Imagine Discovering That Your Teaching Assistant Really Is a Robot

Featured Image: IBM’s Watson Helped Design Karolina Kurkova’s Light-Up Dress for the Met Gala.  Karolina Kurkova attends the “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Getty Images

IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) product Watson, teamed up with Georgia Institute of Technology to experiment using Watson as a TA for an online course.  “Jill” Watson was able to deftly handle most questions, stimulate weekly discussions, and fool most students, who never guessed that they weren’t communicating with a real person.

Last year, a team of Georgia Tech researchers began creating Ms. Watson by poring through nearly 40,000 postings on a discussion forum known as “Piazza” and training her to answer related questions based on prior responses. By late March, she began posting responses live.

By Melissa Korn | Wall Street Journal
Read Full Article Here

Advertisements

Sacred Art

Tomorrow is my mother’s 93rd birthday.  The photo above was taken during her college days.  A midwestern Irish tomboy who loved sports learned to love art as well while attending college in Baltimore in the 40’s. Three incredible artists and human beings encouraged my mother’s artistic talents  many years ago at the College of Notre Dame.  Through art, their profound influence shaped mom’s life, and in turn, those of her children and grandchildren.  In honor of her birthday, I want to share a little bit about those who helped her on her journey.  Happy Birthday Mom!


Sister Mary Noreen Gormley, SSND
Professor of Art
College of Notre Dame of Maryland
1892-1960

My mother loved Sister Noreen dearly.  From the stories I’ve heard over the years the feeling was mutual. The good sister believed in my rather eccentric mother, recognized her talent, and did everything in her power to help guide her.  Sister Mary Noreen Gormley’s keen planning and understanding of Modernist talent brought in the finest visiting artists, creating a rare climate for budding art students.  The College’s Gormley Gallery was named for her.

NoreenGormley

 


Father Marie-Alain Couturier, O.P.

Chief Editor, L’Art Sacré
Designer, Stained Glass
Friend and collaborator with Le CorbusierFernand Léger and Henri Matisse
1897-1954

Read more about Father Couturier here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Alain_Couturier

After my mother finished one of her first paintings at Notre Dame, Father Couturier excitedly rushed to tell Sister Noreen, quite delighted, that my mother was a “Modernist”.  Seventy years later, that still life hangs in a prominent place in my mother’s bedroom.  Brilliant, devoted, and well-connected, Father Couturier provided my mother with a deep understanding and respect for modern and spiritual art.

800px-couturier2c_montrc3a9al2c_ecole_du_meuble

 

Rufino Tamayo
Mexican Artist and Painter
1899-1991
In the 1940’s, Tamayo resided with his wife Olga in New York, venturing down to Baltimore as an artist in residence.  My mother enjoyed his abstract thinking and cultural background.

Read more about Tamayo here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufino_Tamayo

800px-rufino_tamayo

New Gecko-Inspired Adhesive

From The Scientist:  http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45741/title/New-Gecko-Inspired-Adhesive/

By Jef Akst | April 6, 2016

New Gecko-Inspired Adhesive

Flexible patches of silicone that stick to skin and conduct electricity could serve as the basis for a new, reusable electrode for medical applications.

For years, researchers have recreated the microscopic hair-like pillars on gecko feet that, through atomic forces known as van der Waals’ interactions, allow the animals to scurry up walls and across ceilings. Such gecko-inspired adhesives could have a variety of applications, including medical bandages, but materials scientist Seokwoo Jeon at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and colleagues wanted to apply these materials to create a novel wearable electrode.

Read more of Jef’s article in The Scientist here:

 

Engineering a New Generation of Tattoos

Flash back one year ago.  Six very happy NYU students won the grand prize of $75,000 in the Entrepreneurs Challenge, held by Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, for Ephemeral, a clever temporary tattoo ink system.

Traditional tattoos last forever because the ink is made of very large molecules. Macrophages, the cells your immune system uses to get rid of stuff like bacteria, just can’t break down the huge dye molecules.

Ephemeral uses a different approach. Lam, another of Ephemeral’s co-founders and the company’s Senior R&D Researcher, said that each dye molecule in their ink is small but it’s encased in a special capsule.

“The reason it’s encapsulated is so that it stays in the skin, so the macrophages can’t eat it up,” Lam said.

These capsules protect the ink from your immune system, but they also can easily be dissolved by a removal solution that Ephemeral has developed. If you decided you no longer want an Ephemeral tattoo, an artist would simply retrace the design with a tattoo gun loaded with the removal solution.

The Ephemeral team included Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering students: Jason Candreva (Ph.D.), Brennal Pierre (Ph.D.), Vandan Shah (Ph.D.), Anthony Lam (B.S.), and Seung Shin (B.S.) and Joshua Sakhai (B.S.), a Stern student majoring in Math, Finance, and Computer Science.

ephemeral(Photo: ©Ephemeral)

Read more about the students and their start up Ephemeral here:
http://www.nyunews.com/2016/04/18/nyu-startup-makes-tattoos-ephemeral/
http://engineering.nyu.edu/news/2015/05/18/making-permanent-tattoos-ephemeral
http://www.sciencealert.com/newly-developed-tattoo-ink-is-designed-to-disappear-after-a-year

 

 

 

 

 

Mercury Transit Music Video

A Mercury Transit Music Video from Solar Dynamics Observatory
Video Credit: NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center, Genna Duberstein; Music: Encompass by Mark PetrieExplanation: What’s that small black dot moving across the Sun? Mercury. Possibly the clearest view of Mercury crossing in front of the Sun earlier this week was from Earth orbit. The Solar Dynamics Observatory obtained an uninterrupted vista recording it not only in optical light but also in bands of ultraviolet light. Featured here is a composite movie of the crossing set to music. Although the event might prove successful scientifically for better determining components of Mercury’ ultra-thin atmosphere, the event surely proved successful culturally by involving people throughout the world in observing a rare astronomical phenomenon. Many spectacular images of this Mercury transit from around (and above) the globe are being proudly displayed.

 

Imagine Science Films

Imagine Science Films is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in existence since 2008 committed to promoting a high-level dialogue between scientists and filmmakers.

Their mission is to bridge the gap between art and science through film, thereby transforming the way science is communicated to the public and encouraging collaboration across disciplines.

Together, scientists, who dedicate their lives to studying the world in which we live, and filmmakers, who interpret and expose this knowledge, can make science accessible and stimulating to the broadest possible audience. Imagine Science Films is committed to drawing attention to the sciences, whether it is through art or our community outreach efforts.

Read more about Imagine Science Films here:  http://imaginesciencefilms.org

Italy rules that stealing food not a crime if desperately hungry

homeless_sf_jpg__1500x670_q85_crop_subsampling-2

The right to survival prevails over property,” Italy’s highest court of appeals ruled this week when reviewing the case of a homeless man who had been given a six month jail sentence and a €100 euro fine for stealing cheese and sausages.

The man was caught before leaving the store and returned the goods, so the state prosecutor argued for the sentence to be reduced from “theft” to “attempted theft.”

But when the court of appeals heard the case, they radically upended the decision. This wasn’t worthy of punishment, they argued. In fact, taking food to stave off hunger should not even be considered a crime.

The judges wrote that the food had been taken “in the face of the immediate and essential need for nourishment.”

They also rebuked the entire process that brought this case before them–an attempt to take less than €5 of food went through 3 rounds of court hearings.

Italy, like large parts of the world, is coping with a recession. Each day, 615 people in Italy fall into poverty, according an op-ed in response to the ruling, many of whom struggle to find housing and food. Forgetting about these people is not an option, the piece argued.

Another op-ed argued that the ruling aligned with one of the most fundamental pillars of Western legal thinking–the concept of humanity that says a person’s dignity should be protected and that dignity rises when basic needs like food, water, housing and security are met.

On one level, this ruling attempts to return sense, discretion and an appreciation of context to criminal justice. Why, after all, was it necessary to spend so many resources to punish a man suffering from hunger, especially when this punishment will only deepen his poverty? Why not, instead, provide food for this person?

On another level, this ruling is a radical rethinking of human rights. Sure, it connects to ancient ideas of “humanity,” but these ideas have never fully been practiced on a large scale. The thought of a homeless person walking into a grocery store and just taking food without paying for it is, in a way, a radical affront to the market-based logic that rules most societies. If you want food, you pay for it just like everyone else, right?

Then there’s a more mundane explanation to all of this. Recently, Italy passed a law requiring all sellers of food to donate unsold food to charities rather than throw it away. So this decision may have been made under the aegis of the new legislation.

But even still–in a world of abundance, should the vagaries of circumstance–job loss, illness, traumas–ever leave a person without the ability to get food?

When grocery stores around the world are stuffed with food, is it moral to allow someone to suffer from hunger?

These are challenging questions that strike at the core of many societal arrangements. But they’re questions that are worth asking, and finding some compromise for, in a time when inequality is rising and more people find themselves in economically distressed situations.

Globally, 795 million people do not have enough food to lead normal, healthy lives. Many more people struggle to buy and find food every day.

It’s unlikely that this ruling in Italy will lead to widespread theft from grocery stores and it’s cynical to suggest that a breakdown in the rule of law will follow (as some critics have suggested).

The more likely result will be an evaluation of what really matters in life and how much another person’s humanity should be respected.

In an ideal world, there would be consensus that a person’s dignity is the top priority in any situation and from there other rules based on other, secondary considerations would apply.

Read More @ Global Citizen

Always practise safe text: the German traffic light for smartphone zombies

zombiA ‘mobile phone lane’ on a street in a theme park in Chongqing, China. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex

The word “smombie” is one of the most recent additions to the German language. Last November, the term – a mashup of “smartphone” and “zombie”, referring to oblivious smartphone users staggering around cities like the undead – was voted Youth Word of the Year in Germany.

The disease is virulent. A recent study of 14,000 pedestrians in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome and Stockholm found that 17% of people used their smartphone while walking. The heaviest users were 25 to 35-year-olds: almost a quarter of them exhibited smombie-esque behaviour.

Now Augsburg, a municipality outside Munich, has braced itself for this new public peril. After several smombies caused accidents by carelessly crossing tram tracks, city officials decided to install new traffic lights – at ground level.

At Haunstetterstraße station, one of two locations for the experiment, 16 red LEDs, each about the size of a beer mat, are embedded in the pavement next to a tram crossing.

Passengers are divided on their merits. Katja Lechner commutes here daily to university. “OK, you really do see the lights blinking when the tram approaches,” she says. “But that doesn’t stop anybody from crossing, as people rush to catch their trains.” She thinks the €10,000 should have been invested in education.

Arzu Araz, a hairdresser who lives nearby with her seven-year old daughter, disagrees. “The lights are ideal for kids, who notice them immediately,” she says.

Augsburg is not the first city to react. Cologne has equipped three tram crossings with similar lights, prompting the creation of yet another portmanteau: “Bompeln”, an abbreviation of “Boden-Ampeln” (ground traffic lights).

In Munich, where a 15-year-old girl wearing headphones was recently killed by a tram, certain particularly dangerous crossings were fitted with special beacons that send warnings to smartphones enabled with a corresponding app, called Watch Out!

In the US, meanwhile, cities such as Portland, Seattle and Cleveland have experimented with talking buses that alert pedestrians during turns. Rexburg, Idaho has even imposed fines of $50 for texting while walking.

And a theme park in the Chinese city of Chongqing has experimented with a special “phone lane” for pedestrians, itself based on an earlier experiment in Washington, DC.

After a trial period, Augsburg officials will interview tram drivers and passengers before deciding whether to roll the lights out to other stations.

“This is not just about smartphones. The crossing here is so busy and dangerous that we are used to the screeching noise of the tram’s emergency breaks,” says Sebastian Hrabak, owner of the restaurant Schwarze Kiste at Haunstetterstraße station. “But since the lights were installed last week, there hasn’t been a single dangerous incident.”

Have you been a “smombie” yourself ?

Read the full article @ Always practise safe text: the German traffic light for smartphone zombies

Several Events Taking Place @ GCC

 

gcc_gaucho

Are as follows….

FORENSICS TEAM CAMPUS SHOWCASE

Wednesday May 4th 3:30-5:30

MU2-151                                     

This event will feature team performances and will be open to the campus and community to attend.

STUDY FEAST

Wednesday May 4th 6-10pm

SU-104

Free food, school supplies and tutoring to aid in a smooth end to the semester

PERCUSSION CONCERT

Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Performing Arts Center

Performances by the GCC Percussion Ensemble. Directed by Dr. D. Nottingham.

Free & open to the public.

PIANO CONCERT

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Performing Arts Center

Performances by the GCC piano studio.

Directed by Dr. Christina Eide

Free & open to the public

GAUCHO AWARDS FOR THEATRE EXCELLENCE

Friday, May 6, 2016, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m

Performing Arts Center

The Glendale Community College Delta Psi Omega Drama Club recognizes the quality of excellence in the areas of performance, design, and technical achievements during the current theatrical season. Productions that will be in contention for recognition include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The 39 Steps, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, and The Glass Menagerie. A scene from each play, as well as other acts, will be performed.  New students will be inducted into the national chapter of Delta Psi Omega, scholarships will be awarded, and the new Drama club officers will be announced. Light refreshments will follow the GATE ceremony.  Come share in the celebration!

Admission is free and is open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

DJ PERFORMANCE

Friday, May 6, 2016, 7 – 10:30 p.m.

MU2-151

Performance by the MUC 135 Student D.J.s.

GCC GUITAR ENSEMBLES

Friday, May 6, 2016, 7:30 – 9 p.m.

Performing Arts Center

GCC Guitar Ensembles 

GCC’s award-winning classical guitar program presents an evening of guitar ensemble music featuring the Glendale Guitar Quartet, Glendale Guitar Sextet, and Guitar Orchestra. Always an exciting program, the ensembles have featured composer spotlight programs and a multitude of world premieres. Come hear what the fret buzz is all about at GCC! For more information contact Chuck Hulihan at charles.hulihan@gccaz.edu or 623.834.3715.

Friday May 6, 7:30pm

Free & open to the public

GCC Performing Arts Center

GCC CHOIRS: 42ND ST – BROADWAY CLASSICS

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Performing Arts Center

GCC Choirs present: 42nd St – Broadway Classics

 May 7, 7:30 p.m. GCC Performing Arts Center            

Free & open to the public

Join the GCC Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Community Choir, and Vocal Jazz as they take a trip to 42nd St. and sing some of your favorite Broadway Musical Classics.

 

 

 

 

CONCERT BAND & SYMPHONIC WINDS @ GCC

When Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
Where Performing Arts Center
Contact E-mail william.humbert@gccaz.edu
Contact Name Bill Humbert
Contact Phone 623.845.3726
Directed by Bill Humbert

Free & open to the public