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Readers and The Times Respond to Harvey Weinstein’s Page One Portrait

NY Times - Sat, 2017-12-09 07:00
The bold portrait of Mr. Weinstein that ran on the front page this week led to some strong reader reactions. We explain the selection process.

Republicans question FBI integrity as Mueller investigation intensifies

Washington Post - Sat, 2017-12-09 07:00
Republican lawmakers and conservative political pundits cast doubt on the integrity and independence of the FBI, as special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe intensifies.

Trump blasts US politics as a 'sick system'

CNN - Sat, 2017-12-09 06:59
President Donald Trump responded to chants of "lock her up" by citing the "rigged system," while speaking at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday night.

Retiring: Leave the Bucket Lists to Those Ambitious Boomers. It’s Tee Time.

NY Times - Sat, 2017-12-09 06:00
Many retirees are “looking to achieve more of their potential,” but that can be a lot of pressure. Instead, some are taking a leisurely cue from their parents’ generation.

These gun laws may curb intimate partner homicides

Futurity.org - Fri, 2017-12-08 19:14

State laws that restrict gun ownership for domestic abusers and other violent offenders appear to significantly reduce intimate partner homicides, according to a new study.

The findings, which come on the heels of the Texas church massacre by a man with a history of domestic violence, suggest state laws with broader gun restrictions are more effective at preventing homicides among romantic partners—even when the laws don’t exclusively target domestic abuse.

Currently, 13 states and federal law prohibit gun purchases by individuals convicted of domestic violence. States that extend this ban to people convicted of any violent misdemeanor have 23 percent fewer intimate partner homicides, the study finds.

When gun-restriction laws included dating partners (not just spouses or ex-spouses) and a requirement that abusers surrender their firearms, reductions in domestic partner homicides were also more pronounced.

Broader gun-restriction laws could potentially save the lives of hundreds of domestic violence victims every year, says April Zeoli, associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. According to the FBI, of the 1,352 intimate partner homicides in 2015, 55 percent were committed using a gun.

“The evidence from this study and previous research highly suggests that firearm restrictions work to reduce intimate partner homicides and that laws need to be comprehensive when we think about populations most at risk for committing intimate partner violence,”says Zeoli.

“Expanding restrictions from those who have been convicted of domestic violence to those who have been convicted of any violent misdemeanor, and including dating partners in domestic violence firearm laws, would likely result in even greater reductions,” she says.

The researchers studied at the effects of firearm restrictions on intimate partner homicides in the 45 states with available data over a 34-year period, 1980 to 2013.

Permissive gun laws linked to higher homicide rates

Twenty-nine states had laws restricting firearms in domestic violence cases when a restraining order had been issued. These laws were linked to a 9 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides, reinforcing past research with strikingly similar findings, Zeoli says.

Researchers also examined other state laws that restrict gun access. Among the findings:

  • Restraining orders for dating partners that include firearm restrictions (present in 22 states) were linked to a 10 percent decrease in romantic partner homicides and a 14 percent reduction in partner homicides committed with firearms. Dating partner statutes go beyond traditional domestic violence restraining order laws, which cover spouses, ex-spouses, couples that live together or have lived together, and couples that have children together. Nearly half of intimate partner homicides are committed by dating partners who often aren’t covered by these traditional partner categories in firearm-restriction laws.
  • Gun restrictions that cover emergency restraining orders in domestic violence cases were associated with a 12 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides.
  • Permit-to-purchase laws were linked to a 11 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides. These laws, active in 10 states including Michigan and New York, require a permit from a law enforcement agency—and thus a criminal background check—to purchase a firearm. (While federal law requires a criminal background check to buy a gun from a licensed dealer, most states allow the purchase of firearms from private sellers without a background check. Other states mandate background checks for all gun sales, but don’t require a permit or interaction with law enforcement.)
  • Laws requiring individuals with domestic violence restraining orders to relinquish firearms were associated with a 22 percent reduction in firearm intimate partner homicide.

The man who authorities say fatally shot 26 people at a Texas church had been court-martialed in the Air Force after pleading guilty to domestic abuse. The Air Force is investigating how it failed to report the information that would have blocked the shooter from buying the rifle he used in the attack from a store in San Antonio.

But even if the information had been submitted and the shooter had flunked his background check, he still could have bought guns through unregulated private sale in Texas or most other states.

Zeoli says the mounting scientific research on the issue clearly indicates that broader gun restrictions may be one answer to curbing homicides by intimate partners.

Program keeps more men from repeat domestic violence

“Our findings are consistent with prior research, supporting the claim that prohibiting domestic violence abusers from having firearms saves lives,” Zeoli says.

“This new evidence suggests that laws that disarm the largest number of people with histories of violence, require permits for handgun purchasers, and require relinquishment of firearms for those who are prohibited from having them are effective in reducing domestic homicides,” she says.

The researchers report their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Alexander McCourt, Shani Buggs, Shannon Frattaroli, and Daniel Webster, all from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and David Lilley from the University of Toledo are coauthors. The Joyce Foundation funded the work.

Source: Michigan State University

The post These gun laws may curb intimate partner homicides appeared first on Futurity.

There are perks to attending class as a robot

Futurity.org - Fri, 2017-12-08 14:26

Robot learning—students learning remotely online while controlling robots in the classroom—can help students feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and other students, according to a new study.

Stationed around the class, each robot in Michigan State University’s robot-learning course has a mounted video screen the remote user controls that lets the student pan around the room to see and talk with the instructor and fellow students participating in-person. To engage the robot from home, students just need to download free software onto their computer.

Remote students participating via robots feel more engaged and connected than students participating via traditional videoconferencing. (Credit: Michigan State)

The study, published in Online Learning, found that robot learning generally benefits remote students more than traditional videoconferencing, in which multiple students are displayed on a single screen.

Christine Greenhow, associate professor of educational psychology and educational technology, says that instead of looking at a screen full of faces as she does with traditional videoconferencing, she can look a robot-learner in the eye—at least digitally.

An image of traditional videoconferencing. (Credit: Michigan State)

“It was such a benefit to have people individually embodied in robot form—I can look right at you and talk to you,” Greenhow says.

The technology, Greenhow adds, also has implications for telecommuters working remotely and students with disabilities or who are ill.

Michigan State University’s College of Education started using robot learning in 2015. Greenhow and Benjamin Gleason, a former doctoral student who is now a faculty member at Iowa State University, studied an educational technology doctoral course in which students participated in one of three ways: in-person, by robot, and by traditional videoconferencing.

Christine Greenhow, right, in the robot-learning classroom. (Credit: Michigan State)

Courses that combine face-to-face and online learning, called hybrid or blended learning, are widely considered the most promising approach for increasing access to higher education and students’ learning outcomes. The number of blended-learning classrooms has increased dramatically in the past decade and could eventually make up 80 percent or more of all university classes, the study notes.

With traditional videoconferencing, Greenhow says, remote students generally can’t tell the instructor is looking at them and can get turned off from joining the discussion.

Students interact with live cells in online bio lab

“These students often feel like they’re interrupting, like they’re not fully participating in the class. And as an instructor, that’s like death—I can’t have that.”

“The main takeaway here,” Greenhow adds, “is that students participating with the robots felt much more engaged and interactive with the instructor and their classmates who were on campus.”

Source: Michigan State University

The post There are perks to attending class as a robot appeared first on Futurity.

What is new in Ubuntu desktop 17.10

Ubuntu Geek - Fri, 2017-10-20 09:24

Sponsored Link google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3561711309083119"; google_ad_slot = "5550623370"; google_ad_width = 336; google_ad_height = 280; These release notes for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) provide an overview of the release and document the known issues with Ubuntu 17.10 and its flavors.
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Upgrade Ubuntu 17.04 to Ubuntu 17.10 (Desktop/Server)

Ubuntu Geek - Fri, 2017-10-20 09:18

Codenamed "Artful Aardvark", Ubuntu 17.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technology
into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. As always, the team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features
and fixing bugs.Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.13-based kernel, glibc 2.26, gcc 7.2, and much more.
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Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Released and Download links Included

Ubuntu Geek - Fri, 2017-10-20 08:50

Codenamed "Artful Aardvark", Ubuntu 17.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technology
into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. As always, the team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features
and fixing bugs.
(...)
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