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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 39,352

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Bernie Sanders’ Game Plan Against Hillary

Confront Hillary Clinton on issues – not her email use – resist the lure of negative attacks, pull off an upset in an early primary contest and harness that momentum to catapult forward into a targeted state-based fight for delegates.

That's Bernie Sanders' game plan to take on the Democratic presidential front-runner in the coming months, as he looks to transform himself from a progressive movement candidate alone to a plausible major party nominee.

The Sanders strategy will test whether a contender who loathes attack ads and refuses to bless a super PAC to support him can compete in a system awash with unlimited money that often rewards bare-knuckled political tactics.

"His brand is about the rejection of the politics of our time, not the perpetuation of it," says Sanders' longtime top strategist, Tad Devine, who admits, "For a long-shot candidate to win, you have to have a few shoes to drop along the way."

more

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/run-2016/2015/08/23/bernie-sanders-game-plan-against-hillary

Sunday's Bloom County- Honestly Awful!

Carl Hiaasen: Jeb Bush needs some razzle-dazzle

A plan to energize Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign:

1. Add another exclamation mark to your posters and bumper stickers, so that they look like this: “Jeb!!”

This will put you ahead on the charisma meter, because most other candidates don’t even use one exclamation point on their campaign signs!

2. Provide unlimited Starbucks at all town-hall meetings.

Free coffee would be one way to make sure your supporters appear enthusiastic and alert while you’re explaining your position on, say, Common Core.

To attract more young people, offer cans of Red Bull to anyone willing to jump up and down waving a “Jeb!!” sign.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article31827456.html#storylink=cpy

The MOOC revolution that wasn’t


By Audrey Watters on August 23rd, 2015

What happened to the MOOC revolution?

Just a few short years after promising higher education for anyone with an Internet connection, MOOCs have scaled back their ambitions, content to become job training for the tech sector and for students who already have college degrees.

At what was arguably the peak of the hype about massive open online courses, the New York Times crowned 2012 as “The Year of the MOOC.” That was the year computer science professor Sebastian Thrun announced that, after an experiment teaching an online course that attracted 100,000 enrollees, he could no longer teach at Stanford; he was founding an online education startup, Udacity. That same year, his colleagues in the department, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, founded a competing MOOC startup, Coursera. Harvard and MIT also launched their own (nonprofit) MOOC initiative, edX. And universities around the world scrambled to partner with one or more of these organizations, amidst claims from investors, entrepreneurs, and pundits that MOOCs were poised to bring about the end of the university as we know it.

“In 50 years,” Thrun told Wired, “there will be only 10 institutions in the world delivering higher education and Udacity has a shot at being one of them.”

Three years later, Thrun and the other MOOC startup founders are now telling a different story. The latest tagline used by Thrun to describe his company: “Uber for Education.”

- See more at: http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/headline-story/14046/mooc-revolution-uber-for-education/

Read the Lost Dream Journal of the Man Who Discovered Neurons

BY BEN EHRLICH

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish histologist and anatomist known today as the father of modern neuroscience, was also a committed psychologist who believed psychoanalysis and Freudian dream theory were “collective lies.” When Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, the science world swooned over his theory of the unconscious. Dreams quickly became synonymous with repressed desire. Puzzling dream images could unlock buried conflicts, the psychoanalyst said, given the correct interpretation.

Cajal, who won the 1906 Nobel Prize for discovering neurons and, more remarkably, intuiting the form and function of synapses, set out to prove Freud wrong. To disprove the theory that every dream is the result of a repressed desire, Cajal began keeping a dream journal and collecting the dreams of others, analyzing them with logic and rigor.

Cajal eventually deemed the project unpublishable. But before his death in 1934, he gave his research, scribbled on stained loose papers and in the margins of books and newspapers, to his good friend and former student, the psychiatrist José Germain Cebrián. Germain typed the diary into a book, which was thought lost during the 1936 Spanish Civil War. In fact, Germain carried the manuscript with him as he traveled through Europe. Before his death, he gave it to José Rallo, a Spanish psychiatrist and dream researcher. To the delight of scholars and enthusiasts, Los sueños de Santiago Ramón y Cajal was published in Spanish in 2014, containing 103 of Cajal’s dreams, recorded between 1918 and his death in 1934.1 Translated here into English for the first time, these dreams, and Cajal’s notes on them, offer insight into the mind of a great scientist—insight that perhaps he himself did not always have.

more
http://nautil.us/issue/27/dark-matter/read-the-lost-dream-journal-of-the-man-who-discovered-neurons

How One of Katrina’s Feel-Good Stories Turned Bad

When Kathy Phipps was relocated to a suburban Utah neighborhood after the storm, she was hailed by the media as an example of how the tragedy could turn into opportunity. But 10 years later, Kathy is back in Louisiana, scarred by what happened after the cameras went away.
by Peter Moskowitz

Ten years ago, Kathy Phipps seemed happy. After Hurricane Katrina forced her family from New Orleans and into the federal government’s hands, and eventually to a white, suburban, Mormon community in Utah, where her story was told again and again on national television and in local papers, Kathy seemed not only resilient, but joyful.

“This storm was the best thing that could have ever happened to my family,” she told one CBS reporter.

Kathy may not have wanted her house to be destroyed by floodwaters, or to board a FEMA-funded plane to Utah and be separated from her family, but once there she seemed to make the best of it. Amid the vastness of its snowy mountains and tranquil suburbs, she said felt like she had peace of mind. Her kids had a chance to escape the poverty and terrible schools of New Orleans. Her husband found a job.

The positivity of Kathy’s story fit in well with the narrative the mainstream media latched onto post-Katrina. At some point, television screens and newspapers stopped being filled with stories of disaster and instead offered stories of hope, redemption, and lives made better through tragedy. Former first lady Barbara Bush perhaps best exemplified the dissonance when just a few days after the storm she visited Houston’s Astrodome, where many of the storm’s evacuees were staying. “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas,” she said. “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about how New Orleans could be made a better city after the storm. Oprah Winfrey, after donating $10 million to construct a community for Katrina survivors in Houston, dedicated several episodes of her show to detailing the ways in which their lives had improved. And there were countless stories about people like Kathy Phipps — people who seemed to have made it despite the long odds.

Then the cameras left.

more
http://www.buzzfeed.com/petermoskowitz/how-one-of-katrinas-feel-good-stories-turned-bad#.lizjb7kXo

The courage of Jimmy Carter

By Editorial Board


COOL, COMPOSED and as forthright as ever, former president Jimmy Carter said in a news conference Thursday that, in the wake of a cancer diagnosis, he is “perfectly at ease with whatever comes.” The way Mr. Carter handled the conference underscores the grace with which he has conducted his entire post-presidency, and only makes it harder for the rest of us to be perfectly at ease with the possibility of his passing.

Mr. Carter at times has stirred controversy with his deeply held views on the Middle East and other global challenges. Yet even those who have found themselves disagreeing with him, as we have from time to time, have stood in admiration of the honorable life he has lived and the model post-presidency he has shaped. Mr. Carter has spent the years after his single term as president focusing not on constructing a lavish library-memorial, nor on earning millions through speechmaking, but on substantive, civic-spirited initiatives intended to improve the world in ways both big and small.

With the Carter Center, Mr. Carter has advocated for democracy abroad and helped stamp out preventable diseases in underdeveloped countries. His work in both spheres has helped save lives, whether by countering dictatorships or Guinea worms. In and near Plains, Ga., where he grew up and worked as a peanut farmer, Mr. Carter lectures at Emory University, preaches at his local church and teaches Sunday school classes. He even continues to farm peanuts.

Now, as he begins treatment for a cancer that has spread to his brain, Mr. Carter again offers a model of quiet courage, neither fatalistic nor unrealistic, expressing more concern for his loved ones than for himself. We have no doubt that others facing illness will find inspiration in his example.

Despite his diagnosis, Mr. Carter said he still wants to travel to Nepal in November for his 32nd home-building mission with Habitat for Humanity. He also wants to spend more time fishing and with his wife, Rosalynn. Like all Americans, we wish Mr. Carter the best with his ongoing treatment. Any ex-president could do a lot worse than have it said that, after years at the helm, he just wanted to farm some peanuts, save some lives and then go fishing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-courage-of-jimmy-carter/2015/08/22/500a91d4-482e-11e5-846d-02792f854297_story.html

Sunday's Non Sequitur- Gonna be a long 14 months

Magnetic Wormhole Created in Lab

Ripped from the pages of a sci-fi novel, physicists have crafted a wormhole that tunnels a magnetic field through space.

"This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible," said study co-author Jordi Prat-Camps, a doctoral candidate in physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain. "From a magnetic point of view, this device acts like a wormhole, as if the magnetic field was transferred through an extra special dimension."

The idea of a wormhole comes from Albert Einstein's theories. In 1935, Einstein and colleague Nathan Rosen realized that the general theory of relativity allowed for the existence of bridges that could link two different points in space-time. Theoretically these Einstein-Rosen bridges, or wormholes, could allow something to tunnel instantly between great distances (though the tunnels in this theory are extremely tiny, so ordinarily wouldn't fit a space traveler). So far, no one has found evidence that space-time wormholes actually exist.

The new wormhole isn't a space-time wormhole per se, but is instead a realization of a futuristic "invisibility cloak" first proposed in 2007 in the journal Physical Review Letters. This type of wormhole would hide electromagnetic waves from view from the outside. The trouble was, to make the method work for light required materials that are extremely impractical and difficult to work with, Prat said.

more
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/magnetic-wormhole-created-in-lab/

The cannabis experiment

As marijuana use becomes more acceptable, researchers are scrambling to answer key questions about the drug.

Daniel Cressey

In 2013, Beau Kilmer took on a pretty audacious head count. Citizens in the state of Washington had just voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and the state's liquor control board, which would regulate the nascent industry, was anxious to understand how many people were using the drug — and importantly, how much they were consuming.

The task was never going to be straightforward. Users of an illicit substance, particularly heavy users, often under-report the amounts they take. So Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center in Santa Monica, California, led a team to develop a web-based survey that would ask people how often they had used cannabis in the past month and year. To help them gauge the amounts, the surveys included scaled pictures showing different quantities of weed. The survey, along with other data the team had collected, revealed a rift between perception and reality. Based on prior data, state officials had estimated use at about 85 tonnes per year; Kilmer's research suggested that it was actually double that, about 175 tonnes1. The take-home message, says Kilmer, was “we're going to have to start collecting more data”.

Scientists around the world would echo that statement. Laws designed to legalize cannabis or lessen the penalties associated with it are taking effect around the world. They are sweeping the sale of the drug out of stairwells and shady alleys and into modern shopfronts under full view of the authorities. In 2013, Uruguay became the first nation to legalize marijuana trade. And several countries in Europe — Spain and Italy among them — have moved away from tough penalties for use and possession. Thirty-nine US states plus Washington DC have at least some provisions for medicinal use of the drug. Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon have gone further, legalizing the drug for recreational consumption. A handful of other states including California and Massachusetts are expected to vote on similar recreational-use measures by the end of 2016.

But the rapid shift has caught researchers on the back foot. “Broadly speaking, there's about 100 times as many studies on tobacco or alcohol as there are on illegal substances,” says Christian Hopfer, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. “I don't think it's the priority it should be.”

Despite claims that range from its being a treatment for seizures to a cause of schizophrenia, the evidence for marijuana's effects on health and behaviour is limited and at times conflicting. Researchers struggle to answer even the most basic questions about cannabis use, its risks, its benefits and the effect that legalization will have.

more

http://www.nature.com/news/the-cannabis-experiment-1.18201
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