Brexit

Photo credit: Andrew Testa for the New York Times

Photo credit: Andrew Testa for the New York Times

I’m in shock. I think it’s hard to fathom exactly how bad Brexit will be, not just for Britain, but for all of Europe and the rest of the world. From what I’ve read, I have to agree with the experts that xenophobia was the driving force behind this. Tribalism has run amok, both on the Far Right and the Far Left. It’s invaded our own country with the Trump campaign, and it’s showing no signs of abating. This is going to be terrible for the world economy.

Scientist heroes who helped Flint

Photo credit: Travis Dove for the NY Times

Photo credit: Travis Dove for the NY Times

There’s a cool story here about the scientists from Virginia Tech who fought for the residents of Flint, Michigan, to be heard: As Flint sought to be heard, Virginia Tech team sounded alarm. For whatever reason, we rarely hear in the American media about scientists using their brains to save lives. The VT team is diverse, with members coming from the U.S., India, and Singapore. They used their knowledge to build trust with the residents of Flint, some of whom said that they won’t trust the water unless the VT team gives its okay.

China to end the one-child policy

After more than thirty years, China is ending the one-child policy. Instead of being restricted to one, people will now be able to have two. China is making the change in part because of concerns over a rapidly aging population that will stress resources, a concern that was voiced from the very beginning by economists all over the world.

I have to agree with those who say the one-child policy was one of China’s biggest mistakes. 30 years is enough to ingrain the idea of one-child into the culture. It’s likely that China will face the same kind of population problems that Japan currently faces.

One big Holy Shit moment on the internet

I found this article: “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang. I found it via 8 Asians. It’s about the White poet who had his poem published by taking on a Chinese-sounding pseudonym. The White poet did so because he felt it would be easier to get published. From the NY Times article:

“As a strategy for ‘placing’ poems this has been quite successful for me,” he said, noting that “The Bees” had been rejected 40 times under his own name but only nine times under the pseudonym before it was published by Prairie Schooner.

Intel drops science competition

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Photo credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

File this under “decisions that make absolutely no sense.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, is dropping its longtime support of the most prestigious science and mathematics competition for American high school students.

It’s only 6 million dollars, which is nothing for Intel. Why wouldn’t Intel pay that small price to have its name affixed to the most prestigious science and mathematics competition in the world? There may be some argument that most winners don’t work in semiconductors, but it’s still great advertising.

Cop shoots unarmed man

Has everyone been following the escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat from the maximum security prison? Richard Matt was shot and killed a few days ago. David Sweat was shot and apprehended yesterday, just a mile and a half from the Canadian border. Sweat was completely unarmed but was making a run for some dense trees after Cook approached him. Deputy Jay Cook shot him in the back, and he was taken alive.

I agreed with the deputy’s decision to shoot–after all, Sweat has shown himself to be quite elusive and hard to find–but I wondered whether there might be legal repercussions. It turns out that there shouldn’t be:

20 years in prison for cheating?

Photo credit: Kent D. Johnson

Photo credit: Kent D. Johnson

Educators in Atlanta were convicted of cheating on standardized tests yesterday. They allegedly gave students answers or changed the answers themselves. It was a sad end to the legacy of Superintendent Beverly Hall, who was previously celebrated for her achievements in turning the school district around–she had been named Superintendent of the Year and was hosted at the White House for her role in dramatically raising Atlanta’s test scores, all while collecting performance bonuses of $500,000. Hall died last month and was not present to see the verdict, nor did she have to stand trial (she had been granted a later trial because of health concerns). 11 of 12 educators were convicted of racketeering, a charge that is usually used against organized crime syndicates or similar offenders. Some of these teachers could spend up to 20 years in prison.