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After Khalid Masood killed four people in Westminster, the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that intelligence services must have access to encrypted messaging services (bbc[26/3/'17]). Apparently Masood communicated by WhatsApp which incorporates end to end encryption. Regardless of whether a "back door" to Whatsapp and its like is or is not a good idea, there are less prominent alternative services and, in any case, a good Computer Science or Mathematics student can implement such a system.

 
'In his first briefing as [Donald Trump's] White House press secretary, Sean Spicer cited figures about attendance that were quickly denounced in many US news outlets as "falsehoods" and even "lies". Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway later said Mr Spicer had been presenting "alternative facts".' -- Reminiscent of doublethink and newspeak in '1984'.

 
2017 January: 'Statistical inference of protein structural alignments using information and compression', J. Collier et al, J. Bioinformatics [click] is about the MMLigner program and the maths behind it – outcomes of a difficult and tantalising project to infer statistically significant structural alignments of proteins. Proteins being chains of amino acids, the 3-D coordinates of atoms in those amino acids are not independent which always ups the degree of difficulty of an inference problem.

 
2016 November: The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) rankings of the top world univesities introduced more subject rankings including world rankings for computer science. (The "Shangai" Academic Ranking of World Universities already does this.)

 
2016 October 3: Toyota (TMC) announced that it would "launch sales [¥40K± ~ au$500] of 'Kirobo Mini'", a "miniature [10cm] communication partner" [robot] which can "engage in casual conversation, backed by gestures and the ability to respond to user emotions, grow and provide tailored companionship by remembering user preferences and past events."

 
2016 August 9, census night:
#censusfail
The Australian Burea of Statistics (ABS) hoped to have most households fill out the census via the internet. The ABS scored an 'F'. First the ABS tried to bury the fact that it would hold collected names and addresses for four years, and that records would be linked to other government information, such as health, as it has been doing on the side since 2006. Then the phone system to handle requests for paper forms was totally inadequate. And, of course, the census web site crashed on the night. This event was followed by a stream of contradictory information from the ABS, the contractor IBM, and the (agile, innovator) Turnbull government: there was a hacking attack, there was a denial of service attack, there was no attack, there were four hack attacks, ...  All this removed any trust in the ABS that it intends to preserve citizens' privacy, or that it is competent to keep safe the information collected.
(The head of the ABS, David Kalisch, reportedly earns $705,030 p.a.)

 
2016, 1 August: "... the proportion of new bachelor degree graduates in full time work is lower now than it was during and immediately after the 1990s recession and the worst they have been since the early 1980s. ... Why are we all so reticent about stating the obvious - that University isn't for everyone. It was never intended for everyone. ..." -- Vicki Thomson, Go8 CEO, see [links].

 
2016: Various ways in which some academics game their 'impact' KPI[*] are discussed in 'Watch out for cheats in citation game', Nature [www][12/7/2016]. These include "[supplying] fake e-mail addresses of suggested peer reviewers", "review and citation rings", and requiring the insertion of excess "citations to [a reviewer's] own work." Anecdotally, such behaviour has been going on for quite some time. With Universities (mis-) using h-index, g-index and similar for promotion, hiring and firing, this kind of fraud is inevitable.
[*]KPIs = Key Performance Indicators.

 
2016: It really does seem that PhD students are being treated more and more like slave labour to keep their supervisors' KPIs up. An academic at a major University tells me of PhD candidates being dumped, well into their candidature, explicitly because they have not written enough papers for their supervisors. Who is supposed to be supporting who?

 
2016, March: Google's Deep Mind 'AlphaGo' computer program beat Lee Se-dol, a top Go player, in a best of five match. Lee Se-dol won the 4th game, the AlphaGo won the other four. (IBM's 'Deep Blue' beat then world Chess champion Garry Kasparov 31/2 to 21/2 in 1997.)
But don't panic yet. Microsoft had to apologise when its 'Tay' chatbot was quickly corrupted by a group of users who trained it to swear and make racist statements on twitter:
"... We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay ..." -- Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, [www][25/3/2016].
Also see the [bbc][25/3/2016].

 
"Only 9% of the engineering workforce is female. And only 6% of registered engineers and technicians (i.e. CEng, IEng, EngTech) are women. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, at less than 10%, while Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%". -- Women's Engineering Society [www][1/2016].

 
Used an HTML 'CANVAS' and JavaScript to plot a mixture of two Normal probability distributions (Gaussians) in the discussion of Minimum Message Length (MML) and the Snob program. (Replacing the use of Java and JavaScript.)

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