Politics, science, and public attitudes: What we’re learning, and why it matters

first_imgThe bad news is that everybody does it. The good news is that social scientists are making progress in understanding why people ignore solid scientific evidence in deciding what they think about all manner of science-based issues—including how those topics should be taught in schools and addressed by policymakers.The U.S. research community has long lamented how often the public disregards—or distorts—scientific findings. Many media pundits point the finger at partisan politics, although they offer contrasting explanations: Liberals often assert that Republicans are simply antiscience, whereas conservatives often insist that Democrats tout scientific findings to justify giving government a larger and more intrusive role.A leading social science journal, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, takes a deep dive into the debate by devoting its March issue (subscription required) to “The Politics of Science.” The issue, edited by political scientists Elizabeth Suhay of American University in Washington, D.C., and James Druckman of Northwestern University, includes some 15 articles that explore “the production, communication, and reception of scientific knowledge.” And nobody gets a free pass.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“It’s an equal opportunity scold,” says the journal’s executive editor, Thomas Kecskemethy. “I was fascinated by how the knowledge elites are vulnerable to their own biases.”The researchers provide no simple answers. (In truth, some of the articles are nearly impenetrable, larded with jargon and political theory.) But the special issue does offer some useful take-home messages: Scientists shouldn’t beat themselves up for being poor communicators. Yes, they could do a better job. But most people aren’t waiting for scientists to tell them what to think. So the solution is not simply to provide them with more facts and figures.  Ideology isn’t the same thing as party affiliation, although the current gridlock in Congress and enmity between Republican legislators and the White House may suggest otherwise. Overall, they found that deference to science remains quite high, regardless of political self-identification. The scores across all issues averaged to 6.4, suggesting voters generally want policymakers to listen to scientists. But there were differences: Self-identified Democrats averaged 7.46, versus 5.58 for Republicans and 5.84 for independents.Looking at those findings, Shaw concludes that, yes, conservatives are less willing to defer to scientific recommendations. But no, it is not accurate to accuse Republicans of holding antiscience beliefs, or to single them out. For starters, their attitudes are nearly indistinguishable from independents. Second, the ratings showed that Republicans still defer to science in 14 of the 16 policy areas. The exceptions were mandatory health insurance and gay adoption, where “being a Republican correlates with a decreased willingness to defer to what science says,” Shaw and Blank write.In contrast, Democrats deferred to science in all 16 areas. And Shaw says the overall average score of 6.4 “is pretty positive … at least it’s more, rather than less, supportive” of tapping scientific expertise for policymaking.The researchers also found that a person’s deference to scientific evidence depends on the specific policy under consideration. There was little difference across the ideological spectrum on using animals in research, for example, whereas there was a huge disparity between conservatives and liberals on regulating carbon emissions to combat global warming. (The researchers identified the scientific consensus on those issues as being in favor of the use of animals in research, and supporting some type of regulatory mechanism to reduce emissions, respectively.)None of this means that evidence necessarily trumps ideology, the researchers note. In fact, they found that ideology usually wins when the two are in direct conflict in a voter’s mind.To Shaw, the biggest mystery is why Democrats put so much more faith in science to inform policy than do Republicans or independents. No other factor, such as education, income, or race, appears to explain that difference, he says.Even so, the researchers believe that their findings might be useful to campaign strategists. “If you want to get Democrats on your side, you may want to use scientific research to back up your policy positions,” they write. “The self-expressed willingness of those on the Left to defer to scientists indicates that political arguments based on objective, scientific research might have a powerful influence on opinion. … They are also important for key elements of the Democratic coalition, such as blacks and Latinos.”Reacting to dissonanceAnother way to look at the interplay of politics and science is to examine how people react when faced with so-called dissonant scientific messages—information that doesn’t fit with their worldview. A trio of researchers at Ohio State University, Columbus, found that the public’s faith in science was weakened by such cognitive dissonance. The distrust occurred among both conservatives and liberals, but only on the most contentious topics.The researchers—communications professors Erik Nisbet and R. Kelly Garrett and Kathryn Cooper, a graduate student—conducted an online survey of 1500 people. Participants thought they were evaluating the quality of a new science website. But that was a pretext for measuring their attitudes about information that would challenge their beliefs on certain issues. The survey included questions about climate change and evolution—red meat for self-identified conservatives—as well as fracking and nuclear power—topics expected to elicit opposition from liberals. They also read passages relating to the solar system and the earth sciences, two topics that the researchers deemed neutral.As expected, the participants exhibited high levels of what social scientists call “motivated reasoning.” That is when we rebut or ignore new information on a topic—say, the safety of genetically modified foods—to protect what we already believe. The researchers also found that people reacted more negatively to scientific information that was seen as a threat to their values. The effect applied across the political spectrum, although conservatives reacted four times more strongly than did liberals.Like Shaw and Blank, Nisbet found that “liberals are also capable of processing scientific information in a biased manner,” he noted in a press release. “They aren’t inherently superior to conservatives.” The Ohio State researchers also found that conflict, by itself, can cause people to lose trust in the scientific enterprise. “Just reading about these polarizing topics is having a negative effect on how people feel about science,” Garrett said in the press release.Teaching evolution poorlyA third paper in the special issue examines the attitudes of students being trained to teach one of those polarizing topics—evolution—in the nation’s schools.Previously, authors Eric Plutzer and Michael Berkman, political scientists at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), University Park, had conducted research that found “a pervasive reluctance [among high school biology teachers] to forthrightly explain evolutionary biology.” Only 28% used evolution as a unifying theme in their classes, they reported in a 2011 Science article. On the other end of the spectrum, 13% included creationism or intelligent design in their lessons.In the current study, Plutzer and Berkman sought to learn more about the beliefs of what they call “the cautious 60%, [teachers] who are neither strong advocates for evolutionary biology nor explicit endorsers of nonscientific alternatives.” So in 2013 they interviewed 35 students preparing to become high school biology teachers, hoping to find clues about how they would handle the subject once they entered the classroom. They selected the undergraduates from a diverse set of institutions in Pennsylvania—a large research university, a state university with a large teacher-training program, a Catholic college, and a historically black university.What they heard troubled them. “We found that the depth of their scientific understanding is not what you’d think it would be,” Berkman explains. “Yes, they were science majors in science education programs, but they weren’t becoming science teachers because they loved science.” And they were “not the ones who were taking apart washing machines or launching rockets when they were kids,” Plutzer adds. “They are not driven to become scientists.”That’s a concern, the authors say, because teachers who consider themselves educators first are likely to handle potentially hot topics like evolution very differently than those who consider themselves scientists, the researchers posit. “Rather than cite facts and discuss the content, most of the students felt they could rely on classroom management and pedagogical techniques if a problem arose,” Berkman says. That approach masks a larger issue, he adds: “Not feeling confident about your knowledge of evolution leads to being less likely to teach it.”The researchers said they were initially surprised to find that students at the Catholic college were more comfortable discussing the topic than were their peers at secular institutions. Their explanation: Rather than shying away from the subject, the students “probably had been wrestling with the issue their entire lives,” Berkman says. “They seemed to do a better job of reconciling their beliefs with what they had learned about evolution.”In contrast, they say, students at secular institutions are unlikely to have had the opportunity to explore their personal views in a science or education class. “You’re not going to get a Penn State professor to talk about that with their students,” Berkman surmises.The researchers admit their sample is not representative of all science teacher–training programs. But they think the responses are still instructive—and highlight how much work needs to be done. “Young preservice teachers are already on a path that is likely to lead to evolution instruction that falls short of the expectations of leading scientific organizations,” they conclude.    What should be done to change that direction? One paradoxical answer is breaking what the authors call “a cycle of ignorance” by improving biology teaching at the high school and undergraduate levels. “Many students lack good models for teaching evolution in public schools” because they didn’t get good instruction on the topic, the researchers write.Future teachers also need a better grounding in what the researchers call “the nature of scientific inquiry.” Few ever work in a research lab, they note—both because their schedules are packed with courses on content and pedagogy, and because many shy away from such “hands-on” experiences.Faculty members in the sciences also need to understand that teacher trainees, in general, are different than typical undergraduate science majors, Plutzer says. “Future science teachers are not junior versions of themselves,” he says, “and getting them to understand evolution is not simply a matter of having them take more science courses.”Half-full or half-empty?Although the papers in the special issue, taken together, highlight the many obstacles that stand in the way of clear and helpful science communication, Suhay doesn’t think readers should conclude that the situation is hopeless. In fact, she sees rays of sun poking through the current political storms.“I don’t know that we need to be as alarmed as some people are,” she says. Simply understanding that people all across the ideological spectrum sometimes have trouble incorporating scientific knowledge into their worldview could help reduce the finger-pointing, she says. “It allows us to see the world more clearly,” she says. “If you blame only Republicans [for ignoring science], it reduces the chance of striking a compromise.”Such understanding is a necessary prelude to action, she adds. “It may help quell the anger on both sides. And understanding the motivations behind why people act in certain ways should also help us to be smarter in addressing the issue.”  People are heavily influenced by their existing beliefs, often based on ideology and religion, when they evaluate any particular scientific result. And holding strong beliefs makes a person more likely to reject a “dissonant” message, or actively oppose it.  Liberals are just as likely as conservatives to disagree with the prevailing scientific evidence. But those disagreements occur over a different set of issues (see this table). Many liberals object to nuclear power, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas, genetically modified organisms, and some aspects of genomic medicine. For conservatives, hot-button issues include climate change, evolution, and stem cell research, with vaccination a recent addition.  When it comes to teaching evolution, poorly trained biology teachers may be a major factor in explaining why large segments of the U.S. population remain unconvinced. Even those teachers who accept the concept are prone to give it short shrift in their classrooms because they lack confidence in their ability to defend evolution against its critics.  The public tends to hold scientists in high regard. People also generally welcome learning more about a controversial issue, such as geoengineering, in which their minds aren’t already made up. So the situation is far from hopeless.The rest of the piece takes a detailed look at three themes covered in the issue: how deference to scientific evidence relates to political ideology; how people cope with dissonant information; and what students training to become biology teachers think about evolution.Deferring to scienceUnderstanding the intersection of U.S. politics and science is more important than ever, believes Suhay, who has worked with Druckman to examine the political controversies surrounding genetics. “Political values are unavoidably wrapped up with scientific research, because science tells us what’s possible,” she says. “Science is inherently controversial because nobody wants to hear that their options are limited.”The recent surge in polarization in American politics, Suhay says, is forcing “political elites to make their arguments with greater passion. … Part of the battle is marshaling scientific evidence in favor of your point of view. So facts become tied to a particular political view.”Given that polarization, Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas, Austin, and his graduate student, Joshua Blank, wanted to know “the extent to which people would defer to science” on various controversial issues.“There’s a long history in this country of believing that ‘the truth will set you free, and that science has the answers.’ It binds U.S. politics together,” says Shaw, who studies elections and voting behavior and who has done survey research for several political campaigns. But if that deference to scientific knowledge “is unraveling as a result of greater polarization,” he says, “that’s a consequential change.”To find out, Shaw and blank surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2000 registered U.S. voters. Each was asked to score 16 policy areas on a 10-point scale; a 10 meant policymakers should totally embrace the advice of scientists, and a zero meant that they should completely ignore scientific advice.last_img read more

NU rides MVP tandem of Nabor-Santiago en route to perfect run

first_imgMOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nabor wound up with the Finals MVP award on the exact same night that Santiago was officially named conference MVP. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img READ: Jaja Santiago fittingly named PVL MVPThe 18-year-old Nabor was at her best in the grandest stage as she and Santiago led NU to a finals sweep of Far Eastern University in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutNabor had 46 excellent sets in Game 1 on Wednesday before putting up 45 on Saturday while Santiago unleashed 55 points in the finals duel.READ: Lady Bulldogs sweep way to PVL Collegiate crown Jaja Santiago was the unstoppable force while Jasmine Nabor kept National University’s engine running like a well-oiled machine.Nabor, the placid playmaker, set the table for Santiago and the rest of the Lady Bulldogs’ power hitters like Aiko Urdas and Risa Sato, who more often than not finished off her well-placed sets in emphatic fashion.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Alejandro frustrated with NU’s lack of effort against UE Read Next View comments BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF presidentlast_img read more

Cricket: WI vs India 1st Test Day 1 Review: Hosts in complete control as…

first_imgAdvertisement(Photo Courtesy: India Today)Team India ended the first day’s play in a commanding position as they went into stumps at 364-4, following Prithvi Shaw’s century on debut earlier in the day.Virat Kohli who had won the toss on a hot and humid day at Rajkot wasted no time but to bat first in order to make use of the favorable conditions. The hosts left out Shardul Thakur from the 12 men squad that they had announced yesterday. West Indies on the other were fielding a rather inexperienced side with Jason Holder and Kemar Roach missing from the squad.Coming on bat, India lost KL Rahul in the very first over for a duck after Shanon Gabriel trapped him plum in front of the wickets. His partner Shaw then joined hands with Pujara to build a solid partnership for the second wicket. India went into lunch at 133-1 with both having scored their half centuries.Returning from the break, Prithvi Shaw completed his century in quick time becoming only the 18th Indian batsmen to score a century on debut. Also he became the 2nd youngest to score a century for India after the great Sachin Tendulkar.Pujara was unlucky to miss out on a deserving hundred after he fell for 86 to Lewis. Shaw departed soon, after making a well deserved 134. Captain Kohli then joined hands with Vice-Captain Rahane to continue the innings.The Kohli-Rahane duo then put on a 105 run partnership to put the hosts in a commanding position before Rahane fell for 41, once again failing to convert his good start. Kohli then along with Rishabh Pant saw off India to stumps without losing no further wickets. Kohli now stands on 72*, hoping to convert the score into yet another big one tomorrow.Brief Scores: India 364-4 (Prithvi Shaw 134, Cheteshwar Pujara 86, Virat Kohli 72*, Ajinkya Rahane 41)Also Read:Cricket: Get excited about India’s next big batting sensation: Prithvi Shaw Advertisementlast_img read more

Gaya road rage: Action will be taken against guilty, says Nitish Kumar

first_imgBihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today assured that strict action will be taken against the guilty in Gaya road rage case. A 19-year-old boy was allegedly gunned down for overtaking the vehicle of a Janata Dal-United legislator’s son in Bihar.The incident took place in Gaya district on Saturday night while Aditya Kumar Sachdeva, son of a local businessman, was returning home from a birthday party along with his teenage friends. He succumbed when a bullet hit him following a scuffle with Rocky Yadav, son of JD-U MLC Manorama Devi, who was driving a sports utility vehicle (SUV) through the same route.Here is what Nitish Kumar said:Action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty.If JD-U MLC Manorama Devi’s involvement in the case is found, then action will be taken against her as well.Law will take its own course in the matter.Nobody will be allowed to take law into their hands.Search and raids are being carried to arrest accused Rocky Yadav.Investigation in this case will be conducted in free and fair manner. Aditya, who was a Class XII examinee, was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital. While Rocky has gone into hiding after the incident, Gaya Police arrested his father Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav, aka Bindi Yadav, and Rajesh Kumar, the bodyguard of his legislator mother who was with him when the incident took place.Also read:Bihar teen shot dead by JD-U leader’s son for overtaking in Gaya Youth shot dead for overtaking politician’s car in Bihar’s Gaya advertisementlast_img read more

Greece Wins Water Polo Bronze

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares Greece’s men’s water polo team rebounded from a semi-final loss to Croatia to beat Italy on penalties and win bronze in the world water polo championship in Russia.The result means the team has advanced to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. It’s been 10 years since a Greek men’s team did so well in water polo on the world level.Greece led for most of the match, but Italy turned the 7-5 score to a 7-7 draw at the end of regulation time to take the game to the penalties where the Greeks outscored their rivals, 4-2. Water polo doesn’t play to win if the game ends in a tie and resorts to penalty shots.last_img

Readers’ Picks of the Week

first_imgInterview: Who Will Gain the Most from Expanded Panama Canal?The container shipping sector is bracing for a major impact from the long-awaited opening of the expanded Panama Canal, scheduled to take place on June 26, 2016 … Read More Harmony of the Seas in Disharmony?A number of media reports hit the headlines this week claiming that Harmony of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in the world, was not ready to set sail yet… Read More Shipping in Panama Canal Unaffected by Lock Wall Collapse, Repairs UnderwayShipping traffic at the Panama Canal has not been affected by the collapse of a section of South East wall of the Miraflores locks over the weekend, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said… Read More CMA CGM Goes “All In” on USD 2.4Bn NOL AcquisitionFrench container shipping giant CMA CGM has announced its “firm intention” to make an all-cash voluntary conditional general offer for all the outstanding shares of Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL)… Read More Six More Ships Head to Bangladeshi Shipbreaking YardsA total of six vessels will soon land on the beaches of the substandard South Asian shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh as a number of owners sold their ships to scrap on June 1, according to data provided by VesselsValue… Read More World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Jinhui Shipping Sells Three Bulk Carriers

first_imgzoom Hong Kong-based shipping company Jinhui Shipping and Transportation Limited has decided to sell three of its bulk carriers, according to data provided by VesselsValue.The bulkers in question are two Ultramaxes, the 2010-built Jin Ming and the 2011-built Jin Han, which were sold for USD 13.5 million and USD 14.5 million, respectively.Featuring 61,400 dwt, the vessels were bought by an undisclosed shipowner.The third vessel, the 2000-built Handymax Jin Bi, was sold for USD 3.5 million to an undisclosed Greek company. The ship is scheduled to join its news owner by the end of October.All three vessels were built by Japan’s shipbuilder Oshima Shipbuilding.In June 2016, the company disposed of another bulk carrier, namely the 2000-built Supramax Jin Rong, which was sold for USD 3.4 million to Hong Kong’s He Sheng International.Following the sale of these vessels, Jinhui Shipping and Transportation operates a fleet of 30 bulk carriers, featuring over 1.8 million dwt.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Democracy 250 GPI Atlantic Premiere Documentary on Contrasting Cultures and Democracy

first_imgA documentary focusing on how contrasting Bhutanese and Canadian cultures impact the development and perception of the democratic process will premiere today, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. The screen will be held at GPI Atlantic’s office at 3006 Oxford St. Contrasting Cultures of Democracy: Bhutanese and Canadian Youth Speak! was produced by GPI Atlantic, an independent, non-profit organization focused on the development of the Genuine Progress Index (GPI) as a measure of sustainability and quality of life, with funding from Democracy 250. The film is an integral part of GPI’s youth and democracy programming this month, and was created through the Bhutan Youth Development Fund. The goal of the project was to generate discussion on politics and leadership, to commemorate celebrations of 250 years of democratic government in Canada, and to recognize Bhutan’s first year as a democratic nation. Bhutan’s king formally abdicated his throne and parliamentary elections were held in March. The film offers a look into the evolution of democracy through the eyes of Canadian and Bhutanese youth. It shows how the most basic principals that define a democracy can vary between nations, and that free assembly and the opportunity to vote can hold different significance to residents of North America and Southern Asia. The screening will feature presentations by Bhutanese and Canadian youth and a question and answer session. Bhutanese refreshments will be served.last_img read more

Live Chat With Robbie Rogers

first_imgWant to take part in a live chat with Los Angeles Galaxy star Robbie Rogers? The Trevor Project is giving you the chance.Robbie will be answering your questions during a Google+ Hangout on July 14 at 2pm, and you can leave questions for him via the Trevor Project’s Facebook page or you can tweet questions using #TalktoRobbie.Robbie is the first and only openly gay player in Major League Soccer – this is your chance to connect with this brave and inspirational hero.last_img

Israeli Soldiers Kill Five Palestinians in the West Bank

By Jonathan WalshRabat – Five Palestinians were killed, and another seriously injured, on Sunday after what Israeli forces allege were unprovoked attacks on Israelis.The deaths occurred in four separate incidents. Three of those killed were believed to be teenagers. Despite the allegations that all of the attackers were armed and threatened to cause harm, no Israelis were hurt in the events.The first incident occurred in the city of Jenin in northern West Bank, and involved two 15-year-old boys who were seen throwing stones at passing cars.A patrol then arrived to the scene. The patrolmen claim that the teenagers shot at them with a rifle. It was then that the patrol returned fire, killing them both.A Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) spokesperson said in an early statement to Maan News that after the boys were injured, the patrolmen stopped anyone from providing medical treatment to them.The next killing came at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem, where police claim they were forced to open fire on a 17-year-old after he attempted to attack officers with a knife.In the third incident, Israeli police claim  that two Palestinians opened fire on them with automatic weapons in Jerusalem’s Old City before being killed.In the last incident, a 14-year-old girl was seriously injured while walking with her sister past a military checkpoint, according to Palestinian sources. The sisters, neither of whom attempted to attack anyone, were fired upon with their backs turned, and the girl badly injured.Israeli versions of the incident include the claims that the young girl had attempted to stab the heavily armed officers with a knife.In the past four months alone, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed in Israel, almost all of whom were said to be attackers.Edited by Michael Joseph read more

Moroccos Government Condemns Contractual Teachers Continued Protest Promises Drastic Measures

Rabat – The spokesperson of the Moroccan government, Mustapha El Khalfi, has expressed satisfaction with all government proposals to end the protests of teachers who describe themselves as the “forcibly contractual teachers.” The contractual teachers, who have been protesting for four weeks in a row, are demanding better civil service benefits offered in the public sector.In response, the government has offered to abolish recruitment of teachers through contracts and hire the teachers as full employees of the regional academies of education. The teachers, however, found the offer unacceptable, arguing that regional academies lack the human and financial resources they need.Read Also: Moroccan Interior Ministry Condemns Contractual Teachers Midnight ProtestEl Khalfi said that the government has responded to all demands of the teachers as their status changed from being contractual employees to “regional employees.”El Khalfi argued that the aim is to “enable these teachers to be equal to the rest of the national education sector.”In the press conference held after the weekly cabinet meeting on Thursday, El Khalfi emphasized that the teachers should have reacted “positively” with the government’s measures, “especially as the contract was canceled.”El Khalfi added that the measure offered by the government is “irreversible.”No alternatives“The government did everything it could, and adopted a vision that was implemented gradually but quickly.”He added that the government will deal with the continuous strike by the teachers using measures within the law. “Regional academies will take the necessary measures to ensure the interests of students andto stem classes’ losses.Contractual teachers have been conducting strikes across the country.Said Amzazi, Morocco’s Minister of Education and Vocational Training, has already unveiled the government’s measures to deal with contractual teachers.In a Wednesday joint press conference with El Khalfi, Amzazi said that the government will send teachers warnings of expulsion and will cut their wages if they do not return to their work.Read Also: Moroccan Contractual Teachers Strike for 4th Week for EqualityAmzazi said that contractual teachers are hampering their students’ education with their strike and demonstrations.“Despite the serious efforts we have made there is this coordination which incites employees at regional vocational training academies to stop working for the fourth week now. We are questioning, what is the legal status of this coordination? And does it have the legitimacy to lead a strike?” Amzazi asked.It remains to be seen whether the contractual teachers will resume their strikes, or the government’s statement to dismiss them for their absence will convince them to go back to work. read more

UNESCO chief distressed by loss of life outside ancient Cambodian temple

16 October 2008The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has voiced his grave concern at the recent clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers outside the Preah Vihear temple, which have reportedly led to the deaths of two people. Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura reiterated UNESCO’s support of all efforts and initiatives that promote cooperation and dialogue. He also added his voice to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who, in a statement yesterday, called on both parties to exercise utmost restraint and urged them to expedite bilateral talks so that their differences can be resolved peacefully.The Temple of Preah Vihear, which dates back to the 11th century, was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in July for its “exceptional universal value.” UNESCO noted that the inscription “engages the collective responsibility of the international community to ensure its protection.” read more

Eastern Province to undergo major development to boost tourism

The Eastern Province is to undergo major development to boost tourism in the area, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today.The Prime Minister said that as part of the development drive, domestic air services will operate to the East and this will help bring more tourists to the area. He said this will also help tourists travel to areas like Arugambay, which is a popular surfing destination. (Colombo Gazette) Wickremesinghe said that a new airport which is to be opened in the East will help reduce the travel time to areas like Batticaloa and Ampara. He said that four companies have already shown interest to operate air services to the East.

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

António  Guterres was speaking at an event at UN Headquarters in New York to launch a book that pays tribute to women’s participation in the development of the global organization.HERstory: Celebrating Women Leaders in the United Nations is an initiative by Colombia and Qatar, and builds on an exhibition held two years ago.The initiative shines a spotlight on pioneers and trailblazers such as Lucille M. Mair, the first woman to serve at the rank of Under-Secretary-General: the title given to officials who oversee UN Departments; and Margaret Anstee, who was the first woman to head a peacekeeping operation.“The history we learn at school, that is celebrated in public monuments and events, tends to be a very partial history. It is the history of men,” Mr. Guterres said.“Raising awareness of women’s contributions is an essential part of correcting the imbalance in our culture that has historically undervalued women’s contributions and women’s work.”Mr. Guterres reminded the audience of the “enormous progress” in women’s rights achieved during more than seven decades since the founding of the UN.But he also recalled that women comprised just six of the 278 delegates at the 1945 conference that established the Organization: a story told in a recent UN News podcast, which you can listen to here.And while such paltry participation could not happen today, the UN chief reported that practically every week he still encounters diplomatic delegations that do not include a single woman. The issue is also a concern in-house, Mr. Guterres said, adding that the UN has had to work at ensuring its own events do not feature “manels”—that is, all-male panels.The Secretary-General has made gender parity a top priority, pushing for greater women’s representation at the UN, including at the senior management level.“This is not simply about the fight for gender equality,” he stated.  “From peace and security to development to human rights, greater inclusion is the key to our success – bringing new perspectives, different leadership styles, greater innovation and, ultimately, a more effective organization.” read more

Ohio State mens lacrosse heads to New York to take on No

OSU redshirt junior goalie Tom Carey (3) tries to recover a ground ball during a game against Marquette on March 4 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Multimedia EditorThe Ohio State men’s lacrosse team has its biggest challenge of the early season ahead of it, as the Buckeyes travel to Hempstead, New York, to battle No. 13 Hofstra at noon on Saturday. The Scarlet and Gray are coming off two wins in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic against Marquette and Bellarmine, extending their winning streak to three games. The Pride suffered their first loss of the season last week at the hands of Georgetown after starting the season with three wins.OSU defeated Hofstra 9-8 last season, but OSU senior midfielder and co-captain Kacy Kapinos said both teams are too different from last year to make a comparison.“It will be interesting to see what we bring to the table,” Kapinos said. “Playing at Hofstra is very exciting — a lot of history in that program and that stadium. It will be a fun trip, and we look forward to it.”OSU coach Nick Myers said his team will have test against the Pride, only compounded by the fact that the game is on the road.“They’re a very good team, really stingy defense. They have a good coach (and) a great coaching staff,” Myers said. “They’ve already gotten some big wins under their belt. They’re coming off their first loss (and) are at home, so we expect their very best.”Hofstra’s defense currently ranks ninth in the nation in scoring defense, only allowing 7.5 goals per game. The Pride’s sophomore goalie Jack Concannon also ranks fifth in the nation with a save percentage of 62.8 percent.Kapinos said the Buckeyes’ balanced attack on offense will give them an advantage that other teams don’t have.“It’s good that we’re scoring from seven, eight-plus guys. We don’t have one guy that’s just breaking down a play,” Kapinos said. “It’s great to have a lot of point production from multiple guys. It’s kind of hard for other teams to prepare for us.”OSU will look to score on every opportunity it is given on Saturday, including extra-man opportunities. After a rough start to the year, the man-up unit has scored in three straight games. Myers credited assistant coach Brad Ross on his work with this unit.“Coach Ross has done a really nice job down there with them in terms of just keeping it simple,” Myers said. “I think that unit is starting to build some chemistry.”Tom Carey wins conference awardRedshirt junior goalie Tom Carey was named Big Ten Specialist of the Week on Tuesday for his efforts in the Buckeyes’ pair of wins against Marquette and Bellarmine over the weekend.Carey had a career-high 16 saves in the 12-8 win over Marquette on Friday, and followed that performance by anchoring the defense in a 9-5 win over Bellarmine two days later.“Tommy gives us a lot of communication and kind of quarterbacks the defense,” Kapinos said.Carey will have his hands full on Saturday. The Pride average 11.5 goals per game, which is tied for 19th in the country, to their opponents’ 7.5 and have two experienced attackers in junior Josh Byrne and senior Sam Llinares. Those two stand as constant threats on offense.Byrne is tied for fifth in the nation with 3.5 goals per game and leads the team in both goals with 14 and assists with six.Llinares, the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year, led the team last year with 33 goals and 24 assists. He has 11 goals and two assists so far this season.Colin Chell updateOSU sophomore attacker Colin Chell left the field under assistance in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over Bellarmine. After a few minutes of examination by the training staff on the bench, he was carted off of the field.Myers said Chell is questionable to play on Saturday, and that the team has to be prepared to play without him.“He’s a guy that we’re looking at day to day,” he said. “We’re excited about what the training staff has shared with us, so we’ll just continue to move forward … and let the medical staff do what they do.”The sophomore attacker is tied for second on the team with eight goals and third in total points with 11.What’s nextThe Scarlet and Gray are scheduled to return to Ohio Stadium on Tuesday to face off against No. 6 Towson. The game against the Tigers is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. read more

How gravitational lensing can turn one point of light into four

first_imgA new scientific idea can only become a theory when it has been tested and its predictions verified. The bigger the claim, the more evidence is usually needed to prove it. Theories that redefine the nature of the universe are a rarity, but Einstein’s general theory of relativity falls into that category. It is one of the most thoroughly analyzed and verified theories in all of science as it upended many aspects of classical physics when it was put forth in the early 20th century. One of the clearest examples of general relativity in action is the gravitational lensing effect, and it’s kind of amazing.An often cited example of observable gravitational lensing is the Einstein Cross — four points of light in the constellation Pegasus that are produced by a single quasar 8 billion light years from Earth. Quasars are extremely active galactic nuclei, but how can a single quasar show up as four distinct lights? There just happens to be a very massive galaxy, known as Huchra’s lens, between the quasar and Earth which causes a gravitational lensing effect.Einstein postulated this effect when he realized that general relativity allowed for light itself to be affected by gravity. All objects with mass cause a warping of the spacetime continuum such that space ends up curved. Light rays passing through such an area of space follow the curve and can thus appear to be originating from a completely different location.So as the light from the distant quasar is passing around the core of Huchra’s lens, it’s deflected around it as space curves. Depending on the relative position of the observer (us), the lens, and the source, the single object can look like several.If you’re imagining a gravitational lens focusing like an optical one here on Earth, think again. A gravitational lens has no single focal point where the light from distant objects syncs back up. Rather, a gravitational lens has a focal line that produces a ring of distorted light around the massive object (an Einstein Ring). A true ring would only be seen if the observer, lens, and source were in direct alignment. Any misalignment results in shorter arc segments and multiplied points of light, like with the Einstein Cross.Even though the effect was supported by the equations, Einstein believed gravitational lensing would be impossible to observe. On this count, at least, he was mistaken. The first gravitationally lensed object was discovered in 1979 at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Astronomers discovered a single quasar lensed to appear as two distinct and identical objects. Dubbed Twin QSO, this quasar served as still more confirmation of relativistic gravity in action.In the years since that first discovery, larger telescopes including Hubble and the Very Large Array have found more examples of lensing from subtle arc segments, all the way up to nearly perfect Einstein Rings (as above). Recent work on gravitational lensing is also being used to improve measurements of extremely distant galaxies.Gravitational lensing can be a confusing concept, but the physics behind it are sound. Our evolved ape brains just have trouble grasping the unbelievable distances and masses involved. The universe does some awesome stuff and we’re lucky to be seeing it happen.last_img read more

Budget

first_imgWith wages growing faster than inflation over the past year, you’d assume that Aussie households are bringing in more than they need to live. But spending is also getting away from many people. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in seven Australian households is spending more than it earns. There is a clich<00E9> from the older generations: that a penny saved is as good as a penny earned. But where can you cut your costs? I suggest you start with the largest item in your household budget, and for most readers that will be your cost of housing: rent, mortgage and maintenance. You can refinance into a cheaper mortgage, but you could also find several small household savings and put them into your mortgage in a monthly payment. You can save thousands. Think about a family with an average $350,000, 30-year mortgage, paying a variable interest rate of 6.44 per cent. If you contribute $20 per month extra you can take nearly a year – and $15,000 in payments – off that mortgage. Of course, in order to have extra money to put into the mortgage, you need to find savings. These needn’t be complicated: if you work in the city, chances are you’re spending around $12 on a sandwich and a drink for lunch every day. If you pack a lunch just twice a week, you save $24, or $96 a month. I used our monthly repayment calculator on ybr.com.au and found that on an average 350,000, 30 year mortgage with an average 6.82 per cent variable rate, putting the cost of two lunches per week into that mortgage equates to a savings of $65,500 and takes 42 months off the loan. Cutting just one cup of take away coffee at $3.20 per day is a $69 in savings per month. If you put this into your mortgage you’d reduce your home loan by 32 months, saving you $50,532. What about your phone costs? Many people have mobile phones but they also have a land line. Do you need both? And do you need that size of download on your internet plan? It’s not impossible to save $50 a month between internet and phone. Other opportunities to save are out there: shop for packaged holidays rather than buying air fares and hotel rooms separately; reduce your dining out from twice to once a week and you could be saving $300 a month; have either cable TV or DVD rentals; time your petrol fill-up for the cheapest days and buy groceries at the lowest-cost supermarket, even if it means bringing your own shopping bags. Just about any household can find $200 a month in savings: if you put this into your mortgage each month, you save $112,602 and reduce the term of your $300,000 loan by about seven years. This is not the stuff of financial masterminds – it’s about cutting small costs in your household so your can reduce the biggest cost of all. * Mark Bouris is the Executive Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a financial services company offering home loans, financial planning, accounting & tax and insurance. Email Mark on mark.neos@ybr.com.auwith any queries you may have or check www.ybr.com.au for your nearest branch. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Découverte dune nouvelle espèce de renard vieille de 2 millions dannées

first_imgDécouverte d’une nouvelle espèce de renard vieille de 2 millions d’annéesPubliant ses travaux le 22 janvier dans Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, une équipe internationale a découvert, sur le site sud-africain de Malapa, les restes fossilisés d’une espèce de renard jusqu’alors inconnue, remontant à 2 millions d’années.La famille des renards compte désormais une nouvelle espèce, ou du moins comptait puisque cette dernière est éteinte depuis des milliers d’années. Des chercheurs de l’Université du Witwatersrand et de l’Université de Johannesbourg (Afrique du Sud), assistés de scientifiques d’autres pays, ont en effet mis au jour des restes fossilisés appartenant à une espèce de renard jusqu’à présent inconnue, qu’ils ont baptisée Vulpes skinneri en l’honneur de John Skinner, un mammalogiste de l’Université de Pretoria, récemment décédé.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ? Les restes découverts correspondent à une mandibule et un squelette partiel mais cela a suffi aux chercheurs pour en apprendre plus sur l’animal. Les proportions des dents du canidé et d’autres aspects de son anatomie le distinguent sans ambiguïté de toutes les espèces connues de renard, actuelles ou éteintes. Vieux de 2 millions d’années, le spécimen a été découvert sur le site sud-africain de Malapa, célèbre pour avoir livré en 2008 les fossiles d’une nouvelle espèce de préhumain (décrite en 2010), Australopithecus sediba, qui vivait à peu près à la même époque.”C’est passionnant de voir un nouveau renard fossile. L’ascendance des renards est peut-être la plus mal connue au sein des carnivores africains, et observer ce qui est potentiellement une forme ancestrale des renards actuels est merveilleux”, a déclaré le Dr Brian Kuhn, de l’Institut de recherche sur l’évolution humaine de l’Université du Witwatersrand.”Malapa continue à révéler ces extraordinaires vestiges de la vie passée et, aussi importants que soient les ancêtres de l’homme découverts ici, la contribution de ce site à notre compréhension de l’évolution des mammifères africains modernes, à travers des spécimens merveilleux comme ce renard, est tout aussi importante. Qui sait ce que nous trouverons encore ?”, a ainsi conclu Lee Berger, découvreur d’ A. sediba.Le 26 janvier 2013 à 11:48 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Morning Press Homeless camping DiscoverOrg port candidate suit dismissed

first_imgCooling down? Heating up? Find out what’s in store for the weekend with our local weather coverage.Here are some of the stories that grabbed our readers’ attention this week. Vancouver might decriminalize campingThe Vancouver City Council may decriminalize the city’s unlawful camping ordinance. The current ordinance making it illegal to camp in public between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. is a misdemeanor but could be demoted to a civil infraction.Since infractions are punishable by fines — and most homeless people would not be able to pay such a fine — the councilors discussed during a city council workshop Monday whether there are alternative penalties for camping outside of lawful hours.“Is there community service? Is there any other way of putting something in there that’s not just financial?” said Councilor Jack Burkman.Councilors express frustration at lack of progress on issuesDiscoverOrg buys competitor RainKing in nine-figure dealVancouver market intelligence company DiscoverOrg will grow yet again, this time after buying Maryland-based competitor RainKing.The deal, announced Monday, was struck for an undisclosed sum. DiscoverOrg co-founder and CEO Henry Schuck told The Columbian it cost them “at least $100 million.”last_img read more

Caribbean Youth Debate Disaster Management and Mitigation at CDM10

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, December 11, 2017 – Nassau – At the 10th Caribbean Conference on Disaster Management, young people took front and centre stage with the CDM10  Youth Programme.   On Thursday, December 7, 2017 young people from the 18 Participating States engaged in insightful debate on:  “The Role of Adolescents in Disaster Mitigation.”   The debate was followed by a Youth Cultural/Performing Arts Explosion.The Bahamas is the host of the 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM), December 4-9, 2017 at Melia Nassau Beach resort.    The conference is facilitated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the involvement of 18-Participating States: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands and the Virgin Islands.(BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)Release: BIS Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more