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Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

No one at Harvard batted an eye to learn that Sullivan has represented an actual murderer. But they lost their minds when Sullivan was hired by Harvey Weinstein. Harvard capitulated to a small band of protesters and announced that Sullivan and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, would no longer serve as faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s residential units. The unofficial leader of the student hysterics, Danu Mudannayake, doesn’t even live in Winthrop House and yet claimed it was “deeply trauma-inducing” to know that Sullivan represented Weinstein, which somehow proved Sullivan “does not value the safety of students he lives with in Winthrop House.” If these ding-dongs and the spineless, craven ding-dong enablers running Harvard had simply found some smelling salts and taken a few deep breaths, they would soon have learned that Sullivan was off the Weinstein case anyway: The law professor was expecting to work on the matter during his summer break, but a judge pushed the trial back to the fall, when Sullivan’s Harvard teaching duties would have precluded his representing Weinstein.

Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

In the softest and most spoiled generation of humanity ever to exist (they feel threatened by Halloween costumes and the existence of Ben Shapiro; their forebears endured World War II and Vietnam and even riding bikes without helmets), the softest and most spoiled corner must be the Harvard student body, those little princelings and princesslings who have more expectations about how the world should accommodate their whims than Louis XIV. Last week, a handful of these toddler-brained undergrads got a distinguished Harvard dean fired for doing his job.

New doctors' DNA ages six times faster than normal in first year: Long work hours of intern year associated with accelerated shortening of telomere regions of chromosomes -- ScienceDaily

Published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the new study is the first to measure telomere length before and after individuals faced a common prolonged intense experience. It involved 250 interns from around the country who volunteered for the Intern Health Study, based at the University of Michigan, and a comparison group of college students from U-M. "Research has implicated telomeres as an indicator of aging and disease risk, but these longitudinal findings advance the possibility that telomere length can serve as a biomarker that tracks effects of stress, and helps us understand how stress gets 'under the skin' and increases our risk for disease," says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., the U-M neuroscientist and psychiatrist who is the study's senior author and heads the Intern Health Study. He adds, "It will be important to study how telomere changes play out in larger groups of medical trainees, and in other groups of people subjected to specific prolonged stresses such as military training, graduate studies in the sciences and law, working for startup companies, or pregnancy and the first months of parenting."

Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? - The Atlantic

Two days later, a team member with experience in finance saw that the hryvnia was strengthening amid events he’d thought would surely weaken it. He informed his teammates that this was exactly the opposite of what he’d expected, and that they should take it as a sign of something wrong in his understanding. (Tetlock told me that, when making an argument, foxes often use the word however, while hedgehogs favor moreover.) The team members finally homed in on “between 10 and 13” as the heavy favorite, and they were correct.

Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? - The Atlantic

The experts were, by and large, horrific forecasters. Their areas of specialty, years of experience, and (for some) access to classified information made no difference. They were bad at short-term forecasting and bad at long-term forecasting. They were bad at forecasting in every domain. When experts declared that future events were impossible or nearly impossible, 15 percent of them occurred nonetheless. When they declared events to be a sure thing, more than one-quarter of them failed to transpire. As the Danish proverb warns, “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”

From Clay Tablets to Smartphones: 5,000 Years of Writing - The New York Times

One of the most moving objects in the exhibition is an Egyptian schoolchild’s homework from the second century A.D. done on a wax tablet. An instructor has written out two lines in Greek, which the student has tried and failed to copy below. The student forgot the first letter then couldn’t finish the sentence because they ran out of space.

How Did James Holzhauer Turn ‘Jeopardy!’ Into His Own A.T.M.? We Asked Him - The New York Times

I went to Illinois. Most people think I went to Princeton or something. But I was never a diligent student. I have a strategy of reading children’s books to gain knowledge. I’ve found that in an adult reference book, if it’s not a subject I’m interested in, I just can’t get into it. I was thinking, what is the place in the library I can go to to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers? Boom. The children’s section.

Successful research papers cite young references: Analysis of scientific citations reveals previously unknown patterns -- ScienceDaily

While most researchers cite older, well-established papers in their field, highly cited papers -- papers that other published papers cite the most often and therefore are considered successful -- also cite more work that has been published relatively recently. In fact, that cited work goes on to become highly cited itself, showing that top scientists and engineers are adept at betting on good prospects. "You could say the best researchers also have the best scientific taste," said Luís Amaral, Erastus Otis Haven Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and lead author of the research.

This Is How You Kill a Profession - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded medical general practitioners: through providing insane rewards to specialists and leaving most care in the hands of paraprofessionals. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded cab drivers: by leveling the profession and allowing anyone to participate, as long as they had a minimum credential and didn’t need much money. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded magazine and newspaper writers: by relabeling the work “content” and its workers “content providers.” We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded local auto mechanics: by making all of the systems and regulations so sophisticated that they now require an army of technicians and specialized equipment. We discarded college faculty in the same way that we discarded bookkeepers: by finally letting women do it after decades of declaring that impossible, and then immediately reducing the status of the work once it became evident that women could, in fact, do it well.

Why Are Associate Professors Some of the Unhappiest People in Academe? - The Chronicle of Higher Education

"A lot of people who get doctorates are idealistic, they want to change the world or study something where they think they can make a true difference," says Ms. Trower. "Most of us teach at places, though, where students are after a credential, and where your colleagues—who you thought would be really smart—are people you don't even like all that much. Plus, you feel underappreciated. The president of the college doesn't even know your name."

How ideas go viral in academia: Where idea starts is key -- ScienceDaily

To answer that question, the researchers turned the 2015 dataset into a network of connected universities. If a university placed one of its Ph.D. students in a job at another school, then those two schools were linked. The resulting "roadmap" showed how faculty might carry ideas from their graduate schools to the universities that hired them. The researchers then ran thousands of simulations on that network, allowing ideas that began at one school to percolate down to others. The team adjusted for the quality of ideas by making some more likely to shift between nodes than others. The findings, published in October in the journal EPJ Data Science, show that it matters where an idea gets started. When mid-level ideas began at less prestigious schools, they tended to stall, not reaching the full network. The same wasn't true for so-so thinking from major universities. "If you start a medium- or low-quality idea at a prestigious university, it goes much farther in the network and can infect more nodes than an idea starting at a less prestigious university," Morgan said.

Academia is a cult - The Washington Post

That asymmetry contributes to a culture of dependency, convincing graduate students that they must obey the dictates of their advisers if they hope to obtain increasingly scarce jobs. It is also, at least in part, a response to the desires of tenured faculty members, hungry for disciples of their own, regardless of whether there are jobs for them. Inevitably, it results in a growing pool of academics who teach on an adjunct basis, frequently making less than minimum wage, without benefits, subsisting in patterns of unfair employment not unlike those of the church employees I knew growing up: financially insecure and thus susceptible to offers they can’t refuse. With little practical training even in teaching, the implied career goal of many research fields, grad students who venture out of their discipline may appear overqualified to employers wary of the initials following their names, but they are usually underqualified, their concrete experience limited to the service jobs and freelance gigs keeping them afloat between terms. Those faithful who adjunct, whether by necessity or choice, commonly earn less than $5,000 per class, and in 2015 the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center reported that a quarter of part-time faculty members are on public assistance, further foreclosing their options and avenues of escape.

A witch hunt or a quest for justice: An insider’s perspective on disgraced academic Avital Ronell | Salon.com

Included in Professor Ronell’s instruments of domination was the absolute control of information. Information streams were strictly controlled, and a thick net was spun that captured and distributed them as she saw fit. At a department meeting Professor Ronell let it be known through her secretary that no member of the department would be allowed to make contact with any dean at NYU without her (Professor Ronell’s) explicit consent. Soon after that, there were no more department meetings. Information was exchanged only in one-on-one conversations. Whoever did not belong to the inner circle had no access to information. Uncertainty grew, and the department became a rumor mill. This fostered all sorts of manipulation that in turn served to strengthen the inner circle. As in a conventicle [a secret or illegal religious meeting], access to information was gained through eavesdropping on the proclamation of the divinity’s message. Inquiries and criticisms were unwanted.

First space, then auto—now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education | Ars Technica

That first year, Musk’s children accounted for nearly two thirds of the student body. “It was really small,” remembers Dahn. “Especially when five [students] from the same family... go on vacation and you have three kids [left].” It is not unusual for parents to have a grassroots effort to build their own school, according to Nancy Hertzog, an educational psychology professor at University of Washington and an expert in gifted education. “But money talks in terms of how that school is directed and supported,” she says. “The worry would be, are these schools preventing kids from other populations getting in? Are there strict test scores, and can they support kids with disabilities?”

University Officials Defend Handling of Researcher's Misconduct

In all, 89 of the 103 subjects enrolled in the study — 86 percent — did not meet the eligibility criteria to participate, records show. They were too young, had previously used psychotropic medication, or did not meet other guidelines to participate.

Students learn Italian playing Assassin's Creed video game -- ScienceDaily

In a class called Intensive Italian for Gamers, all students made progress equal to two semesters of Italian over the course of a single fall semester. By the final, students were 3 to 5 points ahead of students in a traditional Italian course.

Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network

Fifty-seven published clinical trials were identified for which an FDA inspection of a trial site had found significant evidence of 1 or more of the following problems: falsification or submission of false information, 22 trials (39%); problems with adverse events reporting, 14 trials (25%); protocol violations, 42 trials (74%); inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping, 35 trials (61%); failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, 30 trials (53%); and violations not otherwise categorized, 20 trials (35%). Only 3 of the 78 publications (4%) that resulted from trials in which the FDA found significant violations mentioned the objectionable conditions or practices found during the inspection. No corrections, retractions, expressions of concern, or other comments acknowledging the key issues identified by the inspection were subsequently published.

Depression, anxiety WAY high in graduate students, survey shows -- ScienceDaily

The disparity between graduate students and the general population proved to be about equal for both mental health conditions. On the respective scales utilized to test anxiety and depression, 41 percent of graduate students scored as having moderate to severe anxiety while 39 percent scored in the moderate to severe depression range. This compared with 6 percent of the general population as tested previously with those same scales.

Changes in publication criteria

Research sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry is facing a number of challenges. Questions have been raised about the mismatch between the research agendas of the pharmaceutical industry and consumers of research.56 Meta-analysts are confronted with the problems of duplicate publication of data from company funded trials and the withholding of data.49,57,58 Leading medical journals recently decided to establish more rigorous criteria for the acceptance of research sponsored by industry; this is a step in the right direction towards increasing the credibility of studies paid for by drug companies.58 The revised CONSORT statement should also help improve the quality of clinical research.59,60 In addition, authors and editors should consider including a statement concerning prior beliefs of the investigators about the uncertainty of the treatments that are reported. Finally, all clinical trials should be registered prospectively as the only way to prevent publication bias.61 The proposal to do so which was put forward in 198662 has been periodically renewed,63–65 but to this date has not been implemented.

The cult of the academy: jargon, insularity and status

I think we lost a few generations of art critics to academia. They all learned to write in a similar style, which I find very jargon-filled and impenetrable; and I also feel that their taste flattened and everybody liked the same fifty-five artists, and they would quote the same twenty writers over and over. I thought, “The art world is not this boring; how can this be?” Now, I’m seeing more and more younger writers starting to write online, making sense, speaking in ways that you can understand and, most importantly, putting out opinions. The juice of criticism is opinion. I really admire Artforum; I’ve never written for it for good reason: I’m not smart enough, but I look in the second-to-the-last paragraph and I see a phrase like “this problemetized the show.” Is that positive or negative? There is no judgment in it. Everybody is smart. So I can’t fit in that art world because I never went to school; I have no degrees; I am not schooled in the language of the empire.

JFK's Very Revealing Harvard Application Essay

The reasons that I have for wishing to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then too, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a "Harvard man" is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain. April 23, 1935 John F. Kennedy

Social networks can support academic success -- ScienceDaily

According to the authors, in choosing friends, students do not usually consider academic performance, but over time -- often in the middle of the academic year -- all members in a peer group tend to perform at about the same level. Thus, most students who surrounded themselves with high-achievers improved their performance over time. The opposite was also true -- those who befriended underachievers eventually experienced a drop in grades. According to the authors, while underachievers have a stronger influence on their networks, high performers tend to gain popularity and expand their influence over time, particularly by helping other students with their studies.

Yale Lecturer Resigns After Email on Halloween Costumes

“I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious,” she wrote, “a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?”

What we really learn from James Meredith: Now you've gotten in the door, give thanks and shut up?

In Tablet, James Kirchick wrote, ‘‘When I hear, in 2015, students complain about feeling ‘marginalized’ at Yale due to their racial, ethnic, religious, sexual or any other identity ... I can’t help but think of James Meredith.’’ […]To listen to James Meredith is a different thing entirely. ‘‘Ole Miss kicked my butt, and they’re still celebrating,’’ he said in an interview with Esquire in 2012. ‘‘Because every black that’s gone there since me has been insulted, humiliated, and they can’t even tell their story. Everybody has to tell James Meredith’s story — which is a lie. The powers that be in Mississippi understand this very clearly.’’ He continued, ‘‘They’re gonna keep on doin’ it because it makes it impossible for the blacks there now to say anything about what’s happened to them.’’

Tom Wolfe leaves Yale

e re-writes his thesis. He lards it up with academic jargon and creates a phony emotional distance from his material (he refers to “an American writer E. Hemingway”), and it is accepted. Then he flees Yale as fast as he can. He’s entering his late 20s with only the faintest idea of what he might do to earn a living. But he’s ambitious, eager to find his place in the world. His father introduces him to business associates. Wolfe writes to the head of a sales institute and sends “excerpts from work I have done on the subject of Communist activity among American writers and other ‘intellectuals.’ ” He applies for jobs in public relations. He writes to American Airlines to inquire about a post. He even considers, briefly, a position teaching economics

Innovation in liberal arts

Many liberal arts colleges (e.g., Antioch, Reed, Colorado, St. John’s) have been sources of innovation in undergraduate education. Due to their small size, emphasis on undergraduate education, and private control, they have been free to experiment with alternative curricula and pedagogies, unencumbered by the influence of powerful practitioner groups or the fixed requirements of professional licensure. If the liberal arts college as an educational alternative dies out or morphs into another type of higher education institution, an influential “test kitchen” for innovation in undergraduate education will disappear or, perhaps, become too peripheral to play a leadership role.