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  Warning System
Posted by: Webmaster - 05-13-2016, 08:18 PM - Forum: Announcements - No Replies

I have set up a warning system in order to address inappropriate behavior on the board.  There are three levels of warning that a poster can receive:
1)   Incidental warning: bumps a person’s warning level up 5% for one hour, this warning is a way of telling a person to cool it but shouldn’t have any negative consequences.
2)   Minor Warning: bumps a person’s warning up 10% for 2 weeks, this is for more severe or repeat offenses.
3)   Major Warning: bumps a person’s warning level up 25% for one month, this is for even more severe or habitual offenses.

Of course the most severe offenses, or most habitual offenders, as well as spammers will be permanently banned.   The specifics of the warning levels and penalties are subject to change, and this post will be edited to reflect those changes.
Feedback on the warning system can be given in this thread.

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  Discussion of Warning System
Posted by: Webmaster - 05-13-2016, 08:15 PM - Forum: Forum feedback - Replies (20)

If you wish you can talk about the warning system here.

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Posted by: radind - 05-13-2016, 03:57 PM - Forum: Technology - Replies (20)

Third largest dwarf planet found.

Quote:“Astronomers have found that a previously overlooked rocky body that lies in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune is far larger than previously thought, making it the third largest dwarf planet in our solar system, after Pluto and Eris”

"We present the first comprehensive thermal and rotational analysis of the second most distant trans-Neptunian object (TNOs) (225088) 2007 OR10. We combined optical light curves provided by the Kepler Space TelescopeK2 extended mission and thermal infrared data provided by the Herschel Space Observatory. We found that (225088) 2007 OR10 is likely to be larger and darker than derived by earlier studies”…

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  Worker Cooperatives Are More Productive Than Normal Companies
Posted by: Odin - 05-13-2016, 02:35 PM - Forum: Economics - Replies (10)


Quote:magine an economy without bosses. It’s not a utopian vision but a growing daily reality for many enterprises. A close analysis of the performance of worker-owned cooperative firms—companies in which workers share in management and ownership—shows that, compared to standard top-down firms, co-ops can be a viable, even superior way of doing business.

The term “co-op” evokes images of collective farming or crunchy craft breweries. But Virginie Perotin of Leeds University Business School synthesized research on “labor-managed firms” in Western Europe, the United States and Latin America, and found that, aside from the holistic social benefits of worker autonomy, giving workers a direct stake in managing production enables a business to operate more effectively. On balance, Perotin concludes, “worker cooperatives are more productive than conventional businesses, with staff working ‘better and smarter’ and production organized more efficiently.”

Under worker-run management structures, co-ops might avoid the usual friction between bosses giving orders from above, and staff misunderstanding or disputing decisions or resisting unfair work burdens from below. Fusing the workforce and management streamlines operations and saves energy otherwise sunk into training and monitoring the workforce.

Perotin highlights research on French cooperatives showing that “in several industries conventional firms would produce more with their current levels of employment and capital if they adopted the employee-owned firms’ way of organizing.”

Contrary to stereotype, the European co-op sector is generally as diverse as any other type of ownership structure, including full-scale factories. Though co-op conversion is often seen as a way to rescue “failing” firms, Perotin’s research reveals that in France from 1997 to 2001 more than eight in 10 worker co-ops starting up during this period were established “from scratch,” not derived from ownership transfers in failing companies (compared to new business formations overall, co-ops had a larger portion of brand-new startups).

By prioritizing worker autonomy, co-ops provide more sustainable long-term employment, but not only because worker-owners seek to protect their own livelihoods. If a company runs into economic distress, Perotin says, co-ops are generally more adept at preserving jobs while planning longer-term adjustments to the firm’s operations, such as slowing down expansion to maintain current assets—whereas traditional corporations may pay less attention to strategic planning and simply shed jobs to tighten budgets.

While co-ops vary in form, the underlying philosophy, particularly in Europe, is the co-op as both democratic enterprise and public trust. Often worker-owned firms are mandated—either by law or corporate bylaws—to reserve a portion of assets for longer-term preservation of the integrity of the co-op model. Even if the owners close or leave the business, these indivisible assets are recycled back into future co-op generations or co-op support organizations. The practice seems less common among American co-ops, but in European co-op culture, Perotin observes, “we set up a collective good, we set up an institution for future generations.”

There are far fewer co-ops in the United States than in the established French and Spanish co-op sectors, with only an estimated 300 to 400 US worker cooperatives “employing around 7,000 people and generating over $400 million in annual revenues,” according to the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC). But in an increasingly precarious economy, advocates push worker ownership as a pathway to restore equity and control to labor. Co-ops can boost career mobility and seed homegrown job opportunities, while communities benefit from an ownership structure that keeps capital reinvested locally, not exploited or outsourced to faceless corporate chains.

“We don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t be the way that businesses are preserved as the owner retires, or the way that startups happen,” says Melissa Hoover, executive director of USFWC’s Democracy at Work Institute. Through advocacy and training programs, USFWC helps incubate new co-ops and promotes policies fostering grassroots worker-ownership. In some areas, budding co-ops are evolving into a pillar of community development programs: New York City, for example, recently launched a $1.2 million initiative (update: now raised to $2.1 million) to develop and network local co-ops. Last year California enacted legislation to streamline the legal framework for founding a co-op.

Though the co-op model is not widespread, a few have built extensive operations, such as Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates, home healthcare agency that employs more than 2,000 workers in union jobs upholding living wage and fair scheduling standards. Others include DIY print shops, neighborhood cafes or renewable-energy producers, often founded on a socially conscious ethos.

But could these co-op shops “scale up” to rival major corporate employers? Hoover projects that an oncoming wave of retiring Baby Boomer small business owners could offer fresh opportunities for co-op conversion. Many of these firms are viable, but won’t attract big buyers, so instead of folding, a retiring owner can hand the keys over to veteran staff. “If it’s a buyer’s market,” Hoover says, “why not help the buyers be people who have never had a chance to own a business before—the people who work in them?”

Amid stagnant wages and rising inequality, Hoover adds, “I actually see a competitive advantage in cooperatives, particularly as our world crumbles around us. There’s environmental crises, there’s capital crises, people are starving and homeless in the richest country in the world. And as that begins to filter through the consciousness of everyday people…how do we envision a different system?… This actually is a system that foregrounds member benefit and community benefit in the [organization’s] form.”

For worker-owners, the business proposition is even more straightforward: Max Perez, an employee-owner at Arizmendi Bakery in the Bay Area, discusses in a USFWC report how the co-op helped him overcome the employment barriers that he faced after leaving prison.

“I was really nervous to tell them about my past, but the co-op gave me a chance because they cared more about me than my record,” he writes. A family-sustaining co-op job has enabled him and other workers to cope with the high cost of living and remain rooted in the community. “It’s hard work at the bakery, we don’t always agree, but that’s why I care about this place so much, you know? I want other people to have the chance I did.”

Co-ops may not bring about a revolution, but they do bring a priceless return on investment—giving workers the power to repay one good turn with another.

We have a strong Socialist tradition of worker co-ops here in the upper-midwest, and so I thought this was an interesting article.

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  U.S. Directs Public Schools to Allow Transgender Access to Restrooms
Posted by: Odin - 05-13-2016, 01:48 PM - Forum: General Political Discussion - Replies (41)


Quote:WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.

It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.

The move is certain to draw fresh criticism, particularly from Republicans, that the federal government is wading into local matters and imposing its own values on communities across the country that may not agree. It represents the latest example of the Obama administration using a combination of policies, lawsuits and public statements to change the civil rights landscape for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

After supporting the rights of gay people to marry, allowing them to serve openly in the military and prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against them, the administration is wading into the battle over bathrooms and siding with transgender people.

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” John B. King Jr., the secretary of the Department of Education, said in a statement. “We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

Courts have not settled the question of whether the nation’s sex discrimination laws apply in matters of gender identity. But administration officials, emboldened by a federal appeals court ruling in Virginia last month, think they have the upper hand. This week, the Justice Department and North Carolina sued each other over a state law that restricts access to bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms. The letter to school districts had been in the works for months, Justice Department officials said.

“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so,” according to the letter, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

A school’s obligation under federal law “to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex requires schools to provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns,” the letter states. “As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”

As soon as a child’s parent or legal guardian asserts a gender identity for the student that “differs from previous representations or records,” the letter says, the child is to be treated accordingly — without any requirement for a medical diagnosis or birth certificate to be produced. It says that schools may — but are not required to — provide other restroom and locker room options to students who seek “additional privacy” for whatever reason.

Attached to the letter, the Obama administration will include a 25-page document describing “emerging practices” that are in place in many schools around the country. Those included installing privacy curtains or allowing students to change in bathroom stalls.

In a blog post accompanying the letter, senior officials at the Justice and Education Departments said they issued it in response to a growing chorus of inquiries from educators, parents and students across the country, including from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, to clarify their obligations and “best practices” for the treatment of transgender students.

“Schools want to do right by all of their students and have looked to us to provide clarity on steps they can take to ensure that every student is comfortable at their school, is in an environment free of discrimination, and has an opportunity to thrive,” wrote Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Thomas Aberli, a high school principal in Louisville, Ky., said the new guidance would help administrators across the country who are trying to determine the best way to establish safe and inclusive schools. He said his school had little to work with when it drafted a policy that was put in place last year.

“What you don’t do is go and tell a kid, ‘You know, there is something so freakishly different about you that you make other people uncomfortable, so we’re going to make you do something different’,” said Mr. Aberli, who estimated that his school of 1,350 students had about six transgender children. “There’s been no incident since its implementation. It’s really just a nonissue in our school.”

The White House has called North Carolina’s law “meanspirited” and said this week that federal agencies were continuing a review of their policies on the treatment of transgender people while the administration waged its legal battle with the state.

President Obama condemned the law last month, saying it was partly the result of politics and “emotions” that people had on the issue.

“When it comes to respecting the equal rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, whether they’re transgender or gay or lesbian, although I respect their different viewpoints, I think it’s very important for us not to send signals that anybody is treated differently,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in London.

The struggle over the rights of transgender people has reverberated on the presidential campaign trail and become a defining issue in the final year of Mr. Obama’s tenure, prompting boycotts of North Carolina by some celebrities and businesses that had planned to create jobs there. The fresh guidance to be issued Friday seemed certain to intensify that debate, and showed that Mr. Obama and his administration intend to press the issue of transgender rights aggressively as the legal challenge unfolds.

The Justice Department has for years made gay and transgender issues centerpieces of its civil rights agenda. Former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. described that campaign as a continuation of the civil rights era that brought equal rights to African-Americans. And this week, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch spoke passionately to transgender people as she cast the lawsuit against North Carolina in historic terms.

“We stand with you,” she said. “And we will do everything we can to protect you going forward. Please know that history is on your side.”

Some Republicans have defended North Carolina’s law by arguing that it would be inappropriate to allow transgender women to use the same bathroom as young girls. Before ending his presidential bid last week, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas charged that Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, “both agree that grown men should be allowed to use the little girls’ restroom.”

I don't know if this belongs here or in General Political Discussion, so feel free to move it if you need to, Dan!

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Sad The last American member of the Lost Generation has died.
Posted by: Odin - 05-13-2016, 01:31 PM - Forum: Generations - Replies (4)

World's oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, dies at 116. Sad

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  Clinton Caught with her hand in the cookie jar
Posted by: Kinser79 - 05-13-2016, 05:58 AM - Forum: General Political Discussion - Replies (8)

And other dirt.  I figured it would be interesting to have a thread to record all dirt that's going to come out of Shillary's closet full of skeletons.

We'll start with fraud at the Clinton Foundation and lots of missing money.


Video is by Fox Business.

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  Rocking thru the 4T
Posted by: Ragnarök_62 - 05-13-2016, 12:02 AM - Forum: Entertainment and Media - Replies (13)

1. Move thread here.  I think it makes more sense.
2. From Finland:

Album · 2010
Filed under Hard Rock

01 Intro (0:48)
02 The Trip (3:25)
03 I'm Free (3:31)
04 Fever (4:43)
05 Bad Year (2:35)
06 Sound Of Green (3:46)
07 Hail (3:58)
08 Burnin' Up (3:32)
09 Catfish (3:39)
10 Psychedelia (6:34)

Total time: 36:31
- Otu / vocals,guitars
- Kride / guitars, backing vocals
- Andy / drums
- Frasse / bass
About this release

Now this is trippy. Cool 

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Video Modern Art is Sh*t
Posted by: Kinser79 - 05-12-2016, 07:56 PM - Forum: Entertainment and Media - Replies (34)

I'll probably also be adding some other Illustrated Philosophy videos around here.

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  Global warming
Posted by: pbrower2a - 05-12-2016, 05:50 PM - Forum: Environmental issues - Replies (265)

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) hadn’t updated its near-real time daily chart of Arctic sea ice levels in more than a month. A satellite that monitors the ice malfunctioned, forcing the center to suspend the service.
Researchers missed a lot during those dark weeks.
Using information from a different satellite, the NSIDC provisionally updated its Arctic sea ice data on May 6 — and the findings were alarming.

[Image: 5734355013000001053815bf.png]

Comment from me: 2 standard deviations means less than a 5% chance of an event being random.

According to the data, the Arctic sea ice melt season is running as much as one month earlier than average. Unless weather patterns change dramatically, that could mean a record year for summer melting of Arctic ice.

The ice already appears to be disappearing at a pace far faster than in 2012, when Arctic ice extent hit a record low.  
Mark Serreze, the director of the NSIDC, told Mashable that there is evidence of fractures in the ice cover north of Greenland, which is “quite unusual” for this time of year.
“To me, it suggests a thinner, weaker ice cover,” he said.
In 2013, the U.S. Navy predicted an ice-free Arctic this summer. Now some reports show this prediction may indeed be realized
This spring, the European Space Agency’s CryoSat 2 satellite revealed that ice cover across the Arctic Ocean was, on average, 15 percent thinner than it was at the same time last year. In March, the NSIDC announced that Arctic sea ice had reached a record minimum for winter maximum extent. If Arctic sea ice levels plummet below 2012 levels this summer, it will be the second historic low of the year.

“I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” Serreze said in a statement earlier this year. “The heat was relentless.”


What Will Ice-Free Arctic Summers Bring?

This summer's record melt suggests the Arctic may lose its ice cap seasonally sooner than expected. What impacts can we expect?

   By David Biello on September 24, 2012

On Sunday, September 16, (2012 -- PB) the sun did not rise above the horizon in the Arctic. Nevertheless enough of the sun's heat had poured over the North Pole during the summer months to cause the largest loss of Arctic sea ice cover since satellite records began in the 1970s. The record low 3.41 million square kilometers of ice shattered the previous low—4.17 million square kilometers—set in 2007. All told, since 1979, the Arctic sea ice minimum extent has shrunk by more than 50 percent—and even greater amounts of ice have been lost in the corresponding thinning of the ice, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

"There is much more open ocean than there used to be," says NSIDC research scientist Walt Meier. "The volume is decreasing even faster than the extent [of surface area] as best as we can tell," based on new satellite measurements and thickness estimates provided by submarines. Once sea ice becomes thin enough, most or all of it may melt in a single summer.

Some ice scientists have begun to think that the Arctic might be ice-free in summer as soon as the end of this decade—leaving darker, heat-absorbing ocean waters to replace the bright white heat-reflecting sea ice. The question is: Then what happens? Although the nature and extent of these rapid changes are not yet fully understood by researchers, the impacts could range from regional weather-pattern changes to global climate feedbacks that exacerbate overall warming. As Meier says: "We expect there will be some effect…but we can't say exactly what the impacts have been or will be in future."


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