Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Exclusive invitation to a fake academic conference: Hawaii edition

Want to go to a fake academic conference in Hawaii? You can, if you submit a paper in one of the fields listed below:

Science Topics & Focus Areas
Original contributions on topics covered under broad areas but not limited to:
• Anatomy, Biochemistry & Physiology
• Animal Sciences
• Physical Sciences
• Biological Engineering
• Biology
• Botany
• Cell and Molecular Biology
• Chemistry
• Communication Sciences and Disorders
• Complementary and Alternative Medicine
• Environmental Science
• Food Science and Human Nutrition
• Forensic Sciences
• General Biology
• Health Science
• Human and Health Services
• Information and Computer Sciences
• Mathematics
• Medical Technology
• Microbiology
• Natural Resources and Environmental
• Management
• Natural Science
• Physics and Astronomy
• Political Science
• Psychology
• The Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology
• Inter-disciplinary Areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Technology and Engineering Topics & Focus Areas
Original contributions on topics covered under broad areas but not limited to:
• Low Power VLSI Design
• 3 D Integrated Circuit Design
• Current Trends in Semiconductor Devices
• Programming and Logic Devices
• Wireless Communications
• Embedded Technology
• Biomedical Engineering and Technology
• Mechatronics/MEMS/NEMS/Robotics/ Automation
• Renewable and Non-renewable Conventional Energy Sources
• Bioinformatics
• Material science and Engineering
• Nanotechnology
• Reliability Engineering
• Optimization Technologies
• Non-traditional Manufacturing Process
• Agile, Lean and Jet Manufacturing
• Industrial Engineering and Management
• Education Technology
• Entrepreneurship Development
• Partnership between Academia and the Corporate World
Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Topics
Original contributions on topics covered under broad areas but not limited to:
• Anthropology
• American Studies
• Archeology
• Architecture
• Art
• Art History
• Art Management
• Art & Sciences
• Communications
• Creative Writing
• Dance
• Drama, Film, Television, and other Media
• Economics
• English and Modern Languages
• Ethnic Studies
• Folklore
• Geography
• Graphic Design
• History
• International Relations and Studies
• Justice Administration/Criminal Justice
• Landscape Architecture
• Language and Literature
• Linguistics
• Military Science
• Music
• Performing Arts
• Political Science
• Philosophy
• Product Design
• Psychology
• Public Policy
• Religion
• Second Language Studies
• Sociology
• Social Science
• Speech/Communication and Translation
• Theatre
• Urban and Regional Planning
• Visual Arts
• Women’s Studies
• Inter-disciplinary and other areas of Arts and Humanities

Math Topics & Focus Areas
Original contributions on topics covered under broad areas but not limited to:
• Algebra
• Applied Mathematics
• Calculus
• Computational Mathematics
• Discrete Mathematics
• Foundations of Mathematics
• Financial Mathematics
• Finite Mathematics
• Fractals
• Geometry
• History of Mathematics
• Logic
• Mathematics Education
• Number Theory
• Numerical Analysis
• Philosophy of Mathematics
• Pre-Algebra
• Pre-Calculus
• Probability
• Psychology of Teaching and Learning Mathematics
• Statistics
• Topology
• Inter-disciplinary Areas of Mathematics
• Other Area Related to Mathematics Research and Practices
Education Topics & Focus Area
Original contributions on topics covered under broad areas but not limited to:
• Academic Advising and Counseling
• Art Education
• Adult Education
• Business Education
• Counselor Education
• Curriculum, Research and Development
• Distance Education
• Early Childhood Education/Elementary Education
• Human Resource Development
• Indigenous Education
• Kinesiology & Leisure Science
• Language Education
• Music Education
• Reading Education
• Rural Education
• Science Education
• Secondary Education
• Social Studies Education
• Special Education
• Student Affairs
• Educational Administration
• Educational Foundations
• Educational Measurement and Evaluation
• Educational Psychology
• Education Technology
• Education Policy and Leadership
• Health Education
• Higher Education
• Teacher Education
• Second Language Studies
• Sociology
• Social Science
• Speech/Communication and Translation
• Theatre
• Urban and Regional Planning
• Visual Arts
• Women's Studies
• Inter-disciplinary and other areas of Education

Gas bags stop natural gas tax: Pennsylvania edition

Why has Pennsylvania allowed shale gas drillers to frack away merrily without paying a tax to the state? The answer is that they do pay for the privilege, only the pay doesn't go to the state---it goes to the lawmakers.
Over the years, both Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg have wanted to raise revenue by passing a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drillers. Polls have consistently shown a majority of Pennsylvania voters support it. Last year, the idea helped propel Democrat Tom Wolf into the governor’s mansion.
But now, as Wolf and the Republican-led legislature struggle to reach a budget deal after a nearly five-month long standoff, the severance tax is once again off the table.
The tax has been debated since the shale boom took off, so why hasn’t it happened?
There are two main reasons: lawmakers who loathe raising taxes– and lobbyists.
These are not independent variables. The lawmakers are under the direct control of the lobbyists. Case in point:
It was obvious over the summer, right before the July 1st budget deadline. Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai called a press conference and railed against the tax.
“I think the governor’s severance tax proposals are designed to stop the growth of natural gas,” he said. “It’s going to stop energy independence, and it’s going to stop the growth of jobs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
As Turzai stood in front of a group of reporters and TV cameras at the Capitol, there was another crowd off to his left. More than half a dozen oil and gas lobbyists watched as Turzai read directly from a booklet of talking points emblazoned with the logo of EQT—one of the biggest drillers near his home district in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Turzai declined to comment for this story.
Yes, that Mike Turzai, the squirrelly little asshat , Mr. Voter Fraud Fraud himself, 
 But the legislature’s perennial failure to implement a severance tax doesn’t surprise Barry Kauffman. He’s the executive director of the nonpartisan government reform group, Common Cause Pennsylvania.
His group has closely tracked campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures of Marcellus drillers. During last year’s election, they spent $17.9 million on state lobbying alone. They spent another $2.8 million on campaign contributions.
“Our elected officials know where their bread is being buttered,” says Kauffman. “Pennsylvania’s one of only 11 states that has no limits on campaign contributions. That is just completely absurd.”
No, that's not absurd. That Pennsylvania. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Appeals court blocks Wisconsin anti-abortion law

The 7th circuit court of appeals has struck down a Wisconsin anti-abortion law, because it lacked evidence of benefits.

A Wisconsin law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital is unconstitutional, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday, addressing a topic the U.S. Supreme Court is considering during its current term.
Abortion providers in Wisconsin had challenged the state law, which requires doctors to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (50 km). The law's supporters said the measure ensures continuity of care while opponents say it serves almost no public health value and is intended to shut clinics.
A federal judge in March permanently blocked the Wisconsin law, ruling that the health benefits, if any, were outweighed by the burden on women's health caused by restricted access to abortion.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier in November agreed to take up a major abortion case for the first time since 2007. In that case, Texas abortion providers are challenging state requirements that they have admitting privileges and costly hospital-grade surgical facilities.
In the Wisconsin case, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a statute that curtails the constitutional right to an abortion, such as the Wisconsin and Texas laws, cannot withstand challenge without evidence that it is justified by benefits.
That's refreshing: laws restricting freedom need an evidentiary basis.Since the start of the 21st century US lawmakers have acted as if strongly held convictions are legitimate substitutes for evidence.

Six months or so until Scalia, Roberts and 3 other Supremes rule the other way.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fear is the mind-killer

I know that facts don't matter to the fearful and fear-mongers, but here are some pertinent ones:
None of the Isis-linked suspects who have ever been charged in the United States came from Syria and the overwhelming majority were born in the US, research reveals.
Sixty-eight people have been indicted because of alleged involvement in Isis, of whom 18 have been convicted, with an average sentence of 10 years three months, according to figures published this week by Center on National Security at Fordham University.
Yet despite a growing political clamour over a perceived security threat posed by an influx of Syrian refugees, the data shows that only three of those indicted in connection with Isis was a refugee or asylum seeker; none came from Syria.
Instead 55, or 80.9%, of the individuals concerned are US citizens, including 44 who were born in America. The rest include six born in Bosnia, four in Uzbekistan, three in Somalia and two in Sudan. Fifty-eight are men and 10 are women. The average age is 26 and around a third are under 21.
Our white knuckled cheerleaders of panic notwithstanding, remember the teachings of the Bene Gesserit:
"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Profiles in Un-Courage: Paul Ryan edition

Is there a verb form of "bottom of the barrel"? Because Paul Ryan, and our american political system are presently bottomofthebarrelling.

Paul Ryan, the sniveling little wussass coward who coyly maneuvered himself into the House Speakership, the lying liar who can't make a remark without it containing or entailing falsehood and deception, has now managed to demonize desperate refugees fleeing ISIS (Daesh) even though the Syrian passport allegedly found near one of the Paris terrorists was a forgery, and all terrorists thus far identified in the Paris attack are European.

But facts don't matter to our zombie eyed granny starver, that Eddy Munster lookalike who hates the government so much he has been on a government payroll since he graduated from college (supported by government backed aid). What matters is creating a shitstorm of fearful hysteria and hand wringing, all so he can score a few pathetic points with the asshats that he temporarily leads in the House.

Well done, you little piece of crap. Now go hide under a rock, and shit yourself with fear.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scaredy GOPS

One of my cats is timid---a real scaredy cat, you know: the cat who hides under a bed for a few days when confronted with a new situation. But even this cat eventually comes to his senses and deals with what he must.

Not so our political leaders of the GOP.

Obama nailed it yesterday:
"These are the same folks who suggested they're so tough that just talk to Putin or staring down ISIL [will work] … but they're scared of widows and orphans… First they were worried the press was too tough on them in the debates, now they're worried about 3-year old orphans. That doesn't sound very tough to me." 
The GOP is the 'daddy party' only if by daddy, we mean the terrified, white knuckled, pants- pissing drunk ranting on the airplane.

Sober up. Grow the fuck up. And get out from under the bed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fake conference solicitation: Match edition

Here's another fake conference call for papers. Because I have been grading a lot the last few days, an irrelevant detail jumped right out at me:
Abstract Submission Deadline                   January 20, 2016
Acceptance Notification                            February 16, 2016
Final paper Submission & Registration       Match 05, 2016
Conference Date                                      May 10-12, 2016
Thunderbird tells me "this message may be a scam". Ya think?

Monday, November 16, 2015

World war as will and no idea

No surprise that we can count on W's dumber younger brother to make this case:
Jeb Bush said that it was time for the United States to go to war with ISIS, and to put together an international coalition to rout the jihadis from their strongholds in Syria and Iraq. “We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear, both diplomatic and military of course, to be able to take out ISIS,” Bush, who is trailing badly in the G.O.P. Presidential polls, said. “We have the capabilities of doing this, we just haven’t shown the will.”
So here's the plan: You throw a war, inviting some friends. Then win.

John Cassidy observes:
I was struck, in particular, by how he foresaw that such a military campaign would be sequenced. “Well, you take it to them in Syria and Iraq,” Bush explained. “You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace loving.”
Notice the “And then.” You go in militarily; you knock off the local regime and take out its forces, at which point—not before you send in the military—you figure out how to keep the peace. In other words, you—that is, we—do precisely what the United States and its allies did in Iraq and Afghanistan under the leadership of Jeb’s brother George W.