Education in the Courts: Vergara v. California

first_imgOn March 4, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu rejected a motion to dismiss the Vergara v. California case and continue the state’s education trial where nine students are challenging the laws over teacher job protection. The suit, filed on behalf of Beatriz Vergara, a Los Angeles high school student, and eight other public school students, claims that the law protects poor-performing teachers assigned to working with low-income, minority children. The trial has resumed and will likely last for several months. Dean James Ryan answered some questions about the case and its relevance to education today. Read Full Storylast_img

The ruse of ‘fake news’

first_img Town halls, without the screaming or scripting Catching criminals through their relatives’ DNA Panelists ponder the future of journalism in a click-happy, unsourced world Fake news is giving reality a run for its money Related The Boston Globe To ensure that false content isn’t amplified across platforms, the study called on companies to do a better job of policing the use of software bots that control fake accounts — studies have estimated that anywhere from 9 to 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are bots, and that there may be as many as 60 million bots on Facebook — and identify and remove false content.“Generally, the platforms should avoid accidentally amplifying low-quality content when detecting what is trending,” Lazer said. “That seems like a no-brainer.”Though major companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have taken steps to counteract fake news, with Twitter moving to block accounts linked to Russian misinformation and Facebook announcing plans to shift its algorithm to account for “quality” in its content curation, the authors said the platforms have not provided enough detail about those steps for the research community to evaluate them properly.The authors outline two primary strategies to stem the flow and influence of fake news: empowering individuals to better evaluate the credibility of news and news sources they encounter, and making structural changes to prevent exposure to fake news in the first place.Though neither goal will be easy, Baum and Lazer admit, both could, over time, help restore citizen trust and credibility in news and information sources.“Our call here is to promote interdisciplinary research with the objective of reducing the spread of fake news and of addressing the underlying pathologies it has revealed,” the authors wrote. “More broadly, we must answer a fundamental question: How can we create a news ecosystem and culture that values and promotes truth?”This research was supported with funding from the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School and the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University. Finding genetic needles in database haystacks As Americans increasingly turn to social media as their primary source for news and information, the dangers posed by the phenomenon of “fake news” are growing.Reports of foreign influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election are only the most high-profile example of how the infusion of misinformation into social media can influence democratic institutions. Determining how to measure and counter untruths in the digital age, however, is still in its early stages.In a recent study described in the journal Science, lead authors Matthew Baum, the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications, David Lazer, a professor at Northeastern University and an associate of the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and more than a dozen co-authors argue that a multidisciplinary effort is needed to understand better how the internet spreads content and how readers process the news and information they consume. Such broad-based efforts are necessary, the authors said, “to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed.”“There needs to be some regular auditing of what the platforms are doing and how much this information is spreading,” Lazer added, “because there is a collective interest in the quality of the information ecosystem that we all live in.”In addition to Baum and Lazer, the paper was co-authored by Yochai Benkler, Adam J. Berinsky, Kelly M. Greenhill, Filippo Menczer, Miriam J. Metzger, Brendan Nyhan, Gordon Pennycook, David Rothschild, Michael Schudson, Steven A. Sloman, Cass R. Sunstein, Emily A. Thorson, Duncan J. Watts, and Jonathan L. Zittrain.The rise of fake news, the authors said, can be chalked up in part to two opposing trends in American society. Recent Gallup polls have found a growing mistrust of U.S. media, and studies have also said that nearly half of Americans “often or sometimes” get their news from social media, with Facebook being the dominant source.While those platforms have enabled new information sources and voices to emerge, they have also made it far easier for people to engage only with homogeneous social networks and take in only information that affirms their own views, thereby exacerbating the ideological divides in the country.“The internet has reduced many [previously enforced] constraints on dissemination of news. This allows outlets that do not embody these norms to compete online with those that do on a relatively more equal footing than was possible offline,” the authors argued in the paper. “This has contributed to the abandonment of traditional news sources that had long enjoyed high levels of public trust and credibility.”In some cases, Baum and Lazer said, social networks have unwittingly become complicit in amplifying fake news.As an example, they point to Twitter’s trending mechanism. When the platform notices a surge in tweets about a particular topic — such as a celebrity’s birthday or an approaching nor’easter — Twitter may list the topic as trending. But studies have repeatedly shown that the process can be manipulated. In one case journalists found that for as little as $200, a company in Saudi Arabia would deploy an army of bots to make any hashtag trend for a few hours.last_img read more

Fears arise that new federal fetal-tissue restrictions will hobble a ‘workhorse’ of research

first_img Breakthrough research shows that stem cell genes can be edited in living systems Discovery of a novel reprogramming method of adult cells could shift stem cell research Researchers create embryonic stem cells without embryo Editing genes at the source  DALEY: The scientific community has already spent, arguably, billions of dollars seeking alternatives. Because, even though it’s permissible today, obtaining human fetal tissues is challenging and already burdened by tremendous regulatory oversight. If we had better alternatives, we’d use them.So I’m somewhat skeptical that $20 million will do anything more than give political cover to the new restrictions. GAZETTE: Are some scientists concerned that this policy politicizes science?DALEY: Let me answer that as diplomatically as possible. As a practicing scientist working in the field of cancer and stem cell biology, having benefitted and learned a tremendous amount from the opportunity to use fetal tissues, I don’t believe that these restrictions are based on any plausible scientific rationale.Scientists concluded long ago and continue to argue for the central and essential importance of fetal tissue research in advancing medical knowledge and improving human health.center_img DALEY: My research over the last two decades has included deriving continuous cell lines from human embryos, creating so-called embryonic stem cell lines.These embryonic stem cell lines can grow forever in a petri dish, and they’ve been enormously powerful tools for research and the first therapies derived from embryonic stem cells are being tested in the clinic. However, they alone aren’t an adequate substitute for fetal tissue. We need to compare and contrast the results of our experiments in the petri dish with what actually happens during human fetal development, and for that we need fetal tissue.In our own work, our goal has been to derive blood, blood lineages, and blood stem cells from embryonic and pluripotent stem cells. The blood stem cell is the vehicle we use for curative bone marrow transplants for leukemia and various genetic blood diseases like immune deficiency. We’ve had some success in deriving facsimiles of bona fide human blood stem cells, but we only know that because we have access to actual blood stem cells that come from fetal tissue.In addition, we can literally take fetal tissues, a fetal hematopoietic (blood-production) system, and transplant it into a mouse. Fetal tissue research has entailed transplanting human fetal liver, fetal thymus, and fetal bone marrow into mice, creating humanized murineavatars of the human lymphoid and hematopoietic system.That has provided a powerful model for testing HIV infection, for establishing strategies to block HIV infection, and to create vaccines against HIV. It’s also, in our own experiences, given us vehicles to test whether we have succeeded in establishing human hematopoietic stem cells from these various pluripotent stem cell sources.GAZETTE: People may feel squeamish about blending human and mouse tissues. Since you can’t experiment on healthy humans, how many alternatives are there? DALEY: It’s the best we have.We’re not creating human organs in a mouse. These are pieces of tissue — in some cases microscopic clusters of cells — that come from human fetal liver, or human fetal thymus, or human fetal bone marrow. They get transplanted into an immune-deficient mouse — immune-deficient so it doesn’t reject the human cells. And it allows us to establish a human blood system in a mouse.Transplanting human tissues and cells into immune-deficient mice has been practiced for decades and it’s been enormously powerful for cancer research, for gene therapy research, for HIV research. There’s really no good alternative.If we had good alternatives, we’d use them.GAZETTE: Part of the challenge for any mouse research comes once you get results and seek to understand whether those results translate to a human. By using these embedded human tissues, does that begin to give you the answer while still working on a mouse?DALEY: That’s right. In our work on blood development, we can study mouse hematopoiesis, but that teaches us about blood in the mouse, and there are key differences between mouse blood and human blood. So the next-best approach is to establish the human blood-forming system in the mouse.That then allows us to study, manipulate experimentally and therapeutically human blood in a way that doesn’t involve testing directly on human patients. It’s safer and allows for a broader range of experiments.GAZETTE: We have just have a couple of minutes left, but I did want to get to some of the details of the administration’s plan. I wanted to touch on the idea that, outside of banned research at NIH and UCSF, grants for this work will be reviewed by a new ethical advisory board. What your thoughts are on that?DALEY: My concern about setting up another level of regulatory review by these ethical review boards within the NIH is that it is redundant, since we are already subject to ethical review at our home institutions.I worry that an additional review within NIH would introduce delays and impose standards that are potentially more restrictive.We’ve seen this happen before. When the NIH approved an expanded review of embryonic stem cell studies, it established its own internal review process that was cumbersome and introduced delays into the system. Ultimately, a lot of experiments that were highly worthy never got done.We saw the same issue when the NIH imposed a special review on so called human-animal “chimera” experiments. The policy produced a delay of months and even years in some cases. I’d have to go back to review, but I’m not even sure any applications were ultimately ever approved.So I worry that the new administration policy is an attempt to offer the appearance of a compromise when in fact it’s another means of simply obstructing the research.GAZETTE: In announcing the restrictions, HHS pointed to its announcement last December to spend $20 million on alternatives to fetal tissue research. Is that a meaningful amount when looking for alternatives to this kind of research? Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new restrictions on government-funded research conducted on fetal tissue.The department said it would end such research conducted at the National Institutes of Health and terminate a $2 million contract it had for similar work conducted at the University of California at San Francisco. NIH-funded research done at other institutions, including Harvard, will be allowed to continue until current grants run out. After that, projects seeking funding will be evaluated by a new ethics advisory board before approval.In its statement, HHS also highlighted plans that were announced in December to spend $20 million to search for alternatives to the use of fetal tissue from elective abortions in medical research.And the agency noted: “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.”Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley spoke with the Gazette about the importance of fetal tissue research, which has been used in creating and testing vaccines, the emerging field of gene therapy, and in research to better understand conditions from HIV to Zika virus.Q&AGeorge DaleyGAZETTE: When we talk about fetal tissue research, what exactly are we talking about?DALEY: It is research on the tissues that result from either elective or spontaneous abortions.The right of a woman to control her own reproductive fate has been established in U.S. law for decades and that has meant that physicians and scientists have had access to material that, after an elective procedure, would have otherwise been discarded as medical waste.That tissue has been used in research and therapy for many decades, to the great advantage of patients everywhere.GAZETTE: How significant has the use of this material been?DALEY: The use of fetal tissues has contributed to the development of numerous vaccines that have saved countless lives and prevented a huge burden of disease, especially in childhood, as well as various therapeutic strategies for diseases affecting adults.The robust growth properties of fetal cells have allowed scientists to create cell lines that are the manufacturing platform for vaccines. After many decades of experience, we know the cell lines that grow from early fetuses are easier to grow and more plastic in their properties, and consequently have lent themselves to very vigorous establishment and use in laboratories.A vast number of gene-therapy strategies depend on producing viral vectors in fetal cell cultures. Gene therapy is now widely employed and is curing children with devastating conditions like immune deficiency and, soon, sickle cell anemia.There also has been a limited — but promising — use of fetal tissues for the treatment of certain conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Beyond that, the ability to culture fetal tissues has contributed to insights into conditions that affect human development, like the influence of viruses on the developing brain. That occurred most notably and most recently with the Zika virus, which has been associated with microcephaly and brain developmental defects. The fundamental insights into that disease were dependent on access to fetal tissues.In my own research, we seek to understand the early development of blood as a tissue. Similar strategies apply for scientists who are interested in the development of other organs, including the heart, the lungs, the pancreas, and the brain.Access to fetal tissues has provided enormous insights that cannot be supplanted or substituted by model systems. We have learned much from studying blood development in the mouse, but ultimately we need to understand how the human blood system develops, and for that, access to fetal tissues is invaluable. GAZETTE: You mentioned cell lines from fetal tissue as important research tools. What is a cell line and why is it important to scientific research?DALEY: When we establish a colony of cells in a petri dish, growing in a nutrient liquid, those cells will divide: One cell becomes two; two become four; four become eight; and before you know it, you’ve got millions of cells that can be studied.GAZETTE: And they’re for a specific type of tissue?DALEY: That’s right. We typically establish a population of cells in a petri dish that are all the same cell type. One might cultivate a petri dish full of liver cells or brain cells or muscle cells or blood cells and those become enormously powerful tools for studying tissue development.And, at some low frequency, some of these cells will become immortal.Cells in a petri dish typically have a limited lifespan. Fetal cells tend to have a much-prolonged lifespan and occasionally will convert into an immortal cell type. That will then be considered a “cell line,” a lineage of cells deriving from its original forebears, but that can be perpetuated forever in culture.Many of these lines derived from fetal tissues have become workhorses of research around the globe. They’re employed in developing vaccines and have become vehicles for generating and manufacturing gene-therapy products. One can see how vitally important they are to cell biology and to biomedical research. GAZETTE: Some people have asked, “Aren’t stem cells a viable replacement for fetal tissue?” “Many of these lines derived from fetal tissues have become workhorses of research around the globe.” Relatedlast_img read more

Warren County Sporting Goods Store Enhancing COVID-19 Precautions

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image via – A outdoors store in Warren County is implementing new COVID-19 precautions as new cases of the virus continue to increase in the area.Tall Tales Sporting Goods in Russell is moving to curbside pickup for all non-firearm purchases starting Saturday.They are urging customers to order online, choosing the in-store pick-up option.Once the order is ready, the store will call and let the customer know. When customers arrive, they are asked to say in their vehicles and staff will bring the order out to them. Additionally, the stores is not selling hunting or fishing licenses for the time being and all firearm purchases will need to be made on an appointment basis.“Customers can order online and choose in store pick-up,” said staff in a post on their website. “We will call you once we have processed your order and schedule an appointment for pick up and firearm transfer.”They say only one person will be allowed in the store by appointment.“You will not be allowed to browse or shop in the store during this time,” they furthered. “You must be wearing a face covering for your appointment. No mask, no entry, no exceptions.”last_img read more

Vermont unemployment rate dips to 6.0 percent

first_imgThe Vermont Department of Labor announced today the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2010 was 6.0 percent, down two tenths from the revised May rate and down 1.2 percent from a year ago. ‘The unemployment rate and the jobs count both showed improvement in June,’ said Valerie Rickert, Acting Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor.  ‘A decline in the number of unemployed caused the unemployment rate to drop and the over the month change in the payroll survey may suggest some positive signs for the Vermont economy. The trends of the past several months continue to show slow but steady improvement in the Vermont labor market.’Vermont Labor Force StatisticsSeasonally Adjusted June  2010  May  2010  June  2009  May  2010  June  2009   Change to         June 2010 from    Total Labor Force358,800360,800360,100-2,000-1,300  Employment337,200338,500334,200-1,3003,000  Unemployment21,60022,30025,900-700-4,300  Rate6.0%6.2%7.2%-0.2-1.2Seasonal Job GrowthThe total job gain in June was mostly typical for the period. Since May, Vermont added 3,350 payroll jobs. Leisure & hospitality contributed the majority, adding 3,800, which reflect seasonal influences at many hotels, motels and eating & drinking establishments. Retail grew by 850 due primarily to the seasonal expansion of payrolls. Construction also continued its seasonal expansion, adding 550 jobs. Manufacturing experienced a healthy over the month change, up 500; both durable and non-durable goods presented increases. Private educational services added 400 jobs, which was a divergence from the typical seasonal pattern. Government education shed a comparatively average number of seasonal jobs in June. A decline in the number of intermittent Census workers drove the downturn in Federal government employment. The annual rate of unadjusted job growth was -0.4%, which is up one percent from the revised May estimate.When seasonally adjusted, June payroll jobs added 1,500 over May and lost 1,900 from a year ago. Leisure & hospitality grew by 1,200, with all of the gain concentrated in accommodation & food services. Private educational services presented an unusual increase, up 1,100 since May, which may represent a statistical anomaly associated with the seasonal aspect of the industry in combination with the aforementioned estimated unadjusted job growth. Construction lost 500 jobs; though we may see some improvement in this sector once more data for June becomes available. Retail added 300 jobs. In aggregate, government lost 400 jobs, with state government down 1,000 and local government up 800 over May.Employment GrowthVermont’s June seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by two tenths of a point to 6.0 percent as a result of a decline in the number of unemployed. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 9.5 percent, also down two tenths from May.June unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.1 percent in Hartford to 7.9 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the June unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 5.9 percent, unchanged from May and down 1.3 percent from a year ago. The change in the unadjusted unemployment rate was not statistically significant from the May value.Source: Vermont DOL. 7.20.2010last_img read more

UN To Open New Haiti Camp, Transfer 8,000 People

first_imgBy Dialogo April 09, 2010 The United Nations will Saturday begin to transfer 8,000 homeless Haitians out of a high-risk location to a new site that can accommodate up to 250,000 people, a spokesman said Wednesday. UN relief workers will relocate persons living in a camp at the Petion-Ville golf club, a site above the capital but subject to mudslides and flooding, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman France Hurtubise. “Everything is in place to receive the first persons Saturday.” she said. The new site called Corail is on 7,500 hectares (18,000 acres) some 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Port-au-Prince. UN officials had cited seven “high risk” camps that could be in peril during the rainy season followed by the hurricane season. An estimated 1.3 million people have been left homeless by the deadly January 12 earthquake.last_img read more

Tips for leading millennial employees

first_imgOver the next decade, as Gen X starts to retire, Millennials will take over as the majority in the workforce. For leaders who haven’t yet gotten a grasp on managing this generation, here are few tips to keep in mind…Give them what they want: While money is obviously a factor for anyone in any job situation, it’s usually not the main focus for Gen Y. The work, passion, atmosphere, and culture are all more important to this generation. The “old school” office culture isn’t as appealing to new talent as it used to be.Lead, don’t manage: Gen Y has a bad reputation for not respecting authority. Don’t manage like a king holding a title over their head. Instead of being commanding and demanding, be an approachable mentor that can be a source of guidance for your younger employees. And always give feedback whether it’s good or bad.Develop their passion: Millennials don’t necessarily know what they want out of their career. Help them learn new skills and develop into their best self. Millennials aren’t scared of trying new things, so help them find an area where they can grow, so you won’t have to replace them when they leave for a position they’re more passionate about. 47SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John Pettit John Pettit is the Managing Editor for John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Turkey, China each report another avian flu case

first_imgJan 10, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Tests in Turkey have confirmed another human case of avian flu, bringing the country’s reported total to 15, while Chinese authorities reported China’s eighth case, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.The WHO has officially recognized only four cases so far in Turkey, following their confirmation by outside reference laboratories, but the agency said yesterday the quality of testing at Turkey’s national flu center in Ankara is high.The latest case is in a 37-year-old woman with a history of exposure to sick chickens, the WHO said. She lives in the central province of Sivas, the seventh province to report cases, the statement said.In China, the latest case-patient is a 6-year-old boy from the southern province of Hunan, the WHO said. He became ill Dec 24 and is hospitalized in stable condition.Initial investigation suggested that the boy became infected through exposure to sick or dying poultry in his family’s flock, though no poultry outbreaks have been officially reported in the area, the WHO said.Chinese officials also have reported the deaths of two previously reported case-patients, according to the WHO. They are a 10-year-old girl from the Guangxi region and a 35-year-old man from Jiangxi province. The cases were reported Dec 7 and 16, respectively.China now has had eight confirmed cases, five of which were fatal, the WHO said. The latest case is the second in Hunan province; the other patient, reported in November, lived about 300 kilometers from the new patient.All 15 of Turkey’s cases have been confirmed by the government within just the past week. Two teenagers from eastern Turkey died last week.Despite Turkey’s rapidly rising case count, a WHO official in Turkey said the virus does not seem to be spreading from person to person, according to an Associated Press (AP) account.”It seems to be clear that we are dealing with a situation similar to what we have seen in Asia, which means in practice a number of small sites, family clusters of disease involving many children and always with documented or reported contact with infected birds, typically backyard poultry,” said Guenael Rodier, part of a WHO team in Turkey.The 37-year-old woman is only the second adult among the Turkish cases so far, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. The rest are children and teenagers from several provinces who are being treated in Ankara, the northern city of Samsun, and the eastern city of Van, the story said..Turkey’s agriculture ministry said 306,000 birds have been culled in 15 of the country’s 81 provinces, according to AFP.In Japan today, the government said 77 healthy poultry workers have shown evidence of past infection with H5N2 avian flu, marking the first time that virus has been known to infect humans, according to an AFP report.The workers in Ibaraki and Saitama prefectures, north of Tokyo, carried antibodies believed to result from an H5N2 infection, officials said. Japan has had several poultry outbreaks of H5N2, a milder strain than H5N1, in recent months.An official said none of the workers have the virus now, so there is no risk they will spread it to others, according to the story. When the workers became infected was unknown.The AFP report said five people in western Japan were infected with H5N1 avian flu in 2004, but none suffered more than a sore throat.See also:WHO update on Turkey update on China read more

A new cycle of education for the organizers of tourist contents in nature is starting

first_imgThe Croatian Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, will continue the cycle of two-day trainings for organizers of tourist contents in nature in 2020. Attachment: The certificate obtained by completing this training is one of the recognized certificates / certificates for performing activities from the list of activities that are considered tourist services of active and adventure tourism. / / / DOWNLOAD THE LAW ON THE PROVISION OF SERVICES IN TOURISM AND CATERING Tourist services of active and adventure tourism – list of activities and required certificates or certificates A complete list of active and adventure tourism services, a list of appropriate certificates and other conditions can be found in the attachment. Trainings will be held in Šibenik (06.-07.02.), Rijeka (13.-14.02.) And Pula (27.-28.02.) HERE. Prema Law on the provision of services in tourism (OG 130/17) dated 03.12.2019 December XNUMX. all companies / crafts and other legal and natural persons that provide tourist services of active and adventure tourism must hire or have an employee with the appropriate domestic or foreign certificate, or a certificate that determines the ability and skill level of a particular activity. LIST OF CERTIFICATES AND CERTIFICATES FOR PERFORMING ACTIVE OR ADVENTURE TOURISM ACTIVITIES PUBLISHEDlast_img read more

In which we surf

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img