HUFFINGTON POST: …A clinical psychopath is bright, gregarious and charming, writes DeCovny. He lies easily and often, and may have trouble feeling empathy for other people. He’s probably also more willing to take dangerous risks — either because he doesn’t understand the consequences, or because he simply doesn’t care.
An appetite for risk can seem like a positive business trait on Wall Street, where big gambles sometimes lead to big rewards. But for the people DeCovny is talking about, the outcomes matter less than the gambles themselves — and the chemical rush of serotonin and endorphins that accompanies them.
This is hardly the first time that mental illness has been equated with a certain capacity for professional success — especially in the financial sector, where some stock traders have actually scored higher than diagnosed psychopaths on tests that measure competitiveness and attraction to risk… (more)
HUFFINGTON POST: The results of the annual Consumer Reports automotive report card caught a lot of people by surprise when they were released Tuesday – not necessarily because of which automaker claimed top honors, but because of which automaker did not.
A wave of redesigned vehicles helped catapult Subaru into the top position for the first time. It had finished second in last year’s ranking, and buoyed by recent successes with the Outback and Impreza, it improved two points this year to finish with an overall score of 75.
Subaru’s rise to the top meant that Honda’s four-year run as the top automaker among the 13 ranked was over. Honda drifted into fourth-place overall, and the problems caused by last year’s Japanese catastrophes didn’t seem to play much of a factor… (more)
…Protesters in Kabul interviewed on the road and in front of Parliament said that this was not the first time that Americans had violated Afghan cultural and religious traditions and that an apology was not enough.
“This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead and killing our children,” said Maruf Hotak, 60, a man who joined the crowd on the outskirts of Kabul, referring to an episode in Helmand Province when American Marines urinated on the dead bodies of men they described as insurgents and to a recent erroneous airstrike on civilians in Kapisa Province that killed eight young Afghans…
The U.S. has violently occupied their country for more than a decade. It has, as Gen. Stanley McChrystal himself explained, killed what he called an “amazing number” of innocent Afghans in checkpoint shootings. It has repeatedly — as in, over and over — killed young Afghan children in air strikes. It continues to imprison their citizens for years at Bagram and other American bases without charges of any kind and with credible reports of torture and other serious abuses. Soldiers deliberately shot Afghan civilians for fun and urinated on their corpses and displayed them as trophies.
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From PEW INTERNET:
This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities….
Online Students. Roughly one-in-four college graduates (23%) report that they have taken a class online. However, the share doubles to 46% among those who have graduated in the past ten years. Among all adults who have taken a class online, 39% say the format’s educational value is equal to that of a course taken in a classroom.
The Future of Online Learning. College presidents predict substantial growth in online learning: 15% say most of their current undergraduate students have taken a class online, and 50% predict that 10 years from now most of their students will take classes online… (more)
USA TODAY Column: The debate about the worthiness of college never ends. Some claim it’s a waste of time. Some say it’s a must. But for $50,000 a year, you’d like to think you’re getting something in return.
As for this lecture thing, it appears students today want to be involved. They want to be active, not passive. In short, they don’t want to be lectured to. Next thing you know they’ll want their own phones.
What’s happening is that many lectures today can just as easily be delivered over YouTube or iTunes. Lucky students. I remember sitting there pretending I was not only listening but writing down what was being said. I also smiled a lot… (more)
From the HUFFINGTON POST / AP:
The United States says North Korea has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and agree to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said Wednesday the North has agreed to alllow International Atomic Energy Inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.
Her statement says the U.S. will meet with North Korea to finalize details for a proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of food aid…
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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson asked the House subcommittees on energy and power on Tuesday for $14 million in order to fund collaborative studies on hydraulic fracturing with other federal agencies…
“As I’ve mentioned before, natural gas is an important resource which is abundant in the United States, but we must make sure that the ways we extract it do not risk the safety of public water supplies. This budget continues EPA’s ongoing congressionally directed hydraulic fracturing study, which we have taken great steps to ensure is independent, peer reviewed and based on strong and scientifically defensible data,” Jackson told the Republican-led committee.
As part of EPA’s 2010 House Appropriation Conference Committee directive, Jackson said $14 million of the agency’s budget would go toward studies with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy to “assess questions regarding hydraulic fracturing.” … (more)
PATRIOT-NEWS Opinion: …Animal rightists hold that conditions at big chicken farms are inhumane and others believe the primary consideration is to assure hungry Americans their morning meal, over easy.
The dispute has engaged the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers, an industry group, in a costly legal and political struggle. The animal rights groups have hammered away at the egg farmers in the courts and in the political arena.
The Humane Society argues the laying hens in a modern factory farm live almost all their lives in cramped conditions, unable to turn around, raise their wings or do little other than crank out a stream of eggs. It and other animal rights groups threatened a state-by-state crusade for reform… (more)
From ZOGBY: …Here are the specifics:
- 78% believe Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons production
- 89% say it is likely Israel will attack Iran if the Israeli government believes Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons.
- 72% say if Israel attacks Iran, it is likely the US would at some point join Israel in military action against Iran
- 68% say it is likely Iran would attack another nation if it produces nuclear weapons and has the ability to deliver them
- When asked what the US should do if it believes Iran has nuclear weapons, 37% support aerial attacks and another 7% would prefer both an invasion of Iran and aerial attacks. Increased economic and political sanctions are backed by 33%, while 10% would want no changes in current US policy toward Iran
- 79% are concerned that attacks on Iran could lead to higher fuel prices … (more)
EDITOR: The drums of war beat on.
From the NEW YORK TIMES:
While students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pay thousands of dollars for courses, the university will announce a new program on Monday allowing anyone anywhere to take M.I.T. courses online free of charge — and for the first time earn official certificates for demonstrating mastery of the subjects taught.
“There are many people who would love to augment their education by having access to M.I.T. content, people who are very capable to earn a certificate from M.I.T.,” said L. Rafael Reif, the provost, in a conference call with reporters Friday.
M.I.T. led the way to an era of online learning 10 years ago by posting course materials from almost all its classes. Its free OpenCourseWare now includes nearly 2,100 courses and has been used by more than 100 million people…
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EDITOR: This is a positive step towards a time when the bulk of sophomore through senior year college courses will be taken via the Internet, thus slashing study cost at least by half and, in the case of those who cannot afford the time or money to attend a campus but have a passion to learn, by 90%.