Monthly Archives: April 2018

Training an Object Detector with TensorFlow

Have you ever heard of Tesla’s Model S sedan? It is one of the few cars capable of fully autonomous driving. Although U.S. laws currently do not permit this, the Model S can pick you up at your house and drop you off at school, all without you even touching the steering wheel. To create a self-driving vehicle, Tesla engineers had to employ many machine learning techniques, including an object detector that recognizes and classifies objects around the car. For example, the on-board camera is able to recognize pedestrians and instructs the car to stop. Another example is that the object detector recognizes other vehicles on the road, keeping the Tesla from colliding into them.

With the use of the TensorFlow Object Detection API, creating such a model (though probably not as accurate as the one Tesla developed) can now be done with consumer-grade equipment such as a personal computer. As promised in last week’s blog, I will discuss how to create a customized object detector with the TensorFlow API.

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Assistant Teaching- Alec B.

As I sit in this eighth grade class and watch the teacher, I can’t help but picture myself in their place. The small little interactions and the seemingly simple advice to students make me think of my future. The more I see this particular class, the more it makes me reflect on my middle school years as well and how they were enhanced by the teachers.

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Ça va . . . (part 3) — Ethan

Eight more pages! I’m finished with the entire media section, and started the synthesis of the history and the media narrative. Being at this point in the first draft is a similar feeling to being at the same point in my outline: I can envision the conclusion of my argument, and that’s supremely exciting. So far, this section has been the most fun to organize and structure, mainly because it’s my own — my own argument, that I get to craft to be the strongest it can be.

I’m doing well at listening to my willingness to write at any given time, and writing a few paragraphs here and there as I feel like it, or working through what I’ve written and rearranging points to my argument, and this seems to be how this particular paper wants to be written. Creating content still takes priority, most of the time, but for this section especially from time to time I spend a little bit here and there refining it.

I expect to finish the first draft by the end of the month, and then it’ll be time for T. Olga to sink her teeth into it — her words, not mine.

So it goes . . .

 

— EDM

The Beauty of Tangents

I have spent roughly 45% of my time towards this project transcribing interviews….It is one of the hardest and most tedious tasks, especially if your interviews typically run between 30 – 60 minutes. I considered, for a moment, just simply sending my interviewees a list of questions I would like them to answer and having it be simpler

But I quickly shrugged the idea of because of one thing:

TANGENTS!

Tangents have become the core of my content when I am writing articles. When my interviewees go off on tangents, they are almost always something they are passionate about, or it is story worthwhile. You cannot capture these tangents by sending them a list of questions.

It is through these tangents that I begin to understand someone’s work and passions, and I learn who they are to their core. I get to see them and understand them and relate to them and have a conversation with them.

And though transcribing is…..interesting a living, breathing hell. Without face to face interviews, my content would not be nearly as rich or as vibrant as it is, and it is all thanks to tangents.


Before I wrap up, I just wanted to give you all some updates:

  • Our social media pages are up! You can follow us on Instagram @Project_G.I.R.L and on the Facebook page Project G.I.R.L!
  • WE LAUNCH MAY 2ND!
  • We are on track for our goals, including having our website be 75% completed
  • We have created an email as well (info.project.g.i.r.l@gmail.com)!
  • We have met with Westtown Communications (I had a meeting with Anne Burns today) and they have agreed to give us press after our launch
  • On our current team, we have a transcriber, a web designer, a digital artist, and I am currently on a hunt for a social media manager and an editor
  • We are scheduled to have 5 interviews this week!
  • I am remembering to breathe, despite the fact that I am simultaneously elated and panicking

Inspired by putting one foot in front of the other

Sabrina Schoenborn

CEO and Foudner of project G.I.R.L

Next Steps- the Survey

I’m so excited to say that I’ve finally reached the next big step in my research project: transitioning from gathering basic information on the topic to measuring just how prominent the issue of social aggression is in our own community. Because this is the starting point to the actual ‘action-based’  portion of the research plan I initially created, I’m more curious than ever to know just where this feedback will take me next. As much as I enjoy reading and writing and reflecting on pieces I’ve read, my true passion consists of seeing a data pool and being able to come to my own conclusions in order to change the place around me for the better. After carefully crafting and selecting questions for my survey for weeks, I finally seem to have a (pretty) final draft that will be sent out to the student body in the next week or so, hopefully. Although I am slightly anxious to see where this goes, and the majority opinion of my peers, I know whatever data I end up with will be able to be put to good use. One of the goals of the survey was to measure the commonality of specific behaviors related to social aggression so that we will be able to target the most prominent issues at hand at our school. If all goes according to plan, I will be able to start my one-on-one conversations by the end of the month.

But in the meantime, here is a portion of the survey that I will be reflecting on and taking action with in the future:

 

Please rate the frequency of these socially aggressive behaviors based on your experience/observation at Westtown. (5 point scale of always, often, sometimes, rarely, and never.)

leaving someone out on purpose

telling someone that they are not wanted in a group

telling others to exclude a certain person from an activity or group

ignoring a person or walking away when a person attempts to join an activity or group

telling others that they don’t understand why they are friends with a particular person

telling others negative things about a particular person in order to hurt that person’s relationships or reputation

name calling

embarrassing another person in public or online

spreading rumors, known to be false, about a particular person

belittling another person due to their identity (gender, race, sexual orientation)

treating a younger person as inferior due to their age/grade level

Please respond to these questions through your own words:

What changes would you recommend at Westtown to create a more positive and inclusive culture?

What ideas do you have to help students better support each other?

Are there any examples of social aggression that you would like to share, including how it has affected you or others?

 

-Liv

Installing TensorFlow on Windows (Part II) – Kevin

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the installation process of TensorFlow on a PC. In this blog, I will continue my tutorial on TensorFlow installation.

Step 3: Installing TensorFlow
At the time of writing, there are two supported ways of installing TensorFlow:

  • Native pip
  • Anaconda

While native pip installs TensorFlow directly onto your computer, Anaconda allows you to create a virtual environment and install TensorFlow into that environment. The benefit of this is to help you avoid unwanted interference with other packages. However, if you do chose to use Anaconda, you will not be able to access the TensorFlow package globally (from any directory on your computer). The following chart compares the two different installation methods:

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Starting Nefertiti – Bella

This week, I started my extensive research on Nefertiti. I have been having some trouble with this chapter, because it is just about one person. There is so much to say about her and how she lived her life.  I don’t know yet how to best craft the way to present my understanding of her.  Do I locate her as wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, or Pharaoh? There are a lot of aspects to her that I could to zoom in on and elaborate on.   I began with researching Akhenaten, her husband, as well as his father. The reader needs to have some background of the family Akhenaten is coming from, as well as Nefertiti’s family.

Another struggle I am having is identifying and explaining all the different theories inside this Amarna period. There are a lot of different  scholars who argue that Nefertiti was pharaoh in her own right and some who argue that she was not. I have to account for both sides, and it is difficult to explain both. I want to accentuate the beauty and magic of Nefertiti while also making her immortal. It is my job to show and not tell her story, and try to paint a vivid enough picture for the reader.

Here is a sample I have from my Nefertiti chapter:

         Every pharaoh was viewed as divine, carrying the regal and magical bloodline of Horus. Essentially every member of every royal family in every dynasty transcended the material and mortality. They were  embodiments of nature.  Ancient Egyptian Religion was so synonymous and in touch with nature itself that to transcend Earth was to go further into nature. Akhenaten and Nefertiti, more so Nefertiti, surpassed this, and this idea of Nefertiti not just representing Godlihood but actually tying together mortality as well as this ascension through life itself will be further discussed in depth throughout this chapter.
Source for Photo:

Egyptian Museum Berlin, editor. “Nefertiti.” Society for the Promotion of the
Egyptian Museum Berlin, edited by Society for the Promotion of the Egyptian
Museum Berlin, http://www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com/c53.php. Accessed 9 Apr.
2018.

We All Hate the Culture of Hate- Liv

We all hate the culture of hate in which we live. 

         We can all admit to the fact that at some point in our lives, if not now, we have treated another group as inferior, or automatically thought something laced with bias the second we saw a person who looked different than us. But, if someone asked you if you were a hateful person, would you say yes? As human beings, none of us are born hateful, but instead we are exposed to the culture around us that systematically implements ideas of hate, discrimination, and bias against certain groups of people. We all agree on the fact that a world without hate would be a better one, but the truth is, very little of us are able to admit to the fact that each and every one of us contributes to this culture of hate every day.

         Sally Kohn, an advocate for urging others to see the humanity and likeness across all types of people, recently did a TED Talk called What We Can Do About the Culture of Hate, to which I have linked down below. She begins her talk by sharing a deeply personal story about how she, herself, was a merciless bully when she was a young girl. It wasn’t until a feeling of hypocrisy overcame her when she began to research and teach others about the importance of kindness and acceptance that she realized the extent of her actions as a kid. This, to me, was extremely inspiring and moving; the ability to admit one’s own fault takes a huge amount of courage and self-awareness that many people lack.  However, she used that own first-hand experience as a bully to further inspire her to really distinguish what exactly causes people to hate.

         As she discusses in her talk, there is a very wide spectrum of the concept of ‘hate’. This may be the reason people have such trouble noticing their own feelings of hate towards others; it is so easy to dismiss our own negative feelings by comparing them to much worse instances of hate. Kohn asked her audience a question that really struck me: on one end of the spectrum is hate on a mass scale through horrific crimes like genocide, and on the other side, there are acts of prejudice so small that many might not even notice. However, aren’t the two still considered hate? Don’t they both stem from the same roots? Because no one even wants to entertain the fact of placing themselves on the same scale as the historical examples of the worst possible instances of hate, we, as a society, find ourselves in a trap. Kohn made a great point on this topic by saying that when we choose to convince ourselves that we do not hate, we automatically place ourselves above those who do. This itself is redundant; the act of feeling superior to other groups is one of the most fundamental actions of hate.

        Therefore, to extinguish racism, homophobia, sexism, or any other negative connotations fueled by hatred, we must do the thing that seems logically the most counterproductive in this situation: admit our faults and recognize the hate we feel towards others. It’s been repeatedly shown through research that hate towards others is amplified by unfamiliarity. So, in order to make a change, we should be focusing on listening to stories of others, rather than placing blame or looking for the differences between groups. It’s easier said than done, but as Sally Kohn said, we are all capable of letting go of those feelings if we just make the effort.

– Liv

Sally Kohn’s TED Talk:  What We Can Do About the Culture of Hate

https://www.ted.com/talks/sally_kohn_what_we_can_do_about_the_culture_of_hate#t-1054044

image source: Jacobs, Liz. “Sally Kohn Talks Leaving Fox News.” TED Blog, 30 Oct. 2014, blog.ted.com/sally-kohn-on-leaving-fox-news/.

Transcribing is the Worst/Best – Sabrina

Transcribing…the enemy of any and all journalists. It is time consuming, tedious, and can even be soporific. Though at the same time, it invokes a sense of excitement.

But then I began to ask myself…why am I excited to transcribe my interviews if transcribing can be so dreary? Transcribing can be a pain: why am I excited for it? Turns out, I answered my own questions as I began to transcribe interview after interview.

As I was transcribing an interview I had with Gauri Kapoor (the founder and CEO of The Girl and I), I began to map out what her article would look like. I began to create sections, quotes, and format in my mind as I was typing and writing out her interview, and then it dawned on me: I was excited because I had concrete material and content.

Screenshot (21)

Trying to describe this and the excitement it brings is somewhat challenging, so here’s an analogy that might help: imagine you are a painter. You are about to start a new piece that you are going to put all of your energy towards. You walk into your studio, and you only have about three colors. So…you work with the three colors. You begin to create something amazing, but then you get more materials. You get more colors and brushes and your piece really starts to come to life.

My piece is this organization. I am putting everything I have into this organization, and I am beginning to get material. With each interview, I get new colors and brushes that are going to make my painting amazing; I get new perspectives and new stories that are going to make my organization amazing.

So as I do these mundane, dreary, and sometimes excruciating tasks, I let my creativity explode with new ideas and new ways to make my painting amazing

Inspired by the little things,

Sabrina Schoenborn

Founder and CEO of Project G.I.R.L


Image Citation:

Kapoor, Gauri. “Home.” The Girl And I, 2018, http://www.thegirlandi.com/.