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Derek Dellinger, aka the Fermented Man, is a brewer who lives in Beacon, NY. In 2014, he lived off only fermented food for the entire year. He chronicled the experience in a book, The Fermented Man, which will be out in 2024. Dellinger is also the author of a homebrew and craft beer blog. Popular Science spoke with him about his Thanksgiving plans for this year.

What are you eating and/or fermenting for Thanksgiving?

This time last year I was on the last leg of my Fermented Man project, and to be honest I was kind of running on fumes at that point. My family used to have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma’s house, but now that she’s getting older we’ve been going out to a local restaurant or country club to eat. I was stuck eating grilled cheese at the restaurant, because bread and cheese were the only fermented foods they had.

Later in the day I got to have some beet kvass, which is like a salty, sour tonic that you get from fermenting beets in a jar and then drinking the juice. It’s somewhat of an acquired taste, but I’m personally a big fan of beets — I find their salty, earthy flavor especially enjoyable in the winter months. I also had a fermented carrot, parsnip, and ginger pickle. I packed the ingredients in a jar and let them lacto-ferment so they got tangy and spicy from the ginger.

Beet Kvass

Carrot, Parsnip, and Ginger Pickle

This year I have a normal diet again, so I’ll be eating some of the traditional Thanksgiving things like turkey and gravy. But I have a few new things I want to try. I’ll be making a fermented stuffing with sourdough bread, cultured butter, some kimchi for spice, and maybe some shredded salami or prosciutto. I like taking recipes you’d think of as having nothing to do with fermentation and making them with all fermented ingredients, just to demonstrate how ubiquitous and easy fermentation is. I might also bring some spicy red cabbage sauerkraut home — it’s hearty and should be good for a wintry Thanksgiving meal.

Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

I’m excited about an experimental beer I’ll be drinking this year. Last fall I was fermenting squash from the farm where my brewery is, and noticed a thick film developing on the surface of the liquid. The film, which is called a pellicle, often occurs when you’re brewing sour or wild ales, and is kind of like the SCOBY in kombucha. The squash pellicle looked like the ones I’d get on my sour beers, so I took a culture from the fermenting jar and made beer with it. I didn’t add yeast or anything — I just let the squash and the microbes on them do the work. The result was a spontaneous native beer that I made just using squash from my farm.

I gave the beer about a year to ferment, so it’s ready for this Thanksgiving. It’s a weird beer, with a sour, earthy flavor. I think it’s a cool twist on pumpkin beers, which people often make just by adding pumpkin pie spices to beer. I wanted to do something different by actually using microbes from the squash to make the beer.

Fermented Squash Pellicle

I also have some fermented hard cider and apple brandy. One is a 16%-alcohol, barrel-aged cider. That was definitely one of the weirder cider fermentations I’ve done. I added honey to raise the alcohol content, and aged it in a barrel that had wild yeast in it for about half a year. It’s very dry and smooth, almost like a funky white wine — even though it has 16% alcohol, you can barely taste the alcohol in it.

Cider Aging in a Barrel

So you’re not sick of fermented foods yet?

Not yet! I definitely went to town in January when I could eat everything again, but I’m still making sauerkraut, cider, beers, beets… and I’m always trying new things as I think of them. It’s hard to get sick of fermented foods because they’re so endlessly diverse. They’re already a huge backbone of what we eat on a regular basis, and besides that, you can ferment pretty much anything you want.

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Are You Ready For Google’s Mobile

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In October 2024, Google first announced its plan to prioritize a mobile search index over their desktop index.

Since then, this shift to a mobile-first index has been one of the most talked about – and sometimes misunderstood – topics in the industry.

With its full implementation happening soon, it’s worth taking a look at how prepared SEO professionals are for this major change.

For episode 145 of Search Engine Nerds, I spoke to Bastian Grimm, director of organic search at Peak Ace AG, who shared insights on Google’s mobile-first index and other factors that SEO professionals should take into consideration when preparing for the shift.

What are your thoughts in general about the mobile-first index?

Bastian Grimm (BG): It’s kind of an interesting thing… for quite a while – even now – no one really understood or probably some struggled a bit to really understand what’s going on.

It was roughly a year ago when I first figured out that the mobile-first index is essentially switching things around…

They’ll essentially [be] taking the mobile web presence and rank things based on that – and not as they do it today using the desktop [index].

Right now it doesn’t really matter from a scoring perspective if a mobile site is fast or not.

However, I guess from the user perspective that’s a totally different story. Because we don’t want to wait for a mobile site to load. I think it’s even worse if a mobile site is slow compared to a desktop site.

With Google announcing that page speed is going to be a ranking factor, do you think that means we’re about to see the rollout of mobile-first? Do we need to start paying attention to scores more than ever?

BG: I think, essentially, you’re right. Google making a clear stand on things is actually a rare thing… they’re trying to make sure that people get its significance.

However, though there’s also the other side of the story, that if you look at everything around speed and then obviously at some point you have to at least mention accelerated mobile pages, the AMP initiative, which I honestly think has at least a political taste to it in a sense that you couldn’t start the AMPs without HTTPS, now you need HTTPS.

Then you could say that’s just another way for Google, where people have to actually adapt to things that they want them to do. You could argue that the same is true for speed in a sense as well.

However, though, to be honest, I see the benefit of it. We all are not willing to wait for a site to load.

I guess it’s not so much about SEO. Yes, granted we might have better crawl efficiency. But generally it’s about user experience – it should be first and foremost.

What do you think is a good page speed?

BG: I think first and foremost, the PageSpeed Insights scoring that Google threw out there a couple of years ago with the tool that they provided is really problematic because this number just doesn’t reflect how fast the site is at all.

Forget about the PageSpeed Insights scoring. What the tool is recommending is just not applicable.

The second thing is Time Spent Downloading that we have in the Search Console – another number which is just not relevant at all.

If you look at it, that’s just an average on different file types. We all know that a CSS file or a JavaScript is just way faster than a full website. You could see anomalies, things going up and down, but generally, that’s also not a proper number.

Then the two-second loading time, I think that’s been out there for a while… There was just a recent study from Nielsen where they surveyed quite a bit of people and actually that was the same outcome. So you have this two seconds, maximum three. So that thing seems to be quite valid.

However, though I think if you look at measurement, that’s one of the biggest issues that we have on the performance side.

The state of the art measurement up until now was to go with something like chúng tôi and then use the Speed Index and maybe Time to Interactive. I think even Google figured at some point out that that’s not enough.

What they did, I think it was Chrome [52] I believe. They introduced something called the Performance Observer. The idea is to measure with, in this case, GA, the different paint timings.

When does the most relevant element on a site really appear and can you consume that?

If you think, in the YouTube logic, the only thing that you really want is to watch the video and that video is your hero element. That’s the thing that needs to be there really, really fast.

I kind of approach it a bit differently and look at those different paint timings – Time to First Paint and Time to First Meaningful Paint of this kind of hero element.

Where can you measure the paint timings?

BG: I think that there are two ways of doing that.

Performance Observer via Google Analytics: What you have to do is extend your GA code with Performance Observer and then it just measures these paint events. They show up in the custom metrics in GA.

Lighthouse: Lighthouse also measures paint timings and it’s way easier to do, just go to Chrome Dev Tools. You can run the same tests on mobile speed and then they use those paint timings and give you an idea of how fast your site is depending on the mobile connection.

Should people be making mobile versions of their site or is responsive really the best way right now for being mobile-friendly, mobile-ready?

Google has been stating over and over, and I believe it makes sense, that if now on your desktop site, you have structured data and all the other kinds of nice optimizations already in place and you haven’t done that on the m-dot, well you have to synchronize things because if they flip it over and then rank you based on the m-dot and you don’t have the stuff there, how can you rank?

I think that was the core reason for it. The downside though if you turn it around, performance optimization on a responsive site is actually way harder.

But if you do it right and you do it really well, I believe responsive is a great solution because you don’t have to maintain different sites for different kinds of devices really.

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Are Environmental Regulations On Mars Doing More Harm Than Good?

Astrobiologists Alberto Fairen, and Dirk Schulze-Makuch have beef with environmental protection policies. Not here on Earth, that is, but on Mars, where rigid regulations from NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection are holding back potentially life-discovering research, according to the pair’s paper in Nature Geoscience today.

While humans can’t make it to Mars just yet, it’s possible that some microbial spacecraft hitchhikers can survive the journey and make their home on the Red Planet. In fact, it’s probable that they already have. Some Earth life might have also been transferred naturally through meteorites.

Clean Curiosity

NASA engineers work on the Mars rover Curiosity in a clean room to prevent cross-planetary contamination.

NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection would like to minimize the risk of bringing more life to Mars than we bargained for. Its goal is to “promote the responsible exploration of the solar system by minimizing the biological contamination of explored environment,” which seems like a pretty noble goal–the first rule of interplanetary camping is leave your site less Earth-y than you found it.

But Fairen and Schulze-Makuch take issue with the fact that missions exploring “special regions”–places that the Office of Planetary Protection determines could theoretically support either Martian or Earth life–face extra sterilization requirements to ensure that there’s no cross-planetary contamination. These strict guidelines–including working in clean rooms with special airflow requirements and sterilizing spacecraft using dry heat microbial reduction–they argue, make the search for life on Mars too expensive, and curtail exploration. (It’s unclear what kind of extra expense we’re talking, though this clean room price calculator from 2001 makes them seem fairly pricey, at least to build.)

Thus, the scientists recommend, we should cut back on the regulations governing sterilization for orbiter missions and some surface missions, and re-evaluate the sterilization requirements for rover missions seeking to discover life on a case-by-case basis.

“If Earth microorganisms can thrive on Mars, they almost certainly already do; and if they cannot, the transer [sic] of Earth life to Mars should be of no concern, as it would simply not survive,” they write.

Essentially, they say that it’s likely Earth life has already contaminated Mars through meteorite impacts over the past 3.8 billion years, or through past spacecraft visits before sterilization requirements were put in place.

NASA’s spacecraft sterilization began with the launch of the Viking landers to Mars in 1975. Before being sent off into the great unknown, they were cleaned and then placed in essentially a giant casserole dish and baked for 30 hours at 233 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off any lurking microorganisms. But it’s uncertain if the unmanned Soviet missions to Mars and Venus during the period underwent any kind of sterilization. Some scientists say the missions probably deposited some organisms from Earth on those planets. More recently, the Mars rover Curiosity might have brought some Earth microbes on accidentally contaminated drill bits or on its wheels.

If the microorganisms that came to Mars over the past few billion years or during the Space Race didn’t survive, Fairen and Schulze-Makuch write, any new microorganisms probably wouldn’t either. If they did survive, well, the cat’s already out of the bag, and “it is too late to protect Mars from terrestrial life.” A little bleak. They still encourage cleaning spacecraft to prevent confusion between what microorganisms might be earthly in origin and which could be Martian.

And like any good argument, they make the case that scaling back requirements is all about your tax money: “As planetary exploration faces drastic budget cuts globally, it is critical to avoid unnecessary expenses and reroute the limited taxpayers’ money to missions that can have the greatest impact on planetary exploration,” they write. Fewer requirements, cheaper missions.

On the one hand, we’re all for making greater Mars exploration as easy as possible. But then again, we’re already pretty good at contaminating our own planet–maybe we should be strict about what we bring to another.

What Are The Techniques For Monitoring Of Accounts Receivables?

For a business to continue running with granting credit, it must continuously monitor the accounts receivables so that there is no laxity in the process of credit collection. There are two traditional methods that are used to monitor accounts receivables. These are

Average Collection Period

Aging Schedule.

As these methods have some limitations, analysts now use the collection experience matrix method to judge the accounts receivables efficiency of a firm.

Average Collection Period (ACP)

The Average Collection Period Formula (ACP) is –

$$mathrm{ACP := :frac{Debtors :times :360}{Credit : sales}}$$

The average collection period calculated with this formula is compared with the real collection period of the firm to adjudge the efficiency of the firm in the collection of the dues.

For example, if ACP calculated with the formula is 30 days and the firm collects the dues in 45 days in reality then there is a mismatch and thereby a lack of efficiency in the firm’s credit collection method.

An extended credit period consumes cash inflows, impairs the liquidity of the firm, and increases the possibilities of bad debts. That is why a lax system is inefficient in collecting the dues from the borrowing firms.

Limitations

The first limitation of the two that this method has is that it offers only an average picture of the collecting experience and it is based on aggregate data. For control, the age of outstanding variables is needed.

The second shortcoming is that it is susceptible to sales variables and the periods on which these variables are aggregated. Thus, ACP fails to provide a meaningful account of the effective collection of accounts receivables.

Aging Schedule

The aging schedule breaks down the data of receivables in sync with the outstanding period for which they have been outstanding. This helps one to get a more meaningful view of actual accounts receivable information related to a given firm.

For example, if the stated credit period of a firm is 30 days and accounts show that 50 percent of this remains outstanding beyond this period, a significant amount of credit remains uncollected beyond the actual credit period.

Thereby, an aging schedule helps to get a more meaningful insight into the collection experience and is better in determining whether the firm is lax in collecting the dues from the borrowers.

The aging schedule however faces the problem of aggregation like the ACP method.

Collection Experience Matrix

As mentioned above, the major two shortcomings of the methods of monitoring accounts receivables are that they are based on aggregates and they fail to relate to the period of outstanding receivables with the actual period of credits outstanding. Thus, two types of outcomes can be ascertained using the same variables and sales data differently.

Using disaggregated data for analyzing collection experiences can get rid of the problem stated above. The key here should be the linking of variables with the sales data of the same period. When the sales are shown horizontally and associated receivables vertically in a table, a certain matrix is obtained. This is known as the collection experience matrix and it can be used to a great extent to monitor the accounts receivables.

Conclusion

The three methods of monitoring accounts receivables can help lenders determine whether their collection efforts are bearing fruit or they are running in the wrong direction.

Among the three, the collection experience matrix is the best to adjudge the receivables. It removes the drawbacks that are found in the ACP and aging schedule methods to offer a complete and more meaningful insight into the process of monitoring the accounts receivables. Constructing a collection experience matrix should therefore be the aim to adjudge the monitoring of accounts receivables.

Things To Do This Thanksgiving Weekend

Things to Do This Thanksgiving Weekend Festive ways to celebrate the holiday around Boston  Where to Eat Warren Towers Undergraduate Thanksgiving Dinner

Unlike years past, residence halls at BU will remain open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend this year. Dining Services is offering a special Thanksgiving dinner for undergraduates staying on campus. The dinner runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at Warren Towers, and the menu is traditional: turkey (gluten-free), cornbread and lemon sage stuffing, potatoes, sautéed kale, orange cranberry sauce, a salad bar, and apple and pumpkin pies. Also available is vegan maple-glazed tempeh with brussels sprouts.

The Warren Towers Undergraduate Thanksgiving Dinner is Thursday, November 26, at Warren Towers, 700 Commonwealth Ave., from 1 to 3 p.m. and is open to any undergraduate living on campus. Convenience points, dining points, and cash ($14.90) accepted. Find the full Warren Towers Thanksgiving weekend schedule here.

What to Watch 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is as much a part of the holiday tradition for many as turkey and stuffing. This year’s parade features performances by dozens of stars, among them Mariah Carey, Shawn Mendes, Jordin Sparks, Andy Grammer, Jake Owen, Train, and the Muppets. The famed spectacle’s lineup: 7 giant character balloons, 24 novelty-ornament balloons, balloonicles, and trycaloons, 27 floats, 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers, more than 1,000 clowns, 12 marching bands, and of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, November 26.

Football

For many, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with football. This year the NFL is hosting a triple-header, music to the ears of gridiron fans who can’t get enough of the game. First up, the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Detroit Lions in Detroit. Next, the Carolina Panthers will battle the Dallas Cowboys in Texas. And the prime-time game features a showdown between the NFL’s long-standing rivals, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, in Wisconsin. The Packers will honor one of their all-time greats, retired quarterback Brett Favre, during the game. For those still craving football, be sure to catch the undefeated New England Patriots take on the Broncos in Denver on Sunday, November 29, at 8:30 p.m.

The Eagles-Lions game airs on FOX at 12:30 p.m. The Panthers-Cowboys game is on CBS at 4:30 p.m. The Bears-Packers game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. The New England Patriots–Denver Broncos game airs on NBC on Sunday, November 29. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.

What to Do

Prefer to be active and outdoors on Thanksgiving? Here’s a chance to support a great cause and burn off some calories before your holiday meal. The 3.1-mile Volvo Village 5K Road Race raises money to support the Greater New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Prizes go to competitors with the best times, and the first 750 crossing the finish line receive free T-shirts. There’s no fundraising minimum required, but all runners are encouraged to make a donation. Runners can register online for $20 here or on Thanksgiving for $25.

The Boston Volvo Village 5K Road is Thursday, November 26, at 9 a.m., at 75 North Beacon St., Brighton. On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Take an MBTA #64 bus to the North Beacon/Saunders Street stop. For more info, call 800-344-4867.

Franklin Park is one of the city’s most beautiful parks, considered a jewel in the Emerald Necklace, the interlocking series of green spaces designed by landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. This event supports the Franklin Park Coalition’s seasonal programs: Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park concerts, year-round volunteer days, woodlands restoration, line dancing, and fitness activities. Open to all ages, participants can run or walk. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers and those with the best costumes.

The Franklin Park Turkey Trot 5K is Thursday, November 26, at 9 a.m., at the Franklin Park Gold Clubhouse, One Circuit Drive, Dorchester. Preregistration is $25 for ages 18 and over ($10 for ages 6 to 17). Register here. For more information, call 617-442-4141.

More than 1,500 people turn out each year for MIT’s Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction. For this one-of-a-kind engineering feat, participants link their chain reaction devices together to form one giant chain reaction, which is set off at the end of the event. The 2024 theme is the 18th century, so expect to see references to the Founding Fathers and the French Revolution woven into people’s contraptions. The event will be emceed by renowned chain reaction creator Arthur Ganson and local artist Jeff Lieberman, who will also be on hand to help participants link their contrivances together.

MIT’s Annual Friday after Thanksgiving Chain Reaction is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 27, at the MIT Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, 120 Vassar St., Cambridge. Tickets are $12.50 for adults ($15 at the door) and $5 for children ages 5 to 17, students, seniors, and with an MIT ID. Purchase tickets online here. Take an MBTA Red Line train to the Kendall/MIT stop.

Marine Life Exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

This new exhibition, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s Putnam Gallery, includes a floor-to-ceiling re-creation of the marine life found in New England’s coastal waters and a special interactive display, designed for all ages, on the fascinating world of jellyfish. An ocean exploration theater offers a multimedia journey into the oceans of the world, guided by Harvard biologists.

Marine Life is on view at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge, open daily (except Thanksgiving) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for non-Harvard students, $10 for seniors 65+, $8 for children ages 3 to 18, and free for members and children under 3. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Harvard Square.  

Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Museum of Fine Arts

This groundbreaking show offers a whole new approach to 17th-century Dutch painting. Featuring 75 paintings—including masterpieces never before available for public viewing in the United States—the exhibition illustrates the ways paintings from the period represent the various socioeconomic groups of the new Dutch Republic. In the show are portraits, seascapes, landscapes, and genre scenes. Among the artists are Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Pieter de Hooch. The work is arranged according to 17th-century ideas about class distinctions.

This fascinating show pays tribute to the legacy of the small experimental college that opened in 1933 in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. In its short history, the school exerted an enormous influence on postwar cultural life in America. The exhibition traces the role of faculty artists such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Motherwell, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Rauschenberg. Black Mountain, which closed in 1957, is among the first institutions to emphasize the relationship among art, democracy, and globalism. On view are individual works by more than 90 artists affiliated with Black Mountain College as faculty and students.

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933–1957 is on view at the ICA, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, through January 24, 2024. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Monday and on Thanksgiving. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $10 for students, and free for children 17 and under, museum members, and on Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. Find directions here.

ELF the Broadway Musical at Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre

Based on the 2003 Hollywood comedy starring Will Ferrell, this musical stage version debuted on Broadway in 2010, the tale of Buddy, an orphan who accidentally crawls into Santa’s bag as an infant and is transported back to the North Pole, where he is raised by elves. Santa gives Buddy his blessing to travel to New York City to find his birth father and discover his real identity. Along the way, he helps New Yorkers remember the true meaning of Christmas.

ELF the Broadway Musical is at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston, through December 6. This weekend’s performances are Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28, at 2 and 7 p.m., and on Sunday, November 29, at 1 and 6 p.m. No performances on Thanksgiving. Ticket prices range from $30 to $125 and can be purchased online here or by calling the box office at 617-772-1116. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Boylston or an Orange Line train to Chinatown.

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston. Purchase tickets online here or call the box office at 617-695-6955. Take any MBTA Green Line train to Park Street.

Ice Skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond

Ice Skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond is Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street.

Blink! A Light & Sound Extravaganza at Faneuil Hall

Once Thanksgiving is over, head down to historic Faneuil Hall to catch the annual holiday light and sound extravaganza Blink! (the marketplace is closed Thanksgiving, but open the rest of the weekend). The seven-minute show begins daily at 4:30 p.m. and repeats all evening long. It features 350,000 LED lights that have been choreographed to holiday music recorded by the Boston Holiday Pops. On Saturday, November 28, 150 tubas will serenade onlookers at Faneuil Hall during the Boston Tuba Christmas Concert from 2 to 3 p.m; free and open to the public.

Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street or an Orange Line train to State Street. 

Where to Shop   

For some, the day after Thanksgiving has become as much of a tradition as Thanksgiving. Many get up at the crack of dawn Friday (or even late Thursday night) and head to their local shopping center to get some of the best deals, from televisions to shoes.

Want to do all your holiday shopping in one location? You’ll make the people on your list happy if you head to the Shops at the Prudential Center, home to nearly three dozen stores, including LOFT, Vineyard Vines, Lululemon, Barnes & Noble, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you’re looking for Santa, you’ll find him at the Belvidere Arcade through Christmas Eve.

The Shops at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (opening at 9 a.m. on Friday, November 27). Santa is available Sunday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day.

Adjacent to the Prudential shops is Copley Place, perhaps Boston’s toniest mall. Featuring nearly 75 stores, Copley Place sports J.Crew, Gap, and Banana Republic, as well as Williams Sonoma. But the emphasis here is really on luxury goods: Tiffany, Eileen Fisher, Emporio Armani, Boss, Coach, and Neiman Marcus.

Newbury Street

If malls aren’t your thing, head over to Newbury Street, Boston’s premier shopping district, where you can stroll along eight blocks lined with art galleries, salons, restaurants, and shops ranging from the affordable (Forever 21, bebe, and H&M) to the expensive (Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Chanel). Many of the stores are offering special sales on Friday, November 27 (Black Friday), and Saturday, November 28 (Small Business Saturday). Find a full list of Newbury Street stores here.

Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to the Hynes Convention Center, Copley, or Arlington stops.

This Cambridge mall is sure to be crowded on Black Friday, perhaps even at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, when it opens its doors to dedicated bargain seekers. There are more than 130 restaurants and stores, including Macy’s, Best Buy, H&M, Francesca’s, Forever 21, and Sephora. Be prepared for long lines and crowds of people. Find a list of stores having sales here and special college student discounts, with a valid college ID, here.

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What Are Self Organizing Maps

Introduction

Kohonen proposed the idea of a self-organizing map (SOM) in the first place. Since it is an unsupervised neural network that is trained using unsupervised learning methods to create a low-dimensional, discretized representation from the input space of the training samples, it is a way to minimise the dimensions of the data. A map is a common name for this representation.

This article will walk through a Kohonen Map beginner’s guide, which is a well-known self-organizing map. To begin, let’s define what self-organizing maps are.

Self-Organizing Maps

Self-organizing maps, also known as Kohonen maps or SOMs, are a type of artificial neural network that were inspired by the biological models of neural systems in the 1970s. It trains its network using a competitive learning algorithm and an unsupervised learning approach. SOM is used for mapping and clustering (or dimensionality reduction) processes to map multidimensional data onto lower-dimensional spaces to simplify complex situations for easy comprehension. The SOM is made up of two layers: the input layer and the output layer. The Kohonen Map is another name for this.

Self-organizing maps (SOMs) are a type of neural network that are used for unsupervised learning. SOMs are also known as Kohonen maps, named after their inventor, Teuvo Kohonen. SOMs are used to map high-dimensional data to a lower-dimensional space and are particularly useful for visualizing and understanding complex data sets.

The basic structure of a SOM is a two-dimensional grid of nodes, where each node represents a point in the lower-dimensional space. The data points are then mapped to the nodes in the grid, with similar data points being mapped to nearby nodes. The SOM algorithm uses a competitive learning process, where the nodes compete to be the best match for a given data point. This competition causes the nodes to adjust their weights, and over time the nodes will self-organize to form a map of the data.

SOMs are also used for clustering, as the nodes in the grid can be grouped together based on their similarity to the data points. This allows for the discovery of patterns and structure in the data that may not be immediately apparent. SOMs can also be used for anomaly detection, as data points that are dissimilar to the rest of the data will be mapped to distant nodes.

SOMs have a wide range of applications, including image processing, natural language processing, and bioinformatics. In image processing, SOMs can be used to classify images based on their features. In natural language processing, SOMs can be used to classify text documents based on their content. In bioinformatics, SOMs can be used to cluster and visualize gene expression data.

There are a few variations of SOMs, such as Growing SOM and Adaptive SOM. Growing SOMs can add or remove nodes from the grid as needed, while Adaptive SOMs can adjust the size of the grid to better match the data.

SOMs have a few limitations as well, such as the need for many data points for accurate results and the difficulty of updating the map once it has been trained. SOMs also require a significant number of computational resources and can be sensitive to the initial conditions.

Working of SOM

Imagine an input collection with the dimensions (m, n), where m denotes the number of features each sample has and n is the total number of training examples. The first step is to initialise the weights of size (n, C), where C is the number of clusters. After iterating through the input data for each training example, the winning vector (the weight vector the with shortest distance from of the training example, for instance, the Euclidean distance) is updated. Weight update recommendations are given by −

wij = wij(old) + alpha(t) * (xik - wij(old))

In this case, i denote the ith feature of the training example, j the winning vector, alpha the learning rate at time t, and k the kth training example from the input data. The SOM network has been trained, and fresh examples are clustered using trained weights. We add a fresh illustration to our library of effective vectors.

Algorithm

Step 1 − Initialize the w_ij of each node weight to a random value.

Step 2 − Randomly choose input vector x k.

Step 3 − Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each node on the map.

Step 4 − Determine the distance in Euclid between the weight vector w_ij connected to the first node and the input vector x(t), where t, i and j are all equal to 0.

Step 5 − Pay close attention to the node that generates the smallest t-distance.

Step 6 − Make a global Best Matching Unit computation in step six (BMU). It describes the node that all other calculated nodes are in relation to.

Step 7 − Locate the Kohonen Map’s topological neighborhood and its radius.

Application of SOM

Self-Organizing Maps have the benefit of preserving the structural data from the training data even though they are not always linear. When applied to large dimensional data, Principal Component Analysis may simply cause data loss when the dimension is reduced to two. In cases where the data has multiple dimensions, and each predetermined dimension is significant, self-organizing maps can be a wonderful alternative to PCA for the decrease in dimensionality. Seismic facies analysis groups features based on the identification of numerous individual features. By locating feature organisations in the dataset, this method produces organised relational clusters.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Self-Organizing Maps (SOMs) are a powerful tool for unsupervised learning, which can be used to visualize, understand, and extract meaningful information from highdimensional data. SOMs can preserve the topological structure of the data, making them easy to interpret, as well as being useful for clustering, dimensionality reduction, anomaly detection and more. As with most machine learning techniques, SOMs have their limitations, but with the right data and implementation, they can be an asset in any data scientist’s toolbox.

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