Brown CS Department Hiring Student Diversity, Inclusion Advocates

theodp writes: Brown University’s Department of Computer Science is seeking to hire student advocates for diversity and inclusion as part of its new action plan to increase diversity. The new hires, who will also serve as members of the CS Diversity Committee, will support students, plan inclusion activities, and educate TAs on issues of diversity. Also on the diversity front, Brown touted last weekend’s Hack@Brown, the school’s annual student hackathon, as being “unlike any other hackathon” — welcoming, inclusive, and inviting to students of all experience levels.” A cynic might point out that Hack@Brown’s tech giant sponsors boast track records that are quite the opposite. By the way, Brown@Hackathon certainly upped the ante on conference Codes of Conduct, warning that those anonymously-charged with making others feel uncomfortable on the basis of “gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof)” will be “expelled from the event without travel reimbursement at the discretion of the event organizers.” Brown explained that travel reimbursements were provided to promote “economic diversity”, ensuring that students who couldn’t otherwise afford to get to and from Providence could attend the Ivy League event. Hey, what “economically diverse” kid wouldn’t want to go to a conference where rubbing someone the wrong way could leave them stranded in Rhode Island!

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Girls around the globe reclaim love with the campaign #MyTrueLove

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This Valentine’s Day, let’s answer the only inquiry that really matters: What’s your true love?

It’s a question children’s rights organization Plan International recently asked young girls around the globe to help reframe the conversation around Valentine’s Day. The girls — and their true loves — are featured in a new hashtag campaign by the organization called #MyTrueLove.

The campaign is a radical shift from the usual buzz around Valentine’s Day, giving the girls featured the chance to define love for themselves. That right, too often, is an opportunity not afforded to women and girls in any global context. Read more…

More about Women, Girls, Social Good, Valentine S Day, and Non Profits

Girls around the globe reclaim love with the campaign #MyTrueLove

Mytruelove-is-my-life-header

Feed-twFeed-fb

This Valentine’s Day, let’s answer the only inquiry that really matters: What’s your true love?

It’s a question children’s rights organization Plan International recently asked young girls around the globe to help reframe the conversation around Valentine’s Day. The girls — and their true loves — are featured in a new hashtag campaign by the organization called #MyTrueLove.

The campaign is a radical shift from the usual buzz around Valentine’s Day, giving the girls featured the chance to define love for themselves. That right, too often, is an opportunity not afforded to women and girls in any global context. Read more…

More about Women, Girls, Social Good, Valentine S Day, and Non Profits

Seeing Beyond The Hubris Of Facebook’s Free Basics Fiasco

Facebook Everywhere What Zuckerberg and his U.S. team didn’t understand was that in India you can buy computer tablets and smartphones for as little as $50, and that 100MB of data—which is more than a Free Basics user will consume in a month—costs much less than a dollar. Read More

Kanye West, Death Cab for Cutie mashup is a masterpiece, if you can find it

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Between Kanye West’s multiple Twitter rants, fashion shows doubling as album release parties and supposed beef with Taylor Swift (and that’s all just last week), you may have missed one of the most epic music mashups ever: Death Cab for Cutie meets Kanye

Dubbed Death Cab for Yeezy, the mashup appeared on Reddit just one day before Kanye’s own album release party on Thursday and immediately won approval from pretty much anyone who managed to listen to it

That approval even extended to Death Cab for Cutie itself, with the band tweeting a link to the mashup soon after its release Read more…

More about Reddit, Music, Mashups, Kanye West, and Death Cab For Cutie

How Maine’s members of Congress voted

WASHINGTON — Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act (H.R. 2360), to improve the approval of certain Department of Veterans Affairs educational assistance programs; passed the American Heroes COLA Act (H.R. 677), to provide for annual cost-of-living adjustments in rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the veterans’ survivors; passed the Failing VA Medical Center Recovery Act (H.R. 3234), to establish within the VA an Office of Failing Medical Center Recovery; and passed the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 2915), to identify VA mental health care and suicide prevention programs for treating women veterans.

The Senate also passed the Directing Dollars to Disaster Relief Act (S. 2109), to direct the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop an integrated plan to reduce administrative costs; passed a resolution (S. Res. 99), calling on Iran to deliver on its repeated promises of assistance in the case of Robert Levinson, a U.S. citizen missing in Iran since 2007; and passed the Judicial Redress Act (H.R. 1428), to extend Privacy Act legal remedies to citizens of certified countries.

HOUSE VOTES

House Vote 1

WORLD TRADE CENTER MEMORIAL: The House has passed the National 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Act (H.R. 3036), sponsored by Rep. Thomas MacArthur, R-N.J. The bill would designate the September 11 memorial in New York City as a national memorial, and direct the Interior Department to provide up to $25 million of annual funding to operate and maintain the memorial. MacArthur said that while private donors have thus far sustained the memorial, “now it is our solemn duty, I believe, to honor the fallen and to protect the living” by having the federal government operate the memorial. The vote, on Feb. 9, was 387 yeas to 12 nays.

YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District; Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

House Vote 2

UNSAFE DRINKING WATER NOTIFICATIONS: The House has passed the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act (H.R. 4470), sponsored by Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, D-Mich. The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan for communicating with local governments, utilities, and the general public when there are dangerously high levels of lead in municipal drinking water supplies. Kildee said the requirement sought to avoid a recurrence of the water supply crisis in Flint, Mich., by giving the public in other cities notice of any similar future problems as they develop rather than after the fact. The vote, on Feb. 10, was 416 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 3

REVIEWING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH GRANTS: The House has passed the Scientific Research in the National Interest Act (H.R. 3293), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The bill would require the National Science Foundation to provide a written justification showing that any grants it issues to fund scientific research meet criteria for determining that the research is in the national interest. Smith cited several examples of projects of dubious merit being funded by the foundation, and said such funding meant less money to support worthwhile scientific research on an array of technologies that promise to improve public health and boost the economy. A bill opponent, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, called its justification requirement part of “a relentless and pernicious campaign against research grants with silly or odd sounding titles” that has failed to find evidence that grants are being awarded for frivolous research. The vote, on Feb. 10, was 236 yeas to 178 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 4

PAYMENTS ON THE FEDERAL DEBT: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., to the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442). The amendment would require the Treasury Department to notify Congress of its ability to make payments on only the principal and interest on the national debt in the event that the government reaches its debt limit. Duffy said that by clarifying the government’s ability to prioritize debt payments over other types of spending, the amendment would reassure creditors that America will not default on its debt. An opponent, Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said the amendment was misleading because the Treasury in fact would not be able to prioritize between different types of payments if the debt limit were reached, resulting in an immediate debt default. The vote, on Feb. 11, was 240 yeas to 176 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 5

REPORTS ON FEDERAL DEBT LEVELS: The House has passed the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442), sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas. The bill would require the Treasury Department to provide reports to Congress and the public detailing the federal government’s historic, current, and projected future debt levels, as well as information about when the debt will reach its statutory limit. Marchant said the reports would provide early and accurate information about the debt and debt limit, creating a budgeting process “that is more transparent, accountable, and timely.” A bill opponent, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., said the bill should have required the reports to “focus on the dire consequences of default,” including damage to the economy, veterans, and health care, but instead the bill sought to divert attention away from Republican inability to take responsible action on the debt by blaming the Obama administration. The vote, on Feb. 11, was 267 yeas to 151 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

Senate Vote 1

IOWA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger to serve as a U.S. District Judge on Iowa’s southern district court. A supporter, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, praised Ebinger for her experience as a special assistant U.S. attorney in Iowa, appeals court clerk, and district judge on Iowa’s state court. Grassley called Ebinger “a highly qualified, well-respected judge.” The vote, on Feb. 8, was unanimous with 83 yeas.

YEAS: Susan Collins R-Maine; Angus King I-Maine

Senate Vote 2

SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA: The Senate has passed the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 757), sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif. The bill would require the president and his administration to apply sanctions against groups that provide forbidden aid and goods to North Korea, and report to Congress on U.S. efforts to use mass media to topple North Korea’s government and on North Korea’s cyberterrorism efforts. A supporter, Sen. Benjamin A. Cardin, D-Md., said the bill sent the message “that we will not tolerate North Korea’s proliferation of weaponry, its intimidation of its neighbors, its human rights violations, and that we will use the strongest possible measures to ensure that we contain that type of nefarious conduct.” The vote, on Feb. 10, was unanimous with 96 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, King

Senate Vote 3

FINALIZING TRADE BILL: The Senate has agreed to the conference report with the House for the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (H.R. 644), sponsored by Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y. The bill would promote fast-track consideration of trade agreements with Asian countries, automate the processing of certain trade documents by the Customs and Border Protection agency, and establish processes for investigating whether foreign countries are directly or indirectly manipulating their currency to subsidize their exports. A supporter, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the currency provision would strengthen U.S. companies by stopping importers from undercutting their prices, and called the bill “a tougher approach to enforcing trade laws that start moving our nation to a policy that I call getting trade done right.” A bill opponent, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., criticized a provision that repeals state and local taxes on Internet access for violating the principle of state control over tax policy. The vote, on Feb. 11, was 75 yeas to 20 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

Senate Vote 4

SECOND IOWA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Leonard Terry Strand to serve as a U.S. District Judge on Iowa’s northern district court. A supporter, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, cited Strand’s 25 years of experience as a prominent and acclaimed private practice lawyer and recent experience as a magistrate judge for the northern district court in calling Strand a very well-qualified nominee. The vote, on Feb. 11, was unanimous with 93 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, King

Intro to Permaculture

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Location: Cobscook Community Learning Center, 10 Commissary Point Rd, Trescott, Maine For more information: 207-733-2233; cclc.me/articles/55-643/introduction-to-permaculture-design/4 Join us for a free talk and discussion with Paula Kovecses of The Way It Grows, followed by a potluck lunch. Bring food to share! …

A New Technique Makes GPS Accurate To An Inch

A team from the University of California, Riverside, has developed a technique that augments the regular GPS data with on-board inertial measurements from a sensor. Actually, that’s been tried before, but in the past it’s required large computers to combine the two data streams, rendering it ineffective for use in cars or mobile devices. Instead what the University of California team has done is create a set of new algorithms which, it claims, reduce the complexity of the calculation by several order of magnitude. In turn, that allows GPS systems in a mobile device to calculate position with an accuracy of just an inch.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.