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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The middle class? Not what it used to be.

Income? Lifestyle? Investments? Toys? The definition varies by who you ask and who you think or feel you are...

The middle class in the United States isn't what it used to be. A big dividing line? Education.
Jeremy Hobson: So do you consider yourself middle class? Well, the definition of that term is what we'll explore now as we launch our new Wealth and Poverty Desk.
It used to be middle class meant "doing well" -- realizing the American Dream. Well, as Mitchell Hartman reports, it's more complicated now.

Mitchell Hartman: A lot of Americans think of themselves as middle class. My family does. We arrived more than a century ago in Philadelphia with the proverbial "clothes on our backs," delivered bread and sewed men’s suits. A couple generations later, we were teachers, accountants and cardiologists.

I dialed up my first cousin, Marcy Tanter. She teaches English at a state college near Fort Worth, Texas.
Hartman: Are you middle class?

Marcy Tanter: Yes, and I think for the most part our family is. Pretty much everybody has a college education, everybody has jobs. We travel. We have computers and iPads and iPods and cars.
We’re lucky to be in the upper-middle-class sweet spot, with incomes in the top 25 percent. We’ll be able to help our kids -- with SAT classes, college costs or a first home.

Some of our relatives haven’t made out as well. They didn’t go to college, and have worked in real estate, construction, waitressing, selling auto parts. In the Great Recession, a few have lost homes or gone bankrupt.

Welcome to America’s struggling middle, says University of Wisconsin economist Timothy Smeeding. It’s people making around the median income: $50,000 a year. Households around $80,000 to $120,000, depending on geography.
Timothy Smeeding: And this group is still middle class. But 10 years ago, they were behind the white picket fence, they had a nice house and steady jobs, and their kids would do better than they would. And now they’re finding a lot of that crumbling.
Smeeding says with the increased computerization of manufacturing and secretarial work, people with less education have limited long-term prospects.
Smeeding: What’s left to them are personal services: cashiers, sales clerks, lawns, food preparation. Those jobs don’t pay a lot of money, so the traditional avenues to the middle class are gone. At the same time, people with higher education, particularly post-graduate degrees, are doing really well.
So, what’s the middle class? Well, there isn’t just one. There are two, and they’re pulling apart. Get higher education or technical training, chances are you’ll do pretty well. Miss out on post-high-school education, end up working jobs that require few advanced skills, and you could find your family squeezed out of the middle class, altogether.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

Marketplace and the Public Insight Network wants to know about your neighborhood for a special photo project. Tell us about what issues matter to you and your community -- and don’t forget to submit a photo. Submit here.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s entrepreneurship desk and also covers employment. Follow Mitchell on Twitter @entrepreneurguy

Meet with CSN's President (it is a key time to do so)

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend one of the following roundtable discussions with CSN President Michael Richards next week, regarding the higher education funding formula.

Monday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Cheyenne in the Telecommunications Auditorium

Thursday, March 8, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Charleston in K101

Thursday, March 8, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., at Henderson, Rm. C105

87 Percent of Americans Now Play Games Online

Margaritaville Facebook

While Facebook remains the dominant gaming platform, there are many other online gaming sites that are contributing to the $4.5 billion casual games market.

From the Hollywood Reporter. Click here for industry news. 

Multitasking is now part of the entertainment landscape. Consumers watch television while texting on mobile devices or playing CityVille on Facebook. All of this time devoted to casual games resulted in a $4.5 billion global haul for game companies in 2011. According to a new trend report focusing on online casual and social games from market research firm Newzoo, 126 million Americans, or 87 percent of the 145 million U.S. gamers ages 10 to 65, play games on social networks or casual game websites. Online casual and social gaming takes 39 percent of the 215 million hours spent on gaming each day in the U.S. and 29 percent of the money spent on gaming.
While Facebook dominates the social gaming space in the U.S., attracting 60 percent of these gamers, 41 percent of time spent gaming and 38 percent of money spent in games, there are other growing sites like Pogo, AGame, Miniclip, AddictingGames, BigFish, Yahoo! Games and

“An amazing 76 percent to 93 percent of all gamers play on gaming sites outside of Facebook,” said Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo.“Combined they take 36 percent of all time spent on games globally. These online game destinations are often overlooked by press and market analysts who dedicate their attention to massively multiplayer online (MMO), mobile and social gaming.”

The online casual games market, traditionally offering free ad-supported games, is gaining more and more traction when it comes to consumer revenues. All the casual websites combined attract a significantly larger gaming crowd than Facebook, even in the U.S. Partially driven by the rise in player acquisition costs, game companies have increasingly turned towards these destinations, integrating their free-to-play games with in-game business models.

To get consumers to spend money, many of these games have a higher level of engagement and have extended the range of genres available on these websites.  The uptake of so-called mid-core games has created a significant shift towards more paying male casual as well as social gamers. These changes are giving the consumers more opportunities to spend money where they spend time, closing the current gap between the two resulting in significant revenue growth.

“Despite claims that games on social networks show limited growth potential, Facebook and local social networks in European, Asian and emerging markets remain essential to any game company’s strategy, simply because the majority of people spends a large amount of his or her online time here,” said Warman. “That’s even more true in emerging and Asian markets, where social networks often are the primary entry to the web for consumers . I was therefore not surprised to see that social games monetize relatively well in these younger markets compared to the West, at least in terms of share of people spending money.”

Free-to-play games are generating revenue around the globe. According to the new report, 28 million Americans, 22 percent of the 126 million casual gamers, are paying to play games via micro-transactions and other revenue forms. Asia leads the globe with 46 percent of its players paying for online games. Europeans are less likely to spend money on games with only 18 percent currently doing so.

Other interesting statistics from the report found that only 8 percent of online casual or social US gamers spends all his or her online game time within social networks. This is higher in Europe (19 percent) and emerging markets (15 percent). Also, 87 percent of U.S. Facebook gamers also plays games on casual websites.

From the Hollywood Reporter. Click here for industry news.

Netflix the Cable Network. ESPN coming to Facebook. Monkey Davey Jones is dead. Setting Son at FOX/NewsCorp

Photo: Duke University basketball fans taunt Luke Loucks #3 of the Florida State Seminoles at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 21, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. Credit: Grant Halverson / Getty Images

ESPN to stream conference basketball tournament games on Facebook As March Madness approaches, ESPN will allow college basketball fans to watch its coverage of more than 200 conference tournament games on Facebook, marking the first time the sports network has provided live games for the sprawling social network.

The games will be made available on ESPN's Facebook pages beginning Thursday. Teams and conferences may also make their games available to be viewed online at ESPN3.

ESPN's move will allow the Walt Disney Co. cable network to take advantage of Facebook's platform to reach young viewers who aren't watching the games on TV.

“Our goal is to make our content available to fans where they want it," said Matt Murphy, senior vice president of digital video distribution for ESPN. "The timing made sense as well. Fans already spend time catching up with friends on Facebook -- and now they can watch games without leaving that environment. It’s a great way for us to reach our fans and increase awareness and usage of ESPN3.”
Millions of people who receive ESPN3 through their Internet providers can watch the games at no additional cost. The same is true for Time Warner Cable subscribers who already pay to receive the programming on TV.

Cost of doing business. When companies merge, the executives talk about all the synergies and cost savings that will come from teaming up. That usually translates into layoffs, and that's the case for Summit Entertainment, which is merging with Lions Gate. Variety on the first round of cuts.

Daily Dose: Normally, broadcast networks don't promote their shows on cable networks unless they own those channels. In other words, it's not unusual to see NBC promos on Bravo or USA because they're all owned by Comcast. But a lot of promos for NBC's new dark drama "Awake" have been popping up on AMC, home of the cable smash "The Walking Dead." It's a smart move because NBC's low ratings mean that it can't count on its own shows to build awareness for something new.

Setting son? It was announced early Wednesday that James Murdoch was giving up his title of executive chairman of News International. Although the move is not a surprise given that Murdoch has relocated from London to New York, his future trajectory at media giant News Corp. has been tarnished by the ethics scandal at the company's British newspapers, which he had overseen for the last few years. The company said he will now focus on News Corp.'s international television business. Early stories from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

I hope there is no bullying going on. The Weinstein Co., still mad that its documentary "Bully" was slapped with an R rating, is now sparring with movie theaters over the film. Harvey Weinstein has suggested that the movie might be distributed with no rating. But theater owners might then treat it as if it were an NC-17 film, which would certainly limit its reach. Details from the Hollywood Reporter.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: The movie "Being Flynn," based on a dark book whose title I can't write because it has some naughty words in it, took a long time to get to the big screen.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. Every day's a Super Bowl day for me.


February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year.

A person who is born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leap year baby". In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28 or March 1, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic intercalary dates.

In the United States, a person legally attains a given age on the day before his corresponding birthday, i.e., the anniversary of his birth corresponding to that age. Accordingly, anyone born on a Leap Day legally turns 21 on February 28th, twenty-one years later. Incidentally, this also means anyone in the United States may legally consume alcohol on the day before his or her 21st birthday.[5] In England and Wales, the legal birthday of a leapling is March 1 in common years. The same applies in Hong Kong as well (see Leap Years, above). In Taiwan (Republic of China) and in New Zealand, the legal birthday of a leapling is February 28 in common years.

From: Wikipedia

Enter the UltraViolet Cloud!

Studios ally with data-storage vendors for secure media players

The Secure Content Storage Association has been established by 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., together with SanDisk and Western Digital, to develop more secure devices to be incorporated into Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected televisions and tablet computers. Code-named Project Phoenix, the industry initiative will make use of the cloud-based UltraViolet service to protect copyrighted content. CNET (2/28), Home Media Magazine (2/28)

Apple readies media event, most likely to introduce next iPad

Apple has issued invitations for a March 7 media event in which the company is expected to introduce the iPad 3, a tablet that is expected to be faster and to feature a sharper display and support for 4G networks. Apple, which sold 15.4 million iPads in the fourth quarter, has come under some pressure from Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, which is priced at less than half of the iPad 2's $499 tag. Reuters (2/28), The Wall Street Journal (2/29)

Chapter 6: Researching Your Topic

Chapter 6: Researching Your Topic

Chapter Summary

Researching your speeches requires three activities: preparing to do your research, gathering information, and evaluating what you've found. Preparing begins with determining what you know and don't know about your topic. Use your own experiences as the basis for developing your research strategy. Preparation also requires identifying multiple perspectives and sources, particularly those that challenge your assumptions.

Its vast variety of sources makes your campus library the logical first stop in gathering information. A short e-mail or in-person exchange with a librarian can save you hours of frustration. Library databases often contain hundreds of full-text databases, so you can download information onto your own computer.

Organizations offer another source for gathering information about your speech topic. A local company or other institution often can provide up-to-date information your audience may find especially relevant.

Other information sources include websites, the deep web, blogs, newsgroups, and discussion lists. Metasearch engines, search engines, and web directories assist you in your quest for information. Specialty search engines provide windows into the deep web, databases that traditional search engines can't reach. By carefully planning and refining your search, you can weed out the junk from the truly useful online resources.

Interviews with experts can yield personal and current information about your topic. Planning and preparation form the basis of a successful interview. Developing a solid interview guide with thoughtfully phrased questions that are logically organized facilitates productive interaction during the interview. Flexibility and a genuine interest in knowing more about your topic will aid you tremendously when you conduct your interview.

As you gather information, evaluate it for reliability, validity, and currency. Ethical speakers present convincing, recent, and well-supported information. In evaluating information, ask critical questions such as, "What are the author's assumptions?" and, "What evidence is presented to support the conclusions drawn?"

Doing sound research means starting early, setting aside specific time to research your topic, asking questions when you run into problems, keeping accurate records, taking accurate notes on each source, revising and refocusing when necessary, knowing when you have enough information, and knowing when to continue your research. Even the most polished delivery can't make up for poor content. So thoroughly, creatively, and carefully research your speech topics.

Click "read more" below to continue and for tools: 

Ads on Google start in earnest TODAY

New Google privacy policies to go into effect

New privacy settings on Google are about to go into effect which will make it much easier for Google to keep track of you.
Jeremy Hobson: If you're like most people, you probably haven't actually taken the time to read the details of Google's new privacy policy. Well, it goes into effect tomorrow.
And it'll mean that as you search the web or check your Gmail account or watch a video on YouTube, it'll be a whole lot easier for Google to keep track of you. Sabri Ben-Achour explains.

Sabri Ben-Achour: Actually, I’ll let Chris Gaither explain it, he’s a spokesperson for Google.
Chris Gaither: Let’s say you do a lot of searches on Google for recipes. Next time you go to YouTube while you’re signed into the same Google account, you might see some recommendations to subscribe to a YouTube cooking channel, for example.
By combining the data it picks up on its various sites  into one profile, it will be easier for Google to target ads to you. David Jacobs is with the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
David Jacobs: The overarching problem is the loss of control for users. You can’t really opt out.
Do users know this? Have they even read the policy?
Ryan Calo: People didn’t read these privacy policies before and they’re not likely to read them now.
Ryan Calo is privacy director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. But some people do read them -- more than 30 attorneys general have Google a letter complaining about the policy.
I’m Sabri Ben-Achour for Marketplace.

No More Starz Movies or Shows on Netflix

Starz and Netflix deal ends
New Competing Services to make
Watching on the Internet More Costly and Confusing...
Starting today, Netflix is ending its deal with the movie channel Starz.
Jeremy Hobson: Now to another online company making changes. Starting today, Netflix is ending its deal with the movie channel Starz. That means the more than 1,000 movies Starz offers -- from "Teen Wolf" to "Toy Story 3" -- won't be available on Netflix.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer joins us now live to talk about the broader implications of this. Good morning, Nancy.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Hey Jeremy.

Hobson: So if I'm not a big fan of "Teen Wolf," why do I care about this?

Marshall-Genzer: Yeah, I'm not either. Jeremy, it is important though because Starz was providing new-release movies to Netflix. Most people think access to the big-name Hollywood blockbusters is key to Netflix's success. But turns out, that's actually not the case. Netflix customers weren't watching that many movies from Starz anyway.

Ken Doctor is a media analyst for Outsell and Newsonomics. He says more than half of what people are streaming from Netflix are TV shows -- and Netflix has a big TV library.
Ken Doctor: So they have been bulking up on TV shows that people like. So they're in a race to replace as much of those movies as they can. At the same time, they'll continue to negotiate with the movie studios.
Hobson: So Nancy, is the future of these streaming video companies like Netflix more TV than film?

Marshall-Genzer: They're actually going to follow the HBO model. HBO of course has been successful by creating its own shows, which it can control. So there's no wrangling with Hollywood over access to and payment for movies. And Netflix already has one original series, it's called "Lillyhammer." And we'll see how it does.

Hobson: And I've heard that they are going to bring back "Arrested Development," which is very exciting for me. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer, thanks a lot.

Marshall-Genzer: You're welcome.

The shock of a generation: Challenger Disaster

The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 28, 1986

The first time it blew up, it was such a shock, because most people thought it would never ever happen. But once you get the idea that spacecraft sometimes have catastrophic events, then it becomes less of a shock.  -Joe Miller, professor, University of Michigan

NASA Sites

Non-NASA Sites

Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
Site design by NASA HQ Printing & Design
For further information email

For additional information go to Morning EditionNPR Scienceand NASA.
First posted 1/ 27 / 2011

Deceased dog gets credit card offer

A window sticker advertising Visa and MasterCard credit cards hangs in a window in San Francisco, Calif. One dog in Canada recently was offered a credit card with a huge spending limit.

A dog with a credit offer most of us can only dream of.

According to The Sarnia Observer, an Ontario dog named Spark was offered up to 30,000.
But that's not the only weirdness -- turns out Spark the dog has been dead for a decade.

Her owner tells the paper that if the dog was alive -- and had had the card, and knew how to use it -- she might have bought a hula hoop.

Which would still leave her a credit limit of $29,996 -- give or take. 

Dreamworks dumps. Murdoch out as Chair and CEO of NewsCorp. UlraViolet droops but hopes to bloom.

Company Town

The business behind the show

Kung Fu Panda 2
Image: A scene from "Kung Fu Panda 2." Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Reason to frown at the numbers. DreamWorks Animation saw a sharp decline in profit in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with a year earlier, reflecting weak holiday DVD sales.

The Glendale studio reported that it earned net income of $24.3 million, or 29 cents a share, in the quarter, versus a profit of $85.2 million, or 99 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Revenue during the quarter totaled $219 million, down 21% from the same period in 2010, DreamWorks reported after markets closed Tuesday.

For the year, the company logged net income of $86.8 million on revenue of $706 million, compared with net income of $170.6 million on revenue of $784.8 million in 2010.

Part of the reason for the decline was that DreamWorks released two movies last year, "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots," compared with three films in 2010.

DreamWorks recently announced plans to build a studio in Shanghai, which it billed as a landmark agreement with two state-owned Chinese media operations.

Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture with China Media Capital and Shanghai Media Group in concert with Shanghai Alliance Investment -- an investment arm of the Shanghai municipal government -- is to establish a family entertainment company in China.

With an initial investment of $330 million, the Shanghai studio would develop original Chinese animated and live-action movies, television shows and other entertainment catering to the Chinese market.
Photo: James Murdoch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

James Murdoch has resigned his position as executive chairman of News International.
Once seen has the likely successor to his father, Rupert Murdoch, as chairman and chief executive of global media giant News Corp., James Murdoch has seen his reputation tarnished and business judgment questioned by his handling of the phone-hacking scandal that has torn through News Corp.'s British newspaper unit.

Murdoch's relinquishing of his News International title had been expected given that he recently relocated from London to News Corp.'s New York headquarters. Still, the backdrop of the move was not anticipated a year ago when the hacking scandal was still relatively minor in the public's eye.
In announcing the move, News Corp. made no mention of the hacking into phones of celebrities and royal family members and bribing of public officials alleged to have gone on at the company's now closed News of the World tabloid and its Sun newspaper.

Instead, Rupert Murdoch praised his son's leadership at other units of the company.

"He has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs," the senior Murdoch said.

James Murdoch said he would focus now on growing News Corp.'s international television business.
Close watchers of the Murdoch family will no doubt start analyzing what the latest news means for James Murdoch's future at News Corp. When Rupert Murdoch visited the Sun the other week in antcipation of the launch of a new Sunday edition, it was older son Lachlan, not James, by his side.

JeffBewkesPhoto: Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes. Credit: Brendan Hoffman / Bloomber

UltraViolet Video Cloud shaky opening will not stop media giants. Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes defended last year's shaky public debut of the digital movie technology UltraViolet, led by his company's studio Warner Bros., claiming it was imperative to launch early rather than wait for further improvements.

"You get into this debate, 'Should you wait until it's perfect?' " he said at a Deutsche Bank-sponsored media and telecommunications conference in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday. "The reason we didn't is consumers are used to seeing these new products improve over time. They know version 3.0 is going to be better than 1.0."

UltraViolet allows people who buy compatible DVDs and Blu-ray discs to also get a copy of a movie stored online that they can access on compatible Internet-connected devices. Warner and other studios are counting on the new technology to encourage people to keep buying movies, instead of renting or illegally pirating them, in the digital age.

"Some have speculated ... consumers don't want to own movies in a digital environment," Bewkes said. "We don't think that's right. One of the biggest problems is that while it's easy to rent a movie and watch it on your TV, until now it has not been easy to buy a movie digitally, manage a digital collection and watch it on the device of your choosing."

More than 1 million people have registered to use UltraViolet accounts, according a recent report on PaidContent. However, the UltraViolet initiative, which includes most Hollywood studios, suffered a wave of bad publicity when it launched this past fall. Consumers complained about cumbersome user restrictions and a complicated registration process.

Warner is the only studio that includes UltraViolet copies with every disc it sells. Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures include it only with select films. 20th Century Fox isn't expected to jump on board until later this year, while Walt Disney Pictures is not part of the UV consortium.

At the conference, which is attended by media business investors, Bewkes urged his audience to pressure other entertainment companies to more aggressively support UltraViolet. "If we don't" he said, "we run the real risk of habituating consumers to rental when in fact they may prefer to own and build collections of movies."

Studios make significantly larger profits from movie sales than rentals.

Bewkes also urged attendees to pressure other media companies to put more television content online as part of TV Everywhere, which lets cable subscribers watch channels on digital devices. Warner has aggressively supported that initiative, making available more than 1,000 hours of content from its cable channels, including TNT and TBS, as well as more than 1,600 hours for the similar HBO Go.

Chase Carey expresses concern about "American Idol" ratings
Photo: Chase Carey. Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

American Idol Ratings cause fear at the top of the food chain. News Corp. Deputy Chairman and President Chase Carey expressed concern about the declining ratings of Fox's "American Idol" during an investors conference Tuesday.

"The ratings aren't where we would have hoped," Carey said at Deutsche Bank's annual Media and Telecommunications conference in New York.

"American Idol," in its 11th season, is still a hit. But it is no longer untouchable. This season the show's audience has fallen 20% in total viewers to 19.8 million, compared with almost 25 million last season. Among adults 18 to 49, the show is down 26%.

Carey, who typically steers clear of the creative side of the entertainment business, said he thought "American Idol" must find a way to "drive some fresh energy" to it. He noted that with the success of NBC's "The Voice" and the introduction of Fox's own "The X Factor," the talent show category is much more competitive than in previous years and "American Idol" needs to up its game.

Fox, he said, has to "continue to make sure the show has a freshness and insight and originality to it."
However, Carey isn't ready to say "American Idol" is nearing the end. The glass, he said, is half-full.
"We think it is a franchise with a lot of legs left in it," Carey said, adding the program still makes Fox "a lot of money."

Teri EverettChanges near the top from Fox to Time Inc. Veteran media spokesperson Teri Everett, who recently exited the top communications job at News Corp., has joined Time Inc. as executive vice president of corporate communications for the publishing group.
In her new role, Everett will oversee media relations and publicity, internal communications and government affairs. She will report to Time Inc. Chief Executive Laura Lang.
Everett most recently served as senior vice president of corporate affairs at News Corp., a company she joined in 2000. Since last summer, the media conglomerate has been grappling with the fallout of a phone-hacking scandal involving its publishing group in the United Kingdom.
She has long ties to Gary Ginsberg, Time Warner's executive vice president of marketing and communications. The two worked closely together at News Corp.
Time Inc. is a division of media conglomerate Time Warner, which publishes such magazines as "Time," "People" and "Sports Illustrated."

From The LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest entertainment news.

Quiz 4

Quiz # 4  Chapters 6, 7, 13

Indicate whether the statement is true or false. Select the best answer.

____    1.    Speakers often use analogies to help an audience understand something new to them.

____    2.    Informative speakers can make a speech topic come alive by connecting the topic to the audience in meaningful ways.

____    3.    Using your own experiences as the basis for developing your research strategy is not usually a good idea.

____    4.    You should choose your keywords carefully and consider alternatives to your original choice in order to produce a range of results.

____    5.    Most words have several connotative meanings and infinite denotative meanings.

Click on "read more" below to continue.

Leaning toward the Dark Side

The information/communication age has a dark side

To err is human, to forgive divine.

That very Christian sentiment is all but lost in today's society, where a Google search, a Lexis-Nexis or any number of other computer searches will turn up information and in many cases “dirt” on your next door neighbor going back to their birth.

It’s no longer a question of the value of the information, or even the date.

We are use to and even seek out news about politicians, attacked with quotes or actions or political stands from months, years and even decades before. Any wrong step or old viewpoint can and will surface in damaging ways.

How many of us realize that when we apply for a job, a loan, a home or membership in a new organization, our background is data mined, and any information that they find can and legally must be taken into account in decisions about our future, our life.  They can be sued if they ignore information they have asked for, and therefore seen.

KNPR’s Talk of the Nation interviewed the author of “Delete”, a book about our data histories and information trail. In the course of the interview a woman called in who was denied employment because many years before she had posed for inappropriate photographs. A man found out his employer had a history of fraud and scams, so he quit his job.

What information should be kept and shared?

How can we keep or lives from being brutally public?

Add to this the reality that most home computing will in the near future be done on super fast machines in far away parts of the globe with only an interface at home or a portable devices, similar to an iPhone or laptop, and access to private information may become every day and easy for most everyone.

Today the most advanced access involves expensive paid subscriptions to services such as Nexis-Lexis or other highly intrusive search software and corporate services. But in the future access may be easy and perhaps free for everyone from any computer or interface device.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We Will Be Victorious!

Statistics Source

A response to this blog provides an interesting chain of links in the area of statistics, use of statistics, visual images for statistics and data resources. I am not endorsing this site, but it appears to be useful and the links may lead you to sources and information you may need for this or future course work.
CrisisMaven said...
As I see you are mentioning statistical research: I have put one of the most comprehensive link lists for hundreds of thousands of statistical sources and indicators (economics, demographics, health etc.) on my blog: Statistics Reference List. And what I find most fascinating is how data can be visualised nowadays with the graphical computing power of modern PCs, as in many of the dozens of examples in these Data Visualisation References. If you miss anything that I might be able to find for you or if you yourself want to share a resource, please leave a comment. See also Pew TrustsUS Census, other government data bases, university data bases, public data bases, military data bases, CIA World Fact Book, state and local government sites, and various on-line research data bases (ask a librarian for help). If you come across any that you feel other students may benefit from or find interesting, please let us know.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Students

Undergraduates increasingly seem to choose self-indulgence and
self-esteem over self-denial and self-questioning
Chronicle of Higher Education

I've been teaching for about 10 years now, and, of course, I was a
student for 20 years before that. So I have some experience observing my
students' sins, and perhaps even more experience committing them.

The sins that I see in the everyday life of the typical college student
are not great ones. Most of the time, they don't seem like "sins" at
all, even if one accepts the religious significance of the term. But
they spring from thoughts and behaviors that, over time, become habits.

Enabled by institutions, students repeatedly take the path of least
resistance, imagining they are making creative compromises with duty
that express their unique talents. So they choose self-indulgence
instead of self-denial, and self-esteem instead of self-questioning.

They do not understand that those choices will eventually cause more
unhappiness than the more difficult paths they chose not to walk.

The traditional model of the "Seven Deadly Sins" provides a helpful
means of categorizing — and perhaps simplifying — the complicated and
cumulative experience I am trying to describe:

(click "more" or the title at top to read about the 7 sins and students)

Fix Your Fear of Public Speaking

"These extraordinarily high rates of labor underutilization is symbolic of a True Great Depression."

tracking pixel

"Every Morning, Every Evening, ain't we got fun"....

"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer"

"We have to make cuts in education...prisons...mental health..."

"No recession for the rich, 

while poor and middle class 

hit depression level underemployment"

 "One in three Americans earns less than they need to pay their bills. One in two low income Americans are underemployed or unemployed."

 "No new not tax the rich..."

"85% of the American wealth is in the hands of 10% of the population."

"America's class system is becoming as rigid as any nation in the world, with the bootstraps and every child can grow up to be president increasingly fanticies and fairy tales of the American Mythos." 

"The folks in the upper-income group are not suffering much, if at all, from the profound reversals in employment brought about by the Great Recession. Those in the middle have been hit hard. The job losses there have been severe and long-lasting. But for those in the lower-income groups, the scale of the employment crisis has been mind-boggling.

Excerpt from the Huffington Post   | by  Ryan McCarthy First Posted: 02-10-10 01:00 PM   |   Updated: 02-10-10 01:0

'No Labor Market Recession For America's Affluent,' Low-Wage Workers Hit Hardest

Though the national unemployment rate dipped slightly in January to 9.7 percent, a new study suggests that not only have low-income workers been the hardest hit by the jobs crisis -- but, shockingly, there has been "no labor market recession for America's affluent."
The study from Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada and Sheila Palma at Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies suggests that the unemployment problem is largely a problem for low-wage workers (hat tip to the Curious Capitalist, chart of unemployment by financial status and pdf of study included at this Time-CNN site).
From the study:
At the end of calendar year 2009, as the national economy was recovering from the recession of 2007-2009, workers in different segments of the income distribution clearly found themselves in radically different labor market conditions. A true labor market depression faced those in the bottom two deciles of the income distribution, a deep labor market recession prevailed among those in the middle of the distribution, and close to a full employment environment prevailed at the top. There was no labor market recession for America's affluent.
At the New York Times, Bob Herbert delved into the study and noted, "The point here is that those in the lower-income groups are in a much, much deeper hole than the general commentary on the recession would lead people to believe." Here's more from Herbert:
The highest group, with household incomes of $150,000 or more, had an unemployment rate during that quarter of 3.2 percent. The next highest, with incomes of $100,000 to 149,999, had an unemployment rate of 4 percent.
Contrast those figures with the unemployment rate of the lowest group, which had annual household incomes of $12,499 or less. The unemployment rate of that group during the fourth quarter of last year was a staggering 30.8 percent. That's more than five points higher than the overall jobless rate at the height of the Depression.
According to the study, approximately 50 percent of households in the bottom decile of American income distribution are underemployed; in the second lowest decile, 37 percent of households can't find enough work. The authors write: "These extraordinarily high rates of labor underutilization among these two income groups would have to be classified as symbolic of a True Great Depression."

For pdf of actual study contact Communication Prof News and Views, Art Lynch.

Sources: Huffington PostTime-CNN, New York Times,

First Posted 2-9-2010