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Review, Volume 54: 27th August, 2011, Biography

Review, Volume 54: 27th August, 2011, Biography

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Who was this heroic Victorian campaigner, this secular saint who, as "the lady of the lamp", became a living legend? This revealing biographical guide looks at Florence Nightingale – the tireless, far-sighted and often cantankerous reformer who lies beyond the myth: at her youth, her time in the Crimea and her later career, using primary sources including extracts from her prolific letters and illustrated with her own artefacts and possessions.

Lord Louis Mountbatten achieved great things both in war and peace as a military leader and public servant. The First World War and its aftermath shaped his early life, in mid-career he was a victorious commander in the Second World War, and when peace came he brought independence to India and Pakistan. Mountbatten remains a controversial figure, but when his faults are considered in the light of the world-shaking events in which he was involved, they are overwhelmingly outweighed by his achievements. His murder, and those of members of his family and a friend, on 27 August 1979 by the IRA shocked the world.

Thomas Edward Lawrence, more popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, is remembered today more for his immortalization on stage and screen rather than for his dramatic exploits in the Middle East during the First World War. This book shines a light on his military achievements, his major campaigns and the impact that his influence had on shaping the war in the Middle East. Lawrence quickly rose to prominence following the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in 1916. His skills in Arab languages helped him co-ordinate Navy support in an effort to regain captured coastal ports, whilst gathering widespread local support and building up the Arab Northern Army. He pioneered new tactics, which would shape British strategy four decades later, recognising the importance of aircraft, mobile artillery and armour in desert warfare. In two short years the obscure staff officer had attained the rank of full colonel and helped to shape the outcome of the war in the Middle East.

Eyewitness Testimony

The criminal justice system relies heavily on eyewitness identification for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Psychology has built the only scientific literature on eyewitness identification and has warned the justice system of problems with eyewitness identification evidence. Recent DNA exoneration cases have corroborated the warnings of eyewitness identification researchers by showing that mistaken eyewitness identification was the largest single factor contributing to the conviction of these innocent people. We review major developments in the experimental literature concerning the way that various factors relate to the accuracy of eyewitness identification. These factors include characteristics of the witness, characteristics of the witnessed event, characteristics of testimony, lineup content, lineup instructions, and methods of testing. Problems with the literature are noted with respect to both the relative paucity of theory and the scarcity of base-rate information from actual cases.

SIAM Review

This work presents a few variational multiscale models for charge transport in complex physical, chemical, and biological systems and engineering devices, such as fuel cells, solar cells, battery cells, nanofluidics, transistors, and ion channels. An essential ingredient of the present models, introduced in an earlier paper [Bull. Math. Biol., 72 (2010), pp. 1562--1622], is the use of the differential geometry theory of surfaces as a natural means to geometrically separate the macroscopic domain from the microscopic domain, while dynamically coupling discrete and continuum descriptions. Our main strategy is to construct the total energy functional of a charge transport system to encompass the polar and nonpolar free energies of solvation and chemical potential related energy. By using the Euler--Lagrange variation, coupled Laplace--Beltrami and Poisson--Nernst--Planck (LB-PNP) equations are derived. The solution of the LB-PNP equations leads to the minimization of the total free energy and explicit profiles of electrostatic potential and densities of charge species. To further reduce the computational complexity, the Boltzmann distribution obtained from the Poisson--Boltzmann (PB) equation is utilized to represent the densities of certain charge species so as to avoid the computationally expensive solution of some Nernst--Planck (NP) equations. Consequently, the coupled Laplace--Beltrami and Poisson--Boltzmann--Nernst--Planck (LB-PBNP) equations are proposed for charge transport in heterogeneous systems. A major emphasis of the present formulation is the consistency between equilibrium Laplace--Beltrami and PB (LB-PB) theory and nonequilibrium LB-PNP theory at equilibrium. Another major emphasis is the capability of the reduced LB-PBNP model to fully recover the prediction of the LB-PNP model at nonequilibrium settings. To account for the fluid impact on the charge transport, we derive coupled Laplace--Beltrami, Poisson--Nernst--Planck, and Navier--Stokes equations from the variational principle for chemo-electro-fluid systems. A number of computational algorithms are developed to implement the proposed new variational multiscale models in an efficient manner. A set of ten protein molecules and a realistic ion channel, Gramicidin A, are employed to confirm the consistency and verify the capability of the algorithms. Extensive numerical experiments are designed to validate the proposed variational multiscale models. A good quantitative agreement between our model prediction and the experimental measurement of current-voltage curves is observed for the Gramicidin A channel transport. This paper also provides a brief review of the field.

A Country Without Libraries

Hartland Four Corners, Vermont, 1994. Robert Dawson&rsquos photos of libraries are currently on view in the exhibition Public Library: An American Commons at the San Francisco Public Library.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man&rsquos best friend. Inside of a dog, it&rsquos too dark to read.
&mdashGroucho Marx

All across the United States, large and small cities are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operations. Detroit, I read a few days ago, may close all of its branches and Denver half of its own: decisions that will undoubtedly put hundreds of its employees out of work. When you count the families all over this country who don&rsquot have computers or can&rsquot afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire. People everywhere are unhappy about these closings, and so are mayors making the hard decisions. But with roads and streets left in disrepair, teachers, policemen and firemen being laid off, and politicians in both parties pledging never to raise taxes, no matter what happens to our quality of life, the outlook is bleak. &ldquoThe greatest nation on earth,&rdquo as we still call ourselves, no longer has the political will to arrest its visible and precipitous decline and save the institutions on which the workings of our democracy depend.

I don&rsquot know of anything more disheartening than the sight of a shut down library. No matter how modest its building or its holdings, in many parts of this country a municipal library is often the only place where books in large number on every imaginable subject can be found, where both grownups and children are welcome to sit and read in peace, free of whatever distractions and aggravations await them outside. Like many other Americans of my generation, I owe much of my knowledge to thousands of books I withdrew from public libraries over a lifetime. I remember the sense of awe I felt as a teenager when I realized I could roam among the shelves, take down any book I wanted, examine it at my leisure at one of the library tables, and if it struck my fancy, bring it home. Not just some thriller or serious novel, but also big art books and recordings of everything from jazz to operas and symphonies.

In Oak Park, Illinois, when I was in high school, I went to the library two or three times a week, though in my classes I was a middling student. Even in wintertime, I&rsquod walk the dozen blocks to the library, often in rain or snow, carrying a load of books and records to return, trembling with excitement and anticipation at all the tantalizing books that awaited me there. The kindness of the librarians, who, of course, all knew me well, was also an inducement. They were happy to see me read so many books, though I&rsquom sure they must have wondered in private about my vast and mystifying range of interests.

I&rsquod check out at the same time, for instance, a learned book about North American insects and bugs, a Louis-Ferdinand Céline novel, the poems of Hart Crane, an anthology of American short stories, a book about astronomy and recordings by Bix Beiderbecke and Sidney Bechet. I still can&rsquot get over the generosity of the taxpayers of Oak Park. It&rsquos not that I started out life being interested in everything it was spending time in my local, extraordinarily well-stacked public library that made me so.

This was just the start. Over the years I thoroughly explored many libraries, big and small, discovering numerous writers and individual books I never knew existed, a number of them completely unknown, forgotten, and still very much worth reading. No class I attended at the university could ever match that. Even libraries in overseas army bases and in small, impoverished factory towns in New England had their treasures, like long-out of print works of avant-garde literature and hard-boiled detective stories of near-genius.

Wherever I found a library, I immediately felt at home. Empty or full, it pleased me just as much. A boy and a girl doing their homework and flirting an old woman in obvious need of a pair of glasses squinting at a dog-eared issue of The New Yorker a prematurely gray-haired man writing furiously on a yellow pad surrounded by pages of notes and several open books with some kind of graphs in them and, the oddest among the lot, a balding elderly man in an elegant blue pinstripe suit with a carefully tied red bow tie, holding up and perusing a slim, antique-looking volume with black covers that could have been poetry, a religious tract, or something having to do with the occult. It&rsquos the certainty that such mysteries lie in wait beyond its doors that still draws me to every library I come across.

I heard some politician say recently that closing libraries is no big deal, since the kids now have the Internet to do their reading and school work. It&rsquos not the same thing. As any teacher who recalls the time when students still went to libraries and read books could tell him, study and reflection come more naturally to someone bent over a book. Seeing others, too, absorbed in their reading, holding up or pressing down on different-looking books, some intimidating in their appearance, others inviting, makes one a participant in one of the oldest and most noble human activities. Yes, reading books is a slow, time-consuming, and often tedious process. In comparison, surfing the Internet is a quick, distracting activity in which one searches for a specific subject, finds it, and then reads about it&mdashoften by skipping a great deal of material and absorbing only pertinent fragments. Books require patience, sustained attention to what is on the page, and frequent rest periods for reverie, so that the meaning of what we are reading settles in and makes its full impact.

How many book lovers among the young has the Internet produced? Far fewer, I suspect, than the millions libraries have turned out over the last hundred years. Their slow disappearance is a tragedy, not just for those impoverished towns and cities, but for everyone everywhere terrified at the thought of a country without libraries.

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The Stonewall Riots begin in NYC’s Greenwich Village

Sometime after midnight on June 28, 1969, in what is now regarded by many as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for LGBTQ people,ਊ police raid of the Stonewall Inn𠅊 popular gay club located on New York਌ity&aposs Christopher Street—turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against the authorities.

Although the police were legally justified in raiding the club, which was serving liquor without a license among other violations, New York’s gay community had grown weary of the police department targeting gay clubs, many of which had already been closed. 

Soon, the crowd began throwing bottles at the police. The protest spilled over into the neighboring streets, and order was not restored until the deployment of New York’s riot police sometime after 4 a.m. 

The Stonewall Riots were followed by several days of demonstrations in New York and was the impetus for the formation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as other gay, lesbian and bisexual civil rights organizations. The next year, in 1970, New York&aposs first official gay pride parade set off from Stonewall and marched up 6th Avenue. June was later designated LGBTQ Pride Month to commemorate the uprising. 

In 2019, the New York Police Departmentਏormally apologized for its role in the Stonewall Riots, and for the discriminatory laws that targeted gay people. 

Explore the history of the LGBTQ movement in America here. 

Review, Volume 54: 27th August, 2011, Biography - History

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Oscar Pistorius becomes the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics

On August 4, 2012 in London, Oscar Pistorius of South Africa becomes the first amputee to compete at the Olympics by running in an opening heat of the men’s 400-meter. Pistorius finished second out of five runners and advanced to the semifinals, where he finished eighth out of eight runners. His image would drastically change early the next year when the star athlete was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. He was found guilty in 2014. 

Pistorius was born on November 22, 1986, without the fibula (a bone between the calf and ankle) in either of his legs. When he was 11 months old, the Johannesburg native’s legs were amputated below the knees. (Doctors had advised his parents it would be easier to have the procedure done before Pistorius learned to walk.) Growing up, he used prosthetic legs and participated in numerous sports. After injuring his knee playing rugby in high school, he started running track as a form of rehabilitation.

In 2004 Pistorius competed at the Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, where he won a gold medal in the 200-meter, with a record-setting time of 21.97 seconds. He also won bronze in the 100-meter. Pistorius soon began competing in meets against able-bodied athletes. However, in January 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF), track and field’s governing organization, banned him from able-bodied competitions because it believed Pistorius’ blades, known as 𠇏lex-Foot Cheetahs,” gave him an unfair advantage. The IAFF, which had conducted scientific tests with Pistorius, claimed his blades enabled him to use less energy than able-bodied athletes while covering the same distance, and therefore run faster. Pistorius appealed the IAFF’s ruling, and in May 2008 the Court of Arbitration struck down the IAFF’s decision and the ban was lifted.

Later that same year, at the Paralympics in Beijing, China, Pistorius won gold in the 100-, 200- and 400- meter events, and set a world record of 47.49 seconds in the 400-meter. Over the next few years, he continued to compete against able-bodied athletes. In 2011 he was part of the South African squad that won a silver medal in the 4󗐀-meter relay at the World Championships in Athletics in South Korea, and in June 2012 he clinched silver in the individual 400-meter at the African Athletics Championships in Benin. The following month, Pistorius was selected to compete for his homeland in the individual 400-meter and 4󗐀 relay at the Olympics Games in London.

Pistorius began his history-making appearance at the Olympics on August 4, 2012, by taking second place in his five-man preliminary heat in the 400-meter, with a time of 45.44 seconds. At the semifinals the next day, Pistorius finished in last place, with a time of 46.54 seconds, and failed to advance to the finals. On August 9, he was supposed to run the third leg of the 4󗐀 relay, but his teammate collided with a runner from Kenya before he was able to hand off the baton to Pistorius, and the South Africans did not finish the race. After filing a protest, South Africa was allowed to compete in the finals the next day the team, anchored by Pistorius, finished in eighth place. At the London Paralympics in September, Pistorius won gold medals with record-setting times in the 400-meter and the 4󗄀 relay, along with a silver medal in the 200-meter.

Then, on February 14, 2013, Pistorius was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, whom he admitted to fatally shooting at his Pretoria, South Africa, home earlier that day. Pistorius claimed he mistook Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, for an intruder. He was charged with premeditated murder, to which he pleaded not guilty when his case went to trial in March 2014, amidst intense media coverage. That September, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, the equivalent of manslaughter, but cleared of the more serious charge of murder. In October 2014, the 27-year-old former Olympian was sentenced to five years in prison.

Amazon opens for business

On July 16, 1995, Amazon officially opens for business as an online bookseller. Within a month, the fledgling retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. Founder Jeff Bezos’s motto was “get big fast,” and Seattle-based Amazon eventually morphed into an e-commerce colossus, selling everything from groceries to furniture to live ladybugs, and helping to revolutionize the way people shop.

Bezos earned an undergraduate degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1986 then worked in the financial services industry in New York City. In 1994, after realizing the commercial potential of the Internet and determining that books might sell well online, he moved to Washington State and founded Amazon. He initially dubbed the business Cadabra (as in abracadabra) but after someone misheard the name as �ver,” Bezos decided to call his startup Amazon, after the enormous river in South America, a moniker he believed wouldn’t box him into offering just one type of product or service.



Conggratulations first. Then disappointment (as with Watson originally designed to do translations (speech to speech) and now operating a call centre.) the reason being that the biophysical structure, mechanism and function of the brain is just an imprint of the processes going on in the brain, a very little part of which is available to the conscious mind, hence may be righfuly called as cognition. Doing away with von Neuman's machine is a good step, getting rid of Greek grammar, philosophy and formal logic should also follow. Be reminded that information is always recorded on a surface, and the surface is formed by opposing forces (energy in wave forms) all synchronised, obeying the principles of symmetry. But as with the cycles of water, not everything is pushed and pulled by the local factors here on the earth only. Keep up the good work and engage some out of the box thinking linguists as his paradigm may come useful.
F. Kovacs


I thought this article was important in that it emphasized, in a way, the sheer size and magnitude of the effort to simulate a human brain's cognitive structure. The writing was very succinct and formal at times, but appropriate considering the scientific material. I just want to say thanks for featuring this article, it was fascinating. Hopefully it is not too optimistic to imagine a supercomputer simulation of the human brain, as stated at the conclusion, within the next decade! Very optimistic, indeed. Let's just hope the "business machines" envisioned as the upshot of this work, won't simply function as another way to eliminate humans from the workplace. Kudos to ACM for the selection of the subject matter, and kudos to the authors of the article.


Excellent work, I'm very excited to see what this project can bring about.

Thank you for sharing all these insights and best of luck in unlocking the mysteries of the mammalian mind.


Consciousness is a direct result of building a brain for predicting what other actors will do, what they are interested in, what are their capabilities and tendencies. To succeed as a tribe member we each have to understand how to capitalize on the tribe's power. That means simulating power broker reactions(starting with our parents and siblings). The decision simulator can then be used on our self. It reports how we believe we will react. Which is why our accuracy is so bad as the simulator has to compete with more primal drivers who are more connected with reactions than the simulator/reporter/analyzer loop which is looking for a high value result which may be hidden in the details.


I really do not understand what this project will bring beyond the capabilities of current AI approaches. Authors say that current AI developed unique approaches for unique problems, that is right because this is what human do, they develop unique approaches because they need unique tasks to be performed. Generalizing AI approaches does not mean creating new discipline of science. However, i hope to see the outcome of this project

Dan tso

The "essentially digital electrical signal of the spike" is an all too common characterization of neural signaling down an axon. It is more appropriate to instead say that the analog neural signal in the amplitude (voltage/current) domain has been traded for an analog neural signal in the time/frequency domain for the purposes of accurate transmission down leaky, lossy axons.

Blackwing Volume 54.

Blackwing Volume 54, the Exquisite Corpse pencil, is here. The spring 2018 release from Blackwing screams SPRING, BLOSSOMS, and YES YES YES. This “Rose Pink” pencil is topped with a silver ferrule and blue eraser and is stamped in teal. Perhaps best of all, it contains Blackwing’s Extra Firm (EF) core that we saw in the 24, the 530, and the 1917.

I’ve seen it referred to as an 80s pencil, but anything with teal screams 90s to me (though it could very well just be that I prefer the 90s, with the angst, the coffee, the auburn hair.

The packing material is even teal, to echo the pencil.

[I should probably begin this post by apologizing if the color of this pencil is way off in my photos. To tell the truth, it’s not entirely on point (!) in Blackwing’s photo, either. The exact shade of pink is elusive.]

It feels weird to “review” a Blackwing that’s really just a pencil I already like with a different paint job, but I think we can say a bit about the theme. This is gutsy. Usually the Blackwing tributes lean toward the masculine (go troll these comments if you’re bored), and the aesthetics usually run on the safe/muted side. This pencil is loud, possibly the brightest premium pencil I own. At a distance, it almost looks like a cheap novelty pencil, but the thickness and quality (of all but one) of the lacquer quickly reveal this to be a lovely Japanese pencil.

This pencil is supposed to have been designed by playing the Exquisite Corpse game, and the subscribers’ kit has cardstock guides for this.

Blackwing certainly has no reason to be making this up, and we can just be happy that the results of the parts work so well together and that this is the second year of three that all four releases have represented all four cores.

The pink and teal look fantastic together. A black or gold ferrule would have been….too much silver is perfect. I want the eraser to be a different color (the royal blue and teal clash for me), but I can’t say which currently available colors I’d rather have. Custom teal or purple would have been incredible, but, I expect, expensive.

The EF core echoes the original Palomino HB enough that, as my Erasable Podcast co-host Tim put it: “If it’s different from the Palomino, it doesn’t need to be.” It’s a great core. I don’t find that it smears less than the Firm core, but one does not use something as soft as Blackwings expecting no smearing or ghosting. I’m Okay with this.

This pencil looks amazing with the silver Blackwing point protector.

I love Volume 54, and my daughter has a box waiting for her 8th birthday later this month. I told her, truthfully, that they sold out. (And Blackwing reports that this is the Volume that has sold out from their own stock the fastest.) I didn’t tell Charlotte that I ordered a set from The Pencil Shop and that it’s waiting for her.

While pink is not my favorite color for pencils, this Volumes release is a winner for me. The looks are seasonal, and the theme is original and also something in which I’ve long been interested. The EF core and thick finish land this pencil in premium territory.

(These were not samples from the manufacturer. I’ve been a paying subscriber since literally day one.)

Watch the video: Γλυκό καλοκαιράκι - χορωδία Σπύρου Λάμπρου (May 2022).