Abe's Blog

This is an eclectic blog. Not only will I talk about technologies, engineering, nanotechnology, but also about education, music, art, and other human endeavors. After all, humans are not only engineers or doctors.

Who Will Win the World Cup? Statisticians Take a Guess

Posted June 18, 2018 4:39 PM by amichelen

Last week at the start of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, the national team defeated Saudi Arabia 5 to 0 in Moscow, setting in motion the next 30 days of the most exhilarating games in the world. On July 15, one of the 32 best selections of the planet will raise the cup in the engineering marvel called Luzhniki Stadium.

The big question is who this champion will be. Mathematicians and statisticians in several countries have – apparently – the answer. They can’t, however, agree in their predictions. According to several of these experts, the champion of this year will be Brazil, reaching its sixth World Cup win since the start of the championship in 1930.

Academics from the University of Innsbruck, Austria estimate that the probability of Brazil's victory is 16.6%. Similar results from other universities postulate that Brazil will win with a 16.81% probability, followed by Germany with 15.80%. Of course, these numbers will begin to increase as the championship progresses. However, not everyone reached the same conclusion. Several studies have shown at least two other selections as candidates to reach the first place in the world: Germany and France.

With the help of different mathematical models, scientists from the Cornell University, in New York, postulate Spain as a winner, only taking into account the clashes in the group stage, so these experts believe that Spain, Germany, Brazil, and France have a chance to be the champion. On the other hand, the company behind the video game "FIFA 18," EA Sports, determined that France will be World Cup champion after using the statistics of all the players involved in the World Cup and the previous results of each team.

Who do you think will win?

15 comments; last comment on 07/01/2018
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What city, Amazon?

Posted February 27, 2018 1:35 PM by amichelen
Pathfinder Tags: amazon Tech city

We all know - we are waiting in anticipation - that Amazon is going to build their second headquarters, called “HQ2”, starting in early 2019. The company put up a call for proposals to American and Canadian cities to propose their cities as a “good” venue. There were a staggering 238 cites that applied for the prize, which is an investment of over $5 billion as a starting point and the expectation that more than 50,000 good paying jobs will be created in the selected city.

If Amazon is to reproduce what they did with their first HQ in Seattle the choice for HQ2 will see an investment of over $30 billion in the next ten years (in Seattle they invested $38 billion from 2010 to 2016), and many thousands of jobs. The chosen city will be transformed into a new important tech-hub and, of course, it will be the envy of its neighbors.

Several months ago Amazon discarded 218 of these cities, and as of today, there are only 20 cities left in the competition. To replicate Seattle, Amazon needs to find a city with similar characteristics: (a) close to a good source of technical universities to supply the high-tech workforce, in particular engineers and computer science majors (In my opinion this request is in the top of their list of desirable features); (b) excellent national and international transportation systems (road, airports, city mobility systems); (c) capability and flexibility to accommodate a huge headquarters; (d) good, abundant and affordable housings; (e) good quality of life; (f) friendly “business environment”; and (g) willingness to provide “good tax incentives”

These are the 20 finalists:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Austin, Tex.
  3. Boston
  4. Chicago
  5. Columbus, Ohio
  6. Dallas
  7. Denver
  8. Indianapolis
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Miami
  11. Montgomery County, Md.
  12. Nashville
  13. Newark
  14. New York
  15. Northern Virginia
  16. Philadelphia
  17. Pittsburgh
  18. Raleigh, N.C.
  19. Toronto, Canada
  20. Washington, D.C.

I would like to start a discussion about our opinions related to these topics:

  1. What city would you prefer?
  2. What city you think is the best for Amazon?
  3. What city will Amazon choose?
  4. What city is missing from the list and you think should be a “front-runner”?

Here are my opinions:

  1. I prefer Boston.
  2. The bests for Amazon are one of these: Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto, and New York (NYC or Newark).
  3. I think Amazon will choose between Boston and Philadelphia.
  4. I think Montreal and Troy, NY (part of the great Capital Region of New York State) should be part of this preliminary “front runners”.

Mr. Bezos, I hope you are reading this blog. Your opinion?

15 comments; last comment on 03/01/2018
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German Christmas Markets

Posted December 04, 2017 11:15 AM by amichelen

We are about to start the 2017 holiday season, and I would like to talk about it. Since my childhood I have always enjoyed the beauty of these days: the scent of the Christmas tree in the living room of my house, the lights and the music that spreads all over the city, the camaraderie of the people and, of course, the presents.

This year my family and I will be spending the holidays in Germany and the Czech Republic. We will visit Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Prague. Germany is one of the countries that celebrates Christmas in an “old-fashioned” way with so many traditions. In particular I love to visit the Christmas markets. In Berlin alone there are over 60 markets ranging from the most traditional to the modern. In Munich, Frankfurt and other big cities there are many as well.

Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest market at the Altmarkt square. Source: www.dresden.de

However – maybe the CR4 community can tell me otherwise and correct me – the most beautiful Christmas markets are in Dresden, where we will spend most of our time. There are eleven completely different markets in the city, open from 10 am to 9 pm from November 29 to December 24.

Of these eleven, the market called Striezelmarkt is the oldest in Germany. In 1434, the elector Frederick II authorized the opening of the market to be held on the Altmarkt square. At that time the market was a meat market, where the townspeople could select the roast for their Christmas dinner. This year the Striezelmarkt celebrates its 583rd year of continuous operation in exactly the same location!

Source: www.dresden.de

Another beautiful and traditional Dresden market takes place in the square of the reconstructed Frauenkirche (church of Our Lady, in English). This church, along with many baroque buildings in the center of Dresden, were destroyed in February of 1945 during the two days of uninterrupted bombing by the Allies at the end of the World War II. For 50 years the ruins of the church were kept piled up for all to see as a war memorial. In 1994, after the reunification of Germany, a world effort started for the reconstruction of the church. In 2005 the final stone was put in place. The Christmas Market in the square of the Frauenkirche is visited by thousands of visitors every year.

The reconstructed Frauenkirche. Source: www.dresden.de

Aerial view of the Church of Our Lady. Source: Wikipedia

The market at the Frauenkirche square. Source: www.dresden.de

Another city we will visit is Leipzig. Here we will attend the Christmas Oratory of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, a choir created in 1212. The St. Thomas Church is the place where Johann Sebastian Bach spent the last 30 years of his life, where he was Thomas Cantor and where he is buried. I am looking forward to visiting the tomb of the greatest composer ever, and to listen to the boys choir.

Also in Leipzig, we will have dinner and some beers at the Auerbach's Keller (Auerbach’s Cellar, in English), a wine bar and restaurant dating back to 1438, and the place where a young Goethe ate and drank while studying in Leipzig. The Cellar is world famous because in one of the first scenes of Goethe’s play Faust the Cellar is where Mephistopheles takes Faust to make the famous deal.

Mephistopheles bewitching the students, sculptures at the Cellar's entrance. Source: Wikipedia.

Finally we will visit beautiful Prague. There is there also a festive environment during Christmas, including Christmas Markets as well. I will be happy to re-visit the coffee houses where Einstein, Kafka and other great people used to frequent and the Jewish cemetery where Kafka is buried.

Cheers to all! Let us all know about your holidays!

I leave you with this beautiful video about the Striezelmarkt:

29 comments; last comment on 12/12/2017
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Las Mejores Universidades de la América Latina

Posted October 19, 2017 4:20 PM by amichelen

Este es mi primer blog en Ingeniería en Español a pesar que lo cree algunos meses atrás. Mi tiempo ha sido limitado para escribir el blog por razones de trabajo y otras cosas. A partir de ahora, sin embargo, prometo escribir con regularidad.

Quiero empezar con un tópico que podría parecer controversial, dado que, para algunos, envuelve orgullo nacional y muchas veces personal.

El tópico: Cuales son las mejores universidades the la America Latina?

Hay varias instituciones que crean rankings de las univerisdades del mundo. Las dos mas importantes, sin embargo, son ambas británicas: Times Higher Education (THE) y el QS World University Ranking. Estas son dos publicaciones de gran prestigio que son “escuchadas” por compañias y gobiernos alrededor del mundo. Cada una cataloga las universidades a nivel mundial y por región.

Asi los índices generados para 2017 por THE y QS indican que hay muy pocos países en la America Latina con universidades que puedan “competir” a nivel mundial. El ranking the THE para 2017 incluye 81 universidades latinoamericans, pero solo 8 paises estan incluidos.

Considerando solameant el ranking de THE, en el grupo de las 50 primeras posiciones estan 18 de Brasil, 15 de Chile, 5 de Colombia y 8 de Mejico, entre otras. Entre las primeras 10 posiciones hay 5 Brasileñas, 2 de Chile, 2 de Méjico y 1 de Colombia.

Estas son las 10 primeras:

1. Universidad Estatal de Campiñas (Brasil)

2. Universidad de Sao Paulo (Brasil)

3. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile)

4. Universidad de Chile (Chile)

5. Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

6. Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (México)

7. Universidad Federal de Sao Paulo (Brasil)

8. Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro (Brasil)

9. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Río de Janeiro (Brasil)

10. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Ahora me pregunto, ¿qué pasa con los otros países latinoamericanos? Entre Latino America y el Caribe hay 33 paises; ¿porqué solamente hay 8 en el ranking mundial?

¿Qué les parece? Podriamos enumerar mil justificaciones de porqué la America Latina no ha podido llevar centros superiores de estudio al nivel de otras regiones.

25 comments; last comment on 10/31/2017
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Race Tracks Are Not Good For The Horses

Posted August 01, 2017 3:56 PM by amichelen

Now, in the middle of the boreal summer, the sad story of the horses at race tracks like in Saratoga Springs, comes to mind. On average 24 horses die per week in US race tracks, during training, and during the races. The horses are commodities for their owners. If a horse breaks a leg it is killed by the owner, instead of retiring the animal and letting him spend the rest of his days in a pleasant place. To do this, the owner would need to spend money on a horse that is useless for him as a money machine.

This week, at the beautiful Saratoga Springs (New York) race track, two more horses died, making four horses dead in the first 8 days of the racing season that lasts six weeks every summer; six horses have died since April. Statistics for Saratoga:

YearDead horses

According to the Gaming Commission of New York Executive Director Robert Williams, most of these deaths are attributed to excessive exercise-related, musculoskeletal injuries. Horses are also forced to exhaustion during training and races.

To sponsor these people by attending a race track is – for me – totally unacceptable. By spending money at race tracks we not only engross the pockets of the torturers of these magnificent animals, but also we encourage others to follow suit.

This is my opinion. I think if we like professional horse races, we may also like dog fights (that are getting more popular every day), or like to observe how a coward “torero” kills a bull with a spade in front of thousands of spectators, or even we may enjoy taking our kids to a zoo full of caged animals.

I wonder if we really need these types of entertainment. What is wrong with attending a Shakespeare festival in the summer?

What do you think about this?

126 comments; last comment on 12/31/2021
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