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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Was the Facebook Mood Manipulation Experiment Worth It?

Receiving some bad news

In terms of recent news that generated outrage, few stories in the past month can compete with the Facebook “Mood Manipulation” Experiment. If the story escaped your notice, here’s the basics: A study conducted by Facebook’s data team filtered 689,003 users’ News Feeds for positive or negative keywords. The test was to see what impact this had on the users’ subsequent posts. Needless to say, users with only positive Feeds were more likely to say something positive. Negative Feeds led to more negative posts.

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Supreme Court Backs Up Michigan’s Ban on Affirmative Action

1000px-Flag_of_Michigan.svg

Back in 2006, Michigan voters put an end to race-based affirmative action through a ballot initiative. After eight years of back and forth, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally weighed in, granting Michigan, and the other states that qualify, limit, or outright forbid race-based affirmative action (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington) the power to make this decision on an individual basis.

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Nova Scotia Throws Out Student Loan Interest

500px-Flag_of_Nova_Scotia

In a move that mirrors the proposal in Oregon we talked about a few months back, Canadian province Nova Scotia has voted to eliminate interest on college student loans. The legislation is a deliberate and explicit move to remove the crippling financial burden of debt from new students as they start their careers. (more…)

Oregon Considers Offering Free Tuition. You Can Pay Them Back Later.

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Back in the summer, the Oregon State Legislature agreed to a plan that would allow students to attend public universities and community colleges for free. In return, the student agrees to pay a small percent of his or her income after graduation.

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Trying to Turn English, Reading, & Literature Into a Numbers Game

readingbabyThere’s a problem that always seems to be at the root of the debate over education policy: When do we standardize and when do we personalize? If we don’t standardize enough, there’s no guarantee that everyone will receive the same opportunities and the same basic education. If we don’t personalize enough, we can ignore some really basic common sense in the interest of keeping everything “equal.” This post is about the second problem.

The institution of the Common Core Standards in most states tries to find measurable ways to ensure schools are meeting their state standards. For math, that’s not too hard. You just set the grade you should know your multiplication tables and the grade you should tackle geometry. For reading, things get trickier. That’s where the Lexile system comes into place. (more…)

These Obamacare Ads for College Students Can’t Be Real, Right?

As the provisions in the Affordable Care Act start rolling out, the state of Colorado decided to spread awareness with one of the most confusing ad campaigns I’ve ever seen.

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Let’s catalog this ad’s many crimes against humanity:

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Why Aren’t College Students More Invested in College Town Politics?

iStock_000015650351XSmallThe traditional idea of a college town is one that’s truly built up around the college. These towns have bars and restaurants packed with students. They root for the school’s sports teams, especially the local hotels and motels who fill up with visiting family during games and graduations. The campus is the most identifiable landmark in town. It’s the largest contributor to the local economy. It’s in the identity of the town.

Many of the largest state schools are in these sorts of towns. The students of Arizona State University makes up over a third of the population of Tempe. University of Georgia students a little shy of 30% of Athens’ population. Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg, a city of 42,620. Total number of students at VA Tech? 31,087. Over 70%.

Yet in most cases, the student population is considered essentially transient, and that has a big impact on both the way these towns think about the students as members of the community and the way the students view themselves.

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3 Massive Screw-Ups Blamed on Interns

It’s no fun being an intern. If you’re lucky enough to get an internship that actually pays you, it’s probably chump change. It’s unlikely you’re doing the work you want to be doing. You’re almost entirely at the mercy of the company you’re working for, and they don’t have much reason to treat you as well as their normal employees. (more…)

Opinion: Supreme Court Makes the Right Call on Affirmative Action, Pleases No One

This morning, the Supreme Court kicked off its summer blockbuster season with a long-brewing case on affirmative action. We first talked about the case last October, where an aspiring college student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas: Austin for discrimination after not being accepted. (more…)

Was This ‘Sweatshop’ Simulation Game Too Offensive for Your iPad?

Screenshot from "Sweatshop HD" game

One of the “perks” of getting apps through the App Store is that, unlike downloading desktop software from a random website, Apple screens and approves each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of available apps. For better or worse, that means Apple gets to decide what’s fit for consumption and what’s not.

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