Estonia has invited people to register as e-residents - a step towards a world where a person’s identity online matters just as much as their identity offline
ESTONIA flung open its digital borders last week. The eastern European country invited anyone, anywhere, to open a bank account or start a business. By the end of the year, anyone with an internet connection will be able to live their financial life in Estonia, all without being physically present.
Such e-residency, as it is known, is a step towards a world where a person’s online identity matters just as much as their offline identity; where the location of data, rather than documents, is more important.
“This is the beginning of the erosion of the classic nation state hegemony,” says John Clippinger, a digital identity researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s going to get whittled away from the margins.”
Unborn babies can sow the seeds for rheumatoid arthritis in their mothers - and the dads might be to blame.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system turns on itself. In this case, it causes painful, swollen joints. Women are three times as likely to develop the condition as men, and seem to be especially vulnerable soon after pregnancy.
A mother exchanges cells with the fetus while it is in the womb. “For most women, shortly after you give birth, the fetal cells clear up,” says Giovanna Cruz, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley. “But in a subset of women they actually persist for decades.” In these women, the fetal cells are effectively incorporated into their bodies, a process known as microchimerism.
Women who develop autoimmune diseases seem to have a higher incidence of microchimerism than other women. Two small studies have shown that mothers who genetically have a low risk of developing arthritis but go on to develop the disease are more likely to show microchimerism. What’s more this stowaway DNA contained high-risk genes for rheumatoid arthritis. But these studies didn’t look directly at the genes of the father or the child.
#576: When Women Stopped Coding
Sat 18 October, 2014
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When we slip into sleep and embark on a subconscious journey through our dreams, what exactly is our brain up to at that point? Theoretical physicist, best-selling author, and all around cool guy Michio Kaku returns to Big Think to discuss the science of dreaming, as well as everything Freud got right about our subconscious:
Kaku’s most recent best-seller, The Future of the Mind, places its focus on how science explores consciousness. In the interview above, he begins with a discussion of Freud, who Kaku believes may not have been “totally wrong”:
If you want to make a neuroscientist’s head explode, all you need to do is confidently and triumphantly tell them that humans only use 10% of their brains. Or that right-brained people are more creative than left-brained people. Or that jiggling your head around gets more blood to the brain so you can think more efficiently. These are myths about the brain that have now been around for so long, it’s a wonder they haven’t had a congratulatory message from the Queen.
Unfortunately, because they’ve been around for so long, neuromyths have taken hold in a broad range of aspects of everyday life. Nowhere is this more problematic than in the education system. A new article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience this week has cast a critical eye on the issue, and reveals some worrying statistics about the extent to which brain baloney have infiltrated the beliefs of teachers around the world.
The survey, conducted by Paul Howard-Jones at the University of Bristol, asked 938 teachers from five different countries whether they agreed or not with a number of statements relating to popular myths about the brain. The results paint a picture of a global epidemic of neurononsense. In the UK, 91% of teachers surveyed believed that differences in hemispheric dominance could account for differences in preferred learning methods for students - in other words, ‘left-brained’ students think in a different way to ‘right-brained’ students. Among Chinese teachers, 59% agreed that we only use 10% of our brains. Across all five countries - the UK, the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece and China - on average, a whopping 96% of surveyed teachers agreed that students learn most effectively when taught in their preferred learning style (visual, auditory or kinaesthetic).
Also See: Neuroscience and education: myths and messages
Kenneth M. Glatt, commissioner of mental hygiene for Dutchess County, said that at first, he had carefully scrutinized every name sent to him through the Safe Act. But then he realized that he was just “a middleman,” and that it was unlikely he would ever meet or examine any of the patients. So he began simply checking off the online boxes, sometimes without even reviewing the narrative about a patient.
“Every so often I read one just to be sure,” Dr. Glatt, a psychologist, said. “I am not going to second guess. I don’t see the patient. I don’t know the patient.” He said it would be more efficient — and more honest — for therapists to report names directly to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, which checks them against gun permit applications.
On a recent Wednesday, Dr. Glatt logged into the system and up popped the names of people being reported — 16 since he last looked three days before.
Among the newest cases was a patient who had threatened to kill his partner. “Becomes aggressive and unpredictable, has history of noncompliance with medications,” the narrative said.
No one-not even the men in the mob-had bothered to accuse Cordella Stevenson of committing a crime. She was black and that was reason enough. She was black and a woman, trapped in a society pervaded with myths of white superiority and male supremacy. She could be raped and murdered with absolute impunity. The white mob simply claimed that, a few months earlier, Cordella Stevenson’s son had burned down a white man’s barn.
It was 60 years ago when this black woman was raped and strung up on a tree. There are many who believe that incidents such as these belong to an era of racist terror now forever buried under the historical progress of the intervening years. But history itself allows only the naive to honestly claim these last 60 years as a time of unequivocal progress-especially when the elimination of racism and male supremacy is used as the yardstick.
Twenty-year-old Joan Little, one of the most recent victims in this racist and sexist tradition, is the cultural grandchild of Cordella Stevenson. She says that she resisted when she was sexually assaulted, but as a result she is currently being tried on charges of first-degree murder. In the event of a conviction, she will automatically get a death sentence and will be placed on North Carolina’s death row-the result of a “legal” process, but still too close to the lynch law of the past.
More: Ms. Magazine
The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election.
A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast ballots. Three justices dissented.
The law was struck down by a federal judge last week, but a federal appeals court had put that ruling on hold. The judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification. Early voting in Texas begins Monday.
AUSTIN — More than 14 million Texans have registered to vote in the November elections, the secretary of state’s office announced Thursday, calling the number a record high.
The total marks an increase of 2.8 percent since the most recent presidential contest and 5.7 percent since the last time candidates for governor were on the ballot. In Bexar and Dallas counties — two of the most populous in the state — voter registration outpaced expected population growth from 2012 to 2014.
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan said the trend was impressive given the fact it’s an off-year election.
“Having multiple statewide offices open for the first time in years — there’s just a lot of voter interest,” … .
From the Chron
In 2014, Will Claimed Sexual Assault Victim Is A “Coveted Status” And Criticized Efforts To Combat The Epidemic
Washington Post’s George Will: Sexual Assault Victim Is “A Coveted Status That Confers Privileges.” In a June 2014 column, Will suggested that college sexual assault victims — and people Will suggested were pretending to be victims — enjoyed “a coveted status that confers privileges.” He also disputed the statistic that 1 in 5 women experience assault on college campuses in the U.S., and dismissed the story of an individual survivor from Swarthmore College, whom he suggested didn’t qualify as an actual “victim.” He concluded by mocking efforts to combat the growing epidemic, criticizing the Obama administration for “riding to the rescue of ‘sexual assault’ victims.” [The Washington Post, 6/6/14, via Media Matters]
Will Refused To Back Down. After facing criticism for his remarks, Will told CSPAN he refused to apologize:
C-SPAN: You wouldn’t take back any of the words you used?
WILL: No, no. [CSPAN, 6/20/14, via Media Matters]
Will: “I Think I Take Sexual Assault Much More Seriously” Than U.S. Senators. When four U.S. senators criticized Will’s “coveted status” comments on sexual assault, he responded by claiming he thinks he takes “sexual assault much more seriously” than them, because he believes in a more narrow definition of the crime:
As for what you call my “ancient beliefs,” which you think derive from an “antiquated” and “counterintuitive” culture, allow me to tell you something really counterintuitive: I think I take sexual assault much more seriously than you do. Which is why I worry about definitions of that category of crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it. And why I think sexual assault is a felony that should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, and not be adjudicated by improvised campus processes. [Media Matters, 6/12/14; The Washington Post, 6/13/14]
Will In 1996: Hyped Claims That “Battered Woman Syndrome” Reinforces Stereotypes Of Women As “Frail Creatures, Easily Unhinged”; “Yes Means Yes” Consent “Patronizes Women.” A 1996 Will column opened by citing a Cato Institute study which dismissed women who said they suffered from Battered Woman Syndrome when charged with their husbands’ murders, implying that the use of the condition reinforced women as “frail creatures, easily unhinged” and had overturned “the traditional rule that deadly force can only be justified by an imminent threat.” Will’s piece went on to claim that feminists were defining sexual harassment too broadly, and to criticize “yes means yes” consent law, citing an unnamed feminist to claim the need for explicit consent “patronizes women”:
September 10, 2014
Domestic violence is more costly than warfare, in terms of both lives lost and dollars spent, according to a new report that says the issue is largely overlooked.
The study authors conclude that domestic abuse, perpetrated mostly against women and children, costs about $9.5 trillion dollars each year in lost economic output. That far surpasses the price tag for recent civil wars, estimated at an annual $170 billion, as well as for homicides unrelated to intimate partner violence, estimated at an annual $650 billion. Researchers arrived at those ballpark figures by attempting to estimate both tangible and intangible costs resulting from violence, like lost earnings, reduced economic activity, and health consequences.
The human cost is also greater. According to the researchers, roughly nine people are killed in domestic disputes for every one person who dies in a civil war. About 769 million women are the victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives, and 290 million children are subject to violence in their homes.