Sapiens: The Pivotal Role of Language in Human Evolution

~Shimalini & Radhika

In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari talks about how evolution took place, the hurdles and unprecedented changes humankind faced along the way. But, what provoked them to revolutionise things? What made them question their very own existence? How could the agricultural revolution be the biggest mistake made by human beings? What made them think that they have committed an error? The exchange of ideas incepted from the latter part of the cognitive revolution, through language as a medium. 

Every Species has its language, but they use them only to share information and alert their fellow species. Each tribal group invented their unique language from different parts of the world. Humans used language not only to increase their trust or dependency; they used it to cultivate thoughts and ideas. It was unbelievable and humorous when Harari mentioned that language arose from the act of gossiping in a group. Gossips enabled humans to analyse themselves and others based on their personality traits. Gossips gave birth to individualism. Languages allow humans to speak, share and describe things like which grain to cultivate? How to construct and design a wheel? How to hunt and capture an animal? Archaic humans carved on stones to transfer information to their offsprings and It gave birth to art. We strongly believe that this is the start of the data revolution. 

One aspect is quite eminent with the evolution of human beings. Without language, humans couldn’t have expressed their opinions and would have broken down the chain of verbal conveyance. We believe that language made humans a dominant species. 

Crawling Spider

~Sunil, Sharat & Praveen

Spiders are arachnids belongs to a class of arthropods. Unlike other insects they have 8 legs. There are more than 46,000 known species of spiders, found all over the world. Their size varies from 0.11 inch to 12 inches. Most of the spiders don’t see very well even though they have 8 eyes. Jumping spider is an exception, which can see more colours than humans. All spiders are predators which feed mainly on insects. They typically have a well-developed sense of touch. Few spiders are active hunters that chase and kill their prey. Other spiders weave webs or silk snare to capture their prey. Webs are instinctively constructed and effectively trap flying insects. Many spiders inject their venom(poison) into their prey to kill it quickly, whereas others first use silk wrappings or web to immobilize their victims. Spiders have venom but only a handful like the Black widow and the Brown recluse are dangerous to humans. Majority of spiders are harmless and help in controlling insect population that could otherwise devastate crops. Without spiders to eat pests harmful to agriculture, it’s thought that our food supply would be put at risk.

 

The Alchemist: Communion

~Sharat & Vasanth

Santiago is a young adventurous Andalusian Shepherd. He dreams of treasure frequently. With the advice of a gypsy woman, he decides to search for the treasure in Egypt. Initially, Santiago gets robbed and loses hope on his quest to find the treasure. But he makes up his mind and works hard to earn so that he can use that money to find his priceless treasure. When Santiago arrives in the desert, he realises that there is a common language spoken by all humans, animals, and objects. He talks to the sun and wind by listening to the things around and within himself – Universal Language. This language symbolises “The Soul of The World.” The novel’s portrayal of a universal language and The Soul of The World demonstrates its theme of communion.

Throughout the journey, Santiago feels every single thing on the way – people, places, and objects. The alchemist challenges Santiago to find a living thing in the desert, which puzzles Santiago in the beginning. Santiago realises that there is no need for advanced skills to do this. He feels grounded and connects with all things. His horse leads to a place where a snake lives. In this way, he realises that his quest has become a mutual task since the horse leads to the rocks on its own accord.

The alchemist does not fit into the mainframe of the story. He does not even actually teach Santiago how metals are processed and transformed into gold. Instead, he teaches Santiago to observe everything and bring essence to it. Santiago realises that every single thing around is not something to be ignored. Initially, Santiago didn’t feel connected to the world but later on when he visited the desert; he realised that every single thing on the planet is gold and he also thinks that one can see its purity only by feeling it. Santiago learns that studying the world will teach him everything one needs to know. He emphasises the fact that the world is a great teacher, and we can learn things by observing and feeling things. The novel portrays how your willpower unites the universal forces around you to help reach your destiny.

Finger multiplication for a table of 9

~saranya

We are going to learn finger multiplication for a table of 9: Fingers

Fingers to the left of the closed finger represent 10’s and the remaining fingers 1’s.

In the below picture: fingers to the left of the closed finger are 1 which means 1 ten and 8 ones are there. It represents 9×2=18.

In the below picture: fingers to the left of the closed finger are 6 which means 6 ten and 3 ones are there. It represents 9×7=63.

 

Similarly, fingers to the left of the closed finger are 7 which means 7 ten and 2 ones are there. It represents 9×8=72.

Match Stick Shapes

~jennifer, bakyalashmi

As part of learning, the session we had with Ramanujam was very much interesting. The matchsticks activity which helps the students to identify the basic shapes, talk mathematically and improves their way of thinking was wonderful. We had different task to do with matchsticks we have listed them below and tried them with the kids at home.

Task 1: Make an identical copy of these shapes

In this task, we asked them to make some shapes using matchsticks. The kids saw the shapes and they tried to make the identical copy of it.  Some shapes were easy for them to make and for some they struggled since placing matchstick at proper angle was difficult for them.

Some of the shapes we gave to them are,

After this task, we can ask the children which are difficult to make why is it so. We can ask them to point the shapes, what are the shape we can find inside each shape etc.

Task 2: Use the Matchsticks to make shapes of your own

In this task we asked them to use their own idea to create the shape they like. They started to create lot of shapes. Some of them are,

From this the children can understand what are the shapes which are possible with equal sides, the shapes which needs at least one side to be decimal values and the shapes which cannot be obtained with whole numbers. And also, we found some of the shapes which are not possible with matchsticks.

Task 3: Describe the shape that you made to your friend so that he/she can make an identical shape without seeing your shape. Think over how you will describe the shape and write it down. Then read it aloud to your friend so that he/she can make the same shape

While describing and discussing the shape together the children will learn the mathematical terms easily. We tried this with a shape,

The shape we took is,

The instruction given are,

1. Place a match stick horizontally.

2. keep another match stick place one end in the center of the first matchstick in 60 degree.

3. repeat the same by taking one more match stick to the second matchstick.

4. take 3 more matchstick and repeat the process to get the inner hexagon portion.

5. close all edges by 6 matchsticks to get an outer hexagon.

And what I got from her is,

 

INTEGRATED LEARNING -EVS FOR LOWER GRADE STUDENTS

~Sunil & Praveen

In the EVS session, we learned how to integrate science with Mathematics, Arts, and Literature for lower grade students. This type of teaching would enable students to engage both their left and right brain which indeed will make them engage with the subject more practically and store information in their long-term memory. We discussed and learned about mammals. In which we discussed dog family.

The science

Dog

Kingdom Animalia
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Canidae

 

Characteristic of Canidae family:

  •       Canids are basically vertebrates, warm-blooded, mammals, and carnivores
  •       They have 2 forelegs, 2 hind legs, and bushy tail
  •       5 toes on forefoot 5 toes on hind-foot
  •       They have elongated skull
  •       They have a great sense of smelling and hearing

Animals under Canidae family:

  •       Dogs
  •       Wolf
  •       Coyote
  •       African Wild Dog
  •       Fox
  •       Jackals

Mathematics and Literature

We sang a numerical poem about dogs that had increase and decrease in numbers as we proceed to the next stanza. With this, we could integrate language and mathematics by teaching students English poems along with ascending order and descending order.  

 Art

Making Paper dog

This creative method of integrated learning makes teaching and learning fun and effective. We could also integrate Social science and History with this  by telling students about the evolution of dogs.

 

No Code / Less Code Machine Learning/Deep Learning

~ Vimal 

As a novice, one will feel alienated with the buzz words and vocab used in the context of ML/DL world. To bring more people into the AI scenario, several of the tools are being developed by researchers and companies worldwide. They frame this with the phrase “Democratizing AI”. The corporates of course focus mainly on the subscription business model for enabling one to make their custom machine learning / deep learning model. Whereas few of the academia geeks focus on developing tools to bring the common man into the AI world. Some of the examples include

  • Ktrain
  • Ludwig
  • Fastai

In this blog post I wish to introduce a simple and easy to use library ktrain. This is a high level wrapper library for the Tensorflow keras(a low level API like library for the TF). Using this library we can  build, train & deploy a deep learning model at ease. It also provides interfaces and includes functionalities from other SOA deep learning library PyTorch(from FB Research).It abstracts the various processes one will encounter while building a deep learning model for his/her use case. It provides support to create models for text & image processing workflows. Text processing or widely referred as Natural Language processing is the toughest job every machine learning engineer will encounter. There will be a lot of bias in selecting the different pretrained models for different tasks(sentiment analysis, text classification, text generation, Q/A systems etc.). This ktrain library comforts the user by doing all the heavy lifting. A text classification pipeline will only require 3 lines of python code to train and build a model. It also possesses the methods to save the model for predicting the unknown datasets. One catch is the zeroshot classifier pipeline which supports the user to classify the text/sentences/documents without training. It has support to import all the transformer models like BERT, distilBERT, XLNet etc. Image classification task is easily achievable with the pretrained model like ResNet50, Inception etc. It supports graph & tabular dataset also to enable the user for custom building a model.

A quick tutorial to execute a zeroshot sentiment analysis classification(binary classification – Positive/Negative)

  1. Install the ktrain through pip 
  2. Execute the code

With the introduction of transfer learning capacities(through transformer architecture) to the natural language related tasks, the NLI/NLU/NLG(Natural Language Inference/Understanding/Generation) field is speeding up in the last couple of years paving the way to surpass the human capabilities in all the language related tasks.

Puppet Frog

~Sharat Kumar

In EVS session, we learned about amphibians and their characteristic features. We discussed what the unique features of amphibians are. We learned to model a Puppet frog to engage children with the lessons by storytelling and to explain the characteristic features of amphibians.

Amphibians are small organisms which come under vertebrates (animal with a spinal cord surrounded by cartilage or bone) that need water, or a moist environment, to survive. The species in this group include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. All can breathe and absorb water through their fragile and moist skin. Amphibians also have specialized skin glands that produce useful proteins.

We shall now see the equipment’s and steps required to make Puppet Frog.

Materials Required:

  1. Color Paper
  2. Compass
  3. Pencil
  4. Glue

Step 1:

Take two color papers and draw a circle using compass. Cut the remaining part

Step 2:

Make a hole in one circular sheet and cut it into half.

Step 3:

Make 4 legs, eyes and tongue with the remaining paper.

Step 4:

Apply glue to the edge of the circle and stick the semi-circle as shown below.

Step 5:

Stick the 4 legs and eyes as shown below using glue.

Step 6:

Now stick the tongue of the frog using glue as shown

Step 7:

Allow the glue to dry and the puppet is ready.

The House on Mango Street

~Hari & Praveen

This week we discussed the book “The House on Mango Street,” written by Sandra Cisneros, a Mexican-American author and a person of color. She grew up in a Hispanic community. Her memoir consisting of several short stories, brings out several issues around race, sexuality, culture, economic inequality, and gender inequality. This book helped us draw parallels between the critical issues as depicted in the stories and the cause centric initiatives that Quilt supports with various foundations.

Esperanza’s memoir shows her life in a neighborhood where female continuously becomes a victim of molestation, regardless of any age. The chapters “Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays” and “Linoleum Roses” highlights Gender inequality and Domestic Abuse – by locking girls at home and forcing them to do house chores.

In the chapter “First job,” Esperanza confronted her first harassment – When her co-worker, an old adult, misbehaved with her, she could not do defend herself. She never brought up the abusive incident and continued to do her duty as she was in dire straits. She hid her age to join the company. Poverty suppresses her power of ‘Right to Freedom of Expression’ in one way or another.

We took the Quilt case study on ‘How might we empower low-income college girls to change their future?’ which focuses on gender equality and women empowerment. In Quilt AI, we analyze 107000 digital content pieces and 68000 search impressions. If this memoir got posted in any social media, Esperanza and other (possible) victims could have been made aware and ‘nudged’ towards a more reliable and safer path of support.

CROW

~ Saranya

Please refer this link  to know about “what for this blog is”

CROW

 

CROWS CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Males and females are almost identical.
  • Males are bigger than females.
  • Crows live in almost all parts of the world except Antarctica, the bottom part of South America, and New Zealand.

HABITAT:

  • Crows live in open spaces.
  • Agriculture fields.
  • Crows will not live in a forest or desert.

PARENTAL CARE:

  • Crows take 6 days to lay the eggs and 19 days of incubation.
  • The Male protects and gathers food. The female watches the baby birds and does not leave the nest unless to get water.
  • Both males and females work together to take care of their young.

LONGEVITY:

  • Crows will live from 6 to 7 years also crows can live up to 20 years of age in ideal condition.
  • Males and females live for the same amount of years.

SEASONAL PATTERNS:

  • When winder comes crows fly down to warmer climates.
  • During different seasons, Crows do not change their behavior

FACTS ABOUT CROW:

  • Groups of crows are called “murders”. The reason for this is that when a crow is dying of sickness, old age, or injury, the rest of the murder will often kill that crow in order to end it’s suffering.
  • Crows have the biggest brain based on body size out of all birds.
  • Crows have the ability to judge people by reading their faces and expressions.
  • Crows can imitate human voices like parrots.
  • Crows are a lot smarter than other birds.

HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS:

  • Many people think that crows are their Ancestors (people provide food to the crow).