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Spartan Ideas is a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions independently written by members of the MSU community and curated by MSU Libraries

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Streams Independent Streams (week of May 22)

Problems Books, Pencils, and Billboards: Local School Ad Spending Spikes (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate David Arsen discusses school choice and marketing. Researchers: Fake News Not Swaying Elections (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate William Dutton leads report on the impact of fake news on public opinion. Trump Fires Comey: It Looked Bad Right Away (link …

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Comey under oath: no obstruction of justice

Almost everything we hear from the media these days is simply motivated reasoning — i.e., partisan nonsense. Wikipedia: …When people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence, the phenomenon is labeled “motivated reasoning”. In other words, “rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information …

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prcr update

The R package for person-oriented analysis (prcr) is updated (it’s now version 0.1.4). In particular, it was not clear how to use the profile assignments (i.e., what cluster each response is in) in subsequent analyses. So, the update now returns two different representations of the profile assignments, or which profile is associated with each observation: …

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Fletcher on Law360: “A Look At The Impact Of Lewis V. Clarke Thus Far”

Here: In Lewis v. Clarke, the U.S. Supreme Court held that individual capacity suits against tribal employees are not cloaked by an Indian tribe’s sovereign immunity. As most Indian tribes have already acquired general liability insurance to cover the tortious actions of their employees, the ruling might have little impact. But the breadth of the court’s opinion should …

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New Scholarship Arguing, “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments”

Mark Squillace, Eric Biber, Nicholas S. Bryner, and Sean B. Hecht have posted “Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments” on SSRN. Here is the abstract: By any measure, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has a remarkable legacy. Under the Act, 16 presidents have proclaimed 157 national monuments, protecting a diverse range …

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Walter Pitts and Neural Nets

Pitts is one of the least studied geniuses of the early information age. See also Wikipedia, Nautil.us. Cabinet Magazine: There are no biographies of Walter Pitts, and any honest discussion of him resists conventional biography. Pitts was among the original participants in the mid-century cybernetics conferences, though he began his association with that group of …

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Influence of Political Ideology on State Policies Combating the Opioid Crisis

The Opioid Crisis has been a major development in American public health alongside the recent proliferation of pain medication prescriptions. Indeed, there has been a gradual proliferation in drug overdose deaths.  As a result, state governments across the United States including Michigan have designed policy programs like limiting the initial prescription of opioids for acute …

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20 years of GATTACA (1997)

 A 20 year lag between science fiction and reality… not bad! Embryo selection, but no additional engineering: Geneticist (Blair Underwood): Keep in mind, this child is still you — simply the best of you. You could conceive naturally a thousand times and never get such a result … According to this discussion, an offer of …

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Independent Streams (Week of May 8)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Fake News And Filters Aren’t Fooling Internet Users (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate William Dutton conducts international survey on internet users and fake news. Climate Change, Tornadoes And Mobile Homes: A Dangerous Mix (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Mark Skidmore co-authors study on climate change …

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Oldies But Goodies

There is probably a built in mechanism in our culture’s brain that the newest ideas and thoughts are better than older ones. Today’s thinkers have the chance to stand on the shoulders of those who came before. I know I’m always looking for fresh new ideas in the books recently published, thus my almost weekly …

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Graduation Day!

It’s graduation weekend at my university and this morning we had our School of Social Work recognition ceremony. It’s a happy day. Faculty parade around in funny robes and hats. Family and friends come to applaud and honor the hard work their graduate has done. There’s no parking anywhere, but the usual campus hot spots …

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Review – CODEX CCFICS23 Meeting Summary – Action to Define Food Fraud and Related Terms

USA Delegation: on the far left is Dr. Spink, and the group includes Head of Delegation Mary Stanley (USDA), Alternate Delegate Ms. Caroline Smith Dewaal (FDA), Alternate Delegate Ms. Camille Brewer (FDA), and Mr. Kenneth Lowery International Issues Analyst (US CODEX Office) Friday, May 5    Earlier today, Codex Alimentarius (CODEX, the world food code) …

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School Voucher Programs

An introduction to school voucher programs: School voucher systems are one of the leading topics of debate in education policy. A school voucher system offers state funds for financial assistance to parents who want to send their child to another school district or a private school. Oftentimes, legislatures will set parameters on who is able …

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MSU Campus Archaeology Receives 2017 Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation

On Tuesday, May 2nd, MSU’s Department of Anthropology, Department of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, and the Office of the President received the Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation and a special tribute from the State of Michigan Legislature on behalf of MSU Campus Archaeology. The award was given for their combined efforts to preserve the …

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SubAltern Homesick Blues

New York Magazine seems to have dedicated an entire issue to the Alt-Right. If you don’t recognize any of this subterranean internet stuff you should probably have a look. Somehow they left out the Illuminati, though. See The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Subaltern Postcolonial Gramsci Homi Bhabha Babble. BEYOND ALT: THE EXTREMELY REACTIONARY, …

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Term Limits: What Do They Do?

15 states legislatures have term limits, but what does this mean? What are term limits supposed to do, and what observable effects do they have on government? This is the subject of the research I presented at the 2017 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. Term limits place a limit on the amount …

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New Divisions In Indian Country Over Energy Justice

Here: The new administration’s undoing of the Obama administration’s clean environment rules, especially hydraulic fracking regulations and the Clean Power Plan, portend great division in Indian country as the few dozen energy tribes, whether they like it or not, stand apart from the remaining tribes. Energy tribes, such as the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, had sued the government to undo the …

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Thank you UGS200H!

It’s hard to believe another semester is in the books! Over the 2016-17 academic year, I had the pleasure of working with 10 amazing undergraduates (along with Jeff & Bill) in UGS200H. UGS 200H = Undergraduate Honors Research Seminar. This was my first opportunity to co-facilitate a freshman research seminar and work with undergraduates, and …

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Independent Streams (week of May 1)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Full Day Kindergarten: NH Republicans Have Lost Their Minds (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Todd Elder discusses prescription drugs and their impact on children. National Mental Health Survey Finds Widespread Ignorance, Stigma (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Mark Skidmore co-authors national survey on mental health …

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CNGB: China National Gene Bank

Unbeknownst to me I’ve been skyping with a collaborator who has been working from this location. SCMP: China opens first national gene bank, aiming to house hundreds of millions of samples China’s first national gene bank, claimed to be the largest of its kind in the world, officially opened on Thursday to store and carry …

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Review – GFSI Guidance Document Version 7.1

Yesterday the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements (Guidance Document) Version 7.1 was published soon after Version 7 was published February 27, 2017. Regarding Food Fraud, there were NO modifications or clarifications. Link: http://www.mygfsi.com/news-resources/news/press-releases/670-version-7-1-of-gfsi-s-benchmarking-requirements-furthering-harmonisation.html The GFSI press release mentioned that the changes that were made are important due to discussions with FDA regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act. …

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Welcome Back Student Loan Servicers!

Over forty million Americans owe over $1.3 trillion in federal student loans. According to one study, student loan defaults average about 3,000 per day. And each year the federal government spends about $800 million to collect on that debt, principally by contracting with a “patchwork” of private student loan servicers. This is big business for …

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If

Every day, we propagate the E. coli populations in the long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) by transferring 0.1 ml of the previous day’s culture into 9.9 ml of fresh medium. This 100-fold dilution and regrowth back to stationary phase—when the bacteria have exhausted the resources—allow log2 100 = 6.64 generations (doublings) per day. We round that …

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Independent Streams (week of April 24)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems In Richmond, High Number Of Homicides Go Unsolved (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate David Carter talks homicide investigation practices in Richmond, Virginia. Few Democratic Voters Back Syria Bombings. So Why Do So Many Democrats In Congress? (link is external) IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann discusses foreign …

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When Research Gets Misused

There’s a comic that illustrates a phenomenon known all too well by researchers – the tendency for the complex findings of rigorous studies to be boiled down to facile comments about what is or is not true. Press releases and the media seek to pull complex findings together into sound bites that can impact a …

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Von Neumann and Realpolitik

“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” — Thucydides, Melian Dialogue. Von Neumann, Feynman, and Ulam. Adventures of a Mathematician (Ulam): … Once at Christmas time in 1937, we drove from Princeton to Duke University …

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