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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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A gilded goodbye for many private college leaders

By Todd Wallack

When Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz stepped down three years ago, he moved back into his old faculty office.

But unlike most history professors, Reinharz does not teach any classes, supervise graduate students, or attend departmental meetings. He did not bother posing for the department photo. The chairwoman for Near Eastern and Judaic Studies said she did not even know whether he was officially a member of her department.

Yet Reinharz remains one of the highest paid people on campus.

He received more than $600,000 in salary and benefits in 2011, second only to the new Brandeis president, according to the school’s most recent public tax returns. And that’s on top of the $800,000 Reinharz earned in his new job as president of the Mandel Foundation, a longtime Brandeis benefactor.

“There is puzzlement from faculty about why he gets paid at all” by Brandeis, said Gordon Fellman, a sociology professor at Brandeis. “His term as president ended.”

more
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/17/brandeis-president-reinharz-landed-college-jobs-with-big-pay-few-responsibilities/s9TXo4v2UdjE9lfqJND2pM/story.html

Strengthening Social Security for generations yet to come

By Sherrod Brown
As a grandfather of two, with one more grandchild on the way, I appreciate what a wonderful gift it is when grandparents can spend more time with their grandchildren by living longer and healthier lives – which happened, in part, because we, as a nation, invested in Social Security.

Today, almost 63 million Americans receive Social Security benefits. And in Ohio, that number is nearly two million. Yet, just as we as grandparents are there for our families, we need to make sure that Social Security is there both now and for future generations. In fact, preserving and expanding social security is a moral issue.

Here’s why this is a moral issue. For nearly two-thirds of seniors, Social Security provides more than half of their cash income. For more than one-third of seniors, Social Security provides more than 90 percent of their income. And for one-quarter of seniors, Social Security is the sole source of income. Think of that. After working hard all their lives, one out of four seniors would be destitute, having no income, without Social Security.

Unsurprisingly, Social Security helps to lift approximately 600,000 Ohioans out of poverty. In fact, if we didn’t have Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for seniors over age 65 would be 48 percent. Because of Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for this group of seniors is 8 percent. The result is that seniors are able to live happier and healthier lives providing them with the time and opportunity to spend more time with their families.

Yet, Social Security is under attack by those who wrongly think it adds to the federal deficit and want to cuts benefits under the false premise of deficit reduction.

more

http://clermontsun.com/2013/11/15/sherrod-brownstrengthening-social-security-for-generations-yet-to-come/

Toon: New Statin Guidelines



Could the US be heading towards an Elizabethan era?


by Simon Carswell

There is a popular video on YouTube, viewed more than one million times, showing a group of hapless financial regulators squirming under questioning by Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren.

At her first congressional banking committee hearing in February since winning a Senate seat last year, Warren grilled big-bank regulators on why they had never taken a Wall Street giant to court.

“There are districts attorneys and US attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it,” she told them. “I am really concerned that too big to fail has become too big for trial.”

The Democratic senator’s attacks on the recovering influence of Wall Street, surging student debt, consumer protection and the deepening divide between the rich and working classes in the US have invigorated the party’s core supporters and raised hopes that she might run for president in 2016.

more

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/could-the-us-be-heading-towards-an-elizabethan-era-1.1596727

Toon: What'cha got there?

Flying Coach in a 747, circa 1970



http://www.flickr.com/photos/x-ray_delta_one/7162970096/sizes/c/in/photostream/

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a general understanding of our world that scientists want to understand it as fully as possible. That's why, in 1988, biologist Richard Lenski took a dozen glass flasks and added identical bacteria to each of them. Those 12 populations have been evolving ever since, letting scientists watch evolution in real time.

Day after day — including holidays and weekends — workers in Lenski's lab at Michigan State University in East Lansing feed and care for the E. coli bacteria. The bacteria eat and divide again and again. The original microbes have produced more than 50,000 generations over the last 25 years.

Random mutations have allowed them to get fitter, meaning they reproduce faster. "In evolutionary biology, fitness is this representation of the ability of an organism to survive and reproduce," says Lenski. He explains that all else being equal, organisms that reproduce more quickly will have an advantage when competing with those that reproduce more slowly.

Early on, Lenski predicted his bacteria would adapt and adapt but eventually hit a wall — that they would reach a peak level of fitness they couldn't improve on.

more
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/15/245168252/bacterial-competition-in-lab-shows-evolution-never-stops

Single photon detected but not destroyed

BY ANDREW GRANT

Physicists have seen a single particle of light and then let it go on its way. The feat was possible thanks to a new technique that, for the first time, detects optical photons without destroying them. The technology could eventually offer perfect detection of photons, providing a boost to quantum communication and even biological imaging.

Plenty of commercially available instruments can identify individual light particles, but these instruments absorb the photons and use the energy to produce an audible click or some other signal of detection.

Quantum physicist Stephan Ritter and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, wanted to follow up on a 2004 proposal of a nondestructive method for detecting photons. Instead of capturing photons, this instrument would sense their presence, taking advantage of the eccentric realm of quantum mechanics in which particles can exist in multiple states and roam in multiple places simultaneously.

Ritter and his team started with a pair of highly reflective mirrors separated by a half-millimeter-wide cavity. Then they placed a single atom of rubidium in the cavity to function as a security guard. They chose rubidium because it can take on two distinct identities, which are determined by the arrangement of its electrons. In one state, it’s a 100 percent effective sentry, preventing photons from entering the cavity. In the other, it’s a totally useless lookout, allowing photons to enter the cavity. When photons get in, they bounce back and forth about 20,000 times before exiting.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/single-photon-detected-not-destroyed

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