Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Peace Day is September 21st

Peace One Day   and live YouTube stream

Jeremy Gilley is an actor turned filmmaker, who decided to create a documentary following his campaign to establish an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence.

in 2001 Peace One Day’s efforts were rewarded when the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day.

Inspired by a 70% recorded reduction in violent incidents on Peace Day in Afghanistan (source: United Nations Department of Safety and Security), and…through detailed analysis conducted with the support of McKinsey & Company, the Peace One Day 2012 report found that, across the world, approximately 280 million people in 198 countries were aware of Peace Day 2012 – 4% of the world’s population.

In 2013, through our own initiatives and collaborations with various parties, Peace One Day will set out to encourage organisations and individuals take specific actions to reduce violence around the theme: Who Will You Make Peace With?


Enrollment In Harvard's Intro To Computer Science Jumped 590% In 10 Years

Fast Company

Perhaps inspired by The Social Network, enrollment at Harvard's Introduction to Computer Science course has skyrocketed 590% in the last decade.


Preliminary data from the college shows 771 students enrolled in CS50 in the current semester, up from 112 in 2004, Quartz reports. This makes the class one of the most popular on campus, second to an introductory economics course. A partnership with the education nonprofit EdX also makes Harvard's CS50 class available for free online. The number of computer science majors has likewise seen a spike, close to doubling in the last two years, according to The Harvard Crimson.


IBM Watson: How the Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer Was Born, and What It Wants to Do Next

Tech Republic

IBM's Watson supercomputer in 2011 won a Jeopardy match against the game's two top players. Five years before Watson's landmark victory, IBM Research executives initiated work on Watson as part of one of the company's Grand Challenges, which aim to create human-computer competition, have international appeal, and attract people to science and math fields. The Watson team began by developing DeepQA, a massively parallel software architecture that examines natural language content in both Jeopardy's clues and Watson's own stored data, while also examining the structured information it holds. Creating the component-based system, built on a series of pluggable components for searching and weighting information, required about 20 researchers and three years to be able to surpass human competitors on a quiz show. Shortly after the Jeopardy show aired, IBM moved to establish a Watson business unit and the project was folded into the IBM Software group. The group set about understanding the 41 separate subsystems that went into Watson, and then consolidated and accelerated the system. For example, to prepare Watson for applications in oncology, the team worked on content adaptation, training adaptation, and functional adaptation. The next Watson offerings will be embedded into products in the IBM Smarter Planet initiative.


Big Data Education Hinges on Business, University Partnerships

Information Week

In the future, data analysis is expected to play a greater role in day-to-day business operations, a trend that will require many university graduates to attain at least a basic understanding of big data tools and technologies. There will be a 25 percent growth in the need for analytics trained workers through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Meanwhile, Gartner estimates that more than 4.4 million big data-related jobs will be created by 2015, but only one third of them will be filled. A partnership between academia and business can help provide organizations with employees with data analytics skills. "It's important that [schools] find companies they can have a relationship with so that they can expose their students to new technologies that are out there," says Georgetown University professor Betsy Page Sigman. Several technology companies have been aggressively promoting stronger cooperation between higher education and business in data-related fields. For example, IBM recently announced that it is expanding its Academic Initiative by adding nine educational collaborations to its more than 1,000 partnerships with universities around the world. The McKinsey Global Institute report uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to divide big data talent into three job categories: deep analytical, big data savvy, and supporting technology.


National Movement Targets Lack of Women, Minorities in Computing

Government Technology

A nationwide movement is underway to encourage women and minorities to enter the field of computer science. Although women account for 57 percent of total undergraduate degrees, they represent just 18 percent of all computer and information science undergraduate degrees. This gender disparity begins early, with females representing 56 percent of high school Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers, but only 19 percent of AP Computer Science test-takers. Women and minorities are deterred from computer science by cultural perceptions about technology, says University of Virginia professor Joanne Cohoon, who specializes in sociological issues around computing and gender. She says the stereotype that technology is for white men influences students' attitudes about their own abilities, and creates educational environments in which women and minorities do not feel welcome.


How Today's Computers Weaken Our Brain

New Yorker

At 10 P.M. on September 22, 1912, Franz Kafka sat down at his typewriter in Prague and began to write “Das Urteil” (“The Judgment”).  In April, 1951 Jack Kerouac began the first draft of “On the Road,” without paragraph breaks or margins. In 1975, Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak delivered a working Breakout game in four days.


The accomplishments of Kafka, Kerouac, and Wozniak are impressive, but not completely atypical of what can be achieved by talented people in states of supreme concentration. The more interesting question is this: Would their feats be harder today, or easier?


On the one hand, today’s computers feature programming and writing tools more powerful than anything available in the twentieth century. But, in a different way, each of these tasks would be much harder: on a modern machine, each man would face a more challenging battle with distraction. Kafka might start writing his book and then, like most lawyers, realize he’d better check e-mail; so much for “Das Urteil.” Kerouac might get caught in his Twitter feed, or start blogging about his road trip. Wozniak might have corrected an erroneous Wikipedia entry in the midst of working on Breakout, and wrecked the collaboration that later became Apple.


In short: we have built a generation of “distraction machines” that make great feats of concentrated effort harder instead of easier.


The Digest Guide to Creativity

BPS Research Digest

Work when you're groggy. A lot of research into creative thinking is about finding the conditions that foster a so-called "divergent" thinking style.

Have a tipple.

Try "brain writing" rather than brainstorming. An alternative to the conventional brainstorm is to have everyone in a team to first write down their ideas before sharing them.

Don't completely give up on group brainstorming.

Think for someone else. According to research published in 2011, we're more capable of mental novelty when thinking on behalf of strangers than for ourselves.

Spend time living abroad.

Perform eye-movement exercises.

Ask for help. A 2011 study covered on our specialist Occupational Digest found that workers who were more inclined to seek help when they needed it also tended to be rated more creative by their managers.

Decorate your office in blue.
Mix up your team. Fresh blood helps cook up new ideas.


7 Principles to Upgrade Your Work and Life

Change This Manifesto

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize-winning economist and a pioneer in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology who taught at Carnegie Mellon University was one of the world’s foremost theorists on decision making. He introduced the concept of satisficing (a combination of “satisfy” and “suffice”) in 1956 to describe how human beings actually make decisions. Where most economists imply that people make decisions rationally to maximize outcomes, Simon recognized that this is impossible in most circumstances. Most of our decisions, he said, are circumscribed by what he called “bounded rationality.” We have limited information and cannot possibly consider every option and alternative; plus, we are influenced by emotion and by our peers. We choose the first solution that works, that satisfices, thus sacrificing the best for what’s “good enough.”










Navy Explores Potential of Social Media Crowdsourcing in Disaster Response


The U.S. Navy selected Modus Operandi to begin developing crowdsourcing situational awareness software that leverages data from social media.  

14 Social media is becoming a primary source of information during disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. In an effort to more efficiently utilize social media data for situational awareness and emergency response, the U.S. Navy is funding a software prototype to crowdsource situational awareness, called Crowd-SA.

The prototype is currently in an early developmental stage -- a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. The Navy selected Modus Operandi to develop the software, and if it is green lit, it may be developed into a multi-million dollar project. Eric Little, vice president and chief scientist with Modus Operandi, said the intention is to eventually transition the program to the Department of Defense.  Little explained that since people act as remote sensors during a crisis, data like tweets, photos and posts on social media platforms could be crowdsourced from areas impacted by a disaster. Social media data, then, could help multi-headed command centers get a better grasp of the magnitude of a disaster and respond accordingly.


3-Sweep is the fastest way to get to 3D from 2D you’ve ever seen


It's not often I'm sitting in front of the computer with my mouth hanging open, but the video below is literally jaw-dropping. Researchers Tao Chen, Zhe Zhu, Ariel Shamir, Shi-Min Hu and Daniel Cohen-Or have developed software called "3-Sweep," an insanely cool way to extract editable 3D data from a 2D image. Not a bunch of 2D images—we all know the technology where you walk around an object and fire off a dozen shots—just one image. Which means you no longer have to be there with a camera, but could conceivably pull a (relatively well-shot) 2D image from anywhere, and quickly create a model of it.

"Our approach combines the cognitive abilities of humans with the computational accuracy of the machine to solve this problem," writes the team. What you basically do is use your mouse to "sweep" lines and/or ellipses across the image, quickly teaching the software where the axes are. Look at how freaking easy this looks, and watch what they do with the telescope and lamppost:


TED picks the Best Ads of the year

PSFK   TED’s Ads Worth Spreading Report

The most innovative advertising oftentimes offers a unique, framed response to culture. By doing so, it provides a given brand with a social mirror, helping it communicate to the relevant constituents in a thoughtful manner. We all know this; what we don’t know is: what exactly compels us to share an ad? As more branding professionals attempt to provide an answer to this question, TED has partnered up with media analytics firm Ace Metrix and paired up TED speakers with ad professionals to identify and evaluate the best the industry has to offer.


TED’s Ads Worth Spreading aims to “find ads that communicate ideas with consumers in the same way that TED wants to communicate with its audience.” Below is a round-up of the various ads featured in their report linked below.






Microsoft Confidential