Submission + - Gates Foundation Readies New 5-Year, $1.7B U.S. K-12 Public Education Experiment

theodp writes: "Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education," writes the Washington Post's Valerie Strauss. "The others didn’t go so well, but the man, if anything, is persistent. Gates announced Thursday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would spend more than $1.7 billion over the next five years to pay for new initiatives in public education, with all but 15 percent of it going to traditional public school districts and the rest to charter schools. {...} He said most of the new money — about 60 percent — will be used to develop new curriculums and 'networks of schools' that work together to identify local problems and solutions, using data to drive 'continuous improvement.' {...} Education philanthropy is a time-recognized tradition in the United States, though it has become increasingly popular among America’s superwealthy since Gates started in 2000. This has raised questions about whether American democracy is well-served by wealthy people pouring so much money into pet education projects — regardless of whether they are grounded in research — that public policy and funding follow. That concern has been directed most pointedly at Gates, because his foundation has spent the most by far on education philanthropy, and because he was pivotal in advancing some of the controversial priorities of the Obama administration’s Education Department. Gates has underwritten a number of projects that have had less-than-desired results, which he has conceded over the years as he moves from one to another, sometimes acknowledging mistakes made."

Submission + - Conspiracy theorists suffer from fundemental congnitive issue, study finds (inverse.com)

Lucas123 writes: While there may be a general perception that conspiracy theorists are prone to seeing patterns between seemingly unrelated things, a new study explains they actually suffer from a continuous cognitive problem called illusory pattern perception. While nearly half of all non-pathological Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory, people with apophenia sense danger even when there is no pattern to recognize — their brains create their own. Illusory pattern perception has been linked to belief in conspiracy theories before, but that assumption has never really been supported with empirical evidence. The British and Dutch scientists behind the new study are some of the first to show that this explanation is, in fact, correct.

Submission + - Could Cryptocurrency kill online advertising? (linkedin.com) 1

phonewebcam writes: Far from being a new form of malware, could it turn out users actually prefer to trade a little CPU time to website owners in favor of them not showing ads? Slashdot covered the downside of this recently, with even Cristiano Ronaldo's official site falling victim, but that may not be the full story. This could be an ideal win-win situation, except for one huge downside — the current gang of online advertisers. Of course Google are already looking into controlling it, with a permission based system to start off with whilst letting 3rd party Chrome extensions take the strain for now. Adblockers are looking to extend their functionality to include AntiMining, too.

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