Motherboard: “…In the so-called “post-truth era,” science seems like one of the last bastions of objective knowledge, but what if science itself were to succumb to fake news? Over the past year, German journalist Svea Eckert and a small team of journalists went undercover to investigate a massive underground network of fake science journals and conferences. In the course of the investigation, which was chronicled in the documentary “Inside the Fake Science Factory,” the team analyzed over 175,000 articles published in predatory journals and found hundreds of papers from academics at leading institutions, as well as substantial amounts of research pushed by pharmaceutical corporations, tobacco companies, and others. Last year, one fake science institution run by a Turkish family was estimated to have earned over $4 million in revenue through conferences and journals…”
In an 11-page letter, an ex-Vatican diplomat calls for Pope Francis to resign, alleging he knew about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuses for years.
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Gates Notes: The Blog of Bill Gates – “The portion of the world’s economy that doesn’t fit the old model just keeps getting larger. That has major implications for everything from tax law to economic policy to which cities thrive and which cities fall behind, but in general, the rules that govern the economy haven’t kept up. This is one of the biggest trends in the global economy that isn’t getting enough attention…the brilliant new book Capitalism Without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is about as good an explanation as I’ve seen. They start by defining intangible assets as “something you can’t touch.” It sounds obvious, but it’s an important distinction because intangible industries work differently than tangible industries. Products you can’t touch have a very different set of dynamics in terms of competition and risk and how you value the companies that make them…
“…What the book reinforced for me is that lawmakers need to adjust their economic policymaking to reflect these new realities. For example, the tools many countries use to measure intangible assets are behind the times, so they’re getting an incomplete picture of the economy. The U.S. didn’t include software in GDP calculations until 1999. Even today, GDP doesn’t count investment in things like market research, branding, and training—intangible assets that companies are spending huge amounts of money on. Measurement isn’t the only area where we’re falling behind—there are a number of big questions that lots of countries should be debating right now. Are trademark and patent laws too strict or too generous? Does competition policy need to be updated? How, if at all, should taxation policies change? What is the best way to stimulate an economy in a world where capitalism happens without the capital? We need really smart thinkers and brilliant economists digging into all of these questions. Capitalism Without Capital is the first book I’ve seen that tackles them in depth, and I think it should be required reading for policymakers. It took time for the investment world to embrace companies built on intangible assets. In the early days of Microsoft, I felt like I was explaining something completely foreign to people. Our business plan involved a different way of looking at assets than investors were used to. They couldn’t imagine what returns we would generate over the long term…” [h/t Darlene Fichter]
Esquire: “For eons, the earth has had the same amount of water—no more, no less. What the ancient Romans used for crops and Nefertiti drank? It’s the same stuff we bathe with. Yet with more than seven billion people on the planet, experts now worry we’re running out of usable water. The symptoms are here: multiyear droughts, large-scale crop failures, a major city—Cape Town—on the verge of going dry, increasing outbreaks of violence, fears of full-scale water wars. The big question: How do we keep the H20 flowing?…”
Water cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be damaged. When Peter Gleick says we’ll never run out, he means that at some point, millions of years ago, there was all the water there is, a result of the law of the conservation of matter. Having evaporated from lakes and rivers and oceans and returned as snow and rain, the water we consume has been through innumerable uses. Dinosaurs drank it. The Caesars did, too. It’s been places, and consorted with things, that you might not care to think about. In theory, there’s enough freshwater in the world for everyone, but like oil or diamonds or any other valuable resource, it is not dispersed democratically. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Indonesia, and Russia have an abundance—about 40 percent of all there is. America has a decent amount. India and China, meanwhile, have a third of the world’s people and less than a tenth of its freshwater. It is predicted that in twelve years the demand for water in India will be twice the amount on hand. Beijing draws water from an aquifer beneath the city. From being used faster than rain can replenish it, the aquifer has dropped several hundreds of feet in the last forty years, and in places the city is sinking four inches every year…”
Literary Hub, MH Rowe: “Of all the things you can read on the internet, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is one of the only good ones. In perpetual conversation with itself, ever growing and expanding—perhaps threatening, in its accumulated obsessions, to become self-aware—this index of the fantastic documents possible pasts and futures alike. It bristles with Tarzan arcana and the history of Croatian science fiction. It features enthusiastic discussions of Medieval futurism, feminism, bug-eyed monsters, dream hacking, and Leonardo da Vinci. Almost any sci-fi author you care to mention has an entry there, alongside accounts of many authors no one cares to mention at all. That you could be reading it right now goes without saying, since in some alternate universe you surely are.
While the SFE’s purview is “science fiction” broadly conceived, its articles have warring impulses. On the one hand, they aim to educate. Within these pages, you’ll find explanations of numerous literary tropes, both those well-known (the generation starship used in many tales of space exploration) and those more obscure (a jonbar point, or the small, seemingly insignificant moment that proves to be the difference between two alternate histories, in time-travel stories). But when the entry on Gene Wolfe declares that he is “quite possibly” science fiction’s most important writer, no shy excuse for this partiality follows. More than informative, this encyclopedia enthuses, anoints, or dismisses. What it has to say about Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, and J.G. Ballard is aimed squarely at canons and reputations. The SFE quarrels its way into being encyclopedic…”
The Hill: “A federal judge on Saturday [August 25, 2018] struck down several key provisions in President Trump‘s executive orders that he signed earlier this year that would have made it easier to fire federal workers. In a court ruling, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that unions were right in arguing that the provisions included in the orders infringed upon areas that are negotiated between federal employee unions and the government. Jackson, an appointee of former President Obama, wrote that the orders “impair the ability of agency officials to keep an open mind, and to participate fully in give-and-take discussions, during collective bargaining negotiations.” The Trump administration issued the orders in May, saying the rules changes were aimed at saving taxpayers around $100 million per year. The White House pointed to instances of misconduct committed by federal employees as reasoning for the rule change, which encouraged agencies to fire poor-performing employees instead of first suspending them. It also cut the amount of time low-performing workers were given to improve. “Tenured Federal employees have stolen agency property, run personal businesses from work, and been arrested for using drugs during lunch breaks and not been fired,” the White House said in a statement at the time. “To empower our civil servants to best help others, the government must always operate more efficiently and more securely,” Trump added in a statement included in the release.
Sharon Block, a former senior Labor Department official and National Labor Relations Board member under the Obama administration, told The New York Times that Saturday’s ruling was a “stinging rebuke” of the Trump administration…”From the text of the opinion… See Exec. Order No. 13,836, 83 Fed. Reg. 25329 (May 25, 2018); Exec. Order No. 13,837, 83 Fed. Reg. 25335 (May 25, 2018); Exec. Order No. 13,839, 83 Fed. Reg. 25343 (May 25, 2018) (collectively, “the Orders”). Among other things, these Orders seek to regulate both the collective bargaining negotiations that federal agencies enter into with public-sector unions andthe matters that these parties negotiate. The Orders place limits on the activities that federal employees may engage in when acting as labor representatives; guide agencies toward particular negotiating positions during the collective bargaining process; and address the approaches agencies shall follow when disciplining or evaluating employees working within the civil service…”
Congressional leaders called it a "rare honor" for the Arizona Senator, who died Saturday. Fewer than three dozen people have received this honor, reserved for the nation's "most eminent citizens."
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The shooting happened at The Jacksonville Landing, a shopping mall and live entertainment space in downtown. No other information was immediately available.
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After six days, Matteo Salvini announced Saturday he would allow migrants off a ship docked in Sicily. He is now under investigation for his role in the migrants' detention.
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The writer behind hits like The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park, known for his zany characters and comic dialogue, won over two dozen nominations for Tonys, Emmys and Oscars.
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Groups supporting and opposing the presence of a statue of a Confederate soldier gathered again on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Jorge Odon became a world celebrity — and the subject of a 'Jeopardy' question even — with his invention. But it hasn't made it to market yet. What's the timeline?
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For over four months, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has responded forcefully to nationwide protests. As many as 23,000 are seeking refuge next door.
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The spread of air conditioning may have kept some people from dying in this summer's extreme heat. But studies project more heat-related illnesses as the climate warms.
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"The people whom I serve believe that the means by which I came to office corrupt me. That shames me," the senator said in 1999
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