Archive: April 2013

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor

The Harvard University Choir and Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra will present Bach’s monumental B-Minor Mass as part of Harvard’s ARTS FIRST festival, with a roster of internationally acclaimed soloists on Sunday April 28 at 4:00 p.m. in the Memorial Church. The work will be presented in Harvard University Professor Christoph Wolff’s definitive edition: Wolff is the world authority on Bach, and this year is his last at Harvard — the concert will be given in honor of his tenure at this university. 

The race has begun to turn waste into new goldmine

When the Let’s Do It civic movement gathered some 50,000 volunteers in 2008 to clean up their native country, Estonia, in one day, it was more than just inviting friends outdoors. For months before the big day the small core team worked feverishly to convince popular actors and opinion leaders to promote the campaign and the hundreds of municipalities to provide free garbage trucks. The programmers who contributed to the birth of Skype wrote special applications for mapping the garbage out in nature and for coordinating the logistics of the thousands clean-up teams and trucks.

Salil Vadhan to present project at Applied Stats Workshop

April 24, 2013, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Applied Statistics Workshop, CGIS Knafel 354

Salil Vadhan, Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Harvard University, will give a presentation entitled "Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data". A light lunch will be served at 12 pm and the talk will begin at 12.15.


Online Irony

by Michael Patrick Rutter, Communications Director, HarvardX

In online learning, there is a sense that everything should be online.

We have held a series of Town Halls across campus to discuss edX/HarvardX. While highly regarded, a number of attendees always came up to me at the end to say, "Why wasn't this done online? Why didn't you flip this talk?"

Lightning Talk on the project at NETSL Annual Spring Conference

Two members of the project, Sonia Barbosa and Eleni Castro, will be presenting an overview and the current status of the OJS-DVN plugin project at the New England Technical Services Librarians' Annual Spring Conference on April 12, 2013 at College of Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) during a Lightning Talk session. The slides from the talk will be posted on this site afterwards.

Flushing toilet as a measure of progress and innovation

Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean diplomat has written an illuminating, though partly controversial book on the rise of Asia and the decline of West. He argues that it is the modernity heaven of the West, with its flush toilets, refrigerators, TV-sets, and cars and not necessarily the democracy and liberal markets that characterize the West which the vast majority of the world’s population is aspiring to enter.

What happened to the Protestant Work Ethic?

A person with Protestant upbringing internalizes from a very early age that inactivity is bad. Hard work is the source of self-esteem and therefore, as an adult, sitting around in idleness brings immediate feelings of restlessness and guilt. The ideal day for a Protestant person is a day when he/she manages to squeeze many tasks into the limited hours available and consequently can be proud of all that he/she accomplished. Efficient use of time is a top priority. I remember my mother would never just sit and watch TV.

Estonia – an unhappy overachiever in democracy?

Measuring and comparing people’s quality of life and life satisfaction has given many outstanding economists serious headaches. It is generally agreed that the usual way of comparing GDP per capita does not really capture the many aspects that contribute to human satisfaction and happiness in life. One way to explore this phenomenon is to ask people how satisfied they are with their lives. The World Values Surveys and the European Values Surveys provide us with such data.