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Straub writes: It's been an annoying fact of life for ages: You're enjoying your shower, someone in the house flushes a toilet, and all of a sudden it turns from heaven into Hades. From style to features, the 2014 Forte comes across as a pricier midsize car trapped in a slightly smaller body.    Account assignments, executive appointments and miscellaneous news from advertising agencies. The bodies were found, a government spokesman said, after firefighters put out a fire at the crash site in Kyrgyzstan. Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that children are suffering as parents live the hard life in China’s cities. A slew of data about the housing market will be the focus of economic news in this holiday-shortened week. Co-op Listing Seen as Undervalued; A Lease Won’t Be Renewed; Adding Shares When Adding a Bathroom.     Sudan and South Sudan moved to reduce the hostilities that have severely weakened both of their economies. James Watt, who served as Secretary of the Interior from 1981 to 1983, is remembered primarily for a short, business-friendly tenure that ended with his resignation soon after an ill-judged remark about women, minorities and the disabled. And yet, as MIT professor Judith Layzer observes in her new book about environmental politics, “Open for Business,” there is good reason to regard Watt’s impact differently.For one thing, Watt, among others on the political right, managed to cut government funding for conservation efforts. For another, he installed staff members who emphasized the development of natural resources, rather than just the protection of land. In so doing, Watt was one of many Republicans who instituted fundamental changes in U.S. environmental policy. “I will build an institutional memory that will be here for decades,” Watt once said of his department, as Layzer recounts.These kinds of under-the-radar changes, Layzer argues, are one of two ways conservatives have dramatically altered environmental politics since the 1970s, when environmentalists probably reached the high point of their political influence. The other, says Layzer, an associate professor of environmental policy at MIT, is ideological and rhetorical: Conservatives have gained enormous traction by touting “the virtues of the market system and the horrors of regulation,” thus limiting public backing for stricter government-imposed controls on natural resources. By arguing that the market economy, when left alone, is effectively self-policing and morally sound, conservatives have put environmentalists on the defensive, making them tentative about arguing for environmental protections as a good in themselves. So whereas President Richard Nixon once green-lighted the Environmental Protection Agency, today’s political debates often touch on the necessity of opening further federal lands for oil exploration. “The set of conservative ideas has really pushed the framing of issues to the point where many people today aren’t even aware of the [older] alternatives,” Layzer says. “Only if you’d been involved or lived through this history would you know it hasn’t always been thus.”Subtly effective“Open for Business,” published last month by MIT Press, takes a chronological look at the last seven presidential administrations, starting with that of Gerald Ford, and examines four in depth, starting with that of Ronald Reagan. Layzer regards the Reagan years as shifting American policy, on the environment and many other areas, toward a greater free-market orientation. And yet, as she observes, the administration stumbled at times on environmental policy due to overreach; Congress rebuffed efforts to change the Clean Air Act, for example. “In the Reagan administration, there were people who were direct about gutting laws, and that didn’t work,” Layzer observes. “The movement evolved to be more subtle and creative, as it became clear [it] couldn’t go straight at these laws.” Still, the administration did manage to stall legislation on acid rain, among other conservative causes.After an initial couple of years in which President George H.W. Bush appeared more welcoming to environmentalists than Reagan had been, Layzer says, “the conservative voices gained ascendancy” within the GOP for good by the late 1980s. “The George H.W. Bush administration … was where the struggle within the Republican Party was fought and won by conservatives,” Layzer says. The anti-government ideology of the Republicans became stronger still after the party gained control of the House of Representatives in 1994. By the George W. Bush administration, as Layzer sees it, the GOP was committed to a fully pro-business agenda on the environment, but had become far more strategic about it: In her confirmation hearings, Gale Norton, Bush’s Secretary of the Interior from 2001 to 2006 and a former Watt protege, disavowed her previous statements criticizing the Endangered Species Act and denying the presence of a scientific consensus on climate change. She then moved aggressively to open up even more federal lands for resource extraction, calling such actions “partnerships” with local authorities. Over three decades, Layzer asserts, the outcome of all this conservative activism both weakened existing laws — the Endangered clickbank pirate for instance, is more difficult to enforce than it once was — and prevented new ones from being passed. Climate-change legislation stalled in Congress during President Barack Obama’s first term, perhaps due to concerns about limiting business activity during economic hard times. Only 41 percent of the public called “protecting the environment” a priority in 2009, compared to 56 percent a year earlier, according to a Pew poll.Fighting ideas with ideas?“Open for Business” has received attention from a variety of scholars studying environmental politics; Harvard University sociologist Theda Skocpol has called it a “brilliant book” that shows “how conservative and business interests have not only blocked major new legislative breakthroughs to address climate change, but have also chipped away at existing regulations and enforcement.”  As Layzer makes clear in the text, she herself would like to see more government action on the environment, although she says significant action on climate change “is going to be incredibly hard.” Greater energy efficiency, she argues, will not have enough impact to mitigate climate change, given the world’s rapidly growing population. To usefully limit the effects of global warming, Layzer says, “I think what really has to happen is quite drastic,” and, she concludes in the book, has to include a rethinking of the central importance we place on economic growth and consumption. That means not just a new set of policies, but an ideological shift in society — even if, as Layzer acknowledges, such a change seems unlikely. “That’s what the conservative movement did that was so clever,” she says. “It really was about ideas. And you have to fight ideas with ideas.” Dan Algrant, the director of “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” discusses his film.     The Production and Operations Management Society recently honored Professor David Simchi-Levi of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division with an article published in the January-February issue of the journal Production and Operations Management. The journal honors two to three researchers annually. Past honorees include MIT Sloan professors Jay Forrester and Stephen Graves. The article cites Simchi-Levi’s contributions to both the theoretical and practical aspects of supply-chain management as demonstrated by the quality and reach of his published research; the application of this research in corporate practice; his seven years as editor-in-chief of Operations Research; and the popularity of his second book as a graduate business education text.That book, "Designing and Managing the Supply Chain: Concepts, Strategies and Case Studies" (McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2007) by Simchi-Levi, Philip Kaminsky and Edith Simchi-Levi, is now in its third edition. In 2000 it was named book of the year by the Institute of Industrial Engineering. Earlier this year, the blog Supply Chain Management (SCM) Operations listed the book on its “10 Greatest Supply Chain Management Books of All Time,” based on the number of citations for books found by Google Scholar.  After receiving  his Ph.D. from Tel-Aviv University, Simchi-Levi was on the faculty of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia University (1986-1993), the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University (1993-2000) before joining the MIT faculty. At MIT, he is the engineering faculty co-director of the Leaders for Global Operations program; co-director of the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation; head of the new Accenture and MIT Alliance in Business Analytics’ leader of the MIT-Technion Postdoctoral Program; a member of the Operations Research Center and former co-director of the System Design and Management partnership.In 2009, he was awarded the Revenue Management and Pricing Section Prize from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the world’s largest professional society for the field of operations research, management science and business analytics. INFORMS awarded the prize to Simchi-Levi for a series of three papers that made fundamental contributions to the field. Post comments now and join us between 1-3pm on Friday to discuss the pros and cons of working while you study as well as the part-time jobs availableIt's not just tuition fees that make education expensive – rising living costs and a lack of financial support mean many students struggle to make ends meet while studying.Research by the NUS suggests that, after paying for housing and utilities, university students from families with an average income are left with £11.15 a week (£23.38 a week in London) to live on from their student finance. The coalition's decision to scrap the education maintenance allowance (EMA) means many college students are also struggling financially.There are signs that more students are taking paid work while learning. University job shops saw an increase in demand throughout 2011-12, according to the National Association of Student Employment Services (Nases).But how many hours a week does the average student work part time? How can students juggle these commitments with course deadlines? And how easy is it trade miner a job that complements your studies?On Friday, we'll be joined by a panel of welfare officers and careers advisers to discuss what part-time work opportunities are available to college and university students. To take part in the session, post your questions in the comment section below, and join us at 1-3pm on Friday.The panel Sam Rhodes manages the careers service at the University of Brighton. Sam helps students find employment and volunteering opportunities as well as providing enterprise supportRebecca Crowther is welfare officer at Newman University Students' UnionMike Dore is welfare officer at Nottingham University Students' Union. He represents students on health and well being, financial and equality issuesZoe Arch chairs the agency working group for the National Association of Student Employment Services. She is also student employment manager at University of the Arts LondonKelly McDonald qualified as a careers adviser 11 years ago and has worked in schools, colleges and universities. She currently works at York UniversityStudentsHigher educationStudent financeRebecca © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish wins stage 13 of the Tour de France to take the 25th stage win of his career     Eight soldiers from the American-led military coalition were killed in Afghanistan: five by a roadside bomb, two by an Afghan soldier who shot his trainers and one by small-arms fire. The number of dead pigs found floating in a river flowing into Shanghai has reached nearly 6,000. The VLT, located in Chile, collects and focuses light from distant stars on to a detector, providing vital information about the universe and our place in it Australian education bill sails through upper house with no amendments, becoming lawThe Gonski school funding reforms have been enshrined in law despite five states and territories yet to sign any agreement with the commonwealth and Victoria sending their negotiations back to the drawing board.The Australia education bill passed the senate on Wednesday as government leadership tensions looked like they were going to spill over as a petition circulated around Labor party MPs to call a special caucus meeting.The bill passed the senate with no amendments and so did not have to return to the House of Representatives for the legislation to become law.With the 30 June deadline looming for other states and territories to sign on to the reforms, the bill creates a situation where South Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory could be funded using a different model to the rest of Australia.As the bill passed, Victorian premier Denis Napthine rejected the latest offer from the federal government on Gonski funding instead demanding $7 billion of federal money over the next six years.Prime minister Julia Gillard took it in her stride, telling parliament during question time that Napthine had indicated he was still willing to negotiate."This is a great day for Australian schools, students and families," she said in a statement."For the first time, we have a needs-based funding model for schools across all sectors, one that will ensure our classrooms are properly resourced for generations to come."NSW, SA and the ACT are the only states and territory to sign on to the reforms though it is believed Tasmania could sign up over the weekend with Premier Lara Gidding satisfied the state will not lose GST revenue.The complicated funding model distributes education money to schools based on the needs of their students but requires states who sign on to agree to other reforms such as higher entry standards for teachers into the profession and more information on school performance for parents.The federal government had proposed $4.2 billion in additional education funding for Victoria over the next six years which would have been made up by state and commonwealth funds, but Napthine is offering to contribute $3.5 billion, bringing the federal contribution to $7 billion.Independent and Catholic schools across Australia will come under the new funding model regardless of whether their state has signed up to the reforms, but they will not receive additional state funding."We have been clear, however, there will be no windfall gain for non-participating states and territories," a statement from the prime minister said.The National Plan for Schools Improvement will be implemented in participating schools from 1 January next year.AustraliaBridie © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds     PASCAGOULA, MISS. -- Johnny Ray Harris hunted for oil in the gulf near his home for 45 days straight, radioing in coordinates to cleanup crews when he spotted large, inky patches floating in the choppy waters. Argentine midfielder Marcelo Gallardo is the highest-paid forex growth bot download D.C. United history and has the third-largest salary in MLS this season. As officials negotiate in a last-ditch effort to spare the city the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history, residents say the city has worse problems than its $18 billion debt.     Vijay Kumar, the director of MIT's Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) and a senior associate dean, was the principal investigator of the Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I), a MIT-led collaborative project to develop an open architecture for enterprise educational applications. He is the co-editor of Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge, which was published by MIT Press and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is freely available online. Information Services and Technology's News Coordinator, Robyn Fizz, recently spoke with Kumar about some of the key concepts propelling the open education movement. Q. Open education is everywhere, from MITx and edX, to initiatives like Khan Academy, Coursera and Udacity. How do you define open education and what's behind its tsunami-like momentum? A. In 2001, MIT launched OpenCourseWare (OCW), which catalyzed the movement. OCW courses are snapshots of real courses and they present good models, they can be emulated. The following year, in 2002, UNESCO coined the term Open Education Resources (OER). OER means more than open content. It includes open applications, tools and architecture, as well as legal enablers like Creative Commons that allow the spirit and practice of open education to be exercised. Over the past decade, the Open Education movement has expanded dramatically. Openness has become part of the discourse about educational change, whether it's at the level of a university or a country. For example, there are over 250 institutions in the OpenCourseWare Consortium. National and international organizations like the Commonwealth of Learning have adopted open education as a central strategy for providing quality education on a large scale. Q. So there's amazing breadth to the movement, what about depth? How does online learning go beneath the surface? A. First, it's important to distinguish between online learning and open education. Openness brings a lot of added dimensionality to online. Educators often refer to the Four R's — reuse, redistribute, revise, remix — as the critical attributes of openness. So it's not only about enabling unfettered access to resources but also making it possible for them to be used and adapted based on the goals of the learners. Communities of self-learners can remix open materials and help each other learn. It's an era of connectivity combined with collectivity. People from around the world can participate, and millions have. Q. Can you give an example of how technology fosters open learning? A. Video lectures have become increasingly common, but how do you search them? The Spoken Lecture Browser, a technology developed by Jim Glass's group in CSAIL, addresses this issue. Built on voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence, it lets you automatically transcribe the audio portions of a video lecture and then search those videos using natural language. For example, I can do a search on "angular momentum" if I missed a few classes in introductory physics. The tool lets me find the relevant segments through a search, rather than wading through 20 hours of lectures. OEIT is working to make this technology more widely available to our faculty, perhaps through MIT TechTV. As this intersection of technology and openness becomes broadly available, it's easy to imagine the reuse of precise segments from these lectures by another instructor or by students for self-learning. Searches on a concept could lead to related materials, either confined to the course or across the Internet, paving the way for deeper learning experiences or alternate pathways for learners with different motivations. Q. So open education enables students to choose the mode of learning that works best for them? A. That's the direction we're headed in. For example, alum George Zaidan, who did OpenLabWare many years ago, recently teamed up with Professor John Essigmann in chemistry to develop online modular offerings for learning core concepts in chemistry such as "buffers" that travel across courses. This is part of the experiments in modularity launched by the MIT Council on Educational Technology (MITCET). So they focus on a concept, and they might provide videos of labs to explain the concept, they might provide interactive simulations. They work with different modalities so that students have the opportunity to grok the concept in different ways. Q. How do these directory of ezine download impact learning in the classroom? A. Understanding that is an important part of the MITCET experiments. A good example is the approach taken by Professors Karen Willcox and David Darmofal in AeroAstro. They said, look, if you can modularize topics traditionally taught in the classroom and offer them online, then you can have more opportunities for discussions and active learning when students come to class. This is what's known as the flipped classroom model. A lot of the lecture and topic-related materials are posted online, and students can review these on their own time. Then, during class, the focus is on hands-on exercises. Q. What's next for open and online education? A. There are many exciting developments in the world of open education resources. One of note is the Open Textbook movement that is gaining legs and helping address a significant obstacle for educational access — the cost of textbooks. Openness is being employed as a driver for addressing large problems of educational access and quality. One example of this is the Kaleidoscope Project, a project on which I'm an advisor. Funded through a Next Generation Learning Challenges grant, it involves seven community colleges collaborating to create courses using existing OERs, with each course being developed by at least two partner institutions. The project so far has demonstrated a substantial reduction — around 90 percent — in the cost per course per student, a one-term savings of about $60,000. The focus, however, is not only on cost-effectiveness but on improving the course design and learning results based on analysis of embedded assessments. There's a movement to use learning analytics to improve the quality of online education. Learning analytics refers to the analysis of a wide range of data produced by and gathered on behalf of learners to assess academic progress, predict future performance and spot potential issues. Through analytics, you reconstruct your interventions with your learners based on how they're accessing the materials, how they're performing, how they're understanding different concepts. Courses are open, but they have to be constructed in a way that you can use analytics to understand what's working and what's not. The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon has a good model for this. What's really ahead is the opportunity to learn a lot about learning — about the use of social networks for learning, about making labs widely available online, about the approaching wave of new applications. Allegations against Mayor Fenty turn out to be baseless. Can green news be covered without a Green blog? International air transport body forecasts global profits of £7bn but warns Cypriot fiscal crisis is a risk that 'cannot be ignored'Airlines are expected to generate improved profits of more than $10bn (£7bn) this year, their global association has forecast, although European carriers could continue to struggle.The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said there was increased confidence in the industry, but warned that Europe's airlines remained vulnerable from the situation in Cyprus, adding that its forecast was based on the eurozone remaining stable.The $10.6bn profit forecast was up 20% on previous estimates, based on stronger revenues and better cash flows, despite fuel costs staying high, Iata said. It is well above the $7.6bn profit the association estimated had been hit in 2012.Asian airlines account for the largest single continental share, generating net profit of $4.2bn. Iata revised up profit forecasts for the region on the back of an expected higher demand for air freight.For European airlines, the association predicted profits of £533m for 2013, an improved figure but one it described as "barely different from breakeven".Tony Tyler, the Iata director general, said it was "a small step in the right direction" but considerable risks remain. "European Central Bank commitments with respect to the eurozone crisis and the slow economic recovery in the US should be pointing us towards a durable, if weak, upswing. But we have had two false starts already," he added."Improving conditions in early 2011 and 2012 disintegrated as the Eurozone crisis intensified. And it could happen again. The impact of the unfolding situation in Cyprus is a risk factor that cannot be ignored."Tyler said airlines were dealing with unpleasant "curve balls" from governments, including European proposals for passenger rights legislation, US budget cuts to air traffic management, and anticipated increases to air passenger duty in the UK next month.Airline revenues are forecast to hit $671bn this year.Airline industryEurozone crisisCyprusInternational Airlines GroupGwyn © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More
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