Endowment $ per student

Source: Morss Global Finance website, Jan 2016

Hubble Telescope Pictures

Source: Mashable, May 2017

The Hubble Space Telescope has given us many incredible views of the universe. From stars and nebulas shining hundreds of light-years away, to views of closer cosmic objects like Mars and Jupiter, the Hubble provides frequent reminders of just how small we are.

The image reveals new details of a huge cluster of galaxies called Abell 370, which is located about 6 billion light-years away from Earth. 

While at first you might think that the densely packed objects shining against the blackness of space in this photo are stars in some cluster in the Milky Way, in reality, every single one of them are galaxies.

Improving Your Voice

Source: Fast Company, May 2017

TEST FOR RESONANCE

We tend to interpret a strong voice as a sign of confidence. But what’s a “strong voice”? It’s one that’s resonant—the sound is full and rich. That isn’t a question of pitch or volume. It all depends on where the sound is coming from in your body.

Put your fingers on your throat and make an “ohh” sound. If your regular speaking voice feels the same way, it may be too gravelly. Now pinch the bridge of your nose and make an “eee” sound. If your regular voice feels this way, your voice may be too nasally. Finally, make a “mahh” sound and note what your lips feel like. If your ordinary speaking voice sounds like this, you’re in the sweet spot of resonance. It may take practice, but that’s where you want your voice to be if you want to project confidence.

LOOSEN UP

. if your voice is smooth, you won’t speak with this tightness. The muscles around your vocal chords can relax, and your sound flows. Listeners will feel that you’re at ease and see you as strong.

You can figure out how much tightness there is in your voice by listening to the way you finish sentences. If your tone tends to drop at the end, you likely have a smooth voice. If your sentences go up at the end or if your voice start to break up a little bit—kind of like that unpleasant feeling of swallowing potato chips you haven’t chewed enough—it’s probably on the tight side.

Smooth voices should actually feel smooth when you speak—like swallowing ice cream or a nice glass of scotch. Listen to the ends of your sentences, or make that “ohh” sound again and notice what it feels like.

ADJUST THE VOLUME CONTROLS

Your voice can also hint at (or scream) your level of emotional control. This is where volume comes in. If you’re too loud, chances are you’re managing your emotions by pushing harder—too hard. I’ve had many executives sent to me because they were basically shouting on a regular basis without realizing it.

If your volume is too quiet, on the other hand, you might be thought to be holding back a flood of emotions. I’ve also worked with clients who are hard to hear, even in a small room. Both extremes convey much the same thing, though—that you’re not fully in control of your feelings.

Speaking volume can actually be tricky to self-diagnose. You may think you sound just fine while others don’t. The best solution is often some sort of technology. Ideally, you would use a VU-meter, which is what I use with my clients. Otherwise you can find an app that serves as a decent substitute (here are a few more details on your options). The same way you need to look in the mirror to make sure your clothes fit and match, you often need some sort of recording device to see if your volume is right.

TAKE ITS TEMPERATURE

Our voices can also project warmth—or not. If your voice has a round quality, it’ll sound warmer. A “round” voice is smooth and even, with one consistent flow—think of James Earl Jones. If your voice is sharp and abrupt (the opposite of round), you’ll project more coolness. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world; you may grab your listeners’ attention that way. But the risk of a sharp voice is coming off as attacking, like those robotic Daleks in Doctor Who.

To feel what a round, even voice is like, place your hand in front of you and extend it outward, like you’re hitting a backhand shot in tennis. As you extend your arm, make an “ohh” sound. This will get you in the habit of elongating your vowels and smoothing out any choppiness.

The next time you speak, think first about what aspects of your personality—you or even just your mood—that you want to reveal and which ones you want to keep hidden. Your voice lets you choose.

Survivorship Bias – XKCD

Source: XKCD, Apr 2017

This comic is a parody of entrepreneurial speeches. Entrepreneurial speeches are talks, such as graduation commencements or motivational speeches. The idea behind graduation commencements is that the entrepreneur, having accumulated wisdom and experience in the process of becoming successful, will share his insights and experience to the students, in the hope that they learn lessons that will help them achieve success as well. Companies hire motivational speakers to motivate employees to work hard.

A common theme in these talks is that the entrepreneur succeeded by persisting through hardship, sometimes despite other people telling them they would be better off giving up. They advise students to do the same, and to keep pursuing their dreams even through subsequent failure. While this isn’t necessarily bad business advice, this can give students a biased vision of reality, and lead them to imagine that they will succeed as long as they keep trying.

This comic makes a joke about survivorship bias, hence the title.

Survivorship bias, or survival bias, is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that “survived” some process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not because of their lack of visibility.

This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. The survivors may be actual people, as in a medical study, or could be companies or research subjects or applicants for a job, or anything that must make it past some selection process to be considered further. They may also have “survived” on only some of their attempts. For example, although Donald Trump had some successful businesses, he also had many that went bankrupt.

Gromov

Source: Slideshare, May 2009

Slide 22

A Coded Message for Gromov To Leave Russia for the US

Source: IHES website, Dec 2010

MG -> SB : Misha Gromov to Stony Brook

Exploring Hyperbolic Space via VR

Source: Nature.com, Mar 2017

To explore the mathematical possibilities of alternative geometries, mathematicians imagine such ‘non-Euclidean’ spaces, where parallel lines can intersect or veer apart. Now, with the help of relatively affordable VR devices, researchers are making curved spaces — a counter-intuitive concept with implications for Einstein’s theory underlying gravity and also for seismology — more accessible. They may even uncover new mathematics in the process.

Visualizing such geometries could be especially useful as a mathematical tool, she says, because “very few people have thought of visualizing them at all”.