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High-tech exam cheating becoming commonplace?

“Twelve University of Maryland undergraduates have been accused of using Web-equipped cell phones or handheld organizers to cheat on a business school final exam last month, according to the school’s student-run Honor Council.

Six of them have admitted to misconduct during that same test, the council said.” What amazes me is why, in this day and age, their business school professors persist in giving tests that can be cheated upon in the first place, i.e. that require memorization rather than the effective use of resources and integration of data that a ‘web-enabled open book’ format, if you will, would allow (and which is probably more like the skills the students will need to succeed after graduating, which is what they should be testing…). sunspot

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Texas History Repeats Itself…

…in new oilfields

The Texas governor, an oil man, was frustrated. A worldwide recession had begun a few months earlier, and it was being made worse by doubts about the world’s oil supply. The governor had threatened, and he had cajoled. But the rogue oil producers, who controlled a huge share of the world’s known oil reserves, wouldn’t cooperate.


So, the governor took the law into his own hands. He declared the producers to be “in a state of insurrection.” Their actions, he said, “openly, flagrantly and rebelliously violate the laws.” With that, the governor sent thousands of armed soldiers to overwhelm the rogues and take control of the oil fields.


The scenario sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


Indeed, President Bush’s desire to rush U.S. troops into the deserts and oil fields of Iraq is eerily similar to the decision made seven decades ago by one of his predecessors in Austin… — Robert Bryce, Dallas Morning News

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Six Degrees of Speculation

Even in a small world, there’s room for disagreement:

You probably don’t know Judith Kleinfeld. She’s a psychologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and you can contact her by calling the university switchboard or finding her e-mail address online. But could you get to her through some extension of your own social network—by mailing a letter for her to a friend who might know someone who knows someone who knows her?


Who cares?


Judith Kleinfeld does, for starters. She’s part of a growing cadre of scientists reviving the so-called small-world problem, a social-cum-mathematical conundrum formulated in the last century to characterize the interwoven webs of acquaintance among friends, neighbors, colleagues, and kin. In the mid-1960s the legendary social psychologist Stanley Milgram asked randomly selected citizens of Kansas and Nebraska to try to connect with social “targets” in Massachusetts by mailing letters to likely intermediaries. The average number of links between strangers turned out to be surprisingly small. Milgram claimed we’re all connected, on average, by half a dozen interpersonal avenues— a numinous network popularized by the phrase “six degrees of separation.” Discover

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Skeptic Pitied

‘Craig Schaffner, 46, a Fayetteville-area computer consultant, has earned the pity of friends and acquaintances for his tragic reluctance to embrace the unverifiable, sources reported Monday.

“I honestly feel sorry for the guy,” said neighbor Michael Eddy, 54, a born-again Christian. “To live in this world not believing in a higher power, doubting that Christ died for our sins—that’s such a sad, cynical way to live. I don’t know how he gets through his day.” ‘ The Onion [via walker]

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"It’s just a distraction. Nothing more."

Douglas Rushkoff: “So I had the great and unexpected pleasure of sitting down with Al Gore for a couple of hours this week, to talk mostly about some distributed media ideas. He was a much brighter, open-minded, and – if I might add – cosmic thinker than I gave him credit for, before. I felt like he was really one of “us,” if you know what I mean: the kids in college who got those wild thoughts about how everything in the world, and even beyond, is connected somehow. And evolving. Only Gore found this organic view of reality reflected in the Constitution of the United States, and sought to enable the extension of this Enlightenment thinking into practical reality.


But still, I could imagine him back in the dorm room, sitting up all night with the rest of us and dreaming about how things might be – if we were ever in charge. With Gore, much more than Clinton, we almost got one of us in there. This was an inspiring thought to me, until I realized that this might be as close as we ever get. And if we get that close again, would the refs just throw another flag?


Call it awful, but I realized that the judicial decision to give the 2000 election to Bush has left deeper scars on my psyche than watching the WTC fall (from my apartment window). It made me wonder if the ‘system’ is broken, the game is rigged, and no one of conscience will ever be allowed to actualize the Constitution ever again.


Close to the end of the meeting, we got on to the subject of the Showdown in Iraq. Gore said quite plainly, “Well, of “Iourse it’s just a distraction. Nothing more.” [courtesy of walker]

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State of the Union:

How Big Corporate Campaign Contributors are Buying America…And What the Rest of Us Pay

‘Some people think it’s more important to give a big campaign contribution than to vote…that it’s “the American way” to buy access and influence with big money…that it’s OK if public policy is sold to the highest bidder. Some even think that the only real democracy is in the marketplace, where we all supposedly vote with our dollars.


Well, we at Public Campaign disagree, and we believe so do a lot of other Americans. Which is why we created the “State of the Union” poster. Because we wanted to use one picture to say what a thousand words couldn’t say about the union of big money and Washington.’

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Playing with Fire–

Why People Engage in Risky Behavior: “There is risk, and then there is risk. Figuring out what differentiates experimenting teenagers from delinquents and lifelong reckless hearts is not easy; behaviors typically stem from complex social, environmental, and biological interactions. Even defining risky conduct can be difficult.” The Scientist


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Six Degrees of Speculation

Even in a small world, there’s room for disagreement:

You probably don’t know Judith Kleinfeld. She’s a psychologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and you can contact her by calling the university switchboard or finding her e-mail address online. But could you get to her through some extension of your own social network—by mailing a letter for her to a friend who might know someone who knows someone who knows her?


Who cares?


Judith Kleinfeld does, for starters. She’s part of a growing cadre of scientists reviving the so-called small-world problem, a social-cum-mathematical conundrum formulated in the last century to characterize the interwoven webs of acquaintance among friends, neighbors, colleagues, and kin. In the mid-1960s the legendary social psychologist Stanley Milgram asked randomly selected citizens of Kansas and Nebraska to try to connect with social “targets” in Massachusetts by mailing letters to likely intermediaries. The average number of links between strangers turned out to be surprisingly small. Milgram claimed we’re all connected, on average, by half a dozen interpersonal avenues— a numinous network popularized by the phrase “six degrees of separation.” Discover