SINGAPORE: The COVID-19 pandemic created much tumult. There will surely be more when the new semester begins in August in some Singapore universities. But while the rush to online teaching was a nasty shock in March, universities all over the world have since had considerable time to prepare for the next semester. Sadly, most have made poor use of this time. Many universities are going completely online, but few instructors will take advantage of this opportunity to change their instructional style. Most will deliver the same lectures in the same monotones, only they will be facing a webcam instead of a classroom of students. Most students will watch the same lectures as their predecessors, but at home, on a screen, and at twice the speed. They will absorb less material, interact less with each other and have a far inferior experience. LISTEN: Home-based learning: Good, bad, terrible ... but mostly good? READ: Commentary: Home-based learning is strange, new ground. … [Read more...] about Commentary: How ready are Singapore universities to start the new term as COVID-19 rages on?
Taylor Swift on Thursday (Dec 10) announced the arrival of a second complete surprise album in five months, saying "we just couldn’t stop writing songs". Swift told her 141 million followers on Instagram that the album called Evermore would be released at midnight ET on Thursday (1pm Friday Singapore time), along with a music video for the first single Willow. Swift described the 15-track album as a "sister record" to Folklore, which she produced entirely during the coronavirus lockdowns and released unexpectedly in July. Folklore, a change of style that showed an indie folk sensibility, earned Swift some of the best reviews of her career as well as triggering six Grammy nominations, including for the coveted album of the year. "To put it plainly, we just couldn't stop writing songs," Swift wrote on Thursday. "I loved the escapism I found in these imaginary/not imaginary tales. I loved the ways you welcomed the dreamscapes and tragedies and epic tales of love lost and found … [Read more...] about Taylor Swift ‘just kept writing’ for second surprise album of 2020 titled Evermore
SINGAPORE: Your robot vacuum cleaner could be picking up private conversations along with the dust and dirt in your home. Computer scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have demonstrated how a common robot vacuum cleaner and its built-in light detection and ranging (Lidar) sensor could be used to "spy" on private conversations, the university said on Monday (Dec 7). The method, called LidarPhone, repurposes the Lidar sensor that a robot vacuum cleaner normally uses for navigating around a home into a laser-based microphone to eavesdrop on private conversations. The research team, led by Assistant Professor Jun Han and his doctoral student Sriram Sami, managed to recover speech data with "high accuracy", said NUS. READ: More than a quarter of Singapore residents suffered at least 1 cybersecurity lapse in past year: CSA survey “The proliferation of smart devices – including smart speakers and smart security cameras – has increased the avenues for … [Read more...] about Robot vacuum cleaners can be used by hackers to ‘spy’ on private conversations: NUS study
SINGAPORE: Employees at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have donated more than 20,000 days worth of unused leave towards student aid and endowments, said the university on Monday (Nov 23). The collective 20,145 days of annual leave are worth S$10.25 million, said NTU in its media release. READ: Local universities announce initiatives for financial aid, jobs for graduating students READ: COVID-19: Most foreign students back in Singapore for university, some to continue online classes overseas The donations were made by 1,821 faculty and staff, with each employee contributing an average of 11 days. The highest donation was 15 days of leave. NTU said the donation exercise was a new initiative that allowed employees to put their unutilised leave "towards a good cause". "As part of the opt-in exercise, all NTU employees were given the option to voluntarily redeem their unutilised earned annual leave value, based on each individual’s salary rates, for donation to … [Read more...] about NTU staff donate more than 20,000 days of unused annual leave to raise money for student aid
SINGAPORE: At one level, the unprecedented three-in-one Unity, Resilience, and Solidarity Budgets demonstrate the resolve of Singapore to ensure businesses and households are helped amid the public health concerns and the economic fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic. But fiscal resolve alone is not enough. Everyone must play his part. If it’s every person for himself, then we will all be worse off for it. Unfortunately we have already seen some examples of this self-seeking behaviour. Besides being socially undesirable, such behaviour also undermines policies and measures that are targeted at a macro-level but intended to trickle down to all levels of society. LANDLORDS "CAPTURING RENT" For instance, in the Unity Budget unveiled on Feb 18, a S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package was created for businesses and workers affected by the evolving COVID-19 situation. READ: Commentary: Has COVID-19 made e-commerce and online shopping the new normal? Measures … [Read more...] about Commentary: In Singapore, laws are necessary for trickle-down policies to work