Saturday, 31 January 2009
Most of the cryptographic work in privacy-preserving distributed data mining deals with semi-honest adversaries, which are assumed to follow the prescribed protocol but try to infer private information using the messages they receive during the protocol. Although the semi-honest model is reasonable in some cases, it is unrealistic to assume that adversaries will always follow the protocols exactly. In particular, malicious adversaries could deviate arbitrarily from their prescribed protocols. Secure protocols that are developed against malicious adversaries require utilisation of complex techniques. Clearly, protocols that can withstand malicious adversaries provide more security. However, there is an obvious trade-off: protocols that are secure against malicious adversaries are generally more expensive than those secure against semi-honest adversaries only. In this paper, our goal is to make an analysis of trade-offs between performance and security in privacy-preserving distributed data mining algorithms in the two models. In order to make a realistic comparison, we enhance commonly used subprotocols that are secure in the semi-honest model with zero knowledge proofs to be secure in the malicious model. We compare the performance of these protocols in both models.
An analysis is conducted as to whether social class position matters for the negative change in subjective well-being experienced from unemployment. Theory on work identification and work conditions is used to formulate hypotheses on the differential impact on well-being of entering unemployment from different social classes. Data are analyzed from 14 waves of the British Household Panel Survey, and fixed effects methods are used. Main results are that the negative effect of job loss on subjective well-being is highest for individuals who are in the middle classes prior to becoming unemployed.
I read this as being a statement of the obvious: “Unemployment dents the egos of middle class people more than working class people”.
Then I realised that it is perhaps not obvious to all – rather along the lines of ”everybody knows that” said in an exasperated voice by my husband to me on a fairly regular basis (usually in connection with something techie to do with a computer). I'm not everybody and hey, I use the computer to do things.
Impact for guidance professionals is, I believe, that more time is required reassuring and building confidence – and, perhaps, helping the client to realise that the current new job is job hunting.
Friday, 30 January 2009
Breaking my own rules, not for the first time I might add, I urge you to read what Dermot Finch has to say about the impact on cities in this critical time.
via Centre for Cities by Dermot Finch on 27 January
The recession is now official, and it's getting worse.= = = = =
A few months ago, the focus was mainly on financial services and the housing market. Lots of cities kept saying “we are well-placed to weather the storm”. But with unemployment heading towards 3 million, that can't be right.
Now it looks like all cities will get hit – but in different ways, and some more than others.
Cities Outlook includes three different league tables – on economic performance, social deprivation and built environment. The top cities are Cambridge, Oxford and Reading – and the bottom ones are Hull, Stoke and Blackburn.Read the full article
Higher Degrees: Postgraduate Study in the UK 2000/1 - 2005/6 has been written for DIUS by Jane Artess, Charlie Ball and Pearl Mok of HECSU.
It comprises three sections:
- the first considers demographic change between 2000/1 to 2005/6;
- the second concerns ways in which postgraduate study is funded; and
- the third is concerned with destinations for mainly masters and PhD qualifiers.
It is essentially a mapping study of the current postgraduate situation in the UK and provides a useful overview, which will be of interest to careers practitioners, particularly those working with postgraduate students.
Thus started my regular, and looked-for, email from Wendy Churchill at Life is a Bag of Revels
I read the email.
I re-read the email.
I decided that, despite my resolution about adopting a “can do” approach to life, work (and even the meaning of the universe), I could not do justice to Wendy's writing by summarising it. And as, at the moment, Wendy does not archive her writings on her website, I fired off a quick plea – to which the answer was: ”happy for you to use as long as you link to my website where people can sign up to get the newsletter themselves”.
So here it is.
Definitely “off topic” but none the worse for that!
This week I have been reflecting on a very interesting article about ethics written by one of my old philosophy lecturers, Jonathan Rée.
I remember him as a very happy and soulful man who cheered up the cold, grey lecture room by playing Wagner on an old reel tape recorder and sitting on the desk swinging his trainers underneath it.
And as I sit here today on a cold grey morning wishing I had remembered to bring up my slippers, it strikes me that as well as being cheerful and a keen teacher, he may also have been a very good person.
Good enough, at least. to want to write an article on what it actually means to be good.
Morality in the past was of utmost importance
For Victorians in the 19th century, the subject of morality was given central importance. While most would say that the sexual repression and prudery went too far, there was also a low tolerance of crime and a strong sense of social obligation that lead to many great acts of philanthropy and an aspiration towards kindness and good behaviour.
Enormous amounts of personal wealth were given to set up charities and to charitable causes while families like Cadbury in Birmingham did much to improve the living conditions and welfare of their workers.
Such ideas as respectability and morals remained strong, of course, throughout certainly the the first half of the 20th century. Even the apparent relaxing of prudery and stiffness in the sixties had the aim of making life for everyone better by challenging the current views on moral behaviour.
But do we even care about being “good people” these days?
I do wonder what the state of our relationship with morality is today?
Unless we are religious then we do not really have a strong idea of what it means to be good as a set of social beliefs or mores.
How often, for example, do we judge people by how good they are or chastise ourselves for our own lack of kindness? Are we not more likely, perhaps, to judge both ourselves and others in terms of qualities such as intelligence, wealth, wit, attractiveness or whether or not we are “interesting”?
Our newspapers are full of views about over-paid hedge fund managers and industry fat cats yet our indignation at their ridiculous pay and bonuses tends often to contain more of a sense of jealousy or lack of fairness in the distribution of wealth than a moral outcry.
Going back a few thousand years to find what we're missing
So what exactly is missing? Is it the desire to be good? The need of a new and more relevant vocabulary of morality? A new leader or moral spokesperson? Or a new set of aspirations?
In fact, what a lot of contemporary thinkers on the subject seem to be doing today is going back to a very old idea of morality. Which brings us (finally) back to that article written by my trainer-wearing philosophy lecturer.
In philosophy, “virtue ethics” forms one of the three major approaches to ethics in which virtues or a general moral character is emphasised over any idea of duties or roles (deontology) or the consequences of our actions (consequentialism).
Harking back to Aristotle in particular but also others, virtue ethics believes that man should aspire to being the right kind of person with the right kind of characteristics, rather than worrying too much over the right or wrong of a specific action. In order for a good, happy, and harmonious life to be attained for both oneself and also the society as a whole, we should aspire to “concrete qualities of character such as courage, generosity, gentleness, confidence and the capacity for friendship and love”.
We are scarily guilty as a society of the Seven Deadly Sins
In the idea of the cardinal virtues found in Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Aquinas, the four virtues we should aim to have are temperance (moderation), justice, courage and wisdom. The opposite to these are then the seven capital vices (or seven deadly sins as we may know them): pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth.
Pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth? Doesn't that, in fact, make for a rather accurate description of a lot of the minor sins that many of us suffer from today?
For while few of us are rotten, I think many of us have a sense that we could be doing better. Not just because we want to be better people in a moral sense, but also because we know that it would make us happier and more contented ourselves to be more free of these sins.
Anyway upshot is that I'm going to clear as many of the items held in draft as I can in the next 40 minutes by checking links and then posting without comment.
What's that I hear?
Only one answer to that dear friends and I think you know what it is!
Monday, 26 January 2009
“Virtual world” identities are becoming indistinguishable from “real” identities, just as “e-commerce” became indistinguishable from “commerce”. The problem of the appropriation of personality tends to be associated with “character merchandising”, with a fine line drawn between real people and fictitious characters. The control over online avatar identities has begun to have many real-world consequences. This article is based upon a previous article published in the Computer Law Security Reports, 2008, No one knows you are a dog: Identity and reputation in virtual worlds.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Love you all really, honest I do.
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 21 January
From gorilla walking sticks to crows who like bug fishing, there are plenty of clever non-humans who use tools... more
Absurd News via Coffee Klatch by pfitz on 16 January
The CNN website has a regular video feature called News of the Absurd. This week’s talks about someone who is allergic to cold, a town that used GARLIC SALT on its roads, and a “Don’t Try This At Home” story involving a homemade blowtorch.
Donkeys boost Ethiopian literacy BBC News
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 23 November
So many assumptions, agendas and, distinctly iffy data behind those ubiquitous words, “research shows”. Frank Furedi explains a few of them... more
Marilyn: 1947 via Shorpy Photo Archive - History in HD by Dave on 7 December
Hollywood, February 1947. “Movie starlet Marilyn Monroe”. Photograph by J.R. Eyerman
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 11 December
Pixies, sheilas, and dirtbags. If you go on a whizzer and get a tad squiffy (if not starkers) with cougar bait, then expect to be a little rumpty-tumpty the next day... more
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 22 November
Flying ducks hung on flocked wallpaper: what do the materials possessions of working-class people of London tell us about them?... more
Scientists Invent Completely Waterproof Material via Gimundo.com on 3 December
There’s nothing worse than the sensation of soaking wet clothes on your body when you get caught outside in a heavy rainstorm. But thanks to a new development in fabric from scientists at the University of Zurich, wet clothing may soon be a matter of the past.
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 24 November
Manhattan is the capital of people who live alone. Yet are New Yorkers lonelier? Far from it: studies show urban alienation is largely a myth... more
2000-year-old Antikythera computer comes back to life via guardian.co.uk by James Randerson on 11 December
Regulars of the Science Weekly podcast will remember our interview with Jo Marchant, the author of Decoding the Heavens. The book tells the story of the Antikythera mechanism, a mysterious clockwork object made up of numerous meshed cogs that was discovered more than a century ago among the cargo of a Greek shipwreck.The mystery of how the Greeks had made a machine that appeared to be 1800 years ahead of its time and why that knowledge was seemingly lost is fascinating, but Marchant’s story is really about the scientists and engineers who have fallen under the spell of the Antikythera mechanism over the last century. It is a gripping tale of scientific obsession, rivalry and skulduggery.
Immigrants in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal are more likely to be unemployed or doing a job for which they are overqualified than people born in that country. Their children, even if born in the country and having left school with qualifications, also find it hard to find work, according to a new OECD report.
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Full details here
Monday, 19 January 2009
Information produced by the government does of course serve a number of purposes. First, it should inform the government so as to generate sound policy decisions and effective strategies. Second, through a variety of media, it should provide the general public with information to enable individuals to engage with government services and to deliver personal data that they are obliged to provide. Access to a wide variety of public sector information (PSI) is also important for individuals and businesses. In the UK, this has been under debate for many years through analysis of Crown copyright regulation. Current policy, as interpreted by HM Treasury, continues to argue that those wishing to exploit or add value to PSI for commercial purposes should at least contribute something to the cost of its supply. This paper traces the process of development of the policy through to the present.
Why? The information is there anyway, I’m not asking you to do anything so why should I pay you for doing nothing?
Saturday, 17 January 2009
GBP19.99 (15.99 with website discount)
The description on the Policy Press website says:
This much-needed book examines the implications of the Every Child Matters (ECM) national and local framework for working with children. It analyses the key issues from the perspective of the different professions that make up the “new children’s workforce” and explores interprofessional considerations.Further details and to order
- describes and analyses the Every Child Matters programme in relation to the wider social context for children, with a consideration of inter-professional issues
- chapters give an overview of the recent history, current position, and main trends of the specific professions
- includes practice issues and case examples from health, education, social work, playwork, children's centres and early years
- up to date in relation to recent policy and practice changes at both central government and local area levels
- considers the opportunities and challenges presented by the current agenda, including the possible implications for future multi-disciplinary working
Offering a clear guide to the implications of Every Child Matters for practice, this book will be widely welcomed by tutors and practitioners alike, enabling readers to make sense of the legislation and national guidance, and to understand better the new agendas for children's services.
Friday, 16 January 2009
OfSTED publish today a report on the state of VLEs in schools and colleges, Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings.
It’s available as a pdf or Word file here
via Latest news from our site on 01 January 09
A former lawyer is making a lot more money as an artist, making incredible fine art sculptures from Lego bricks. "I see the world in little squares."
Great Reform Act Plans for Scotland Now Online via ResearchBuzz 10 January
If you read that headline and thought, "I didn't even know Scotland HAD any great reform plans," they don't, not as related to this selection. You're about 175 years off. This collection is from 1831-1832 and includes plans of 75 Scottish towns.
Proposed Rules Would Ban Sleeping in Library The Washington Post via LibraryLink
I saw this and thought “what?” in a somewhat incredulous tone of voice. I must have uttered something because my husband responded with: “That rules you out then, you always fall asleep in the British Library.’ Near to the truth since I often have an after-lunch nap and if I happen to be in the BL then that's where the nap happens.
This story is, however, not about readers dozing off over their research but a serious attempt to prevent homeless people in Washington DC using the library as a sleeping place.
Acclaimed Colombian institution has 4,800 books and 10 legs
News of a mobile library with a difference – one man and two donkeys!
Rice-Powered Stove Ignites New Hope for Poor Farmers
via Latest news from our site on 13 December
More than a third of the world’s population can’t afford propane or other petroleum-based cooking fuels, relying instead on wood or charcoal that burns inefficiently in stoves that emit smoke and toxic fumes. One man succeeded in inventing the impossible: a safer, cleaner, and less-expensive way to cook using the waste from rice – turning it into a clean bright blue flame.
Bureaucracy defeats poetry A poetry group was banned from performing in a pub after the council said the landlord’s entertainment licence only covered singing and not speaking.
via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 22 November
King Lear is one of the darkest plays ever, yet Edgar, Kent, and Cordelia show a miraculous, almost irrational fidelity: they repay brutal rejection with unwavering loyalty... more
Oliver Postgate 1925-2008 via Tom Roper’s Weblog on 9 December
Oliver’s autobiography, Seeing Things, is well worth reading, as is his website, which I hope will be preserved. See for example his essays Does Children’s Television Matter , Whose Country is it Anyway and So What is Trident For
Thanks for that, Tom. Of all the obituaries I think this is the best – short and to the point with links to the important bits!
Gerald Scarfe political caricatures online exhibition via Latest Internet resources added to Intute: Social Sciences Politics gateway
This site provides free access to a virtual exhibition of political cartoons, satire and caricature from leading British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.
Oops! A full-blown abstract in the trivia? Well where else can I put a cricketing story (it’s actually about statistics)?
Rational Adversaries? Evidence from Randomised Trials in One Day Cricket
an article by V Bhaskar (University College London) in The Economic Journal Volume 119 Issue 534 (2009)
In cricket, the right to make an important strategic decision (bat first or field first) is assigned via a coin toss. The author uses these “randomised trials” to examine the consistency of choices made by teams with strictly opposed preferences and the effects of these choices upon the outcomes in the game. He finds significant evidence of inconsistency, with teams often agreeing on who is to bat first. Estimated treatment effects show that choices are often poorly made and reduce the probability of the team winning, a particularly surprising finding given the intensely competitive environment and opportunities for learning.
Unemployed, uneducated and sick: the effects of socio-economic status on health duration in the European Union
We employ a hazard function approach to estimate the effect of socio-economic and individual characteristics on the length of time that an individual remains in good health. The European Community Household Panel data set, for 13 European countries, for the years 1994–2002 is used. The study employs a relatively objective measure of physical health, the physical and mental health problems, illnesses and disabilities measure. The results show that socio-economic status does affect the likelihood of individuals entering bad health. In particular, unemployment experience increases and educational attainment decreases the probability that a person will cease to enjoy good health. Income effects are, however, somewhat weaker, being confined to a small number of countries and being mainly observed only for the highest income quartile. Age and gender effects are also found.
© 2008 The Royal Statistical Society and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Sunday, 11 January 2009
an article by Paul Gregg (University of Bristol, Her Majesty's Treasury, London, and Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science) and Jonathan Wadsworth (Royal Holloway College University of London, Egham, Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn) in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 171 Issue 4 (2008)
© 2008 The Royal Statistical Society and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Thursday, 8 January 2009
Where personal injury results in displacement and/or continuing disability (or death), damages include an element of compensation for loss of future earnings. This is calculated with reference to the loss of future expected time in gainful employment. We estimate employment risks in the form of reductions to work life expectancies for the UK workforce by using data from the Labour Force Survey with the purpose of improving the accuracy of the calculation of future lifetime earnings. Work life expectancies and reduction factors are modelled within the framework of a multiple-state Markov process, conditional on age, sex, starting employment state, educational attainment and disability.
[Read before The Royal Statistical Society on Wednesday, 16 January 2008, the President, Professor D J Hand, in the Chair]
© 2008 The Royal Statistical Society and Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
In this article, we draw on evidence from a large-scale research project to explore the metaphorical concept of “barriers&rsdquo; to participation in higher education (HE) and to show how our data challenge the idea that non-participation by under-represented groups can be attributed to individuals experiencing a range of readily identifiable barriers. First, we briefly outline the perspectives of policy and practice stakeholders in widening participation (WP) in HE which suggest that the discourse of barriers is central to their understanding of “non-participation” and how to reduce it. Second, we introduce findings from two case studies. Each case study consists of interviews with an individual aged over 21 who has the qualifications (Level 3) to enter HE but who has not (yet) done so, as well as members of his or her self-nominated “networks of intimacy” (Heath and Cleaver, 2003) consisting of friends and family. These interviewees do not tend to talk in terms of barriers in their accounts of their educational, employment and personal histories and the influences on their participation decisions. This evidence suggests that patterns of participation and non-participation in HE are strongly embedded in and explained by people’s interwoven social, historical and biographical circumstances and experience. This article contributes to the debate about the utility of the barriers metaphor and challenges the policy assumption that individual non-participation can be “solved” solely by the removal of pre-defined obstacles. We conclude by arguing that the opportunity to collect multiple accounts with members of social networks indicates the value of looking at participation in and decision-making about education across the life course and as a socially embedded practice.
Friday, 2 January 2009
Schoolchildren face a repeat of the chaos that engulfed last year's Sats tests after examiners warned of a “very significant” risk that results would again be delayed.
Read the full article
You know something? I'm not sure that I can bear to comment!
Thursday, 1 January 2009
The ability to abstract information is a basic competency in today's knowledge society, characterised by the mass diffusion of information and the need to manage and access it effectively. Yet abstracting is not an easy task, and requires a specific learning process. This paper examines the process of abstracting information from the perspective of competencies and skills-based learning of students of information and documentation. The competencies and skills necessary in this process, which are drawn from European sources on library science and documentation, are identified by analysing in detail the various stages and processes involved in writing an abstract. The general skills required for the whole process, as well as the specific skills for each stage, are determined. Guidelines and recommendations are put forward to facilitate the learning of these skills in the context of abstracting.
Even at its most basic level, as in a quick summary of a learning opportunity, abstracting is still a skill which can be taught. I just wish that more opportunity databases realised the need for this skill!
This article explores first-year undergraduate students’ choice of living arrangements and how they may impact on their experience of university. Using data from the UK Economic and Social Research Council/Teaching and Learning Research project Learning and Teaching for Social Diversity and Difference, the authors explore the range of living arrangements which students may opt for, the reasons for their choices and the extent to which personal choices are mediated by structural factors. Whilst confirming the notion of stratification between the pre- and post-1992 universities in the study, the data also reveal the complexity and diversity of choice-making at an individual level. The article discusses how living arrangements may facilitate or constrain students’ engagement with and orientation to university life and study, and draws out the implications for universities and university teachers.
Decision-making is the province of the guidance practitioner and this article illustrates clearly the impact that such decision making has on the student in his or her life in higher education.