Tickle Kitchin http://ticklekitchin.com/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 03:25:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://ticklekitchin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/tickle-kitchin-icon-150x150.png Tickle Kitchin http://ticklekitchin.com/ 32 32 Brain, gut and immune system honed after common chimpanzee ancestor split https://ticklekitchin.com/brain-gut-and-immune-system-honed-after-common-chimpanzee-ancestor-split/ Thu, 24 Nov 2022 02:53:31 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/brain-gut-and-immune-system-honed-after-common-chimpanzee-ancestor-split/ A team of Duke researchers have identified a cluster of human DNA sequences driving changes in brain development, digestion and immunity that appear to have evolved rapidly after our family line split from that of chimpanzees, but before our separation from the Neanderthals.

Our brains are bigger and our guts are shorter than our monkey peers.

“Many of the traits that we think of as uniquely human and specific to humans probably appear during this time,” in the 7.5 million years since the break with the common ancestor we share with the chimpanzee, said Craig Lowe, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke School of Medicine.

Specifically, the DNA sequences in question, which the researchers dubbed Human Ancestor Quickly Evolved Regions (HAQERS), pronounced as hackers, regulate genes. These are the switches that tell nearby genes when to turn on and off. The results appear on November 23 in the newspaper Cell.

The rapid evolution of these regions of the genome appears to have served as a fine-tuning of regulatory control, Lowe said. More switches were added to the human OS as sequences developed into regulatory regions, and they were more finely tuned to accommodate environmental or developmental cues. Overall, these changes were beneficial to our species.

“They seem particularly specific for causing genes to turn on, we only think of certain cell types at certain times in development, or even genes that turn on when the environment changes in some way. “, said Lowe.

Much of this genomic innovation has been found in brain and gastrointestinal tract development. “We see a lot of regulatory elements that activate in these tissues,” Lowe said. “These are the tissues where humans refine which genes are expressed and at what level.”

Today, our brains are bigger than those of other monkeys and our guts are shorter. “People have speculated that these two are even related because they’re two very expensive metabolic tissues to have,” Lowe said. “I think what we’re seeing is there wasn’t really a mutation that gave you a big brain and a mutation that really hit the gut, it was probably a lot of these little ones. changes over time.”

To produce the new findings, Lowe’s lab collaborated with Duke colleagues Tim Reddy, associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics, and Debra Silver, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology to tap into their expertise. Reddy’s lab is able to examine millions of genetic switches at once, and Silver observes the switches in action in developing mouse brains.

“Our contribution was that if we could bring these two technologies together, then we could look at hundreds of switches in this type of complex developing tissue, which you can’t really get from a cell line,” Lowe said.

“We wanted to identify switches that were totally new to humans,” Lowe said. By calculation, they were able to deduce what the human-chimpanzee ancestor DNA would have looked like, as well as the extinct Neanderthal and Denisovan lineages. The researchers were able to compare the genomic sequences of these other post-chimpanzee relatives using databases created from the pioneering work of 2022 Nobel Laureate Svante Pääbo.

“So we know the Neanderthal sequence, but let’s test this Neanderthal sequence and see if it can really turn on genes or not,” which they’ve done dozens of times.

“And we showed that, whoa, it’s really a switch that turns genes on and off,” Lowe said. “It was really fun to see that the new gene regulation came from totally new switches, rather than some kind of rewiring switches that already existed.”

Apart from the positive traits that HAQERs have given to humans, they may also be implicated in certain diseases.

Most of us have remarkably similar HAQER sequences, but there are some discrepancies, “and we were able to show that these variants tend to be correlated with certain diseases,” Lowe said, namely hypertension, neuroblastoma, unipolar depression, bipolar depression and schizophrenia. The mechanisms of action are not yet known and more research will need to be conducted in these areas, Lowe said.

“Perhaps human-specific diseases or human-specific susceptibilities to those diseases are going to be preferentially mapped to these new genetic switches that only exist in humans,” Lowe said.

Research support came from the National Human Genome Research Institute — NIH (R35-HG011332), North Carolina Biotechnology Center (2016-IDG-1013, 2020-IIG-2109), Sigma Xi, Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine and the Duke Whitehead Scholarship.

Our Commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities https://ticklekitchin.com/our-commitment-to-historically-black-colleges-and-universities/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 03:25:24 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/our-commitment-to-historically-black-colleges-and-universities/

Ford is proud to support HBCUs in their journey to greater success. The
first historically black college and university opened in 1837, today there are more than
100. HBCUs provide opportunities for students to grow academically and personally. They
provide a culturally rich experience and a chance to be part of a close-knit community.

This environment is also cultivating the workforce of the future that companies like Ford
hope to attract.

An example is the recent opening of the Ford Atlanta Research and Innovation
Center (FARIC) which is located within a 6 hour radius of more than 10 HBCUS.

FARIC will leverage relationships with regional HBCUs and Atlanta University
Consortium Center to attract and develop in-demand high-tech talent and increase
Black, Hispanic and female representation on the field.

Ford remains committed to supporting HBCUs and developing diverse talent. In 2018,
Ford Motor Company Fund and Spelman College launched Ford First Gen in Spelman
to create a program that included mentorship and funding to support the first generation

Over the years, the program has proven to be successful, with participants not only graduating
but become class presidents, valedictorians and continue to work for Fortune 500
business and pursue higher education. Given the success of this initiative, Ford Fund
is exploring new partnerships with other HBCUs to bring the program to their

For more than 15 years, Ford has worked to empower African-American students by
support HBCUs, including donating millions of scholarships and contributions to
Historically black colleges and universities through the Tom Joyner Foundation. Ford
also holds a long-standing partnership with the United Negro College Fund, helping
HBCU students pursuing four- and two-year degrees, specialized training and
certificate programs related to advanced manufacturing and STEM careers in the
automobile industry.

Ford is committed to supporting HBCUs and continuing their efforts to attract and retain
talents of these institutions as part of their mission to build a better world where every
person is free to move around and pursue their dreams.

Leveraging data for sustainable higher education https://ticklekitchin.com/leveraging-data-for-sustainable-higher-education/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 15:25:08 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/leveraging-data-for-sustainable-higher-education/

Higher education institutions are facing unprecedented challenges. Nationwide undergraduate enrollment has plummeted by more than one million students as a result of the pandemic. Student expectations are changing. Declining birth rates in recent years will lead to a post-Gen Z “enrollment cliff” by the end of the 2020s.

Addressing each of these thorny issues requires the same thing: better information.

“Humans manage uncertainty by seeking information,” says Mark Hampton, executive education consultant for Amazon Web Services (AWS). “Higher education officials are looking for data to address these challenges. These are extraordinarily uncertain times, and the best way to handle this is with very good information. »

In particular, better data can help institutions address a key area of ​​interest that has only grown in importance as these challenges have multiplied: the student experience, which touches on virtually everything students do. colleges and universities.

“Universities can do a better job of knowing what students need and providing it,” Hampton says.

“It’s about bringing together the information we have to understand the needs of these students, including information that we may not know might be useful.”


The irony is that higher education institutions are already inundated with data. Many created vast data warehouses in the late 1990s as part of the wave of system modernization that solved anticipated problems with Y2K. It was an important step forward. But higher education institutions now need to update and transform the way they manage data and turn it into action, says Hampton.

“These legacy data architectures were meant to address a different set of challenges,” he says. “They’re good at producing annual reports and meeting compliance reporting requirements, and if we’re smart, they can react to trends over time. But that’s not the world we work in today.

That’s because longitudinal views are useful for tracking long-term trends, but today’s rapidly changing environment is “much messier,” Hampton says. To understand and meet student needs in time to be responsive, institutions need to focus less on the “official record” and more on what Hampton calls “microtransactions,” the small interactions that happen throughout the day. of a student on campus.

For example, data from physical access systems can provide a wealth of information. Used during the pandemic to monitor space usage and contact tracing, this information can help determine if students are on campus and whether they are taking classes or using the library or other facility. Likewise, other touchpoints – including student devices connecting to campus Wi-Fi from different locations, learning management system (LMS) logins, or online engagement with teachers or counselors – can provide insight into changing behaviors.

“For most people, it’s disposable data,” says Hampton. “But it becomes incredibly useful in helping institutions understand and improve the student experience.”


Aggregating what was once considered disposable data can provide insight into facility usage and student engagement – ​​and help answer questions such as:

· Does a student do better if they meet in class once a week or three times?

· Do students have the information they need to succeed?

· What causes some students to fall behind?

Understanding the answers to these questions can help institutions better meet student needs. For example, microtransactions that reflect what Hampton calls “the wealth of information we generate simply by moving around the world” can identify students whose behavior – such as abrupt changes in class attendance – suggests that they may need support to succeed.

Some privacy advocates may be concerned about the collection and use of this granular data.

But as Hampton points out, retail and entertainment companies already routinely collect and use this type of information and much more. “These are the types of data collected by for-profit companies to manage the customer experience,” Hampton explains. “We need to start thinking about this type of information to fill the gaps in the information reported in formal systems.

“Of course,” he adds, “every effort should be made to ensure student data is securely collected, stored and analyzed.”

Data is not only essential for improving the student experience. It is also an invaluable part of tracking and improving organizational efficiency indicators, for example, the time it takes to process an invoice or grant application. As with student data, the goal is to identify sudden changes in operational processes that may suggest larger issues or require adjustments to personnel or the process itself.

“The process we have is really what drives our results, and we could do a much better job paying attention to that process,” Hampton says. “The good thing is that this data exists. They’re just not going to fit into this traditional data warehouse that was probably designed 20 years ago.


Start with readily available data and identify gaps. For example, a common retention challenge is ensuring freshmen enroll in time for their second semester. While most universities have ample information about student progress during admissions and registration for their first semester, fewer have an idea of ​​each student’s subsequent progress and engagement as deadlines approach. registration for the spring semester. This is a critical inflection point where real-time insight into student behavior is invaluable. “They don’t have anyone holding their hand anymore,” Hampton said. “If we wait for the deadline, we have already lost the student.”

Start small. Take on a challenge to both develop skills and a business case for broader data modernization. “Leaders are looking for the big fix,” Hampton says. “But if you can solve one problem and then scale to solve others, you’re well on your way to creating a data solution that will solve your institutional challenges.”

Don’t replace existing systems — supplement them. Data warehouses remain valuable assets, but institutions need new technologies and methodologies to accommodate new types of data. “Rather than thinking about scrapping all these sorts of things, think about integrating them into a bigger build,” says Hampton. For example, creating a data lake allows institutions to take advantage of structured data from existing data stores as well as new types of information.

Understand that data is not valuable on its own. Institutions should invest in technology that enables them to collect, ingest and analyze data. Analytics solutions can generate real-time insights and help project future trends, while data dashboards and visualizations can help leaders make better decisions.

Consider privacy concerns and ensure security. Institutions must respect existing laws and regulations, but they must also recognize that student expectations have changed. “Given their experiences interacting online, today’s student generally knows and expects to be followed,” says Hampton. “We have an obligation to use data in a way that helps students. If we know someone is in trouble because they are not coming to campus and we can intervene, we have more than justified this use of information.

Making these changes also requires a change in mindset. “It’s about using data more organically and less about archiving and analyzing data once a year,” says Hampton. “It’s about moving away from the meaning of data as a formal construct and considering the kinds of information we have that can help students. This is where the real upside potential lies.

This article was written and produced by the Center for Digital Education Content Studio, with information and contributions from AWS.

UMaine’s Climate Change Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary – UMaine News https://ticklekitchin.com/umaines-climate-change-institute-celebrates-its-50th-anniversary-umaine-news/ Mon, 21 Nov 2022 15:17:56 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/umaines-climate-change-institute-celebrates-its-50th-anniversary-umaine-news/

The University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, marking half a century of climate change research and education in Maine, New England and across the planet.

In 1973, professor emeritus Harold Borns, whose research focused on glaciers and glaciation in Maine, founded the Institute for Quaternary Studies to conduct interdisciplinary research studying the past 2 million years of physical, chemical, biological and social characteristics of the earth. In 2002, the institute was renamed the Climate Change Institute (CCI).

Since then, CCI has spearheaded important projects leading to groundbreaking discoveries. ICC scientists first mapped the difference between the climate during the Ice Age and today in the 1970s; discovered the importance of marine ice caps in the 1980s; linked acid rain to human causes in the mid-1980s; discovered the concept of abrupt climate change while studying ice cores in Greenland in the mid-1990s; and led expeditions crossing Antarctica to determine the impact of human-made pollutants in the 2010s.

Along the way, UMaine students have played a pivotal role in research and participated in other hands-on learning opportunities through CCI. Many have become leaders in fields studying the physical, chemical, biological and social aspects of global climate change.

For more information on ICC research expeditions, see its website.

World-renowned polar explorer, climatologist and glaciologist Paul Mayewski has served as ICC Director since 2002. He has led more than 60 expeditions to some of the most remote regions of the planet, including an expedition to Mount Everest with National Geographic and Rolex in 2019.

Mayewski said CCI is one of the first – if not the first – truly interdisciplinary group at UMaine with a global reach.

“Doing interdisciplinary science is not such a simple thing; it really requires an openness to the methodologies of other disciplines and to the problems that concern them. For a problem like climate change, you need to have a multidisciplinary approach. It is not enough to have people in silos; you want people to talk to each other and come up with responses to the challenge together. It is more than an individual research and/or academic unit,” says Mayewski. “We provide our graduate students and many undergraduate students with a life-changing experience through our approach to research and field expeditions in Maine, the polar regions, high mountains, deserts and oceans”

Mayewski spoke about CCI’s 50th anniversary on last week’s episode of Maine Question Podcastas well as UMaine researchers Cindy Isenhour, associate professor of anthropology and climate change, and Dan Sandweiss, professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies.

On November 18, current students, alumni and faculty came together to celebrate ICC’s 50th anniversary – its history, past accomplishments, future goals, and continuing impact on current students and alumni. Presenters included George Jacobson, Director Emeritus of CCI; Jim Roscoe, professor emeritus of anthropology with an associate professorship at the ICC; Kimberly Miner, ICC alumnus, scientist and engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); and Kurt Rademaker, ICC alumnus, assistant professor of anthropology at Michigan State University.

Other video testimonials from CCI alumni that were screened during the 50th anniversary debates can be viewed at Youtube.

Mayewski is proud to celebrate CCI’s 50th anniversary and rejoice in its accomplishments, but their work is far from done. The next half-century of the institute promises even more discoveries and contributions to address the global challenge of climate change around the world.

“Because climate change is a rapidly evolving challenge, it constantly absorbs more and more disciplines and viewpoints,” says Mayewski. “We have to constantly evolve with him.”

Contact: Sam Schipani, samantha.schipani@maine.edu

College dance companies can be a fulfilling alternative for non-dance majors https://ticklekitchin.com/college-dance-companies-can-be-a-fulfilling-alternative-for-non-dance-majors/ Mon, 21 Nov 2022 05:15:56 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/college-dance-companies-can-be-a-fulfilling-alternative-for-non-dance-majors/

Growing up, Gabrielle Miller had one goal in mind: to become a professional ballet dancer. And after attending the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater for her senior year, she was on the right track. She planned to audition for the springing companies and apply to colleges as a stand-in. Yet by the time she found out she had been accepted to Wake Forest University in North Carolina, she felt exhausted from ballet and decided to change course. Now halfway through her freshman year, Miller still dances most days as a member of the Wake Forest University Dance Company while pursuing a degree in health and exercise science. “I found the perfect balance between challenging academic classes and fulfilling dance classes and opportunities,” she says. “I’m sure I made the right choice.”

When considering colleges as a serious ballet dancer, the options may seem black and white: drop ballet altogether to study English or economics or declare a dance major. But some schools have very rigorous on-campus ballet companies, allowing students like Miller to find common ground and, in many cases, develop a happier, healthier relationship with ballet.

Gabrielle Miller, member of the Wake Forest University Dance Company. Photo courtesy of Miller.

Varied training and performance opportunities

Unlike most university dance companies, which are student-run, Wake Forest is part of the Department of Theater and Dance, which offers a dance minor. However, members do not have to declare a minor to join. “Company auditions are held every fall, and anyone can audition,” says Department Chair Professor Nina Lucas. As Artistic Director of the Wake Forest University Dance Company, Lucas produces six to eight pieces each fall for the Fall Faculty Guest Artist Concert, usually a mix of new choreography from faculty and guest artists and excerpts from classical ballet, as well as jazz and modern works. Each spring there is the Student Choreographic Concert, which can include classical and contemporary ballet, jazz and modern styles.

Miller is currently rehearsing variations of Don Quixote, as well as a contemporary ballet. The rest of her weeks are filled with technique classes across the department, attending open community classes for young dancers in the Winston-Salem area, and, in the spirit of experimentation, a tap club. and working behind the scenes in the theater organization on campus.

Alyssa Shi poses in a forward attitude with her right leg bent and her left leg raised.  She wears a black leotard, black tights and ballet shoes.  She poses in front of a large window in a dance studio.
Devils En Pointe President Alyssa Shi. Photo by Christina Lee, courtesy of Shi.

Similarly, Alyssa Shi, a senior at Duke University, says she rarely goes a day without setting foot in the school’s studios. Shi, a graduate in statistics, is also president of Devils en Pointe, Duke’s ballet company. Although a career as a professional dancer was never her plan — she says her family expected her to pursue higher education in STEM — she hated the idea of ​​dropping out of college dance .

Devils en Pointe works closely with Duke’s dance department and requires each member to take at least one class within the dance department per semester. However, it is entirely managed by students: the group mounts a production of Nutcracker excerpts each fall and a more varied show in the spring that features mostly student choreography in collaboration with other arts groups on campus. Devils en Pointe also seeks creative performance opportunities: Since joining, Shi has danced at Duke basketball halftime shows and at the Nasher Museum of Art. The group meets every Saturday for a business course taught by students.

Four college-age dancers rehearse in a studio.  Two by two, they face each other diagonally, posing stretched behind.  They wrap their arms around their own waists and wear face masks, pointe shoes and various dance clothes.
Members of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative rehearsing for “Plasticity/Hope” by Rosie Elliot. Photo by Rosie Elliot, courtesy CBC.

The weekly company class is also a popular feature of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative at Columbia University in New York. “It’s good because people who aren’t chosen that semester can still come,” says Willa Broderick, CBC Artistic Director, Columbia College sustainability student and graduate of Boston Ballet’s pre-professional program. She and CBC Executive Director Junior Madeline Angelides supplement CBC classes and rehearsals with technique lessons through Barnard College’s affiliated dance department. Angelides, who attended Rock School, is pursuing a combined major in economics and statistics at Barnard. The duo produces CBC’s biannual performances, which feature a mix of guest and student choreographers and classical repertoire. This fall’s lineup includes choreographer Courtney Cochran and Black Iris Project artistic director Jeremy McQueen, among others. “It really works like a mini dance company,” says Angelides. “Just one that’s run by 20-year-olds.”

Unlike other student companies, the Harvard Ballet Company is also open to dancers not affiliated with Harvard University: some members are students at nearby Northeastern University, Boston University, and Tufts University , while others are young professionals. HBC offers a weekly company class, which company members supplement with non-credit community classes at the Harvard Dance Center (taught by Boston Ballet director John Lam) or the nearby José Mateo Ballet Theater.

A trio of male/female partners perform on stage, forming a triangle with one couple at center stage and the others on either side.  Women raise their left leg in a high developed in seconds and cross their wrists above their heads;  they wear halter top leotards, black tights and pointe shoes.  The men, dressed in black pants, ballet shoes and t-shirts, stand behind their partner, holding their waist with their right arm and the women's raised leg with their left hand.
The Harvard Ballet Company during their Spring 2022 performance. Photo by Daniel Huang, courtesy HBC.

Like CBC, HBC relies on a strong network of guest and alumni choreographers in addition to its dance students. Recently, the group has commissioned works from Telmo Gomes Moreira and Harvard alumnus Claudia Schreier. “Those are all the best parts of ballet,” says HBC co-director Nina Montalbano, who was a member of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company before college. “It’s the fun, the community and the flexibility to choose to dance as much as you want.”

community front

Belonging to a college ballet company can lead to benefits beyond the studio. The first is networking, which at CBC often takes place within the alumni community. “It’s our 16th year of existence, so we have this pretty long and established history and reputation,” says Angelides. For Shi, building relationships at Duke led to an unexpected career opportunity: After graduation, she plans to stay in Durham and dance for her teacher Iyun Harrison’s company, Ballet Ashani, while applying in medical school.

Staying involved in dance also gives students opportunities to merge their interests. Shi works as a research student at the Duke Dancer Wellness Clinic; HBC co-director Sara Komatsu has spent the past two summers interning at the Vail Dance Festival. “I don’t know if an internship there would have crossed my mind as a company dancer,” says Komatsu, an English student who took time off from Harvard in her second year to take the pre-professional program at the Rock School. “And I don’t know if I would have had access to that opportunity.” Leading CBC also made Angelides reconsider her next steps. “This role made me a little more interested in what arts administration would look like,” she says.

Nina Montalbano and Sara Komatsu face each other and lean out of a large window in a dance studio.  Montalbano wears pointe shoes, baggy black pants and a peach leotard.  Komatsu wears a pink leotard and black tights and is barefoot.  They both wear their hair long.
Harvard Ballet Company co-directors Nina Montalbano and Sara Komatsu. Photo by Margaret Canady, courtesy of HBC.

But overall, what these dancers love most about their college ballet companies is the sense of community. “You already have that basic common ground with people,” Komatsu says, pointing out that HBC regularly hosts social events. “It’s nice to be able to join this organization and have fast friends immediately.” In an often competitive dance world, Broderick says CBC feels like an equalizer. “There’s something unique about everyone making the choice to keep ballet in their lives, no matter what they’re studying,” she says. Angelides agrees: “CBC can be a very healing experience for a lot of people,” she says. “You dance at a high level, but it’s much more community-oriented.”

University research councils

While admissions listings are a good place to look when it comes to dance department offerings, student-run dance companies can be harder to find. Start with Google and the Dance Magazine College Guide (published by pointthe parent company of Dance Media LLC), as well as Instagram and YouTube. And don’t be afraid to contact us by email or direct message – many groups allow potential students to take classes. And if the course is not possible, dancers are often happy to answer questions and share their experiences.

A group of eight dancers in black leotards and black masks stand side by side in fifth position on stage, looking up and stretching their arms downward, palms up.  They stand in front of a dark background.
Columbia Ballet Collective in “Deep Space” by Melanie Ramos. Photo by Olivia Wein, courtesy CBC.

Above all, when researching colleges, remember that there are more than a few ways to keep ballet in your life. Montalbano says she now dances for herself, rather than for directors or auditions: “It’s been a big mindset shift, and it’s probably healthier.”

“Those of us in the ballet company find this extremely rewarding,” adds Komatsu. “Some of us use it as a retreat, but some of us use it as a very serious way to keep dancing.”

Verizon will now let you test its 5G network for free https://ticklekitchin.com/verizon-will-now-let-you-test-its-5g-network-for-free/ Fri, 18 Nov 2022 18:23:53 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/verizon-will-now-let-you-test-its-5g-network-for-free/

Verizon has introduced a new early access program that lets you test out its network for up to 30 days. There is no SIM card involved. Instead, it’s a showcase for eSIM technology allowing users from other carriers to compare services.

The Verizon test drive program, like rival eSIM-based trial programs from T-Mobile and AT&T, is completely free but requires an unlocked and compatible phone. Ultra Wideband 5G, 5G Nationwide and 4G LTE are available to try in addition to 100 GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

The program can be used with your existing provider, allowing users to compare the two services

To start, you must download My Verizon app via QR code and follow the instructions – no credit check or billing information required. Verizon states that scanning the QR code is required, so the program may not be unlocked if you download the My Verizon app directly.

There are a few restrictions, namely your phone must be one of the eligible models listed on Verizon FAQs and that you can’t have been a Verizon customer (or used the phone you’re testing on Verizon) in the past year. We should also note that if you sign up for the cheapest unlimited plan, you’ll only get standard nationwide 5G and not the 5G Ultra Wideband featured in the test drive program. But if you’ve been bored with your current carrier and curious if you’d get better reception on Verizon, now you can try it out without spending a lot of money (or having a credit check on your credit).

Editorial examines the challenges of automated facial expression analysis https://ticklekitchin.com/editorial-examines-the-challenges-of-automated-facial-expression-analysis/ Fri, 18 Nov 2022 06:13:52 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/editorial-examines-the-challenges-of-automated-facial-expression-analysis/

Photo submitted

Jeffrey Mullins and Patrick Stewart

As automated facial expression analysis, or AFEA, becomes increasingly capable of recognizing facial behavior in everyday life, it will become increasingly important to understand what makes the technology fail. incorrectly, as well as to anticipate problems that may arise when it is working correctly.

These are the pressing issues that two U of A professors highlighted in a recent political op-ed published in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems. The article, “Facing Forward: Policy for Automated Facial Expression Analysis,” was co-authored by Jeffrey K. Mullins, assistant professor of information systems, and Patrick A. Stewart, professor of political science. Thomas J. Greitens, professor of political science at Central Michigan University, was an additional co-author.

The objective of the editorial is to look further into the evolution of the AFEA. Currently, commercial AFEA is not as accurate as expert human raters trained in the facial action coding system and tends to identify and use only the six basic emotions of anger, fear, disgust, sadness, happiness and surprise. But that could change quickly. Developers and organizations inclined to use AFEA should be aware of current and future challenges.

Reliability challenges

At this stage of development, some elements still undermine the reliability of the AFEA. These include the “simplicity bias”, as noted above, in that AFEA focuses on detecting only six emotions and does not currently identify more complex facial behaviors. It is also not able to detect nuances, such as the difference between a smile of contentment or amusement, which the authors say reflects a “monomodal bias”.

Another problem is “environmental bias”. An agitated or claustrophobic passenger at an airport security checkpoint may exhibit facial behavior indistinguishable from a more suspicious traveler who is nervous about using forged documents.

Finally, there is an “individual difference bias”. People are the sum of their genetics, family, culture and experiences – and not everyone reacts to the same stimulus in the same way. What is expected in one group may not be in another, so attributing specific emotions to specific facial behaviors will never be entirely accurate.

Reliability challenges

Assuming AFEA can be brought to a point of greater reliability, this will introduce new challenges. The authors begin with the “negativity bias”. Of the six current emotions identified by the AFEA, four are commonly considered negative (fear, sadness, disgust, anger), one is positive (happiness) and one is neutral (surprise). Given the human propensity to focus on the negative, the authors believe that “AFEA could encourage coercion and control as opposed to coordination and cooperation”. Another major concern is transparency, the extent to which facial behaviors are recorded and determined thoughts and feelings can infringe the right to privacy.

The last two concerns are “systemic biases” and “subjectivity biases”. The first concerns how biases about marginalized groups can be unintentionally baked into algorithms, such as in the case where a hiring algorithm used by Amazon was found to be biased against women. In the other, the authors observe that values ​​can differ significantly between and within cultures, making it difficult to prioritize what is “good”. This can lead to the mistreatment of marginalized groups, or to processes and outcomes that engender societal conflict rather than reaching consensus.

Ultimately, the authors conclude, “Organizations need to be realistic in their expectations, cautious in their implementations, and critical when trying to predict potential negative impacts.”

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

Letter from LEAD1 proposes to appoint College Football COO https://ticklekitchin.com/letter-from-lead1-proposes-to-appoint-college-football-coo/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 19:29:59 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/letter-from-lead1-proposes-to-appoint-college-football-coo/

College athletics leaders are considering appointing a college football chief operating officer who would report to a football board proposed by FBS, according to a lengthy letter from the LEAD1 association obtained by ESPN.

The letter was sent this week to all Division I athletic directors, members of the NCAA Division I Transformation Committee and the NCAA Board of Directors.

The proposal has been aired at the highest levels of college football, including the 10 FBS commissioners and College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock, sources said.

The detailed recommendations for the sport’s future governance are the result of months of discussions, which began to bubble up last spring when some of the most important voices in college athletics, including the Ohio State Athletic Director , Gene Smith, advocated for college football to separate from the NCAA. entirely.

Any momentum for that changed in September, when an overwhelming majority of Division I athletic directors at annual LEAD1 meetings expressed a strong preference for keeping FBS football under the NCAA if it can be more streamlined and less bureaucratic.

Following the strong consensus at its fall meeting, LEAD1, which represents the 131 athletic directors of the FBS, created a working group made up of representatives from the 10 FBS conferences.

According to the group’s proposal, the FBS football board would consist mainly of people with significant knowledge of football and appointed by their conferences. There would also be a representative from the American Football Coaches Association, as well as four independent directors, including at least two former student-athletes – a combination of unbiased people and people who have the perspective of the players, which the Commission Knight has separately been pushing for.

The FBS Football Board of Directors would “decide on all matters related to FBS football” except rules relating to academics, financial aid, health and safety. While the board would oversee things like officiating, rules and possibly planning, many agree that there are issues that should remain at the level of college presidents, and the NCAA would remain a legal shield.

Liability issues are at the heart of why most sports executives want college football to remain under the NCAA. The NCAA currently has a Football Oversight Committee, but six of the 18 members represent the FCS, and many athletic directors lament that they have different challenges that should be handled separately.

The COO would hold a position similar to that of Dan Gavitt, who is the senior vice president of NCAA basketball. FBS football is currently the only collegiate sport governed by the NCAA but operates its own national championship, through the PSC. The NCAA deals with issues like rules, arbitration, litigation and concussion enforcement, but doesn’t have someone like Gavitt at the table when major decisions about the sport are made. This proposed position would also be part of the NCAA President’s executive team/cabinet.

While LEAD1 does not have the authority to implement any of the recommendations, it is another step toward changing the way the sport of college football is governed as the NCAA undergoes sweeping changes in its own organization and that more powers are transferred to individual conferences. The proposal also urges the NFL to provide financial support, arguing that “the NFL reaps the benefits of FBS football serving as an agricultural system without providing financial support (and other resources) to the NCAA.”

It will likely take weeks to gather feedback, and the proposal will ultimately need to be approved by the Division I Board of Directors. While there may be some push back on the plan, some may also want to wait until the NCAA appoints a president to replace Mark Emmert before making such drastic changes to the structure of the sport. It is also unclear who should vote to officially approve it, as legal opinions differ, according to the sources.

According to the letter, “In the absence of implementation of these recommendations, our AD FBS support exploring options for such decision-making outside of the NCAA.”

University of Melbourne signs agreement with two of Greece’s leading universities https://ticklekitchin.com/university-of-melbourne-signs-agreement-with-two-of-greeces-leading-universities/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 06:40:34 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/university-of-melbourne-signs-agreement-with-two-of-greeces-leading-universities/

On Thursday 17 November, delegates from the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia and the World Congress of the Hellenic Diaspora met with representatives from the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

An agreement between the University of Melbourne, the University of Patra and the National Kapodistrian University of Athens has been signed. It will generate exchange programs for undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral students.

Conference Chairman Prof Marinis Pirpiris and Treasurer of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) said this is an important agreement which will enhance cooperation in teaching and research between the three universities. and explore opportunities for engagement such as joint conferences, seminars, workshops and visits.

“This is a wonderful and unique opportunity, which will help build academic partnerships and collaborations and connect students and scholars from diverse backgrounds with a shared commitment and passion to overcome the challenges of the future,” Professor Pirpiris said in a statement.

Professor Nicola Lautenschlager, head of Melbourne Medical School, said the University of Melbourne “deeply appreciates this new and promising relationship with the Universities of Athens and the University of Patras”.

“There will be collaboration, an exchange of ideas and a way for our students to enlighten their curiosity and their knowledge.

“This exchange will help our students stay at the forefront of innovation in medicine and medical research,” said Professor Lautenschlager.

Professor Georgios Adonakis, dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Patras, said it was his “great honour” to sign the agreement with the faculty at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Adonakis called the University of Melbourne “the highest caliber medical education institution in Australia” and said the event “marks the collaboration of the two nations, its undergraduates, its postgraduates cycle, its teaching staff and marks the exchange of research and clinical content”.

Dr Marios Themistokleous, secretary general of the Greek Ministry of Health, said he was “very happy” to be in Melbourne and to support the deal.

“On behalf of the Greek government, I believe that these types of collaborations will lead to an exchange of ideas between these institutions, especially in research, medical education and medical practice, always based on the values ​​of Hippocrates”,

Greek Community President Bill Papastergiadis said Greece and Australia share a rich history and common values.

“Strengthening our ties is vital to the work of the Greek community in Melbourne and the agreement between universities in the field of medicine is a superb outcome which will lead to exchanges of students and university staff.”

Mr Papastergiadis went on to say that the connections and shared research will “add significantly to the educational and cultural fabric of Australia and Greece”.

Mena Giannelis, Deputy Treasurer of the GCM underscored the significance of the agreement calling it a “great honour”.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for undergraduate and postgraduate students in Australia and Greece to continue their studies and research in each other’s countries. This collaboration agreement will be the first of its kind for the University of Melbourne and the Greek universities, we hope that it will continue well into the future.

On Friday November 18, the Hellenic Medical Society of Australia and the World Hellenic Diaspora Congress will officially open and host a number of panel sessions on topics including access to global healthcare and new technologies medical.

The congress will end on Saturday 19 with a fundraising gala for the community organizations PRONIA and Fronditha Care.

Reviews | To address post-pandemic learning loss, we need an educational moonshot https://ticklekitchin.com/reviews-to-address-post-pandemic-learning-loss-we-need-an-educational-moonshot/ Wed, 16 Nov 2022 19:02:40 +0000 https://ticklekitchin.com/reviews-to-address-post-pandemic-learning-loss-we-need-an-educational-moonshot/
(Washington Post staff illustration; iStock)
(Washington Post staff illustration; iStock)


Dan Goldhaber is the director of the Center for Longitudinal Data Analysis in Educational Research. Thomas J. Kane is director of the Center for Educational Policy Research. Andrew McEachin is the director of NWEA’s Collaborative for Student Growth. Emily Morton is a research scientist at NWEA.

American students have seen a historic decline in their academic performance. The only possible answer – the only rational answer – is a historic collective investment in children and young adults.

The results National Assessment of Educational Progress reveals plummeting test scores nationwide, taking students back to where they were two decades ago. At the same time, we have witnessed a sharp increase in inequalities in education, with much greater losses in high poverty districts. Yet there is a troubling disconnect between the scale of the catch-up efforts over the past school year and the scale of the declines.

These losses will not be corrected by a few hours of tutoring or a useful computer program. Schools and families need to take a close look at each student’s position. And their communities must step in to help in any way they can.

The best metaphor for this moment comes not from the history of education, but from the space program.

When President John F. Kennedy released his moon challenge, NASA rocket designers calculated the thrust they would need to send a spacecraft to the moon and soon realized they would need something far bigger than anything they had built previously. The result was the Saturn V rocket.

Today, school district leaders are tasked with reversing learning loss on a scale none of them have ever experienced. And they received little guidance on what an adequate response might look like. No wonder many system leaders have launched the equivalent of bottle rockets: an increase in summer school enrollment or tutors for a few more students.

Communities will have to think bigger and bolder to plan a set of interventions that are up to the challenge.

To some extent, it’s hard to blame them for not aiming higher in the last school year. Continued increase in covid-19 and significant challenges with staffing, schedules and competing priorities in schools made it quite difficult to implement the plans that exist. But even if the interventions had gone as planned, they would not have been enough to catch up with students in many districts.

The first step is to define the task more clearly in front of educators and families.

States must help everyone see the loss in terms of what it will take to get students back on track. Telling educators that proficiency rates have gone down is not enough. Explain that students have lost several months or a year of math instruction provides a stronger basis for planning an ambitious recovery program.

Second, states and districts need to be transparent about what different solutions can accomplish.

Research suggests districts may be able to get an extra year of growth by providing students with three hours of tutoring, with three or fewer students per teacher — each week. A summer school session offers the equivalent of a term of learning. An additional period of algebra instruction can teach students the material they would learn in a semester.

Once districts and parents know how much learning their students have lost and what it will cost to catch up, they can launch efforts tailored to the challenge. Thanks to the President and Congress, schools have an unprecedented injection of federal funds to work with. They will also need staff, time and space. For this, they will need community buy-in.

Take the case of staff: given shortages in the teaching profession, schools might not be able to recruit on their own or through existing channels. Expand partnerships between schools and teacher education programs is a promising strategy various states and districts use to recruit intervention providers. But in areas where student need is greatest, states could enlist (and pay) local undergraduate students, parents, and other community members to provide tutoring.

Schools and education officials also need to be upfront about what this effort requires of families. Expanding learning opportunities, such as after-school programs or Saturday academies, will force students and families to sacrifice time they might normally spend on extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, or even vacations. Year-round school will require wider adjustments to family routines – although that could be a boon for parents scrambling for summer childcare.

To get consensus from families that these changes are worth it, districts and states need to be crystal clear about where children stand.

A June survey found that over 90% of parents thought their children were at grade level or above. In another surveynearly 50% of parents of teenagers feared their own child had fallen behind because of the pandemic. These numbers simply do not match what we know about the current academic situation of students. Being transparent about student academic performance with families can be painful, but it’s vital.

Districts cannot do this alone, nor should they. Our children deserve better than to go back to where they were two years ago. They deserve a Saturn V to aim for the moon – and beyond.