Wednesday, October 29, 2014

wtf philosophy: Ludlow lawsuit edition

He's doing it again. Northwestern philosopher Peter Ludlow has returned to court to sue yet another student, this one the undergraduate whose complaint of sexual misconduct against Ludlow led to a finding of misconduct against him, a sanction by his university, and the withdrawal of a job offer from Rutgers.
Philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against the Medill senior who said Ludlow sexually assaulted her in 2012, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Ludlow’s suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges the student made false claims to the media and Northwestern professors after he rejected her sexual advances.
This will be the third lawsuit to come in the aftermath of the Medill senior’s initial Title IX lawsuit.
The senior first filed a federal lawsuit in February against NU, saying the University handled her sexual assault complaint against Ludlow with “deliberate indifference and retaliation.”
In the lawsuit, she claimed Ludlow sexually assaulted her after the two attended an art show in Chicago in February 2012. According to the suit, Ludlow provided the student with alcohol and brought her to his apartment, ignoring her repeated requests to return to Evanston. The student took a class with Ludlow in fall 2011.
After an internal investigation, the University concluded in April 2012 that Ludlow made “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward the student, according to investigation documents obtained by The Daily.
The University denied mishandling the student’s complaint and “imposed several disciplinary sanctions and corrective actions against Ludlow,” according to NU’s response. After the internal investigation, NU revoked Ludlow’s appointment to an endowed professorship, denied him a pay raise and banned him from contacting the student.
I hope the University will pick up the student's legal fees, though her federal lawsuit against the university might complicate that. 
(h/t Daily Nous)

More email from fake academic publishers

Another day, another email from my friends in fake academic publishing, this one from someone in Singapore notifying me of an extension of a deadline to submit a paper to the fake philosophy journal: GSTF Journal of General Philosophy. I am particularly impressed by its efficiency in reviewing submissions and collecting payment for publication.

Publishing Schedule:
Full Paper Submission Deadline November 30, 2014/ March 13, 2015
Author Notification & Reminder for Camera-Ready Paper December 5, 2014/ March 20, 2015
Camera-Ready Paper Submission Deadline December 12, 2014/ March 27, 2015
Deadline for Registration (Payment) December 19, 2014/ April 10, 2015
Publication Dates: Vol 1 No 2/ Vol 2 No 1 December 31, 2014/ April 31, 2015

Publishing Charges Article Processing Fees - USD 350 (print) / USD 275 (PDF version) for publishing an accepted manuscript

Monday, October 27, 2014

Christie to release Ebola hostage

Looks like speaking truth to power has worked to allow nurse Kaci Hickox escape the unheated quarantine tent and  clutches of professional asshole and New Jersey governor Chris Christie:

A nurse who recently returned from West Africa and was quarantined for the past three days in a tent behind a New Jersey hospital despite having no symptoms associated with Ebola will be allowed to return her home in Maine, where it will be left to local health officials to determine how she will monitor her health to ensure she is not infected with the virus.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, in a brief interview, said that he expected her to be transferred Monday morning after doctors and federal officials signed off on the plan.
The details of how she would be transferred and the protocols she will follow in Maine have yet to be worked out.
Unfortunately, the current governor of Maine is another professionally clueless asshole.
Ms. Hickox’s friends and family were not surprised that she decided to speak up.
“She’s not a loudmouth activist,” said Dr. Nora Rowley, a classmate at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. “But she understands the contagiousness of the virus, and now she has to come back and be subjected to a policy that’s not based on anything other than fear.”
Her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, a nursing student in Fort Kent, Maine, said that Ms. Hickox, who is being kept in an isolation tent with a portable toilet, but no shower or television, had not planned on speaking to the news media but changed her mind after Mr. Christie said on Saturday that she was “obviously ill” when she knew she was not.
“Now he’s messed with the wrong redhead,” he said of her frame of mind.
 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Contagious panic

In case you needed any, here's evidence that NY's Andrew Cuomo is as big an asshole as Chris Christie:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced the quarantine Friday a day after Dr. Craig Spencer - a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders - tested positive for the disease.
A New York City official also told the news agency the announcement was a "real stunner."
These two governors said, 'Take this, federal government.'
"They did this without consulting the city, and that's not a good thing," the official said of the two governors. "They didn't let anyone know in advance."
...............

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett told CNN she is concerned that the requirement will discourage health workers from volunteering to help these areas.
.........
Doctors Without Borders issued a statement Saturday saying they are trying to clarify the states' new policies.
"There is a notable lack of clarity about the new guidelines announced (Friday) by state authorities in New York and New Jersey," said Sophie Delaunay, executive director of the organization. "We are attempting to clarify the details of the protocols with each state's departments of health to gain a full understanding of their requirements and implications."
The new mandatory quarantine hit nurse Kaci Hickox first, who tells here story here. This is how she is being treated in quarantine.
 New Jersey's health department said Hickox showed a fever soon after being quarantined at the airport and was taken to University Hospital in Newark. A preliminary test for Ebola was negative for the disease.
Hickox disputed that account in her article. She said her temperature was normal when tested orally at the hospital, but showed a fever when she was tested using a non-contact forehead scanner, reflecting the fact she was just flustered and anxious.
Doctors Without Borders also criticized Hickox's treatment, saying she had been issued an order of quarantine but it was not clear how long she would be held in the tent set up as an isolation ward at Newark University Hospital.
"While she is being provided with food and water, the tent is not heated and she is dressed in uncomfortable paper scrubs. She was permitted to bring personal belongings into the tent," the group said in a statement.[my bolding]
If Hickox isn't sick now, she will be soon---with pneumonia.

Cuomo has a 'book' out---he must be planning a run for president. He and Christie should run on the same ticket---the Manic Panic Party.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Suffer the little children

Saw this on Gawker. Seems appropriate today.


Another fake academic conference in Hawaii

And today's email brings an extended call for papers from another fake academic conference in Hawaii, the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, not to be confused with the Hawaiian fake academic conference, Hawaii University International Conferences (HUIC) on Education and STEM, which emailed me a few days ago. This one lists as topic areas:
       Anthropology
·         American Studies
·         Archeology
·         Architecture
·         Art
·         Art History
·         Art Management
·         Dance
·         English
·         Ethnic Studies
·         Film
·         Folklore
·         Geography
·         Graphic Design
·         History
·         Landscape Architecture
·         Languages
·         Literature
·         Linguistics
·         Music
·         Performing Arts
·         Philosophy
·         Postcolonial Identities
·         Product Design
·         Religion
·         Second Language Studies
·         Speech/Communication
·         Theatre
·         Visual Arts
·         Cross-disciplinary areas of Arts and Humanities
·         Other Areas of Arts and Humanities

"Product design?" Whatever. It promises to be a heckuva conference, with value- added cross -fertilizing syncretic multi-disciplinary surfing, snorkling, conferring.

Hooray, we're all poor

Paging Thomas Piketty:
The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987.
This is actually a much more dramatic statement than it sounds. While the Federal Reserve has already told us that the median households is worth less now than it was in 1989 -- that's the household right in the middle -- it turns out that everybody but the richest 10 percent of Americans are worst off. That includes the poor, the entire middle class, and even what we would consider much of the upper class.
..............

 But these days of shared prosperity have come to an end, gradually and then suddenly. It started in the 1980s when the top 1 percent awoke from their long postwar slumber, thanks to the combination of lower taxes, financial deregulation, and new technology. It wasn't a total disaster for the bottom 90 percent. Even as most Americans saved much less, accumulating far less wealth, stock markets and housing prices continued to rise. Until they didn't, coming crash down in 2007 and 2008.
The problem was that middle class doesn't own that much in stocks, but went into debt to buy lots of housing. So the housing crash turned their biggest financial asset into an albatross, wiping out their equity but not their debt. And the housing recovery hasn't done much to fix this, since it's struggled to move beyond the "nascent" stage.
Take a look at Matt O'Brien's charts and read his whole piece at the Washington Post.


Researchers reprogram skin cells into neurons

This could be a game-changer:
Writing in the journal Neuron, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL), MO, report how they used a particular combination of microRNAs and transcription factors to reprogram the skin cells into a particular type of brain cell known as medium spiny neurons.
The medium spiny neurons they produced - which survived for at least 6 months after injection into the brains of mice - are important for controlling movement and are the main type affected in Huntington's disease.
...............
 Because they used adult human skin cells in the study - and not mouse cells or human cells at an earlier stage of development - the team believes the work shows the potential for using patients' own cells in regenerative medicine. This is important because therapies can use readily available cells and also avoid the problem of immune rejection.
For their study, Dr. Yoo and colleagues cultured the skin cells in an environment that mimics that of brain cells. In previous work, they had already discovered that exposing skin cells to two small RNA molecules called miR-9 and miR-124 can turn them into different types of brain cell.
..............
 The team also showed that when the skin cells are exposed to the transcription factors alone, without the small RNA molecules, the skin cells do not convert successfully.
The team also carried out extensive tests to show the new brain cells had the hallmarks of native medium spiny neurons. They expressed the right genes for their specific type and did not express genes for other types of neurons.
And, when transplanted into the brains of mice, the converted cells looked like native medium spiny neurons and behaved like them.
The team is now using skin cells from patients with Huntington's disease and converting them into medium spiny neurons using their new approach. They also plan to inject the cells into mice with the disease.
Now the wait begins to see whether this result is real.