Category: Academics

Report: No Spinach On Mars

Good news for kids around the world! Researchers at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands have determined that it is possible to grow food on Mars except for spinach. Of course, Matt Damon was the first to demonstrate this finding. Unfortunately, the selection thus far is not what many of us would prefer: garden cress, rocket, tomato, radish, rye, quinoa, chives, peas and leek. Only spinach failed to grow.

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The University of Wyoming May Lose Superman Papers Because Donor Does Not Like Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney has been much in the news with controversial statements like her suggestion that the Turkish invasion of Syria was due to the impeachment inquiry by the Democrats. Many of us were critical of that comment but one person seems to have taken his anger with Cheney out on . . . the University of Wyoming. That’s right, Connecticut-based author and psychologist Hank Weisinger has threatened to take back his father’s collection of papers related to the Superman comic series because he is upset that the state has Cheney among her elected officials.

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Dershowitz Loses Bid To Prevent Defamation Trial By Alleged Victim In Epstein Scandal

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz once dared his accusers to sue him in the ongoing controversy over his role in the alleged abuse of underaged girls in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. One did just that. Virginia Giuffre has claimed that she was forced to have sex as an underaged girl with friends and acquaintances of Epstein, including Dershowitz. Dershowitz called her a liar on multiple occasions, including statements he never met Giuffre and that she is a “serial perjurer,” a “serial liar,” and a “serial prostitute.” She sued him for defamation and U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York has rejected Dershowitz’s motion to dismiss and held that Dershowitz will have to face a trial on her claims. Former judge Paul Cassell has also leveled charges against Dershowitz as one of the abusers.

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University of Washington Professor Denounces SpongeBob SquarePants As Violent Colonialist and Cultural Appropriator

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University of Washington Professor Holly M. Barker has published an article “Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom” that seeks to strip away the true meaning of SpongeBob SquarePants as a colonizing, violent cultural appropriator. Moreover, the cartoon is deemed as “whitewashing of violent American military activities” against natives of the Pacific.” What is most remarkable however is that she appears to be serious.

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Former Drexel Professor Allegedly Spent Government Grant Money On Strip Clubs and Personal Expenses . . . Drexel Agrees To Repay Costs

Academics often struggle with the confining language of grants, particularly federal grants, in purchasing equipment and hiring staff. Former Drexel University professor, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, has been accused of an alleged departure from any reasonable interpretation. The former head of Drexel’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering allegedly spent nearly $200,000 in federal grant funds on trips to strip clubs and sports bars in Philadelphia. Worse yet for Drexel, the school will now have to pay for the strip club parties. What is fascinating is that Nwankpa has not been criminally charged and he has only been barred from government contracting for six months.

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Georgetown Law Students Shutdown Acting Homeland Security Secretary Speech . . . Law School Silent On Any Action To Be Taken

We have previously discussed the trend of students and faculty preventing speakers from being heard on campus without any disciplinary action taken by universities. The latest example occur at Georgetown University Law School where students and faculty opposed an invitation of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to speak on campus. It was a wonderful opportunity for an exchange of views but both students and faculty wanted opposing views to be silenced. When the school went forward with the event, protesters immediately stopped the event. CREDO Action – the advocacy arm of the progressive nonprofit group CREDO — has admitted that Georgetown students participated in the action and videotapes clearly show those responsible. However, Georgetown would not commit to taking disciplinary action despite repeated inquiries.

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Federal Judge Upholds Harvard’s Race-Based Admission Criteria

As previously discussed the controversy over the race-based criteria used Harvard University’s undergraduate admissions program and whether it discriminates against Asians. Not only do the criteria limit Asian-American students to 20 percent of the class but the plaintiffs alleged that such students are routinely given low scores on “personal ratings” to further reduce their admission numbers. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston has now rejected those claims and upheld the admissions criteria, writing in the 130 page opinion that “The court will not dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better.” This case could prove a major new challenge to race-based admissions as it now works up to the court of appeals.

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Professor: Tom Brady’s Popularity Due To White Supremacy

Professor Kyle Kusz, who teaches a kinesiology professor at the University of Rhode Island, has declared yet another example of the culture of white supremacy in America: Tom Brady. Kusz concludes that it is white supremacy that explains the popularity of Brady in his book “Making American White Men Great Again: Tom Brady, Donald Trump, and the Allure of White Male Omnipotence in Post-Obama America.” It is a bizarre theory since, as I have patiently explained in the past, Brady’s success is only explained by the fact that he sold his soul to the Devil decades ago and he is watched over by a barely disguised Cerberus in the form of Bill Belichick.

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Turley To Speak At Biometic Conference

It is my great pleasure to give a keynote speech at the Federal Identity Conference in Tampa, Florida today — an international gathering of government, private, and academic experts in the field of biometric technology. I will be presenting material from two forthcoming law review articles on privacy in the biometric age. I will be speaking at the Tampa Convention Center at 10:15 am.

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Georgetown Students Shut Down Forum Of Experts Opposed To Climate Change

I have previously written about the toleration shown by colleges and universities in students and faculty disrupting speakers with whom they disagree. This has included protests where students have been prevented from studying as other students accuse them of privilege or racism.  Administrators at schools like Dartmouth have allowed such abusive conduct to occur without disciplinary action, even apologizing to the protesters.  Students at Columbia University library prevented College Republicans from speaking at a meeting while students at Northwestern prevented a class from being held. The latest example occurred last week at Georgetown where the Georgetown University College Republicans were prevented from holding an event critical of climate change theories. It is precisely the type of diversity of opinion that should be welcomed on a campus, but student protesters stopped others from hearing these views. As with the prior incidents, there is no indication of any punishment for the students in stopping the exercise of free speech on the Georgetown campus.

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New York City Gives 1.1 Million Students Free Pass From School To Join Climate Change Protests

There is an interesting story in the New York Times that the city has decided that any of its 1.1 million public school students will be allowed to skip classes without penalties to join the global youth climate strikes to be held this Friday. As someone who has long advocated for action on climate change and opposes the Trump environmental policies, I am entirely in support of demonstrations. However, the decision raises some concerns over how the New York Public School system chooses which protests to sanction. Would students be permitted next month to attend anti-climate change protests? If not, this authority is being used in a viewpoint discriminatory manner.

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Survey: Only 39 Percent Of Americans Can Name All Three Branches of Government

The annual Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey is the latest chilling survey revealing the lack of knowledge of most Americans about their own system of government. While this country remains highly patriotic, most Americans are woefully ignorant of the details of their constitutional system. According to the survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, only 39 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government.

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GW Holds Annual Supreme Court Review

I will be again joining a distinguished panel of experts at George Washington University this morning to kick off the new Term of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court review will convene in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room of the George Washington Law School at 9 am EDT (13:00 GMT/UTC)  We will be discussing a number of leading cases this term as well as the current Court make-up.

 A livestream will be available via the GW Law Facebook page. A link to more information is available here.

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“Liberal Breeding Ground”: Tennessee Lawmaker Calls For The End Of Higher Education

Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield has called for the end of higher education, which he dismisses as a “liberal breeding ground.” It is a curious view for a politician from a state with world-class universities which fuel the state’s burgeoning high tech industry and bring huge amounts of revenue in the form of tuition, support contracts and tourism. That includes Vanderbilt University, which is viewed as one of the world’s greatest universities. There is also the much beloved University of Tennessee with its statewide supporters of the Volunteers football team.

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“Not Based On Science”: Chief NOAA Rebukes Trump As IG Investigates Allegations Of Political Pressure To Reverse Forecast That Contradicted Trump

I have previously written about the controversy over President Donald Trump’s comments on Hurricane Dorian and the latest self-inflected wound in what is being called “Sharpiegate.” The name however masks something more serious. It is not the bizarre decision to mark up a hurricane map with a Sharpie to extend the path to Alabama. It is not even the bizarre refusal to just acknowledge an honest mistake in not acknowledging that path predictions on that day showed the hurricane avoiding Alabama. The more serious problem is what the statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) effectively rebuking the forecast of its Birmingham office contradicting the President. There are now reports that the Commerce Secretary threatened firings if NOAA did not issue a statement supporting Trump’s untrue statement. When Trump issued his statement no one was predicting that the hurricane would hit Alabama (days earlier there was a possibility that Alabama could be effected). Various scientists and experts denounced NOAA’s statement and the politicalization of NOAA. Now the Inspector General is investigating and Craig McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, has called the unprecedented NOAA statement “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.”

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