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Sat, 08 May 2021
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Study finds that U.S. high school dropout rate higher than thought and hasn't improved in years

University of Minnesota sociologists have found that the U.S. high school dropout rate is considerably higher than most people think -- with one in four students not graduating -- and has not improved appreciably in recent decades. Their findings point to discrepancies in the two major data sources on which most governmental and non-governmental agencies base their findings.

The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) is widely used by governmental and non-governmental sources -- from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to the White House -- to report high school dropout rates. The CPS paints a rosy picture, showing dropout rates at about 10 percent in recent years and declining some 40 percent over the past generation. On the other hand, measures of high school completion based on the National Center for Education Statistics' Common Core of Data survey (CCD) paint a darker picture, with high school completion rates holding steady at about 75 percent in recent decades.

Health

Japan's Minamata Disease still lingers

The dawn is still only a faint glow beyond distant mountains, but fisherman Akinori Mori and his wife, Itsuko, are already hard at work on their boat, reeling in nets of squid, fish and crabs.

Nothing about this placid scene reveals that Japan's worst environmental disaster unfolded here.

Red Flag

Bristol-Myers Squibb to pay $515 million for doctor kickback scheme

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and its subsidiary, Apothecon, have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle a broad array of federal and state civil allegations involving their drug marketing and pricing practices, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said today.

Comment: "And don't worry investors. We'll recover the money in more straight forward ways."


Ambulance

Superbugs claim 427 lives over past five years in Northern Ireland

Two of the deadliest hospital superbugs have helped cause the deaths of at least 427 patients in Northern Ireland over the past five years, it was revealed last night.

The serious threat of hospital- acquired infections was underlined by new Government figures which detail how many deaths have been officially registered as linked to MRSA and Clostridium Difficile since 2002.

Red Flag

Avian flu, H7N3, confirmed in Saskatchewan

Avian influenza has been confirmed at a large chicken farm near Regina, officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Thursday.

The H7N3 strain of the virus found at Pedigree Poultry at Regina Beach is fatal to birds, but is not dangerous to humans, the agency said. All 50,000 birds at the farm will be destroyed with carbon dioxide gas over the next few days.

©CBC
Saskatchewan farmers produced about 23 million chickens in 2005, according to the provincial Agriculture Department.

Ambulance

Arizona Boy Dies Of Rare Infection, Naegleria fowleri

A 14-year-old Lake Havasu boy has become the sixth victim to die nationwide this year of a microscopic organism that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain.

Aaron Evans died Sept. 17 of Naegleria fowleri, an organism doctors said he probably picked up a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu.

Heart

How the Heart Can Rule the Head

Many philosophers have argued that people make decisions about what's right and wrong based on moral principles and rational thought. But other philosophers--and more recently, some psychologists and neuroscientists--have argued that there's more to the story. When faced with a moral dilemma, these scholars say, we rely on emotional reactions as well as our powers of reasoning. In a study of brain damage, published today, neuroscientists report evidence that emotions indeed exert a powerful influence on moral judgments.

In the new study, Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and colleagues examined moral reasoning in six people who had damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), a brain region that regulates emotions. The researchers presented the patients with moral dilemmas that forced them to decide whether it was acceptable to sacrifice one person's life to save several others. For example, participants had to decide whether to flip a switch that diverts a runaway trolley from a track leading to five workers to a track leading to just one worker. The researchers also gauged the decisions of 12 people without brain damage and 12 patients with damage to brain regions unconnected to emotion.

Health

Brain Damage 'Causes Bad Behavior'



©BBC
Damage to the brain can change behaviour.

Anti-social behaviour may be linked in some cases to brain damage suffered as a child, researchers have found.

A team from the Institute of Child Health has found that brain damage inflicted on a specific area of the brain can lead to serious anti-social behaviour in puberty and adulthood.

The discovery raises the possibility that brain scans could be used in future to determine which people are most likely to suffer from long-term behavioural problems following an accident.

Comment: The effects of such brain damage on individuals and societies goes much further than isolated 'bad behavior.' Andrew Lobaczewski writes:
The pathological character of such people, generally containing a component of hysteria, develops through the years. The non-damaged psychological functions become overdeveloped to compensate, which means that instinctive and [emotional] reactions predominate. Relatively vital people become belligerent, risk-happy, and brutal in both word and deed.

Persons with an innate talent for intuiting psychological situations tend to take advantage of this gift in an egotistical and ruthless fashion. In the thought process of such people, a short cut way develops which bypasses the handicapped function, thus leading from associations directly to words, deeds, and decisions which are not subject to any dissuasion. Such individuals interpret their talent for intuiting situations and making split-second oversimplified decisions as a sign of their superiority compared to normal people, who need to think for long time, experiencing self-doubt and conflicting motivations. The fate of such creatures does not deserve to be pondered long.

Such "Stalinistic characters" traumatize and actively spellbind others, and their influence finds it exceptionally easy to bypass the controls of common sense. A large proportion of people tend to credit such individuals with special powers, thereby succumbing to their egotistic beliefs. If a parent manifests such a defect, no matter how minimal, all the children in the family evidence anomalies in personality development. [Political Ponerology: The Scientific Study of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes]



Info

Wal-Mart Expands $4 Drugs Program

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its national $4 generic prescription drug program by about 10 percent, adding drugs for some new conditions.

The world's largest retailer said Thursday it has added drugs covering glaucoma, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fungal infections and acne.

Propaganda

No Shock! Federal Study run by former Merck employee says Thimerosal doesn't affect brain function

A mercury-based preservative once used in many vaccines does not raise the risk of neurological problems in children, concludes a large federal study that researchers say should reassure parents about the safety of shots their kids received a decade or more ago.

However, the study did not examine autism - the developmental disorder that some critics blame on vaccines. A separate study due out in a year will look at that issue, said scientists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the latest analysis and published results in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.