21 Feb, 2019

Chicago Public Schools Monitored Social Media for Signs of Violence Gang Membership

This is a collaboration between ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago. In January 2017, after a social media analyst for the Chicago Public Schools reviewed the Facebook profile of a Roosevelt High School student and began to suspect he might be in a gang …

18 Feb, 2019

Mercury decline in seabirds due to diet, not emissions controls

For 47 years, biologists have plucked eggs from seabird nests along the British Columbia coast. Many of the eggs were collected from remote rocky islands surrounded by some of the world’s roughest seas. …

14 Feb, 2019

Q&A: Women still missing in Brazil’s top science posts

Biologist Marie-Anne van Sluys straddles two areas of interest in her scientific career: understanding of molecular processes for biological diversification, and the interactions between plants and microorganisms. …

11 Feb, 2019

Facebook Moves to Block Ad Transparency Tools – Including Ours

A number of organizations, including ProPublica, have developed tools to let the public see exactly how Facebook users are being targeted by advertisers. Now, Facebook has quietly made changes to its site that stop those efforts. ProPublica, Mozilla and Who Targets Me have all noticed their tools stopped working this month after Facebook inserted code in its website that blocks them. …

07 Feb, 2019

Why air pollution in schools is such a big deal – and what to do about it

Former London mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of holding back negative findings from a 2013 report on the city’s air pollution. The report stated that 433 of London’s 1,777 primary schools were in areas where nitrogen dioxide concentrations breached EU limits. Nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, is an air pollutant that when inhaled can aggravate respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. …

04 Feb, 2019

How to adapt education for the digital age

On the occasion of the International Day of Education this month, the world needs to come to an honest re-assessment of the state of education worldwide. For centuries, higher education has operated under a paradigm where its purpose was to create a theoretical foundation for future success. At best, students gained the technical skills for their future careers as part of their university studies …

31 Jan, 2019

Despite Mayor’s Pledge, Hundreds of Chicago Cops Still in Desk Jobs

Since taking office in 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly vowed to deploy more police officers to combat violence in city neighborhoods, both by pulling them from desk jobs and hiring more recruits.
“I promised to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets where they’re needed, not behind desks in office buildings or in specialized units that don't get to know the communities they serve,” Emanuel said when he was running for re-election in 2015. “And that’s what we’ve done.” …

28 Jan, 2019

What can the kingdom of Bhutan teach us about fighting corruption

Fighting corruption is supremely difficult, as it is proved by the recent expulsion of UN anti-corruption mission in Guatemala, the jail sentence of a former Korean President or the murder of an African journalist investigating corruption. …

24 Jan, 2019

Global rules should follow outcry over China’s gene-edited babies

The world’s first gene-edited babies, twin girls Lulu and Nana (not their real names), whose birth was announced only two months ago (November 2018) by a young Chinese scientist who ‘created’ them, have sparked fierce debate in the world science community. …

21 Jan, 2019

Why Are Millions Paying Online Tax Preparation Fees When They Don’t Need To?

As internet use took off at the turn of the millennium, the Office of Management and Budget asked the Internal Revenue Service to create no-cost electronic tax-filing options for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. The tech-challenged agency turned to the online tax-preparation industry for help and soon struck a deal with companies such as Intuit (the maker of TurboTax) and H&R Block …

17 Jan, 2019

Renewed space rivalry between nations ignores a tradition of cooperation

The annals of science fiction are full of visions of the future. Some are techno-utopian like “Star Trek” in which humanity has joined together in peace to explore the cosmos. Others are dystopian, like the World State in “Brave New World.” But many of these stories share one thing in common – they envision a time in which humanity has moved past narrow ideas of tribe and nationalism. That assumption might be wrong. …

10 Jan, 2019

Q&A: How to make agriculture a viable business

The African Development Bank aims to boost agricultural productivity by helping scale up proven technologies. Its flagship programme, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), is a priority of that agenda, also called the Feed Africa Strategy. …

07 Jan, 2019

Arundhati Roy’s new novel lays India bare, unveiling worlds within our world

Wearing two hats at once can be an uncomfortable fit, but it does not seem to bother the author Arundhati Roy, who for most of her life has railed against state excesses and corporate exploitation while also wielding the pen. …

03 Jan, 2019

Traditional innovation in farming is under threat

When policymakers think of innovation they tend to think of laboratories or the spaces where designers and engineers create solutions to pressing problems. But this ignores a more longstanding and widespread form of innovation. …

31 Dec, 2018

6 Young Men, Given Adult Sentences for “Minor” Infractions, Are Freed in Illinois

Six young men who had been sentenced to lengthy adult prison terms for committing what were described as minor infractions at a southern Illinois youth correctional facility went free Friday after outgoing Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, in an unannounced move, commuted their sentences. …

27 Dec, 2018

India’s sodomy ban, now ruled illegal, was a British colonial legacy

The Indian Supreme Court has legalized homosexuality, overturning a 157-year ban on consensual gay sex. In a nearly 500-page unanimous decision issued on Sept. 6, India’s highest court affirmed that “whenever the constitutional courts come across a situation of transgression or dereliction in the sphere of fundamental rights which are also the basic human rights of a section, howsoever small part of the society, then it is for the constitutional courts to ensure that constitutional morality prevails over social morality.” …

24 Dec, 2018

UN project aims to nix ships’ most dangerous stowaways

A global initiative launched last week aims to reduce the environmental impact of the invasive marine species being spread across the oceans by ships. The GloFouling Partnerships project, led by the UN, will support countries around the globe in using innovations to combat biofouling, the build up of marine animals such as barnacles on underwater surfaces, and in implementing guidelines on this topic from the UN’s International Maritime Organization. …

20 Dec, 2018

Trump’s Inauguration Paid Trump’s Company – With Ivanka in the Middle

When it came out this year that President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee raised and spent unprecedented amounts, people wondered where all that money went. It turns out one beneficiary was Trump himself. The inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, according to interviews as well as internal emails and receipts reviewed by WNYC and ProPublica. …

17 Dec, 2018

Q&A: Morocco’s ‘Argan queen’ put women in charge

A chemist at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco, Shroff researched how to make extraction more efficient while preserving the qualities of the oil. Known for its light nutty flavour, Argan oil is used in cooking as well as for its medicinal properties, in particular for skin and hair care. …
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