Category Archives: Research

Academic researchers and their ideas.

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UC-Berkeley’s Former Chancellor Will Be Paid $434,000 on Leave

Nicholas B. Dirks, a former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, will be paid $434,000 during his coming year on leave, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Mr. Dirks announced in August 2016 that he would step down from his leadership position.

Under the university’s policy, Mr. Dirks qualifies for a year off with pay before returning to the classroom as a history professor. Executives must work in the university system for at least five years to receive full pay during a yea…

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‘Driverless’ Van Turns Out to Be Va. Tech Researcher Costumed as Car Seat

The van appeared to be driving itself on the streets of a Virginia neighborhood this month, but in reality a person dressed as a car seat was in control as part of an experiment conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

That news came to light on Monday thanks to a video that went viral. It showed Adam Tuss, a reporter for the NBC television affiliate in Washington, D.C., trying to question the van’s driver. Only the driver’s hands on the steering wheel are visible in the video,…

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NFL Player, an MIT Grad Student, Will Leave Football After Widely Reported Brain-Trauma Study

Updated (7/27/2017, 10:04 p.m.) with additional information about the study.

John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens who is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will leave the National Football League, his team announced on Thursday.

ESPN reported the decision stemmed from a recent high-profile study that found a high percentage of more than 100 brains of deceased football players showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, …

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Iran Sentences Princeton Ph.D. Student to 10 Years in Prison

A doctoral candidate in history at Princeton University who was doing research in Iran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of spying for the United States, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

The student, Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old U.S. citizen, disappeared months ago on a field trip to Iran. His arrest and conviction were only now officially made known by the Iranian judiciary.

A spokesman for Princeton said the university had already been aware of the arrest and had been work…

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After Professors’ Criticism, Group Updates List of Google-Funded Scholars

A group that created a list of scholars who’d received money from Google has updated the database in response to critics, including professors who said they didn’t belong on the list. In some cases the Campaign for Accountability, the creator of the dataset, defended putting professors on its list; in others, it clarified why scholars had been included; and in others, it removed academics from the list altogether.

“There’s no single way to do this, and we’re necessarily limited by the info…

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Many Academics Have Taken Money From Google Without Disclosing It, Report Finds

The tech giant Google has paid academics up to hundreds of thousands of dollars to research topics that support the company’s business practices, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, based on data compiled by the Campaign for Accountability, an advocacy group that has received funding from companies that compete with Google.

The newspaper reported that Google at times compiled “wish lists” of academic studies, complete with titles and abstracts, and then searched for aca…

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What Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Would Mean for Higher Ed

Updated (5/23/2017, 2:19 p.m.) with details on the budget proposals for scientific and medical research.

The Trump administration on Tuesday released its budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. All told, the budget would cut federal education programs by more than $10 billion. The Department of Education’s total operating budget would be slashed by $9 billion, and spending on secondary-education programs would be redirected to school-choice initiatives — the chief policy goal of Betsy DeVo…

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Trump Administration Is Expected to Propose 18% Cut in NIH Budget

The National Institutes of Health would see its budget slashed by 18 percent, from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, under a spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year that the Trump administration is expected to release on Tuesday. Details of the budget were under wraps, but The Washington Post noticed on Monday that the spending plan for the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the NIH is a part, had been posted online early. (The document was later taken down.)

The NIH, the largest sourc…

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Hoax Article in Social-Science Journal Gets a Rise Out of Some Scholars

A fresh attempt to poke fun at — and poke holes in — cultural-studies scholarship was revealed this week, with the disclosure that a recently published article in Cogent Social Sciences was a hoax. The article, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” was the work of two people — Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University, in Oregon, and James A. Lindsay, an independent scholar. They describe their exploit on the website of Skeptic magazine.

Like the…

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Journal’s Board of Directors Disavows Editors’ Apology for Article on ‘Transracialism’

The Board of Directors of Hypatia, the feminist philosophy journal that sparked controversy with the article “In Defense of Transracialism,” has released a statement disavowing a widely circulated apology that was written by a group of editors at the journal. “The board finds that the associate editors’ statement undermining the editorial decision was disseminated without adequate consultation with the editor,” the new statement says, in part.

The new statement represents the latest development …