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March 27, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Culture Over Conflict

Culture Over Conflict
Iraqi journalist Huda Ahmed never tells questioners whether she is a Sunni or Shia Muslim. Such a question, she believes, is not only inappropriate but underscores a dangerous lack of understanding of Iraqi history.

The American media is so focused on the Shia-Sunni split that "there is no need to talk about it," she said. "If you ask, you bring it into existence."

All she will say, and she says it proudly, is: "I am an Iraqi Muslim."

A journalist who was recognized for bravery while covering combat during the siege of Najaf in southern Iraq, Ahmed is currently at MIT's Center for International Studies as a recipient of the International Women's Media Foundation's Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship. The nine-month fellowship to study human-rights journalism is sponsored in memory of the Boston Globe reporter who was killed while on assignment in Iraq in 2003.

Ahmed will take classes at MIT and Harvard, serve internships at WBUR with National Public Radio and possibly at two American daily newspapers, and participate in the Elizabeth Neuffer Forum on Human Rights and Journalism on March 29.

She will also write a study on the Iraq situation--focusing on family issues--which she hopes "will be studied by the American administration".

Ahmed, who is her 30s, does not go by her full name or have her photo taken, even in the relative safety of Cambridge. Her name has appeared on hit lists, and she is keenly aware of the dangers of journalism posed amid the chaos caused by warring insurgent groups. "Some of them don't announce why they kill such a politician or such an engineer or doctor or journalists," she said. "They just hit them and they go."........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 27, 2007, 8:31 PM CT

Family Ties and Traditional Activities Of Arctic Communities

Family Ties and Traditional Activities Of Arctic Communities
A newly released survey of indigenous Arctic people indicates that an overwhelming majority of the region's native people think traditional pursuits such as hunting, boat-building and manufacturing crafts are important to their identity. Unique because it measured quality of life and involved them in data gathering, the survey also says a substantial portion engages in traditional activities in addition to working in the cash economy.

"Four decades ago, as wage work rapidly became more common in the north, researchers and policymakers assumed that indigenous people would take advantage of opportunities to participate in the cash economy, abandoning harvest and traditional food processing activities," report notes.

The survey results indicate that despite changes in lifestyle that have swept into northern communities as non-natives move to remote areas, traditional values still are important to native peoples, and they are willing to use their earnings in the cash economy to support those ways of life. Despite historical efforts by national governments to assimilate native peoples and encourage them to give up native traditions in favor of wage labor, nine out of 10 Inuit continue to think traditional activities are important to their identity.

The findings come from the "Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA)," which was produced through a partnership of indigenous peoples and scientists from the United States, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Scientists hope the study results will provide Native organizations and local governments across the Arctic with information to help make policy decisions. As a major step toward that goal, the team is hosting an international meeting with indigenous policy makers March 22 in Anchorage, Alaska.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 25, 2007, 9:13 PM CT

Late Registrants More Likely to Vote

Late Registrants More Likely to Vote
Later is better" when it comes to voter registration in national elections, according a new study of voter participation in the 2000 presidential election.

People who register to vote closer to registration deadlines are much more likely to vote on Election Day than are people who register earlier in an election year, as per the study conducted by political researchers from the University at Buffalo, University of Maryland and University of Texas.

"It's a very interesting pattern," says UB researcher Joshua J. Dyck, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science. "For political campaigns focused on get-out-the-vote efforts, the takeaway message is this: you'll get more bang for your buck if you focus on the narrow window close to the registration deadline.

"That's where we see a huge surge in voter registration and those people are much more likely to turn out to vote".

Dyck's co-scientists were James G. Gimpel, Ph.D., professor of government at University of Maryland, and Daron R. Shaw, Ph.D., associate professor of government at University of Texas.

The scientists focused on voter registration and voter turnout in large counties in six states during the 2000 presidential campaign. These included battleground states Florida, Iowa and New Mexico, as well as Kentucky, Nevada and North Carolina. The sample included more than 400,000 registered voters. The deadline for voter registration is about 30 days before an election in most states.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 25, 2007, 8:27 PM CT

Dipstick test to reduce risk of food poisoning

Dipstick  test to reduce risk of food poisoning
Chemists at the University of South Carolina are in the process of developing a consumer test kit that people can use to quickly and accurately determine if food products are spoiled or safe to eat.

Described today at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the new diagnostic test, which scientists describe as a disposable dipstick, is capable of rapidly (less than 5 minutes) detecting the presence of chemicals formed by disease-causing bacteria. In preliminary studies, the test had a 90 percent accuracy rate, the scientists say. The test could help avoid illnesses and even deaths caused by food poisoning, which afflicts several million people each year in the United States alone.

The dipstick test is still in development but could be on store shelves in two to three years, says study leader John J. Lavigne, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the schools Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, located in Columbia, S.C.

Theres no other test like this targeting the consumer market right now that I am aware of, says Lavigne. It has the potential to change the way individual diners think about the quality of their food and greatly impact public health.

Lavigne envisions that consumers will be able to carry the dipsticks with them and use them anywhere, including homes and restaurants.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 27, 2007, 8:35 PM CT

Women and Their Managers Differ on Career Advancement

Women and Their Managers Differ on Career Advancement
During this Women's History Month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a report called It's Elemental, the results of a 3-year study of women's careers in the chemical industry. The first study of its kind, the findings reveal that women and their managers have differing attitudes and perceptions about career advancement.

"While there have been some surveys of women on academic career tracks, no comprehensive work exists on women and their managers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) intensive industrial settings," said Judith Giordan, who is currently on detail from the University of Southern Mississippi as a program director for NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program. "As industry is the largest employer of these graduates, we wanted to determine and share how women can get ahead and what could hold them back from the career success they want".

One finding reveals that managers, especially male managers, rated the ability to relocate higher than women did as a factor for career success. Whereas women rated two items as high on their list--"blowing your own horn is a key element for success and recognition" and " be on highly visible projects where contributions can be recognized and rewarded"--managers rated those components as lower priorities for career advancement.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 04:09:38 GMT

Writing an Article is Equivalent to Committing Suicide

Writing an Article is Equivalent to Committing Suicide
This print advertisement was launched to draw attention towards the fact that everywhere in the world journalists are murdered for doing their job. The advertisement aims at creating awareness regarding this very fact, which normally goes unnoticed. The advertisement is showing a journalist committing suicide to underline the fact that writing an article is equivalent to commit suicide. The advertisement showing wrist has been slit with black color to show the writing aspect.

Though the message of the advertisement is very strong but the presentation of the advertisement could have been a bit more expressive. The second argument revolves around the fact that besides drawing attention of people towards a crucial fact it does not lead to any substantial conclusion. The text of the advertisement reads, ‘in too many countries, writing an article is equivalent to committing suicide’. The advertisement was created by Draft FCB, France.

Via Best Ads on TV

Posted by: Balendu      Read more     Source

March 22, 2007, 7:18 PM CT

Underground American Inginuity

Underground American Inginuity
Open City: Tools for Public Action opens this Thursday March 1st from 6-8pm at Eyebeam. The show "documents the ingenuity of artists, protesters, pranksters, graffiti writers, and hackers reclaiming the public realm." Stay Free readers should feel right at home. The show will include forms of documentation as well as the various tools and inventions (The Graffiti Research Lab's L.A.S.E.R. Tag for example) that shall, without a doubt, boggle the mind.

As an R&D Fellow at Eyebeam I've been able to get a sneak preview of some of the work in the show. I wont give it all away, but one I can't wait for others to see is a German artist, Matthias Wermke, who has expanded out from graffiti into some very poignant and entertaining directions. In one video, he hangs giant swings from various monumental and nearly impossible locations - freeway overpasses, the underside of famous German bridges, subway tunnels, public transit offices, and so on, and then videotapes himself simply swinging on the swing at heights of 50 to 100 feet above ground. It's a charming combination of child's play, acrobatics, and total disregard for authority. In another he carries around a bucket and squeegee and attempts to wash the windows of passing vehicles on street corners - but only the public busses. He then moves on to trains, then later attempting to wash the windows for subway drivers. He is met with a variety of reactions and the final two scenes in the video I just can't reveal here. The surprise is too good. Don't bother searching the internet, these videos can only be seen at the show.........

Posted by: Steve Lambert      Read more         Source

March 22, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Key science Web sites buried in information avalanche

Key science Web sites buried in information avalanche
As more and more people are turning to the Internet to find information, important science websites are in danger of becoming buried in the sheer avalanche of facts now available online. Key science sites are failing to register in the top 30 Google search results.

New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) clearly shows that anyone using the Web to make their information available must now pay attention not only to the quality of their sites but also how easy they are to find.

Dr Ralph Schroeder, Dr Alexandre Caldas, Professor William Dutton, and Dr. Jenny Fry of the Oxford Internet Institute have investigated how the Internet is changing the way in which people seek out sources of scientific expertise.

Traditionally publishers have held a central position because of the importance of academic articles, but this is changing with increasing uses of the Internet and Web.

The study focuses on how academic scientists in particular interact with the Web on topics including HIV/AIDS, climate change, terrorism, the Internet and society. These subjects are highly topical in today's society, but the findings of this study will apply much more widely to the uses of the Internet and Web for searching for information on a variety of topics.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 21, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

Gender and age from face silhouettes

Gender and age from face silhouettes
A new study published in Journal of Vision demonstrates that face silhouettes are visually processed much like regular face stimuli and provide enough information to determine traits about the subject including age and gender.

Scientists from Stanford University conducted a variety of studies using silhouetted face profiles obtained by reducing gray-scale photographs of face profiles to two-tone black and white images. Study participants were asked to determine the gender and age of the individuals in silhouette. Results showed that people can extract information from silhouetted face profiles about their front-view counterparts.

Male silhouettes were classified as male 83.3 percent of the time and female silhouettes were classified as female 55.7 percent of the time. Scientists believe the difference in accuracy can be attributed in part to the lack of hair on the silhouettes which may be perceived as baldness, a possible cue to maleness. Over 68 percent of respondents selected the correct age-range for the silhouettes, in comparison to a chance level of 38.8 percent.

Most research on face perception focuses on the role of features such as the eyes, the nose, and the mouth, said lead researcher Nicholas Davidenko, PhD. Our studies demonstrate the importance of shape in face recognition. By using mathematically defined face silhouettes, we have discovered the types of shape variations that determine the gender, age, and distinctiveness of a face.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

March 21, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Impact Of Nuclear Attack On U.S. Cities

Impact Of Nuclear Attack On U.S. Cities
A new study by scientists at the Center for Mass Destruction Defense (CMADD) at the University of Georgia details the catastrophic impact a nuclear attack would have on American cities.

The study, which the authors said was the most advanced and detailed simulation published in open scientific literature, highlights the inability of the nation's current medical system to handle casualties from a nuclear attack. It also suggests what the authors said are much needed yet relatively simple interventions that could save tens of thousands of lives.

"The likelihood of a nuclear weapon attack in an American city is steadily increasing, and the consequences will be overwhelming" said Cham Dallas, CMADD director and professor in the UGA College of Pharmacy. "So we need to substantially increase our preparation."

Dallas and co-author William Bell, CMADD senior research scientist and faculty member of the UGA College of Public Health, examined four high-profile American cities - New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta - and modeled the effects of a 20 kiloton nuclear detonation and a 550 kiloton detonation. (For comparison, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in the 12 to 20 kiloton range). Bell explained that a 20 kiloton weapon could be manufactured by terrorists and fledgling nuclear countries such as North Korea and Iran, while a 550 kiloton device is usually found in the arsenal of the former Soviet Union and therefore is the most likely to be stolen by terrorists.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

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