Tag Archives: university

Are you happy this month? – Consumer sentiment rises to 2008 level

Maybe it was all those vacations people took?

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. consumers in early September felt better about the economy as their expectations brightened, according to data released Friday.

The Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 79.2 early this month from the 74.3 final reading for August.

 

Of course, nothing beats the roaring Clinton years and those enthusiastic Bush years. From Calculated Risk:

Continue reading

Archaeologist uncover hidden Mayan temple, deep in the jungle, to find terrifying giant masks

Does this sound like an Indiana Jones adventure or what!

Two archaeologists deep in the jungles of Guatemala are searching the lost empire of El Zotz, an ancient Maya city-state. First, they discover Diablo’s Pyramid, a 45-foot tall royal palace that is 1600 years old.

Then, they spot another building but it’s buried deep in the jungle. Two years later they have it uncovered (ok, that is not-so adventurous but realistic archaeological work), and find beyond the overgrowth some devilish faces, from the National Geographic article:

The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day.

One mask is sharklike, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean in the east, Houston said.

The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.

 

Screenshots:

Imagine making your way through the jungle to find this entrance…

 

To find this guy staring down at you!

 

The Mayans sure were fascinated with power, death, and the sun.

Continue reading

The recession hits Harvard…with interesting changes – more money to undergrads, less to books

Harvard isn’t belt-tightening everywhere. Since 2007, its investment in financial aid to undergraduates has risen by more than 78%, which Harvard said is “significantly outpacing increases in tuition.” Undergraduate tuition for the 2012-13 year climbed 3.5% to $54,496.

***

As it looks to economize, Harvard has turned some of its attention toward the more than $160 million it spends each year on its nearly 375 year-old library system, which holds 17 million volumes, and includes 73 separate libraries. Widener, the flagship library, alone has 57 miles of shelving.

Harvard is also changing its philosophy on owning books. The goal: Provide access to them rather than collecting each one, which can lead to costs for storage and preservation, a 2009 Harvard task-force report said. The library will extend partnerships to borrow from other libraries, and further digitize its own collection so it can share with others.

The university is finding it “increasingly painful” to manage academic-journal subscriptions, which annually cost it about $3.75 million, Harvard Provost Alan Garber said.

In a move watched throughout academia, Harvard in April urged its faculty members to publish in open-access journals. “Move the prestige to open access,” a memo said.

 

Keep reading: Wall Street Journal - Economy Tests Harvard

 

 

Continue reading

The era of micro-spacecraft is here – ultra small satellites are everywhere

There is big news on the small satellite front. From super-secret agencies to the U.S. military, academia, private firms, world space agencies, and NASA, ultra-small satellites are the big thing.

In sizing up “smallsats,” there are a range of classifications in the less-than-500- kilogram department, be they minisatellites, microsatellites, nanosatellites, picosatellites, palm-size CubeSats, even the diminutive Femto satellite, weighing in at less than 100 grams.

Cornell University has begun to delve into a postage stamp-size “satellite on a chip” design, called Sprite, envisioning a swarm of these tiny probes exploring planetary atmospheres for organic compounds.

“The knowledge of how to make and use smallsats has passed the tipping point,” Matt Bille told SPACE.com. “It exists worldwide and has fostered a global generation of satellite builders and engineers. It used to be only a few organizations could build a satellite. Now, a smart teenager with a CubeSat kit and a soldering iron is a space agency. We’ve only begun to grasp the implications of that.”

“The age of microspacecraft is on solid ground now.”

 

Source: Space.com - Small Satellites Prompt Big Ideas for Next 25 Years

 

 

Continue reading

Researchers explore Chinese censors – find 13% of posts blocked but not those criticizing government

The 500m people who use the internet in China have long been aware of the presence of the censors who watch their movements online and delete their more inflammatory posts. Now those monitors may have to get used to someone watching over their shoulders.

Teams at Harvard and the University of Hong Kong have been using new software that allows them to watch the censoring of posts on Chinese social-media sites more closely than before. And now they have started to release some of their key findings.

  • Found that 13% of all social-media posts in China were censored.
  • Posts critical of the government are not rigorously censored.
  • But, posts that have the purpose of getting people to assemble, potentially in protest, are swept from the internet within a matter of hours.
  • Censoring of topics, days before the news broke.

Keep reading to learn how this data is allowing researchers to challenge the censorsThe Economist: Monitoring the monitors

 

 

Continue reading

Enroll in free online in courses from top institutions – Princeton, Stanford, Michigan

Online educational marketplaces are on the rise, with tools like Udemy and Khan Academy allowing people of all ages to become an expert in any topic.

New company Coursera is targeting higher education by offering university-level courses from top institutions to students all over the world, all for free.

The company launched with $16 million in Series A funding and is announcing partnerships with four schools:

  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Michigan.

Coursera will offer over 30 courses from its partner schools across a variety of disciplines, including computer science, sociology, medicine, and math.

 

A selection of the classes:

 

Classes typically last for five to ten weeks, and during that time students commit to watching the lectures, and completing interactive quizzes and assignments, which are auto-graded or graded by peers. Upon completion, the student receives a statement of accomplishment, a letter from the professor, and a score, but the course doesn’t count for any actual credit with that specific institution. The site also features a Q&A forum where students can ask questions about the course material and get answers from fellow students.

via Betakit

 

Screenshot of Coursera offerings

LA Times Festival of Books – largest in the country, includes Stan Lee, John Cusack, Betty White, Anne Rice

If you’re free this weekend, April 21-22, 2012, you might want to attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The largest book festival in the country with more than 140,000 attendees, 400 authors, 300 exhibitors, 100 panels, cooking demonstrations, and poetry readings.

The festival is a free public event held on the campus of University of Southern California (USC).

One note is that the panels require $1 reservations, not sold the day-of. These will be some of the most interesting events, including movie screenings, celebrity authors, and special releases, so it is worth it to get them now before they sell out.

Out of the 120+ panels, here are the ones that tickled our fancy:

  • DIY Revolution
  • Future Books: Media in the Digital Age
  • Disposable Nation: Trash & Consequences
  • Anne Rice in Conversation with Scott Timberg
  • The Nerds Shall Inherit the Earth

We will be there all-day Sunday and hope to see you!

 
To learn more about the festival, here is an article from the LA Times:

What do Sugar Ray Leonard, Judy Blume, Betty White, T.C. Boyle, Rodney King, Joseph Wambaugh and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have in common? They’re just a few of the high-profile personalities appearing this weekend at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

This year’s festival blends familiar features with newer events reflecting what’s hot today in the literary marketplace. While festival goers can…listen to novelist Anne Rice discuss her latest supernatural fiction (Sunday) and Ben Fong-Torres’ memories of his Rolling Stone days (Saturday), actor John Cusack will discuss not a book but his latest book-related project, the film “The Raven,” in which he portrays Edgar Allan Poe, on Saturday.”

The U.S. Postal Service will conduct its opening ceremony for the stamp series “Twentieth-Century poets” Saturday at the Poetry stage; though graphic novels receive their fair share of panel attention, thanks to USC’s School for Cinematic Arts there will also be screenings of a director’s cut of the movie”Watchmen”and the documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.”

Video games wasted about 1% of America’s electrical energy

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University found that in 2010, video games wasted about 1% of America’s electrical energy.

They found that up to 75% of energy consumed by video game consoles is during idle use, because the machines don’t have an auto-power-down feature (like every computer does).

The authors of the study say the cost of implementing this feature is marginal and would save more than $1 billion in utility costs.

More details:

- By the end of 2010, over 75 million current generation video game consoles (Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3) had been sold, meaning that many homes have two or more current generation game consoles

- We estimate that the total electricity consumption of video game consoles in the US was around 11 TWh in 2007 and 16 TWh in 2010 (approximately 1 % of US residential electricity consumption), an increase of almost 50 % in 3 years.

- The most effective energy-saving modification is incorporation of a default auto power down feature, which could reduce electricity consumption of game consoles by 75 % (10 TWh reduction of electricity in 2010).

- A simple improvement that could be implemented now via firmware updates to power the console down after 1 hour of inactivity. Though two of the three current generation consoles have this capability, it is not enabled by default, a modification that would be trivial for console manufacturers.

- Saving consumers over $1 billion annually in electricity bills.

 

Scott Lowe at The Verge points out that in May 2011, Microsoft did update Xbox 360′s firmware to enable auto-power-down by default. Now it’s up to the rest of industry to catch-up.

 

Full study available – Electricity consumption and energy savings potential of video game consoles in the United States

 

// Photo – Jami3.org

Historical photos of UCLA and Westwood Village from first day of classes to late-1930s

Historical photos of UCLA and Westwood village from the late-1920s to late-1930s, just as the school and campus was being built.

The first day of classes in Westwood were in 1929 with 5,500 students and was also the first year the UCLA football team played the USC football team.

Thx to KS Bruin

Royce Hall on the first day of classes, 1929. The building was ready...the grounds not so much. 
Aerial view of campus, 1929. The original four buildings are (mostly) done, as is the bridge, but Janss Steps aren't yet, nor is there much of anything surrounding campus.
The bridge (famous, secret, hidden, mythology) between Schoenberg and Perloff. Now completely underground with all the area around it filled in to make it look a road, except for those secret tunnels...that all Freshman are told about.

Another aerial shot showing Moore Hall and Janss Steps under construction.

Continue reading

iTunes University – free online education – is booming with 100s of millions of downloads

This month both Stanford and Open University reached 50 million downloads of their iTunes U content, a major milestone for online education.

Altogether, the service from Apple reached 700 million downloads in January 2012.

 

Stanford News:

In subjects ranging from human behavior to linguistics, Stanford lectures…have been downloaded a whopping 50 million times.

The milestone, reached March 14, comes nearly seven years after Stanford became the first university to offer public access to campus lectures, concerts and courses through iTunes U.

“It shows there is a huge appetite for high-quality educational content,” said Brent Izutsu, the senior program manager for Stanford on iTunes U. “And that will only grow as more people look online to supplement their education.”

The most popular offerings are in engineering, where students can learn to build an iOS app or study quantum physics under one of the fathers of string theory, Leonard Susskind.

 

The Open University:

Open University is the first in Europe to reach more than one million active subscriptions through the iTunes U app since it launched back on 19 January. The University’s 52 courses add to the University’s extensive material on iTunes U which has now seen more than 50 million international downloads, with over 40,000 new downloads each day.

Our most popular course on the iTunes U iPad app The New Entrepreneurs has over 100,000 active subscribers, with another six of our courses having over 50,000 subscribers each. Last week we released a new course Moons: An Introduction which incorporates the University’s first Multi-Touch iBook Moon Rocks: An Introduction to the Geology of the Moon, created using Apple’s iBooks Author.

 

Thx to Pando Daily