OUSU to decide on Free Education Demo

first_imgOUSU’s Trustee Board is to decide whether a sufficient risk assessment has been conducted by the organisers of a demonstration in favour Free Education for students to be safely sent to the event.The review follows concerns raised by the NUS about the event due to “an unacceptable level of risk that this demonstration currently poses to our members”. The NUS has since withdrawn its support. OUSU is now gathering the necessary information from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), NUS and risk assessors, before the decision is made.The NUS decided to withdraw its support for the demonstration, in a statement made on Tuesday by NUS President Toni Pearce and all NUS UK full-time officers. This reversed a decision made by the National Executive Committee of the NUS on 16th September to endorse the demonstration and encourage unions to mobilise for it.The Free Education demonstration has already gained the support of OUSU and 15 JCRs, with many JCRs also pledging money towards transportation to the event. The demo was organised by the NCAFC, the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the Young Greens, and subsequently acquired NUS support.The statement lays out concerns about the accessibility of the demonstration to disabled students, “inadequate measures” in place to mitigate against unspecified significant risks, the lack of public liability insurance and concerns from NUS Liberation Officers about whether the protest would be a safe space. It is further stated, “We do not believe there is sufficient time between now and the demonstration for these risks to be mitigated.”The timing of the statement gives students’ unions “the minimum period” to review the situation and make decisions about whether to participate in the protest, according to the NUS statement.The NCAFC have rejected the claims made by the NUS in the statement, claiming that they met every deadline laid out by the NUS and risk assessors, and have published anonymised emails of their interactions with the organisation. Furthermore, the NCAFC has claimed that “the biggest safety threat to students on a demonstration is the police”, which they say will be made greater by the NUS distancing itself from the demonstration.Several NUS groups have also seemingly decided to continue to support the protest, in defiance of the national leadership, including the NUS Black Students’ Campaign and the International Students’ Campaign. NCAFC national committee member Beth Redmond commented, “Student unions are very supportive of the demo, and we are building a mass, sustainable movement for free education.”NUS Scotland President Gordon Maloney said, in contrast to NUS UK, “I can’t understand the decision that some members of the NUS leadership have taken. The demonstration is going ahead, and all that pulling out of the demonstration can achieve is putting students in danger: when they mobilise,  they need their national union to be there for them, not abandon them.”last_img read more

Oteil & Friends Announce NOLA Show During Jazz Fest

first_imgOteil Burbridge has officially announced an Oteil & Friends show in New Orleans during Jazz Fest. On Friday, May 3rd, at the Civic Theatre, the Dead & Company bassist will team up with keyboardist Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band), guitarists Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive) and John Kadlecik (Furthur, Dark Star Orchestra), drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce, Break Science), trumpeter and vocalist Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), vocalist Alfreda Gerald, trombonist and vocalist Natalie Cressman (TAB), and percussionist Weedie Braimah (Trombone Shorty, The Nth Power).Pre-sale tickets are available today at 10 am CT with the password “OTEILCIVIC”, while general on-sale opens tomorrow at 11 am CT. Tickets and more information can be found here.Yesterday, Lettuce confirmed their fourth annual RAGE!FEST with Oteil Burbridge and The Soul Rebels for a night to remember on Thursday, May 2nd at the Joy Theatre, also in New Orleans during Jazz Fest.last_img read more

Major moral decisions use general-purpose brain circuits to manage uncertainty

first_imgHarvard researchers have found that humans can make difficult moral decisions using the same brain circuits as those used in more mundane choices related to money and food.These circuits, also found in other animals, put together two critical pieces of information:  How good or bad are the things that might happen?  What are the odds that they will happen, depending on one’s choice?  The results suggest that complex moral decisions need not rely on a specific “moral sense.”Graduate student Amitai Shenhav and assistant professor of psychology Joshua D. Greene of present the findings this week in the journal Neuron.“It seems that our capacity for complex, life-and-death decisions depends on brain structures that originally evolved for making more basic, self-interested decisions about things like obtaining calories,” says Shenhav, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard.  “Many of the brain regions we find to be active in major moral decisions have been shown to perform similar functions when people and animals make commonplace decisions about ordinary goods such as money and food.”Some researchers have argued that moral judgments are produced by a “moral faculty” in the brain, but Shenhav and Greene’s work indicates that at least some moral decisions rely on general mechanisms also used by the brain in evaluating other kinds of choices.“Research in neuroeconomics has identified distinct brain structures responsible for tracking the probability of various outcomes, the magnitude of various outcomes, and for integrating these two kinds of information into a decision,” says Greene.  “Our work shows that the parts of the brain people use for this last task — combining assessments of outcome probability and magnitude into a final decision — closely coincide with the brain regions we use daily when deciding how to spend money or choose foods.”Using real-time brain imaging, Shenhav and Greene presented 34 subjects with hypothetical choices between saving one life with certainty or saving several lives, but with no guarantee that this latter effort will succeed.  The experiment systematically varied the number of lives at risk and the odds of success.The authors found that a brain region called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex tracked the “expected moral value” of the uncertain option, integrating information about the number of lives to be saved and the probability of saving them.  Other brain regions separately tracked outcome magnitude and outcome probability.The work advances our understanding of how people make decisions affecting the lives of others.  Many of the most consequential such decisions are made by policymakers:  In some cases, a single choice can impact thousands of lives.“For example, how did President Truman decide to deploy nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945, ending World War II, but at an enormous cost?” asks Greene.  “Our results suggest that such decisions employ the same basic mechanisms our brains use when we evaluate whether it’s worth spending a few hundred dollars for an extended warranty on a new car.”Truman’s historic decision shows parallels to ones made by ordinary people every day.  It involved trade-offs among outcomes of different magnitude:  How many lives would be lost?  How many saved?  Second, Truman’s decision was made under uncertainty.  He could, at best, assign probabilities to possible outcomes.Likewise, ordinary decision-makers must compare the relative sizes of costs and benefits, as when a car buyer balances the cost of a warranty against the cost of repairs.  The consumer doesn’t know at the outset whether she will have to pay for expensive repairs down the road.“Truman, like ordinary decision-makers, had to put information about probability and magnitude together to reach a decision,” Shenhav says.  “And like the car buyer, Truman likely relied on his ventromedial prefrontal cortex to evaluate his options.”Shenhav and Greene’s research was funded by the National Science Foundation.last_img read more

Film sparks discussion of children’s lit at Askwith Forum

first_imgThe value of children’s literature in our society was examined by a panel of experts ― including creators of the new documentary Library of the Early Mind and several prominent children’s book authors ― at the Askwith Forum on Oct. 21.“People read books when they are kids, then read the books to their kids but have given up on the idea that children’s books are important for the average person,” said Steven Withrow, co-producer of the film.Library of the Early Mind, directed and co-produced by Withrow and Edward Delaney, examines the power of children’s literature through the eyes of authors who create it and highlights the stories behind many popular books including Hannah Has Two Mommies, Rotten Ralph, and Imogene’s Antlers. Following a screening of the film, Delaney and Withrow were joined by children’s book authors and illustrators Lois Lowry, Lesléa Newman, Jerry Pinkney, and Padma Venkatraman, and children’s book editor Roger Sutton to reflect on the film and children’s literature today.The panelists, who are also featured in the film, said they were moved by the film’s ability to capture both the essence of writing such books and the impact of reading them. Read Full Storylast_img read more

The significance of random facts…what do they provide?

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michael Cochrum Michael has worked in the consumer lending industry since 1989. In 1999, he joined the credit union industry, working for the Texas Credit Union League’s credit union. Mr. Cochrum … Web: www.cudirect.com Details What some people consider random facts can really be significant indicators.  During a recent conversation with a colleague, I described myself as an “Encyclopedia of Useless Random Facts.”  What is seemingly trivial information to others is often of interest to me.  Take for example that a higher percentage of U.S. presidents were left handed than the general population.  I’m sure that most of us are not really concerned with what hand our president signs legislation with unless, of course, we were running for president.But, what if that random fact pointed to a more meaningful piece of information?  What if a person’s dominate hand somehow correlated to their leadership skills?  What if being left-handed helped individuals cope with the disadvantages of living in a right-hand dominate world and those coping skills translate to a higher self-awareness?  Sometimes, what seems meaningless on the surface could be significant if correlated with another important indicator.  Malcolm Gladwell addresses these “Outliers” in his book of the same title, published in 2008.In his book, Gladwell proves that a person’s birthdate highly correlates to how successful they are in sports.  But, the date a person is born really doesn’t contribute to their athletic ability in any way.  What Gladwell found was that children whose birthdates fell around the cutoff date for entry into the first grade were often held back one year and as a result would end up being the oldest in their class the following year.  Because they were older, and ostensibly more mature, these older students were better prepared for learning and tended to do better in class.As these individuals progressed through their education and into sports, they were often better performers on the field due, again, to their one-year extra maturity.  Coaches tend to give more time and attention to the better performing players, so these older, more mature kids would get more attention from coaches than the younger less mature players.  All of this translated into these children with seemingly insignificant birthdates outperforming their peers on and off the field.  Parents who read this book began holding their children back from first grade to give them that extra edge.  It was called “red-shirting” kindergartners.In 2005, Dr. Michael Burry was one of a handful of people who predicted the collapse of the mortgage industry based on insignificant indicators that he observed in mortgage backed securities.  Very few people believed him and some thought he was completely daft.  He put over $1 Billion on the line betting against the U.S. economy and in favor of something that had not happened in decades, wide-spread mortgage defaults.  As it turns out, he was right and became even richer, capitalizing on others’ unwillingness to believe the insignificant random facts he had discovered.Over the last year, CU Direct’s Advisory Services has been assisting credit unions across the country in identifying some of these seemingly insignificant data points that actually turn out to be highly predictive in the way their loan portfolios perform.  In fact, many of these factors are more predictive than even the credit score at origination. For instance, the existence of a co-borrower of any type decreases the probability of default by 300% for one credit union.CU leaders often feel that their hands are tied when it comes to accurately predicting risk, especially when it comes to new CECL rules.  Many are fearful that changing loss estimate calculations may have a negative impact on ROA, and this may, in fact, be true.  However, one will not know for sure until they have conducted the exercise.For those that are waiting for the magic wand for making these calculations, you should know that it already exists — in the form of custom default predictive models.  These models can help prepare your credit union for the requirements of more accurately predicting losses, well before the requirements take effect.  Like the sports stars with the right birthdates, you are in a position, today, to improve your credit union’s odds for success, and our Advisory Services is prepared to help you make that happen.last_img read more