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October 5, 2010, 7:26 AM CT

Voters to hash out ballot initiatives

Voters to hash out ballot initiatives
This is the Living Voters Guide logo.

Credit: University of Washington

Voters across the country are entering the season of ballot measures. In Washington, this fall's nine statewide ballot measures include two competing liquor initiatives, a bond measure for school upgrades, and a much-debated push for the state's first income tax since the 1930s.

Into this fray enters an online experiment created by the University of Washington in partnership with the Seattle civic nonprofit CityClub. The Living Voters Guide ( aims to spark a civil and objective discussion among Washington voters by letting them work together to write their own voters guide.

The guide borrows elements of Twitter's rigid character limit and Google's ranking system to try to get people of different views to learn from one another.

"We know that people have tuned out because they don't trust the press, they don't trust the politicians, they don't trust government, they don't trust business. There's a trust deficit in society. And part of that is due to having few public communication experiences that allow citizens to explore issues in a constructive environment," said Lance Bennett, a UW professor of communication and political science.

For CityClub, which is devoted to promoting civic engagement, the guide is an experiment in using new technology to reach a greater diversity of voters.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

Sun, 26 Sep 2010 15:51:00 GMT

Parts in Labor

Parts in Labor
by Vadim Rizov

Last weekend, America celebrated Labor Day with The American: the country"s then-number one movie is the story of a man who makes guns tailored to the needs of contract assassins (a rarefied field indeed). The week before belonged to Takers, about a bunch of dudes who only need to work once a year for enough ill-gotten heist gains to finance the other 364 days. We can extrapolate two pieces of data from this: only criminals can afford good tailoring, and the movies aren"t very savvy at accounting for the workplaces so many people spend the majority of their working hours.

Posted by: ahillis      Read more     Source

September 25, 2010, 8:37 AM CT

Black motorcyclist in crashes

Black motorcyclist in crashes
African-American victims of motorcycle crashes were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured whites, even though a number of more of the African-American victims were wearing helmets at the time of injury, as per a newly released study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Results of the research revealing these racial disparities, reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Surgery, suggest that injury-prevention programs like state laws mandating the use of motorcycle helmets may not be sufficient to protect all riders equally.

"For reasons that we are still trying to figure out, one size of injury prevention does not fit all groups of people and just wearing a helmet is not enough," says Adil Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study's senior author. "Helmet for helmet, African-Americans have more lethal injuries."

Haider, who is also co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research, suspects several factors may combine to account for the gap in survival between black and white victims. Prior studies of other accidents and illnesses have shown that lack of health insurance, reduced access to care, poorer quality of care and a greater number of pre-existing illnesses or injuries contribute to racial differences in survival. It is also possible, he says, that riders of different races may prefer different types of helmets or more dangerous types of motorcycles. More studies are needed, he says, to determine what role, if any, these issues may play.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

September 25, 2010, 7:59 AM CT

Economics to solve the prison crisis?

Economics to solve the prison crisis?
Prison numbers in England and Wales have risen sharply in the last decade, and are set to rise further. A study out today in the Probation Journal published by SAGE suggests that economists have a unique opportunity to help solve the prison crisis by bringing sophisticated economic modelling techniques to bear on the problem.

Chris Fox and Kevin Albertson from Manchester Metropolitan University contend that during the last decade, penal policy allowed a number of opportunities to harness the latest analytical research to optimise public spending slip away. In their paper "Could economics solve the prison crisis?" they argue that a new approach is possible, driven not only by moral or social concerns about actual and perceived crime rates and a high prison population, but also informed by economic analysis and argument. The current economic climate makes their position hard to ignore.

As per Fox and Albertson, there is scant evidence society will benefit from locking up ever more criminals. Crime rates have fallen, but the link between rising numbers in prison and lower crime rates is debatable; hikes in prison numbers are likely only responsible for a small drop in crime.

Since 1997, economic analyses of the options for England and Wales when developing criminal justice policy and penal policy grown in reach and volume, partly led by government actions or policy. "But for every step forward in developing penal policy based on socio/economic analysis, at times it seems government takes at least one and sometimes more steps back," says Fox.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

September 16, 2010, 8:58 AM CT

Women: Hope to marry young?

Women: Hope to marry young?
When men outnumber women, females marry younger and the age gap between spouses grows, a University of Michigan study shows.

"Women don't stay on the market long because men are more motivated to commit," said Daniel Kruger, research assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health. "They want to secure the relationship before some other guy gets her".

The study looked at the ratio of men to women in the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S with 2000 U.S Census data to determine how it impacted marital ages.

Male and female behavior differ because each gender has a somewhat different reproductive agenda, and the ratio of men to women impacts that behavior. Women want commitment from men, Kruger says, because having a reliable, stable provider greatly benefits their children. This means men may have to build up their social status and resources to be considered marriageable.

However, men can have more offspring with multiple sexual partners and thus are not as eager to settle down, said Kruger, who studies human behavior and motivation from an evolutionary perspective.

But the economics of supply and demand adds a twist, Kruger said.

"When women are scarce they have more bargaining power and can ask for more," Kruger said. "So the guys who are qualified will snap up the women and get hitched, whereas others need more time to build up their resources and social status".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

September 9, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Cash hoarding nothing new for businesses

Cash hoarding nothing new for businesses
The U.S. economy is experiencing anemic growth, yet businesses are sitting on a mountain of cash worth nearly $2 trillion, as per Federal Reserve estimates. But this trend is nothing new for firms, who have been steadily increasing their cash holdings over the past three decades, a University of Illinois business professor says.

Finance professor Heitor Almeida says the fact that businesses are stuffing corporate piggy banks with spare cash for the proverbial "rainy day" is uncorrelation to the belt-tightening brought about by the continuing financial crisis.

"There's not really a consensus on what accounts for businesses holding so much cash, but they've been doing it way before the downturn, at least since the early part of 1980s," he said. "Cash hoarding is definitely not correlation to the financial crisis. It's a pattern that's been going on for at least three decades".

Eventhough there was a time shortly after the crisis when firms had difficulty raising capital, Almeida says most businesses entered it in a "very liquid position".

"When the crisis hit, firms had a lot of cash on hand, and they used it to avoid decreasing investment and firing employees," he said. "If businesses hadn't had all that cash on hand, things could have been much, much worse".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 12:58:04 GMT

Kiva, sounds like hope

I have one son and live with my family in Multan, a medium-sized city in Pakistan. My son is too young to attend school. My husband operates a fruit business that he would like to expand. He is requesting a loan of $250 for this purpose. He intends to buy seasonal fruits in bulk with your loan. We hope we will able to give our child a sound economic future.

Greener Magazine

Posted by: Greener Magazine      Read more     Source

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 12:50:48 GMT

Vincent Cassel

Vincent Cassel
As if there needed to be physical proof that he"s one of France"s most versatile actors today, Vincent Cassel (La Haine, Irreversible, Eastern Promises) won a Cesar for playing the titular role in director-and fellow Cesar winner-Jean-François Richet"s two-part underworld epic Mesrine:

MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT charts the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the "60s and "70s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. Infamous for his bravado and outrageously daring prison escapes, Mesrine carried out numerous robberies, kidnappings and murders in a criminal career that spanned continents until he was shot dead in 1979 by France"s notorious anti-gang unit. Thirty years after his death, his infamy lives on.

Mesrine was helped along the way by beautiful and equally reckless Jeanne Schneider (Cecile de France), a Bonnie to match his Clyde. Mesrine made up his own epic, between romanticism and cruelty, flamboyance and tragedy. Both a thriller and a biopic, KILLER INSTINCT explores the man behind the icon.

In MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1, the story continues Mesrine"s incredible life of crime while manipulating the media, the government and the police. He plans his last and greatest escape, hoping to leave France, and the character he has become, behind forever.

Before the film"s opening, I met up with Cassel to discuss why making the film was an endurance contest to be conquered, the most Bonnie & Clyde-like moment he"s ever had with his real-life wife Monica Bellucci, and which filmmaker he believes is "the closest we have to a modern Buñuel."

To listen to the podcast, click here. (13:28)

Podcast Music
INTRO: Rim"k (feat. Lino): "L"instinct De Mort"
OUTRO: Marco Beltrani: "Jacques Mesrine"

[Mesrine: Killer Instinct is now playing in NYC and Los Angeles, and Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 opens on September 3. For more info, please visit the official website.]

Posted by: ahillis      Read more     Source

August 24, 2010, 7:11 AM CT

Failure better teacher than success

Failure better teacher than success
While success is surely sweeter than failure, it seems failure is a far better teacher, and organizations that fail spectacularly often flourish more in the long run, as per a newly released study by Vinit Desai, assistant professor of management at the University of Colorado Denver Business School.

Desai's research, reported in the Academy of Management Journal, focused on companies and organizations that launch satellites, rockets and shuttles into space an arena where failures are high profile and hard to conceal.

Working with Peter Madsen, assistant professor at BYU School of Management, Desai observed that organizations not only learned more from failure than success, they retained that knowledge longer.

"We observed that the knowledge gained from success was often fleeting while knowledge from failure stuck around for years," he said. "But there is a tendency in organizations to ignore failure or try not to focus on it. Managers may fire people or turn over the entire workforce while they should be treating the failure as a learning opportunity."

The scientists said they discovered little "significant organizational learning from success" but added "we do not discount the possibility that it may occur in other settings."........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

August 11, 2010, 7:20 PM CT

Best way to pour champagne?

Best way to pour champagne?
In a study that may settle a long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne, researchers in France are reporting that pouring bubbly in an angled, down-the-side way is best for preserving its taste and fizz. The study also reports the first scientific evidence confirming the importance of chilling champagne before serving to enhance its taste, the researchers say. Their report appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Grard Liger-Belair and his colleagues note that tiny bubbles are the essence of fine champagnes and sparkling wines. Past studies indicate that the bubbles formed during the release of large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide gas help transfer the taste, aroma, and mouth-feel of champagne. Researchers long have suspected that the act of pouring a glass of bubbly could have a big impact on gas levels in champagne and its quality. Until now, however, no scientific study had been done.

The researchers studied carbon dioxide loss in champagne using two different pouring methods. One involved pouring champagne straight down the middle of a glass. The other involved pouring champagne down the side of an angled glass. They observed that pouring champagne down the side preserved up to twice as much carbon dioxide in champagne than pouring down the middle probably because the angled method was gentler. They also showed that cooler champagne temperatures (ideally, 39 degrees Fahrenheit) help reduce carbon dioxide loss.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

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