Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Role of Drama on Cultural Sensitivity, Motivation and Literacy in a Second Language Context

Abstract: Although drama has been used successfully in English as a second language and has been shown to have positive effects on achievement and on self-confidence and motivation in various studies, it has received little attention in French immersion context where subjects are taught in French, the second language of students. The objective of this study was to teach about Acadian culture to one French immersion class using drama (Drama group) and the other French immersion class using a more teacher-centered method (Library group). Both classes were at the intermediate level. Our central question examined the impact of drama activities in elementary early FI on language learning motivation, on cultural sensitivity, and on second language writing? The data included a motivation test, a written composition, teachers’ journals and classroom observations. Results showed a positive effect of drama on several variables. First, the Drama group evaluated the learning unit significantly higher than the Library group. Furthermore, the Drama group showed a significantly higher integrative motivation and also a significantly higher desire to learn French than the Library Group. Both groups had a high cultural sensitivity before the intervention and thus there was no difference between the two groups either at post-test time. The writing of the composition revealed that the Drama group received a significantly higher overall score, and a significantly better score on cultural content. Both groups achieved high on content, accuracy, and details. Source: ournal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 9. via eScholarship Repository

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The Media Mural Project: Empowering Youth in New Mass Media

"This article describes the pedagogy, practice and outcomes of a digital art program developed to enable high school and middle school students to become active participants in new forms of grassroots public media. Students and their teachers become producers and controllers of art-based videos and associated digital dialogue which is distributed on the Internet." Source: Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 11.[via eScholarship Repository]

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Projections of Education Statistics to 2016

"This edition of Projections of Education Statistics provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2016, as well as state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high school graduates to the year 2016." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Race, Ethnicity, and the Criminal Justice System

"This research brief highlights data and research findings on racial and ethnic disparities in crime and the criminal justice system in the United States, with particular emphasis on studies that illustrate differences that can be explained by discrimination. The discussion focuses on issues relating to race/ethnicity in different stages of criminal justice processing at the beginning of the twenty-first centure; data reflecting trends over time are presented for context." Source: American Sociological Association Research Brief

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Nonresident Fathers’ Involvement Influenced by Kids’ Behavioral and Emotional Characteristics

Abstract: "Federal and state governments spend a lot of money on encouraging nonresident fathers to be involved in their children’s lives. Is this money well spent? Social scientists, politicians, and commentators widely assume that children with involved fathers have higher rates of well-being than do those with absent, uninvolved fathers. Turning this assumption on its head, Daniel Hawkins, Paul Amato, and Valarie King ask whether paternal involvement is influenced by children’s well-being. Using nationally representative data on adolescents, their findings suggest that fathers who live with their children both influence and are influenced by their kids. In other words, adolescents and resident fathers are “engaged in reciprocal patterns of influence.” That is, a well-adjusted child might encourage nonresident fathers to be more involved, while a less well-adjusted child might discourage a father from investing more time. Poorly-adjusted adolescents are likely to avoid visits with fathers or make visits uncomfortable, while well-adjusted adolescents are likely to seek out visits with fathers (and vice versa). The results for nonresident father–child relationships differ dramatically as fathers react to the behavioral and emotional characteristics of their children. According to the authors, “Our findings suggest that low levels of adolescent well-being may be a barrier to, rather than a result of, nonresident father involvement.” Source: American Sociological Review

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Celebrity Status

"Max Weber's fragmentary writings on social status suggest that differentiation on this basis should disappear as capitalism develops. However, many of Weber's examples of status refer to the United States, which Weber held to be the epitome of capitalist development. Weber hints at a second form of status, one generated by capitalism, which might reconcile this contradiction, and later theorists emphasize the continuing importance of status hierarchies. This article argues that such theories have missed one of the most important forms of contemporary status: celebrity. Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of contemporary society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path. In keeping with Weber's conception of status, celebrity has come to dominate status "honor," generate enormous economic benefits, and lay claim to certain legal privileges. Compared with other types of status, however, celebrity is status on speed. It confers honor in days, not generations; it decays over time, rather than accumulating; and it demands a constant supply of new recruits, rather than erecting barriers to entry." Source: Sociological Theory

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A Global Look at Public Perceptions of Health Problems, Priorities, and Donors: The Kaiser/Pew Global Health Survey

"This survey, conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Global Attitudes Project, examines how people around the world perceive and prioritize health in their countries and gauge the efforts of donor nations. People in 47 countries were polled on a series of health questions, giving them an opportunity to share their views on health as a priority for their government and in their own lives.

Specifically, the survey looks at what people consider to be the top problem facing their country, such as HIV/AIDS, crime, pollution and political corruption. It also examines the top public health priorities in low and middle income countries, such as preventing and treating HIV, fighting hunger and malnutrition, and accessing health care." Source: Kaiser/Pew Global Health

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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It?

"...explores research into the organization of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the effects of CSEC on victims, and what measures are being taken and can be taken in the future to prevent its occurrence. The research found that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities." Source: National Institute of Justice

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Digital Footprints: Online Identity Management and Search in the Age of Transparency

"Unlike footprints left in the sand at the beach, our online data trails often stick around long after the tide has gone out. And as more internet users have become comfortable with the idea of authoring and posting content online, they have also become more aware of the information that remains connected to their name online.

Nearly half of all internet users (47%) have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22%, as reported by the Pew Internet Project in 2002. Younger users (under the age of 50) are more prone to self-searching than those ages 50 and older. Men and women search for information about themselves in equal numbers, but those with higher levels of education and income are considerably more likely to monitor their online identities using a search engine." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel a Chill

"Just over half of all Hispanic adults in the U.S. worry that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, a new nationwide survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center has found. Nearly two-thirds say the failure of Congress to enact an immigration reform bill has made life more difficult for all Latinos. Smaller numbers (ranging from about one-in-eight to one-in-four) say the heightened attention to immigration issues has had a specific negative effect on them personally. These effects include more difficulty finding work or housing; less likelihood of using government services or traveling abroad; and more likelihood of being asked to produce documents to prove their immigration status." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Brief Overview of Selected Issues

The current legislative and oversight activity with respect to electronic surveillance under FISA has drawn national attention to several overarching issues. This report briefly outlines three such issues and touches upon some of the perspectives reflected in the ongoing debate. These issues include the inherent and often dynamic tension between national security and civil liberties, particularly rights of privacy and free speech; the need identified by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Admiral Mike McConnell, for the Intelligence Community to be able to efficiently and effectively collect foreign intelligence information from the communications of foreign persons located outside the United States in a changing, fast paced, and technologically sophisticated international environment, and the differing approaches suggested to meet this need; and limitations of liability for those electronic communication service providers who furnish aid to the federal government in its foreign intelligence collection. Two constitutional provisions, in particular, are implicated in this debate -- the Fourth and First Amendments. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Judicial Salary: Current Issues and Options for Congress

Several federal judges, including the Chief Justice of the United States, have expressed concern over the level of judicial salary. Chief Justice Roberts has called the current levels of judicial salary a "constitutional crisis" that threatens the independence of the federal courts. The most common arguments for raising judicial salary claim that low judicial salaries (1) limit the ability of the federal judiciary to draw on a diverse pool of candidates for positions on the federal bench; (2) force federal judges concerned about their financial futures to resign from the bench before they become eligible for retirement; and (3) drive other federal judges, upon becoming eligible for retirement, to retire completely (to earn extra income outside the judiciary), rather than remain to assist the courts as judges on "senior status." Opponents of raising judicial salary generally question whether variations in judicial salary affect recruitment and retention of federal judges. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Marrying Marketing Science with the Front Lines: One Book Publisher's Winning Combination

The rise of the Internet has been a boon to the National Academies Press, or NAP, the book-publishing arm of the National Academy of Sciences. But by the start of this decade, the promise of the web also posed some potential pitfalls.

In 2001, the leading scientists on the board of the Academy were suggesting that NAP executive director Barbara Kline Pope take advantage of new technologies to offer its books on the web in a downloadable PDF format -- free of charge. According to Pope, the scientists told her they wanted the ability to disseminate the scientific information as widely as possible, explaining "that we could give away PDFs for free and it would build knowledge around the world. They were also saying to me, 'Don't worry about your business model because people will still buy printed books.'" Source: Knowledge@wharton

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Human Trafficking in California

"In September 2005, California enacted its first anti-trafficking law (Assembly Bill 22, Lieber) to make human trafficking a felony in this state and assist victims in rebuilding their lives. This law, as well as Senate Bill 180 (Kuehl, 2005), also established the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery (CA ACTS) Task Force to conduct a thorough review of California’s response to human trafficking and report its findings and recommendations to the Governor, Attorney General and Legislature. The law charged the Task Force with examining whether we are doing enough to identify the extent of human trafficking in this state, protect and assist
victims, prosecute traffickers and prevent this violation of human freedom. Between March 2006 and July 2007, the Task Force held nine meetings to explore these issues. It heard many presentations by representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide services to human trafficking victims; law enforcement; prosecutors; local, state and federal agencies; labor; farm workers; victim advocacy programs; academic researchers; and survivors of human trafficking. In addition, the Task Force conducted research with many local, state and national experts, including service providers and researchers in the field of human trafficking." Source: California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force

Download full pdf report | Link to "SafeState" resource site by the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force

Children Left Behind - How Metropolitan Areas Are Failing America's Children

"Our analysis focuses on two key research questions. First, how has increased foreign
competition affected the wage levels of workers in different educational classes across
the Los Angeles economy? Second, what is the influence of foreign competition on the
relative wages of low-skilled workers versus high-skilled workers (i.e. wage inequality)? In relation to these questions, we also explore how the influence of trade on wages has moved through the 1990s, and we examine the relative impacts on wages of trade and skill-biased technological change. By answering these questions we seek to re-engage the trade and wage inequality literature and present direct evidence of the impacts of global processes on local labor markets." Bonnie Lefkowitz, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies. Mapping Global Inequalities - conference papers. Paper mgi-8.

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Impacts of Trade on Wage Quality in Los Angeles: Analysis Using Matched Employer-Employee Data

Our analysis focuses on two key research questions. First, how has increased foreign competition affected the wage levels of workers in different educational classes across the Los Angeles economy? Second, what is the influence of foreign competition on the relative wages of low-skilled workers versus high-skilled workers (i.e. wage inequality)? In relation to these questions, we also explore how the influence of trade on wages has moved through the 1990s, and we examine the relative impacts on wages of trade and skill-biased technological change. By answering these questions we seek to re-engage the trade and wage inequality literature and present direct evidence of the impacts of global processes on local labor markets. D L. Rigby and Sebastien Breau. Center for Global, International and Regional Studies. Mapping Global Inequalities - conference papers. Paper mgi-13.

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Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress

"This report presents a working definition for the term "cyber terrorism", plus background information describing how current technology and management processesmay leave computers exposed to cyber attack, and a discussion of possible effects of a cyber attack. Potential issues for Congress are presented in the second section, including: whether appropriate guidance exists for a DOD information warfare response to a cyber attack; whether the need to detect possible cyber terrorist activity interferes with individual privacy; whether the roles and responsibilities for protecting against a possible cyber terrorist attack need more clarity for government, industry, and home users; and, whether information sharing on cyber threats and vulnerabilities must be further increased between private industry and the federal government. The final section describes possible policy options for improving protection against threats from possible cyber terrorism." Source: Congressional Research Service

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China's 17th Communist Party Congress, 2007: Leadership and Policy Implications

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 17th Congress, held from October 15 - 21, 2007, demonstrated the Party's efforts to try to adapt and redefine itself in the face of emerging economic and social challenges while still trying to maintain its authoritarian one-Party rule. The Congress validated and re-emphasized the priority on continued economic development; expanded that concept to include more balanced and sustainable development; announced that the Party would seek to broaden political participation by expanding intra-Party democracy; and selected two potential rival candidates, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, with differing philosophies (rather than one designated successor-inwaiting) as possibilities to succeed to the top Party position in five years. More will be known about the Party's future prospects and the relative influence of its two potential successors once the National People's Congress meets in early 2008 to select key government ministers. Source: Congressional Research Service

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The FCC's 10 Commissioned Economic Research Studies on Media Ownership: Policy Implications

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has released for public comment 10 economic research studies on media ownership that it had commissioned to provide data and analysis to support the policy debate on what ownership limitations are in the public interest. These studies also provide data and analysis useful to the on-going policy debates on how best to foster minority ownership of broadcast stations and on tiered vs. a la carte pricing of multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services, such as cable and satellite television. The FCC also has released peer reviews of these studies that are required by the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, and Free Press (Consumer Commenters) jointly submitted to the FCC very detailed comments on the 10 FCC-commissioned studies that included statistical results from re-running the models in those studies, applying the same empirical data to models revised to correct for alleged specification errors. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Open Source Intelligence (OSINT): Issues for Congress

"Open source information (OSINT) is derived from newspapers, journals, radio and television, and the Internet. Intelligence analysts have long used such information to supplement classified data, but systematically collecting open source information has not been a priority of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). In recent years, given changes in the international environment, there have been calls, from Congress and the 9/11 Commission among others, for a more intense and focused investment in open source collection and analysis. However, some still emphasize that the primary business of intelligence continues to be obtaining and analyzing secrets. A consensus now exists that OSINT must be systematically collected and should constitute an essential component of analytical products. This has been recognized by various commissions and in statutes. Responding to legislative direction, the Intelligence Community has established the position of Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Open Source and created the National Open Source Center. The goal is to perform specialized OSINT acquisition and analysis functions and create a center of excellence that will support and encourage all intelligence agencies." Source: Congressional Research Service

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United Nations : Human Development Report 2007/2008

Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world

"With governments preparing to gather in Bali, Indonesia to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report has warned that the world should focus on the development impact of climate change that could bring unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education."

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Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?

"The new survey finds that a plurality of Hispanics view the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party as the one that shows more concern for Latinos and does a better job on the issue of illegal immigration (although a substantial minority of Latinos see no difference between the parties on these matters). Also, many more Latinos say the policies of the Bush Administration have been harmful to Latinos than say they have been helpful." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Numbers and Rates of Public High School Dropouts

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is an annual universe collection of public elementary and secondary education data that is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and its data collection agent, the U.S. Census Bureau. Data for the CCD surveys are provided by state education agencies (SEAs). This report presents findings on the numbers and rates of public school students who dropped out of school in school years 2002–03, 2003–04, and 2004–05, using data from the CCD State-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts for these years. The report also used the Local Education Agency-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts: School Year 2004–05, and the NCES Common Core of Data Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Restricted-Use Data File: School Year 2004–05. Source: National Center for education statistics.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Overlooked Costs of Religious Deference

"This Article asks how women and children will fare in a system of religious deference. It maintains that the state has an important protective function to play for these traditionally vulnerable groups. Enforcing certain religious understandings of marital relationships will likely undermine a woman's ability to exit the relationship and, consequently, prevent her from policing the conduct in her own relationship and with respect to her children. Policymakers should proceed cautiously with any proposal to hand over authority for marital disputes since family violence occurs in religious communities, as it does throughout society, but is tolerated by some religious leaders and adherents. Drawing on our experience with faith-based exemptions to the duty to provide medical care for children, this Article concludes that the costs of giving greater deference to religious understandings of family relationships must seriously be considered before we are willing to rob women and children of the state's protections." Wilson, Robin Fretwell Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, 2007 [via SSRN]

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Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers

"As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents." Source: Immigration Policy Center

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"The Stepford Justices": The Need for Experiential Diversity on the Roberts Court

From the Abstract: "For the first time in history every Supreme Court justice has come directly from the same job: judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. For the first time in history no justice has ever served in a legislature at any level of government. For the first time in history no justice has ever run for political office. For the first time in history eight of the nine justices have graduated from the same three Ivy League law schools.

This narrowness of experience on the Supreme Court is unprecedented. Our current Supreme Court can indeed be called The Stepford Justices.

This article traces this homogeneity to the failure of the Robert Bork nomination in 1987. Since Bork, Presidents have tried to sell their nominees as non-ideological legal technicians. At the same time, justices are actually being selected for the same reason they always have been - the hope that their decisions will reflect the political beliefs of the President and his party." O'Neill, Timothy P. Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 4, 2007 [via SSRN]

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In the Shadow of Globalization: Changing Firm-Level Employment Practices and Shifting Employment Risks in the United States

Abstract: "Globalization generates to increased competition between firms in the product market, which in induces firms to seek flexibility in their labor relations - flexibility to hire and fire on short notice, to increase or shrink the overall size of their workforce, to adjust pay to short-term performance results, to redeploy workers within the firm and to outside production partners, and to retain workers with particular skills on an as-needed basis. These practices are in tension with the labor law regimes throughout the Western world. In the United States, employers' drive for flexibility has fueled aggressive de-unionization efforts, and has induced employers to increase their use of temporary workers and independent contractors and to restructure pension and benefit plans. A crucial question for employment regulation thus becomes how to protect workers - how to mitigate their vulnerabilities and ameliorate the shifting risks that today's workplace practices impose. The author argues that other countries are experiencing the same tension between flexibility and worker protection, and suggests that we learn from other countries' efforts to devise mechanisms to preserve worker security at the same time relaxing traditional labor protective regimes." Stone, Katherine V.W.,University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law [via SSRN]

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National Opinion Research Center: Survey of Earned Doctorates

From Introduction: "The data presented in this report are from the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), a census of the 45,596 research doctorate recipients who earned their degrees between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006. Conducted since 1957, this survey is sponsored by six federal agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Records on all doctorate recipients from 1920 to 1957 were collected from universities in the early years of the SED and have been added to the cumulative survey data. All survey responses become part of the Doctorate Records File (DRF), a cumulative database on research doctorate recipients from 1920 to 2006. For the 2006 survey, 92 percent of the 45,596 new doctorate recipients completed the SED questionnaire; basic information on nonrespondents was obtained from their degree- granting institutions and public records.2 The cumulative DRF now contains a total of 1,648,744 records on individuals completing doctorates over the last 87 years at U.S. institutions." Source: NORC at the University of Chicago

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Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in These Institutions

"Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) are colleges and universities serving a large percentage of minority students. This study identifies six different subgroups of MSIs and analyzes them from the perspective of the institution and the student. First, using the 2004 Fall Enrollment Survey, a census survey component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the study compares all subgroups of MSIs to one another and to non-MSIs. Second, from the perspective of the students, data from the 2003-04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04) is used to examine how minority students differ, in demographic and enrollment characteristics, by the type of institution. Major findings are as follows: MSIs totaled 1,254 in 2004, accounting for just under one-third of all degree-granting Title IV institutions; they enrolled nearly sixty percent of the 4.7 million minority undergraduates. Hispanic-serving institutions and Black-serving (non-HBCUs) accounted for 27 percent and 16 percent, respectively of MSIs followed by Asian-serving (8 percent), HBCUs (5 percent), and American Indian-serving institutions (1 percent). The majority of students in Hispanic- and Black-serving MSIs were enrolled in public 2-year institutions. Four-year MSIs (except for Asian-serving) had a higher percentage of institutions with open admissions policy and institutions with at least half low-income enrollment compared with non-MSIs." Source: U.S. Department of Higher Education

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Report to AAA: Engagement of Anthropology with Security and Intelligence Communities

From the Chron.of Higher Ed Article: "The report emphasizes two central principles: Anthropologists should be open and transparent in their work, and they should not harm the people they study. Unsurprisingly, no one at Thursday's sessions objected to such broadly stated principles—but there was plenty of disagreement about how to put them into practice." Source: American Anthropological Association via Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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Social Science PhDs - Five+ Years Out

From Executive Summary: "This report concludes that students in social science PhD programs are well prepared for their careers in a number of ways, but they need additional training in essential professional competencies and they need support for career preparation in order to fully utilize the knowledge and analytical skills they acquired during doctoral education. For this reason, policy recommendations at the end of this report call for a paradigm shift in PhD education. Funders, policy makers, disciplinary associations, universities, and graduate faculty need to recognize that the PhD in the 21st century is preparation for employment. Social science doctoral students need better career preparation and better support for learning to manage careers. In particular, universities need to recognize that most men and women are in relationships, many with children, and this situation influences PhD careers; universities need to pay more attention to connecting research training with teaching, writing and publishing; and universities need to bring professional development competencies such as teamwork, working in interdisciplinary contexts, grant writing, and managing people and budgets, from the margins to the center of PhD education."
Source: Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington

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Link to online introduction

Public Sees Progress in War Effort

"For the first time in a long time, nearly half of Americans express positive opinions about the situation in Iraq. A growing number says the U.S. war effort is going well, while greater percentages also believe the United States is making progress in reducing the number of Iraqi casualties, defeating the insurgents and preventing a civil war in Iraq." Source: Pew research center for people and the press

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English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States

"Nearly all Hispanic adults born in the United States of immigrant parents report they are fluent in English. By contrast, only a small minority of their parents describe themselves as skilled English speakers. This finding of a dramatic increase in English-language ability from one generation of Hispanics to the next emerges from a new analysis of six Pew Hispanic Center surveys conducted this decade among a total of more than 14,000 Latino adults. The surveys show that fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English very well. However, fully 88% of their U.S.-born adult children report that they speak English very well. Among later generations of Hispanic adults, the figure rises to 94%. Reading ability in English shows a similar trend." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Parents attitudes and opinions on the use of psychotropic medication in mental disorders of childhood

"A 20-item questionnaire was distributed to 140 parents during their first contact with an outpatient child psychiatric service. The questionnaire comprised of questions regarding the opinions, knowledge and attitudes of parents towards children's psychotropic medication. Sociodemographic data concerning parents and children were also recorded. Frequency tables were created and the chi-square test and Fisher's exact tests were used for the comparison of the participants' responses according to sex, educational level, age and gender of the child and use of medication." Source: Annals of General Psychiatry 2007, 6:32

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Will California Jumpstart National Health Care Reform?

"The sheer size of California and its volume of uninsured – who outnumber the entire population of Massachusetts – plus the state's and governor's political clout could help rev up the momentum for health-reform discussion at the national level, said Drew Altman, head of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group that conducts national health-policy research. Health care already is emerging as a major issue in the 2008 presidential election." Source: Pew Research Center| Stateline.org

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Public's News Interests: Campaign, War and Returning Troops

"While the national news media focused heavily on the 2008 presidential campaign last week, the public divided its interest between the campaign and the Iraq war. More than one-fifth of the national newshole (21%) was devoted to the presidential campaign, while news about the war – including the situation in Iraq, returning U.S. troops and the Iraq policy debate – drew only about half as much coverage." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Powerful Husbands and Virtuous Wives: The Familial Structure in the Leadership of the New Life Movement, 1934-1938

In February 1934 the Chinese Nationalist Party launched the New Life Movement with the goal of making strong and modern national citizens through social and cultural reforms with the emphases on cleanliness and discipline. It was initiated by the Generalissimo, led by officials, and first practiced in the state apparatus—central and local government agencies, schools, and military forces. I call it a male strategy of mobilizing the Chinese nation for a modern state. The presumption of the male political and social subject as the norm resulted in the tactic of turning state agents, overwhelmingly male, into social leaders. But this male strategy turned out to be unsuccessful when male state agents tried to “propagate, implement, guide and inspect” inside the home, even though they themselves were all family members and resided in households. So male New Life leaders transferred the task of modernizing the home to women and made their wives responsible for mobilizing ordinary women to fulfill the task.

This paper focuses on the first stage of women’s mobilization in the New Life Movement from 1934 to 1938 by showing how this approach to women’s organizing emerged. By examining the structure of New Life leadership and the power relations between women’s New Life organizations and male New Life committees, I argue that gendered leadership did successfully mobilized women of the family for, and into, the nation-state-society whole, but also paradoxically reinforced the gendered labor division in between the domesticity and the nation-state-society whole. Source: UCLA Center for the Study of Women. Thinking Gender Papers.

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Islam and Women’s Rights

The Islamic resurgence that has engulfed most Muslim countries today has thrown forth different levels of tension and competing ideologies within these societies: what Islam, whose Islam is the right Islam? Very often, it is the status and rights of women that have become the first casualty in this battleground. The struggle for equality and justice for Muslim women must therefore be placed within the context of women living in Muslim societies where Islam is increasingly shaping and redefining our lives. Very often, it is the Muslim women who are targeted to reflect society’s renewed commitment to the faith in ways that are often discriminatory and oppressive. Source: UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. [via eScholarshp Repository]

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Polling the Polling Experts: How Accurate and Useful Are Polls These Days?

When it comes to polls, not all are created equal.

The most reliable? "Surveys conducted by professional polling organizations on a periodic basis which repeatedly ask the same question -- such as, 'Do you intend to buy a car in the next three months?' -- are fully scientific and useful," says J. Michael Steele, Wharton professor of statistics. "Even though we really don't know what a person means when he says 'yes,' we can make hay out of the fact that last year, 15% said 'yes' and this year only 5% said 'yes.'" An example of a polling company that fits this profile is the Gallup organization and the Gallup Poll, considered a leading barometer of public opinion. Source: Knowledge@Wharton

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FBI releases new report: Terrorism 2002-2005

"This edition of Terrorism highlights significant terrorism-related events in the United States and selected FBI investigative efforts overseas that occurred during the years 2002 through 2005. Additionally, this report provides a wide range of statistical data relating to terrorism in the United States during the past two decades. This material is presented to provide readers with an historical framework for the examination of contemporary terrorism issues." Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence

"This report is a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns of children, teenagers, and adults in the United States. To Read or Not To Read assembled data on reading trends from more than 40 sources, including federal agencies, universities, foundations, and associations. The compendium expands the investigation of the NEA's landmark 2004 report, Reading at Risk, and reveals recent declines in voluntary reading and test scores alike, exposing trends that have severe consequences for American society." Source: National Endowment for the Arts

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| Link to NEA Reports

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Revisiting the Income Effect: Gasoline Prices and Grocery Purchases

This paper examines the importance of income effects in purchase decisions for every-day products by analyzing the effect of gasoline prices on grocery expenditures. Using detailed scanner data from a large grocery chain as well as data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), we show that consumers re-allocate their expenditures across and within food-consumption categories in order to offset necessary increases in gasoline expenditures when gasoline prices rise. We show that gasoline expenditures rise one-for-one with gasoline prices, consumers substitute away from food-away-from-home and towards groceries in order to partially offset their increased expenditures on gasoline, and that within grocery category, consumers substitute away from regular shelf-price products and towards promotional items in order to save money on overall grocery expenditures. On average, consumers are able to decrease the net price paid per grocery item by 5-11% in response to a 100% increase in gasoline prices. Our results show that consumers respond to permanent changes in income from gasoline prices by substituting towards lower-cost food at the grocery store and lower priced items within grocery category. The substitution away from full-priced items towards sale items has implications for microeconomic discrete-choice demand models as well as for macroeconomic inflation measures that typically do not incorporate frequently changing promotional prices. Source: Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, U.C. Berkeley

Download full pdf report | Link to online abstract

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans

"Far too many veterans are homeless in America. Homeless veterans can be found in every state across the country and live in rural, suburban, and urban communities. Many have lived on the streets for years, while others live on the edge of homelessness, struggling to pay their rent. We analyzed data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau to examine homelessness and severe housing cost burden among veterans." Source: National Alliance to end Homlessness.

Download pdf report
| Link to online summary

Monday, November 12, 2007

U.S. Senate Committee Hearing: Localism, Diversity, and Media Ownership

"focus on issues related to media consolidation, pending proposals to change the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules, and government efforts to promote localism and diversity the media marketplace."

Majority Statements
Daniel K. Inouye

Minority Statements
Ted Stevens

Opening Remarks

Panel 1

Mr. Alex Nogales
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Hispanic Media Coalition

Mr. Jim Goodmon
President and Chief Executive Officer
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.

Mr. Tim Winter
Parents Television Council

Mr. Frank A. Blethen
Publisher and Chief Executive Officer
The Seattle Times

Mr. John Lavine
Dean, Medill School
Northwestern University

Get full panel testimony in pdf format

The end of advertising as we know it

"To examine the factors influencing advertising and explore future scenarios, IBM surveyed more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising executives globally. The IBM report shows increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked.

Traditional advertising players risk major revenue declines as budgets shift rapidly to new, interactive formats, which are expected to grow at nearly five times that of traditional advertising. To survive in this new reality, broadcasters must change their mass audience mind-set to cater to niche consumer segments, and distributors need to deliver targeted, interactive advertising for a range of multimedia devices. Advertising agencies must experiment creatively, become brokers of consumer insights, and guide allocation of advertising dollars amid exploding choices. All players must adapt to a world where advertising inventory is increasingly bought and sold in open exchanges vs. traditional channels." Source: IBM Institute for Business

Download full pdf report | Download pdf executive summary | Link to site

2007 election: Lessons learned

"The 2007 elections prove once again that all politics is local as voters in three states soundly rejected governors’ pet projects and others put big-ticket spending items such as roads and cancer research on the state’s credit card.

The results yielded clues to the mood of voters as the country gears up for the kickoff of the 2008 presidential race, possibly as early as next month if New Hampshire decides to hold its primary then. “Voters are in a very change-oriented mood,” said Terry Madonna, a professor and director of the Keystone Poll at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa." Source: Stateline.org [via Pew Research]

Link to online report

Public Dissatisfied with Democratic Leaders, But Still Happy They Won

"A year after the Democratic Party won control of both houses of Congress, Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with the party's congressional leaders. Just 31% approve of their job performance, down 10 points since February.

Despite these tepid ratings, most Americans (54%) say that they are happy that the Democrats won control of Congress in last year's elections. That represents a modest decline since last November, but positive views of the Democratic congressional victory have remained stable since March. At least in part, this reflects the fact that Republican leaders are blamed about as often as Democratic leaders for Congress' lack of productivity." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download topline questionnaire (pdf) | Link to online summary

The MS-13 and 18th Street Gangs: Emerging Transnational Gang Threats?

Two predominantly Latino gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the 18th Street gang (M-18), have raised concern among policy makers for several reasons: (1) membership in these gangs has spread from the Los Angeles area to other communities across the United States; (2) these gangs are becoming "transnational," primarily because MS-13 and M-18 cliques are being established in Central America and Mexico; (3) evidence suggests that these gangs are engaged in criminal enterprises normally associated with better organized and more sophisticated crime syndicates; and (4) MS-13 and M-18 gang members may be involved in smuggling operations and, by extension, could potentially use their skills and criminal networks to smuggle terrorists into the United States. To date, however, no evidence exists establishing a link between MS-13 and M-18 members and terrorists. Nevertheless, some observers maintain that these two gangs may develop the capacity to become organized criminal enterprises capable of coordinating illegal activities across national borders. Yet, others find them to be no more criminally organized or sophisticated than other street gangs. Source: Congressional Research Service

Download full pdf report
| Link to online abstract

The report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

"This report provides an account of the work carried out by UNHCR between January 2006 and mid-2007, in response to the needs of 32.9 million people of concern. It describes major challenges and developments with respect to protection, assistance and finding durable solutions for refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and others of concern. The report reviews partnerships and coordination of action with other concerned entities both within and outside of the United Nations system, including the Office’s involvement in the inter-agency “cluster approach” to managing IDP situations, as well as ongoing contributions towards the debate on irregular, mixed population movements. An update is provided on progress with structural and management reform measures being pursued by the organization and on other current management and oversight issues." Source: United Nations

Report available from download site in multiple languages

Giving Girls Today and Tomorrow: Breaking the Cycle of Adolescent Pregnancy

"Pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications are the number-one killers of 15-19 year old girls worldwide. This report highlights the issue of adolescent pregnancy among married and unmarried adolescent girls (10-19 year olds), especially those living in poverty. It draws attention to current trends, as well as the social, economic, and health consequences of adolescent pregnancy not only for the girls themselves, but for their families and countries. The publication argues for strategic investments in the health, education, and livelihoods of adolescent girls to empower them to avoid the trap of becoming mothers while still children. It also examines how targeted investments will improve the prospects for pregnant girls and young mothers. These investments will pay twice: impacting today's girls and tomorrow's women. The report also outlines ways to better address adolescent pregnancy and the multi-faceted needs of adolescent girls worldwide." Source: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Download full pdf publication | Link to UNFPA site

Federal Student Aid to Undergraduates Shows Slow Growth, While Published Tuition Prices Continue to Increase

From the press release: "Increases in published prices for two-year and four-year public institutions in 2007-08 were slightly larger than in 2006 but lower than the average rates of growth over the past five years. Nearly half a million students received awards in 2006 under two new federal student grant programs. Though higher than the previous year, total federal grant funding to undergraduates was still lower in 2006-07 than it was three years earlier, after adjusting for inflation. The College Board released these and other higher education pricing and aid statistics today in its annual “Trends in College Pricing 2007” and “Trends in Student Aid 2007” reports. Source: College Board

Download full PDF report : "Trends in Student Aid 2007"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

National Survey of Student Engagement 2007 Report

"The 2007 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is
based on information from about 313,000 randomly selected first­year and senior
students at 610 four ­year colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The NSSE
study, titled “Experiences That Matter: Enhancing Student Learning and Success,”gives
schools an idea of how well their students are learning and what they put into and get
out of their undergraduate experience." Source: NSSE

Download full pdf report | link to NSSE


Enter a U.S. Zipcode and get a glance at the area's demographics, social indicators, population density, etc. You can also compare up to twenty zipcodes.

The site was created as a Web development "hobby" project using Census 2000 data obtained from the Census website.

Link to ZipSkinny

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Invisible Tribes: Urban Indians and Their Health in a Changing World

"Nearly seven out of every 10 American Indians and Alaska Natives—2.8 million—live in or near cities, and that number is growing. This change in lifestyle has left many in dire circumstances and poor health. This report, produced by the Urban Indian Health Commission, reviews the prevalence of three diseases—depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease—in the American Indian and Alaska Native population." Source: Urban Indian Health Commission, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Download full pdf report
| Download executive summary (pdf) | link to online summary

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communications: October issue

Special Theme: Social Network Sites

18 Articles around the Central theme of "Social Network Sites" includes "Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites" by former CASBS fellow Eszter Hargittai.

Other articles include:

The Rules of Beeping: Exchanging Messages Via Intentional "Missed Calls" on Mobile Phones

Email Flaming Behaviors and Organizational Conflict

Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship

University Instructors' Acceptance of Electronic Courseware: An Application of the Technology Acceptance Model

Link to Online Journal Table of Contents vol. 13 issue 1

Software's Future: Melding the Web and the Desktop

"It's been a busy few weeks for the big technology companies. On October 1, Adobe Systems announced an agreement to buy Virtual Ubiquity, a company that has created a web-based word processor built on Adobe's next generation software development platform. One day earlier, Microsoft outlined its plans for Microsoft Office Live Workspace, a service that will combine Microsoft Office and web capabilitiesso that documents can be shared online. Recently,Google introduced a technology called "Gears" that allows developers to create web applications that can also work offline. The common thread between the recent moves of these technology titans: Each company is placing a bet on a new vision of software's future, one which combines the features of web-based applications with desktop software to create a hybrid model that may offer the best of both worlds." Source: Knowledge @ Wharton

Download pdf article
| Link to online article

EduGuide Study Shows Teens Close Digital Divide for Parents

from press release: "A new study by EduGuide: Partnership for Learning has found that in their homes teens act like an eraser for the digital divide. Surprisingly, 80 percent of parents with less than a college degree, previously thought to be among the least connected, now use the Internet compared to 72 percent of all adults.

"Teens are digital super-connectors," said study author and EduGuide President Bryan Taylor. "Parents may feel slow compared to their teens. Yet trying to keep up with their kids puts these parents ahead of other adults."

But the results may be a surprise for educators. More than half estimated that 40 percent or less of parents, who didn't have a college degree, would use the Internet.

"Cell phone and broadband use is high too, even among so-called 'hard-to- reach' families," Taylor said. "While smaller gaps persist, educators now have far more opportunities to connect with families using digital strategies."

The report also found that 65 percent of college access professionals, such as counselors, and admissions staff, feel "not sure" about their ability to effectively use digital technologies in their programs. A smaller set of professionals is pioneering new digital services from podcasts to webinars." Source: EduGuide

Link to download site (email registration required for full pdf report)

How conspiracies rise, pread and fall: the case of voter fraud, the blogosphere and the 2004 election

"The idea that public opinion is fundamentally top-down and elite-driven is virtually
orthodoxy among contemporary political science researchers. Support for conspiracy theories, however, pose a fundamental challenge to this prevailing view because the dynamics of mass opinion here are, prima facie, likely not to be a top-down or elite-driven process. In order to test the hypothesis that conspiratorial thinking is the result of anti-elite, bottom-up opinion dynamics rather than the result of elite-driven, top-down opinion dynamics, this paper tracks blog discussion of election related conspiracy theories during the four week period from November 2 to November 30, 2004. Using a computer assisted, quantitative content analysis of 16 randomly selected A-list political blogs and 147 randomly selected, less popular political blogs, I find strong support for the idea that conspiracy theories are the result of bottom-up, anti-elite opinion dynamics." Source: Institute of Governmental Studies. U.C. Berkeley

Download full pdf publication
| Link to site

A Child’s Day - U.S. Census Bureau Report

"A Child’s Day: 2004 examines the well-being of children younger than 18 and provides an updated look into how they spend their days. This series of 30 tables published by the U.S. Census Bureau is based on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and addresses children’s living arrangements, family characteristics, time spent in child care, academic experience, extracurricular activities and more.

According to this latest look into the lives of children, about 68 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds had limits on their television viewing, an increase from 54 percent in 1994. More children 6 to 11 found they, too, were living with restrictions on television: 71 percent in 2004 compared with 60 percent 10 years earlier." Source: United States Census Bureau

Link to detailed tables

Provisional Constitution Order [Pakistan]

"Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 (PCO), Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf, November 3, 2007 [suspending certain fundamental rights under a declaration of emergency and providing that "the Supreme Court or a High Court and any other court shall not have the power to make any order against the President or the Prime Minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under their authority"]." Source: Associated press of Pakistan [via the Jurist]

Link to full text of PCO

Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research, Workshop Proceedings

"On April 18 and 19, 2007, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders (the Forum), in response to a request from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, hosted a workshop called “Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research.” The goal of the workshop was to provide a venue to bring together scientists, members of the autism community, and the major sponsors of autism-related research to discuss the most promising scientific opportunities (Box I-1). The focus was on improving the understanding of the ways in which environmental factors such as chemicals, infectious agents, or physiological or psychological stress can affect the development of the brain. In addition, discussions addressed the infrastructure needs for pursuing the identified research opportunities—tools, technologies, and partnerships." Source: National Academies Press

Download pdf executive summary
| Link to download site for full text access

Challenges in Adolescent Heath Care: Workshop Report

"For all adolescents, health and health care can be complicated by developmental changes, questions about confidentiality, relationships with families and peers, and other factors specific to this stage of life. For especially vulnerable populations, such as adolescents who are disabled,homeless, incarcerated, in foster care, or who live in poverty, health issues can be far more complicated. The needs of adolescents vary by gender, race and ethnicity, and other factors. Many of the challenges of adolescence are not medical but reflect larger social issues, such as poverty, crime, and the prevalence of violence. Nevertheless, lack of comprehensive health coverage, severely dysfunctional families, and the lack of many supports that other adolescents may take for granted can mean disconnection from the health care system and serious deficiencies in the care these young people receive. Insufficient health care affects not just the health of individual adolescents as they are growing up, but their lifelong health status as well." Source: National Academies Press

Download Executive Summary in pdf
| Link to download site for full report

A Year Ahead, Republicans Face Tough Political Terrain

Clinton Propelled by Support from Young Women in '08 Test
"The public continues to express more confidence in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party as being able to bring about needed change, to govern in an honest and ethical way and to manage the federal government. The Democratic Party's advantages on these traits are much wider than during the last presidential campaign. Moreover, they remain about as large as they were just prior to the 2006 midterm election, in spite of rising public discontent with the Democrat-led Congress." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download pdf topline questionnaire | link to online online summary

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Web 2.0 Mining: Analyzing Social Media

Abstract: "Social media systems such as blogs, photo and link sharing sites, wikis and on-line forums are estimated to produce up to one third of new Web content. One thing that sets these ”Web 2.0” sites apart from traditional Web pages and resources is that they are intertwined with other forms of networked data. Their standard hyperlinks are enriched by social networks, comments, trackbacks, advertisements, tags, RDF data and metadata. We describe recent work on building systems that analyse these emerging social media systems to recognize spam blogs, find opinions on topics, identify communities of interest, derive trust relationships, and detect influential bloggers." Source: Proceedings of the NSF Symposium on Next Generation of Data Mining and Cyber-Enabled Discovery for Innovation [via UMBC eBiquity]

Download full pdf report
| link to online abstract

Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities

Abstract: "Microblogging is a new form of communication in which users can describe their current status in short posts distributed by instant messages, mobile phones, email or the Web. Twitter, a popular microblogging tool has seen a lot of growth since it launched in October, 2006. In this paper, we present our observations of the microblogging phenomena by studying the topological and geographical properties of Twitter’s social network. We find that people use microblogging to talk about their daily activities and to seek or share information. Finally, we analyze the user intentions associated at a community level and show how users with similar intentions connect with each other." Source: UMBC eBiquity Research Group consists of faculty and students from the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) of University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), located in Baltimore MD.

Download full pdf report | link to online Abstract

Sustainable Homeownership – Market and Policy Implications for Communities

From the Press Release: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s National Housing Initiative, HOGAR, in partnership with NeighborWorks America, today released the findings of eight national focus groups with Latino-serving housing professionals and proposed its recommendations for policymakers, market players, and community advocates on how to prevent Latino home foreclosures. Source: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

Download full pdf report | Link to Press Release

Teaching Economics Interactively: A Cannibal's Dinner Party

"This paper describes techniques that I use to teach economics principles "interactively". These techniques include classroom experiments and classroom clickers. The paper describes an experiment on market entry and gives examples of applications of classroom clickers. Clicker applications include the collection data about student preferences that can be used to construct demand curves and supply curves. Check on students' knowledge of central concepts. Play interactive games that illustrate economic concepts." Source: Ted C. Bergstrom, (October 26, 2007). Department of Economics, UCSB.

Download full pdf report | link to online summary

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Parents, Teens and Technology

"Teens and their parents1 often have similar technology profiles in the gadgets they use and the frequency with which they use them. But teens are notably more likely than their parents to say that the internet and related technology has made their own lives easier: 89% of online teens say the internet and other devices in their lives like cell phones, iPods, and digital cameras make their lives easier, while 71% of their parents agree.

Furthermore, while a majority of parents with online teens still believe the internet is a beneficial factor in their children's lives, the number of parents who see the internet as a good thing for their children has declined since 2004.

At the same time, there has not been a corresponding increase in the percentage of parents who think the internet has been a bad thing for their children. Instead, more parents are neutral about the internet's impact, saying it has not had an effect on their child one way or the other. " Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Link to online report brief | Download report in pdf with topline questionnaire

Between Here and There: How Attached Are Latino Immigrants to Their Native Country?

"Most Latino immigrants maintain some kind of connection to their native country by sending remittances, traveling back or telephoning relatives, but the extent of their attachment varies considerably. Only one-in-ten (9%) do all three of these so-called transnational activities; these immigrants can be considered highly attached to their home country. A much larger minority (28%) of foreign-born Latinos is involved in none of these activities and can be considered to have a low level of engagement with the country of origin. Most Latino immigrants (63%) show moderate attachment to their home country; they engage in one or two of these activities."

"The Pew Hispanic Center's 2006 National Survey of Latinos collected data on a variety of transnational activities and a wide range of attitudes and beliefs. This report is based on a new analysis of that survey data, which for the first time examines the extent to which Latino immigrants with different characteristics maintain connections to their native lands and assesses how different levels of transnational activities are associated with an immigrant's views on key subjects. The analysis thus explores the question of whether maintaining connections to a country of origin is associated with more positive or negative views of the U.S., a greater or lesser sense of attachment to this country and a stronger or weaker sense of identity as an American." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full pdf report
| Link to online summary

Burma-U.S. Relations

"By the end of September 2007, the Burmese military regime had suppressed with force anti-regime protests that began in late August, escalated in midSeptember, and were led by Buddhist monks and pro-democracy activists. This drew new protests from the United States over the regime's abusive human rights record. According to human rights reports by the U.S. State Department and private organizations, Burma's poor record worsened in 2004, 2005, and 2006. These reports have laid out a familiar pattern of government and military abuses of civilians. As in the past, U.S. diplomatic initiatives in September 2007 did not prevent the regime's crackdown." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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| Link to online summary

U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States faced a challenge in enlisting the full support of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in counterterrorism. This effort raised short-term policy issues about how to elicit cooperation and how to address China's concerns about military action (Operation Enduring Freedom). Longer-term issues have concerned whether counterterrorism has strategically transformed bilateral relations and whether China's support has been valuable and not obtained at the expense of other U.S. interests. The extent of U.S.-China counterterrorism cooperation has been limited, but the tone and context of counterterrorism helped to stabilize -- even if it did not transform -- the closer bilateral relationship pursued by President George Bush since late 2001. China's military, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), has not participated in the counterterrorism coalition. Still, for almost four years after the attacks on September 11, 2001, President Bush and other administration officials tended to praise the PRC's diplomatic and other support for the war against terrorism. Since 2005, however, U.S. concerns about China's extent of cooperation in counterterrorism have increased. In September 2005, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick acknowledged that "China and the United States can do more together in the global fight against terrorism" after "a good start," in his policy speech that called on China to be a "responsible stakeholder" in the world. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download full pdf report | Link to online summary

Mexico's Drug Cartels

"Mexico, a major drug producing and transit country, is the main foreign supplier of marijuana and a major supplier of methamphetamine to the United States. Although Mexico accounts for only a small share of worldwide heroin production, it supplies a large share of heroin consumed in the United States. An estimated 90% of cocaine entering the United States transits Mexico. Violence in the border region has affected U.S. citizens. More than 60 Americans have been kidnaped in Nuevo Laredo, and in July 2007, Mexican drug cartels reportedly threatened to kill a U.S. journalist covering drug violence in the border region. The United States and Mexico are reportedly negotiating a new counternarcotics initiative. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download full pdf report
| Link to online summary

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World

"The practice of using a social network to establish and enhance relationships based on some common ground—shared interests, related skills, or a common geographic location—is as old as human societies, but social networking has flourished due to the ease of connecting on the Web. This OCLC membership report explores this web of social participation and cooperation on the Internet" Source: OCLC

Download full pdf report | Link to online introduction

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's Not Easy Being a Girl in a Man's World: The Daily Experience of Sexual Harassment for Adolescent Girls

"Girls experience sexual harassment every day in middle school. This harassment does not just affect a few girls- 90 percent of girls share this experience. More than half of all girls have been called a nasty or demeaning name or teased about their appearance by a male. Slightly fewer girls have been told a mean or embarrassing joke about their gender or sexuality. By high school, the harassment is more frequent and more extreme. By the end of high school, one-quarter of all girls have been teased, threatened, or bullied by a male and one-half have been touched or grabbed against their wishes by a male. These findings from a recent study (Leaper and Brown, 2007) of six hundred ethnically and geographically diverse middle school and high school girls highlight the difficult and complicated world girls learn to navigate as they enter adolescence." Source: UCLA Center for the Study of Women. CSW Update Newsletter.

Download full pdf report | Link to online abstract at eScholarship Repository

Global Rebalancing

"The global economic and financial picture is changing rapidly. A review of some of the key elements is in order, as the U.S. economy has slowed rapidly and the Federal Reserve has responded aggressively with rate cuts, while the Bank of England's tough policies pushed one of the United Kingdom's largest mortgage lenders, Northern Rock, to the brink of collapse as a bank run on that suddenly beleaguered institution ensued. Meanwhile, Japan, still the world's second-largest economy--though perhaps the least dynamic of the major ones--slipped into negative growth at a 1.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter after having initially reported growth over 2 percent. The rate-boost-obsessed Bank of Japan finally decided to stop raising rates, and, to add to the complexity of the picture, Japan's relatively new prime minister Shinzo Abe resigned, unable to provide the leadership sorely needed in a nation lacking economic and political direction." Source: Economic Outlook American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Download pdf report or read online from main site

Seeing blue: American visions of the European Union

For six decades the United States has supported European integration, yet many Americans have an ambivalent attitude towards the European Union. American views of the EU influence transatlantic relations and shape options available to policymakers. Some Americans see the EU as the culmination of historic efforts to ensure peace, stability and democracy on the continent, while others consider the Union an elaborate scheme to create a rival to US hegemony. Still others dismiss the EU as irrelevant. While the US-EU relationship is less acrimonious than in 2003, there are still tensions in the relationship. Most of these are political, but some are structural. The political ones can be solved by changes in policies and policy-making personnel; the structural ones cannot. These have to be addressed and managed. The political issues concern different interpretations of interests among EU members and in the US. These are normal policy differences. On the structural side, there are differences in political institutions, economic strength and energy dependence. In the light of political and structural issues, how do Americans view the European Union and what effect do these perceptions have on transatlantic politics?
This Chaillot Paper explores American perspectives on the EU, particularly as a global strategic actor. Americans’ views of the EU do not simply run along party political lines; instead there is a complex range of opinion. This volume identifies and analyses different schools of thought. Building on this framework, the paper considers American views on themes ranging from the European Security and Defence Policy to European diplomatic engagement with China, Russia, and Iran, cooperation on global issues, and relations between the EU and NATO. The paper also considers transatlantic relations in the context of American electoral politics. Source: Institute for Security Studies

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Military expenditure in the three-year federal budget of the Russian Federation, 2008–10

"This Research Working Paper is an analysis of military expenditure in the new Russian budget for the period 2008-10, in which all military and security related spending has been subject to a degree of classification unprecedented in recent years." Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Download full pdf report
| Link to SIPRI

A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts

Facts about substance use among youth aged 12 to 17 are based on data from SAMHSA's 2006 National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) and SAMHSA's 2005 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), and for clients under the age of 18 from SAMHSA's 2005 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). Data are presented on first substance use, past year substance use, receipt of substance use treatment, and source of substance use treatment referrals "on an average day." Source: SAMHSA, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services

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| Link to Press Release

Red Leaves and the Dirty Ground: The Cannibalism of Law and Economics

Abstract: William Faulkner's short story, Red Leaves, is a classic tale of cannibal, slave-and-plantation-owning Indians in the antebellum South. These Indians were figments of Faulkner's imagination that he used as a literary tool to critique the South -- and perhaps America. But Red Leaves is also a tale of economic theory, with these fictional Indians making a serious effort (in a fantastical setting) to analyze slavery and cannibalism from an economic perspective. My paper, prepared for the 4th Annual Indigenous Law Conference at Michigan State University College of Law, argues that Faulkner's stark portrayal of Indian people offers both a means of reconsidering Indian affairs policy and critiquing the emerging use of the law and economics method of study to analyze and even decide Indian law cases. Source: MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-11 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1022169

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Stanford teaches students how to develop Facebook applications, but is it worth the $2,500 in tuition?

Class at Stanford is full past overflowing. Students looking to cash in on popular social networking platform. Source: Fortune Magazine

Read full article online.

Beyond Myths: The Growth and Diversity of Asian American College Freshmen, 1971-2005

"The first-year student trends examined in this report help to address some common characterizations of Asian American students, particularly with respect to their educational success, that are often overstated and taken out of context. The examined trends do not support popular claims that Asian Americans are enjoying unprecedented, collective (or universal) academic success in U.S. higher education. The findings here suggest that Asian Americans still have to overcome a number of obstacles, such as levels of family income and financial aid, to earn a coveted spot in higher education. This report features data collected from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program's (CIRP) Freshman Survey. It is based on the 361,271 Asian/Asian American first-time full-time college students from 1971-2005, representing the largest compilation and analysis of data on Asian American college students ever undertaken." Source: UCLA

Download pdf Research Brief

Framing New Terrain: Older Adults and Higher Education

From the Executive Summary: "In 2004, 54.2 million people in the united states were between the ages of 55 and 79, constituting about 19 percent of the American population (u.s. census Bureau, 2004b). And that number is rising. recent surveys by AArP, civic Ventures, Merrill lynch, and other organizations indicate that a majority of adults in this age group plan to stay engaged in some form of work, community service, or learning activity— with obvious implications for higher education. How are colleges and universities adapting their policies and practices to meet these potential postsecondary needs for one-fifth of our nation? Reinvesting in the third Age: Older Adults and Higher education, the American council on education’s (Ace) two-year research project funded by Metlife Foundation, explores this question. this publication, Framing New Terrain, is the project’s first report. Based on an extensive review of research literature and conversations with higher education and other leaders, the report describes the changing demographics of adults aged 55 to 79, their motivations for participating in higher education, and the obstacles that prevent broader participation."
Source: American council on education

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The Postsecondary Achievement of Participants in Dual Enrollment: An Analysis of Student Outcomes in Two States

"Dual enrollment programs enable high school students to enroll in college courses and earn college credit. Once limited to high-achieving students, such programs are increasingly seen as a means to support the postsecondary preparation of average-achieving students. Moreover, though dual enrollment programs typically have been reserved for academically-focused students, increasing numbers of career and technical education (CTE) programs are providing such opportunities to their students.

Despite the popularity and growth of dual enrollment programs, little is known about their efficacy. This report seeks to answer several questions regarding their effectiveness using rigorous quantitative methods. We examine the impact of dual enrollment participation for students in the State of Florida and in New York City. For both locations, we specifically examine postsecondary outcomes for participating CTE students; in Florida, we also examine the outcomes of dual enrollment participation for all students. We provide evidence that dual enrollment is a useful strategy for encouraging postsecondary success for all students, including those in CTE programs." Source: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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Republican candidates stress immigration

Virginia Republicans campaigning to keep control of the General Assembly this year are vowing to crack down on illegal immigration. Out of the five states with state elections this November, illegal immigration is hottest as a campaign theme in Virginia, according to several political observers.

But the immigration question is also being raised on the campaign trail by candidates in the races for Kentucky and Louisiana governor and the Mississippi lieutenant governor’s contest. Candidates are capitalizing on voter anger over illegal immigration, especially after Congress failed this summer, for the second year in a row, to pass major immigration reforms. Source: Pew | Stateline.org

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Economic survey of Mexico

"Over the past decade, Mexico has made significant progress towards macroeconomic stability and has launched important structural reforms to further open the economy to trade and investment and improve the functioning of markets for goods and services as well as to develop the financial sector. These efforts have yielded relatively good performance. After a strong 2006, output growth is expected to be close to potential, between 3½ and 4% over the next two years. Potential GDP growth, however, is much too low to bridge the wide gap in living standards with wealthier OECD countries and tackle the still widespread poverty. To move the economy onto a higher and sustainable growth path, a renewed effort at reform on a broad front is required." Source: Organisation for Economic Development

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"Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds"

"Although the issue of virtual harm has never been raised in real-world courts, virtual worlds like Second Life have become increasingly significant in terms of both time and money for their users. As such, it is important to develop theories of how the law may apply to and resolve disputes that originate in these worlds. This Note will therefore argue that because users have imported real-world concepts, specifically currency and economy, into the metaverse, it would behoove brick and mortar societies to provide for redress if a user suffers pecuniary loss in these worlds. This Note will also explore certain ambiguities inherent and unique to the virtual environment when traditional elements of defamation law are applied to it. Moreover, this Note will argue that real-world courts should be the proper forum in which to litigate defamation actions, where victims suffer pecuniary loss due to the fall of their reputations." Source: Brooklyn Law Review [via SSRN]

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North Korean Refugees in China and Human Rights Issues: International Response and U.S. Policy Options

"North Koreans have been crossing the border into China, many in search of refuge, since the height of North Korea's famine in the 1990s. The State Department estimates that 30,000-50,000 North Korean refugees currently live in China (some non-governmental organizations estimate the number is closer to 300,000) and believes those who are repatriated may face punishment ranging from a few months of "labor correction" to execution. A number of reports also document the difficult conditions faced by North Koreans who remain in China. The plight of the North Koreans focuses attention not only on those seeking refuge and their refugee status, but also points to the factors driving their decision to leave, primarily food shortages, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, and human rights violations. North Korea is generally characterized as one of the world's worst violators of human rights and religious freedom, an issue that some Members of Congress and interest groups say should assume greater importance in the formation of U.S. priorities towards North Korea. Congressional concern about human rights in North Korea and conditions faced by North Korean refugees led to the passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act (NKHRA) in 2004. This report examines both the situation of North Korean refugees in China and human rights issues because they are frequently raised simultaneously, particularly in a congressional context. Although the issues surrounding those North Koreans seeking to leave their country and the situation for those who remain inside its borders pose different questions and may call for separate responses, both also focus on the nature of the regime in Pyongyang. Critics of the North Korean government have raised both issues together to put pressure on the regime, particularly when nuclear weapons program negotiations stalled. Some advocates decry the practice of linking refugee and human rights issues, claiming that the former calls for a quieter, cooperative approach, while the latter requires a more outspoken response to the North Korean government's practices. Although some policy experts insist that the United States has a moral imperative to stand up for the oppressed, others say that this creates obstacles in the nuclear disarmament negotiations. In 2007, the Bush Administration entered into bilateral talks with North Korea and linked the prospect of diplomatic relations and Pyongyang's re-entry into the international community with only the nuclear issue, leaving out human rights and refugee concerns. Nevertheless, North Korean human rights and refugee issues remain significant concerns and also have broader regional importance. China and South Korea want to avoid a massive outflow of refugees, which they believe could trigger the instability or collapse of North Korea. North Korean refugees seeking resettlement often transit through other Asian countries, raising diplomatic, refugee, and security concerns for those governments. South Korea, as the final destination of the vast majority of North Koreans, struggles to accommodate new arrivals and does not want to damage its relations with North Korea. This report will be updated as events warrant." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Veteran's History Project : Library of Congress

The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380), sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S. Senate, received unanimous support and was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton on October 27, 2000.

"primary focus is on first-hand accounts of
U.S. Veterans from the following wars:

* World War I (1914-1920)
* World War II (1939-1946)
* Korean War (1950-1955)
* Vietnam War (1961-1975)
* Persian Gulf War (1990-1995)
* Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present)

In addition, those U.S. citizen civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts (such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, etc.) are also invited to share their valuable stories."

The site has a database searchable by name, war, or branch of service.

Link to search site

Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes?

Wall Street Journal Reports:
Income-Inequality Gap Widens
Boom in Financial Markets Parallels Rise in Share For Wealthiest Americans - Reported October 12, 2007.

The Tax Foundation supplies a Summary of recently released tax data.
Link to Summary
"This year's numbers show that both the income share earned by the top 1 percent and the tax share paid by the top 1 percent have reached all-time highs. In 2005, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 39.4 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 21.2 percent of adjusted gross income, both of which are significantly higher than 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of AGI and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes."

WSJ Quotes Study by : Kaplan, Steven N. and Rauh, Joshua D.
"Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes?"

Abstrect: "We consider how much of the top end of the income distribution can be attributed to four sectors – top executives of non-financial firms (Main Street); financial service sector employees from investment banks, hedge funds, private equity funds, and mutual funds (Wall Street); corporate lawyers; and professional athletes and celebrities. Non-financial public company CEOs and top executives do not represent more than 6.5% of any of the top AGI brackets (the top 0.1%, 0.01%, 0.001%, and 0.0001%). Individuals in the Wall Street category comprise at least as high a percentage of the top AGI brackets as non-financial executives of public companies. While the representation of top executives in the top AGI brackets has increased from 1994 to 2004, the representation of Wall Street has likely increased even more. While the groups we study represent a substantial portion of the top income groups, they miss a large number of high-earning individuals. We conclude by considering how our results inform different explanations for the increased skewness at the top end of the distribution. We argue the evidence is most consistent with theories of superstars, skill biased technological change, greater scale and their interaction." Source: Social Science Resource Network

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Africa’s missing billions: International arms flows and the cost of conflict

"Africa suffers enormously from conflict and armed violence. As well as the human tragedy, armed conflict costs Africa around $18bn per year, seriously derailing development. The most commonly used weapons in Africa’s conflicts are Kalashnikov assault rifles. The vast majority of these weapons and their ammunition – perhaps 95 per cent - come from outside Africa. To protect lives and livelihoods, the 2008 UN Group of Governmental Experts working on the Arms Trade Treaty must ensure swift progress towards a strong and effective Treaty. All governments have a role to play in ensuring its success." Source: Oxfam International

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