An Educational Blog
Science of Music: _____ “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” is a song sung by actress and singer Marilyn Monroe on May 19, 1962, for President John F. Kennedy at a celebration of his 45th birthday, 10 days before the actual date (May 29). The event marked one of Monroe’s final public appearances; she was found dead in August 1962 at the age of 36, and JFK was assassinated the following year. _____ Prologue: The fascinating thing about music is that technically- in a very literal way- it doesn’t exist. A painting, a sculpture or a photograph can physically exist, while music is just air hitting the eardrum in a slightly different way than it would randomly. Somehow that air- which has almost no substance whatsoever- when vibrated and when made to hit the eardrum in tiny subtle ways- can make people dance, love, cry, enjoy, move across country, go to war […]
Vulnerable Plaque: ____ ____ Prologue: Worldwide more than 17 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease (CVD) with this number projected to increase to over 23 million by 2030. The vast majority of acute ischemic vascular events occur in relation to an underlying atherosclerotic plaque. Atherosclerotic plaque represents the hallmark lesion of atherosclerosis. Plaque rupture is the dominant initiating event, responsible for 60–70% of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), while plaque erosion is responsible for most of the remainder. Irrespective of the mechanism, the consequence is exposure of a thrombogenic substrate to circulating blood. This in turn triggers platelet aggregation and the coagulation cascade which compromises vascular blood flow resulting in downstream end-organ ischemia and infarction. These events occur abruptly and often without warning. Despite major advances in treatment of coronary artery disease patients, a large number of victims of the disease who are apparently healthy die suddenly without prior […]
Electronic Voting: _____ _____ Prologue: Voting is the bridge between the governed and the government. The right to vote freely for the candidate of one’s choice is of the essence of a democratic society. Every voter’s vote is entitled to be counted once. It must be correctly counted and reported. The Voting System of a country consists of certain regulations which define how the preference of people is collected and how outcome of the polling process is indicating the will of people. A popular quote says that “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes.” Elections are a defining feature of democratic government, but all too frequently, we take the actual mechanics of the election for granted. We speak at length of such issues as who is allowed to vote, how campaigns are conducted, and how they are financed, but most people’s understanding […]
Facial Recognition (Technology): _____ _____ Prologue: Faces are special. Days after birth, an infant can distinguish his/her mother’s face from those of other women. Babies are more reliably engaged by a sketch of a face than they are by other images. Though human faces are quite similar in their basic composition, most of us can differentiate effortlessly among them. A face is a codex of social information: it can often tell us at a glance, someone’s age, gender, racial background and mood. The human brain is often less reliable than digital algorithms, but it remains superior at facial recognition. At the airport, when a scanner compares your face with your passport photo, the lighting is perfect and the angle is perfect. By contrast, an average human can recognize a family member from behind. No computer will ever be able to do that. Though we may take for granted our brain’s […]
Sexual Harassment: _____ _____ Prologue: In October 2016, a month before the presidential election, a 2005 tape came to the public’s attention. In raw footage from behind the scenes on Access Hollywood, Republican candidate Donald Trump bragged boldly about kissing women without their consent, grabbing at their genitals, and simply having his way: “…when you’re a star, they let you do it.” In a subsequent debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper called the actions that Trump described “sexual assault.” Trump called it “locker room talk.” Whatever the term, the behavior and the attitude ultimately proved inconsequential, not sufficiently meaningful or outrageous to derail Trump’s election victory. In January 2017, Trump took up the position as the most powerful man in the world. Yet, almost exactly one year later, scores of women are stepping up and speaking out. They tell heart-breaking, terrifying stories of sexual harassment, and sexual assault at the hands of […]
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