in Cambridge, Table Tennis

Cambridge vs Oxford: Table Tennis Varsity LXXIII


As Cambridge University Table Tennis Club marched into Iffley Road for the 73rd Varsity match, Men’s Firsts’ historic 13 win streak seemed undeCUTTC-Varsity-Teamr threat given the departure of half of the original team and rumours of a Dark Blue squad newly strengthened by a BUCS veteran. Men’s Seconds similarly received a complete makeover, but looked to capitalise on the lack of Dark Blue depth. On the other hand, Women’s Firsts had no such qualms, led by BUCS 2015 1st runner up and Varsity veteran Jessy Zhou.

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The New Goliaths of Bioprospecting

What makes us choose one brand of consumer healthcare product over the other?

Apart from keeping prices low and packaging attractive, advertising exotic ingredients that promise rapid results are part and parcel of business strategies employed by the likes of Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and other multinational consumer goods companies (MNCGCs).  From shampoos, lotions to dietary supplements, foreign-sounding ingredients not only appeal to our fondness for novelty, but also serve as key differentiators in low margin and ultra-competitive markets.

In search for a way to source these ingredients in a scientific and systematic manner, many MNCGCs have turned to bioprospecting.

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What You Need to Know About Drones: Part I

If your first sighting didn’t feature drones as unblinking GI assassins or winged disaster relief packages, these tiny quadcoptors must have made their first appearance as either the now ubiquitous birthday gift or, as above, the tireless party videographer.

Drones make one of the most versatile toys and tools.

I’ve always assumed that the global consumer drone market leader originates from the US, given its the unparalleled track record of producing successful technology companies.  Surely it must be a Silicon Valley firm flush with capital and led by American geeks wearing nothing but hoodies?

I was wrong.

Learn from my mistake – never count out stealthy Chinese upstarts.  Well, I’m not sure if you would even call Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) a stealthy Chinese startup anymore, because this Shenzhen-based company established in 2006 is now the world’s largest drone manufacturer.

According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, DJI has already gobbled up nearly three quarters of the consumer drone market with less than a decade of existence.  US entrepreneurs playing catch up to their Chinese counterparts sounds like a fairy tale, until I came across this article where even Fortune is sceptical about 3DR Robotics’ bid to challenge DJI’s dominance.

The meteoric rise of DJI has attracted venture capital to not only itself, but also other Chinese drone startups such as Ehang, Yuneec, and Aheadx, through which big names such as Intel, and Accel Capital are itching to enter the game.

The hype surrounding drones is getting hotter than Hokkiado wasabi. Want to know just how gamechanging they are?

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What You Need To Know About Data Science

In this 1.5 hour panel discussion, 5 highly qualified data science practitioners representing either academia or industry share their thoughts on issues surrounding data science, and statistics.  The video itself is well worth the 3 hour watch and rewatch.

As I patiently reorganised my frenzied, sometimes multilingual, note-taking, I slowly realised just how many questions, surrounding not only data science and statistics, but also machine learning (ML) and the complex interplay of issues between any of the three, that this video answered for me.  Here is the product of that reorganisation, with my own thoughts sprinkled throughout.

Why are so many people talking about data science?

Data science is a nascent field that draws upon many different quantitative disciplines to achieve the goal of extracting meaning from raw, noisy data. It piques the interest of not only businesses, but also consumers and job seekers.

For businesses, the advent of digital age facilitates near-infinite data acquisition.  Problem is, they may not even know how to store and process terabytes of information, let alone make sense of all this data.  Data science offers a scalable method of extracting valuable business intelligence from the firehose of numbers and words, and eventually a path towards monetisation.

For us the consumers, we may seek to understand the magic behind highly targeted advertising, social media content, and search engine results.  How does Amazon deliver such relevant shopping recommendations? How does Facebook feed me such engaging material from my social network? And how does Google give me the result I am looking for, 9 times out of 10?  Later, when we uncover the secrets and tricks employed by these companies, we may even wish to police unethical behaviour of data harvesting.

For job seekers, data science is a fluid field short on labour and ripe for carving out niches in different application domains or becoming methodology experts, as Patrick Wolfe explains in the video.  Chris Wiggins predicts an further diversification in data science-related jobs down the road:  big data companies need data scientists, data engineers, data dev-ops, data product managers, and other data-themed positions.  The challenges posed by big data coming in thick and fast demand diverse talents, each responsible for different workflow domains.

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