Category Archives: Technology

Tech trends on campus.

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Western Governors U. Might Have to Repay $700 Million in Student Aid

After an audit of Western Governors University, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has concluded the university was ineligible to award financial aid to its students and should return more than $700 million to the government.

For more, see this Chronicle article.

As part of its decision, the office is recommending that the Department of Education require the nonprofit university to return $712,670,616 in federal Title IV financial-aid funds distributed to Western Gove…

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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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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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U. of Delaware Will Not Rehire Adjunct Who Criticized Otto Warmbier

The University of Delaware has severed its relationship with an adjunct faculty member who criticized Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who died last week after North Korea detained him for 17 months, according to a news release.

Delaware had previously denounced the remarks by Katherine A. Dettwyler, an adjunct lecturer in anthropology. In the comments section of a National Review article and on her Facebook page, Ms. Dettwyler wrote in posts that have since been removed that Mr…

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Elsevier Wins $15 Million in Copyright Suit Against Piracy Sites

A federal court has ruled in favor of one of the world’s largest science publishers in its lawsuit against websites that provide free, pirated access to millions of scholarly-journal articles, Nature.com reported on Thursday.

In a judgment handed down this week, Judge Robert W. Sweet of the U.S. District Court in New York City ruled for the company, Elsevier, in the absence of any representatives of the defendants, which include Sci-Hub, LibGen, and related sites, and awarded the publisher $15 m…

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Harvard Reportedly Rescinds Admissions Offers to 10 Over Facebook Posts

Harvard University has rescinded admissions offers to at least 10 prospective members of this fall’s entering freshman class after the students traded sexually explicit and other offensive graphics and messages in a private Facebook group chat, The Harvard Crimson reported.

University officials declined to comment to the newspaper about the status of the admissions offers. The Crimson based its report on interviews with students who were members of a messaging group that members of the Class of…

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‘Harvard Crimson’ Site Is Hacked to Take Jabs at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

On the same day that students at Harvard University were set to graduate and hear a commencement speech by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, someone altered the home page of The Harvard Crimson to poke fun at Mr. Zuckerberg, who famously dropped out of the university to focus on the budding social-media giant.

“Op-Ed: I did not steal Fakebook [expletive] I mean Facebook I invented it in my brain by Mick Zollywop,” read one headline in a series of images making the rounds on social media.

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Attempt to Get Trump’s Tax Returns May Have Alerted IRS to Data Tool’s Vulnerability

Do the security concerns that caused the Internal Revenue Service to shut down an online tool that’s key to applying for student aid stem from a private investigator’s attempt to use the tool to get President Trump’s tax records?

That question is raised in an article by the newsmagazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, which reports that it has obtained court records that identify a Louisiana-based private investigator who is accused of using the data-retrieval tool for that purpose in Septe…

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U. of Wisconsin at Madison Restores Twitter Account After Hack

The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Twitter account, @UWMadison, was hacked early Wednesday morning and published some bizarre tweets before the university regained control of it, according to a university news release.

Around 6:30 a.m., Central time, the account started tweeting messages like: “lol why go to university when u can just sit at home and fail at life and stuff.” Four rogue messages, including a link to a music video, were tweeted from the account within minutes of one another.