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Alpaca and “excessive” garden party discussed at Magdalen

first_imgSunday’s Magdalen JCR meeting saw the decision taken both to spend £2,500 on a garden party at Magdalen, and the failure of a motion to buy an alpaca as a “means of relaxation.”The decision to spend £2,500 on a garden party at Magdalen, passed unanimously but was later hailed as “excessive.”The party, to be held on 1st June, follows last year’s Diamond Jubilee Garden Party, described in the motion for this year’s event, as “a stonking success.” However last year the Diamond Jubilee Garden Party’s organiser, Hamish Hunter told Cherwell that “the rarity of the event” was why it was “generally thought that it was worth celebrating the landmark in style. There was recognition that the Diamond Jubilee was a very special event and the Magdalen JCR should join the national and college celebrations.”This year the budget has been raised by £300 to £2,500 in order to try and “allow all members of the college to enjoy the highest quality garden party in Oxford at minimal battel costs.”Magdalen fresher Jack Barber commented, “The party will provide a good opportunity for students of all years to come together and have a good time.”However, Elisabeth Brierley, a Magdalen student said, “Although the garden party is a good idea, especially as Magdalen isn’t having a ball, spending £2,500 seems a bit excessive. Surely, they could spend half the money on the garden party and spend the other half on a more worthy cause, like a hardship fund.”In the same meeting a motion to buy an alpaca failed when concerns were raised about the real amiability of these animals.The motion noted that “many members of the JCR would appreciate having an animal to pet or generally spend time with as a means of relaxation.”Eden Bailey, the proposer, commented on the failure of the motion, “Some members of the JCR had personal experience with alpacas which was not as positive as my research had suggested so I am not entirely gutted (like a fish) that the motion did not pass… I hope that [Magdalen JCR members] were not fabricating information in order to foil my humble attempt to support student well-being.”She further said, “I fully intend to continue my quest to improve welfare of students through nature but my next attempt at doing so will be even more heavily supported by research. There is hope yet. Perhaps in the form of terrapins.”last_img read more

The science of the artificial

first_img Researchers are creating an AI system that can mimic human clinical decision-making SEAS: What are choice set effects?PARKES: I show you a cheap, moderate-cost, and expensive coffee machine and you pick the moderately priced one. But, if I show you a moderate, expensive, and uber-luxury machine, you pick the …? SEAS: Expensive one.You brought up private companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. Proprietary and black-box algorithms must pose a challenge to understanding machine behavior. How can we understand why a machine behaves the way it does when we don’t know what the algorithm is or how it makes decisions?PARKES: Funnily enough, the algorithms need not themselves be very complicated. The algorithms for training a deep-learning system, which describe the architecture of a model and the way in which a model will be trained, can typically be expressed in just tens of lines of code (albeit code that then builds on top of other, lower-level code). It is the trained models that are complex and somewhat inscrutable, often considered to be a “black box.” But it is not hopeless, and there are many sensible research directions — for example, requiring simpler models, insisting on a post hoc explanation of the behavior of complex models, and using visualization and sensitivity analyses to try to understand the way these models work and test theories about behavior. The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. In the quest for clean, limitless energy through nuclear fusion, scientists use ‘deep learning’ AI to predict destructive disruptions Containing the sun In 1969, artificial-intelligence pioneer and Nobel laureate Herbert Simon proposed a new science, one that approached the study of artificial objects just as one would study natural objects.“Natural science is knowledge about natural objects and phenomena,” Simon wrote. “We ask whether there cannot also be ‘artificial’ science — knowledge about artificial objects and phenomena.”Now, 50 years later, a team of researchers from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, the University of California, San Diego, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other institutions is renewing that call. In a recent paper published in the journal Nature, the researchers proposed a new, interdisciplinary field — machine behavior — that would study artificial intelligence through the lens of biology, economics, psychology, and other behavioral and social sciences.Intelligent machines, the researchers argue, can no longer be viewed solely as the products of engineering and computer science; rather, they should be seen as a new class of actors with their own behaviors and ecology.The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) spoke with David Parkes, the George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science and co-author of the paper, about this emerging field and what the future has in store for intelligent machines.Q&ADavid ParkesSEAS: For so long, the study of artificial intelligence and intelligent machines has been confined to the realm of computer science, and the researchers who built the machines were the same ones who studied their behavior. Why is it important to expand the scope of study to include new fields, including behavioral and social sciences?PARKES: First, a separation between the designers and builders of intelligent machines and those who study how they are used (or not) can bring an independent viewpoint in developing and testing the right sets of hypotheses about the performance of these technologies. There are pragmatic reasons too, in that the study of intelligent machines becomes a behavioral science, requiring quite different kinds of expertise. Another point is that systems developed in the narrow confines of a lab may behave very differently “in the wild,” when behavior becomes a product of the way in which they are used, including the many ways that are different from what their designers had intended. Microsoft’s Tay bot [which began posting offensive tweets after trolls “taught” her hate speech] is one unfortunate but not-so-unique example.SEAS: How might the fields of machine behavior and computer science grow together and inform each other moving forward?PARKES: As computer science has come to have such impact, the field has come to embrace what economists might refer to as “positive analysis,” which is to say analysis that is based on the empirical and experimental studies of deployed, computational systems — the structure of the World Wide Web, the propagation of information on social networks, or the way in which interactive tutoring systems are used, to give just three examples. Intelligent machines are a new kind of artifact that we need to study and understand, and we’ll need to do this in an interdisciplinary way that includes computer scientists working collaboratively with social scientists, humanists, ethicists, legal scholars, to name just a few. More broadly, the study of machine behavior will be impacted by advances in data science, in working at scale with vast amounts of different kinds of data, and in leveraging methods of probabilistic machine learning and statistics to tease out cause and effect.SEAS: Your work focuses on the intersection of AI and economics. What questions of machine behavior are you most interested in answering?PARKES: I am interested in a research program that studies machine behavior within the algorithmic economy, including pricing algorithms, recommender algorithms, and reputation systems, as well as in the context of blockchains. We can already see a trajectory toward the automation of many of the core constituents of what makes up an economic system, and the machine behavior lens is a good one because behavior is emergent, meaning it’s based not only on individual interactions but also on societal and economic forces. I think recommender systems such as those employed by Amazon are especially interesting and important to study because that’s where we’ll see thorny questions arise around behavioral economics, algorithmic marketing, and ethics … For example, is it okay for an intelligent recommender to leverage “choice set effects” to drive up revenue? “There is a need to move forward deliberatively … while at the same time with the recognition that people and machines will continue to become bound together in new and unexpected ways.” SEAS: Artificial intelligence already plays such a large role in our lives. What is the importance of establishing this new field of research now? Are you afraid it’s being started too late, when so much of the foundation of AI has already been laid?PARKES: Well, it’s never too late, and we’re only at the beginning of the wave of change that will come from the development of intelligent machines. There is a need to move forward deliberatively, with appropriate measures of curiosity, creativity, and responsibility, while at the same time with the recognition that people and machines will continue to become bound together in new and unexpected ways. What’s important is the recognition of the need for scientific study, and this review article brings together threads in this emerging, interdisciplinary field of machine behavior. Related Building a better med studentlast_img read more

SMC choirs to sing Christmas carols

first_imgThis Sunday, the 28th annual Lessons and Carols event will take place at the Church of Loretto at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Campus Ministry, the Department of Music, the Department of Communication, Dance and Theater and the Church of Loretto. Regina Wilson, assistant director of Campus Ministry, said Lessons and Carols is a gathering of prayer that was started by the Church of England. Readers recite scripture, and Saint Mary’s and the Church of Loretto’s choirs sing sacred songs of the season, she said. “The readings and lessons are readings that we carefully select based on theme,” Wilson said. “This year we picked readings that convey or represent images of Mary. And they aren’t all scripture. For instance there’s a lovely poem by Hildegard Von Bingen that we’ve used several times and that we are going to read again this year,” she said. The event begins with a procession of the choirs singing a congregational song. Readings and lessons with either choral or congregational signing alternate, Wilson said. The choirs include women’s choir, liturgical choir, collegiate choir, Loretto choir and Hand Belle Choir. A candlelight ceremony featuring “Silent Night” closes the event, she said. “We invite different people from the College to do the readings. We have seven different lessons and readings,” she said. “… Of the seven readers there are two faculty members, one student, two sisters, a couple of ministers so it is a representation of the College.” The readings often relate back to the mission of Saint Mary’s and to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Wilson said. “It is very connected with the mission of the sisters of the Holy Cross so the readings often have something to do with justice,” she said. “And this year in particular to Mary and justice to Saint Mary’s to some of the thematic elements.” After participating in Lessons and Carols in 2012, sophomore Maria Wesler said she chose to participate for a second year as part of women’s choir because the event was a lovely experience. “[The Church of Loretto} is just so beautiful,” Wesler said. “The way you can hear everyone sing in there and [the way it] echoes is gorgeous,” she said. Saint Mary’s students also recognize the importance of keeping tradition and the value it has for the College, Wesler said. “It’s a part of maintaining the culture and also maintaining the values of Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I would say Lessons and Carols would probably be a good part of the Saint Mary’s tradition because it does keep alive the certain values that our school holds sacred like religion. Wilson said she believes the event is a celebratory occasion for the community to be in prayer together. “I find it to be an experience of prayer,” she said “… There are a lot of people that have been coming for years. This is their advent thing to participate in.” Contact Alex Winegar at [email protected]last_img read more

Michael Irvin discloses biopsy taken on throat

first_imgView this post on Instagram Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin is awaiting word on his health after having a biopsy taken on his throat this week.Irvin said Tuesday on Instagram that he has experienced problems with his throat since late November and was eventually advised by his doctor to undergo the procedure.  Irvin noted in his post that he has a family history with throat cancer:center_img ‪Spent Sun & Mon in LA at UCLA medical Health (Ronald Reagan Hospital) doing health test. I would not usually do this but this I need to share. Growing up in the ghetto of Ft Lauderdale the one thing you have to conquer to get out is FEAR. I did! As a football player the no fear gift served me well as a blessing and an asset on the field but sometimes off the field it’s been a curse and a liability. This past football season after the @dallascowboys beat the @Saints i was so elated and hyped I lost my voice and the problem persisted for almost 2months. After visiting some of the best throat Doctors they thought it to be wise to take a deeper look at the situation. So we schedule and performed a throat biopsy. To give background I share with you that I loss my father at the young age of 51. He had throat cancer. This daemon has chased and vexed me deep in my spirit all my life. So saying I am afraid this time is a big big understatement. I AM TERRIFIED!! My Faith tells me whenever you face great fear you go to your greatness power. Mine is God. I am asking all who will. Could you please send up a prayer to help my family and I deal with whatever the results may be? Thanks for your thoughts and prayers in advance🙏🏾🙏🏾I will continue to pray for your fams protection and prosperity as well. May God Bless us all 🙏🏾🙏🏾‬A post shared by Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) on Mar 26, 2019 at 2:06pm PDTPHOTOS: Top 10 Dallas Cowboys of all timeIrvin, 53, played his entire NFL career (1988-99) with the Cowboys, compiling 750 career receptions,11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns. He and fellow “Triplets” Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman helped Dallas win three Super Bowls from 1992-95.He has been working as an analyst for NFL Network. He previously was an analyst for ESPN.last_img read more

Public Access Not Part of Waterfront Plan, Developer Says

first_img“We’re happy to cut back the lots and include the public green space and boardwalk, but it comes down to, ‘Do you have the funding?’ I assume they don’t. So we’re proceeding with the plan we’ve submitted. But I’m perfectly happy to sit back down with them and to try and work it out,” Denholtz said. DCH CEO Steven Denholtz said the planshave already been scaled back significantlysince initially being brought before the boardmore than a year ago. The plan proposed by Denholtz Custom Homes (DCH) for a 7-acre parcel overlooking the Sandy Hook Bay was up in the air following a contentious March 25 meeting in which members of a resident opposition group – Neighbors for Waterfront Preservation – laid out detailed arguments about potential environmental and social impacts which could result from developing the plot, better known as the McConnell Tract. “We can’t go any further,” Denholtz said,noting that the plans have been altered threetimes in consideration of resident feedback. “We’re not happy about this,” Chiles said. “At the last hearing, the developer said they needed time to consider feedback, but they seem to be deaf to the concerns that the community has raised.” “We have a good project with no variancesthat we hope will get approved.” The previous meeting was highlighted by a 30-minute presentation from borough resident Mark Fisher, who provided the results of a lengthy independent environmental study, including the health of the groundwater for residential housing built on lands first owned and developed in 1929 by Standard Oil, and later Exxon, for industrial operations. That hearing concluded just before midnight and was expected to continue the following evening but a continuation was granted until April to allow DCH time to consider the public’s input. Chiles explained that the day after theMarch 25 meeting, Neighbors for WaterfrontPreservation attorney Kevin I. Assadi of theRed Bank-based firm Zager Fuchs notifiedthe board’s attorney, Michael Steib, and thedeveloper’s attorney, John Giunco, that hewould be unavailable the week of April 29 dueto a previously scheduled family vacation. Denholtz said he was “disheartened, disappointed and surprised” by the allegations, and that he and his organization have attempted to maintain a positive relationship with the objectors. Chiles said an initial meeting about public sources of funding options was held in December 2018, where such resources as the borough’s open space acquisition fund, county open space grants and green acres funding from the state were discussed. Denholtz said the proposed public portionof the plan was removed from the scope of thework when discussions about public fundingbroke down.center_img Denholtz said that in the last two months itdid not appear that the opposition group hadpursued any sources of public funding. Neighbors for Waterfront Preservation leader and Atlantic Highlands resident Benson Chiles said DCH hasn’t done enough, referencing finalized plans which do not include any public lands or access to the waterfront. DHC initially proposed 21 lots on the siteand cut that number to accommodate requestsfor a public boardwalk and open public greenspace spanning the length of the property. “Knowing what took place there, I wouldnever allow my children to live there,” Fishersaid during his remarks. “After meeting with them (the objectors),we received a strong feeling that they didn’twant to bear the cost to maintain the publicfacilities. And if it’s going to be for the publicit has to be maintained by the public. So we’vecut back,” Denholtz said. The hearing is expected to conclude at the planning board’s April 29 meeting, a date Chiles referred to as a strategic maneuver on the part of DCH. “The process smells fishy to me and I hope the board will take all of these concerns into account for its final determination,” Chiles said. ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The group looking to construct 17 luxury condos on one of the last pieces of undeveloped land on the Bayshore waterfront said it does not intend to alter its site plan ahead of Monday’s anticipated planning board meeting. “There are other sources, too, and to myknowledge he (Denholtz) has not pursuedany of them, nor has he asked that we pursuethem. In some ways it feels as though he wasjust leading us on with these discussions,”Chiles said. The continuation of the hearing is scheduled for Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m. in the Atlantic Highlands Elementary School auditorium.last_img read more