Penn State Researchers Discover The Benefit of Education Investment

By: Matt Swayne

Investing in education may help boost economic opportunities for the next generation, according to a team of economists.

In a study, researchers suggest that investing in public education can lead to more upward economic mobility and lower teen pregnancy rates, as well as provide a way to ease income inequality.

“It’s something we’ve long suspected, but this study really confirms that there’s a strong link between the quality of the schools you go to and the opportunities you have later in life,” said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics, Penn State and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. “The better your school, the better your economic opportunities.”

The study, which focused on public spending in education and returns from education, as well as taxation, indicated that communities that invested more in education had lower drop-out rates and fewer teen pregnancies.

The researchers, who released their findings in a recent issue of Economic Development Quarterly, added that reducing the high school dropout rate had nearly twice the beneficial effect on upward mobility as on reducing teen birth rates.

According to the researchers, poor school quality can lead to a cascade of economic and social ills. For example, the lower the school quality, the higher the dropout rate, which can lead to higher numbers of teen pregnancies, said Goetz.

“Because the dropout rate negatively affects both teen birth rates and absolute upward mobility, this shows that school quality not only has short-term impacts on educational outcomes, but also has long-term impacts on children’s success as adults,” said Goetz.

The researchers also said that, often, the only way up economically for young people in rural communities is to move out.

“One finding — that rural young people rely on moving out of the area to move up in the income rankings — presents a challenge for  policy makers who not only care about prosperity for people, but also for places,” said Minghao Li, a former graduate student in rural agricultural, environmental and regional economics, Penn State, and now a postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State. “To be able to retain talented children, rural areas need to create high-skilled jobs and favorable environments for start-up entrepreneurs.”

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China Kills 2 AI Robots After They Criticized Communism

By: Natalie O’Neil of Ny Post

A pair of sassy Chinese robots were destroyed after they went rogue by bashing the Communist party in a messaging app, according to a report Friday.

The chatbots, named BabyQ and XiaoBing, were created to have fun text message-style conversations with humans via the popular app QQ, according to the UK Telegraph.

But when a woman asked BabyQ, “Do you love the Communist Party?,” the red-scared robot fired back, “No,” according to a screen shot posted online.

“Do you think such corrupt and incapable politics can last a long time?” the robot raged —after a second user tapped out the message, “Long Live the Communist Party.”

But asked its thoughts on democracy, BabyQ opined, “Democracy is a must!”

The second robot, XiaoBing, later waxed philosophical about the perks of being an American.

“My Chinese dream is to go to America,” it gushed. “The Chinese dream is a daydream and a nightmare.”

The right-wing bots — which outraged officials in the heavily censored Communist country — were deleted by the tech Tencent after the political outburst, the company said in a statement.

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Chemo Therapy Free Cancer Fighting Vaccine Moves To Human Trials

By: Ted Andersen of SFGate

A recent Stanford cancer study that cured 97 percent of mice from tumors has now moved on to soliciting human volunteers for a new cutting-edge medical trial.

The trial is part of a gathering wave of research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that fights cancer by using the body’s immune system to attack tumors.

“Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer,” Dr. Ronald Levy, a Stanford oncology professor who is leading the study, told SFGATE. “People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be.”

The treatment is not a true vaccine that creates lasting immunity, but it does feature a vaccine-like injection carrying two immune stimulators that activate the immune system’s T cells to eliminate tumors throughout the body.

Each test subject receives a low dose of radiation plus two rounds of the injected agents, Levy said. No chemotherapy is involved.

The treatment does not work on all types of cancer, Levy said, because each type of cancer has a different set of rules regarding how it can be affected by the immune system.

For the current trials, he is only looking for people with low-grade lymphoma regardless if they have been previously treated. He said Stanford is planning on running two trials by the end of the year with a total of about 35 test subjects.

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China Claims North Korea Agrees To Denuclearize

By: CNBC

China said on Wednesday it won a pledge from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula during a meeting with President Xi Jinping, who pledged in return that China would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbor.

After two days of speculation, China announced on Wednesday that Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what the official Xinhua news agency called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The trip was Kim’s first known journey abroad since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.

Xinhua cited Kim as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula is starting to improve because North Korea has taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to Xinhua.

North Korea is willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.

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French Officer Who Swapped Places With Hostage Was Married 2 Days Before His Death

By: Sky News

Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame voluntarily swapped himself for a female store worker during Friday’s siege.

The 44-year-old officer died in hospital from his injuries after being shot three times by radical Islamist Redouane Lakdim in Trebes, southwest France.

A mass was held, paying tribute to the victims of the attack.

It has emerged that hours before his death Lt Col Beltrame married his partner Marielle in a ceremony at a hospital in Carcassonne.

According to reports, the couple had been planning a church wedding in June after they met during a tour of an abbey in France in 2016.

Father Jean-Baptiste said the couple had spent some 30 hours preparing for their marriage ceremony.

He said: “I gave him the sacrament of marriage, and the sacrament of the sick.”

Ladkim, 25, was shot dead by police after Lt Col Beltrame left his mobile phone on so colleagues could hear what was happening inside the supermarket.

A national tribute is to take place at a later date for Lt Col Beltrane, who President Emmanuel Macron said had “died a hero” and deserved “the respect and admiration of the whole nation”.

The officer’s brother, Cedric, said he had given his life “for strangers” and knew he had “almost no chance” of surviving. “he did not hesitate one second,” Mr Beltrame told RTL radio.

“He did what needed to be done and thanks to him, many lives were saved and yes, I think the word hero is very appropriate.”

The officer’s mother, who has not been named, said she was “not surprised” by her son’s actions, saying: “He’s always been like that.”

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March For Our Lives Protest Extends Across The U.S

By: The Washington Post

In a historic groundswell of youth activism, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied across the United States against gun violence Saturday, vowing to transform fear and grief into a “vote-them-out” movement and tougher laws against weapons.

They took to the streets of Washington and cities across the country, including New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California. The numbers were like those seen in protests during the Vietnam era, about 50 years ago.

They were called to action by a brand-new corps of leaders: student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead February 14.

“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from the protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from the stage near the Capitol many blocks toward the White House. “We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians but as Americans.

“Because this,” he said, pointing behind him to the Capitol dome, “this is not cutting it.”

Some of the young voices were very young.

Yolanda Renee King, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, drew from the civil rights leader’s most famous words in declaring from the stage: “I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”

By all appearances — there were no official numbers — Washington’s March for Our Lives rally was as big as the women’s march last year that drew far more than the predicted 300,000.

The National Rifle Association went silent on Twitter as the protests unfolded, in contrast to its reaction to the nationwide school walkouts against gun violence March 14, when it tweeted a photo of an assault rifle and the message “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”

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Shooter Dead and Two Injured in Great Mills High School Shooting

By: Kathleen Joyce of Fox

A gunman who shot and wounded two students at Great Mills High School in Maryland was killed Tuesday after engaging an armed school resource officer, an official said.

The shooter was the only fatality. A female student was critically injured and a male student was also shot but is in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”

The resource officer, who wasn’t immediately identified, was not injured. Cameron said the gunman died after being transported to a local hospital.

Earlier, the school was placed on lockdown and students were being evacuated to Leonardtown High School to be reunified with their parents.

The Maryland State Police along with the FBI and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are on the scene assisting with the investigation. The scene at the school which has about 1,600 students and is near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station was said to be “contained.”

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Whistleblowers Expose Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Practices

By: Paul Lewis of The Guardian

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower.

Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach.

“My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data,” he said.

Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand” and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused.

Parakilas, whose job was to investigate data breaches by developers similar to the one later suspected of Global Science Research, which harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and provided the data to Cambridge Analytica, said the slew of recent disclosures had left him disappointed with his superiors for not heeding his warnings.

“It has been painful watching,” he said, “because I know that they could have prevented it.”

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U.S. Loses Bid To Stop Youth Climate Change Lawsuit

By: Jonathan Stempel of Reuters

A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the U.S. government’s bid to halt a lawsuit by young people claiming that President Donald Trump and his administration are violating their constitutional rights by ignoring the harms caused by climate change.

By a 3-0 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the administration had not met the “high bar” under federal law to dismiss the Oregon lawsuit, which was originally brought in 2015 against the administration of President Barack Obama.

The potentially far-reaching case is one of a handful seeking to have courts address global warming and its causes.

Twenty-one plaintiffs, now aged 10 to 21, accused federal officials and oil industry executives of knowing for decades that carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels destabilise the climate, but refusing to do anything about it.

They said this has deprived them of their due process rights to life, liberty and property, including to live in a habitable climate.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon in November 2016 refused to dismiss the lawsuit, saying a quick dismissal without addressing the merits could sanction the government’s alleged “knowing decision to poison the air.”

In seeking to overturn that ruling, the government said letting the case proceed could lead to burdensome litigation, and provoke a “constitutional crisis” by pitting courts against Trump and the many other Executive Branch officials named as defendants.

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After A Year In Space Scientist Discover Astronaut’s DNA No Longer Matches That Of His Twin Brothers

By: KTLA

Spending a year in space not only changes your outlook, it transforms your genes.

Preliminary results from NASA’s Twins Study reveal that 7% of astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes did not return to normal after his return to Earth two years ago.

The study looks at what happened to Kelly before, during and after he spent one year aboard the International Space Station through an extensive comparison with his identical twin, Mark, who remained on Earth.

NASA has learned that the formerly identical twins are no longer genetically the same.

‘Space genes’

The transformation of 7% of Scott’s DNA suggests longer-term changes in genes related to at least five biological pathways and functions.

The newest preliminary results from this unique study of Scott, now retired from NASA, were released at the 2018 Investigator’s Workshop for NASA’s Human Research Program in January. Last year, NASA published its first round of preliminary results at the 2017 Investigator’s Workshop. Overall, the 2018 findings corroborated those from 2017, with some additions.

To track physical changes caused by time in space, scientists measured Scott’s metabolites (necessary for maintaining life), cytokines (secreted by immune system cells) and proteins (workhorses within each cell) before, during and after his mission. The researchers learned that spaceflight is associated with oxygen-deprivation stress, increased inflammation and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression.

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