US Computer Sci. Students Now 'Outsourcing' Homework

I thought this was a greatly ironic, (if somewhat amoral) idea and it shows the real 'magic of the marketplace' as RR put it. In so many ways.

Evidently, the more effluent US computer science students are contracting with other CS students and even professional programmers in other countries (where the costs of labor are lower) to do their homework assignments for them. Since class sizes are high and instructors don;t get to know individual students work styples, this cheating strategy carries little if any risk of discovery, and it offers a sort of ironic twist on the offshoring and outsourcing of US jobs overseas.

Check this story out.. its at

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113754697326149204-NKFrIswaO84O8r41rKK3Y9RKYVg_20070117.html? mod=blogs

with an interesting commentary at

http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/19/0026203

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Now, if we could only shop around for the best deal, politician wise..  laugh without having to move our physical locations..

I wonder if there might be some kind of way to do that?

New 'Dirty Bomb' standards could mean 1 in 4 living in radiation zones for 30 years could get cancer

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/03/national/nationalspecial3/03cnd-nuke.html

Read and weep! Isn't this what Margaret Atwood was talking about in "The Handmaid's Tale" ? Radiation like this would cause huge decreases in fertility and genetic mutation..  Look at what has happened in Russia in the 'nuclear cities' - its not some kind of theory.. we know it.. its established fact.

Wouldn't it make more sense to stop being so hyperaggressive so we were less of an attractive target for terrorists, even if it meant the US wasn't the global military power it is? The right keeps saying that the terrorists hate us because we are democratic, but I think the real reasons are much more complicated.

We could start by being less aggressively punitive and vindictive.. And being more honest to our own people about our own history..

Lets not start wars as distractions, either.. We can't afford the costs that dirty bombs would bring.. in human terms, to our cities..

---quotes below----

"The Homeland Security Department, preparing for an attack by terrorists who would spread radioactive material, advised government officials on Tuesday that they should consider permitting people to re-occupy contaminated land and buildings even if they would be exposed to radiation at a level double what nuclear plant workers can legally receive.
S
The department published a document that stressed trying to balance the health risk of radiation exposure with minimizing the disruption that a "dirty bomb" would cause.

If there is a delay in reoccupying areas evacuated because of contamination, "the disruption and harm caused by the incident could be inadvertently and unnecessarily increased," the department advised. "Failure to restore important services rapidly could result in additional adverse public health and welfare impacts that could be more significant than the direct radiological impacts."

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"The document issued Tuesday lists a variety of factors, including the cost of cleanup. Mr. Hirsch and a second antinuclear group, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, said that the 10 rem figure would produce cancer or leukemia in one person in four who was exposed to that amount annually for a total of 30 years. The two groups called the advice "a nuclear Katrina in the making."

The department characterized its advice as a draft, because, it said, it would take public comment until March 6, but the advice takes effect immediately."

Its a CRIME to 'rebuild IRAQ' while America's future is disintegrating

Its clear that the right has some kind of disease that makes them blind to common sense.. or worse..

How can they cut taxes for the rich while borrowing money from China .

How can they cut education while building schools in Iraq? Iraq is a diversion.. So we wont realize that as jobs disappear, they wont ever come back.

We need to MASSIVELY fund education for this nation's people. And accept that technology will still eliminate most low paid jobs within 20 years. (So many will have to retire earlier, not later)

Given these inescapable realities, the GOPs lack of an economic priority on building AMERICAS future is INSANITY.. this is insanity..

My nomination for the disease that the Republicans  have is "narcissistic personality disorder" Look it up.

Does GOP Leadership Have Disease? : Narcissistic Personality Disorder

It certainly does look that way. And its important to point out that narcissists are DELUSIONAL. They have been shown to make WRONG decisions because of their disease.

For example, narcissists love 'big ideas' and hate 'boring, routine things'. This is why they make terrible parents. And terrible leaders. because they break promises like other people breathe.

Perhaps this is why they are sacrificing America's 'boring' people's future in order to pay for Iraq's reconstruction.. (while helping their friends make lots of money along the way)

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What is a personality disorder?

[from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994, commonly referred to as DSM-IV, of the American Psychiatric Association. European countries use the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization.]

An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectation of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.

A personality disorder is a pattern of deviant or abnormal behavior that the person doesn't change even though it causes emotional upsets and trouble with other people at work and in personal relationships. It is not limited to episodes of mental illness, and it is not caused by drug or alcohol use, head injury, or illness. There are about a dozen different behavior patterns classified as personality disorders by DSM-IV. All the personality disorders show up as deviations from normal in one or more of the following:
(1) cognition -- i.e., perception, thinking, and interpretation of oneself, other people, and events;
(2) affectivity -- i.e., emotional responses (range, intensity, lability, appropriateness);
(3) interpersonal functions;
(4) impulsivity.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

While grandiosity is the diagnostic hallmark of pathological narcissism, there is research evidence that pathological narcissism occurs in two forms, (a) a grandiose state of mind in young adults that can be corrected by life experiences, and (b) the stable disorder described in DSM-IV, which is defined less by grandiosity than by severely disturbed interpersonal relations.

The preferred theory seems to be that narcissism is caused by very early affective deprivation, yet the clinical material tends to describe narcissists as unwilling rather than unable, thus treating narcissistic behaviors as volitional -- that is, narcissism is termed a personality disorder, but it tends to be discussed as a character disorder. This distinction is important to prognosis and treatment possibilities. If NPD is caused by infantile damage and consequent developmental short-circuits, it probably represents an irremediable condition. On the other hand, if narcissism is a behavior pattern that's learned, then there is some hope, however tenuous, that it's a behavior pattern that can be unlearned. The clinical literature on NPD is highly theoretical, abstract, and general, with sparse case material, suggesting that clinical writers have little experience with narcissism in the flesh. There are several reasons for this to be so:
-- The incidence of NPD is estimated at 1% in the general population, though I haven't been able to discover the basis of this estimate.
-- Narcissists rarely enter treatment and, once in treatment, progress very slowly. We're talking about two or more years of frequent sessions before the narcissist can acknowledge even that the therapist is sometimes helpful. It's difficult to keep narcissists in treatment long enough for improvement to be made -- and few people, narcissists or not, have the motivation or the money to pursue treatment that produces so little so late.

-- Because of the influence of third-party payers (insurance companies), there has been a strong trend towards short-term therapy that concentrates on ameliorating acute troubles, such as depression, rather than delving into underlying chronic problems. Narcissists are very reluctant to open up and trust, so it's possible that their NPD is not even recognized by therapists in short-term treatment. Purely anecdotal evidence from correspondents and from observations of people I know indicates that selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac, aggravate narcissists' grandiosity and lack of social inhibition. It has also been suggested that self-help literature about bolstering self-esteem and getting what you want out of life or that encourages the feeling of victimization has aggravating effects on NPD thinking and behavior.
-- Most clinical writers seem unaware that narcissists' self-reports are unreliable. This is troubling, considering that lying is the most common complaint about narcissists and that, in many instances, defects of empathy lead narcissists to wildly inaccurate misinterpretations of other people's speech and actions, so that they may believe that they are liked and respected despite a history of callous and exploitative personal interactions.

[from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, 1994, commonly referred to as DSM-IV, of the American Psychiatric Association. European countries use the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization.]

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.[jma: NPD first appeared in DSM-III in 1980; before that time there had been no formal diagnostic description. Additionally, there is considerable overlap between personality disorders and clinicians tend to diagnose mixes of two or more. Grandiosity is a special case, but lack of empathy and exploitative interpersonal relations are not unique to NPD, nor is the need to be seen as special or unique. The differential diagnosis of NPD is made on the absence of specific gross behaviors. Borderline Personality Disorder has several conspicuous similarities to NPD, but BPD is characterized by self-injury and threatened or attempted suicide, whereas narcissists are rarely self-harming in this way. BPD may include psychotic breaks, and these are uncharacteristic of NPD but not unknown. The need for constant attention is also found in Histrionic Personality Disorder, but HPD and BPD are both strongly oriented towards relationships, whereas NPD is characterized by aloofness and avoidance of intimacy. Grandiosity is unique to NPD among personality disorders, but it is found in other psychiatric illnesses. Psychopaths display pathological narcissism, including grandiosity, but psychopathy is differentiated from NPD by psychopaths' willingness to use physical violence to get what they want, whereas narcissists rarely commit crimes; the narcissists I've known personally are, in fact, averse to physical contact with others, though they will occasionally strike out in an impulse of rage. It has been found that court-ordered psychotherapy for psychopaths actually increases their recidivism rate; apparently treatment teaches psychopaths new ways to exploit other people. Bipolar illness also contains strong elements of grandiosity. See more on grandiosity and empathy and its lack below.]The disorder begins by early adulthood and is indicated by at least five of the following:

Translation: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a pattern of self-centered or egotistical behavior that shows up in thinking and behavior in a lot of different situations and activities. People with NPD won't (or can't) change their behavior even when it causes problems at work or when other people complain about the way they act, or when their behavior causes a lot of emotional distress to others (or themselves? none of my narcissists ever admit to being distressed by their own behavior -- they always blame other people for any problems). This pattern of self-centered or egotistical behavior is not caused by current drug or alcohol use, head injury, acute psychotic episodes, or any other illness, but has been going on steadily at least since adolescence or early adulthood.

     NPD interferes with people's functioning in their occupations and in their relationships:
Mild impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in occasional minor problems, but the person is generally doing pretty well.
Moderate impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in: (a) missing days from work, household duties, or school, (b) significant performance problems as a wage-earner, homemaker, or student, (c) frequently avoiding or alienating friends, (d) significant risk of harming self or others (frequent suicidal preoccupation; often neglecting family, or frequently abusing others or committing criminal acts).

Severe impairment when self-centered or egotistical behavior results in: (a) staying in bed all day, (b) totally alienating all friends and family, (c) severe risk of harming self or others (failing to maintain personal hygiene; persistent danger of suicide, abuse, or crime).

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

Translation: Grandiosity is the hallmark of narcissism. So what is grandiose?

The simplest everyday way that narcissists show their exaggerated sense of self-importance is by talking about family, work, life in general as if there is nobody else in the picture. Whatever they may be doing, in their own view, they are the star, and they give the impression that they are bearing heroic responsibility for their family or department or company, that they have to take care of everything because their spouses or co-workers are undependable, uncooperative, or otherwise unfit. They ignore or denigrate the abilities and contributions of others and complain that they receive no help at all; they may inspire your sympathy or admiration for their stoicism in the face of hardship or unstinting self-sacrifice for the good of (undeserving) others. But this everyday grandiosity is an aspect of narcissism that you may never catch on to unless you visit the narcissist's home or workplace and see for yourself that others are involved and are pulling their share of the load and, more often than not, are also pulling the narcissist's share as well. An example is the older woman who told me with a sigh that she knew she hadn't been a perfect mother but she just never had any help at all -- and she said this despite knowing that I knew that she had worn out and discarded two devoted husbands and had lived in her parents' pocket (and pocketbook) as long as they lived, quickly blowing her substantial inheritance on flaky business schemes. Another example is claiming unusual benefits or spectacular results from ordinary effort and investment, giving the impression that somehow the narcissist's time and money are worth more than other people's. [Here is an article about recognizing and coping with narcissism in the workplace; it is rather heavy on management jargon and psychobabble, but worth reading. "The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability" by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D. "When the narcissistic defense is operating in an interpersonal or group setting, the grandiose part does not show its face in public. In public it presents a front of patience, congeniality, and confident reasonableness."]

In popular usage, the terms narcissism, narcissist, and narcissistic denote absurd vanity and are applied to people whose ambitions and aspirations are much grander than their evident talents. Sometimes these terms are applied to people who are simply full of themselves -- even when their real achievements are spectacular. Outstanding performers are not always modest, but they aren't grandiose if their self-assessments are realistic; e.g., Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, was notorious for boasting "I am the greatest!" and also pointing out that he was the prettiest, but he was the greatest and the prettiest for a number of years, so his self-assessments weren't grandiose. Some narcissists are flamboyantly boastful and self-aggrandizing, but many are inconspicuous in public, saving their conceit and autocratic opinions for their nearest and dearest. Common conspicuous grandiose behaviors include expecting special treatment or admiration on the basis of claiming (a) to know important, powerful or famous people or (b) to be extraordinarily intelligent or talented. As a real-life example, I used to have a neighbor who told his wife that he was the youngest person since Sir Isaac Newton to take a doctorate at Oxford. The neighbor gave no evidence of a world-class education, so I looked up Newton and found out that Newton had completed his baccalaureate at the age of twenty-two (like most people) and spent his entire academic career at Cambridge. The grandiose claims of narcissists are superficially plausible fabrications, readily punctured by a little critical consideration. The test is performance: do they deliver the goods? (There's also the special situation of a genius who's also strongly narcissistic, as perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright. Just remind yourself that the odds are that you'll meet at least 1000 narcissists for every genius you come across.) [More on grandiosity.]

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

Translation: Narcissists cultivate solipsistic or "autistic" fantasies, which is to say that they live in their own little worlds (and react with affront when reality dares to intrude).

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

Translation: Narcissists think that everyone who is not special and superior is worthless. By definition, normal, ordinary, and average aren't special and superior, and so, to narcissists, they are worthless.

4. Requires excessive admiration

Translation: Excessive in two ways: they want praise, compliments, deference, and expressions of envy all the time, and they want to be told that everything they do is better than what others can do. Sincerity is not an issue here; all that matter are frequency and volume.

5. Has a sense of entitlement

Translation: They expect automatic compliance with their wishes or especially favorable treatment, such as thinking that they should always be able to go first and that other people should stop whatever they're doing to do what the narcissists want, and may react with hurt or rage when these expectations are frustrated.

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends

Translation: Narcissists use other people to get what they want without caring about the cost to the other people.

7. Lacks empathy

Translation: They are unwilling to recognize or sympathize with other people's feelings and needs. They "tune out" when other people want to talk about their own problems.
    In clinical terms, empathy is the ability to recognize and interpret other people's emotions. Lack of empathy may take two different directions: (a) accurate interpretation of others' emotions with no concern for others' distress, which is characteristic of psychopaths; and (b) the inability to recognize and accurately interpret other people's emotions, which is the NPD style. This second form of defective empathy may (rarely) go so far as alexithymia, or no words for emotions, and is found with psychosomatic illnesses, i.e., medical conditions in which emotion is experienced somatically rather than psychically. People with personality disorders don't have the normal body-ego identification and regard their bodies only instrumentally, i.e., as tools to use to get what they want, or, in bad states, as torture chambers that inflict on them meaningless suffering. Self-described narcissists who've written to me say that they are aware that their feelings are different from other people's, mostly that they feel less, both in strength and variety (and which the narcissists interpret as evidence of their own superiority); some narcissists report "numbness" and the inability to perceive meaning in other people's emotions.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

Translation: No translation needed.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

Translation: They treat other people like dirt.

Scientists Prove Greenhouse Gases At 650,000 Year Peak!

Scientists drilling a core sample deep into the Antarctic ice pack have determined that levels of CO2 and methane are higher than they have been at any time in the last 650,000 years, using a time-tested methodology that is unassailable.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-ice25nov25,0,2141135.story?coll=la-home-headlin es

Perhaps this explains the funky weather we have been having recently?

When I was a little kid, hurricanes reached 115 mph, never 165.

Evidently, we are in uncharted territory, at least as far as human history goes..

GOP Spin Alert!: Social Programs In France "Proven Useless" (!!!)

I'm watching Karen Hughes, Ed Royce, and others on CSPAN talking about "Perception of the US in the Arab world" (Boy, do they NOT get it. To THEM, the way the rest of the world sees the US as dishonest and arrogant is basically an 'image problem'!

But buried in this fascinating exercise in damage control and finely tuned bullshit was a thread in which the wingers were trying to say that the rioters in France are a demonstration that social programs, spending money on education, health, a pension program, etc. 'don't work' (is their - the social programs, schools, old age care - ONLY goal, in these idiots eyes, to prevent desperate, fairly extremist KIDS from rioting, to BUY OFF the POOR? --- NOT improving health, preventing homelessness, curing disease, etc? Seems so! MY GOD. Where did we get these people?)
Let me repeat this.. What they are trying to say is that we shouldn't spend ANY money on government services of ANY kind, because the money is 'wasted' if people aren't uniformly grateful.. and subservient.. EVEN if they don't have any real chances in life and can't move up and out no matter how hard they try.. They are predestined to be poor, forever, for generations, because some distant relative was an immigrant! THINK ABOUT THAT...

There's more...

"Katrina Cough" now effecting those who ONLY just DRIVE THROUGH mold-stricken flood zones

I thought this was of general interest - The flooding caused by these superstorms in the effected areas is now making people sick on a massive scale, even those who only just drive through the massively mold-stricken flooded areas.

(Toxins from mold in in water damaged buildings can kill!)

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cough4nov04,0,7514027.story?coll=la-home-headli nes

" November 4, 2005     
latimes.com : National News
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THE NATION
"Katrina Cough" Floats Around
# The storm's residual mold and muck may be causing respiratory illnesses in people who have returned home.

By Scott Gold and Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writers

NEW ORLEANS -- A large number of people along the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts are developing a condition that some have dubbed "Katrina cough," believed to be linked to mold and dust circulating after Hurricane Katrina.

Health officials say they are trying to determine how widespread the problem is. There are suggestions that it is popping up regularly among people who have returned to storm-ravaged areas, particularly New Orleans.

ADVERTISEMENT
Dr. Dennis Casey, one of the few ear, nose and throat doctors seeing patients in New Orleans, called the condition "very prevalent." And Dr. Kevin Jordan, director of medical affairs at Touro Infirmary and Memorial Medical Center in downtown New Orleans, said the hospital had seen at least a 25% increase in complaints regarding sinus headaches, congestion, runny noses and sore throats since Katrina.

In most cases, Casey said, patients appear to be "allergic to the filth they are exposed to." Those allergies make the patients more susceptible to respiratory illness, including bacterial bronchitis and sinusitis.

Among the public, the condition is known alternately as "Katrina cough" and "Katrina's revenge" -- much to the consternation of physicians who feel the monikers paint a needlessly alarming portrait of the environment.

"It started out as a sore throat and scratchy eyes. That turned into a cold, and that turned into a cough again, and that's where it stayed," said Christophe Hinton, 38, who was on the way to a medical clinic Thursday to address an illness that had hung around for weeks, impervious to over-the-counter cold medicine.

Hinton, who lives in the French Quarter, drove a taxi before Katrina but now is working with a chain-saw crew, cutting up toppled trees that need to be hauled away.

"Everybody's got this thing," he said. "Everybody I know." ....

(see the URL for the rest of the article)

For a good reference on health problems caused by mold, see the book "Damp Indoor Spaces and Health" at the URL below:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309091934/html/

Urgent Need To Provide 'Mold Cleanup Work Holidays' in New Orleans, Other Flood Areas

I have been thinking a lot about the recent flooding in NOLA and elsewhere, and I'm very worried that the people there may be subjected to a very serious public health problem from stachybotrys atra - if those who are working are not given holidays off from work to spend the days or even weeks that they need to clean it off and properly dispose of the toxic debris. This is really important. Some molds produce mycotoxins that are extremely dangerous, and once produced, it gets pulverized into microscopic particles too small to identify in microscopes that go through all known air filters. However, they still are very toxic.. they kill cells..and cause cancer..

The jury is not 'still out on this' despite the media campaign to downplay the dangers of toxic mold. Its very real and it commonly ruins lives..

There IS an appropriate response to all this flooding.. But we are not pursuing it.

For more about the threat from unidentifiable (through visible analysis of spores) stachybotrys particles, see http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/1/114

Government Admits Incident That Started Vietnam War Faked

Check it out! Most journalists have known for years that the media coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was deliberately slanted to provide 'justification' for the US entry into the Vietnam War, but this is the first time that the NSA has come forward to admit that the intelligence was deliberately faked. The people involved should be commended for this *important admission. * THANK YOU!

They are doing their job, PROTECTING the PEOPLE of the US from insidious and amoral DANGERS to their SECURITY.

Even though, in this case, the danger was/is presented by the military-industrial complex that wanted the war and the huge profits wars bring.

"TRUTH MATTERS! END STATE-SPONSORED LIES"

Lets Save Florida: By Stopping Global Coal Fires Now!

Its true. Underground coal fires - some burning for over 100 years, contribute a significant amount of the CO2 that is driving global warming, increased storm ferocity, and rising sea levels. These changes will effect everyone on Earth and may drive mass extinctions of species and global pandemics.. They could endanger huge areas of the Earth - putting them under water. For example, the US could lose Florida. And parts of many other states, if sea levels keep rising. It has happened before, after meteors struck the Earth, creating planet-wide forest fires..

COAL FIRES ARE BIG... THEY CAN BE PUT OUT -

In fact, they are the most concentrated source of CO2, each a bigger factor than any single factory or city...

That is why it is essential for the developed countries to band together to PUT OUT UNDERGROUND COAL FIRES NOW..

Seriously.. This should be a no-brainer..

Diaries

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