The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.
The controversial policy was triggered by an equally controversial tweet posted last September by David Guth, an associate journalism professor. Reacting to a lone gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., he wrote:
It's a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into. Last week the National Climate Assessment report was released detailing the toll climate change is already taking on the United States in terms of droughts, floods, heat waves and changes in agriculture.
Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.
That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame â centuries instead of decades.
Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.
But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year â if that.
On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.
Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.
In the spring of 2013, poachers looking for elephant ivory took advantage of the chaos of a civil war raging in the Central African Republic, and massacred 26 rare forest elephants at a special place called the "Dzanga bai."
The government released the latest national test scores on Wednesday, and the news isn't good: 12th-graders are headed toward graduation, but many don't have the skills they need to succeed in college or work.
When you think of bird flu, you may conjure up images of chickens being slaughtered to stem an outbreak, or of migrating ducks, which can carry flu viruses from one continent to the next. Well, it's time to add penguins to your list of mental images.
Yes, Adelie penguins, which breed in huge colonies on the rocky Antarctic Peninsula, also harbor a version of the avian influenza virus, according to a study published in the journal, mBio.
Remember that famous line in the movie Jerry Maguire where Renee Zellweger says to Tom Cruise, "You had me at 'hello' "? Well it turns out there is some scientific evidence to back this up. People use voices to instantly judge people, researchers say.
Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:10 pm
Opening Disclaimer 1: Although there may be more than one universe, as per the hypothetical multiverse, we will humbly submit to our own bubble of information, the sphere with a radius equal to the distance light has traveled since the beginning of time some 13.8 billion years ago. Factoring in the expansion of the universe, this radius is about 46 billion light years.
Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 5:35 pm
It's early evening on a Thursday and you're at a networking event, balancing a small plate of appetizers in one hand. Someone comes up to you to say hello. She acts like you've met before, but you can't recall where.
"It's Jackie Barnes," she says.
"Jackie Barnes," you repeat like you remember. "It's been a while."
As you say her name, a little device in your ear picks it up. The device does a search, and microseconds later it feeds you the info it's found on the Web: the college she attended, her current company, that she has two kids and is an avid runner.
Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 9:10 am
In an essay in The Baffler a couple of weeks ago, David Graeber offers the idea that there is a play principle embedded in all levels of physical reality. His essay, which ranges playfully from Spencer and Darwin to panpsychism and string theory, ponders a deep and serious problem. As he writes:
On-air challenge: Three words that start with the same letter will be presented in a group. Find a word that shares the same first letter as the three, and that can follow each word within the group to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. Example: "big," "broad," "boy"; the answer would be "band" to get "big band," "broadband" and "boy band."
Over the past few months, the country's biggest technology firms have spent billions buying startups. Are we watching another tech bubble about to burst?
In this year's first quarter, Google and Facebook, alone, announced deals worth more than $24 billion on little companies that have almost no revenue. Those deals seem to have spooked Wall Street; last week, technology stocks plunged and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell nearly 1.2 percent Monday.
Advanced sciences like astronomy require years of study and graduate degrees. And the soaring cost of college can be a heavy obstacle for low-income and minority students hoping to break into those fields.
A program at the City University of New York hopes to lift that burden by providing scholarships and one-on-one mentoring to underrepresented students.