Harvard Student Submitted Rap Album As Final Year Thesis And Graduated With Honors

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Obasi Shaw is graduating Harvard University with honors thanks to his extremely well-received final thesis. However, Shaw’s final thesis wasn’t like most, but that is what may have set him apart from the rest of the pack.

Shaw’s final thesis was awarded the second highest grade in the department – summa cum laude minus. His final thesis was a rap album, the first of its kind in the history of the university.

The Harvard grad wrote the 10-track album titled “Liminal Minds” this year. The album focuses on black identity in America and each cut is told from a different character’s perspective, which was inspired from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

The first track of the free album is titled “Declaration of Independence.”

“Harvard English lecturer and Shaw’s thesis adviser Josh Bell, was highly impressed with his student’s creation, praising the album for its fluidity – both as an academic piece and an artistic creation,” the Independent reports.

The 20-year-old from Georgia “never thought it would be accepted by Harvard,” but now he is graduating the prestigious Ivy League school with honors.

Obasi will be working for Google as a software engineer.

[Independent]

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The ‘alien megastructure’ star is acting weird, again, and it’s exactly what astronomers have been waiting for

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Tabby’s Star — officially known as KIC 8462852 — is acting weird, again. Recent reports indicate it has started to dim in brightness. That’s what Tabby’s star does — it dims. 

Astronomers were ready for the event — they have pointed telescopes from around the world at the star and are currently collecting as many different wavelengths of light as they can.

The thing that makes Tabby’s star unusual, is how much it dims — sometimes up to 20%. That’s an enormous amount. If our sun dimmed that much, life on Earth would be very different from what it is today.

In fact, Tabby’s star is so unusual that none of the regular explanations can describe it. That’s what led one astronomer to suggest that aliens might be the reason. 

A type of alien megastructure, called a Dyson swarm, could — in theory — explain Tabby’s unusual dimming behavior.  Most experts agree that aliens are always the last possible answer to any weird observations seen in space. 

But until they can disprove this theory, Tabby’s star will remain an enigma. These new observations could be exactly what astronomers need to solve the mystery.

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If you bought $100 of bitcoin 7 years ago, you’d be sitting on $72.9 million now

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  • If you bought $100 of bitcoin 7 years ago, you’d be sitting on $72.9 million now

    From cnbc.com

    Bitcoin continues its epic rally Bitcoin continues its epic rally
    2 Hours Ago | 00:51
    Monday marks the seven-year anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day � the moment a programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 bitcoin on two Papa John’s pizzas.

    More important than the episode being widely recognized as the first transaction using the cryptocurrency is what it tells us about the bitcoin rally that saw it break through the $2,100 mark on Monday.

    Bitcoin was trading as high as $2,185.89 in the early hours of Monday morning, hitting a fresh record high, after first powering through the $2,000 barrier over the weekend, according to … (full story)

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    Here are 200 Excel shortcuts that’ll make your life a lot easier

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    windows continuum excelWithin Excel you can conduct calculations on multiple worksheets and workbooks open at the same time.

    Each workbook acts as its own separate window on your PC or Mac, while each worksheet acts as a tab within a workbook with separate cells.

    This section of the Excel Guide offers all shortcuts you need to open, navigate between, and control all of these options.

    Courtesy of GoSkills.

    Worksheets and Workbooks

    Within excel you can conduct calculations on multiple worksheets and workbooks open at the same time. Each workbook acts as its own separate window on your PC or Mac, while each worksheet acts as a tab within a workbook with separate cells. This section of the Excel Guide offers all shortcuts you need to open, navigate between, and control all of these options.

    View

    Excel offers a diverse set of ways you can view your spreadsheets. From hiding select cells to entire rows and columns, there are a number of shortcut options you can take advantage of to get the most optimal view to complete your work.

    Row and Column Selection

    Mass edits can save you incredible amounts of time within Excel. Often you will want to control entire rows or columns in order use the data to create charts/graphs, or simply to move and edit many cells at once. Shortcuts within this section will help you control large quantities of data with ease.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A new Facebook bot wants to help you have better sex. Seriously.

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    Facebook can do a lot of things, but can it also fix your sex life?

    That’s the goal of Lovely Bot, new Facebook chatbot that engages you in a kind of sex therapy session. It’s the first of its kind, and it comes from the makers of Lovely, which is basically a FitBit for your dick

    In their continuing quest to improve your bedroom performance, they’ve partnered with sexologist Dr. Agate Loewe to create an experience based on an IRL sex therapy session. It’s a service that’s meant to open the lines of communication for couples who are struggling.

    Basically once you start a message via Lovely’s Facebook page, the bot will ask you a few questions to determine if you’re satisfied in your relationship. If there’s room for improvement, it tries to offer suggestions about things you might try.

    Sure, pouring out your most intimate concerns to a Facebook bot may sound a little silly, but as Lovely CEO Jakub Konik explains, “If something is not quite right in bed, looking for a solution is not easy. Couples may find it hard to clearly communicate their sexual needs to each other, making it difficult to fulfill them.” 

    It’s true that many people don’t ever reach out for advice or don’t have local resources for IRL therapy. So the anonymity and easy access provided by the bot could be key for drawing people in who wouldn’t seek help otherwise.

    So far users have found the bot helpful, but obviously it has some limits — it’s not ever going to be able to provide the kind of sensitive, personalized guidance that an actual human therapist can. But while it’s not certainly not a cure all or appropriate for every situation, it could be a good entry point for couples who are looking to improve their satisfaction.

    At the moment, it’s still learning how to best respond to different situations, but they have big plans going forward. It’ll eventually be embedded directly in the Lovely app, so that couples who use the device can take their efforts at self-improvement one step further. It will also offer the option of connecting couples with real sexologist if their issue requires deeper analysis.

    For now, though, sit back on the Facebook couch and tell the robot all about your problems.

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    Biking for a cleaner planet!

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    You’ve heard this phrase before. Save the planet, ride a bicycle. However, the thing with bicycles is that they don’t minimize pollution. They minimize further pollution by not creating any. But the bikes designed for the Smog Free Project actually decrease pollutants in the air. A device mounted on the handlebars sucks dirty air in from the front, and launches clean, smog/toxin-free air from the back, not just for the rider to breathe, but to slowly and surely cleanse the skies.

    Designed by Daan Roosegaarde and his collective, Studio Roosegaarde and supported by the Chinese Central Government, the Smog Free Project kicked off in China as an undertaking to relieve the country’s densely populated cities of their smog problem. Multiple state-of-the-art Smog Free Towers are popping up at strategic locations in the city, actively sucking air in to purify it and release clean air out. While these towers stay at fixed locations, Roosegaarde envisions that bikers tasked with cleaning the city using the Smog-sucking bicycles could cover a much larger area much faster. Smog collected over time (as seen in pictures below) will be turned into jewelry for people to purchase and wear as trophies, trophies that prove that the air they breathe is now cleaner than ever!

    Designer: Daan Roosegaarde (Studio Roosegaarde)

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    smog_free_bike_5

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    Despite Facebook’s push, AI isn’t ready to moderate disturbing content

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    Despite Facebook’s push, AI isn’t ready to moderate disturbing content

    Although these guys probably aren't the ones doing the struggling.
    Although these guys probably aren’t the ones doing the struggling.

    Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    2017%2f02%2f23%2f8d%2fjackmorse2copy.daa9eBy Jack Morse

    Artificial intelligence is the way of the future. When it comes to Facebook’s content moderation, however, we are still very much in the present.

    The almost 2 billion-user strong social media giant is working at a furious pace to change that. 

    As a series of leaked internal Facebook slides revealing how the company decides what content violates its community standards shows, the Menlo Park-based Facebook is still largely dependent on its skin and bones Community Operations team to decide which posts stay and which posts go. 

    In other words, despite Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s efforts to push AI in all things, humans still rule the content-moderation roost. But that is changing. 

    Facebook announced in March that it would roll out an AI system designed to identify users contemplating suicide or self-harm. Its AI uses pattern recognition to determine if a post — and the comments surrounding it — resemble previous posts identified as indicating a risk of suicide. If so, Facebook users who see the post in question will also more prominently see options for reporting self-harm. 

    Importantly, in the end, the determination as to whether or not to actually make the report is left up to people. The AI just can’t cut it alone, but it’s helping. 

    Facebook’s artificial intelligence is also getting better at determining what’s in the photos we post — even if there’s no text or tagging accompanying them. The company noted in February that its AI-based image-recognition tools allow users to search photos for things like whether or not someone is wearing a black shirt.

    These advancements — identifying what’s in photos and making informed guesses as to the intent behind certain types of posts — are huge assets when it comes to helping humans wade through the violence, abuse, and threats posted to Facebook on a daily basis. As a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Mashable, assisting human moderators is at present the primary purpose of the company’s automated systems. 

    But if those systems can determine what’s in photos, as well the possible intention driving some posts, can they also be used to flag and remove the troubling content posted to the site? Because there’s a lot of it. According to The Guardian, in just one month Facebook saw the posting of 54,000 potential cases of sexually related extortion and revenge porn.

    At present, the answer appears to be no. There are several reasons why this may be the case, but a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company’s automated system isn’t enough when it comes to the holy grail of content moderation: understanding context.

    And is still going wrong.

    And is still going wrong.

    Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty

    For Facebook, the context of a post is vital in determining whether or not it should be removed from the site. But it is perhaps in part because context is so, well, contextual, that its AI has trouble making the call — especially when the guidelines themselves are so murky. 

    Take the rules on sexual and violent content. According to the leaked Facebook documents obtained by The Guardian, two very disturbing posts are to be treated differently by the Community Operations team. It is not OK to post "#stab and become the fear of the Zionist," but it is OK to post "Little girl needs to keep to herself before daddy breaks her face."

    If the online reaction is any indication, understanding why one of these is OK and the other is not is difficult for humans. Artificial intelligence apparently isn’t faring much better.

    Facebook’s desire to change this is clear, and the company is already making strides to bring AI to the monitoring of visual content on the site.

    “We are researching systems that can look at photos and videos to flag content our team should review," explained Zuckerberg in a February open letter. "This is still very early in development, but we have started to have it look at some content, and it already generates about one-third of all reports to the team that reviews content for our community.” 

    Whether this same level of AI automation can ever be applied to monitoring the words we post and the context we post them in remains to be seen. We do know one thing for sure: Facebook is working hard to make it so. 

    In the meantime, even for one of the world’s most influential tech companies, it’s still up to the humans. 

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    There’s more evidence that drinking alcohol — even just 1 glass a day — is linked to cancer

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    A new report from two major research groups has linked alcohol — even as little as one glass of wine or beer each day — to breast cancer.

    The finding comes from the latest paper in a series that explores the link between cancer and lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.

    For the report, scientists from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) looked at 119 studies from around the globe. In total, they incorporated data from roughly 12 million women and included some 260,000 cases of breast cancer.

    They found strong evidence that drinking one glass of wine or beer per day increases the risk of developing both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer. (Post-menopausal is the most common.)

    But their conclusions aren’t all bad: Vigorous exercise was also shown to be linked with a significant decrease in the risk of breast cancer. The women in the studies who were the most active had a lower risk of developing cancer compared to those who exercised the least.

    “There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it’s empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk," Alice Bender, a registered dietitian and the head of nutrition programs for the AICR, tells Business Insider.

    woman running stretching fitness exercise joggingThis isn’t the first study to highlight a connection between alcohol and cancer. In its report on cancer-causing agents, the US Department of Health and Human Services lists alcohol as a known human carcinogen. Research highlighted by the National Cancer Institute suggests that the more alcohol you drink — particularly the more you drink regularly — the higher your risk of developing cancer.

    "We’re not saying no one should ever drink at all, we’re just saying if you do drink, even trying to keep it down to less than one drink a day would be a smart choice," Bender says.

    The AICR and WCRF’s work also made headlines last year when a study found that eating red meats like bacon was linked with an increased risk of lower-stomach cancer.

    But before you ban bacon from your breakfast table or pour out the wine in your cupboard, keep in mind that the researchers are highlighting a link between certain dietary choices and a moderate uptick in the overall chances that people will develop cancer in their lifetime. They are not saying that every slice of bacon you eat or glass of rosé you drink jacks up your chances of getting the disease.

    "Cancer is complicated," Susan Higginbotham, AICR’s vice president of research told Business Insider when discussing last year’s bacon study. The findings, she said, are "showing there’s an increase in risk and we have ideas about why it might be happening, but we’re not sure."

    In other words, wine and bacon are not the only important factors — things like your genes, smoking habits, and exposure to pollutants can play a role in your chances of getting cancer, too. Eating and exercise habits, though, are easier to modify.

    "It’s good to look at where you are with diet and physical activity and look at places where you might improve and just start every day to take some simple steps to decrease your risk and improve your health," Bender says. "A little bit of change can make a real difference."

    SEE ALSO: Yes, bacon has been linked to cancer — here’s how bad processed meats actually are for you

    DON’T MISS: Here’s the 700-calorie breakfast you should eat if you want to live forever, according to futurist Ray Kurzweil

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    NOW WATCH: The World Health Organization says there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that bacon causes cancer

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