Thursday, August 29, 2019

Can AI help recognize click bait?

From Penn State News on 08/29/19

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Humans and machines worked together to help train an artificial intelligence — AI — model that outperformed other clickbait detectors, according to researchers at Penn State and Arizona State University. In addition, the new AI-based solution was also able to tell the difference between clickbait headlines that were generated by machines — or bots — and ones written by people, they said.

For whole article click here.

One of the big topics in media literacy is what is called "click bait" which seduces readers into clicking on links for fake news stories.

In the time of digital media where every person with an internet account can become an author, publisher, and distributor editorial vetting is a quaint practice from the past.

As we have learned from disinformation introduced into our 2016 presidential campaign, robots can be programed to flood digital media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with increasingly false and misleading information and narratives.

How is even a critical, media literate person able to discern the authentic news story from a fake one? It is interesting how computer algorythms are beling trained to help with the task.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Why are people in the U.S. living shorter lives?

Editor's note:

Life expectancy in the United States has dropped for three years in a row. Why?

Because of the increasingly fragile safety net and decreased quality of life because of low wages due to income inequality.

How has big pharma created the opioid crisis in the U.S.?

Editor's note: 400,000 people in the U.S have died since 1999 from opioid overdoses. The bigger question is how is it that physicians have prescribed death dealing drugs which have been diverted and misused.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Happiest and unhappiest states in the United States

Editor's note: The happiest states are all blue with the exception of Utah. The unhappiest states are all red. Blue states tend to be more progressive while red states are more conservative. Does political ideology contribute to the state of happiness or does one's state of happiness contribute to one's political ideology? Which comes first the chicken or the egg?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

What is the best way for the fourth estate to inform citizens in our American democracy?

Larry Ferlazzo asks this question on 08/21/19 as his "Question of the week." I think it applies to everyone, not just students. All citizens in a democracy should consider this question. I am going to tag posts related to this question as "Media literacy."

Perhaps we can reframe the question as "What are the best ways, the media, the fourth estate, can inform the citizens of our American democracy and the people around the world?"

Monday, August 19, 2019

Who are the worst toxic polluters in the US?

Editor's note: The U.S. Federal government itself is the 7th worst toxic producer due to its electricity production in coal powered plants in Tennessee.

For more click here.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

'No Blame?' ABC News finds 36 cases invoking 'Trump' in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults.

From ABC News on 08/14/19 by Mike Levine
President Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept any responsibility for inciting violence in American communities, dismissing critics who have pointed to his rhetoric as a potential source of inspiration for some citizens acting on even long-held beliefs of bigotry and hate.
"I think my rhetoric brings people together," he said last week, four days after a 21-year-old allegedly posted an anti-immigrant screedonline and then allegedly opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 and injuring dozens of others.
But a nationwide review conducted by ABC News has identified at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.
In nine cases, perpetrators hailed Trump in the midst or immediate aftermath of physically attacking innocent victims. In another 10 cases, perpetrators cheered or defended Trump while taunting or threatening others. And in another 10 cases, Trump and his rhetoric were cited in court to explain a defendant's violent or threatening behavior.
For more click here.

Friday, August 16, 2019

U, S. ranks last among first world countries in family policies.

From New York Times article on 08/15/19 entitled, "Why The U.S. Has Long Resisted Universal Health Care by Claire Cain Miller.

Most Americans say it’s not ideal for a child to be raised by two working parents. Yet in two-thirds of American families, both parents work.
This disconnect between ideals and reality helps explain why the United States has been so resistant to universal public child care. Even as child care is setting up to be an issue in the presidential campaign, a more basic question has recently resurfaced: whether mothers should work in the first place.
For more click here
Editor's note:
It is hypocritical that Republicans favor pro-life and anti abortion laws forcing women to give birth but then do very little to help her raise her child. The Republican failure to provide day care assistance to working mothers is mean spirited. The U.S. ranks last among first world countries when it comes to family policies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Is America becoming a third world country?

Our summer pastor at First Universalist Church of Rochester gave a wonderful sermon on 07/28/19 on "A Mean Nation". It is well worth watching and listening to.

Trump creates further policies which makes America even meaner and stingier.

Is America a mean and stingy nation? America spends 718 billion dollars or 54% of its total annual budget on the military.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Hate crimes escalating in the US

Reported hate crimes in America rose 17 percent last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data that showed an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks.
Law enforcement agencies reported that 7,175 hate crimes occurred in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. That increase was fueled in part by more police departments reporting hate crime data to the FBI, but overall there is still a large number of departments that report no hate crimes to the federal database.
Could this increase in hate crimes be due to President Trump's rhetoric, his support of White Supremecy, and the silence of the Republican congresspeople and Senators?

Schools can make a difference countering the racial hate in America

This is a guest post by Victoria Trujillo Onodera.
Victoria Trujillo Onodera is a Culturally Responsive Education Coach, educator, and teacher leader with over 25 years of classroom and instructional coaching experience. 
When the Welcome Back to School letter pops up on my email, I am not surprised. As an educator and as a parent, I know the routine. Yet, nothing about this year feels routine. As a Latina educator and a Latina parent, I find myself silently hoping to read something different than the traditional Welcome Back letter. Humble brags about recent achievements and generic statements about excellence for all, ring particularly hollow to me this year.
I take a deep breath, click on the email and read the letter. Disappointed, I decide to write the Welcome Back to School letter I wish I had received: 
Dear School Community:
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year. We are excited to welcome students and support them as they begin, continue, or near the end of their educational journeys with us.
We remain steadfast in our continued commitment to academic excellence, innovative practices, school safety and inclusive excellence. We are proud of our achievements and grateful for our school community.
The beginning of the year can be an exciting, celebratory time, but we must acknowledge that the current culture and climate in our nation also makes the beginning of the school year a time filled with concern and fear for many. We recognize that for many of our students, the first day of school also comes with a fear of being unsafe, both physically and emotionally. We also recognize that many of our students and families fear that their language, their skin color, their race, and their mere presence might make them a target and their families a target. To recognize this is to recognize the humanity of us all. We know that racism and race motivated violence directly impacts the communities we serve. We are well within the scope of our responsibilities as educators to address these issues.
We are committed to partnering with all members of our school communities ensuring safe, healthy spaces that affirm the identity of each and every student, leveraging the assets they bring. We do this in service of safe, healthy, affirming spaces for all students to learn—safe, healthy, affirming spaces for all staff to work and safe, healthy, affirming spaces for all community members to visit.
To our all our student communities and families, we welcome you.
Courageous School Leader 
As a parent, an educator and a community member, the Welcome Back to School letter I wish to read reflects the values of the leader writing it and the values of the institution that they lead. At a time when racism and race motivated violence are at the forefront of our minds, it’s the only letter that sincerely welcomes and truly honors the communities we serve.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trump Demands Facebook Investigate Why Obama’s Post Got So Many Likes

by Andy Borowitz from the New Yorker on 08/07/19

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Trump said that the more than eight hundred and fifty thousand likes that Obama’s post had garnered as of Tuesday night were “phony,” and called the seeming popularity of the post a “rigged hoax.”

“There is absolutely no way that eight hundred and fifty thousand people liked Obama’s post,” he said. “I know a lot of people, and absolutely none of them like Obama.”

For more click here.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

20% fewer teens work in the summer time in 2018 than in 2000.

CNBC reported that only 40% of teens, 16 - 19, held a summer job last year, 2018, which is down from 60% in 2000.


Why would the number of employed teens be down 20% over 18 years? How is Gen Z different from the millenials? Is this a good or bad thing for our society?