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A panel of Cornell faculty shared their experiences and perspectives from their involvement with the first launch of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, at Cornell Wendnesday.

Prof. David Chernoff, astronomy, who taught Cornell’s first MOOC course, said he was surprised that there turned out to be a broad range of students from all over the world in his class, rather than just science, technology, engineering and mathematics and high school students, as predicted.

“The actual enrollment was pretty concentrated at the age of about 21 with a distribution in both directions.” Chernoff said. “It was amazing that students that signed up in a range from literally an 11-year-old in elementary school to retired professors.”

One hundred years ago, one of Cornell’s most famous alumni graduated with the Class of 1914.
Hu Shih, a philosophy major, went on to become the leader of China’s new culture movement (1919), the Chinese ambassador to the United States (1938-42), the chancellor of Peking University (1946-48) and  president of the Academia Sinica (1957-62).
Among his many accomplishments, Hu laid the foundation for Cornell Library’s Chinese collection - and the subsequent creation of the library’s celebrated Charles W. Wason Collection. In 1911, along with several other Chinese students, Hu donated about 350 classic Chinese books to the library - books they had brought from their homes on the monthlong journey across the ocean.
More than a century later, the Wason Collection comprises more than 600,000 items, including hundreds of thousands of books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other languages. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

One hundred years ago, one of Cornell’s most famous alumni graduated with the Class of 1914.

Hu Shih, a philosophy major, went on to become the leader of China’s new culture movement (1919), the Chinese ambassador to the United States (1938-42), the chancellor of Peking University (1946-48) and  president of the Academia Sinica (1957-62).

Among his many accomplishments, Hu laid the foundation for Cornell Library’s Chinese collection - and the subsequent creation of the library’s celebrated Charles W. Wason Collection. In 1911, along with several other Chinese students, Hu donated about 350 classic Chinese books to the library - books they had brought from their homes on the monthlong journey across the ocean.

More than a century later, the Wason Collection comprises more than 600,000 items, including hundreds of thousands of books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other languages. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.

Government professor Tom Pepinsky discusses “the simple statistics of Indonesian election polling” in this blog post:
There have been some useful commentaries on Indonesia’s electoral results, and some interesting speculation as to why polling results appear to some to be misleading. The general issues are two: PDIP did worse than many expected, and Islamic parties as a whole did better. Tom Power, for example, argues that the polls were “wrong” about Islamic parties. Marcus Mietzner notes that some polling experiments generated misleading conclusions about support for PDIP when prompting people to remember that Jokowi would be the PDIP presidential candidate (the implication is that these experiments were unrealistic, which is true).

Government professor Tom Pepinsky discusses “the simple statistics of Indonesian election polling” in this blog post:

There have been some useful commentaries on Indonesia’s electoral results, and some interesting speculation as to why polling results appear to some to be misleading. The general issues are two: PDIP did worse than many expected, and Islamic parties as a whole did better. Tom Power, for example, argues that the polls were “wrong” about Islamic parties. Marcus Mietzner notes that some polling experiments generated misleading conclusions about support for PDIP when prompting people to remember that Jokowi would be the PDIP presidential candidate (the implication is that these experiments were unrealistic, which is true).

On April 24, Teatrotaller will present “King Kong Palace” by Chilean author Marco Antonio de la Parra in Willard Straight Hall’s Cornell Cinema.

Teatrotaller produces plays in Spanish and “Spanglish” as part of a course in Hispanic Theater Production. Class productions are augmented by volunteers from Cornell, Ithaca College and the wider community.

King Kong Palace, written by Marco Antonio de la Parra and directed by Casey Minella ‘14, draws inspiration from Tarzan, Mandrake the Magician, Shakespeare, and politics to create a startling mixture of cultural elements which questions our values and beliefs in an increasingly difficult world situation replete with dangerous politics and intrigue.

“It’s a social commentary with a mystery at its heart,” faculty adviser and Emerson Hinchliff Chair of Hispanic Studies and professor of comparative literature Debra Castillo  says. “It takes place in a run-down hotel where comic book characters like Tarzan and Jane and Mandrake the Magician keep running into each other.”

In the play, Tarzan (Jacob Zapata), now a decrepit deposed leader in exile from an African country, is a guest at the King Kong Palace Hotel. Accompanying him is his wife Jane (Marcela Fernandez), who has been transformed from the woman in the comics and cinema into a scheming, adulterous, power-hungry woman. Seeking new employment due to his failed career as a magician, Mandrake (Tobenna Attah), sulks the halls of King Kong Palace Hotel while pleading with the hotel’s Administrator (Octavio Tellez) for any type of work. Ada (Mandy Esch) and Eva (Carolina Osorio Gil) are maids at the hotel who at times become soothsayers attempting to prevent impending tragedy. This seemingly Bizzaro World, as in the comics, comes to life as the drama unfolds.

Tickets are $5 and are available at the door, at the Cornell Latino Studies Program Office

(4th Floor Rockefeller Hall), or from any Teatrotaller member.  For more information contact: Casey Minella (cdm86@cornell.edu)

Fellows at the Society for the Humanities and guest scholars will discuss the concept of occupation – and how it has shaped the humanities – at a conference April 18-19 at the A.D. White House.
The event, “Occupation: A Critical Problematic for the Humanities,” is related to the society’s 2013-14 focal theme, “Occupation: From Space and Time to Practice and Politics.”
The conference includes a roundtable discussion of new approaches to research on the topic, April 18 at 4 p.m., and a full day of panels, with keynote talks by visiting scholars, society fellows and Cornell faculty as respondents, and an open forum in lieu of closing remarks, April 19.
Society fellows are investigating the cultural, social, artistic, philosophical and political implications of the theme, as well as how historical events of occupation have relied on or shaped the humanities.

Fellows at the Society for the Humanities and guest scholars will discuss the concept of occupation – and how it has shaped the humanities – at a conference April 18-19 at the A.D. White House.

The event, “Occupation: A Critical Problematic for the Humanities,” is related to the society’s 2013-14 focal theme, “Occupation: From Space and Time to Practice and Politics.”

The conference includes a roundtable discussion of new approaches to research on the topic, April 18 at 4 p.m., and a full day of panels, with keynote talks by visiting scholars, society fellows and Cornell faculty as respondents, and an open forum in lieu of closing remarks, April 19.

Society fellows are investigating the cultural, social, artistic, philosophical and political implications of the theme, as well as how historical events of occupation have relied on or shaped the humanities.

Professors from five different departments argued the merits of their academic disciplines in a hypothetical life or death situation at the fourth annual “Life Raft Debate,” sponsored by Logos, Cornell’s undergraduate philosophy club and journal.

Sadev Parikh ’14, president of Logos, said that he thought this was the most successful Life Raft debate of the four held at Cornell so far.

“I honestly think that this was the best [debate] in terms of content,” he said.

Much like an environment influences people, so too do cosmic communities affect even giant dazzling stars: Peering deep into the Milky Way galaxy’s center from a high-flying observatory, Cornell astronomers have discovered identical, rare stars whose diverging dusty and gaseous garb are strictly influenced by an intrusive cluster of neighbors.
Scarce, short-lived, hyperbright stars called luminous blue variables – a million times brighter than our own sun – inhabit the center of the Milky Way galaxy, 25,000 light years from Earth, which loiters in the Milky Way boonies. Astronomers have found two luminous blue variable (LBV) stars – one called the Pistol star and the other named LBV3 – to be identical. As stars, they are themselves neighbors, but their dusty, gaseous outer cloaks (outer nebulae) are substantially different.

Much like an environment influences people, so too do cosmic communities affect even giant dazzling stars: Peering deep into the Milky Way galaxy’s center from a high-flying observatory, Cornell astronomers have discovered identical, rare stars whose diverging dusty and gaseous garb are strictly influenced by an intrusive cluster of neighbors.

Scarce, short-lived, hyperbright stars called luminous blue variables – a million times brighter than our own sun – inhabit the center of the Milky Way galaxy, 25,000 light years from Earth, which loiters in the Milky Way boonies. Astronomers have found two luminous blue variable (LBV) stars – one called the Pistol star and the other named LBV3 – to be identical. As stars, they are themselves neighbors, but their dusty, gaseous outer cloaks (outer nebulae) are substantially different.

Africana studies professor Noliwe Rooks discusses racial inequality in an essay in the Chronicle of Higher Ed: 

Recently two black male high-school students made news when they each earned impressive numbers of acceptances to Ivy League Universities. Kwasi Enin is a first-generation American from Long Island, whose parents, who are nurses, emigrated from Ghana. He was accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn. 

In honor of Math Awareness Month, Ithaca High School students each year compete in a t-shirt design contest. This year’s winner is Rebekah Stauffer, who designed her t-shirt to promote Cornell’s annual Math Awareness Month public lecture. John Maceli, retired Ithaca College
 math professor, will discuss “What is Mathematical Magic?” on Friday, April 18 at  4:30 p.m., 253 Malott Hall. Stay for pizza and conversation after the talk, which is sponsored by the Math Club.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a two-year, $370,000 award to Cornell for research on strategic stability in the face of nuclear weapons reductions. Cornell’s Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies will administer the grant.

Science and technology studies professor emeritus Judith Reppy andl Catherine M. Kelleher (University of Maryland) will jointly conduct the project.