Dean’s punishments cause outrage at Brasenose

first_imgDisciplinary actions following post-Matriculation celebrations at Brasenose have sparked outrage amongst students.Freshers and second years received fines, ranging from £25 to £100, for hosting and attending parties incollege rooms.Three students were summoned to an interview with the Dean and were assigned scout work as a punishment.As Cherwell understands, it is a tradition at Brasenose that celebrations begin in the JCR common room after Matriculation. This year however, owing to drinking and loud music, the meeting was broken up by the junior dean. Subsequently parties,some as large as 20-30 people, spreadinto student rooms. As college regulations stipulate that no more than10 people are allowed in one room, the parties were dispersed and thenames of those involved were taken.The following day the students in whose rooms the parties had taken place were called to the Dean’s office for an interview. JCR members alleged to Cherwell that the Dean was abusive, telling students that they “did not deserve to be at Oxford” and that they “fundamentally misunderstood the nature of such an institute”.One student stated, “it felt like a cross-examination”. One student told Cherwell that the Dean said that there was no reason to celebrate afte rMatriculation since they had not yet achieved anything.Those interviewed have told Cherwell that they were asked to provide names of other students involved and directly asked to name the 2nd years who had told freshers about ‘Matriculash’, despite the fact that the Dean had already obtained a comprehensive list of names.One student commented that around 40 students are believed to have been fined. Some BNC students claim that the fines have been handed out arbitrarily and resulted in students being fined who were not involved and some who were not even on college premises at the time. A fresher commented, “one of my friends wasn’t fined although she had given her name to the junior dean, while another friend who wasn’t asked for her name received a fine”.The Dean sent round an email to those who were fined which read, “For violation of College Regulations regarding behaviour on 13 October you are subject to the Decanal fine of £25. The fine must be paid to the Assistant College Accountant by the end of Fourth Week (2 Novembe r2012). Failure to pay by that date will result in the fine being increased by 20%. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Brasenose College’.” No indication of which college regulations had been broken was given.The actions of the Dean and the decanal team have led to anger among the student body. One student commented that the Dean, who he described as “softly spoken, but slightly evil”, seemed to be “going out of his way to scare people”. Another student called his behaviour “outrageous”, “absolutely horrendous”. Several students are contemplating on paying the fine in 1p coins.Students being assigned work usually done by scouts has caused concern, as students worry it impliesthat work as a scout is equivalent to punishment. One student told Cherwell,“it does seem to denigrate their role to have it used as a punishment, seeing as it is not really justified by any significant damage or mess. The parties weren’t especially raucous.” Others, however, have viewed it as appropriate, with one second year commenting, “I don’t think it’s that bad as a punishment; it’s effectively like detention we had at school.”A student said that the JCR Committee had been very sympathetic, and that they had tried to deal with the matter by attending meetings with the decanal team. When presented with the allegations, Dean Christopher Thimpson declined to comment.last_img read more

Dealing with data

first_imgHarvard researchers have developed a tool for analyzing large data sets that detects important relationships in data without prior knowledge of their type. The development comes at a time when researchers are being overwhelmed by the vast amounts of data emerging from their labs, and struggling to make sense of them.Developed by brothers David Reshef, a current Harvard-MIT M.D./Ph.D. student, and Yakir Reshef  ’09, together with Professors Michael Mitzenmacher and Pardis Sabeti of the Harvard Departments of Computer Science and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, respectively, the data-analysis algorithm is capable of quickly analyzing massive data sets to identify variables that may be related, enabling researchers to pick out potentially meaningful results they might otherwise have missed.The paper describing the algorithm, published in the Dec. 16 issue of Science, applies the program to four data sets — microbiome data, genetic studies, global health data, and baseball statistics — in an effort to demonstrate its ability to detect relationships.Just how massive is the flood of data coming from research laboratories?One of the data sets used in the Science paper concerns the microbial flora of the human gut, and included almost 7,000 bacterial strains in 700 laboratory mice, for a total of more than 22 million possible relationships between bacterial strains, David Reshef said. If each possible relationship were printed on a single sheet of paper, the resulting stack of paper would be about 1.4 miles high, six times taller than the Empire State Building.“It can easily become overwhelming,” said David. “That’s just one data set, and this one isn’t that large compared to some other data sets that are out there.”Ironically, the brothers never set out to find a way to sift through huge amounts of data. They stumbled onto the problem three years ago, while working on ways to visualize large sets of public health data. ”As we worked, we realized that in order to visualize relationships in a large data set, you first have to decide which variables to examine,” said Yakir.David added, “We didn’t know what kinds of things to look for in some of these data sets, and we needed a tool that would give us a quick summary of the data and tell us what variables were most strongly related. But it quickly became clear that this is a question that is much easier to pose than to answer, especially if you don’t know what types of patterns you’re looking for ahead of time.”Over the next three years, the brothers, working with Sabeti, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and  Mitzenmacher, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and area dean for computer science, pursued their solution: an algorithm that forms the basis of a new approach to data analysis.Though the idea of using a computer to analyze data is far from new, the brothers’ program is unusual in that it makes significant progress toward solving two problems that limited earlier efforts.“If you have a data set with many variables and you want to know which ones are most strongly associated, you have to deal with the fact that there are different ways they can be related,” said David. “Some things, like the average life expectancy and the average children per woman in countries across the world, might be linearly related. But others, like flu prevalence over time, might show a more cyclical or periodic pattern because flu rates go up in the winter and drop in the summer. There are different tests that are good at capturing each of these different patterns. But making a tool general enough to capture them all is difficult.”“This gets even more complicated because data are inherently noisy,” added Yakir. “If we have a tool that can find any pattern, we also want it to treat those patterns equitably. We want a score of 0.8 to indicate the same level of noise regardless of what the relationship is.”Especially significant, Sabeti said, is the fact that the program can find multiple patterns at once.To demonstrate the importance of finding multiple patterns, Sabeti turned to the data on global health indicators of the World Health Organization that were used in the paper. When female obesity rates are compared with income, she said, the data initially appear to fall along a parabola.  That is, initially, obesity rates rise in tandem with incomes. But at a certain point, increased income results in a drop in obesity rates.While the program can easily spot such a relationship, this one turned out to be more complex.  Within the relationship between income and female obesity, there was a second trend occurring simultaneously. Data that at first glance did not appear to follow the previously described trend were actually indicators of different cultural norms. In this case, Sabeti said, the second trend in this relationship represents a cluster of nations with low incomes but very high obesity rates, in which obesity is culturally valued.“This is just one example of what this algorithm is particularly good at detecting,” she said. “It allows you to find relationships that might be fairly complex or difficult to predict ahead of time, and it allows you to sort through things you wouldn’t have been able to deal with otherwise. As data sets get larger and larger, that becomes more and more important.”Going forward, Mitzenmacher predicted the tool will prove powerful for researchers.“What we were trying to design was a tool that we can use to understand data,” he said. “For many data sets, what you’re really doing is exploring. This test allows us to look at each of these comparisons, find those that exhibit an interesting pattern without specifying that pattern ahead of time, and score the strength of those correlations. This algorithm is a data exploration tool for the types of large data sets you see across all the sciences.”last_img read more

Pandemic taking a toll on church finances as they keep parishioners safe

first_imgLike many churches, St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott had to close down during the pandemic. Once churches were able to open up at limited capacity, that’s where the real challenge began. “We’re doing our best to keep everyone safe,” said Deacon Matts. “We have a sign-in process where people can come and they can sign in after doing the phone registration. And out there we have the hand sanitizer again and masks for people who forget their masks.” Matts says they have resumed the full church schedule. You can register for a spot at one of the services by calling the church, since there is limited space available. ENDICOTT (WBNG) — In wake of two local churches seeing a positive case of COVID-19, St. Anthony of Padua says it’s taking extra safety precautions to make sure people are safe while keeping the faith. However, the pandemic has posed even more problems. With fewer people being able to afford donating money to the church recently due to financial hardship, St. Anthony’s has had to make more adjustments. Deacon of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph’s, Bill Matts, says his churches have been working around the clock to make sure they have proper safety measures in place. Not only does everyone wear a mask, but also every pew is wiped down between services multiple times. There is no choir and people are being seated far apart in the pews. “To help us, we’ve had to do cut backs in our office in our expenses, so that we can continue to provide the services for our parishioners as well as the community,” said Matts. “I think when people get back on their feet, I’m sure everything will be fine.”last_img read more

Nicho Frater jailed for killing 8-month-old Bella Richardson

first_imgStuff 16 December 2019Family First Comment: “Frater had 39 previous convictions and had served multiple jail terms. Ten of those convictions were for family violence, including assault with a weapon and threatening to kill in 2016, but none for harm against children. He started using drugs from 18, and was taking cannabis almost daily at the time of Bella’s death, the judge said.”Legalising cannabis will increase the risk to children.Read more: mother of a child who died in their home did not go to court to see the killer sent to jail, believing she would not be able to cope.That killer, 26-year-old Nicho Caleb Fraser, had a long history of family violence before he fatally threw eight-month-old Bella Richardson.He also tried to conceal his offending, which put suspicion on the baby’s mother.Frater was jailed for five years in the High Court in Whanganui on Monday for the manslaughter of Bella.Frater was 23 years old when he killed Bella on November 7, 2016, in a moment of frustration in their Hackett St, Whanganui, home.Frater said in a pre-sentence report he was using methamphetamine at the time, and he killed Bella while coming down.READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Australian Teams In Camp This Weekend

first_imgWhile most of us are winding down from a busy 2012 and getting into the festive season, our Australian teams are still busy training in the lead up to the Super Trans Tasman in early February. This weekend will see the Australian Men’s and Mixed Open teams travel to Parkes, New South Wales as they prepare to defend their Trans Tasman titles they claimed in April this year. The Parkes Touch Association has once a year hosted the Men’s Open team in recent times and is excited to this year accommodate the inclusion of the Mixed team to the area as well. The camp will also include clinics with Parkes junior Touch Football representatives as has been done in previous years. The Women’s Open team will be holding their training camp in Brisbane on Saturday and the Sunshine Coast on Sunday as they aim to continue their dominance over New Zealand. Stay tuned to the website next week to read training camp diaries from a representative of each the Australian Open teams. Related LinksAussie Teams In Camplast_img read more