Elite schools are still mostly attended by wealthy people

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/08/26/elite_schools_are_still_mostly_attended_by_wealthy_people/

There has been “virtually no change” in enrollment of low-income students between 1990 and 2012

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

There are more students from low-income schools with top grades and competitive exam scores than ever, more low-income students going to college than ever, but the number of these students attending elite colleges has stagnated over the last 20 years. As reported by Richard Pérez-Peña at the New York Times, federal surveys tracking attendance at these schools found “virtually no change” in enrollment of low-income students between 1990 and 2012.

Of the nearly 90 schools ranked as “most competitive” by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, only 14 percent of enrolled students came from low-income households, according to researchers at the University of Michigan and Georgetown University. The research was conducted in 2006, and the number of these students attending elite colleges was the same as it was in 1982.

“Higher education has become a powerful force for reinforcing advantage and passing it on through generations,” Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, told the Times.

There are different reasons for the lack of economic diversity at these schools, with school officials from elite universities arguing that many low-income students simply don’t apply to their schools. But even as some schools are doing more to remove cost barriers to attendance, critics contend that these schools aren’t doing enough to recruit talent among these students. “It’s not clear to me that universities are hungry for that,” Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who studies college diversity, told the Times. “What happens if low-income students start calling the bluff of selective universities, and do start applying in much larger numbers? Will the doors be open?”

One way to solve the lack of diversity at these colleges, according to the Times, is face-to-face recruitment. “You can make big statements about being accessible, and have need-blind admissions and really low net prices for low-income kids, but still enroll very few of those low-income kids, by doing minimal outreach,” said Vassar College president Catharine Bond Hill. “There has to be a commitment to go out and find them.”

And once these schools go out and find these students, they have to help them navigate the complex web of financial aid and reduced tuitions offered, work that can be hard to do without someone walking you through it. “If you come from a family and a neighborhood where no one has gone to a fancy college, you have no way of knowing that’s even a possibility,” Anthony W. Marx, president of the New York Public Library, and a former president of Amherst, told the Times. “And if you go on their website, the first thing you’re going to look for is the sticker price. End of conversation.”

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Climate Shocker: Warming Oceans Create Great Plumes of Methane Bubbles Near Atlantic Coast

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/environment/warming-oceans-create-bubbles-methane-gas

The bubbles could add some 90 tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Cliff Weathers
August 27, 2014

Streams of methane bubbles are percolating along the Atlantic coast between North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

According to the journal Nature, surges of bubbles are flowing from hundreds of ocean-floor leaks. Researchers say the plumes likely contain methane and could add as much as 90 tons of methane—a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide — to the atmosphere each year. The methane bubbles may also hasten ocean acidification.

In the Geoscience newsletter published by Nature, researchers say that some two-thirds of the methane emissions come from methane-rich ices deep in the ocean that may be decomposing due to warming waters along the ocean floor. What effect these emissions will have on the atmosphere or the chemical makeup of the ocean is not immediately clear, but scientists are concerned.

The bubbles first came into view on sonar scans of the ocean floor during oceanographic expeditions between 2011 and 2013. The expeditions ranged from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina to Georges Bank off Cape Cod and covered more than 36,000 square miles, an area about the size of Indiana. The scanned area includes the margin of the continental shelf and the sloping areas seaward and to the east.

Within a distance of about 590 miles, researchers found some 570 bubble plumes, which is considered to be an extraordinary amount. Previously, researchers studying the area had only detected an incidental number of bubble plumes. While some of the plumes extended far from the ocean floor, most of the bubbles dissolved into the water before they could reach the water’s surface.

The next step for the oceanographic researchers is to collect samples of the bubbles, says Carolyn Ruppel, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey at the Woods Hole, Massachusetts field center and a co-author of the study.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/environment/warming-oceans-create-bubbles-methane-gas

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The Trans vs. Radical Feminist Twitter War Is Making Me Sick

From Vice Magazine: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/paris-lees-terf-war-twitter-radical-feminists-088

By Paris Lees

Unless you’re a fucking loser, you probably haven’t been following the ongoing “war” between a few transgender activists and some so-called radical feminists. They’ve done their best to suck me into their collective madness recently, but I’m not playing ball. Let me fill you in. First up we have TERFs, short for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”. Basically, they’re full-on internet weirdos hell-bent on telling trans women that we’re not “real” women. They want to stop us using female loos, going to shitty music festivals and, erm, accessing healthcare. I know, right? Throw a few obsessive trans folk into the mix, and a handful of privileged white feminists with nothing better to talk about and, well, you’ve got yourself the perfect pointless shitstorm.

You’re all insane. And you’re all behaving like arseholes. I’m sick of the lot of you. It’s gone past the point of who I “agree” with – though of course that’s trans people and their right to get on with their lives without hassle – but this isn’t about rational debate any more, it’s about an over-educated and time-rich bunch of narcissists on both sides who are completely and utterly addicted to a never-ending slanging match about absolutely nothing. That’s right. You are talking about nothing. Absolutely. Nothing. I can’t even tell you how disgusted I am to have waded into this “debate” just to tell you that you are talking about nothing because it means that I am also talking about nothing. I am talking about you talking about nothing.

Take the “debate” around the word “cis”. It’s Latin for “not trans”. So far, so neutral. Well, a group of bloggers known as “Mean Girl feminists” (although they’re nowhere near as cool as that name would suggest) hate the word “cis”. The Meanies desperately wanted to be the popular girls at school but everyone else thought they were saddos, so now they’re taking it out on any trans peeps that want to join their woman gang. They objected to the term cis from the start because they basically refuse to see themselves as anything other than transparently “normal” – as I’m sure some people hated being told they were “heterosexual” when the gay rights movement made clear that being “straight” was just another sexual orientation.

But well done to you, too, angry trans people. Well done for the “die cis scum” hashtag and all the rest of it that has given Meanies ample excuse to now claim that “cis” is a slur. Good work.

Meanies – if you don’t like the word “cis”, can you just fucking pick another one, please? Literally just make one up. Like “kokadillo”. Or “flumbledumpling”. I don’t know, maybe they can do a call-in for suggestions on Woman’s Hour or something. Because it really would be useful to have a word to describe people, like you, who don’t experience extreme dysphoria in relation to their body sex. Of course, maybe it’s not the word “cis” that you object to at all, but the idea. Maybe you don’t believe in the word because you don’t really buy into all this trans business either? Who knows.

The TERFs and the Meanies call themselves “gender critical” but they’re not, not really. They aren’t obsessed with David Beckham, or Katie Price, or the billions of other people who aren’t trans who perpetuate gender every day. Just trans people, who they can pick on. “Gender critical feminism” is a special form of bigotry paraded as legitimate concern, a modern twist on “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. All they want to do is talk, but they have nothing new to say. And I don’t buy into their “all discussion is important” crap either. Most people talk a load of old shite. It’s like the “discussions” about immigration that are used by bigots as an excuse to express their hatred of foreigners. It’s just ugly prejudice dressed up as fancy debate.

Behind this façade of valid discussion hides a bunch of overgrown school bullies pointing at people who are different and demanding they explain that difference. Asking someone why they are trans is no better than asking them, “Why are you so fat?” Gia Milonovich is the girl in the playground shouting “You’re not pretty like us!” but who never gets into trouble because she’s banging the head of science, Mr Cox. She’ll tell you what being trans is all about. Me, sir! Me! I know the answer! I’ve read the next chapter!

Continue reading at:  http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/paris-lees-terf-war-twitter-radical-feminists-088

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