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When Beliefs and Facts Collide 702

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-think dept.
schnell writes A New York Times article discusses a recent Yale study that shows that contrary to popular belief, increased scientific literacy does not correspond to increased belief in accepted scientific findings when it contradicts their religious or political views. The article notes that this is true across the political/religious spectrum and "factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines." So what is to be done? The article suggests that "we need to try to break the association between identity and factual beliefs on high-profile issues – for instance, by making clear that you can believe in human-induced climate change and still be a conservative Republican."

Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters-on-campus dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers have discovered that emperor penguins may not be faithful to their previous nesting locations, as previously thought. Scientists have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, returning to the same location to nest each year. However, a new research study showed that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment. Lead author Michelle LaRue said,"Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins. If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn't make any sense. These birds didn't just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes."

Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job 538

Posted by Soulskill
from the dollars-and-sense dept.
An anonymous reader writes When you think of people who teach at a college, you probably imagine moderately affluent professors with nice houses and cars. All that tuition has to go into competitive salaries, right? Unfortunately, it seems being a college instructor is becoming less and less lucrative, even to the point of poverty. From the article: "Most university-level instructors are ... contingent employees, working on a contract basis year to year or semester to semester. Some of these contingent employees are full-time lecturers, and many are adjunct instructors: part-time employees, paid per class, often without health insurance or retirement benefits. This is a relatively new phenomenon: in 1969, 78 percent of professors held tenure-track positions. By 2009 this percentage had shrunk to 33.5." This is detrimental to learning as well. Some adjunct faculty, desperate to keep jobs, rely on easy courses and popularity with students to stay employed. Many others feel obligated to help students beyond the limited office hours they're paid for, essentially working for free in order to get the students the help they need. At a time when tuition prices are rising faster than ever, why are we skimping on the most fundamental aspect of college?

After Non-Profit Application Furor, IRS Says It's Lost 2 Years Of Lerner's Email 372

Posted by timothy
from the computer-crashed-whaddya-do dept.
As reported by the Associated Press, via US News & World Report, the IRS says that it cannot locate much of the email sent by a former IRS official over a two-year period. "The IRS told Congress Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year. Lerner headed the IRS division that processed applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS acknowledged last year that agents had improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status by tea party and other conservative groups." Three congressional committees are investigating the agency because of the allegations of politically motivated mishandling of those applications, as is the Justice Department and the IRS's own inspector general. As the story says, "Congressional investigators have shown that IRS officials in Washington were closely involved in the handling of tea party applications, many of which languished for more than a year without action. But so far, they have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the agency directed the targeting or even knew about it." CBS News has a slightly different version, also based on the AP's reporting.

Comment: I'd be more impressed if I heard of any of them (Score 4, Informative) 234

by Nova Express (#47159805) Attached to: Tech Worker Groups Boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower

"Bright Future Jobs, the Programmers Guild and WashTech."

Who, who, and who?

As of August 1999, the Programmers Guild had 400 members. Mighty important organization there, if you can't be bothered to offer membership numbers from this century. Which, to be fair, looks to be the last time their web page look was updated.

As far as I can tell, "Bright Future Jobs" is one person Donna Conroy.

WashTech is a union. No thanks.

I suspect that IBM, Infosys and Manpower won't even notice their "boycott."


White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-bad-everybody-moved-their-indignation-over-to-net-neutrality dept.
The U.S. House of Representatives has substantially reduced the effectiveness of the USA FREEDOM Act, a surveillance reform bill that sought to end mass collection of U.S. citizens' data. House Leadership was pressured by the Obama Administration to weaken many of the bill's provisions. The EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology had both given their backing to the bill earlier this month, but they've now withdrawn their support. CDT Senior Counsel Harley Geiger said, "The Leadership of the House is demonstrating that it wants to end the debate about surveillance, rather than end bulk collection. As amended, the bill may not prevent collection of data on a very large scale in a manner that infringes upon the privacy of Americans with no connection to a crime or terrorism. This is quite disappointing given the consensus by the public, Congress, the President, and two independent review groups that ending bulk collection is necessary."

Robyn Greene of the Open Technology Institute added, "We are especially disappointed by the weakening of the language intended to prohibit bulk collection of innocent Americans’ records. Although we are still hopeful that the bill’s language will end the bulk collection of telephone records and prevent indiscriminate collection of other types of records, it may still allow data collection on a dangerously massive scale. Put another way, it may ban ‘bulk’ collection of all records of a particular kind, but still allow for ‘bulky’ collection impacting the privacy of millions of people. Before this bill becomes law, Congress must make clear—either through amendments to the bill, through statements in the legislative record, or both—that mass collection of innocent people’s records isn’t allowed."

Comment: Translation (Score 1) 255

by Nova Express (#47050033) Attached to: The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

"People didn't like my original piece and had points of view that disagreed with my own. Therefore they're wrong. Now I'll just double-down by calling my critics idiots whose ideas are based of science fiction stereotypes. Then I'll just wait for my critics to admit they were wrong and finally get around to praising my obvious genius."


The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say 373

Posted by timothy
from the ok-and-you-can't-say-that-number-either dept.
bizwriter (1064470) writes "General Motors put together its take on a George Carlin list of words you can't say. Engineering employees were shown 69 words and phrases that were not to be used in emails, presentations, or memos. They include: defect, defective, safety, safety related, dangerous, bad, and critical. You know, words that the average person, in the context of the millions of cars that GM has recalled, might understand as indicative of underlying problems at the company. Oh, terribly sorry, 'problem' was on the list as well."

Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to scientists we can look forward to more devastating wildfires like the ones scorching Southern California because of global warming. "The fires in California and here in Arizona are a clear example of what happens as the Earth warms, particularly as the West warms, and the warming caused by humans is making fire season longer and longer with each decade," said University of Arizona geoscientist Jonathan Overpeck. "It's certainly an example of what we'll see more of in the future.""

Comment: Turnstile Jumping and Broken Windows Policing (Score 2) 389

New York City's crackdown on turnstile jumping was part of the Giuliani Administrations implementation of broken window policing. But reducing low level disorder and misdemeanor crime, broken windows policing makes the law abiding residents of neighborhoods feel safer.

"A government’s inability to control even a minor crime like graffiti signaled to citizens that it certainly couldn’t handle more serious ones."

Stopping and arresting turnstile jumpers in particular frequently turned up wanted felons, parole violators, and gangbangers with illegal guns. Arresting them not only took criminal predators, off the streets, it encouraged other criminals to leave their guns at home for fear of having them confiscated. This further reduced their abilities to commit criminal acts in places like subways, and reduced criminal gun incidents when members of rival gangs would bump into each other.

Comment: Because fabs can run $10 billion each (Score 1) 345

by Nova Express (#47025539) Attached to: AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

Actually running your own fab can give you tremendous economies of scale if you know you'll be running you part (or its die shrink successors) 24/7/365. The per chip costs are going to be lower.

But to build a state-of-the-art, 300mm, 14-nm fab with all the latest process technology can run you $10 billion. AMD doesn't have enough mnoney to make those bets anymore, and few companies do.

Going with a foundry means you earn less profit per chip sold, but it also let's you avoid that $10 billion up-front investment.

Comment: First Swatting Victims Were Conservative Bloggers (Score -1, Troll) 350

Among the first instances of swatting I was aware of were conservative bloggers like Aaron Walker, Erick Erickson and Patrick Frey, all of whom were working to expose convicted felon and "Speedway Bomber" Brett Kimberlin.

There may have been earlier instances, but those are the first I'm aware of.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.