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In History Departments, It’s Up With Capitalism – NYTimes.com April 26, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Politics, Shadow Economy.
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Even before the financial crisis, courses in “the history of capitalism” — as the new discipline bills itself — began proliferating on campuses, along with dissertations on once deeply unsexy topics like insurance, banking and regulation. The events of 2008 and their long aftermath have given urgency to the scholarly realization that it really is the economy, stupid.

via In History Departments, It’s Up With Capitalism – NYTimes.com.

UW astronomer finds planet that may hold life | KREM.com Spokane April 23, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited, Futurist.
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WASHINGTON  — NASAs planet-hunting telescope has discovered two planets that seem like ideal places for some sort of life to flourish. They are just the right size and in just the right place near their star.One of them was discovered by an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle.The distant duo are the best candidates for habitable planets that astronomers have found so far, said William Borucki, the chief scientist for NASAs Kepler telescope.

via UW astronomer finds planet that may hold life | KREM.com Spokane.

A Brief History of Our Deadly Addiction to Nitrogen Fertilizer | Mother Jones April 21, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Food Culture, Politics.
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Our future doesn’t have to be drenched in vast quantities of synthetic nitrogen, with all its liabilities both subtle and spectacular. A 2012 Iowa State University study found that by simply shifting to more diverse crop rotations, Midwestern farmers could radically reduce their reliance on added nitrogen while maintaining current levels of overall food production. Another recent study by Cornell researchers found similar crop rotations also reduced nitrogen runoff.

Yet instead of weaning us from from our huge reliance on nitrogen, federal and state agencies are underwriting the construction of new plants and the expansion of old ones. Meanwhile, federal farm and “renewable fuel” policies continue to prop up corn—in 2013, the USDA expects farmers to plant the most since 1936: 97.3 million acres, covering an area nearly the size of California. We won’t be kicking our nitrogen habit anytime soon.

via A Brief History of Our Deadly Addiction to Nitrogen Fertilizer | Mother Jones.

Koch Brothers Making Play for Tribune’s Newspapers – NYTimes.com April 21, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Politics.
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Other than financing a few fringe libertarian publications, the Kochs have mostly avoided media investments. Now, Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.

via Koch Brothers Making Play for Tribune’s Newspapers – NYTimes.com.

Bringing new life to a ‘dead’ language | News Center | Wake Forest University April 20, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Academic Technology, Gaming History, Politics.
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Choose your character, write spells, map the dungeon and move up levels. It sounds like Dungeons and Dragons, but it’s not. It’s Latin class.

Each student plays a hero from Graeco-Roman myth with a backstory, personality and actions determined largely by the student. Over the semester-long journey the players face obstacles, challenges and opportunities both independently and as a group.

And they learn to write Latin.

Game theory for teaching languages

“The best way to learn a language is by immersing yourself in it,” says Ted Gellar-Goad, a post doc teacher-scholar in Wake Forest’s classical languages department who teaches the class. “And it’s even more fun in a world not quite our own, in time, place or nature.”

The first day of Latin prose composition class, the most challenging required course for Latin majors and often the dullest, the 12 students chose a character to guide through the 20 levels of the course.

Sophomore Amy Templin chose Ariadne as her play character (PC) — the princess of Crete who clandestinely helps Theseus slay the mythological Minotaur. “My PC tends to help solve riddles and puzzles,” says Templin. “She matches my actual personality nicely.”

via Bringing new life to a ‘dead’ language | News Center | Wake Forest University.

Only Six Percent Of Scientists Are Republicans: Pew Poll April 20, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Politics.
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A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the GOP is alienating scientists to a startling degree.

Only six percent of America’s scientists identify themselves as Republicans; fifty-five percent call themselves Democrats. By comparison, 23 percent of the overall public considers itself Republican, while 35 percent say they’re Democrats.

via Only Six Percent Of Scientists Are Republicans: Pew Poll.

Now, With No Further Ado, We Present … the Digital Public Library of America! – Rebecca J. Rosen – The Atlantic April 20, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Uncategorized.
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What is the Digital Public Library of America? What do you hope it will become?The idea behind the Digital Public Library of America is fairly simple actually — it is the attempt, really a large-scale attempt, to knit together Americas archives, libraries, and museums, which have a tremendous amount of content — all forms of human expression, from images and photographs, to artwork, to published material and unpublished material, like archival and special collections. We want to bring that all together in one place.One big part of the DPLA will be its brand-new website, DP.LA — a nice, short URL. It works great on mobile phones too. Its a modern, responsive website.

via Now, With No Further Ado, We Present … the Digital Public Library of America! – Rebecca J. Rosen – The Atlantic.

Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report | Environment | The Guardian April 19, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Futurist, Politics.
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“The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was “very big indeed” and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it.

The so-called “carbon bubble” is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. According to a report published on Friday, at least two-thirds of these reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for “dangerous” climate change. If the agreements hold, these reserves will be in effect unburnable and so worthless – leading to massive market losses. But the stock markets are betting on countries’ inaction on climate change.

via Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report | Environment | The Guardian.

3 new planets could host life – CNN.com April 18, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
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Scientists announced Thursday the discovery of three planets that are some of the best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our own solar system — and theyre very far away.NASAs Kepler satellite, which is keeping an eye on more than 150,000 stars in hopes of identifying Earth-like planets, found the trio.

via 3 new planets could host life – CNN.com.

VPN Security Now 400 | TWiT.TV April 18, 2013

Posted by sandyclaus in Politics.
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Hosts: Steve Gibson with Leo Laporte

WordPress botnet, another JAVA update, CRAPCHAs, Virtual Private Networks, and more.

Download or subscribe to this show at twit.tv/sn.

We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes.

You can submit a question to Security Now! at the GRC Feedback Page.

For 16kpbs versions, transcripts, and note s (including fixes), visit Steve’s site: grc.com, also the home of the best disk maintenance and recovery utility ever written Spinrite 6.

Audio bandwidth is provided by Winamp, subscribe to TWiT and all your favorite podcasts with the ultimate media player, download it for free at Winamp.com.

Running time: 1:29:19

via Security Now 400 | TWiT.TV.