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Showing posts from July 17, 2014

Koch High: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students

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[Corporatocracy in the classroom - where will it end? *RON*]
Christina Wilkie and Joy Resmovits, Huffington Post, 16 July 2014

In the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas, was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. "Do you want to make money?" it asked.

The poster encouraged the predominantly poor students at Highland Park to enroll in a new, yearlong course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business. Students would receive generous financial incentives including startup capital and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall. Johnson eagerly signed up.

In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created an…

Why Cutting 18,000 Jobs Was Likely Microsoft’s Plan All Along

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[One of the world's largest tax-avoiding self-proclaimed "job creators." *RON*]
By Issie Lapowsky, Wired, 17 July 2014
Micosoft will slash up to 18,000 jobs by the end of the year. That’s 14 percent of the company’s workforce, and it amounts to the largest round of layoffs in the nearly 40 year history of the software kingpin.

On Thursday morning, with an email euphemistically titled “Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture,” CEO Satya Nadella announced that the bulk of the cuts would affect employees working for Nokia, the mobile phone company Microsoft acquired last September. According to Nadella, these cuts would encourage “work simplification,” “integration synergies,” and “strategic alignment.” But even the heavy-handed business jargon couldn’t mask the simple fact that 18,000 jobs is a hell of a lot of jobs to lose.

And yet, tragic as these deep cuts will be for Microsoft employees and their families, it may be prematu…

Science Is Not About Certainty

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["Scientific ideas are credible not because they are sure but because they’re the ones that have survived all the possible past critiques, and they’re the most credible because they were put on the table for everybody’s criticism." Exerpted from The Universe: Leading Scientists Explore the Origin, Mysteries, and Future of the Cosmos. Pertinent to the following article  in which our deputy premier derides research that contradicts his ideological take on the fracking industry. *RON*]
By Carlo Rovelli, The New Republic, 11 July 2014

We teach our students: We say that we have some theories about science. Science is about hypothetico-deductive methods; we have observations, we have data, data require organizing into theories. So then we have theories. These theories are suggested or produced from the data somehow, then checked in terms of the data. Then time passes, we have more data, theories evolve, we throw away a theory, and we find an…

Politicians on attack after scientists call for more research into fracking

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[For "Politicians" read "Rich Coleman." Scientific results not contentious among scientists, only with politicians. "I deny reality and replace it with my own." *RON*]

Deputy premier claims no well has ever leaked in B.C., hints experts biased

By Peter O'Neil and Rob Shaw, Vancouver Sun, 16 July 2014

Deputy premier Rich Coleman challenged Thursday the conclusions of a scientific panel into the environmental effect of shale gas development using fracking.

The group of Canadian and U.S. scientists, appointed in 2011 by former federal environment minister Peter Kent to examine the sector's potential and risks across Canada, urge a cautionary, go-slow approach until more research is done on a relatively new sector.

Coleman, responsible for an industry that Victoria considers an economic linchpin for decades, said the B.C. industry is advanced and a model for the world.

"I don't agree with them," he…

Australia Becomes First Developed Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax

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[Tony Abbott pledged to get rid of the tax last year. Abbott and Harper are great pals. At international climate talks last year in Warsaw Japan, Canada and Australia were the #1 back-peddlers on climate change. *RON*]

By Rob Taylor and Rhiannon Hoyle, Wall Street Journal, 17 July 2014

Australia has repealed pro-environment carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, the first time a developed nation has made such a U-turn. The WSJ's Ramy Inocencio speaks with Canberra reporter Rob Taylor to gauge the reaction.

CANBERRA, Australia—After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politic…

Poll showing most Canadians want pot laws relaxed kept secret by Harper government

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[Conservatives spent $175,000 to discover that 70% of Canadians favour loosening of marijuana laws; so they sat on the results. *RON*]

By Staff, Torstar News Service, Metro News, 17 July 2014
OTTAWA—A strong majority of Canadians think the federal government should either legalize marijuana or decriminalize the possession of small amounts, according to a new Department of Justice poll obtained by Torstar News Service.

The poll, kept secret by the Conservatives for months, found 70 per cent of respondents believe pot laws should be loosened.

Of the 3,000 respondents, 37.3 per cent said the government should legalize marijuana, while 33.4 per cent said the possession of small amounts should be decriminalized.

Only 13.7 per cent of respondents supported the status quo, while 12 per cent said they believe Ottawa should impose harsher penalties.

The Conservatives have made Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s pro-legalization stance a cornerstone of their…

How Tories Bully Charities and Abuse Power

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[Canadian charities are experiencing an advocacy chill that is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself. *RON*]

Gareth Kirkby, Huffington Post, 16 July 2014


Canadian charities are experiencing an "advocacy chill" and changing the way they go about their work as a result of what they say is "bullying" by the Harper Conservative government. My just completed Master's thesis research finds that the denunciatory rhetoric of government ministers against charities, followed by stepped up audits is having its toll not only on charity operations, but also on the strength of Canada's public discussions and thus on the vigor of democracy itself.

For my thesis, I interviewed 16 charity leaders and five experts including lawyers, academics, and former government administrators, who were guaranteed anonymity in exchange for an…

The Ongoing Evolution of Arctic International Relations

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[Aside from waterways being opened by global warming, "...the region is home to approximately 30 percent of the world’s untapped natural gas reserves, approximately 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil supply (which comes out to roughly 90 billion barrels of oil) and is a potential second significant source of tar sands. Beyond the prospect for oil and gas, the... North American Arctic is believed to have pockets of uranium, copper, nickel and iron." *RON*]

Robert Murray, Open Canada, 16 July 2014
Throughout the last two decades, the Arctic region has become an area of intense interest for scholars from a variety of fields. This is unsurprising considering the wide array of variables that go into our understandings of what the Arctic actually is, and precisely which aspect we are discussing when analyzing certain aspects of the circumpolar region. What is equally interesting is that international relations scholars have lagged behind …