Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sept 21st International Day of Peace

Peace One Day  and International Day of Peace

Jeremy Gilley is an actor turned filmmaker, who in the late 1990s became preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the issue of peace. He decided to explore these through the medium of film, and specifically, to create a documentary following his campaign to establish an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence.

In 1999, Jeremy founded Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation, and 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.


Why Walking Helps Us Think

New Yorker

Since at least the time of peripatetic Greek philosophers, many other writers have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and writing. (In fact, Adam Gopnik wrote about walking in The New Yorker just two weeks ago.) “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” Henry David Thoreau penned in his journal. “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” Thomas DeQuincey has calculated that William Wordsworth—whose poetry is filled with tramps up mountains, through forests, and along public roads—walked as many as a hundred and eighty thousand miles in his lifetime, which comes to an average of six and a half miles a day starting from age five.


Algorithms Reveal Forecasting Power of Tweets

Binghamton University

A team of Binghamton University system scientists led by alumnus Nathan Gnanasambandam, senior researcher at Xerox Research's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), is developing technology that connects Tweets and other user metadata to make highly accurate predictions about everything from where someone plans to eat to when a traffic jam is likely to begin. Using machine learning and an artificial neural network, the PARC and Binghamton researchers analyzed 500 million tweets to develop their algorithms, which they say can predict the typical social media user's behavior with better than 90-percent accuracy in a three-hour time horizon. Some people share more than others, meaning there is variability in how accurate the predictions can be with any given user, but the researchers say their algorithms return usable predictions more than 60 percent of the time when other metadata, such as credit card transactions, phone calls, and global-positioning systems, are integrated. Xerox, which is funding the research, plans to use the technology in several areas including traffic control, where it has the capability of predicting when traffic flow is likely to become heavy and result in a traffic jam. Other potential applications exist in medicine and customer service call centers.


The Lack of Women in STEM Is a National Security Issue

US News and World Report

Attracting more women to study science, technology, engineering and math isn't just an aspirational goal for education leaders and the business community – it's a "national security prerogative," according to the chief operating officer of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

It's no secret that women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in the STEM fields. Although women make up about half of the American workforce, they represent less than one-quarter of those employed in STEM fields, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Part of the key to overcoming that disparity, the NGA's Ellen McCarthy said, is continually showing young girls the options available to them in different fields, and engaging them in occupations that might be more meaningful.

McCarthy, head of the NGA's daily business operations, said during a town hall discussion hosted by FedScoop on Tuesday that parents, teachers and the public and private business sectors all have a responsibility to push children to think outside the box when it comes to education and career pathways.


Social Net, Working

The Economist

A new organization is hoping to help harness the data available on social networking services to further social science research, while avoiding potential ethical issues such as those that flared up in June over an experiment to tweak people's emotional responses on Facebook. The Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP) is a collaboration of image and video storage site Imgur, news and community sites Reddit and Fark, survey site StackExchange, and video-streaming service Twitch, as well as 18 academic fellows from various institutions. One of the fellows is Stanford University's Tim Althoff, who co-authored a study on online altruism that examined a long-standing discussion thread on Reddit in which users asked others to buy them pizza. Althoff says finding the proper way to obtain all the data for the study, so it contained as much information as possible while still respecting Reddit users' privacy, was a major part of the study's success. The goal of DERP is to streamline that process and make it easier for researchers to obtain such data. Working as an intermediary between social networks and researchers, DERP hopes to become a clearinghouse for data like that used in Althoff's study. The organization says initially it will focus on obtaining data about how and why content goes viral and the ways people trade and gift virtual currencies.


Pampers Ad


Pampers ad from Beacon Communications, celebrating moms on their babies’ first birthday, goes viral. Sit back and take four minutes to watch this lovely ad by Pampers Japan. Titled "Mom's First Birthday," it celebrates a big milestone in a new mom's life—her baby's one-year checkup. The brand partnered with some dads to surprise some moms, and the result is sweet and heartwarming.u


The Single-Most Powerful Attribute All Geniuses Share


What separates the likes of Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, or Pablo Picasso from the rest of us? Over at Entrepreneur, James Clear argues it comes down to pure grit:

How do creative geniuses come ups with great ideas? They work and edit and rewrite and retry and pull out their genius through sheer force of will and perseverance. They earn the chance to be lucky because they keep showing up…

No single act will uncover more creative powers than forcing yourself to create consistently….For you, it might mean singing a song over and over until it sounds right. Or programming a piece of software until all the bugs are out, taking portraits of your friends until the lighting is perfect, or caring for the customers you serve until you know them better than they know themselves.

It might seem like an unfortunate answer, nobody wants to hear that the best way to do anything is to “work for it,” but the advice also shines as a reminder that genius-level ideas are obtainable, they just take work. Of course, knowing when to quit and when to grit are important as well.


How Do You Work Best?

Huffington Post

When do you work best? Is it between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.? Or do you perhaps have the clearest head at 7 a.m. and trouble focusing in the afternoon? Is it only on Monday through Friday? Or do you sometimes struggle to think straight on Mondays, but have great ideas on Saturdays?

Where do you work best? Is it while sitting at the desk you've been assigned? Or would you be better suited to a different environment -- one that's quieter, or busier, or closer to home?  Has your employer ever asked you these questions?  My hunch is that for most workers across the country, the answer to this final question is no --because workplaces were not designed with these questions in mind.

Why We Work When We Do
Before the 1930s, there were no U.S. labor laws to protect employees from working indefinitely, every day of the week. Sundays were an observed day of rest (or day of church-going) for the predominantly Christian workforce, but otherwise rest was a luxury. It wasn't until 1908 that workers at a New England cotton mill
had their first Saturday off as well, in order to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath. In 1926, Henry Ford helped make the two-day weekend more official when he began shutting his factories on Saturdays and Sundays.


The Gamification Spectrum—A Unified Organization of Gamification Tools


Common gamification tools are points, badges, leaderboards, but there are many more (e.g. ranks, goals, missions, level unlock, team reputation, etc.). By now there are probably hundreds and thousands of gamification tools out in the market. Moreover, there are many variants of a gamification tool. For example, there are different kinds of leaderboards with different scope. Some only compare you against your friends, whereas others compare you against strangers that are similar to you in some ways.


History's Female Programmers Will No Longer Be Forgotten

Content Loop

Julie Flapan, executive director at the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools, is working on boosting computer-science education for primary and secondary students, especially young girls and students of color. She says one important way for young, diverse students to understand that computing can be a career for them is by meeting computer scientists who break the white-male stereotype, and learning from them.

"Not many girls and people of color see themselves represented as a computer scientist," Flapan said in an interview. Without that, she said, students may question whether or not computer science is a field for them.

Telle Whitney, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, says that having role models is important for career development, and is an inspiration for women who might consider a different university of career path.


"If you don’t see anyone who looks like you, it's harder to imagine yourself in that role," Whitney told me in an interview.

In an effort to provide those personal resources to women in technology, both those starting their career path at colleges and universities and professional women already in the workforce, the Anita Borg Institute produces the annual Grace Hopper Celebration, the world's largest gathering of female technologists.


McDonald’s Tries to Crowdsource Its Next Hit Hamburger   


McDonald's is learning what customers want in their burgers through a build-your-own burger test in Southern California stores. McDonald’s (MCD) recently expanded its build-your-own burger test. Now, in four Southern California stores, customers will be encouraged to assemble any combination of the following:

Beef patty: One or two
Bun: Buttered toasted bakery-style bun, buttered toasted artisan roll
Cheese: American, sharp white cheddar, pepper jack
Toppings: Chili lime tortilla strips, guacamole, red onion, caramelized grilled onions, jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, tomato, Big Mac sauce, spicy mayo, creamy garlic sauce, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, bacon

That’s a lot of toppings. The point is less to satisfy every customer’s whims and more to discover popular combinations that McDonald’s—which hasn’t managed to
generate a hit recently—can export to the rest of the country.


The Linguistics of LOL

The Atlantic

When two friends created the site I Can Has Cheezburger?, in 2007, to share cat photos with funny, misspelled captions, it was a way of cheering themselves up. They probably weren’t thinking about long-term sociolinguistic implications. But seven years later, the “cheezpeep” community is still active online, chattering away in lolspeak, its own distinctive variety of English. lolspeak was meant to sound like the twisted language inside a cat’s brain, and has ended up resembling a down-South baby talk with some very strange characteristics, including deliberate misspellings (teh, ennyfing), unique verb forms (gotted, can haz), and word reduplication (fastfastfast). It can be difficult to master. One user writes that it used to take at least 10 minutes “to read adn unnerstand” a paragraph. (“Nao, it’z almost like a sekund lanjuaje.”)


4 Odd Yet Effective Ways The Smartest People Prioritize Their Days

Content Loop

Successful people know that planning, organizing, and protecting your time is no easy feat, but if you don't have your priorities straight, who will? Below are four unconventional methods that keep the brightest minds focus on exactly what they need to:


1. Think About Death

2. Wear The Same Clothes Every Day

3. Know The Difference Between Urgent And Important

4. Make An "Avoid At All Cost" List