Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Japan’s earthquake shifted balance of the planet

    planetimageLast week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has actually moved the island closer to the United States and shifted the planet's axis.

    The quake caused a rift 15 miles below the sea floor that stretched 186 miles long and 93 miles wide, according to the AP. The areas closest to the epicenter of the quake jumped a full 13 feet closer to the United States, geophysicist Ross Stein at the United States Geological Survey told The New York Times.

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  • FIRST LOOK: Meltdown alert at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant

    Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • A Jewish prayer ritual prompted Alaska Airlines staffers to shut down the cockpit and go on alert. (AP)

    • State immigration crackdowns are losing steam around the country. (NYT)

    • State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley abruptly quit over the weekend over his comments about the Pentagon's treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. (CNN)

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  • FINAL LOOK: California man swept to sea by tsunami waves

    Here is our roster of stories that managed to evade the full-on blog treatment:

    • One man is missing  after he was swept away while trying to take photos of the tsunami coming ashore in Northern California. (Mercury News)

    • A retired general will inspect an the Air Force Academy after allegations of religious intolerance. (AP)

    • Wisconsin GOP Gov. Walker signed the anti-collective bargaining bill today amid protest. (CNN)

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  • Fed official heckled: ‘I can’t eat an iPad’

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    Reuters reports that New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley was heckled at a speech in Queens today when he suggested that the rising cost of food is offset by how cheap iPads are.

    Dudley said said that while food prices may be rising, the cost of some other goods are going down, which evens out the overall inflation picture. The Fed's inflation estimates do not take into account volatile energy or food prices. The crowd was not impressed:

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  • Can Hillary Clinton boost women’s math scores?

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    Can Secretary of State Hillary Clinton help women score higher on math tests?

    It depends on if they like her, apparently. A new study by Cheryl Taylor and other researchers at Texas Christian University has found that reading a brief biography of Clinton helped some women score better on math tests--but only if those women thought Clinton earned her success.

    Researchers speculate that the performance boost comes from alleviating the "stereotype threat"--the documented tendency of some test-takers to actually perform worse when they fear they are confirming a negative stereotype about their gender or race. Studies have shown that women perform worse on math tests if they are reminded that many people think they are inherently worse at the subject than men. The effect is heightened if men are around when women are taking the test. (White men also fall prey to the stereotype threat if they are testing in a room dominated by Asian-Americans, a group that, according to popular folklore, racks up superior math scores and grades.)

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  • Melinda Gates says states should dump seniority layoff policy

    In an interview with Yahoo's Anna Robertson, education reformer Melinda Gates reiterated her criticism of last hired, first fired union policies. Under these contract agreements, school administrators who want to reduce staff are obligated to first lay off teachers who have been on staff the shortest amount of time.

    Gates said school districts that are struggling with budget shortfalls should lay off poorly performing teachers, regardless of how long they've been in the profession. You can watch the interview, conducted in New York, where Gates is speaking at Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit, below:

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  • Watch raw footage of the Japan earthquake and tsunami

    An 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northeast Japan spawned a ferocious tsunami that's caused massive destruction; flattening whole cities, starting raging fires, and killing hundreds.

    We've gathered some videos that show the scope of the disaster, and you can also see The Atlantic's collection of photos of the quake.

    The death toll has climbed above 10,000, with thousands still missing. In this stirring footage, you see the power of the tsunami tearing through the city of Kesennuma:

    As the sun rose on Japan, the rescue operations began:

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  • Abstinence activists rally in DC for more funding

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    A group of more than 50 students involved in abstinence-only education programs around the country are descending on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to restore federal funding to their programs.

    President Obama eliminated all federal funding for abstinence-only education after he took office, citing independent evaluations that found the programs didn't convince kids to delay sex and, in fact, lowered condom use among participants who did have sex. In a compromise measure, Congress restored $250 million over five years to abstinence education in last year's health care overhaul, but that is still a much smaller outlay than the programs received under President George W. Bush.

    Sixteen-year-old Akila Copeland of Colorado is the president of her school's chapter of Friends First, an abstinence group that mentors middle-school girls. "We have felt the stress of the loss of money," Copeland told The Lookout. "We normally have scholarships for students to go to winter trips and we no longer have that."

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  • Dallas Fed says more immigration would boost economy

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    In a newly published report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is urging the government to allow more high-skilled immigrants into the United States. The report says that while low-skilled immigrants can be a drain on local economies, high-skilled immigrants tend to pay more in taxes than they take back in government services. The study also notes that such immigrants also create jobs for Americans by starting businesses at a higher rate than native-born workers.

    You can read some key findings from the report after the jump:

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  • Most schools will be labeled failures under federal ed law

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    Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned yesterday that 80,000 of the nation's 100,000 public schools will be labeled failures under President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law, which President Obama wants Congress to significantly alter this year.

    Education experts told the New York Times they thought Duncan's estimate was overstated--essentially a tactic to scare Congress into action on reforming the spending bill. But according to EdWeek, lawmakers on the House Education and the Workforce Committee seemed uninterested in the data, instead asking Duncan to justify the existence of a federal Department of Education.

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