Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 is out!


Four of the top 30 universities are Big Ten schools including the UW-Madison (29th).

Originally posted on Job Market Monitor:

Evidence is emerging of a decline in the power of US universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015, despite the California Institute of Technology’s claim on the top spot for the fourth consecutive year.

The West Coast institution heads a top 10 for 2014-15 that still consists almost entirely of US-based universities, with only the universities of Oxford (third) and Cambridge (fifth) and Imperial College London (joint ninth) preventing a clean sweep.

But despite the fact that Harvard (second), Stanford (fourth), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (sixth), Princeton University (seventh), the University of California, Berkeley (eighth) and Yale University (joint ninth) all make the top 10, there is evidence of an overall decline for US universities, with significant losses further down the league table. This includes the University of Chicago, which slips from ninth to 11th.

The US has 74 universities in the top 200, down from…

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Ph.D. – What students should know about the job market


Shocking but true!

Originally posted on Job Market Monitor:

Below I have outlined a few things I wish I had been told at the beginning of this journey.Capture d’écran 2014-09-29 à 09.00.13

1. Know how bad the job market sucks and why.

2. Find out what can get you one of those precious few jobs.

3. Prepare for the academic path to blow up in your face.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Essay on what new doctoral students should know about the job market @insidehighered.

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Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in US – Unemployment has increased

In 2010, an estimated 805,500 individuals in the United States held research doctoral degrees in science, engineering, and health (SEH) fields, an increase of 6.2% from 2008. Of these individuals, 709,700 were in the labor force, which includes those employed full time or part…

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Not content with bullets, U.S. Dept of Agriculture now buys submachine guns


What is going on?

Originally posted on Fellowship of the Minds:

The United States of America has a formidable military — still the most powerful in the world — to protect us against foreign enemies and invasions.

Every town or city in the United States of America has a police force that’s increasingly armed to the teeth with military-grade weapons, to protect citizens from criminals. (See “Obama regime supplies military-grade arms to police”)

So why are civilian bureaucracies in the executive branch of the federal government arming themselves to the teeth with millions of rounds of bullets, battle rifles, assault weapons, and armored trucks? (Scroll to the end of this post for examples.)

This disturbing trend began more than 4 years ago when news came that the Dept of Education had bought shotguns.

Two years ago, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchased 300,000 rounds of ammo. Now comes news that the USDA is graduating to submachine guns! 


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Local police want to return the tanks, high powered rifles and ammunition but the Feds won’t take them back

Local governments all over the country have received tanks, mine-proof battle vehicles, armored personnel carriers, high powered rifles and enormous stocks of ammunition, from the federal government as this war refuse was brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan. So far police departments in Dane county have received some of these weapons including 440 high powered rifles and ammunition, and a mine proof battle vehicle. Why? Uhhhh, cuz it’s available, it seems. The Madison police chief says he’s going to rescue people with his war wagon. Right ….

People in many communities have become more aware of the  increased militarization of local police and want these weapons returned to the military. But, according to an article in Mother Jones magazine, the Federal Government doesn’t want this war refuse back.

An officer with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Department in central Washington is offering me a tank. Three of them, actually.

“We really want to get rid of these,” Undersheriff John Wisemore says. “We’ve been trying to get the military to take them back since 2004.”

The tanks came from a vast Defense Department grant program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are amphibious, capable of firing 107-mm mortars—and not remotely useful to Wisemore’s rural police department. But the county can’t seem to unload them. Back in June, Wisemore got an email from a Defense Department liaison promising to explain how Chelan County can get rid of the tanks. Then, nothing. Until further notice, Wisemore says, “they’re just going to sit there.”

But some agencies have found the process of getting rid of unwanted military gear next to impossible. Agencies can’t return or trade equipment without Defense Department approval, and because the Pentagon technically still owns the equipment, they can’t sell it.

According to interviews with state officials running point between the Pentagon and police, the Defense Department prefers to leave equipment in circulation whenever possible. “It’s a low-cost storage method for them,” says Robb Davis, the mayor pro tem of Davis. His town is trying to shake its MRAP. “They’re dumping these vehicles on us and saying, ‘Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us.'”

The spokeswoman for the San Diego school district doesn’t know who previously possessed its MRAP, but she says the vehicle arrived from Texas stripped of its gun turrets and interior instruments—signs that it had been modified for police use by the last owner. When Steuben County, in rural New York, no longer wanted two armored vehicles, it sent one to the nearby Broome County Sheriff’s Department and one to the village of Endicott. And the tanks that Chelan County, Washington, wants so badly to get rid of came from the police department in Vancouver.

Where the tanks will go next is anyone’s guess.

“We’ve put it out there that we don’t want these anymore,” says Wisemore, the undersheriff. “But I don’t think any other agency is interested in them.” He pauses. “Are you?”

More Fall color without Jack Frost

Fall colors in the Ladybird Lane area continue to intensify and old Jack Frost hasn’t even visited us yet, thank goodness, although it was has been down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit a couple of times already last week. The locust trees and what I believe are sugar maple trees are especially gorgeous right now. We have a huge silver maple in the backyard and it never has much color to it. Why anybody plants a silver maple is beyond me. Ours is big, messy and shades out my veggie garden. But on the street what I’m calling sugar maples are really intense this year.

Fall hits Ladybird Lane

Fall has hit Ladybird Lane quickly this year. This big locust in the front yard was producing a magical golden haze yesterday afternoon. The photo didn’t really catch the aura that the sun playing with the golden leaves created. If anyone has suggestions for how to capture that magical golden haze that appears on days like this please drop me a line. I’d love to learn how to capture it.


Palestinian school set on fire


I guess the NY Times and other main stream media businesses here in the US were too busy making excuses for the atrocities to mention this.

Originally posted on Aletho News:

International Solidarity Movement | September 21, 2014

As-Sawia, Occupied Palestine – On the evening of the 10th September, unknown assailants broke into the As-Sawia Secondary School, forced open the door and set the school on fire. Bedouins living close to the school saw the fire and alerted the fire brigade. By the time it was put out, the principal’s office and teachers’ rooms were completely burned.



“We lost six computers, four printers, all the teachers’ books and materials, but most of all, the administrative documents and files of the students and about the school situation over the past years. The whole damage is around 140,000 shekels,” the principle Adnan Hussein told ISM. The school was closed for three days after the arson attack.



As in many schools in the occupied West Bank, the students and staff of As-Sawia Secondary School suffer from constant settler and military harassment. Three days before the arson, armed settlers who called themselves “security”…

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