Posts Tagged ‘crime’
* In case you missed it last night: “Some Preliminary Theses on MOOCs.”
* New York Times editorial: The Trouble with Online College.
A five-year study, issued in 2011, tracked 51,000 students enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges. It found that those who took higher proportions of online courses were less likely to earn degrees or transfer to four-year colleges. The reasons for such failures are well known. Many students, for example, show up at college (or junior college) unprepared to learn, unable to manage time and having failed to master basics like math and English.
* The problem isn’t the idea of a postdoc, Stephan said, but the way that position has evolved as so many more people end up in the role. “Ostensibly the postdoctoral scholar is to train someone to be a researcher, and an independent researcher,” Stephan said. “Putting people into postdoctoral positions is great training if they are going to go on and use that training,” she said. But increasingly a postdoc doesn’t lead (certainly not quickly) to an independent, tenure-track position, Stephan said. And postdocs are being used, not trained, she said. “Postdocs have become cheap staff scientists,” she said.
JT: The pope simply felt that he didn’t have the physical strength to carry out the duties of the papacy in the modern age. He has clearly grown frailer in recent months, but I think Benedict probably had this in mind from the beginning of his pontificate. He, along with others in the church, watched Pope John Paul II struggle with illness right up until the end, and I’m sure he felt that was a great witness to the value of suffering. But I’m also sure Pope Benedict saw the dangers of a moribund pope who might linger in office for years. He wanted to break the taboo against resignation, and I think it sets a precedent that will alter the way the church looks at the papacy. For one thing, the cardinals who come together to elect his successor may well look to someone younger, knowing that resignation is an option.
* Is there another developed nation that has a standing monument to a dictator, built by the forced labor of the defeated? Letter from Madrid.
* And Mississippi bans slavery a mere 148 years late. At that point, my impulse really would have been to pretend I sent the email. Oh, you didn’t get our ratification of the 13th Amendment? Oh no! Let me send it again…
* SNL wins a game: Djesus Uncrossed.
As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.
The center’s primary goal would be to coach U.S. Special Forces on interviewing tactics designed to detect lies. Charles Morgan III, a professor of psychiatry who will head the project, calls these tactics “people skills.” These techniques would be honed using New Haven’s immigrant community as subjects.
* Freddie deBoer: I’ve been making the case (again and again and again) that the constantly-expressed notion that we’ll have full employment if people are just smart and go into STEM fields is empirically indefensible. Adam Kotsko: What is education actually for?
“Maddaddam begins where The Year of the Flood finishes and goes on from there,” she says. “It explores what happens when the conventional humans and the new creations find themselves in the same space. You can see that there might be some cultural misunderstandings.”
* Comics explained: the backstory of Rachel Summers. It couldn’t be simpler!
* Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? And that universe is on the back of an even larger turtle…
* Obama says kill the penny. He would say that. He hates capitalism.
* Kidding on the square: another National Review blogger calls for the repeal of the 19th Amendment.
Halla Gunnarsdóttir, an adviser to the interior minister, explains the country’s anti-smut rationale to The Guardian:
“We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti-violence. This is about children and gender equality, not about limiting free speech…”
This is Iceland, after all. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is the first openly lesbian government head in the world. It’s already illegal to print and distribute porn within the country, and since 2010, strip clubs have been prohibited as well…
Kevin Drum says lead caused all the crime and the trillion-dollar-coin scheme is creeping Herman Cainism.
* The fact that animals were for a long period of European history tried and punished as criminals is, to the extent that this is known at all, generally bracketed or dismissed as amere curiosity, a cultural quirk.
* The future is bright at Monsters University. I agree wholeheartedly with my Marquette colleague who hopes there’s a ton of confusion about MU in the future.
* The Penn State shitshow continues: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.
* “I don’t think I would do a terrible job at a Han Solo backstory. I could do that pretty well. But maybe that would be better as a short.” An interview with Wes Anderson.
A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”
Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.
“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.
Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.
* We move more earth and stone than all the world’s rivers. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere all life breathes. We are on pace to eat to death half of the other life currently sharing the planet with us. There is nothing on Earth untouched by man — whether it be the soot from fossil fuels darkening polar snows or the very molecules incorporated into a tree trunk. Humanity has become a global force whose exploits will be written in rock for millennia. Welcome to the Anthropocene.
High quality liberal arts on-line education is not cheap: where it has been modestly successful in providing a decent education, as at the UK’s Open University, it does not break even–far from it. Why? Open University courses are built by teams of researchers, are annually refreshed, and are intensively staffed by high-level academics. OU is an expensive tax-supported operation, designed from the beginning for workers and other students unable to leave homes or jobs to obtain a college education.
* “Julian Assange” is a bit, right? It’s got to be a bit. He wouldn’t be the first person to live for decades in an embassy.
* Why is spam so terrible? A new paper argues it’s a way of weeding out people too smart to fall for spam.
* And I must admit, I’m a little verklempt: Life in Hell has finished.
* 10 “Occupy” Candidates Running for Congress. Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin is singled out for praise as the likely new senator from our upcoming new home.
* Personally, of course, I belong to the Optimism! party.
* Salon on “the new oil reality.”
* “This desperation starts once you realize how much you’ve lost, and then you feel like you can’t stop because you’ve got to win it back,” she told me. “Sometimes I’d start feeling jumpy, like I couldn’t think straight, and I’d know that if I pretended I might take another trip soon, it would calm me down. Then they would call and I’d say yes because it was so easy to give in. I really believed I might win it back. I’d won before. If you couldn’t win, then gambling wouldn’t be legal, right?”
* Barack Obama is currently leading Mitt Romney in the polls by anything between 12 and -2. Can’t argue with facts.
* And from New York Magazine, dateline 1970: “Mugging as a Way of Life.”
“It’s a lot more acceptable now to get your own retribution,” the official said. “And the justice system in the city is a lot more understanding if people do that. It‘s becoming a part of the culture.” Self-defense killings in Detroit are 2,200% above the national average.
* In case you missed it, I was on WUNC’s The State of Things today talking about science fiction and the end of the world. I’m in the second segment, about twelve minutes in. Here’s an MP3.
* Which undergraduate colleges are producing the most PhDs? You might be surprised.
* Game of the night: 3 Slices.
* At the end of Contact, Ellie Arroway discovers a secret message encoded in the digits of pi, presumably from the creator of the universe. With that in mind, check this out.
* The headline reads, “North Korea makes using a cellphone a war crime during 100 day mourning period.”
* The headline reads, “Nicolas Cage used real magic to prepare to be Ghost Rider.”
* The United States now spends some $200 billion on the correctional system each year, a sum that exceeds the gross domestic product of twenty-five US states and 140 foreign countries. An ever-increasing share of domestic discretionary spending, it would seem, is devoted to building and staffing earthly hells filled with able-bodied young men who have been removed from the labor force. If we added up all the money federal, state, and local governments invest in the poorest zip codes through credits and transfer payments—food stamps, Medicaid, teacher salaries, et cetera—and balanced that against all the value the government extracts from those zip codes through sin taxes, lotteries, and the incarceration complex, we might well conclude that the disinvestment outweighs the investment. Any apparent gains made in the last thirty years in narrowing the employment and education gap between African Americans and whites vanishes once you include the incarcerated population. Before asking the government to spend a fortune improving student-to-teacher ratios, it may be prudent to first ask the government to stop devoting public resources to ripping the heart out of inner-city economies. n+1: Raise the Crime Rate.
* The earth is alive, asserts a revolutionary scientific theory of life emerging from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The trans-disciplinary theory demonstrates that purportedly inanimate, non-living objects—for example, planets, water, proteins, and DNA—are animate, that is, alive. With its broad explanatory power, applicable to all areas of science and medicine, this novel paradigm aims to catalyze a veritable renaissance.
* n+1 revists the bad 2000s: Did these bands suck? Was there something that Pitchfork had missed? Although Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, M.I.A., and Animal Collective all produced sophisticated, intelligent music, it’s also true that they focused their sophistication and intelligence on those areas where the stakes were lowest. Instead of striking out in pursuit of new musical forms, they tweaked or remixed the sounds of earlier music, secure in the knowledge that pedantic blog writers would magnify these changes and make them seem daring. Instead of producing music that challenged and responded to that of other bands, they complimented one another in interviews, each group “doing its own thing” and appreciating the efforts of others. So long as they practiced effective management of the hype cycle, they were given a free pass by their listeners to lionize childhood, imitate their predecessors, and respond to the Iraq war with dancing. The general mood was a mostly benign form of cultural decadence.
* And Twitter announces new micro-censorship policy. ”Micro-censorship” is an amazing euphemism, isn’t it? Well-coined. It almost doesn’t even sound bad! It’s only micro-censorship…
…a few lifted from zunguzungu’s increasingly misnamed Sunday Reading.
* The Daily crunches the numbers on rising university tuition costs and finds that, if they keep growing at the same rate they have for the past three decades, a four-year degree at a private institution will cost $274,684 by the time a baby born this year is ready to enroll, in 2031. At the top 10 most expensive, private universities, one year of tuition would come with a $110,432 price tag.
* Hullaboo has a long post with links on recent evidence that the removal of led from home environments is responsible for today’s diminished murder rate.
* And Cracked has your 6 Horrible Aftermaths Implied By Movies With Happy Endings. Of course the Endor Holocaust clocks in at #1…
Morris County has experienced a sharp increase in motor vehicle burglaries throughout 2011, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, who said the increase can be attributed to independent trends that have emerged in small geographic areas in the county at different times and committed by different individuals.
* MetaFilter has your Neil deGrasse Tyson Overdrive.
* Get me Val Kilmer: Christian Bale says he’s done playing Batman.
“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.”
* Also on the Occupy beat: “Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street.” And also at the New Yorker: Was anti-Keystone activism the real political movement of 2011?
* Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Orgasm.
* Robotic prison wardens to patrol South Korean prison. But the prototype looks so friendly!
* Seven weeks of Occupy, at In Focus.
* Imagine what it’s like to be a normal student nowadays. You did well—even very well—in high school. But you arrive at university with little experience in research and writing and little sense of what your classes have to do with your life plans. You start your first year deep in debt, with more in prospect. You work at Target or a fast-food outlet to pay for your living expenses. You live in a vast, shabby dorm or a huge, flimsy off-campus apartment complex, where your single with bath provides both privacy and isolation. And you see professors from a great distance, in space as well as culture: from the back of a vast dark auditorium, full of your peers checking Facebook on their laptops.
It’s no wonder, in these circumstances, that many students never really internalize the new demands and standards of university work. Instead they drift from course to course, looking for entertainment and easy grades. Nor is it surprising that many aren’t ready when trouble comes. Students drink too much alcohol, smoke too much marijuana, play too many computer games, wreck cars, become pregnant, get overwhelmed trying to help anorexic roommates, and too often lose the modest but vital support previously provided by a parent who has been laid off. Older students—and these days most are older than traditional university age—often have to work full-time and care for children or parents, or both. Those likeliest to encounter these problems are also the ones who haven’t been schooled since birth to find the thread that can lead them through the labyrinths of the bureaucracy. They aren’t confident that they will see an invitingly open door, where a friendly adviser or professor is eager to help them, and they don’t have parents hovering, eager to find that helper for them.
* How could a late entrant still shake up the Republican field? Nate Silver reports. You already know my thoughts on this.
* One-half of Floridians believe the GOP is intentionally sabotaging the economy. Gee, you think? On the one hand, I’m surprised the number is so high; on the other, I’m amazed there’s anyone who can’t see this…
* A Utah man who claimed to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico to avoid going to prison is now wanted by police after he returned to the United States and acknowledged his true identity to a judge.
* If episodes of fission at Fukushima were confirmed, Mr. Koide said, “our entire understanding of nuclear safety would be turned on its head.”
* Two great tastes (okay, one): The Muppets on WWE Raw.
* And the headline reads, “Cash-strapped Chicago mulls easing marijuana law.” Do the right thing for the wrong reasons if you have to, just do it…
* Genocide in South Dakota: In South Dakota, Native American children make up only 15 percent of the child population, yet they make up more than half the children in foster care. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is removing 700 native children every year, sometimes in questionable circumstances. According to a review of state records, it is also largely failing to place native children with their relatives or tribes.
According to state records, almost 90 percent of the kids in family foster care are in non-native homes or group care. (via)
* In 1961, the Amateur Athletic Union prohibited American women from competing officially in road races. When sympathetic race organizers allowed them entry, their results did not count. Even in the Olympics, women were not allowed to run more than a half-mile lest, it was believed, they would risk their femininity and reproductive health. The most alarmist officials warned that a woman who ran a more ambitious distance might cause her uterus to fall out. (via)
* And did McDonald’s disgusting food lead to a decline in violent crime in America? The price was too high! The price was too high! (via)