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An internal study finds that female-led proposals to use the in-demand device are less likely to be selected

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, is still in high demand among scientists. Less than a quarter of proposals for observation time are approved. NASA

For an astronomer, winning precious observation time on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for your study is a big dealmore than three quarters of proposals are rejected. It turns out, however, that this honor is a bit easier for men to achieve than women. An internal Hubble study found that in each of the past 11 observation proposal cycles, applications led by male principal investigators had a higher success rate than those led by women. Its fascinating and disturbing, says Yale University astronomer Meg Urry, who formerly led the Hubble proposal review committee for several years and admitted to frustration that some of the results occurred during her tenure. I made a lot of efforts to have women on the review committees, and during the review I spent time listening to the deliberations of each panel. I never heard anything that struck me as discriminationand my antennae are definitely tuned for such thingsso its clear the bias is very subtle, and that both men and women are biased. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore runs the HST program and began the study about two years ago. After manually reviewing all proposals and categorizing them by gender the researchers found that mens applications fared better than womens in every cycle they examined. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The effect is smallit translates to about four or five fewer proposals from women being selected each cycle than one might expect based on how many were submitted. You can kind of explain it away as just sampling statistics in any given cycle, but it happens every year, says Neill Reid, an STScI astronomer who oversees time allocation for Hubble. It is a systematic effect. The effect is stronger for older principal investigators (PIs); among recent graduates, the success rates for men and women are closer to equal. I could speculate whether the proposals are being written in a different way or whether the younger astronomers are more visible because theyre giving more talks. Maybe it has something to do with the institutions theyre at, Reid offers. Because the Hubble scientists have no information about the cause of the gender imbalance, they plan to analyze their data for contributing factors and consult social scientists who research bias about the best strategies to combat the trend. Already STScI has implemented some changes to try to level the playing field for men and women. The scientists who oversee proposal evaluation now tell reviewers before each cycle that this systematic effect exists, and that they believe unconscious bias might contribute to it. Sometimes people talk about the proposer rather than the proposal, Reid says. We ask them to focus on the science. The proposal format has also changed. Whereas the PIs name used to be in large type on the first page, they are now included among the rest of the team on page 2, and only first initials are used. Thus far, these steps have not reversed the trend, however: Women fared no better in the latest proposal-review cycle than they had before. I know STScI has tried very hard to minimize the effects of unconscious bias, Urry remarks. The only thing left is to do blind reviews, removing the names of the proposers altogether. But this is very difficult because the panels are supposed to evaluate the ability of the team to deliver what they propose. I am not sure what the answer is. A further complication is that the astronomy field is small, and reviewers may be able to guess the identities of proposers even if names are minimized or removed. Nevertheless, taking steps to make review processes as anonymous as possible has been shown to reduce bias in other scientific settings. Susan Benecchi, an astronomer at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., won observing time on Hubble during the latest round of applications and previously served on a review panel. She said shes never been aware of any bias in the process. Except for the fact that PI names are on the proposal, it’s really not about the PI or team or anything other than: Do we think they can get the result they are after and is that science interesting, timely and uniquely requiring of HST? Ultimately, allocating time on Hubble is a subjective and human process, and therefore open to biases. It may be unsurprising, then, that signs of gender discrimination show up, as they do in many sectors of society. Indeed, preliminary studies at several other U.S. observatories, such as Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, appear to show the same gender disparity in proposal success. This is a community issue not an HST issue, Reid observes. One positive development, the STScI team found, is that more and more women are applying for Hubble time. In the most recent cycles women have contributed close to 25 percent of all proposals, with the latest round featuring a greater ratio of female-led petitions than ever before. The scientists hope that this trend, at least, is one that continues.

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Hubble Telescope Time Preferentially Goes to Men

Alison Howard and Penny Nance – Liberty University Convocation
On September 12, 2014 at Convocation, North America's largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Alison Howard, Concerned Women for America's Communications Director introduced Penny…

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Ambassador Hunter talks on NATO and the Ukraine and explains President Obama's “Pivot to Asia” quote
In this interview former U.S. Ambassador to NATO (1993-98) Robert E. Hunter, who is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Washington,…

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Ambassador Hunter talks on NATO and the Ukraine and explains President Obama’s "Pivot to Asia" quote – Video

NWO NSA Attacks Student at University of New Mexico – Police No Response
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NWO NSA Attacks Student at University of New Mexico – Police No Response – Video

An NSA employee wearing name tag Neal Z. recently attended the the University of New Mexicos Engineering and Science Career Fair.

The NSA rep was trying to recruit college students to work at the controversial agency, which collects tons of metadata, emails, phone calls and various other information on American citizens.

University of New Mexico grad Andy Beale and student Sean Potter asked Neal Z. about the massive collection of information by the NSA, reports The Intercept.

Beale and Potter filmed the incident from two angles (videos below).

Amazingly, Neal Z. claimed, “NSA is not permitted to track or collect intelligence on U.S. persons.

However, after NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed the mass surveillance of Americans by the NSA, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, admitted to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in an April letter that the NSA does collect information on Americans, noted The Guardian.

In June, the NSA admitted it was spying on American phone calls, reported CNET, and even the phone habits of the U.S. Congress, according to The New American.

Later, Neal Z. admitted the NSA does collect data under the guidance of the (secret) FISA court, which is not open or accountable to the public.

After Beale and Potter politely debunked several of Neal Z’s claims, Neal Z. angrily threatened to call authorities to silence the two Americans: You do not know what youre talking about. If you dont leave soon, Im going to call university security to get you out of my face.

Neal Z. tried to grab Potter’s iPhone, but it was Potter and Beale who were removed from the fair by campus police for causing a disturbance.

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Angry NSA Employee Denies NSA Collects Information on Americans (Video)

David Nasser – Liberty University Convocation

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Liberty Flames ACHA Preseason Show.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I men's hockey season. The Liberty Flames Sports Network (LFSN) will host its second annual ACHA preseason show from 8-9 p.m. Wednesday,…

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Liberty Flames ACHA Preseason Show. – Video

The agency’s Hubble Space Telescope spots one of the smallest galaxies ever discovered — with a giant black hole at its core.

An artist’s rendering of the massive black hole at the center of the tiny ‘dwarf’ galaxy revealed by NASA on September 17. NASA

They say big things come in little packages. That may never be more true than with what astronomers have just discovered: A “monster” black hole hiding inside one of the smallest galaxies ever known.

NASA said Wednesday that astronomers using its Hubble Space Telescope have found a new dwarf galaxy — known as M60-UCD1 — that “crams 140 million stars within a diameter of about 300 light-years, which is only 1/500th” the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy.

At the core of this tiny galaxy is what NASA is calling a “supermassive,” or “monster” black hole, one that has five times the mass of the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. A dwarf galaxy is one that has a small fraction of the hundreds of billion of stars in the Milky Way.

However, when comparing the density of the Milky Way and the newly-discovered galaxy, NASA said looking at the nighttime sky from Earth reveals about 4,000 stars. Someone looking up into the sky from inside M60-UCD1 would see a million stars.

According to NASA, this finding indicates there could be many other dense galaxies throughout the universe that also have giant black holes. At the same time, the space agency said, the discovery may mean that dwarf galaxies like M60-UCD1 could be the ripped remnants of larger galaxies that broke apart during violent events such as collisions with other galaxies.

“We don’t know of any other way you could make a black hole so big in an object this small,” Anil Seth, the University of Utah astronomer who led a study about the newly-found galaxy, said in a NASA statement.

Seth’s team used both the Hubble telescope and Hawaii’s Gemini North-8 meter optical and infrared telescope to identify the new galaxy and measure the black hole’s mass.

NASA explained that black holes are “gravitationally collapsed, ultra-compact objects that have a gravitational pull so strong that even light cannot escape.”

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NASA finds tiniest galaxy has 'supermassive' black hole

He calls for patience, saying academic freedom isn’t something that can be achieved overnight.

KUALA LUMPUR: Azmi Sharom has called for patience in the fight for academic freedom but said the public must not stop pushing for it.

Trying to achieve standards in democratic practice, I see it as a process, the Universiti of Malaya law lecturer said in an interview with FMT.

Its a process where we have to be patient, and we have to keep pushing every single step of the way.

Azmi today filed an application with the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Sedition Act, under which he has been charged because of comments he made in relation to the ongoing Selangor political crisis.

He referred to a 2011 case in which another law lecturer, Abdul Aziz Bari, had his service with the International Islamic University suspended for a similar offence. Police investigated Aziz under the Sedition Act, prompting numerous student demonstrations calling for academic freedom and university autonomy.

Azmi said the current movement against the Sedition Act and for academic freedom actually began with Azizs case.

The act should have been gone back then, he said.

But it was not a lost cause, he added. Its difficult to sustain a protest for three years, but it is clear that what happened to Aziz and what is happening to me now has raised awareness about the Sedition Act not only amongst students but also the general public.

He said the greater public awareness was crucial in the fight to get the Sedition Act repealed and, by extension, in achieving academic freedom.

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Azmi tells public to keep fighting for freedom

As I have often reported, FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) continually fights in the courts and media to protect the free speech rights of students and faculty on college campuses no matter their politics or religion (or absence of any).

However, much remains for FIRE to do to educate students on why and how they are Americans. Earlier this month, that defender of Americas most primal identity warned:

As millions of college students arrive on campus this fall many for the first time few of them realize that nearly 59 percent of our nations colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict speech protected by the First Amendment.

Too many students will realize that the rights they took for granted as Americans have been denied to them only after they face charges and disciplinary action for speaking their minds (Students Return to Campus Censorship, But Fight Back with FIRE,, Sept. 2).

A particularly startling example of the cult of censorship among many college administrators is a Sept. 5 email message to University of California-Berkeley students, faculty and staff from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

He began by noting that it is the 50th anniversary of the extraordinary Free Speech Movement by University of California students, which would have gladdened the hearts of James Madison, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

But then listen to how this universitys commander-in-chief defined free speech:

We can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility …

Insofar as we wish to honor the ideal of Free Speech, therefore, we should do so by exercising it graciously. This is true not just of political speech on Sproul Plaza (on campus), but also in our everyday interactions with each other in the classroom, in the office, and in the lab.

In other words: Be polite, or shut up.

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Struggles to protect free speech on our college campuses continue

Like my co-blogger Will Baude, I was very interested in the Ninth Circuits recent case, United States v. Dreyer, suppressing evidence as a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. I think the case is interesting because it demonstrates a view of the exclusionary rule that I havent seen in a while.

First, some history. Back in the the middle of the 20th Century, the federal courts often found ways to impose an exclusionary rule for statutory violations in federal court. For example, in Nardone v. United States, 302 U. S. 379 (1937) (Nardone I) and Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338 (1939) (Nardone II), the Supreme Court adopted an exclusionary rule for violations of the Communications Act. In McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332 (1943), the Court adopted an exclusionary rule for violations of Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Court had a rather free-form approach to the exclusionary rule at the time, in part because suppression was seen as the judiciarys domain. The federal courts had an inherent power to control evidence in their own cases, so the Court could be creative in fashioning what evidence could come in to deter bad conduct. If the government did something really bad, the federal courts had the power to keep the evidence out to deter violations and maintain the integrity of the courts.

By the 1980s, after Warren Court revolution, the Supreme Court had a different view of the exclusionary rule. The scope of the rule had expanded dramatically when it was incorporated and applied to the states. But as a kind of tradeoff for that expansion, the Court cut back on the free-form approach outside core constitutional violations. The Burger and Rehnquist Courts saw suppression as a doctrine that had to be rooted in deterrence of constitutional violations and not just something that courts didnt like or found offensive.

In his post, Will points out a passage from Sanchez-Llamas v. Oregon to that effect. And I would add the earlier case of United States v. Payner, 447 U.S. 727 (1980), in which investigators had intentionally violated one persons Fourth Amendment rights to get evidence they were holding of the suspects crimes. The Sixth Circuit had suppressed the evidence on the basis of the federal courts supervisory power to punish the blatant abuse even though the suspect did not have Fourth Amendment standing to object to the violation. The Supreme Court reversed, blocking courts from using the supervisory power as an end-run around the limits of Fourth Amendment doctrine.

The new Ninth Circuit case, Dreyer, strikes me as a vestige of the mid-20th century free-form view of the exclusionary rule. The lower courts in the 1960s and 1970s had a few areas where they rejected suppression outside of constitutional law but recognized the hypothetical possibility that they might suppress evidence if the facts were particularly egregious. For example, a bunch of circuits held that the Fourth Amendment does not regulate evidence collection by foreign governments not acting in coordination with the U.S., but that they would suppress evidence if the foreign government conduct shocked the conscience. See, e.g., Birdsell v. United States, 346 F.2d 775, 782 n. 10 (5th Cir. 1965); United States v. Cotroni, 527 F.2d 708, 712 n. 10 (2d Cir. 1975). But see United States v. Mount, 757 F.2d 1315, 1320 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (Bork, J., concurring) (arguing based on Payner that lower courts lack supervisory powers to impose an exclusionary rule for searches by foreign governments). The caselaw was never reviewed in the Supreme Court, however, perhaps because those egregious circumstances were not found and the evidence wasnt actually suppressed.

Violations of the Posse Comitatus Act, the issue in the new decision, provides another example. The history seems to run like this. First, in the 1970s, a few courts applied the free-form approach to the exclusionary rule and left open the possibility that violations of the Posse Comitatus Act could lead to exclusion if it were necessary to deter violations. See, e.g.,United States v. Walden, 490 F.2d 372, 37677 (4th Cir. 1974); State v. Danko, 219 Kan. 490 (1976). When the Ninth Circuit reached the issue in 1986, the panel did not focus on the Supreme Courts then-new more skeptical approach to the exclusionary rule. Instead, the Ninth Circuit expanded on the 1970s lower-court cases, indicating that the exclusionary rule would be necessary for violations of the Act if a need to deter future violations is demonstrated. United States v. Roberts, 779 F.2d 565, 568 (9th Cir. 1986). Again, though, this was just a possibility, and the issue was never reviewed.

Dreyer picks up that 28-year-old invitation and concludes that the need has finally been demonstrated and that the exclusionary rule therefore must be applied. Dreyer cites Roberts, which in turn cited Walden. So on its face, the court is at least drawing on precedent.

But it seems to me that Dreyer is very vulnerable if DOJ thinks it is worth challenging in the Supreme Court. Dreyer appears to rely on a line of thinking about the exclusionary rule that the Supreme Court has long ago rejected. Of course, we can debate the normative question of how the Justices should approach the exclusionary rule, either in the context of constitutional violations or statutory violations. But just as a predictive matter, I suspect that todays Court would have a different view of the question than the circuit court cases from the 1970s on which the Ninth Circuits Dreyer decision ultimately relies.

Orin Kerr is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 2001. He teaches and writes in the area of criminal procedure and computer crime law.

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Volokh Conspiracy: The posse comitatus case and changing views of the exclusionary rule

Liberty University EDUC631 Preparation Educational Technology Online Instruction
Liberty University EDUC631 Preparation Educational Technology Online Instruction Liberty University EDUC 631 Module 4 information technology era Liberty University…

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Liberty University EDUC631 Preparation Educational Technology & Online Instruction – Video

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

The Free Speech Movement Archives and the Organizing Committee for the FSM 50th Anniversary would like to thank you for generously supporting our efforts to commemorate the Free Speech Movement, and to keep the memory of those events alive. We look forward to seeing you at our reunion. In the spirit of civil discourse, we would like to bring to your attention some history regarding the question of what the Free Speech Movement was about, what we won, and what it means for the campus today.

In your letter to the campus community of Friday, September 5th you said, the boundaries between protected speech and unprotected speech, between free speech and political advocacy, between debate and demagoguery have never been fully settled. In fact, these questions were fully settled. On December 8th, 1964, the Berkeley Academic Senate adopted a resolution stating that: the content of speech or advocacy shall not be restricted by the University. This resolution was then reinforced by the Regents resolution of December 14th which stated: Henceforth University regulations will not go beyond the purview of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In celebrating the half century that the UC Berkeley campus has been a symbol and embodiment of the idea of free speech, you are proudly and properly referring to the outcome produced by the Free Speech Movement in the fall of 1964. Your statement seems to miss the central point. The struggle of the FSM was all about the right to political advocacy on campus. The UC Administration of that time insisted it would not permit speech on campus advocating student participation in off-campus demonstrations that might lead to arrests. The African-American civil rights movement was then at its height and students rejected these restrictions. This attempt to restrict our rights produced the Free Speech Movement.

It is precisely the right to speech on subjects that are divisive, controversial, and capable of arousing strong feelings that we fought for in 1964. . . From the roof of the police car blockaded in Sproul Plaza, we heard a song written by a UC graduate (BA, MA, PhD) Malvina Reynolds that summed up our feelings toward the UC Administration and others who were then trying to reign-in the civil rights movement. The song was titled, It Isnt Nice.

It isnt nice to block the doorways, it isnt nice to go to jail!/

There are nicer ways to do it, but the nice ways always fail./

It isnt nice, it isnt nice, you told us once you told us twice/

But if thats freedoms price, we dont mind.

We note that the charge of uncivility was used by Chancellor Phyllis Wise of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, to justify the discharge of Professor Steve Salaita. For this reason, many now read the call for civility in your letter as a potential threat.

Originally posted here:
An Open Letter About Free Speech to Chancellor Dirks

U.C. Berkeleys Chancellor Nicholas Dirks has been kind enough to spice up the imminent Free Speech Movement reunion which starts next week. You can get all the information about the innumerable talks, movies, panels, dinners and especially the new play about the FSM (by Joan Holden with music by Bruce Barthol and Daniel Savio, Marios son) here.

Its a full plate of reminiscences and inspiration, but the part that the chancellor might enhance is the kickoff happy hour on Friday, September 26, from 5:30-6:30 at the Free Speech Movement Cafe Terrace. According to the published schedule: the new(ish) Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks will stop by for a few minutes.

Why might that be big fun, if hes not afraid to show up? Well, hes been catching a fair amount of flack online and in the press since September 5. The focus is a smarmy memo he emailed that day, reprinted here in full:

This Fall marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, which made the right to free expression of ideas a signature issue for our campus, and indeed for universities around the world. Free speech is the cornerstone of our nation and society which is precisely why the founders of the country made it the First Amendment to the Constitution. For a half century now, our University has been a symbol and embodiment of that ideal

As we honor this turning point in our history, it is important that we recognize the broader social context required in order for free speech to thrive. For free speech to have meaning it must not just be tolerated, it must also be heard, listened to, engaged and debated. Yet this is easier said than done, for the boundaries between protected and unprotected speech, between free speech and political advocacy, between the campus and the classroom, between debate and demagoguery, between freedom and responsibility, have never been fully settled. As a consequence, when issues are inherently divisive, controversial and capable of arousing strong feelings, the commitment to free speech and expression can lead to division and divisiveness that undermine a communitys foundation. This fall, like every fall, there will be no shortage of issues to animate and engage us all. Our capacity to maintain that delicate balance between communal interests and free expression, between openness of thought and the requirements and disciplines of academic knowledge, will be tested anew.

Specifically, we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility. Simply put, courteousness and respect in words and deeds are basic preconditions to any meaningful exchange of ideas. In this sense, free speech and civility are two sides of a single coin the coin of open, democratic society.

Insofar as we wish to honor the ideal of Free Speech, therefore, we should do so by exercising it graciously. This is true not just of political speech on Sproul Plaza, but also in our everyday interactions with each other in the classroom, in the office, and in the lab. Sincerely…

Researching reaction to this pronouncement on the web has yielded a treasure trove of impassioned defenses of, yes, Free Speech, and a great variety of well-crafted explanations of just exactly how Dirks misses the point.

The favorite bte noire seems to be this paragraph:

Continued here:
Chancellor Dirks Upholds a Berkeley Tradition

Needless to say, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate will strike close to home for many Wesleyan students. This book, written by Greg Lukianoff and published in 2012, explores the evolution of free speech rights on college campuses and unveils what Lukianoff perceives as a rise of censorship that has swept the nations institutes of highereducation.

Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), writes articles regularly on free speech and education. His work at FIRE served as the foundation for Unlearning Liberty; the organizations mission is to defend free speech, religious liberty, and due-process rights across campuses. FIREs cases are usually submitted by students, and are handled by FIRE staff intervention or, when necessary, litigated with FIREs LegalNetwork.

Lukianoff prefaces his book with a note on the political dynamics surrounding campus censorship. He writes that although he considers himself liberal and that his mission to defend student and faculty speech rights is consistent with this view, he is often vilified as an evil conservative. This is because, he says, much of the speech FIRE works to defend is advocating conservative positions; on college campuses, this speech tends to face morescrutiny.

Unlearning Liberty is a smooth read, with an emphasis on case studies and a smattering of political philosophy. Lukianoff cites John Stuart Mill, focusing on his argument that dissenting voices need to be protected not only because there is some possibility they could be right, but also because the discussion inspired by dissent can strengthen and clarify everyonesviews.

Unfortunately, Lukianoff argues, the ability to present dissenting opinions is being eroded. One focus of the book is the adoption of speech codes by many universities. These are often vague and unenforceable, for example including a complete prohibition of hurtful or offensive speech. Not only is speech that falls under these categories integral to free thought and free discussion, but these codes are also often enforced arbitrarily by administrations to silence speech they find personallyobjectionable.

Lukianoff also makes the point that people have lost the drive to protect their own Constitutional rights, accepting certain limitations without really questioning them. He attributes this to dynamics rooted in elementary and high schools, where rules are structured to emphasize protection of feelings and the image of the administrations rather than on protection of student rights. As a result, he adds, apathy abounds as people internalize a newnorm.

The book, while getting perhaps a bit repetitive with its reliance on case studies that are all similar in nature, definitely provides readers with plenty of anecdotes with which they can pepper their conversations. For example, readers learn that in 2006, Drexel Universitys speech code included a ban on inconsiderate jokes and inappropriately directed laughter. At Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis, a janitor was threatened with disciplinary action on the grounds of racial harassment for openly reading a historical account of the Ku Klux Klan while on hisbreak.

I would recommend this book to any Wesleyan student who is looking to feel slightly uncomfortable. In addition to no-brainers such as the Ku Klux Klan anecdote, Lukianoff defends, or at least entertains, situations that many would find repugnant, such as fat-shaming dorm posters and exclusionary religiousgroups.

It seems very much that the book is directed at an audience that would naturally disagree with many of its conclusions. It aggressively forces readers to consider difficult questions. At what point does expressing a view become the equivalent of censoring another one? Where is the line drawn between insensitivity and harassment? Can preventing another persons free speech be defended on the grounds that you are expressing yourown?

Although the Wesleyan administration is nowhere near instituting free-speech corners (designated spots that are the only free-speech protected locations on campus), as has happened at several universities discussed in the book, it is interesting to consider the extent of our free speech rights, given the framework Lukianoff outlines. Another type of censorship, perhaps, comes from within the student body; often I have heard the complaint that as tolerant as our population claims to be, it is difficult to express unpopular views without coming underfire.

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Book Review: Unlearning Liberty

Just under three weeks ago, President Salovey delivered his freshmen address on free expression at Yale. He quoted extensively from the Woodward Report, a document whose language he called clear and unambiguous in its defense of free speech, and he made the case for why unfettered expression is so essential on a university campus.

Our community now faces an opportunity to put these ideals into practice. The Buckley Program, an undergraduate group on campus, recently invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to give a lecture next week. An accomplished and courageous woman, Hirsi Ali has an amazing story. She suffered genital mutilation as a child and later fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage. These are beyond mere unfortunate circumstances, as some organizations have called it. Once in the Netherlands, she worked at a refugee center, became a politician, fought for human dignity and womens rights and ultimately abandoned her Muslim faith. In her works since then, she has voiced strong opinions against Islam, opinions which have provoked constant threats on her life ever since.

As the president of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program, here is my understanding of the controversy that then unfolded: When news of the upcoming September 15 lecture became public, a student representative of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) contacted me and asked to meet. During our first conversation, she requested that the Buckley Program disinvite Hirsi Ali. I told her such an option which she now denies to me and university administrators having presented was a non-starter.

I distinctly remember that this student then asked if my group would consider either prohibiting Hirsi Ali from speaking on Islam or inviting another speaker to join someone who would supposedly be more representative and qualified to discuss the subject. She told me certain national organizations, which I expected to be opposed to Hirsi Alis invitation, were interested in her visit to Yale. I took this to mean these organizations might drum up a controversy about Hirsi Alis visit. And she expressed support for the Brandeis University administration, which revoked an honorary degree from Hirsi Ali this past spring. This, of course, was precisely one of the incidents of censorship that President Salovey alluded to in his address.

This student, the MSA, and a little over thirty other organizations signed an open letter with its fair share of cherry-picked quotes and mischaracterizations that was sent yesterday in a school-wide email. But these students fail to understand the purpose of the University and the meaning and necessity of free speech within it.

The idea that free speech extends to only those with whom one agrees is close-minded. The idea that inviting an additional speaker is necessary in order to supposedly advance free speech, but really just to correct our own lecturers views, is ridiculous. The idea that a fellow undergraduate organization can dictate to another how to run its own event is shameless. And the idea that only so-called experts merit invitations is absurd. (After all, I dont remember anyone fretting over Al Sharptons invitation to speak on the death penalty last week despite his lack of a criminal-law degree.)

These standards and requests are unjust not simply because some students were seeking to unevenly impose them, but more importantly because they are antithetical to the pursuit of knowledge that defines a university like Yale. Such a pursuit requires a robust protection of the right to freely express ones views, however controversial.

One need not agree with everything Ayaan Hirsi Ali says to agree that her voice makes a valuable contribution to advancing the open exchange of ideas on this campus. In his address, President Salovey declared, We should not offend merely to offend. We should not provoke without careful forethought. If one actually examines Hirsi Alis work, one sees that she does present well-reasoned arguments, even if disagreeable, and that she doesnt provoke merely to provoke, which should be evident by the many death threats she has received throughout the years.

Her work does not qualify as libel and slander, as was suggested by the open letter, and it cannot be reduced to purported hate speech, a slur used simply to silence speech with which one disagrees. A sincere observer will readily find that Hirsi Ali is far from the inflammatory demagogue the MSA portrays her as. Instead, that observer will find that she is a brave woman deeply committed to fighting for the respect and dignity of millions of oppressed women around the world.

The MSAs insistence throughout the past week that we cancel or change the format of our event strays far from the ideals of free expression so eloquently defended by President Salovey and so essential to our university. If the MSA or another student organization would like to invite another guest of their own, the Buckley Program will not stop them. But we hope that if anyone from the Yale community attempts to disrupt our event, the administration will stand behind its stated commitment that students be allowed, and indeed encouraged, to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable and challenge the unchallengeable.

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LIZARDO: Why Hirsi Ali should come

MIKE SCOTT/Waikato Times

Investigative journalist and ‘Dirty Politics’ author Nicky Hagar was in Hamilton delivering public lectures about his work and recently published book.

Convincing knowledgeable people to speak on the record is the main defence against dirty politics, investigative writer Nicky Hager says.

The author of Dirty Politics was overwhelmed by the 750-strong crowd that turned up at a public meeting held at Waikato University yesterday.

They listened to him dissect his book and propose a way forward for democracy in New Zealand.

To overcome dirty politics in New Zealand, academics, scientists and public servants needed to be “re-empowered” to be able to give their views openly, without fear of repercussions, he said.

“Scientists used to be some of our outspoken public interest people,” Hager said.

“If an issue came up there would be a scientist on the radio, a scientist would be giving their point of view, scientist saying things.

“Nowadays it’s hard to find a scientist who isn’t scared of losing their jobs before they say stuff.”

During his university days public servants were the backbone of civil rights and political groups, Hager said.

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Fight dirty politics with free speech – Hager

Gordon Keller, Ice Bucket Challenge (Sept. 5, 2014)
Gordon Keller, Director of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University Health Network in Toronto accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates former ISSCR president Janet…

By: Mark Gagliardi

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Gordon Keller, Ice Bucket Challenge (Sept. 5, 2014) – Video

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WJCL) The Liberty County School System (LCSS) announced Friday that it will soon be receiving over a quarter million dollars in grant funding for the current school year with more money to come.

The school system learned on Aug. 21 that its Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Program proposal had been approved by the Georgia Department of Education and with it two years of grant funding to help bring the program and a direct connection with Georgia Southern University (GSU) to life.

For the currentschool year, Liberty County will receive $283,945.00.Funding for the 2015 to 2016 school year will be announced next summer.

Liberty Countys proposal is called Project RAMP (Raising Academic Measures of Progress). Officials said the goal ofProject RAMP is tounite the staff of the Liberty County School System with the Science/Mathematics Institute for Interdisciplinary Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at GSU. The goal of Project RAMP is to increase teachers content knowledge and confidence and raise student achievement in the process.

The grant focuses on providing high-quality, on-going professional learning for teachers of mathematics and the sciences in our middle and high schools. Officials will offer training during monthly collaboration meetings, quarterly Saturday workshops, and a week-long summer academy. Training will be conducted in collaboration with Georgia Southern Universitys team. Liberty Countys math and science specialists will train alongside professors from GSU.

Specialists from Apple Corporation will also be providing content training by assisting teachers in taking full advantage of the cutting edge technology offered to LCSS students through the Liberty Learning Experience. This year, each middle and high school student will have an iPad issued by the system for classroom and home use while each teacher will have an

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Liberty County schools to receive over $280k in grant funding


A little known children’s book, which could have easily disappeared from store shelves, is making a comeback, in spite of a controversial target audience.

The children’s book is entitled My Parents Open Carry, and tells the story of parents trying to explain to their child why they openly carry guns, and why the second amendment is important.

Late night talk show hosts have found plenty of fodder for discussion because of the book.

Written by two Michigan authors, My Parents Open Carry, is a book that supports second amendment rights, but not everyone thinks the message is presented properly.

“It kind of shocked me at first. I don’t think it’s appropriate for that age group of child,” says gun rights supporter Waymon Strong.

The story depicts a girl’s parents as openly carrying sidearms everywhere they go for protection.

LeTourneau University professor Kathy Stephens says politically charged children’s books are nothing new.

“I see it more often where adults want to push their agenda on children. And they do it through children’s books. It is something that we see in school classrooms periodically,” she says.

When political hosts began knocking the book, sales dramatically increased.

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East Texas adults react to book 'My Parents Open Carry'

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