"Institutions of higher education are dependent on state and federal funding, including tax exemptions, research funds and scholarship support. Pressures from within also exist, often inspired by students and faculty members seeking to create a consensus of belief that can marginalize disagreement and dissent. Nevertheless, the key to the astonishing success and international superiority of the American university, particularly in science and engineering, has been its resilient commitment to freedom and nondiscrimination, and its respect for truth, no matter how uncomfortable.
The presidents of our colleges and universities must defend the principles that have enabled institutions of higher education to flourish. These are freedom and tolerance, and openness to individuals no matter their national origin or religion. The actions and spirit of the new administration threaten the American university’s core values.
The voices of our leaders in higher education must be heard in opposition. The cause is not partisan. The cause is a democracy where citizens of the entire world are welcome, minorities are protected and dissent respected. Such a democracy is the only context in which research and learning and the pursuit of knowledge can thrive. The time to act together is upon us. The world must have no doubt about where the American university stands."
The dystopia described in George Orwell’s nearly 70-year-old novel “1984” suddenly feels all too familiar. A world in which Big Brother (or maybe the National Security Agency) is always listening in, and high-tech devices can eavesdrop in people’s homes. (Hey, Alexa, what’s up?) A world of endless war, where fear and hate are drummed up against foreigners, and movies show boatloads of refugees dying at sea. A world in which the government insists that reality is not “something objective, external, existing in its own right” — but rather, “whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.”
“1984” shot to No. 1 on Amazon’s best-seller list this week, after Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Trump, described demonstrable falsehoods told by the White House press secretary Sean Spicer — regarding the size of inaugural crowds — as “alternative facts.” It was a phrase chillingly reminiscent, for many readers, of the Ministry of Truth’s efforts in “1984” at “reality control.” To Big Brother and the Party, Orwell wrote, “the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense.” Regardless of the facts, “Big Brother is omnipotent” and “the Party is infallible.”
As the novel’s hero, Winston Smith, sees it, the Party “told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” and he vows, early in the book, to defend “the obvious” and “the true”: “The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall toward the earth’s center.” Freedom, he reminds himself, “is the freedom to say that two plus two make four,” even though the Party will force him to agree that “TWO AND TWO MAKE FIVE” — not unlike the way Mr. Spicer tried to insist that Mr. Trump’s inauguration crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,” despite data and photographs to the contrary.
"There were quite a few moments at her confirmation hearing Tuesday when Betsy DeVos floored lawmakers with her answers, but the nominee for education secretary left senators puzzled by denying her documented involvement in a foundation that has funneled millions of dollars to anti-LGBT causes.
DeVos, from 2001 to 2013, was listed in tax filings as vice president of the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by her mother that has been a generous donor to controversial groups like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council. Yet when pressed by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) to explain her role at the foundation, DeVos insisted her name should not have been included in any tax forms and that she had nothing to do with the organization.
'That was a clerical error — I can assure you,' DeVos said. 'I have never made decisions on my mother’s behalf.'"
"In February, an international team of astronomers announced in Nature that they'd traced one of the flashes back to a galaxy 6 billion light years from Earth based on an “afterglow” they saw emanating from the host galaxy. But that identification quickly fell apart when other researchers observed that the glow persisted long after the bursts came and went; two months later they reported that the purported burst was actually a flickering black hole. During those same two months, the researchers looking at Arecibo data announced that FRB 121102 was repeating — a discovery that shifted the field of FRB research under astronomers' feet.
That's how science works — it's surprising, sometimes silly and almost always messy, especially when it involves phenomena researchers don't fully understand.
Heino Falcke, an astronomer at Radboud University-Nijmegen in the Netherlands, invoked past missteps in his analysis of the new study for Nature: “As good detectives, we should avoid adopting newly emerging dogmas too soon, even when we think we have caught the suspect red-handed,” he wrote. “FRBs are nimble fugitives and are not necessarily all alike.”
Lorimer suggested that clarity might come from adopting Chatterjee's “sit and stare method” — taking a telescope, pointing it at a known FRB source, and waiting to detect another pulse. This is no simple task; there are a limited number of radio telescopes in the world and an inexhaustible list of possible uses for them. On top of that, two of the U.S.'s top radio telescopes, Arecibo and the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, are facing funding woes and could be shut down. But new instruments are about to come online, including China's Tianyan (“eye of heaven”) telescope, whose 500-meter dish makes it the largest in the world.
But if astronomers can figure out where FRBs come from and why, they may start to use the signals to probe other mysteries."
"DAVIES: Do you have a view yourself about what they [Facebook] should be doing?
SILVERMAN: You know, the first thing in terms of what should be done is that - is the answer is kind of a lot of things. And that's an unsatisfying answer to give, but it speaks to the complexity of this problem. When people started circulating lists of fake news websites, it was a huge problem because a lot of the sites on those lists, sure, they may publish some stuff that's misleading or false but they weren't publishing stuff a hundred percent in those areas. And there were a lot of simply ideologically-driven sites that were on these lists. And so if, for example, Facebook wanted to just implement a big bad blacklist, get rid of lots of sites, that would be a terrible, terrible outcome. So it's not as simple as I think some people have suggested it can be.
I would like to see them make flagging more of - more easy for people and to make sure that it can't be abused. I think they absolutely need to innovate in the area of algorithmic detection of misinformation. I also think, frankly, they do need to increase the amount of people who are reviewing content, whether it's for being offensive or other things because the scale of their platform is so big that I don't think they've put the human element in there in the right places. So them figuring out where that can be applied and how to guard against ideologically-driven decisions is a big thing. And to be honest, I think that they should figure out ways to identify the sites that are a hundred percent fake news and to see how they're sharing. Are they just being shared among small groups of people who all sort of think the same way and realize that that probably isn't a story that should spread further. So I'm not a huge proponent of blacklists but I think that analyzing the content and knowing what it is and knowing how it's being shared is really important.
The other unsexy thing finally, I think, is that we need to put this in our education system. There are a lot of people being fooled by fake news. There are a lot of people who don't know how to kind of check out the story they're reading online and that's understandable. It's not a matter of intelligence. We're consuming media in very different ways. We're having a whole menu of links and things from all different kinds of sources fed to us every day by Facebook. And that's very different from opening up a newspaper and knowing where everything was coming from. So I think we do in our schools need to start thinking about how we integrate more media literacy and critical thinking education so that people can make better judgments for themselves."
"Jobs Aren’t Just About Politics: For the people who carry them out every day, they’re much more personal. Over several months, we interviewed 100 American workers about their jobs and collected their insights and experiences in an interactive dashboard.What American workers have to say about their work."
"Oklahoma public schools are on the ropes after years of budget cuts. Four-day school weeks and more. We’ll take it as a big case study and and look at Donald Trump’s new education secretary.
The presidency, of course, wasn’t the only thing put to a vote on Nov. 8. In Oklahoma, they voted on whether to squeak a little more money into Oklahoma’s cash-starved schools. They voted no. For schools that have taken the deepest cuts in the country. Now comes the fallout. On Point is headed out on a national listening tour next year. But we’re listening already. This hour Granular. This hour On Point, the Oklahoma schools story, and educating our country’s kids."
"With school budgets running tight, Tom Shull turns to the Internet to raise money for all sorts of supplies for his students at Quincy Upper School in Boston: books, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, toner cartridges. • In all, the speech therapist has posted four dozen funding requests over the last five years on DonorsChoose.org, raising more than $25,000 for his high school students. The requests sometimes go beyond the typical. When he and his colleagues started a running club for students with disabilities, he sought help to buy sneakers for those who couldn’t afford them. • More and more, teachers across Massachusetts are embracing crowdfunding to cover everything from basic supplies to pricey technology. The boom builds upon what teachers have been doing for years: digging deep into their own pockets to stock their classrooms with items that were once covered by school budgets." - Sedition.ppopoversguid=4cddb2e8-1919acba0c"
"But as the night wore on and most reporters had gone home, the language changed. Mr. Spencer’s ['Richard B. Spencer, the leading ideologue of the alt-right movement'] after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the 'mainstream media,' before he briefly paused. 'Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?' he said. The audience immediately screamed back, 'Lügenpresse,' reviving a Nazi-era word that means 'lying press.' Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning. 'One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,' he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.
Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was 'the victory of will,' a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film."
“'America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,' Mr. Spencer thundered. 'It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.'”
“'To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror,' he said.
More members of the audience were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice facing white people as to 'conquer or die.'”
"'But now his ['Mr. Spencer's] tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the 'children of the sun,' a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were 'awakening to their own identity.'
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, 'Heil the people! Heil victory,' the room shouted it back."
"The advantages of having an enemy are well-known. In Orwell's dystopian novel "1984" -- suddenly a new best-seller in the Trump era -- the masses engage in a daily mandatory ritual, the "Two Minutes of Hate," during which their anger is feverishly stoked against the foe of the moment. Dictators, strongmen and autocrats have practiced the art of drumming up loathing toward others to great effect.
Trump is no dictator, but he does have strong authoritarian tendencies and, like other demagogues, he knows that perceived enemies can help him fire up the base, rally the crowds and shift responsibility. Don't look at me, this script cries out; look over there, there is a threat, a danger, a foe.
When it comes to enemies, a demonized media is even more useful than the average antagonist.
Trump's real nemesis is the truth. By attacking the media, he opens up a new line of attack against facts, his true target. He is, after all, the Gaslighter in Chief. He is trying to confuse the public so that they will not believe inconvenient truths."
HOUSTON — It’s looking as if 2017 could become the year when the anti-vaccination movement gains ascendancy in the United States and we begin to see a reversal of several decades in steady public health gains. The first blow will be measles outbreaks in America.
Measles is one of the most contagious and most lethal of all human diseases. A single person infected with the virus can infect more than a dozen unvaccinated people, typically infants too young to have received their first measles shot. Such high levels of transmissibility mean that when the percentage of children in a community who have received the measles vaccine falls below 90 percent to 95 percent, we can start to see major outbreaks, as in the 1950s when four million Americans a year were infected and 450 died. Worldwide, measles still kills around 100,000 children each year.
The myth that vaccines like the one that prevents measles are connected to autism has persisted despite rock-solid proof to the contrary. Donald Trump has given credence to such views in tweets and during a Republican debate, but as president he has said nothing to support vaccination opponents, so there is reason to hope that his views are changing.
"At her contentious confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s nominee to be education secretary on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was asked a question by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about an important education debate involving how student progress should be measured. The query essentially rendered her speechless as she appeared not to know how to answer. When Franken told her he was upset she didn’t understand it, she did not protest."
"DeVos refused to agree with a Democrat that schools are no place for guns, citing one school that needs one to protect against grizzly bears. (She really said this.)"
"DeVos seemed to have no understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA, which requires public schools to provide free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities."
"DeVos refused to agree with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that all schools that receive public federal funds — traditional public, public charter or private schools that receive voucher money — should be held to the same standards of accountability."
"There’s no way to sugarcoat it: 2016 has been an emotionally exhausting and, at times, devastating year. With violence and conflict constantly making headlines, the passing of several artistic legends and a bitter, divisive election in the U.S., the countdown to 2017 seemed to kick off midsummer.
But 2016 was also full of hopeful, small acts of kindness between families, neighbors and even strangers, that reaffirmed love and empathy can persevere through the most difficult times. We saw this on display every day in 2016 through the Kiva community.
Hundreds of thousands of borrowers (351,465 to be exact) around the world shared their dreams for a better future for their families, and lenders responded by funding $133 million in loans to help those families take their next steps.
Kiva also celebrated a momentous milestone– 10 years of impact, made possible by the generosity of 1.6 million lenders from 192 countries. That’s truly an international movement of people who believe in lifting each other up as a global community."
Our schools and communities are contending with many factors that affect the conditions for learning, such as bullying, harassment, violence, and substance abuse.
The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students to help address such issues.
Specifically, the Center
Provides training and support to state administrators, including 11 grantees funded under the Safe and Supportive Schools grant program, 22 grantees funded under the Project Prevent grant program, school and district administrators, institutions of higher education, teachers, support staff at schools, communities and families, and students
Seeks to improve schools' conditions for learning through measurement and program implementation, so that all students have the opportunity to realize academic success in safe and supportive environments This website serves as a central location for the Center. In particular, it includes information about the Center’s training and technical assistance, products and tools, and latest research findings. We welcome you to explore and discover, ask questions, and share your perspective.
For information about the Agency and Center staff, go here. To contact the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, call 1-800-258-8413 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pakistan's Press Information Bureau on Wednesday released a readout of a phone call on Monday between Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and the U.S. president-elect, Donald Trump. The readout is unusual in that it focuses almost entirely on Trump's contributions to the conversation, and reproduces them in a voice that is unmistakably his.
The readout is reproduced in full below:
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.
On being invited to visit Pakistan by the prime minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump.
"Infrastructure investment is on the forefront of political agendas around the world. From the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) spearheaded by China to the pro-infrastructure themes that united an otherwise divisive presidential campaign in the United States, the policy focus is on transportation, telecommunications, utilities and so on around us. The expected surge in such infrastructure projects is estimated to fill a gap of $8 trillion across Asia alone, and around $1 trillion in the U.S.
But this policy spotlight must also now be lifted above us to outer space, where newspace industries are building, extending and connecting a space-based infrastructure to the planet as never before. The global space economy already permeates virtually all aspects of modern life (e.g. telecommunications, broadcasting, earth observation), and is estimated to be more than $320 billion today. Newspace is taking it another step forward, transforming the prospects for the economics, societal and national security domains."
But if Michigan is a center of school choice, it is also among the worst places to argue that choice has made schools better. As the state embraced and then expanded charters over the past two decades, its rank has fallen on national reading and math tests. Most charter schools perform below the state average.
And a federal review in 2015 found “an unreasonably high” percentage of charter schools on the list of the state’s lowest-performing schools. The number of charter schools on that list had doubled since 2010, after the passage of a law a group financed by Ms. DeVos pushed to expand the schools. The group blocked a provision in that law that would have prevented failing schools from expanding or replicating.
Ms. DeVos, 58, got into education advocacy primarily as a backer of vouchers, and has served on the board of several organizations that have campaigned for them across the country.
A ballot initiative she led to establish vouchers in Michigan failed in 2000. The next year, she established the Great Lakes Education Project, which became an ardent proponent of charter school expansion, and has donated generously to candidates who have supported it.
The Michigan law pushed by Ms. DeVos to establish charter schools 20 years ago allows an unusually large number of organizations to start such schools, yet established little mechanism for oversight. Even Republican supporters of charter schools say the law has allowed failing charter schools to expand or replicate.
"Keeping Massachusetts competitive requires a workforce that excels in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. More than 40 percent of the Commonwealth’s economy centers on jobs in STEM fields, including advanced manufacturing, information technology, and biotech. • Massachusetts has more open positions in these fields than employees to fill them, a void that threatens our economic drivers. Industry analysts and CEOs repeatedly identify this gap as the single greatest challenge facing the Commonwealth’s STEM economy. • Massachusetts isn’t alone. Across the country, states with strong technology, biotech, medical, and engineering economies struggle to provide employers with educated, work-ready employees. And STEM readiness has global implications: There is an international race to create a highly skilled workforce capable of driving an increasingly innovation-centered world. - See more at: http://edition.pagesuite.com/popovers/article_popover.aspx?guid=78187445-b4cb-44f4-a87d-3f1839061325#sthash.P0Qb09g6.dpuf"
Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old co-founder of a marketing company in Austin, Tex., had just about 40 Twitter followers. But his recent tweet about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald J. Trump fueled a nationwide conspiracy theory — one that Mr. Trump joined in promoting.
Mr. Tucker's post was shared at least 16,000 times on Twitter and more than 350,000 times on Facebook. The problem is that Mr. Tucker got it wrong. There were no such buses packed with paid protesters.
But that didn't matter.
While some fake news is produced purposefully by teenagers in the Balkans or entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to make money from advertising, false information can also arise from misinformed social media posts by regular people that are seized on and spread through a hyperpartisan blogosphere
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