The Washington Post
Effort to create 'green' jobs lags
By Carol D. Leonnig; Steven Mufson
September 15, 2011
A $38.6 billion loan guarantee program that the Obama administration promised would create or save 65,000 jobs has created just a few thousand jobs two years after it began, government records show.
The program - designed to jump-start the nation's clean technology industry by giving energy companies access to low-cost, government-backed loans - has directly created 3,545 new, permanent jobs after giving out almost half the allocated amount, according to Energy Department tallies.
President Obama has made "green jobs" a showcase of his recovery plan, vowing to foster new jobs, new technologies and more competitive American industries. But the loan guarantee program came under scrutiny Wednesday from Republicans and Democrats at a House oversight committee hearing about the collapse of Solyndra, a solar-panel maker whose closure could leave taxpayers on the hook for as much as $527 million.
... In addition to guaranteeing loans for renewable-energy projects, the Energy Department has been meting out grants from a separate, less-controversial $33.7 billion appropriation it received as part of the 2009 economic stimulus bill. So far, the department has given out $18.1 billion from that fund, ranging from $44,295 to a Swarthmore College science program to about $1.5 billion to clean up waste at the government's Savannah River nuclear site. Hundreds of millions have gone to companies trying to figure out cheaper ways to capture carbon dioxide from coal plants, a priority for coal-state lawmakers.
Kurdish journalist Ayub Nuri is 2011 PEN Canada Lecturer-in-Residence at George Brown College
September 14, 2011
Toronto - The Iraqi journalist Ayub Nuri has been chosen as the 2011/12 Lecturer-in-Residence at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at George Brown College.
A native of Halabja in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, and fluent in four languages, Nuri became a fixer for New York Times, BBC and Channel 4 UK film crews in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion. From 2005-2009 he worked as a journalist and columnist for two leading independent Kurdish newspapers, and as a reporter for European and American radio and television. Nuri also helped Human Rights Watch research and compile reports on the use of torture in Iraqi prisons.
Nuri holds a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and has taught at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Iraq. From 2007-08 he was a Journalist-in- Residence at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania and supervised the War News Radio project which broadcast a weekly report on Afghanistan and Iraq to 55 US radio stations.
International Business Times News
U.S. News 2012 College Rankings: Harvard on Top, But Lots of Changes Below
September 13, 2011
U.S. News and World Report's newly released 2012 college rankings look a little like the baseball standings: a few institutions are on top every year, but the field is constantly shifting.
Drawn from statistical questionnaires completed by the schools (the methodology is questioned by some), the rankings include some familiar names while some previously lesser-known schools slowly ascend the rankings. Harvard, Yale and Princeton maintained their grip on the top three spots for best national universities, while Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore represented the best national liberal arts college triumvirate.
...Other schools lost their footing: eminent public schools like the University of Virginia, University of California Berkeley (and Los Angeles as well) and North Carolina State University continued their slide. Cornell University fell out of the top 10 universities, while mainstays Wesleyan and Smith no longer make the top 10 liberal arts schools.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Fish fossil sheds light on 'Euramerica' phase
By Tom Avril; Inquirer Staff Writer
September 12, 2011
It was a lumbering, wide-headed creature with tiny, close-set eyes, and it likely had to wait on a stream bottom for its prey to swim within reach. But when that happened, watch out! One powerful chomp, with fangs up to one-and-a-half inches long. . .
Rest assured that this scenario comes from the distant past - 375 million years ago, more or less - but a team of scientists from Philadelphia, Harvard, and Chicago breathed new life into it late last week.
They announced the discovery of this six-foot-long prehistoric predator found in a harsh rockscape 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Dubbed Laccognathus embryi, it was among various kinds of fish that had developed bony, muscular "lobed" fins - the precursors of limbs.
The team included paleontologists Jason P. Downs and Ted Daeschler from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, along with Harvard's Farish A. Jenkins Jr. and the University of Chicago's Neil Shubin, who have been studying these kinds of creatures for years.
Daeschler, Jenkins, and Shubin are best known for their 2006 discovery of another ancient fish, Tiktaalik roseae, which had a very unfishlike neck and limb-like fins that may have allowed it to creep onto land for brief periods.
Laccognathus, the "new" fish, is a more primitive beast, though it lived at the same time. It is a distant cousin of humans, not a direct ancestor. Yet already it is helping to provide a richer picture of a time when Europe and North America were fused together.
Previously, close cousins of this fish had been found in Latvia and Russia, so the new find provides further confirmation that there was once a "Euramerican" landmass, said Richard Cloutier, a biology professor at the University of Quebec at Rimouski.
...The best specimen is a nearly complete skull, found in 2004, which enabled the team to see how many of their previously discovered fragments fit together.
...Though Laccognathus is not an ancestor of humans, it is more closely related to us than to modern "ray-finned" fish, said Daeschler and Downs, who is also a visiting professor of biology at Swarthmore College.
During a tour of his lab, Daeschler held up various fossilized fish bones to his body, showing how shoulder, jaw, and other body parts corresponded to their human equivalents.
Yet the Laccognathus jaw has one curious feature that humans lack - small "pits" or openings that apparently allowed the creature to sense water pressure or vibration. (Laccognathus means "pitted jaw," whereas the second part of the name, embryi, comes from the surname of a Canadian geologist.) ...
The Globe and Mail (CA)
The perils of praise;
Too many compliments are not constructive, child experts say. But do you dare tell your kid he's average?
By Erin Anderssen
September 9. 2011
On an Ottawa soccer field in late June, Lothar Wulf was watching his son's competitive team lose badly. With few exceptions, they weren't exactly hustling. On the sidelines, the parents tried to be encouraging. "Good try," a few shouted when yet another scoring opportunity passed by. Finally, Mr. Wulf threw up his hands: Enough with the "nice tries," he said. Why can't parents be more honest with their kids? Better to be realistic and tell them: "Try harder."
...But are all these compliments constructive? And do they really make kids happy?
...For one thing, some students count on their parents to bail them out, says one Ottawa high-school teacher. "You know that if you give them a bad mark - but a fair mark - mom or dad will be phoning the school." Or, the teacher says, "I see kids that can't take any constructive criticism, they just fall apart. They're so fragile."
It's better to learn how to handle stumbling blocks and independence in Grade 9, she argues. "You don't want to be the 30-year-old guy whose mom is coming in to defend you after you've had a bad performance review."
...Children, he says, need to see their struggles with times tables as a learning moment rather than a statement about who they are - something parents and teachers can foster by focusing on effort and solutions as opposed to achievement.
Shallow praise has been a disaster to self-esteem - and success - says Barry Schwartz, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Kids sheltered from failure or disappointment don't learn independence.
"It's a delicate balance, between being honest and discouraging, and dishonest and unrealistically encouraging," he says. "There's no recipe to follow." Parents want kids to have high expectations, he says, but what's the point if they aren't strong enough to get up again when they don't meet them?
Perseverance has been shown to be a better predictor of success than test scores and IQ, Prof. Schwartz says. In the end, there's something essential to be learned from a C on a report card or a loss on the soccer pitch: Life goes on. ...
Union Sign Midfielder Morgan Langley
September 15, 2011
The Philadelphia Union have signed midfielder Morgan Langley from the club's USL-Pro affiliate, the Harrisburg City Islanders according to a press release. The 22-year-old graduated from Swarthmore College, where he led the school with 14 goals and 14 assists during his senior season, setting a program single-season record with 42 points.
The Hawaiian-born Langley was named Centennial Conference Player of the Year last year, finishing top 10 nationally in assists, assists per game, and points per game.
During his first season with Harrisburg, the midfielder appeared in 20 games, tallying his first two professional goals. The midfielder's last tally of the season helped the Islanders claim the season series against the Dayton Dutch Lions in stoppage time on July 27.
The Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
College Sports Roundup
Daily Times Staff
September 11, 2011
Swarthmore 2, Marywood 1
The Garnet got goals from sophomore Aly Passanante and freshman Emma Sindelar and goalie Marie Mutryn was strong in goal as Swarthmore won its second straight game.
The Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Daily Times Staff
September 11, 2011
Swarthmore 1, Scranton 0
The Garnet hit the road and senior Emily Coleman's goal in the 97th minute made the return trip from Scranton a pleasant one. Goalie Marie Mutryn stopped seven shots to give Swarthmore (3-2) its first win over Scranton (3-1) in eight games.