Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ethnic Variation in Gender-STEM Stereotypes and STEM Participation: An Intersectional Approach

Stereotypes associating men and masculine traits with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are ubiquitous, but the relative strength of these stereotypes varies considerably across cultures. The present research applies an intersectional approach to understanding ethnic variation in gender-STEM stereotypes and STEM participation within an American university context. African American college women participated in STEM majors at higher rates than European American college women (Study 1, Study 2, and Study 4). Furthermore, African American women had weaker implicit gender-STEM stereotypes than European American women (Studies 2–4), and ethnic differences in implicit gender-STEM stereotypes partially mediated ethnic differences in STEM participation (Study 2 and Study 4). Although African American men had weaker implicit gender-STEM stereotypes than European American men (Study 4), ethnic differences between men in STEM participation were generally small (Study 1) or nonsignificant (Study 4). We discuss the implications of an intersectional approach for understanding the relationship between gender and STEM participation.
Source: Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology 

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Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources

From the introduction:
This report is one of a series of reports on legislative process and research; it is intended to serve as a finding aid to sources of information, such as documents, news articles, analysis, contacts and services, used in legislative research. It does not define or describe the purpose of various government documents; that information can be found in companion CRS Report R41865, Legislative History Research: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff, and CRS Report RL33895, Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff. This report is not intended to be a definitive list of all resources, but rather a guide to pertinent subscriptions available in the House and Senate in addition to select resources freely available to the public. This report is intended for use by Members and congressional office staff and will be updated annually.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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Department of Homeland Security's Review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Use and Compliance with Privacy and Civil Liberty Laws and Standards

From the Summary:
House Committee Report 113-91 accompanying the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014 mandated GAO to review DHS’s Privacy Office (Privacy Office) and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) joint review (DHS’s review) of CBP’s unmanned aerial systems program. House Committee Report 113-91 accompanying the fiscal year 2014 DHS Appropriations Act also mandated CRCL and the Privacy Office to conduct a review of CBP’s efforts to ensure that CBP’s UAS use (1) complies with existing law and applicable privacy and civil liberty standards and (2) is limited to operation along the border and coastal areas. CRCL and the Privacy Office completed their review and provided it to GAO on June 12, 2014.

This report examines the extent to which DHS’s review of CBP’s UAS addressed CBP efforts to (1) ensure compliance with existing privacy and civil liberty laws and standards and (2) ensure its UAS usage is limited to border and coastal areas of the United States.

GAO analyzed DHS’s review, CBP policies, and UAS flight data from fiscal year 2011 through April 2014, covering the time period when all UAS centers became operational.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

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Passenger Travel Facts and Figures 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released Passenger Travel Facts and Figures 2014, a snapshot of the characteristics and trends of personal travel in the United States; the network over which passenger travel takes place; and the related economic, safety, and environmental implications. The 77-page report summarizes the basic demographic and economic characteristics of the United States that contribute to the demand for passenger travel; examines travel patterns by trip purpose, transportation mode, and household characteristics; provides a picture of the passenger transportation system in 2005 and 2011 and summarizes movement on the system by transportation mode and congestion impacts; discusses the economic characteristics of passenger travel and tourism and discusses the safety, energy, and environmental impacts of passenger travel. It is intended as a companion to Freight Facts and Figures, which is produced jointly by BTS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Download full pdf publication | Visit report gateway to download chapters individually

Fully digitized Warren Commission Report: The collection includes 26 volumes

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, commonly known as the Warren Commission, was created by President Lyndon Johnson and chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate President Kennedy's assassination. The Commission presented their findings in a report to President Johnson on September 24, 1964. The Commission also released 26 hearing volumes on November 23, 1964 comprised of testimonies from 550 witnesses and evidence.

GPO produced the Warren Commission Report and 26 hearing volumes in 1964. Altogether, GPO's work for the Commission resulted in nearly 235,000 copies of the report and nearly 5,600 sets of the hearings.

Source: Government Printing Office

Go to gateway and download the report in sections.

Download full pdf report (very large file)

Rotten Apples and Sterling Examples: Moral Reasoning and Peer Influences on Honesty in Managerial Reporting

We propose that idiosyncratic benefits from adhering to social norms explain the heterogeneity in honesty documented in many situations where misrepresentation yields a financial benefit. Further, information about the honesty of one's peers modifies the descriptive norm and hence, one's own honesty. We test these hypotheses in a reporting experiment with two managers in which one manager observes the reports of a peer. Managers’ honesty decreases when peers are less honest and increases when peers are more honest. The importance of the maintaining norms schema — assessed by the DIT-2 — explains these adjustments and, moreover, explains variation in reporting honesty in vacuo.

Source: Social Science Research Network

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ebola Updates from CDC, European Union, WHO Ebola Response Team

Recently released reports on the Ebola Outbreak:

CDC — 2014 Ebola Outbreak: Information and Updates
The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This outbreak is the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known — affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Although the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low, CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent this from happening. Source: Center for Disease Control

The European Union’s response to Ebola
A number of West African countries are currently experiencing the worst Ebola epidemic in history. As the situation continues to deteriorate rapidly, the European Commission has stepped up its response since March 2014 and is now pledging more than €147 million in response to the devastating human, sanitary, economic and political effects of this crisis for the region. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the European Parliament has shown its concern as regards this critical situation. Source: European Parliamentary Research Service
WHO Ebola Response Team: Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections
Abstract: A total of 4507 confirmed and probable EVD cases were reported to the WHO between December 30, 2013, and September 14, 2014 — a 37-week period. A total of 718 confirmed and probable cases and 289 deaths were reported in the week of September 8 through September 14 alone. The numbers of confirmed and probable cases reported by each country over time are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2. Detailed information was available on 3343 confirmed and 667 probable cases; these cases were used in all our analyses, with the exception of projections (results of analyses based on confirmed, probable, and suspected cases are provided in Supplementary Appendix 1). The median age of persons with EVD was 32 years (interquartile range, 21 to 44), and there were no significant differences in the age distribution of persons with EVD among countries. The majority of persons with EVD (60.8%) were between 15 and 44 years of age (this age group makes up only 44% of the population) (Table 1Table 1Demographic Characteristics and Signs and Symptoms in Confirmed and Probable Ebola Case Patients with a Definitive Clinical Outcome in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.). There were also no significant differences among countries in the total numbers of male and female persons with EVD reported (49.9% of the total were male patients; within-country differences have not yet been fully investigated). EVD has taken a heavy toll among health care workers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. By September 14, a total of 318 cases, including 151 deaths, had been reported among health care workers. Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Statistical Resource: The EU in the world

...provides a selection of statistics on the European Union (EU) — considered as a single entity — in comparison with the 15 non-EU countries from the Group of Twenty (G20). It aims to give an insight into the European economy, society and environment in comparison with the major economies from the rest of the world.
Table of contents
1. Population
2. Living conditions
3. Health
4. Education and training
5. Labour market
6. Economy and finance
7. International trade
8. Industry, trade and services
9. Research and communication
10. Transport
11. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
12. Environment
13. Energy
Source: Eurostat
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World Alzheimer Report 2014: Dementia and Risk Reduction

The World Alzheimer Report 2014, Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors critically examines the evidence for the existence of modifiable risk factors for dementia.

It focuses on sets of potential modifiable risk factors in four key domains: developmental, psychological and psychosocial, lifestyle and cardiovascular conditions. The report makes recommendations to drive public health campaigns and disease prevention strategies.

The report which was researched and authored by Prof Martin Prince, Prof Emiliano Albanese, Dr Maëlenn Guerchet and Dr Matthew Prina on behalf of the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care which is hosted at the Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London.
Source: Alzheimer’s Disease International

Download full pdf publication | Alzheimer’s Disease International Press Release

Who Runs the International System? Power and the Staffing of the United Nations Secretariat

National governments frequently pull strings to get their citizens appointed to senior positions in international institutions. We examine, over a 60 year period, the nationalities of the most senior positions in the United Nations Secretariat, ostensibly the world's most representative international institution. The results indicate which nations are successful in this zero-sum game, and what national characteristics correlate with power in international institutions. The most overrepresented countries are small, rich democracies like the Nordic countries. Statistically, democracy, investment in diplomacy, and economic/military power are predictors of senior positions--even after controlling for the U.N. staffi ng mandate of competence and integrity. National control over the United Nations is remarkably sticky; however the in influence of the United States has diminished as US ideology has shifted away from its early allies. In spite of the decline in US influence, the Secretariat remains pro-American relative to the world at large.
Source: Center for Global Development

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Diverse According to Whom? Racial Group Membership and Concerns about Discrimination Shape Diversity Judgments

People often treat diversity as an objective feature of situations that everyone perceives similarly. The current research shows, however, that disagreement often exists over whether a group is diverse. We argue that diversity judgments diverge because they are social perceptions that reflect, in part, individuals’ motivations and experiences, including concerns about how a group would treat them. Therefore, whether a group includes in-group members should affect how diverse a group appears because the inclusion or apparent exclusion of in-group members signals whether perceivers can expect to be accepted and treated fairly. Supporting our claims, three experiments demonstrate that racial minority group members perceive more diversity when groups included racial in-group members rather than members of other racial minority groups. Moreover, important differences exist between Asian Americans and African Americans, which underscore the need for more research to explore uniqueness rather than commonalities across racial minority groups.
Source: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin October 2014 

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MacArthur Genius Grant winners announced.

Congratulations to subscriber Jennifer Eberhardt (CASBS 2006), winner of a 2014 MacArthur award. The MacArthur foundation writes:
Using statistical analysis to analyze how a defendant's skin color and hair texture relate to the sentencing decisions of jurors, Eberhardt has shown that black defendants are more likely to receive the death penalty if their facial characteristics are stereotypically black and their victims are white...
Read more about Jennifer Eberhardt's work | Read/listen to the NPR Story on all award winners.

Is There "White Flight" into Private Schools? Evidence from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey

Using a recently released confidential dataset from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), we find some evidence of "white flight" from public schools into private schools partly in response to minority schoolchildren. We also examine whether "white flight" is from all minorities or only from certain minority groups, delineated by race or income. We find that white families are fleeing public schools with large concentrations of poor minority schoolchildren. In addition, the clearest flight appears to occur from poor black schoolchildren. The results for "white flight" from Asians and Hispanics are less clear.
Source: Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz [via eScholarship Repository]

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preserving Access to the Legal System: Common Errors by Federal Agencies in Dismissing Complaints of Discrimination on Procedural Grounds

From the Introduction:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) developed an agency-wide Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2012-2016 designed to maximize its ability, within the constraints of its resources, to have a sustainable impact in reducing and deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace.  Pursuant to this effort, EEOC has adopted a series of coordinated national priorities.  Among these priorities is the goal of preserving access to the legal system.  Under this priority, EEOC committed to targeting policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under the employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's enforcement efforts.  The Commission approved the Federal Sector Complement Plan (FCP) to implement the SEP in the federal sector.  One of the strategies the FCP details for preserving access to the legal system in the federal sector is to prevent improper agency procedural dismissals of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints.

Source: U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission

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Violence against Women and Girls : Lessons from South Asia

This report documents the dynamics of violence against women in South Asia across the life cycle, from early childhood to old age. It explores the different types of violence that women may face throughout their lives, as well as the associated perpetrators (male and female), risk and protective factors for both victims and perpetrators, and interventions to address violence across all life cycle stages. The report also analyzes the societal factors that drive the primarily male — but also female — perpetrators to commit violence against women in the region. For each stage and type of violence, the report critically reviews existing research from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, supplemented by original analysis and select literature from outside the region. Policies and programs that address violence against women and girls are analyzed in order to highlight key actors and promising interventions. Finally, the report identifies critical gaps in research, program evaluations, and interventions in order to provide strategic recommendations for policy makers, civil society, and other stakeholders working to mitigate violence against women in South Asia.

Source: The World Bank

Download full pdf report | Read more on the World Bank website

A Sense of Déjà Vu: The Debate Surrounding State Biosimilar Substitution Laws

The Affordable Care Act created an approval pathway for less expensive generic versions of biologic drugs, known as biosimilars, or follow-on biologics. This Insight on the Issues discusses controversial new state legislation that could greatly limit the savings from biosimilars and notes similarities to the debate ignited by the passage of federal legislation that encouraged the development of traditional generic drugs.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

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Dating and Sexual Behavior Among Single Parents of Young Children in the United States

Theory and research on partnered parents suggests trade-offs between parenting and sexuality, with those trade-offs most pronounced among mothers of young children. However, little research has focused on how a growing demographic of single parents negotiates dating and sexual activity. The current study drew upon a 2012 nationally representative sample of 5,481 single Americans 21 years of age and older, of whom 4.3% were parents of a child age five or younger. Dependent variables were sexual thoughts, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners in the past year, dates during the previous three months, and whether one was actively seeking a relationship partner. Covariates included parental age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, education, and income. Using the entire sample of singles, we found no main effects of number (0, 1, 2+) of children aged five years and younger or number of children aged two years and younger on dating and sexual behavior variables. Next, using analyses restricted to single parents (n = 2,121), we found that single parents with a child aged five years or younger, adjusting for covariates, reported greater frequency of sexual activity and first dates but no differences in other outcomes compared with single parents of older children.
Source: The Journal of Sex Research via University of Indiana News Service.

Press Release: Kinsey study of single parents' dating, sexual activity contradicts assumptions

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture

This paper explores the role of cultural attitudes towards women in determining math educational gender gaps using the epidemiological approach. To identify whether culture matters, we estimate whether the math gender gap for each immigrant group living in a particular host country (and exposed to the same host country's laws and institutions) is explained by measures of gender equality in the parents' country of ancestry. We find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the performance of second-generation immigrant girls relative to boys. This result is robust to alternative specifications, measures of gender equality and the inclusion of other human development indicators in the country of ancestry. The transmission of culture is higher among those in schools with a higher proportion of immigrants or in co-educational schools. Our results suggest that policies aimed at changing beliefs can prove effective in reducing the gender gap in mathematics.
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Download pdf of IZA Discussion Paper | Read abstract online

Teaching the Children: Wide Gaps over Teaching Faith, Tolerance, Obedience

As the public grows more politically polarized, differences between conservatives and liberals extend their long reach even to opinions about which qualities are important to teach children, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

Conservatives Prioritize Teaching Faith, Obedience; Liberals Value Tolerance People who express consistently conservative political attitudes across a range of issues are more likely than other ideological groups to rate teaching religious faith as especially important – and the least likely to say the same about teaching tolerance.

By contrast, people with consistent liberal opinions stand out for the high priority they give to teaching tolerance – and the low priority they attach to teaching religious faith and obedience.

Read the full overview | Download the complete pdf report | Download topline questionnaire

2013 American Community Survey data released 1-year estimates

The American Community Survey is the only source of local statistics for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as educational attainment, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs. The statistics are available for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more.

2013 ACS 1-year estimates released September 18
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are available in American FactFinder.
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are based on data collected from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are available for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more.
Geography highlights
The 2013 ACS data release marks the first time estimates based on new Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (or Core Based Statistical Areas) are available. Learn more on the Geography page.
2013 ACS 1-year reference maps
These Reference Maps highlight areas that will be published in the 2013 ACS 1-year data release.
ACS briefs
For the release of the 2013 ACS 1-year estimates, the Census Bureau produced reports for the American Community Survey Briefs series--short reports on specific topics based on newly released estimates.
Comparison guidance
Guidance on comparing the 2013 ACS 1-year estimates with Census 2000, 2012 ACS 1-year estimates, and 2010 Census by subject area is now available.

(International) Archived Legal Materials from Official Gazettes Now Available Through Law.gov

Description from blog post:
“The archived information includes English language summaries of laws, regulations, and related legal instruments that in turn link to the full-text PDFs that are in the official language(s) of the country. Legal items from the gazettes of the following countries are now available under the ‘Legislative’ sources list for each jurisdiction: Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, and United States.”

View available nations with archives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U. S. Census Bureau Facts: Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: Sept. 15–Oct. 15

From the Press Release:
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. Congress expanded the observance in 1989 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) of the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Sept. 15 is the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service

At least eighteen countries allow transgender personnel to serve openly, but the United States is not among them. In this article, we assess whether US military policies that ban transgender service members are based on medically sound rationales. To do so, we analyze Defense Department regulations and consider a wide range of medical data. Our conclusion is that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban on service by transgender personnel, that the ban is an unnecessary barrier to health care access for transgender personnel, and that medical care for transgender individuals should be managed using the same standards that apply to all others. Removal of the military’s ban on transgender service would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the military’s commitment to providing outstanding medical care for all military personnel.
 Source: Armed Forces & Society August 19, 2014 doi: 0095327X14545625

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Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017

This report was developed by the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, in partnership with the member agencies of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and other federal agencies. The plan discusses goals and objectives and the actions that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover. 
 Source: Office for Victims of Crime

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New Data Show Child Mortality Rates Falling Faster Than Ever

From the press release:

New estimates in Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 show that in 2013, 6.3 million children under five died from mostly preventable causes, around 200,000 fewer than in 2012, but still equal to nearly 17,000 child deaths each day.
The report notes that major improvements in child survival are in part due to affordable, evidence-based interventions against the leading infectious diseases, such as immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rehydration treatment for diarrhoea, nutritional supplements and therapeutic foods. The major causes of neonatal mortality – pre-term birth complications (35 per cent) or problems during delivery or birth (24 per cent) – require health interventions closely linked with protecting maternal health.

The Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 report is developed annually by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, which is led by UNICEF and includes the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
 Source: UNICEF, WHO, World Bank

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Coached for the Classroom: Parents’ Cultural Transmission and Children’s Reproduction of Educational Inequalities

Scholars typically view class socialization as an implicit process. This study instead shows how parents actively transmit class-based cultures to children and how these lessons reproduce inequalities. Through observations and interviews with children, parents, and teachers, I found that middle- and working-class parents expressed contrasting beliefs about appropriate classroom behavior, beliefs that shaped parents’ cultural coaching efforts. These efforts led children to activate class-based problem-solving strategies, which generated stratified profits at school. By showing how these processes vary along social class lines, this study reveals a key source of children’s class-based behaviors and highlights the efforts by which parents and children together reproduce inequalities.
Source:  American Sociological Review August 25, 2014 doi: 0003122414546931

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The Disruptive Rise of Value-Based Care

The health care industry is ripe for disruptive innovation as systemic challenges continue to face the industry and stakeholders demand increased value. A successful disruptor could emerge as value–based care gains traction and providers and health plans continue to look for new ways to deliver care and utilize technology to meet the needs of health care consumers. The potential disruptor could enter the market with a low-cost solution that initially serves an unattractive segment. Powered by an enabling technology, this new solution could, in short order, meet mainstream customers’ needs so much better that the innovator unseats the market leader. This is a likely scenario in the primary care physician market, where patient visits could shift to lower-cost settings, such as e-visits, or alternative clinicians, such as nurse practitioners.

"Good for what ails us: The disruptive rise of value-based care" explores how and where disruptive innovation might occur in health care, discusses what can be learned from other industries that have faced similar disruption and outlines innovation opportunities in a post-reform world.
Source: Deloitte Center for Healthcare Solutions

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A cross disciplinary study of link decay and the effectiveness of mitigation techniques

The dynamic, decentralized world-wide-web has become an essential part of scientific research and communication. Researchers create thousands of web sites every year to share software, data and services. These valuable resources tend to disappear over time. The problem has been documented in many subject areas. Our goal is to conduct a cross-disciplinary investigation of the problem and test the effectiveness of existing remedies.

Source:  BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14(Suppl 14):S5  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S14-S5

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Related article: Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers Source: Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Younger Americans and Public Libraries: Downloading and Reading Books More Than You Think

From the Summary of Findings:
How those under 30 engage with libraries and think about libraries’ role in their lives and communities

This report pulls together several years of research into the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities with a special focus on Millennials, a key stakeholder group affecting the future of communities, libraries, book publishers and media makers of all kinds, as well as the tone of the broader culture.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Download full pdf report | Read Summary of Findings

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014

Key Findings
  • Race and Ethnicity: Obesity rates remain higher among blacks and Latinos than among whites. Rates among blacks topped 40 percent in 11 states; rates among Latinos exceeded 35 percent in 5 states; for whites, 10 states had rates over 30 percent.
  • Socioeconomic Status: More than 33 percent of adults 18 and older who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared with 25.4 percent who earn at least $50,000 per year.
  • Geography: 9 out of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South.
  • Age: Baby Boomers (45-to 64-year-olds) have the highest obesity rates of any age group – topping 35 percent in 17 states.
  • Severity: More than 6 percent of adults are severely** obese; the number of severely obese adults has quadrupled in the past 30 years.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Download full pdf publication | Learn more on RWJF website

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students?

Education policy makers have struggled for decades with the question of how to best serve high ability K‐12 students. As in the debate over selective college admissions, a key issue is targeting. Should gifted and talented programs be allocated on the basis of cognitive ability, or a broader combination of ability and achievement? Should there be a single admission threshold, or a lower bar for disadvantaged students? We use data from a large urban school district to study the impacts of assignment to separate gifted classrooms on three distinct groups of fourth grade students: non-disadvantaged students with IQ scores ≥130; subsidized lunch participants and English language learners with IQ scores ≥116; and students who miss the IQ thresholds but scored highest among their school/grade cohort in state-wide achievement tests in the previous year. Regression discontinuity estimates based on the IQ thresholds for the first two groups show no effects on reading or math achievement at the end of fourth grade. In contrast, estimates based on test score ranks for the third group show significant gains in reading and math, concentrated among lower-income and black and Hispanic students. The math gains persist to fifth grade and are also reflected in fifth grade science scores. Our findings suggest that a separate classroom environment is more effective for students selected on past achievement – particularly disadvantaged students who are often excluded from gifted and talented programs.
Source: University of Virginia and NBER

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AAUP: On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.  This follows from earlier calls not to offend students’ sensibilities by introducing material that challenges their values and beliefs.  The specific call for “trigger warnings” began in the blogosphere as a caution about graphic descriptions of rape on feminist sites, and has now migrated to university campuses in the form of requirements or proposals that students be alerted to all manner of topics that some believe may deeply offend and even set off a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) response in some individuals.  Oberlin College’s original policy (since tabled to allow for further debate in the face of faculty opposition) is an example of the range of possible trigger topics: “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”   It went on to say that a novel like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart might “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”  It further cautioned faculty to “[r]emove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.”
Source: American Association of University Professors

Read full report on the AAUP site

The Fatherhood Bonus and The Motherhood Penalty: Parenthood and the Gender Gap in Pay

For the past forty years at least, progressive advocates have been concerned about the the wage gap between working men and women in American society. Overall, never-married women in 2012 had almost closed the wage gap—earning 96% of what men earn. So why are we still concerned about the wage gap? Is this issue over? Author Michelle J. Budig clarifies this debate by looking at the wage gap in terms of the one thing that the majority of adults experience in their lifetime—parenthood.

Source:Third Way

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The Burden and Benefits of the American Jury

There is no institution in the legal system more controversial than the American Jury. It has been praised and hated by people from all walks of life. James Madison once called it among "the most valuable" rights included in the Bill of Rights. Robert Allan Rutland, The Birth of the Bill of Rights 1776-1791, at 208 (2nd ed ., Northeastern Univ. Press 1991) (1955) (quoting 1 Annals of Cong. 755 (Joseph Gales ed., 1789)). The business community sometimes complains that it paralyzes its ability to grow. Politicians have used it as grist for their mills calling for jury reform. Television and movies have dramatized its workings so that people who have never actually served believe it to be a meaningless exercise. The public has largely rejected jury service as a major inconvenience.

One observer has reported that only about 45 percent of Americans who are sent jury notices actually appear at the courthouse. See Stephen J. Adler, The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom 220 (1994). In the internet age, websites ridicule the work of juries in an effort to show that it is a system prone to fail.
Source: Maryland Bar Journal via Social Science Research Network

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Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition

Based on the results of a new survey of more than 2,100 college students between the ages of 18 and 25, we offer the first assessment of political ambition early in life. And our results are troubling. Young women are less likely than young men ever to have considered running for office, to express interest in a candidacy at some point in the future, or to consider elective office a desirable profession. Moreover, the size of the gender gap in political ambition we uncover among 18 – 25 year olds is comparable to the size of the gap we previously uncovered in studies of potential candidates already working in the feeder professions to politics. Our data suggest, therefore, that the gender gap in ambition is already well in place by the time women and men enter their first careers.

Source: American University School of Public Affairs

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Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s: Declassified Documents Reflect the Covert Side of Lunar Programs

From the press release:
Forty-five years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his “one small step” for mankind, becoming the first person to set foot on the moon. The program that resulted in that historic event — managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — had been a very public one ever since its announcement by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Even the Soviet government had publicized aspects of its own effort.
But there were also highly secret elements to the U.S. and Soviet schemes, which are the subject of today’s National Security Archive posting of previously classified records. The documents focus on three topics — early U.S. military plans, including the possibility of conducting nuclear tests in space, the use of the moon to reflect signals for military or intelligence purposes, and U.S. intelligence analyses and estimates of Soviet missions and their intentions to land a man on the lunar surface.
The posting includes:
  • Army and Air Force studies from 1959 – 1961 on the creation of a military lunar base, with possible uses as a surveillance platform (for targets on earth and space) and the Lunar Based Earth Bombardment System (Document 1a, Document 1b, Document 3, Document 4).
  • A study on the detonation of a nuclear device on or in the vicinity of the moon (Document 2).
  • The use of the lunar surface to relay signals from Washington to Hawaii and from U.S. spy ships (Document 15).
  • Collection of Soviet radar signals after they bounced off the moon — a technique known as Moon Bounce ELINT (Document 11, Document 14).
  • The U.S. theft and return of a Soviet space capsule during an exhibition tour (Document 13).
  • A 1965 estimate of Soviet intentions with regard to a manned moon landing (Document 5).
  • Several analyses of Soviet Luna missions, including Luna 9 — the first mission to result in a soft landing on the moon (Document 6, Document 7, Document 8, Document 10, Document 16).

Source: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 479

Read more about the program and access declassified documents

The Check is in the Mail: Monetization of Craigslist Buyer Scams

Nigerian or advance fee fraud scams continue to gain prevelance within the world of online classified advertisements. As law enforcement, user training, and website technologies improve to thwart known techniques, scammers continue to evolve their methods of targeting victims and monetizing their scam methods. As our understanding of the underground scammer community and their methods grows, we gain a greater insight about the critical points of disruption to interrupt the scammers ability to succeed. In this paper we extend on previous works about fake payment scams targeting Craigslist. To grow our understanding of scammer methods and how they monetize these scams, we utilize a data collection system posting ”honeypot advertisements” on Craigslist offering products for sale and interact with scammers gathering information on their payment methods. We then conduct an analysis of 75 days worth of data to better understand the scammer’s patterns, supporting agents, geolocations, and methods used to perpetuate fraudulent payments. Our analysis shows that 5 groups are responsible for over 50% of the scam payments received. These groups operate primarily out of Nigeria, but use the services of agents within the United States to facilitate the sending and receiving of payments and shipping of products to addresses both in Nigeria and the United States. This small number of scammer organizations combined with the necessity of support agents within the United States indicate areas for potential targeting and disruption of the key scammer groups.
Source: George Mason University, Department of Computer Science

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Moving the Goalposts: How Demand for a Bachelor’s Degree Is Reshaping the Workforce

An increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree. This credential inflation, or “upcredentialing” is affecting a wide range of jobs from executive assistants to construction supervisors and has serious implications both for workers not seeking a college degree and for employers struggling to fill jobs.
Source: Burning Glass

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Domestic Violence – is Further Criminalization the Answer? (UK)

The Home Office has recently launched a Domestic Violence lawbook “public consultation on whether a specific crime of domestic violence should be created in order to strengthen existing law in this area. However, is the focus on criminalization as a way to improve existing provisions to tackle domestic violence misplaced?

The Home Office published a non-statutory definition of domestic violence which highlights that a distinctive feature of this form of behavior is its coercive and controlling nature. The lack of specific legislation to address this type of behavior has been put forward as a reason to create a specific crime of domestic violence, as it would arguably make it easier for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute offenders. The benefits of such an initiative are however not straightforward.
Source: Social Science Space

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Reactions to Media Violence: It’s in the Brain of the Beholder

Media portraying violence is part of daily exposures. The extent to which violent media exposure impacts brain and behavior has been debated. Yet there is not enough experimental data to inform this debate. We hypothesize that reaction to violent media is critically dependent on personality/trait differences between viewers, where those with the propensity for physical assault will respond to the media differently than controls. The source of the variability, we further hypothesize, is reflected in autonomic response and brain functioning that differentiate those with aggression tendencies from others. To test this hypothesis we pre-selected a group of aggressive individuals and non-aggressive controls from the normal healthy population; we documented brain, blood-pressure, and behavioral responses during resting baseline and while the groups were watching media violence and emotional media that did not portray violence. Positron Emission Tomography was used with [18F]fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) to image brain metabolic activity, a marker of brain function, during rest and during film viewing while blood-pressure and mood ratings were intermittently collected. Results pointed to robust resting baseline differences between groups. Aggressive individuals had lower relative glucose metabolism in the medial orbitofrontal cortex correlating with poor self-control and greater glucose metabolism in other regions of the default-mode network (DMN) where precuneus correlated with negative emotionality. These brain results were similar while watching the violent media, during which aggressive viewers reported being more Inspired and Determined and less Upset and Nervous, and also showed a progressive decline in systolic blood-pressure compared to controls. Furthermore, the blood-pressure and brain activation in orbitofrontal cortex and precuneus were differentially coupled between the groups. These results demonstrate that individual differences in trait aggression strongly couple with brain, behavioral, and autonomic reactivity to media violence which should factor into debates about the impact of media violence on the public.
Source: PLOS One

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The Context of Military Environments: An Agenda for Basic Research on Social and Organizational Factors Relevant to Small Units

The United States Army faces a variety of challenges to maintain a ready and capable force into the future. Missions are increasingly diverse, ranging from combat and counterinsurgency to negotiation, reconstruction, and stability operations, and require a variety of personnel and skill sets to execute. Missions often demand rapid decision-making and coordination with others in novel ways, so that personnel are not simply following a specific set of tactical orders but rather need to understand broader strategic goals and choose among courses of action. Like any workforce, the Army is diverse in terms of demographic characteristics such as gender and race, with increasing pressure to ensure equal opportunities across all demographic parties. With these challenges comes the urgent need to better understand how contextual factors influence soldier and small unit behavior and mission performance.
Source: National Academies Press

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Black–White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers: A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tippin

There is a rich history of social science research centering on racial inequalities that continue to be observed across various markets (e.g., labor, housing, and credit markets) and social milieus. Existing research on racial discrimination in consumer markets is, however, relatively scarce and that which has been done has disproportionately focused on consumers as the victims of race-based mistreatment. As such, we know relatively little about how consumers contribute to inequalities in their roles as perpetrators of racial discrimination. In response, in this article, we elaborate on a line of research that is only in its infancy stages of development and yet is ripe with opportunities to advance the literature on consumer racial discrimination and racial earnings inequities among tip-dependent employees in the United States. Specifically, we analyze data derived from an exit survey of restaurant consumers (N = 394) in an attempt to replicate, extend, and further explore the recently documented effect of service providers’ race on restaurant consumers’ tipping decisions. Our results indicate that both white and black restaurant customers discriminate against black servers by tipping them less than their white co-workers. Importantly, we find no evidence that this black tip penalty is the result of inter-racial differences in service skills possessed by black and white servers. We conclude by delineating directions for future research in this neglected but salient area of study.

Source: Sociological Inquiry

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Male police officers’ law enforcement preferences in cases of intimate partner violence versus non-intimate interpersonal violence Do sexist attitudes and empathy matter?

This article explores male police officers’ law enforcement preferences across different scenarios of interpersonal violence, involving intimate (partner violence against women) and non-intimate relationships (between- and within-gender). The influence of police officers’ sexist attitudes and empathy on their law enforcement preferences was also analyzed within and across these scenarios. The sample consisted of 308 male police officers. Results showed that police officers prefer a stronger and unconditional law enforcement approach in cases of violence against women, both in intimate and non-intimate relationships. Benevolent sexism was linked to a preference for a more conditional law enforcement across interpersonal violence scenarios. The type of interpersonal violence scenario also conditioned the influence of hostile sexism and empathy on police preferences. Implications for training and selection of police officers are discussed.
Source:  Criminal Justice and Behavior

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AAUP faculty compensation survey: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession

From the online summary:
As is traditional in this annual report, we begin with an overview of full-time faculty compensation. For those who are interested, the report is supplemented with numerous detailed tables covering all aspects of pay, benefits, and employment status for full-time faculty members. Following the introductory section, we examine trends in the employment of administrators and in spending on administrative positions of various kinds. Administrative spending is a perennial topic, and the data reviewed here indicate that it deserves continuing attention, especially when we contrast it with declining expenditures on instruction. The final section analyzes another frequent concern of this report, the “irrational exuberance” (to borrow an apt phrase from another context) surrounding intercollegiate athletics. When we tally up the score on the economics of college sports, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that current practices are harming our academic programs.
Source: American Association of University Professors.

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Related: Chronicle of Higher Education Interactive Tool: What Professors Make

The opportunities and challenges of online open-access publishing

From the article:
Together with SAGE, three co-editors in chief (Catherine de Vries, Bernard Steunenberg and Scott McClurg) and a large group of associated editors, I helped launch a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on publishing high-quality short articles quickly: Research & Politics (R&P). The idea is straightforward. Much of political science research could be relevant to policy makers, students, journalists and the educated public. Yet, it is often written up in articles that are too long, obtuse and hidden behind paywalls. Moreover, academics are frustrated by the amount of time it takes to get their research in print and by the limitations print imposes on how analytic insights and data can be presented. Blogs are too short to communicate research findings thoroughly, and they don’t cater to academic incentives, since peer-review is still valued highly (and rightly so).
Source: Washington Post
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Who runs for office? A profile of the 2%

For the first time, Pew Research asked a question about who seeks out offices and found that about 2% of Americans say they have ever run for federal, local, or state elected office. With the data from this year’s polarization survey and political typology, we can provide a snapshot of who has ever placed their name on a ballot, although we don’t know how recently they did so.
Source: Pew Research Center

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More Express Sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians

From the introduction:
Most Americans say they sympathize “a lot” (34%) or “some” (32%) with Israel, while roughly a quarter sympathize with Israel “not much” (15%) or “not at all” (12%). There is less public sympathy for the Palestinians: 11% sympathize with Palestinians a lot, though 35% have some sympathy for them. Nearly half say they have little (20%) or no sympathy (27%) for the Palestinians.
Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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How Close is Asia to Already Being A Trade Bloc?

FTA bilateral and regional negotiations in Asia have developed quickly in the past decade moving Asia ever closer to an economic union. Unlike Europe with the EU and the 1997 treaty of Rome and the 1993 NAFTA in North American, Asian economic integration does not involve a comprehensive trade treaty, but an accelerating process of building one bilateral agreement on another. For countries in Asia there is negotiation of a China-Japan-Korea agreement, a China-India agreement, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This paper uses a fifteen-country global general equilibrium model with trade costs to numerically calculate Debreu distance measures between the present situation and potential full Asia integration in the form of a trade bloc. Our results reveal that these large Asia economies can be close to full integration if they act timely in agreements through negotiation. All Asia countries will gain from Asia trade bloc arrangements except when the Asia FTA can only eliminate tariffs. These countries’ gain will increase as bilateral non-tariff elimination deepens. Larger countries will gain more than small countries. Asia FTA, Asia Union and RCEP will benefit member countries more than ASEAN+3. Global free trade will benefit all countries the most.
Source: NBER

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Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network

Can we identify the members of a community who are best- placed to diffuse information simply by asking a random sample of individuals? We show that boundedly-rational individuals can, simply by tracking sources of gossip, identify those who are most central in a network according to “diffusion centrality,” which nests other standard centrality measures. Testing this prediction with data from 35 Indian villages, we find that respondents accurately nominate those who are diffusion central (not just those with many friends). Moreover, these nominees are more central in the network than traditional village leaders and geographically central individuals.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Convergences in Men's and Women's Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment

The changes in women and men's work lives have been considerable in recent decades. Yet much of the recent research on gender differences in employment and earnings has been of a more snapshot nature rather than taking a longer comparative look at evolving patterns. In this paper, we use 50 years (1964-2013) of US Census Annual Demographic Files (March Current Population Survey) to track the changing returns to human capital (measured as both educational attainment and potential work experience), estimating comparable earnings equations by gender at each point in time. We consider the effects of sample selection over time for both women and men and show the rising effect of selection for women in recent years. Returns to education diverge for women and men over this period in the selection-adjusted results but converge in the OLS results, while returns to potential experience converge in both sets of results. We also create annual calculations of synthetic lifetime labor force participation, hours, and earnings that indicate convergence by gender in worklife patterns, but less convergence in recent years in lifetime earnings. Thus, while some convergence has indeed occurred, the underlying mechanisms causing convergence differ for women and men, reflecting continued fundamental differences in women's and men's life experiences.
Source: Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA)

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Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence

Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others. We find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice. This effect is moderated by task difficulty, advisor egocentrism, and advisor expertise. Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent when the task is difficult than when it is easy, when people seek advice from them personally than when they seek advice from others, and when people seek advice from experts than from non-experts or not at all.
Source: Harvard Business School Faculty Research Papers

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People

In recent years the geographic state of Tennessee in the United States has acquired a national notoriety and shameful reputation as a toxic place on issues of sex and gender (Mehra 2011; Mehra and Braquet, in press; Mehra and Braquet, 2011; Mehra and Braquet, 2007a, 2007b; Mehra and Braquet, 2006), especially owing to the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that thankfully died a second death when lawmakers failed to pass the measure banning elementary and middle-school teachers from discussing sexual activity that is not “related to natural human reproduction” (Ford, 2013; McDonough, 2013; Staff eports, 2013). In the light of such failed, yet repressive and homophobic efforts, how are the state’s school, public, and academic libraries representing the needs and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in providing web access and coverage of information related to this marginalized population in a region that proudly identifies itself as the buckle of the conservative Bible – belt in the United States. This paper highlights findings from an exploratory website study to identify key trends, best practices, and case representations across different types of library environments of LGBTQ information resources, collections, programs, and services. It shows how library agencies around the state have the potential to serve as virtual spaces of resistance and protectors of human rights of LGBTQ people against the dictates of hegemonic, prejudiced, and hateful regime representatives and unjust laws.
Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

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Video Evidence: A Law Enforcement Guide to Resources and Best Practices

The purpose of this resource is to provide answers to straightforward common questions that law enforcement officers, or the agencies they represent, may have regarding properly securing, collecting, storing, and analyzing video by directing them to valuable tools and resources from experts in the field.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
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Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever

From the Summary:
On the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and a year after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v Holder decision gutted a vital protection of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the National Commission on Voting Rights has released a new report showing where and how minority voters continue to be harmed by racial discrimination in voting. The report, Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done, challenges the Court’s rationale that improvements in minority citizens’ rates of voting and voter registration and the success of minority candidates indicated that the coverage formula protecting minority voters was unconstitutionally outdated.
Source: National Commission on Voting Rights

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Housing America's Older Adults— Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population

From the Press Release:
According to Housing America’s Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population, the number of adults in the U.S. aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000 (see interactive map). But housing that is affordable, physically accessible, well-located, and coordinated with supports and services is in too short supply.
Source: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation

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Housing America's Older Adults infographic includes report statistics

The downward spiral of mental disorders and educational attainment: a systematic review on early school leaving

Most psychiatric disorders present symptom patterns that cause severe impairment on the emotional, cognitive and social level. Thus, adolescents who suffer from a mental disorder risk finding themselves in a downward spiral caused by the reciprocal association of psychological symptoms and negative school experiences that may culminate in early school leaving. In addition to previous collective work that mainly focused on school refusing behaviour among children and was presented as an expert’s opinion, the following systematic review fills the knowledge gap by providing a structured overview of the bidirectional association between mental health and secondary school dropout based on a sound methodology and with a particular focus on mediating factors.
Source: BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:237 
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What do they know about me? Contents and Concerns of Online Behavioral Profiles

Data aggregators collect large amounts of information about individual users from multiple sources, and create detailed online behavioral profiles of individuals. Behavioral profiles benefit users by improving products and services. However, they have also raised privacy concerns. To increase transparency, some companies are allowing users to access their behavioral profiles. In this work, we investigated behavioral profiles of users by utilizing these access mechanisms. Using in-person interviews (n=8), we analyzed the data shown in the profiles and compared it with the data that companies have about users. We elicited surprises and concerns from users about the data in their profiles, and estimated the accuracy of profiles. We conducted an online survey (n=100) to confirm observed surprises and concerns. Our results show a large gap between data shown in profiles and data possessed by companies. We also find that large number of profiles contain inaccuracies with levels as high as 80%. Participants expressed several concerns including collection of sensitive data such as credit and health information, extent of data collection and how their data may be used.
Source: Carnegie Mellon Univeristy (Cylab)

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Criminalizing Revenge Porn

Violations of sexual privacy, notably the non-consensual publication of sexually graphic images in violation of someone's trust, deserve criminal punishment. They deny subjects' ability to decide if and when they are sexually exposed to the public and undermine trust needed for intimate relationships. Then too they produce grave emotional and dignitary harms, exact steep financial costs, and increase the risks of physical assault. A narrowly and carefully crafted criminal statute can comport with the First Amendment. The criminalization of revenge porn is necessary to protect against devastating privacy invasions that chill self-expression and ruin lives.
Source: 49 Wake Forest Law Review 345 (2014).

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An Exploration of the Determinants of the Subjective Well-being of Americans During the Great Recession

This paper uses data from the American Life Panel to understand the determinants of well-being in the United States during the Great Recession. It investigates how various dimensions of subjective wellbeing reflected in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Better Life Framework impact subjective well-being. The results show that income is an important determinant of subjective well-being. The unemployed and the disabled are significantly less satisfied with their lives than the working population, while the retired and the homemakers are more satisfied. The paper expands the existing evidence by showing that homeowners, registered voters and those with access to health insurance have higher levels of subjective well-being. Time spent walking or exercising is positively correlated with happiness, while working more than 50 hours per week or spending time on health-related activities is negatively correlated with subjective well-being, and higher levels of anxiety. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of United States (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-united-states.htm)
Source:  Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

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An Emerging Fact-Finding Discipline? A Conceptual Roadmap for Social Science Methods in Human Rights Advocacy

Human rights advocates seek to find, interpret, and communicate facts about rights violations amidst some of the most complex social, economic, and political circumstances. To meet these challenges, fact-finders have developed research procedures that increasingly draw on a wide range of interdisciplinary tools and perspectives — with a notable expansion in the use of qualitative and quantitative methods from social science during recent years. Yet there is little discussion of investigative principles, research components, and methodological standards in the human rights field — a reality that often fuels tension and uncertainty over the extent to which social scientific research standards can and should inform evolving fact-finding conventions. As a result, fundamental questions about such standards remain unaddressed. To fill this gap, this chapter offers three core contributions. First, this chapter contextualizes the discussion by presenting data concerning the methods and conventions used by researchers at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the years 2000 and 2010. Second, this chapter interrogates the nature of social scientific inquiry and the degree of overlap between social science research and human rights fact-finding by comparing investigative principles, research components, and methodological standards. These comparisons reveal that social scientific research and human rights fact-finding share many common foundations and suggest that there is great potential for further convergence — especially in relation to methodological transparency. Third, drawing on some of the key distinctions between social science research and human rights fact-finding, this chapter highlights some of the methodological trade-offs that human rights investigators will likely confront when more directly considering social scientific strategies. This chapter ultimately cautions against the creation of a social science of human rights fact-finding, given the unique challenges and irreducible ethical commitments of human rights fact-finding. It instead calls for open and inclusive conversations about the most promising and appropriate standards for the evolving practice of human rights fact-finding.
Source: Social Science Research Network
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Why Businesses Should Serve Consumers’ ‘Higher Needs’

From the article:
Companies that serve ... higher, more intangible needs of customers are being rewarded by the financial market with higher valuations than those that serve the lower, more tangible needs of customers that include structure and sustenance. Snapchat, Airbnb and Uber are just the tip of the iceberg of $10 billion startups and $100 billion public companies.
Source: Knowledge @ Wharton

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Republicans Open Up Wider ‘Expectations Gap’ Ahead of Midterms

From the Summary:
A new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Aug. 20-24 among 1,501 adults (including 1,171 registered voters), finds that about half of voters (49%) have given “quite a lot” of thought to the upcoming elections. The amount of thought given to the elections at this point of the campaigns is in line with the attention given to past midterm elections. Divided Midterm Voting Intentions

The public’s congressional vote preference remains fairly even. Among registered voters, 47% would vote for the Democratic candidate today or lean Democratic and 42% would vote or lean Republican (11% volunteer “other” or don’t know). In surveys going back to last October, neither party has opened up a large lead in the generic ballot.
Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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