academic departments and researches being conducted at the university. Are there any corporate sponsored researches and courses available at the university?
Bhagwant University lays strong emphasis on the sponsored research, collaborative research funded by the national and international agencies. The institute has set up modern laboratories. Faculty members of the institute maintain strong industrial links by undertaking consultancy assignments and run short-term company specific training programmes. To achieve enhanced industrial participation in the engineering education, the institute has taken various initiatives to start the industry sponsored masters degree programmes.

Read more...

Source: eGov Magazine - Elets


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Overview - Research Network | Dublin City University


The Digital Learning Research Network fosters a network of leaders and strong communities of practice at the forefront of research on new models of teaching and learning. 

Figure 1: Research and Innovation Framework

Additionally it aims to engage strategically with professional bodies and key external stakeholders in order to influence policy and benchmark the effective use of digital, blended and online learning against international best practices. 

The activities of the Research Network are anchored around the four main platforms of a wider Research and Innovation Framework (see Figure 1), where strong emphasis is placed on fostering Innovation and contributing to Societal impact. More specially, we try to frame our research activities and interests around the following broad research strands:
  • Life-long Learning
  • Opening Up Education
  • Student Transitions and Success
  • Curriculum Innovation and Teaching Enhancement
  • Learning Futures
The work of the Research Network also interfaces with other research centres and defined areas of interest and expertise in DCU's Institute of Education. A distributed leadership model is adopted by the Research Network to harness the skills and expertise of members. The Research Network currently includes over 50 staff with a research interest in Digital Learning and who individually and collectively have a track record of producing a wide range of scholarly outputs in the area. In this respect the Digital Learning Research Network brings together a unique mix of leading scholars and professional educators across Dublin City University (DCU), with considerable expertise in a range of levels, disciplines, methodologies and technologies. A small Steering Group guides the Network’s activities and a dedicated email listserv is used to facilitate regular communiction amongst members. We maintain links to a number of research and development centres within Dublin City University (DCU) and our International Advisory Board also helps to keep us focussed on achieving our overarching mission and strategic objectives. 


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Study Philosophy With Me In Fall 2017! | Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

"Year round, I enroll new students in my live, interactive, private, personalized online philosophy classes but I typically launch the most new classes in September when the most people feel like getting started. This year is no exception" says Daniel Fincke, APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor.

Photo: Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

Below is the full roster of classes I have tentatively scheduled to run starting in September 2017 and information on a limited time deal.

*Try out my classes for free with a no-commitment trial! Write me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com or friend me and write to me on Facebook in order to schedule one or to get to know me and keep in touch with an eye towards taking one in the future.

*Classes are $42/session, with a choice of recording or refunds for missed sessions.

*A Special Back-to-School Rate is available until September 9, 2017. The School Year Subscription costs $1,276 and covers weekly classes from September 2017 through May, 2018. At just $33.58/session for 38 sessions you save 20% savings compared to the $42 Weekly Subscription rate. To get a similar discount (22%/session) for a full year’s worth of classes purchases the Year Long Subscription for $1,699. See details on each payment plan below.

*Immediately below is a tentative list of the classes you can take with me from September 2017 onward, subject to changes to accommodate the most number of students. Click on course titles for course descriptions. Some of the classes are ongoing ones that have been running for a while already. You can join them midstream without worrying about what you missed. Others are brand new and labeled “NEW” below. Write me with your schedule and your interests if none of these class times or topics fits your interests.

I earned my PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University. I wrote my dissertation on Ethics and Nietzsche’s philosophy. Over 11 years I taught 2,500 university students spread across 93 classes from 7 universities.

Since January 2013 I have been leading self-motivated independent learners from around the world in small group and 1-on-1 classes. My small group online classes offer you live, dynamic, interactive class discussions with other students and me, held over videoconference (using Google Hangout, which downloads in just seconds). Classes are flexible enough to meet the needs of both beginners and students with existing philosophical background. Usually we read a primary or secondary philosophical text together live in class, using Google Hangout’s easy and convenient screen-share feature, and discuss it as we go. In more introductory style courses I will also overview some concepts in a traditional lecture style before opening the floor for discussion. In either case, classes wind up tailored to your specific interests, ideas, and questions related to the material as vigorous, rigorous, and potentially wide-ranging class discussions almost inevitably emerge in response to the ideas we are covering and these freewheeling discussions determine the direction of the class from there. My classes are university quality but I offer no university credit whatsoever.

I typically propose whole new classes in January, June, and September. But I also wind up starting new classes in other months when students come available then instead. I schedule all classes by learning the regular time availabilities and topic interests of potential participants and putting as many people together with classmates as possible. I run as many sections of a class as necessary to accommodate everyone. 
Read more...

Source: Camels With Hammers


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A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry | New York Times

Photo: Kyle Spencer
"Mastery-based learning allows students to learn at their own pace" reports Kyle Spencer, award-winning journalist and frequent New York Times contributor.
Students at Flushing International High School in Queens working on projects during a summer program.
Photo: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Few middle schoolers are as clued in to their mathematical strengths and weakness as Moheeb Kaied. Now a seventh grader at Brooklyn’s Middle School 442, he can easily rattle off his computational profile.

“Let’s see,” he said one morning this spring. “I can find the area and perimeter of a polygon. I can solve mathematical and real-world problems using a coordinate plane. I still need to get better at dividing multiple-digit numbers, which means I should probably practice that more.”

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests. Ten school districts in Illinois, including Chicago’s, are testing the approach. In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature approved 19 incubator programs to explore the practice.

More than 40 schools in New York City home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement. In communities where the shift was mandated — high schools in and around Portland, Me., for example — the method faced considerable resistance from parents and teachers annoyed that the time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, change has come from top-tier school administrators. Some contend that giving students an unlimited amount of time to master every classroom lesson is unrealistic and inefficient.

New York City Department of Education officials have taken a contrasting position. The city has a growing program called the Mastery Collaborative, which helps mastery-based schools share their methods around the city, even as they adopt different styles. To date, there are eight lab schools, whose practices are being tested, honed and highlighted for transitioning schools. M.S. 442 is one of them. Some struggling schools hope the shift will raise test scores. But the method is also growing in popularity among high-performing, progressive schools, as well as those catering to gifted and talented students and newly arriving immigrants.

This fall, the Education Department plans to spread the method further, by inviting schools to see how the Mastery Collaborative works, even if they aren’t yet considering making the switch. They will be encouraged to attend workshops and tour schools, with the hope, one D.O.E. official said, that they will find elements that they can use in their own classrooms.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times


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You Need an Afternoon Routine | Lifehacker

Photo: Patrick Allan
"People are always telling you how to maximize your mornings, but your morning routine—whatever it may be—is fine. What you really need is an afternoon routine" according to Patrick Allan, Staff Writer, Lifehacker.com.

Photo: www.sarasotahistoryalive.com

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to start your day off on the right foot. For me that means chugging a glass of water, walking the dog, making a quick protein-rich breakfast, then having a cup of strong black coffee. After that, I sit down to scan for important emails, check Slack, put on some music that matches my mood that day, then get started writing. It hasn’t changed much for me in the last few years.

But come afternoon, my energy dips. I’m still full from lunch (food coma time), I’m drained from my morning writing session, my focus starts to fade so I start to mindlessly browse the internet, and my video games and Netflix queue are whispering sweet nothings in my ear. You probably know the feeling. The afternoon is when distractions have the most power—you’re fatigued, irritable, and way more impulsive. So I had to come up with a routine that kept me productive in the afternoon yet still acknowledged my natural workflow. Here’s what I recommend.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading


When to Stop Trying to Win an Argument by Patrick Allan.
"This week’s selection comes from Epictetus."

Source: Lifehacker  


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Educational Approach | University of Denver


Learn by doing at University of Denver

At DU, we believe the genius is in the doing. Students take part in small, focused classes, where they improve understanding through conversations that draw from the vast range of experiences and perspectives of our diverse community.
 

Photo: University of Denver

Learning here goes far beyond the lecture hall. We create opportunities for research, scholarship, performance and engagement. Our students collaborate with peers and faculty across disciplines and explore the subjects that move them. Our students develop important skills, find meaning and fuel their passions through exploration and collaboration with peers and faculty across disciplines.

Our students work with professors and patients to examine how chemicals in foods like tea and chocolate could help with the effects of ALS. They collaborate with Nike to develop footwear that enhances performance and reduces injuries. Immersion programs prepare students to provide aid in humanitarian crises and understand the health needs and difficulties of the homeless.

Students gain knowledge and direction from lively, discussion-based classes, internships and community engagement. They work here in Denver to ensure children in the foster system have the support they need and collaborate with locals in Panama to protect biodiversity. Wherever they are, we make sure our students can use their passion to create a better world.


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How A.I. Is Creating Building Blocks to Reshape Music and Art | New York Times - Technology

Follow on Twitter as @CadeMetz
"Project Magenta, a team at Google, is crossbreeding sounds from different instruments based on neural networks and building networks that can draw" notes Cade Metz

An artwork created using DeepDream, which researchers at Google developed in 2015. The newer work at Google, with Project Magenta, involves music, and has led to creation of a tool called NSynth.
Photo: New York Times

In the mid-1990s, Douglas Eck worked as a database programmer in Albuquerque while moonlighting as a musician. After a day spent writing computer code inside a lab run by the Department of Energy, he would take the stage at a local juke joint, playing what he calls “punk-influenced bluegrass” — “Johnny Rotten crossed with Johnny Cash.” But what he really wanted to do was combine his days and nights, and build machines that could make their own songs. “My only goal in life was to mix A.I. and music,” Mr. Eck said.

It was a naïve ambition. Enrolling as a graduate student at Indiana University, in Bloomington, not far from where he grew up, he pitched the idea to Douglas Hofstadter, the cognitive scientist who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book on minds and machines, “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.” Mr. Hofstadter turned him down, adamant that even the latest artificial intelligence techniques were much too primitive. But over the next two decades, working on the fringe of academia, Mr. Eck kept chasing the idea, and eventually, the A.I. caught up with his ambition.

Last spring, a few years after taking a research job at Google, Mr. Eck pitched the same idea he pitched Mr. Hofstadter all those years ago. The result is Project Magenta, a team of Google researchers who are teaching machines to create not only their own music but also to make so many other forms of art, including sketches, videos and jokes. With its empire of smartphones, apps and internet services, Google is in the business of communication, and Mr. Eck sees Magenta as a natural extension of this work.

“It’s about creating new ways for people to communicate,” he said during a recent interview inside the small two-story building here that serves as headquarters for Google A.I. research.

The project is part of a growing effort to generate art through a set of A.I. techniques that have only recently come of age. Called deep neural networks, these complex mathematical systems allow machines to learn specific behavior by analyzing vast amounts of data. By looking for common patterns in millions of bicycle photos, for instance, a neural network can learn to recognize a bike. This is how Facebook identifies faces in online photos, how Android phones recognize commands spoken into phones, and how Microsoft Skype translates one language into another. But these complex systems can also create art. By analyzing a set of songs, for instance, they can learn to build similar sounds.

As Mr. Eck says, these systems are at least approaching the point — still many, many years away — when a machine can instantly build a new Beatles song or perhaps trillions of new Beatles songs, each sounding a lot like the music the Beatles themselves recorded, but also a little different. But that end game — as much a way of undermining art as creating it — is not what he is after. There are so many other paths to explore beyond mere mimicry. The ultimate idea is not to replace artists but to give them tools that allow them to create in entirely new ways.
Read more...

Source: New York Times


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New lunchtime learning classes to offer languages, art, music and more | Imperial College London

Photo: Andrew Czyzewski
"Imperial's Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication is due to launch a new programme of lunchtime classes for staff, students and visitors" summarizes Andrew Czyzewski, Central Faculty, Communications and Public Affairs.

Maria Fernandez, Spanish Teacher
Photo: Imperial College London

The classes at South Kensington include Spanish, French and Italian language at beginner or conversational level; Music for Listening; The Joy of Art; Creative Writing; Photography; and London (Art, Literature and People).

The Lunchtime Learning series builds on the success of Imperial’s ever-popular Evening Classes which have inspired many people, helped them navigate different countries and even launched new careers.

Photo: Anna Nyburg, 
Imperial College London
Dr Anna Nyburg is Coordinator of Evening Classes and has been involved in teaching humanities subjects at Imperial since 1989.

“This all came about because I represent the Centre [for Languages, Culture and Communication] at Imperial Insights - a meet and greet session for new staff. I was increasingly hearing people express an interest in the Evening Classes, but they simply couldn’t consider it because they had a young family or other important commitments. So we’re trialling it this year, and if it’s successful we’ll have a larger offering next year.”

Anna also notes that the lunchtime classes offer the chance to break up the day, and do ‘something for yourself’ and also helps with the overall work-life balance...

Registration for the Lunchtime Classes opens on 1 September, with classes commencing in October. For more information and to enrol, please visit: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/centre-for-languages-culture-and-communication/lunchtime-learning/
Read more... 

Source: Imperial College London 


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How Machine Learning Is Helping Morgan Stanley Better Understand Client Needs | Harvard Business Review - Technology

Photo: Thomas H. Davenport
Photo: Randy Bean
"Investment advisers are using technology to build deeper relationships" says Thomas H. Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor in Management and Information Technology at Babson College and Randy Bean, CEO and managing partner of consultancy NewVantage Partners. 

Photo:  Harvard Business Review

Systems that provide automated investment advice from financial firms have been referred to as robo-advisers. While no one in the industry is particularly fond of the term, it has caught on nonetheless. However, the enhanced human advising process — augmented by machine learning — that was recently announced by Morgan Stanley goes well beyond the robo label, and may help to finally kill off the term.
 
New York–based Morgan Stanley, in business since 1935, has been known as one of the more human-centric firms in the retail investing industry. It has 16,000 financial advisors (FAs), who historically have maintained strong relationships with their investor clients through such traditional channels as face-to-face meetings and phone calls. However, the firm knows that these labor-intensive channels limit the number of possible relationships and appeal primarily to older investors (according to a Deloitte study, the average wealth management client in the U.S. across the industry is over 60).

So Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business unit has been working for several years on a “next best action” system that FAs could use to make their advice both more efficient and more effective. The first version of the system, which used rule-based approaches to suggesting investment options, is being replaced by a system that employs machine learning to match investment possibilities to client preferences. There are far too many investing options today for FAs to keep track of them all and present them to clients. And if something momentous happens in the marketplace — for example, the Brexit vote and the resulting decline in UK-based stocks — it’s impossible for FAs to reach out personally to all their clients in a short timeframe.

The next best action system at Morgan Stanley, then, is focused on three separate objectives — only one of which is common in the robo-adviser market. There is, of course, a set of investment insights and choices for clients. In most existing machine advice, the recommended investments are strictly passive, that is, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. The Morgan Stanley system can offer those if the client prefers them, but can also present individual stocks or bonds based on the firm’s research. The FA is given several ideas to offer the client and can use their own judgment as to whether to pass along any or all of them.
 
The second aspect of the system is to provide operational alerts. These might include margin calls, low-cash-balance alerts, or notifications of significant increases or decreases in the client’s portfolio. They might also include noteworthy events in financial markets, such as the aforementioned Brexit vote. FAs can combine personalized text with the alert and send it out over a variety of communications channels.

Finally, the Morgan Stanley system includes content on life events. If, for example, a client had a child with a certain illness, the system could recommend the best local hospitals, schools, and financial strategies for dealing with the illness. That life-event content isn’t found in other machine advisor systems, and has the potential to help create a trusting and value-adding relationship between clients and FAs.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Photo:  Harvard Business Review
How the Imagined “Rationality” of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity — and Engineering by Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and Marina Multhaup, Research & Policy Fellow for the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
"Just how common are the views on gender espoused in the memo that former Google engineer James Damore was recently fired for distributing on an internal company message board"

Source: Harvard Business Review


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The 35 New Skills You Can Now Learn at LinkedIn Learning | The Learning Blog - New Courses

"Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge" inform The Learning Blog.


And, at LinkedIn Learning Solutions, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 10,000-plus course library. And this week was no different, as we added 32 new courses covering everything from managing high performers to creating a go-to-market plan to data visualization.

The new courses now available at LinkedIn Learning are:
Read more...

Source: The Learning Blog  


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Was the First Eclipse Prediction an Act of Genius, a Brilliant Mistake, or Dumb Luck? | Atlas Obscura - Eclipse Madness

Photo: Natasha Frost
It is hard to predict an eclipse when you think the world is flat, notes Natasha Frost, British-Kiwi hybrid and Atlas Obscura Editorial Fellow.

Thales, in an 18th-century engraving by F. Ramberg.  
Photo: Wellcome Images/Public Domain


The year was 585 B.C., and the Lydians and the Medes had been warring for half a decade in what we now know as Turkey. No clear victory was in sight. Sometimes the Lydians were on top, on other occasions, the Medes seemed to have matters in hand. Once they even fought a battle in the dead of night. But, in the sixth year of their war, as they brandished their arms on the battlefield, something amazing happened. The skies began to darken. The moon passed in front of the sun. The armies, astonished, lay down their weapons—and called a truce.

This story comes to us via Herodotus, the Greek historian, who lived about a century after the fight. What’s perhaps more remarkable about this story is the line that follows it: “Thales of Miletus had foretold this loss of daylight to the Ionians, fixing it within the year in which the change did indeed happen.”

The ancient philosopher Thales of Miletus had no access to the scientific knowledge or equipment to successfully predict a solar eclipse. As a result, this story has puzzled and divided classicists and scientists for centuries. Was it preternaturally sophisticated astronomy, a myth, or just a happy accident?

Researchers believe that the eclipse Herodotus describes over the battlefield is the one that took place on May 28, 585 B.C. Its path ran from Nicaragua, over the Atlantic, then across France and Italy—and, finally, Turkey. Thales’s home, the ancient city of Miletus, on the Mediterranean coast, is just outside the path of totality. He would have seen an impressive partial eclipse from there. There are other eclipses around that time that are possible candidates, but none that would have plunged the Lydians and Medes into abrupt darkness in the way that Herodotus describes.

It is particularly strange, if the historian is to be taken at his word, that Thales predicted the year of the eclipse, rather than the exact date. In fact, wrote mathematician Dmitri Pachenko in the Journal for the History of Astronomy, “if one can predict an eclipse at all, one can predict it to the day.” Astronomy is an extremely precise science. If you know a major celestial event is coming, and where it will be visible, you’ll most likely have some precision about when it will take place. Thales, however, was at a marked disadvantage for making astronomical predictions. He didn’t know that the Earth is spherical—and seems to have thought of it as a flat disc, resting on water. 

So how did he do it? A common suggestion is that Thales had coopted the expertise of the ancient Babylonians. Their astronomers, based near modern Baghdad, kept careful records of the sky, including how Venus, Mercury, the Sun, and the Moon moved in the heavens. In 1063 B.C., their records document a total eclipse “that turned day into night.” These records led them to discover what we now call the Saros cycle, which governs the recurrence of eclipses. After three 223-month Saros series, eclipses do return to the same geographic region, but they are a complicated way to make an eclipse prediction. At any given moment, there are approximately 40 Saros cycles taking place at once, carrying on for over 1,000 years. As old sets of cycles end, new ones begin. Understanding them enough to be predictive, at the very least, requires the knowledge that the Earth is round and accurate, detailed observations—not to mention accounting for those missed eclipses that take place on cloudy days.

Thales did feats of mathematics that might have looked like magic to his contemporaries, including calculating the height of the pyramids from the length of their shadows. He was a legend. It’s possible, then, that his famous prediction was, too. People so readily accepted his claims—that magnets have souls because they make things move, that earthquakes happen because the Earth is floating on water, that all things are full of gods—that it wasn’t much of a stretch to believe he could have predicted mysterious happenings in the sky.

Natasha Frost ends his article with the following: Thales did feats of mathematics that might have looked like magic to his contemporaries, including calculating the height of the pyramids from the length of their shadows. He was a legend. It’s possible, then, that his famous prediction was, too. People so readily accepted his claims—that magnets have souls because they make things move, that earthquakes happen because the Earth is floating on water, that all things are full of gods—that it wasn’t much of a stretch to believe he could have predicted mysterious happenings in the sky.

Recommended Reading
 
The so-called Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa, from ancient Mesopotamia, shows detailed astrological forecasts.
Photo: Fae/CC BY 3.0
 "Some methods are easier than others." 

Source: Atlas Obscura


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Philosopher of the month: Sir Karl Raimund Popper [timeline] | OUPblog

"This August, the OUP Philosophy team honours Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902–1994) as their Philosopher of the Month" inform Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, England and John Priest, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in New York.

Photo: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

A British (Austrian-born) philosopher, Popper’s considerable reputation comes from his work on the philosophy of science and his political philosophy. Popper is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. 

Born to a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna, Popper studied mathematics, physics, and psychology at the University of Vienna, graduating with a doctorate in psychology in 1928. His first book The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge was shorted down to become arguably his most famous work and also the first to be published by the philosopher, Logik der Forschung (1934). The Vienna Circle became interested in Popper’s work after this despite it contesting some of their basic concepts. Popper shared their interest in distinguishing between science and other activities, but in contrast to them never supported the idea that non-scientific activities were meaningless. He instead disapproved of pseudo-science, believing that the fundamental feature of a scientific theory is that it should be falsifiable. An example of this pseudo-science which could not be falsified was Freud’s psychoanalytic theory which Popper contrasted with true science from the likes of Einstein. 
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Source: OUPblog (blog)  


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