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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 43,589

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Trump Taps Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary

Source: Daily Beast/AP

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Elaine Chao to become secretary of transportation, according to multiple reports. Chao served as labor secretary under President George W. Bush and is also married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She met with Trump this month in Trump Tower. Chao was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet position and also served as a member of the Trump campaign’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council throughout 2016.

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/11/29/trump-taps-elaine-chao-for-transportation-secretary.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest

Trump Supporters





Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Castro's complex legacy

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Trump toons

Newspaper That Brought Down Theranos Learns Owner Is Major Investor

Once upon a time, Theranos was a promising biotech firm—raising $632 million from 2014-2015. In October 2015, everything changed when the Wall Street Journal published the first of its many exposés that revealed the company’s struggle to develop the blood-testing technology it promised. The Journal’s stories ultimately led to the company’s very ugly public unraveling. A new report published on Monday reveals that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of the Wall Street Journal’s parent company, invested $100 million in Theranos shortly before the paper published its first report.

Theranos, which is currently under criminal investigation, acquired much of its funding “from high-profile private investors who weren’t part of the ecosystem that typically backs startups and could see their stakes wiped out by the blood-testing company’s regulatory and technological troubles,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Communications conglomerate Cox Enterprises also invested $100 million in the company between 2014 and 2015. Walgreens is now suing Theranos for the $140 million it invested.


Mr. Fish Toon: Then and Now

Monday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest





Monday Toon Roundup 1- The Real Trump

Why Fake Data When You Can Fake a Scientist?


Hoss Cartwright, a former editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Innovations and Research, had a good excuse for missing the 5th World Congress on Virology last year: He doesn’t exist. Burkhard Morgenstern, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of Gottingen, dreamt him up, and built a nice little scientific career for him. He wrote Cartwright a Curriculum Vitae, describing his doctorate in Studies of Dunnowhat, his rigorous postdoctoral work at Some Shitty Place in the Middle of Nowhere, and his experience as Senior Cattle Manager at the Ponderosa Institute for Bovine Research. Cartwright never published a single research paper, but he was appointed to the editorial boards of five journals. Apparently, no one involved in the application processes remembered the television show Bonanza, or the giant but amiable cowboy named “Hoss” who was played by actor Dan Blocker. Despite Cartwright’s questionable credentials, he was invited to speak at several meetings such as the 5th World Congress on Virology—typically a mark of recognition as an expert.

Morgenstern was tired of the constant barrage of solicitations from suspect science journals asking him to join their editorial boards—the academic equivalent of the flood of credit card applications that anyone with a mailbox receives. “At some point I was just so fed up with all those spam emails from these junk publishers that I just did this little experiment,” he says. “I contacted them under the fake name Peter Uhnemann and asked to be accepted on the editorial board.” Uhnemann was a name borrowed from a German satirical magazine and Morgenstern’s first alter ego.

Uhnemann immediately joined the masthead of the journal Molecular Biology, which belongs to the publishing house OMICS International—which in August was sued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for deceptive practices—and is produced “in association” with the Nigerian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Unfortunately, Morgenstern admits, he was a bit too subtle: “Hardly anybody knows the name ‘Peter Uhnemann,’ so I then tried it with a more popular name, and this happened to be Hoss Cartwright.”


The US government is already quietly backing out of its promise to phase out private prisons

Critics have long denounced private prisons in the US as unsafe, inefficient and at times, inhumane. Those critics, who include inmates and activists, seemed to find a powerful ally earlier this year when the Department of Justice announced it would phase out its use of private prisons for federal prisoners. This wouldn’t mean the end of privately-run incarceration facilities (they’re also used by immigration authorities and states), but it was seen as a step forward. Except, that when the first contracts came up for re-negotiation this fall, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) quietly decided to renew them anyway. That decision, along with the election of Donald Trump, mean that the US is unlikely to see the use of private prison operators diminish any time soon.

Last week, CoreCivic (CCA), one of the country’s two largest prison operators, announced that the BOP had renewed its contract for two years to run the McRae Correctional Facility in Georgia. According to the company, the new agreement was barely changed, with only an 8% reduction in inmate beds. This despite an August memo from the deputy attorney general Sally Yates that stated that the Department of Justice, which oversees BOP, would either nix the contracts, or “substantially” reduce them when they came up for renewal.

Curiously, the BOP said the new contract, reduced the number of beds by 24%, and saved $6 million in costs, and followed DOJ instructions. The reason for the discrepancy? BOP initially provided Quartz only the maximum capacity of the facility as a basis for the calculation. CoreCivic presented the minimum number of beds it would get paid for—the fixed amount it is guaranteed by the contract.

Either way the contract renewal is spun, activists are disappointed. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the McRae facility neglected the medical care of some inmates, and unduly punished inmates with solitary confinement. In 2011, the group asked the BOP to shut the prison down.

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