Posted by samzenpuson Thursday August 20, 2015 @08:14AM from the pile-of-gold dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Victor Fleischer writes in the NYT that university endowments are exempt from corporate income tax because universities support the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. But instead of holding down tuition or expanding faculty research, endowments are hoarding money. Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers for managing about $8 billion, one-third of Yale's endowment. In contrast, of the $1 billion the endowment contributed to the university's operating budget, only $170 million was earmarked for tuition assistance, fellowships and prizes. Private equity fund managers also received more than students at Harvard, the University of Texas, Stanford and Princeton. Fleischer, a professor of law at the University of San Diego, says that as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act expected later this year, Congress should require universities with endowments in excess of $100 million to spend at least 8 percent of the endowment each year. Universities could avoid this rule by shrinking assets to $99 million, but only by spending the endowment on educational purposes, which is exactly the goal. According to a study by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity a minimum payout of 5 percent per annum, would be is similar to the legal requirement for private and public foundations. "The sky-high tuition increases would stop, and maybe even reverse themselves. Faculty members would benefit from greater research support. University libraries, museums, hospitals and laboratories would have better facilities," concludes Fleischer. "We've lost sight of the idea that students, not fund managers, should be the primary beneficiaries of a university's endowment."
Hunky Husband and I were, just a couple of days ago, lamenting over the sky-high tuition charges* the state-owned universities in Kansas are charging these days. When he and I attended a state-owned school in Missouri, tuition was essentially free to in-state students. When I transferred to the then-city-owned University of Wichita (now Wichita State U), tuition wasn't free; but, it did not cost an arm-and-a-leg or I would have been out of luck. Ten years later, graduate school wasn't free at Wichita State U; but, it was reasonable and by then our finances could afford my tuition. Today, I'm not sure how anyone who doesn't get a full-ride scholarship can afford to attend any university!
Well, the universities are not alone in hoarding (and I couldn't tell you how much the state-owned schools in Kansas hoard, not having yet checked). We (collectively) decry huge corporations for what we consider to be their poor citizenship, their lack of caring for anyone but the stockholders to whom they are beholding. Even more, I decry all of the non-profit organizations, be they religious-based or be they enterprise-based. In Kansas, not-for-profit companies like LLCs [from Wikipedia: "A limited liability company (LLC) is the United States-specific form of a private limited company. It is a business structure that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation."] and their owners pay no state tax on the income that the corporation produces.
Churches and non-profits are so pervasive (and growing!) that it is no wonder we have a hard time keeping reasonable tax rates on the "little people" while producing sufficient governmental income to support the services that only governmental units are equipped to provide.
*Tuition (not stated, but these number look like annual numbers to me) for the state-owned universities in Kansas, from College Data:
In a comment to the previous posting, I attempted to guess at certain aspects of the demographics of the people with whom we spent a week in Omaha NE. Below are the demographics for Kansas and Nebraska (only two counties in Iowa are represented in the population, so I'm choosing not to include Iowa.)
The table presents the demographics for those in the photo (75% of all those who attended the meetings) as I guessed them - with a comparison to the appropriate numbers from the census table.
Hunky Husband and I spent a busy week in Omaha NE in meetings with 63 of our fellow volunteers (49 of us are in the photo, below). Correction: Most (perhaps 75%) of the people in the photo are employees!!
We had been home from Omaha for only a couple of days when HH called me at the office to tell me that he was preparing to drive to Peoria IL where he spent about 10 days on assignment.
There hasn't been a day this week during which I didn't have a meeting of some kind or another. Today, it was the funeral of a guy whom we've known for nearly 60 years, who built two houses for us here in Derby. One of his daughters was dearest friend to Dudette during their high school years.
Tomorrow, I go help install smoke alarms in homes in the 67214 ZIP code. More deaths have occurred due to home fires in that ZIP code than in any other ZIP code in the state - 14 since 2008. There are approximately 8000 homes, of which we plan to hit about one-eighth. The troops will check existing smoke alarms if the residents are willing, provide and install new batteries or new smoke alarms if needed. The goal is to install at least 300 alarms.
The title of the following posting from Slashdot.org is what gave me a laugh. I could tell them that anything designed more than 25 years ago would probably appear to be sexist. In aviation, our standard passenger was a 160# male and the standard pilot was a 170# male, as I recall. Women should be pleased to learn that, in later years, it has been recognized that both sexes of any age may be aboard an aircraft. I was an "over-50 female" for one evacuation test. I was well "over-50" at the time (about 65) and we found the door blocked, so had to exit through an escape window - onto the wing, down to the ground. I was also the Guinea pig for testing to see whether a woman in high heels had a problem with using re-designed control pedals (I had to borrow the shoes!)
Posted by samzenpuson Tuesday August 04, 2015 @05:30AM from the coat-day dept.
sciencehabit writes: If you're constantly bundling up against your office building's air conditioning, blame Povl Ole Fanger. In the 1960s, this Danish scientist developed a model, still used in many office buildings around the world, which predicts comfortable indoor temperatures for the average worker. The problem? The average office worker in the 1960s was a 40-year-old man sporting a three-piece suit. But fear not, those for whom the 'work sweater' has become a mandatory addition to office attire: Researchers say they have built a better model.
The effect of reduced street lighting on road casualties and crime in England and Wales: controlled interrupted time series analysis
Received 6 May 2015
Revised 2 June 2015
Accepted 3 June 2015
Published Online First 28 July 2015
Background Many local authorities in England and Wales have reduced street lighting at night to save money and reduce carbon emissions. There is no evidence to date on whether these reductions impact on public health. We quantified the effect of 4 street lighting adaptation strategies (switch off, part-night lighting, dimming and white light) on casualties and crime in England and Wales.
Methods Observational study based on analysis of geographically coded police data on road traffic collisions and crime in 62 local authorities. Conditional Poisson models were used to analyse longitudinal changes in the counts of night-time collisions occurring on affected roads during 2000–2013, and crime within census Middle Super Output Areas during 2010–2013. Effect estimates were adjusted for regional temporal trends in casualties and crime.
Results There was no evidence that any street lighting adaptation strategy was associated with a change in collisions at night. There was significant statistical heterogeneity in the effects on crime estimated at police force level. Overall, there was no evidence for an association between the aggregate count of crime and switch off (RR 0.11; 95% CI 0.01 to 2.75) or part-night lighting (RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.86 to 1.06). There was weak evidence for a reduction in the aggregate count of crime and dimming (RR 0.84; 95% CI 0.70 to 1.02) and white light (RR 0.89; 95% CI 0.77 to 1.03).
Conclusions This study found little evidence of harmful effects of switch off, part-night lighting, dimming, or changes to white light/LEDs on road collisions or crime in England and Wales.
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Posted by Soulskillon Wednesday July 22, 2015 @12:15AM from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept.
dcblogs writes: An Ivy league graduate, with a Ph.D. in geophysics, Cheryl Fillekes, who also specializes in Linux and Unix systems, was contacted by Google recruiters four separate times over a seven year period. In each instance, she did well enough on the phone interviews to get invited to an in-person interview but was rejected every time for a job. She has since joined an age discrimination lawsuit against Google filed about two months ago by another older worker. "The amended lawsuit also alleges that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 'multiple complaints of age discrimination by Google, and is currently conducting an extensive investigation.'"
As one who spends a fair amount of time on various NASA web pages, I have to believe that this is an exciting time for coders/web page gurus to be working at NASA and its contracting agencies. Gee whiz - some of the effects they come up with, that provide scientific education. They offer lots of toys!
One of the apps offered is NASA's Eyes Visualization, which I downloaded in order to access NASA's Eyes on Pluto. There are lots of controls to determine what one sees. Below is a pretty "plain vanilla" screen shot from the simulation.
If there is any truth to a previous report from Slashdot.org (see More "Without comment"), it passes my understanding how Google could conduct the survey addressed in a Slashdot.org report, today. (I highlighted some text in red.) The previous posting included a quote,"One experiment showed that Google displayed adverts for a career coaching service for '$200k+' executive jobs 1,852 times to the male group and only 318 times to the female group."
Posted by timothyon Monday July 13, 2015 @05:19AM from the what-weren't-you-thinking? dept.
theodp writes: According to a Computer Science Teachers Association tweet, Google is reportedly asking educators to assess the unconscious bias of students and their parents for the search giant. "We are in the early stages of learning how unconscious bias plays out in schools, and who would benefit most from bias busting materials," begins the linked-to 5-page Google Form, which sports a email@example.com email address, but lists no contact name. "This survey should take 15 minutes to complete, and your responses are confidential, meaning that your feedback will not be attributed to you and the data will only be used in aggregate form." The form asks educators to "list the names of organizations, tools, and resources that you have used to combat unconscious bias," which is defined as "the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner." A sample question: "Who do you think would benefit most from unconscious bias training at your school (or program)? Rank the following people in order (1=would most benefit to 5=would benefit least) training: Student, Parent (or guardian), Teacher (or educator), Guidance counselor, Principal." Google deflected criticism for its lack of women techies in the past by blaming parents' unconscious biases for not steering their girls to study computer science, suggesting an intervention was needed. "Outreach programs," advised Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."
No matter how exciting an event, if it takes more than a few seconds to occur, many of us lose sight of the whole thing. Our attention span isn't that long.
On January 19, 2006, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station FL. It left the Earth at about 36,000 miles/hour - the fastest of any spacecraft ever launched. Below is a video from YouTube of the launch.
Below are a few photos from that mission, posted by NASA.
New Horizons was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Pluto and Charon when it snapped this portrait (color information obtained earlier in the mission from the Ralph instrument has been added) late on
July 8, 2015.
Image of Pluto only from the New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), July 8, 2015. Most of the bright features around Pluto’s edge are a result of image processing, but the bright sliver below the dark “whale,” which is also visible in unprocessed images, is real.
Image of Charon only from the New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), July 8, 2015.
NASA’s unmanned New Horizons spacecraft is closing in on the Pluto system after a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey. On July 14 it will zip past Pluto at 30,800 miles per hour (49,600 kilometers per hour), with a suite of seven science instruments busily gathering data. The mission will complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system with the first-ever look at the icy dwarf planet.