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The Wildest Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories, Debunked

June 10, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

The wowed audiences in 1968 for creating a realistic image of outer space. It was so compelling that some conspiracy theorists later wondered if the government had actually hired Kubrick to film the moon landing in a soundstage (possibly like the one James Bond ran through in the 1971 film Diamonds Are Forever).

The thing is, the moon landing footage didn’t look real because Kubrick filmed it—Kubrick’s movie 2001 looked real because Kubrick enlisted astronomical artists and aerospace engineers to help him with it. The only “evidence” that Kubrick filmed the moon landing has itself proved to be a hoax.

Denial of America’s great progress in space exploration and belief in these myths is “more of an ideological thing—a political thing—than it is a scientific thing,” Fienberg notes.

To those who know the moon landing was real, conspiracy theories that it was a hoax may seem silly and innocuous. But their consequences aren’t: they spread misinformation, make people susceptible to other false theories and could earn you a punch from Buzz Aldrin.

…read more


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Education Professors Ignore the Evidence on School Choice

June 10, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

Here we go again. Just a few days ago, two education professors
released a shockingly misleading piece on the private school choice

Here are the facts.

The authors claim that the “latest evidence” shows
that the Washington, D.C., voucher program has “large,
negative impacts on academic achievement.” The only problem
is that the most recent federal evaluation of the D.C. voucher program
does not show any negative effects on student test scores
three years. In fact, the study finds statistically significant
positive effects on reports of safety, satisfaction, and
attendance. What’s more, the D.C. choice program produces
these benefits at about a third of the cost of nearby public schools.

There are a lot of
disagreements in the school choice debate. But we should all be
able to agree on one thing: At a bare minimum, we should be able to
trust academics to responsibly report (and engage with) the
scientific evidence. Yet, here we are.

How could anyone get these findings so wrong?

The authors irresponsibly cited the first-
and second-year evaluations of the D.C. voucher program
which found negative effects on math test scores, but no effects on
reading, while completely omitting the most recent third-year results finding no effects on test scores.
In other words, students that won the lottery to use the voucher
program caught up to their public school peers on math achievement
after three years.

But by omitting the most recent D.C. evaluation, the authors
were able to further (falsely) claim that other researchers were
wrong to think that initial test score losses would disappear since
“more recent follow-up studies show that the harm is
significant and sustained.” Obviously, citing the most recent school voucher study, showing just that,
would contradict their own claim.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that both education
scholars missed the most recent school choice results. After all,
the study had only been public for a little over three weeks by the
time their piece came out. But overlooking such important results
when summarizing the “latest research” would be
negligent of “researchers who study school choice and education policy.”

The authors cite just three other evaluations (two of which are
nonexperimental) to support the notion that “vouchers harm
student learning.” But researchers should cite all of the
most rigorous existing studies to avoid unintentional
cherry-picking. Here’s the entire picture.

Sixteen random assignment studies link private
school choice programs to student test scores in the United States.
The majority (11) of the 16 gold-standard studies find
statistically significant positive …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How Gay Culture Blossomed During the Roaring Twenties

June 10, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

During Prohibition, gay nightlife and culture reached new heights—at least temporarily.

On a Friday night in February 1926, a crowd of some 1,500 packed the Renaissance Casino in New York City’s .

In addition to these groups, whom social reformers in the early 1900s would call “male sex perverts,” a number of nightclubs and theaters were featuring stage performances by female impersonators; these spots were mainly located in the Levee District on Chicago’s South Side, the Bowery in New York City and other largely working-class neighborhoods in American cities.

By the 1920s, gay men had established a presence in Harlem and the bohemian mecca of Greenwich Village (as well as the seedier environs of Times Square), and the city’s first lesbian enclaves had appeared in Harlem and the Village. Each gay enclave, wrote George Chauncey in his book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, had a different class and ethnic character, cultural style and public reputation.

A 1927 illustration of three transgender women and a man dancing at a nightclub.

Gay Life in the Jazz Age

As the United States entered an era of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity in the years after World War I, cultural mores loosened and a new spirit of sexual freedom reigned. The flapper, with her short hair, figure-skimming dresses and ever-present cigarette and cocktail, would become the most recognizable symbol of the Roaring Twenties, her fame spreading via the new mass media born during that decade. But the ‘20s also saw the flourishing of LGBTQ nightlife and culture that reached beyond the cities, across the country, and into ordinary American homes.

Though New York City may have been the epicenter of the so-called “Pansy Craze,” gay, lesbian and transgender performers graced the stages of nightspots in cities all over the country. Their audiences included many straight men and women eager to experience the culture themselves (and enjoy a good party) as well as ordinary LGBTQ Americans seeking to expand their social networks or find romantic or sexual partners.

READ MORE: 8 Ways ‘The Great Gatsby’ Captured the Roaring Twenties

“It gave them many more possible places they could go to meet other people like themselves,” Heap says of the Pansy Craze and accompanying lesbian or Sapphic craze, of the ‘20s and early to mid-‘30s. “At its height, when many ordinary heterosexual …read more