Beautiful computer graphics, rendering a several-billion-years-long splash. As with lunar eclipses, this lies in the future but it’s hardly contingent…it’s baked in the cake.
More: Little Green Footballs
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway, retiring Monday after accusations of fraudulent personal real estate dealings, now faces a federal bank fraud charge for allegedly transferring a home she owned in Florida to allow for the short sale of her home in Grosse Pointe Park.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit Friday alleges Hathaway fraudulently transferred the real estate to others before telling financial institution ING Direct she needed to sell her Grosse Pointe Park home by short sale because she couldn’t afford the house payments.
News item. Factual content.
The Spinning Spur
70 turbines, 160 megawatts output on a good day. Nice, but not huge. It helps that Texas is the home of blowhards and hot air. :-) (The business-friendly state government doesn’t hurt.)
Wind-energy subsidies amount to (I would say “just”) 2.2 cents per kwh, and that, for only the first 10 years of operation. It’s heartening that the gap between the market cost of wind energy and conventional is so little that 2.2 cents will bridge the gap.
Mismatch—How affirmative action hurts students it’s intended to help, and why universities won’t admit it.
This is a book that reports a number of not-well-known facts, and offers some suggestions about what to do. The book has its technical side, but most of the detailed proofs and evidence have been cached at the book’s web site.
The authors are a former Chicago community organizer and civil rights activist turned UCLA law professor, and a former NYT Supreme Court reporter who is now a fellow of the Brookings institute.
The key facts are that
(1) The best predictors of success in college are standardized test scores and grades. (Call a weighted combination of these your “academic index”.) Holistic factors don’t trump these. Standardized test scores are valid predictors for Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian alike. Grades too, though with grades, one may need to take into account whether the school awarding the grades grades hard or easy.
(2) Most selective universities use racial preferences when deciding on admissions, and use them with a fairly heavy hand. There is a “cascade effect” in which schools at the top enroll most of the students who would be a good fit for the next tier of schools, and those enroll most of those who would be a good fit for the next tier down, and so on.
(3) There is a considerable “test score gap” situation. The average score on the SAT or the ACT, average grades, etc. run lower for Blacks than for Whites, who in turn run lower than Asians.
(4) Students generally learn best when they’re in classes pitched to their own level. If you’re a good student with a lot of ability, but you’re put into a fast-paced course aimed at honors students with finely honed skills and exceptional talent, you’ll learn less from that class than you would have learned from a class aimed at students like you, students who want to learn and have the ability, but need more guidance and more approachable homework assignments.
So it’s not a good thing to be admitted to a school where most of the students have a considerably higher academic index. Your chances of staying in school, completing your intended major, and passing gateway tests into a profession are all improved by attending a school where your academic index is roughly equivalent to that of most of your peers.
In other words, large racial preferences in admissions hurt the students who get them.
Special attention is given in the book to the most clear cut cases of this: law school, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.) One particularly telling analysis deals with how things played out before and after Prop 209 came into force in California.
This proposition outlawed racial preferences in admission to the University of California schools. For a while after it was passed, the law was to some extent observed. During this span of time, Black admissions to the most selective schools in the UC system fell. But graduation rates improved, and the absolute number of Black students completing their degrees from those schools rose. These results were in perfect alignment with the analysis given by one of the authors before the event, and in sharp contradiction to the predictions of most others.
When it comes to law school, academic index is the key predictor of success in law school. In turn, success in law school, as evidenced by good grades, and then, secondarily, as evidenced by the quality of the school, is the key predictor of success at passing the bar and then success in the profession.
In other words, these indices and grades are valid predictors.
Again, when it comes to law school, students who attend a school at which their academic index is comparable to the bulk of their peers learn more, in absolute terms, and are more likely to pass the bar and succeed in the profession, than students with the same academic index who attend a school for which their scores indicate they are mismatched.
It is, in short, a bad thing for the student to get a large racial (or legacy, or athletic) preference and be admitted to a law school where the courses will be pitched over their head.
Now, as to suggested solutions:
First, it would be nice to improve K-12 education. A test-score gap is apparent even at the start of K, but it grows over time and the problem of that growth is something the schools can address. There are schools that do far better with Black students than the typical public school, among them, some at which Black students outscore the White average. So, it can be done. These schools do not enjoy superior funding. They do enjoy superior teachers and superior student discipline. They do not cherry pick students for high prior grades or standardized test scores.
If it were possible to dismiss substantially below-average teachers, to attract and retain (with targeted raises) substantially above-average teachers, to expel intolerably disruptive students, and to shift into special, separate, classes students who have disabilities that prevent them from coping with mainstream K-12 instruction, then we could expect that the K-12 gap in public school results would at any rate narrow as it has in these charter schools, Kipp academies, and so on.
Second, and because narrowing the gap is a long term project, it would be good to at a minimum inform prospective students of the extent of the racial preference in admissions they are being offered (if any) and of the range of outcomes and odds of success for previously admitted students who got that level of admissions preference and who have already completed, or failed to complete, their studies at that school. In other words, schools should be required by law to be transparent in the way they use preferences and in the outcomes that result.
The authors also recommend that racial preferences be limited to no more than the SES preference, if any, that a school uses in deciding on admissions. They reject the idea of outright bans on racial preference in admissions, partly because experience has taught that such bans can always be circumvented. Partly, also, because a straight preference generates less of a mismatch problem than circumventions that achieve the same intended preferential effect.
When the press reported that Adam Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome (part of the autism spectrum disorders) and other unspecified personality problems, the autism community swung into action in a way that is totally understandable. The Associated Press’ headline: “Experts: No Link Between Asperger’s, Violence.”
The vast majority of autistic people are not violent. Autistics like Temple Grandin, the professor who helped create humane strategies for the meat industry, remind us that many people with high-functioning also go on to live full, rich lives of value to themselves and others.
Grandin also reminded us that, for austic people, “The principal emotion experienced by autistic people is fear.
If you cannot read people’s social cues, it’s hard to tell who is a threat and who is not. If you live in a world with social rules created by “neurotypicals” that make no sense, anxiety and fear are natural, perhaps inevitable, responses.
But the suggestion that science has demonstrated there is no link at all between autism and aggressive violence is questionable.
Google “autism” and “aggression” and you will suddenly be treated to a counter world the formal autism community claims does not exist: desperate mothers seeking help or respite from the violent behavior of large, aggressive, beloved autistic boys (and a few girls).
In the name of love and absent decent institutions for these troubled young adults, we are permitting a silent epidemic of domestic terrorism against women that we would not tolerate under any other banner.
And there is more, including accounts of research that is all too consonant with the anecdotes found in the article.
The view from the top of Gokyo Ri of Everest isn’t as good as this, but it’s more accessible.
This image is part of a larger project, glacierworks.
Slightly off topic, the climber and author Jon Krakauer, “Into Thin Air”, in another of his books describes the sight of a glacier when he briefly took his silvered sunglasses off to see what it really looked like in direct sunlight: “Ka-wow”.
This very scene occurs later in the fictional series Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars, by the Robinsons. One of the characters takes off sunglasses on a glacier and says that.
According to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College, a combination of wind power, solar and storage in batteries and fuel cells could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030. And it could be done at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses. Here are the details. [[snip]]
* What the researchers found is that generating more electricity than needed during average hours would be cheaper than storing excess power for later high demand.
This gets around the apparent need for storage, which is emerging as a stumbling block. The wind does not always blow, the sun, shine through a cloudless sky. So there will always be the possibility of a cloudy, still day over much of the nation. When that happens, I guess we just light up the backup, natural-gas driven generators.
The article recounts an item from the report it references, observing that in the normal course of events, capital costs for wind and solar will probably be half what they are today by 2030.
Muslim, Zionist and proud
Op-ed: His father praised Hitler, but Kasim Hafeez writes about love for Israel, Jewish people
Published: 04.25.12, 17:27 / Israel Opinion
I am a Zionist, a proud Muslim Zionist, and I love Israel, but this was not always the case. In fact, for many years I was quite the extreme opposite. I experienced the high levels of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity taking place on British university campuses, because I was the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel activist.
Growing up in the Muslim community in the UK I was exposed to materials and opinions at best condemning Israel, painting Jews as usurpers and murderers, SNIP So what changed? How could I go from all this hatred to the great love for and affinity with Israel and the Jewish people? I found myself in the Israel and Palestine section of a local bookstore and picked up a copy of Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel. Given my worldview, the Jews and Americans controlled the media, so after brief look at the back, I scoffed thinking “vile Zionist propaganda.”
I did, however, decide to buy it, content that I would shortly be deconstructing
And the book made its case so well that he changed his mind.
HOUSTON (AP) — Four top leaders of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are among nearly three dozen alleged gang members charged in a sweeping indictment unsealed Friday that accuses them of crimes ranging from capital murder to drug trafficking.
Few details were released about the alleged crimes, but 10 defendants are facing charges that carry a death penalty. As examples of the gang’s brutality, the indictment says one leader ordered a subordinate to kill a gang prospect and return his severed finger, and another was told to burn a tattoo from a member’s arm for not following an order.
“Brutal beatings, fire bombings, drug trafficking and murder are all part of ABT’s alleged standard operating procedure,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breurer said in a statement. “As charged, ABT uses violence and threats of violence to maintain internal discipline and to retaliate against those believed to be cooperating with law enforcement.”
Only three people named in the indictment haven’t been arrested. Sixteen people were arrested Friday across Texas, while 15 others were already in custody, prosecutors said, adding that the arrests capped years of investigation.
All are charged with racketeering conspiracy. Some were charged with involvement in at least three murders, multiple attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.
It goes on and on.
But now it stops.
Should the first time be for love? But of course, says a new video released by supporters of Vladimir Putin.
A suggestive ad rallying support for Putin’s presidential campaign shows a young woman seeking a fortune-teller’s advice. “Let’s find out, cutie, who is intended to you by destiny,” the mystic says. The girl replies, “You know. I wish it to be for love — It is my first time.”
All indications suggest that the woman is nervous about losing her virginity, but the ad’s horrifying twist is revealed when the fortune-teller flips a card with a portrait of the Russian Prime Minister.
AFP reports that the clip is part of series made by advertising agency Aldus ADV. The agency said it conceptualized the clips “with the aim of attracting a young audience to take part” in Russia’s upcoming elections. AFP adds that the company did not say who ordered the clips.
This is in rebuttal to the charge made in this forum that Republicans would nominate Vladimir Putin if it were possible. In reality, neither party has a Putin, and neither would do that. But the irony is just too rich.