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The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is pleased to announce its fall 2011 Askwith Forums, a series of public lectures dedicated to discussing challenges facing education, sharing new knowledge, and generating spirited conversation. Highlights this fall will include contemplations a discussion about the Boston busing/desegregation project, and a talk by Professor Howard Gardner describing how truth, beauty, and goodness can be strengthened in education across the life span. All Askwith Forums are free and open to the public.View a complete list of the fall schedule. Read Full Story
Shoulder to shoulder in the Northwest Labs, students gathered around laptops — 200 at a time — at the CS50 Fair. An annual fixture at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the fair is an opportunity for students taking the introductory computer science course to show off their final projects to the wider community. It also provides an opportunity for others to see what programming is all about.For Emilie R. Wong ’17, studying literature at Harvard Extension School, computer science offers a way to visualize and play music, using Google Glass. For William Anthony Greenlaw ’17, it’s a tool to attract new recruits to the ballroom dance team. For Gabriel Amador ’16, studying organismic and evolutionary biology, it helps to modernize a long-running study of the plant life in Harvard Yard.Interest in computer science has been growing every year. With more than 800 students enrolled this fall, CS50 became the largest course at Harvard College. Excitement about the field further increased in November, when the University announced plans to increase the size of the computer science faculty at SEAS by 50 percent, with support from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ’77.And David J. Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, is sending teaching fellow Jason Hirschhorn ’15 to help set up a collaborative version of CS50 at Yale University, where Harvard lectures will be live-streamed next fall.Standing amid row upon row of long tables strewn with laptops, raffle tickets, helium balloons, and CS50 stress balls during the Dec. 8 fair, Malan noted, “It should be an exciting experiment to try to execute a CS50 Fair not only in Cambridge but in New Haven next year as well.”Students in CS50 have almost free rein to select final projects that appeal to their curiosity, although they are asked to “strive to create something that outlives this course.”“All that we ask,” the syllabus says, “is that you build something of interest to you, that you solve an actual problem, that you impact campus, or that you change the world.”David Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, said a higher percentage of students in CS50 this fall came into the course with no coding experience at all. Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEASPutting names to faces“I was always the kid at the museum who wanted to get the audio guide and listen to every entry,” said Jacob Rienstra ’17. A sophomore studying computer science, Rienstra has spent the last 18 months wondering about the old portraits that hang in halls across the campus, from Annenberg Hall to Lowell House. Noting that many have no name plaque to identify them, he said, “Harvard has a very long history … and a lot of people have shaped Harvard. Some of them are immortalized in portraits, but they’re not really immortalized because no one knows who they are.”Knowing that a face on the wall belonged to a former House master would be a good start, Rienstra says, but rich historical details would be better. “Increase Mather,” he said, for example, “was involved in the Salem witch trials. One of his close friends was one of the judges at the trials, and he urged a more rational approach.” Knowing the stories behind the faces on the wall would bring history to life and could spark conversations over meals in the dining hall.Rienstra’s CS50 project catalogs all of the portraits in Lowell House and makes historical information about each one available through a searchable website that draws on a database. He hopes to expand the project campus-wide, adding a feature that suggests nearby portraits based on a user’s location.In homage to a sketch by the student comedy group On Harvard Time (Rienstra is a member), the portrait project is titled “Old White Dudes of Harvard.”“That’s poking fun at the fact that there are a lot of white dudes in our history — and the ones who aren’t are usually pretty awesome people — but to open up a conversation about that,” Rienstra says. “It allows us to discuss where we have come from and where we have to continue to go.”Language, simplifiedJennifer Hu ’18 studied German, Latin, and Greek in high school, “and I know Chinese,” she added casually. So when Problem Set 5 asked her to write a fast spell-checking program, she recognized quickly that part of the challenge arose from the difficulty of spotting irregularities in a highly irregular language.German, she knew, capitalizes the first letter of all nouns, so a computer presented with a capitalized word in the middle of a sentence could save time by comparing it to a list of only nouns, instead of searching the entire language for a match. She wondered: Could there be a computationally “perfect” language that eliminates ambiguity and facilitates fast processing?With her friend and classmate Kevin Loughlin ’18 — the two met at Visitas last April — Hu decided to find out.For their final CS50 project, the pair wrote a program that reconstructed and optimized the English language. The structure of every word in their new language system incorporates cues about the part of speech and where a word begins and ends. There are no homonyms or homophones. Adjectives and adverbs always follow the word they modify.The result is a language thoroughly lacking in nuance, and that’s the point. When speed and precision matter, it doesn’t mince words.“No one wants to take the time to learn something completely new that’s useless,” Loughlin admitted. “The reason to learn our language would be that you can easily communicate with artificial intelligence.”Most of the project work went into identifying constraints and designing the language carefully, Loughlin said. “They tell you all the time in computer science that CS is not about coding, and this is the first project where a huge part of our thought had to go — before we wrote a single line of code — into, ‘What do we want to accomplish with this task, and why do we want to do it in this way?’”To demonstrate the benefits of the new language, Hu and Loughlin also ran experiments and statistical analysis on its performance. They found that their language could be spell-checked faster than English, even when their words were longer, on average, than English words, and regardless of the location of a misspelled character.“Already, the fact that with spell-check we’ve achieved some significant results bodes well for us in terms of going forward in the future research that we do,” Loughlin said. “We’re really hoping to turn it into something several years long.”Loughlin had some coding experience when he arrived at Harvard, but it wasn’t like CS50. The courses he had taken in high school and during his gap year were enlightening, but uninspiring, he said.“It wasn’t my favorite subject in the whole world,” he added. “I think I saw computer science as something where you just perform mathematical operations. CS50 has done a great job in not only showing me the many different applications that computer science has, but [also] getting me to see that those applications are quite exciting“I really came in thinking I was going to do raw math, and within two weeks of CS50 it blew my mind.”Hu plans to study applied mathematics and linguistics. Loughlin intends to concentrate in computer science.
Related Boko Haram releases new video showing kidnapped Chibok girls Boko Haram video purportedly shows Chibok girls Today marks 500 days since the Chibok girls were kidnapped. Relatives of the missing schoolgirls are expected to hold a youth march and candle-lit vigil in the Nigerian capital Abuja.Muslim and Christian prayer services and a tree planting ceremony will also take place.Nigeria’s recently elected President Muhammadu Buhari has made it his mission to not only crush the Boko Haram insurgency, but also to get the girls back.In April last year, Boko haram invaded Chibok secondary school in Nigeria’s Borno state and made way with nearly 276 school girls that sparked international criticism over how Nigeria’s government was handling the situation. CCTV’s Clementine Logan takes a look back at how those events unfolded and how their story brought international attention to the threat posed by Boko Haram. Boko Haram has set new terms for the release of Chibok girls
Editor’s note: This is the Oct. 10, 2019 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.A few hours before Game 5 of the NLDS, a Los Angeles television reporter stopped me in the hallway leading to the Dodgers’ clubhouse. “If the Dodgers lose this game,” he asked, “would you expect there to be changes in the offseason?” Talk about speaking a powerful thought into the universe.My response went something like this: Some people, maybe most, begin every discussion about “offseason changes” with the manager and the general manager. There are eight managerial vacancies as of today, in the wake of Gabe Kapler’s firing in Philadelphia. There is one vacant general manager job. There are many more 25-man roster spots that will change between now and the beginning of next season, but this newsletter is about their bosses. (I’ll dive into my thoughts about the Dodgers players tomorrow.)Andrew Friedman did more to give his team a chance to win it all in 2019 than the four seasons before it. The one reliever Friedman acquired at the deadline (Adam Kolarek) was a good call. The reliever he didn’t acquire at the deadline (Felipe Vazquez) was a good non-call. He bet on his own knowledge of Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Julio Urías, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and others to form a competent bullpen. From Aug. 1 onward, the Dodgers had arguably the best bullpen in baseball. The roster’s other weak points had already been addressed internally before the trade deadline. Their rotation, bench and starting lineup were all relative strengths – at least on paper. In reality – and remember, this was a couple of hours before Game 5 – Dave Roberts had managed his personnel well to that point in the series. He inserted enigmatic utility player Kiké Hernandez into the Game 5 lineup for his glove and his bat. Hernandez made a twisting catch in left field in the top of the second inning, then homered a few minutes later. Roberts would even trust his 25-year-old starting pitcher to throw more pitches in the winner-take-all game than he ever had, and Walker Buehler rewarded him with 6-2/3 innings of one-run ball. The onus, it seemed, was on the players.Then the final three innings happened. A 3-1 lead became a 7-3 deficit. Mark Whicker, Jeff Passan and Andy McCullough delivered the necessary blow-by-blows. Feel free to dive in if you want to relive the unraveling of a 106-win regular season.Several of the questions lobbied during Roberts’ postgame press conference focused on the role of “analytics” in his late-game bullpen maneuvers. I did not ask any of these questions. Asking a manager to explain the role of analytics in his process – particularly in the minutes after a devastating loss – is a fool’s errand. Analytics is merely information. This information is complex enough that a manager needs a bench coach and a cheat sheet to sort through it in real time. But Bob Geren and the cheat sheet don’t share a podium with the manager after the game. It’s just Roberts out there on his lonely island, trying to interpret numerical data into words for some people who might not understand any of it. Often, the question itself reveals this lack of understanding. The media’s puerile fascination with “analytics” sometimes resembles that of performance-enhancing drugs a generation ago. (I’ve written about this before.) In short, the decision to pitch Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning, and Joe Kelly in the ninth and (especially) the 10th innings, demanded a sophisticated answer. We never got that answer from Roberts, and maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.If we’re looking solely at the final three innings of Game 5, the moment in which the Dodgers’ season unraveled, a couple things stood out to me about the process.1. There was nothing analytical about it. Roberts was in a difficult position a year ago. Brian Dozier, Matt Kemp and Cody Bellinger had never been part of a platoon arrangement in their baseball lives until late in the 2018 season. Roberts had to sign off on lineup cards that changed by the day, then explain to these players why their names weren’t on it. Then he had to explain this to the media. “This is the lineup that gives us the best chance to win” sounded an awful lot like “this is the roster I was handed” by the end of the World Series.This time, the Dodgers’ bench was more clearly defined. Hernandez, Chris Taylor, Matt Beaty, Russell Martin and David Freese knew their roles. They had time to perfect their individual process on days when their name wasn’t on the lineup card. That process, I think, is underrated outside a clubhouse. It exists in an analytical black hole. The same process that works for one player might not work for another, so there is no formula that even the brightest R&D department can provide, say, Freese to tell him how to get ready for a late-inning at-bat against Patrick Corbin. Each player has to figure out how to maximize the hours after the first pitch to get himself ready. It’s the rare trial-and-error process that is integral to the way baseball is played in 2019.Throw in a strong, established starting rotation, and a bullpen that performed admirably in August and September (with ample time to tinker), and Roberts couldn’t be confused about how to put any of his players in their best position to succeed. They had succeeded from April to September more than any other Dodgers team collectively, and with relatively few personnel changes along the way. That’s why you were justified in feeling better about the 2019 Dodgers than their 2018 counterparts.So, what happened in the final three innings on Wednesday?Kershaw appeared out of the bullpen for just the fifth time in four seasons. Joe Kelly was asked to pitch multiple innings, something he had not done since Aug. 24, and only twice in the three months before that. Kolarek was warm when his personal hitter, Juan Soto, stepped to the plate with runners on second and third in the 10th inning. He was still in the bullpen when Soto was intentionally walked to load the bases for Kelly to face Howie Kendrick – who was a combined 0 for 12 in his career against Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling and Dustin May. How did any of these decisions give the Dodgers the best chance to win? All of it defied the very analytical mantra Roberts has offered so many times before.2. “But Roberts doesn’t make the decisions! The front office does!!”I’ve heard fans express this thought many times before. The reality is that the public has little to no insight into where the manager’s personnel decisions begin and the front office’s end. I think the Dodgers like it that way – not so much to intentionally obfuscate, but to ensure everyone who holds executive power within the organization is on the same page. If there are points of disagreement between the scouts, the coaches, the manager, and the President Of Baseball Operations (POBO), they aren’t obligated to share those points with the media. That’s OK. However, I can’t be expected to report “but Roberts didn’t make that decision!” as fact, if it’s only presented as opinion.Here’s one opinion about the Dodgers’ end-game bullpen strategy yesterday. It came from Kevin Kennedy, a former manager who has broadcasted several Dodgers games the past few years. Spelling out the specifics: Kershaw made $34 million this year (including his performance bonuses for games started). He is the team’s highest-paid player – maybe its highest-paid employee, period. Regardless of how many pitchers Roberts liked more than Kershaw to record any or all of the game’s final seven outs, Kershaw’s combination of salary and status mandated he get into Game 5 at some point. If you accept that premise as true, blame the front office for Kershaw attempting something he’s rarely succeeded at before. Asking Kershaw to retire Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto, arguably the Nationals’ two best hitters in a 3-1 game in the eighth inning? That decision lay with the manager. Again, if the initial premise is true.It’s only a theory, albeit a plausible one. If you accept it in its entirety, you must also accept that blaming either the front office or the manager is a false choice. More than one party can be responsible for the same event.3. In a rational world, this shouldn’t cost Roberts his job. But …No manager had guided his team to four first-place finishes in his first four full seasons before Roberts. (Larry Dierker came close.) If you’re firmly in the “division titles mean nothing” camp, Roberts’ case does not rest on his regular season. Again, he appeared to be out-managing his counterpart until the eighth inning of Game 5. The final three innings Wednesday cannot make the first 43 innings of the series disappear.They can, however, conjure memories of Game 4 of last year’s World Series. The Dodgers were nine outs away from a win, and tying the series 2-2, when Roberts made the highly criticized decision to remove Rich Hill. The circumstances were different then, but the outcome looks the same on paper. Writing today for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal said he was reminded of Grady Little: “Roberts made a series of head-scratching pitching decisions, not just one. His history of stumbles in October includes prominent missteps in the 2017 and ’18 World Series. He also worked with far more information than Little did.”Rosenthal goes on to suggest that, like Little, Roberts’ issue is now one of trust. Can the front office trust him to manage the Dodgers to a championship? What about the relievers he shunned in Game 5, like Jansen, Baez, Stripling and Urías? Can they trust him? What about the fans? Can you trust him?— J.P.Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.MORE READINGThis is Howie did it – For one former Dodger, the NLDS ended much better than it began.He voted for Kodos – Congratulations if you picked Kenta Maeda finishing the season as the Dodgers’ best reliever.All ball – Two articles today, from FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe and Baseball Prospectus’ Rob Arthur, explore the possibility that MLB introduced a dramatically different batch of baseballs in October.Manfred’s real problem – This one thing is changing how baseball, and sports, are consumed in 2019.A solution – Postseason baseball drama sure beats the regular season, so why not expand the former and contract the latter?Chicanoball – The author of a new book about Mexican American baseball in Los Angeles is giving a talk Oct. 19 at L.A.’s Central Library. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Sunday, 10th August:Radnik – Slavija 0:0Borac – Sarajevo 1:3Željezničar – Široki Brijeg 1:1 The results of the second round of BHT Premiere League are following:Saturday, 9th August:Sloboda – Čelik 1:0Drina – Zrinjski 1:2Zvijezda – Travnik 0:0Vitez – Olimpic 0:1Velež – Mladost 0:0 (Source: Fena)