What Happened After Elite Universities Made Standardized Test Scores Optional?

The New York Times reports: Whether college admissions have changed for the long haul remains unclear. But early data suggests that many elite universities have admitted a higher proportion of traditionally underrepresented students this year — Black, Hispanic and those who were from lower-income communities or were the first generation in their families to go to college, or some combination — than ever before... The easing of the reliance on standardized tests, which critics say often work to the advantage of more educated and affluent families who can afford tutors and test prep, was most likely the most important factor in encouraging minority applicants. Only 46 percent of applications this year came from students who reported a test score, down from 77 percent last year, according to Common App, the not-for-profit organization that offers the application used by more than 900 schools... Schools had been dropping the testing requirement for years, but during the pandemic a wave of 650 schools joined in. In most cases, a student with good scores could still submit them and have them considered; a student who had good grades and recommendations but fell short on test scores could leave them out. Most schools have announced that they will continue the test-optional experiment next year, as the normal rhythm of the school year is still roiled by the pandemic. It is unclear whether the shift foretells a permanent change in how students are selected. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-04-18 19:45:02 preview's
Proposing an Alternative To Renting or Owning a House: Publicly-Owned Housing

"Renting is terrible. Owning is worse. A third option is necessary," argues a recent article in the Atlantic, "a way to rent without making someone else rich." It's written by Shane Phillips, who's the Housing Inititiative Project Manager at UCLA's Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies: Largely as a consequence of housing prices, Generation X held less than half as much wealth in 2019 as Baby Boomers of the same age did two decades earlier, and Millennials are on course to hold even less. Something has gone catastrophically wrong, and the problem won't be solved by doubling down on homeownership; we've seen where that leads. But our current model of renting — a lifetime of uncertainty only to make someone else rich — won't do the job either. We need something new, an innovation on par with the government's development of 30-year mortgages nearly a century ago. We need a housing option that combines the accessibility, flexibility, and limited risk of renting with some of the stability and wealth-generating potential of homeownership. His suggested solutiion? A public-ownership rental option: The foundation of the program would be quite simple: public ownership of housing, acquired or built with government loans — though run by local for-profit or nonprofit property managers — and rented at market prices. No saving for a down payment (or being given one by family) and no qualifying for a mortgage. The only requirements for participation in the public-ownership option would be (1) move in, and (2) pay rent. As the loans were paid down, the equity would accrue to the tenants, minus the cost of operating and maintaining the building, administrative costs, and so on. Unlike rent-to-own programs, however, this option would never require that the tenant take out a mortgage. A renter would never truly "own" her unit. But she would claim a stake in the public portfolio of properties and be able to draw on that asset, perhaps in the form of monthly payments after a few years of renting, or larger dividends later in life, much like Social Security. The benefit could be transferred to any publicly owned apartment, allowing tenants to build wealth without being locked in place. After 35 or 40 years, a tenant might no longer owe any rent at all... Renting in a public-ownership building would be an option for the large number of middle-income individuals who lack the resources or the immediate desire to become homeowners. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-04-18 18:45:02 preview's
How a True-Crime Podcast Led to an Arrest in a 25-Year-Old Cold Case

"A true-crime podcast has been credited with providing valuable information in a missing person case from the 1990s after two men were arrested," reports Newsweek: Kristin Smart, 19, of Stockton, California, went missing in May 1996 after returning to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo. The case received widespread attention from Chris Lambert's Your Own Backyard podcast dedicated to investigating Smart's disappearance, which he began in September 2019. The last person who was thought to have seen Smart alive was Paul Flores, 44, who was also a freshman at the time, when he offered to walk Smart back to her dorm. Since Smart's disappearance, Flores has been a person of interest, suspect, and prime suspect. Now, District Attorney Dan Dow alleges that Flores killed her in his dorm room following an attempted rape. On Tuesday, April 13, Flores was arrested for her murder, and his father Ruben Flores, 80, was arrested as an accessory to murder for allegedly helping his son conceal Smart's body, which has never been found. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said that they arrested the father and son on Tuesday after a search at Ruben Flores' home using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs last month resulted in new evidence linked to Smart's disappearance... Parkinson also credited the Your Own Backyard podcast with raising awareness of the case which resulted in "valuable information" after a key witness came forward. The Associated Press calls it "the latest in a line of true-crime podcasts credited with producing results in court," noting investigations by the Up and Vanished podcast also "led a man to confess to killing a Georgia beauty queen." And they list some of the "compelling clues" uncovered by the podcaster investigating Kristin Smart's disappearance: A former colleague of Paul Flores' mother, Susan Flores, told him Mrs. Flores came into work after Memorial Day weekend 1996 — when Smart went missing — saying she didn't sleep well because her husband had gotten a phone call in the middle of the night and left in his car. "The speculation has been all along that Paul called his dad in the middle of the night and his dad came up and helped him get rid of Kristin's body," Lambert said. A tenant who lived for a year at Susan Flores' home told him she heard a watch alarm every morning at 4:20 a.m. Smart had worked as a lifeguard at 5 a.m. at the Cal Poly pool, so it's possible she set her watch to wake up at that early hour. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-04-18 17:45:01 preview's
Founder of Adobe Dies at Age 81

Long-time Slashdot reader sandbagger brings the news that Charles 'Chuck' Geschke, the co-founder of Adobe, had died at the age of 81. The company started in co-founder John Warnock's garage in 1982, and was named after the Adobe Creek which ran behind Warnock's home, offering pioneering capabilities in "What you see is what you get" (or WYSIWYG) desktop publishing. Gizmodo reports: "This is a huge loss for the entire Adobe community and the technology industry, for whom he has been a guide and hero for decades," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen wrote in an email to staff. "As co-founders of Adobe, Chuck and John Warnock developed groundbreaking software that has revolutionized how people create and communicate, " he continued. "Chuck instilled a relentless drive for innovation in the company, resulting in some of the most transformative software inventions, including the ubiquitous PDF, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Photoshop." After earning a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, Geschke met Warnock while working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, according to the Mercury News. The two left the company in 1982 and founded Adobe to develop software. Their first product was Adobe PostScript, which Narayen lauded as "an innovative technology that provided a radical new way to print text and images on paper and sparked the desktop publishing revolution." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-04-18 16:45:03 preview's
Fermilab’s Muon g-2 Experiment Finally Gives Particle Physicists a Hint of What Lies Beyond the Standard Model

The results of the first run of the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab indicate that there could be physics beyond the Standard Model that we simply haven't seen yet! The post Fermilab’s Muon g-2 Experiment Finally Gives Particle Physicists a Hint of What Lies Beyond the Standard Model appeared first on Universe Today.
2021-04-18 15:30:03 preview's
'No One Was Driving the Car': 2 Dead After Fiery Tesla Crash

Texas TV station KPRC 2 reports that two men are dead after a Tesla "crashed into a tree and no one was driving the vehicle, officials say." Long-time Slashdot readers AmiMoJo and McGruber both submitted the story: There was a person in the passenger seat of the front of the car and in the rear passenger seat of the car. Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said authorities believe no one else was in the car and that it burst into flames immediately. He said it he believes it wasn't being driven by a human. Harris County Constable Precinct 4 deputies said the vehicle was traveling at a high speed when it failed to negotiate a cul-de-sac turn, ran off the road and hit the tree. KPRC 2 reporter Deven Clarke spoke to one man's brother-in-law who said he was taking the car out for a spin with his best friend, so there were just two in the vehicle. The owner, he said, backed out of the driveway, and then may have hopped in the back seat only to crash a few hundred yards down the road... Authorities said they used 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames because the vehicle's batteries kept reigniting. At one point, Herman said, deputies had to call Tesla to ask them how to put out the fire in the battery. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-04-18 14:45:01 preview's
These Are Our Favorite Hair Straighteners

Curls and waves are beautiful. But when you want to smooth them out, these hot tools (including irons, a brush, and a comb) work wonders.
2021-04-18 09:15:02 preview's
Mathematicians Settle the Erd?s Coloring Conjecture

Fifty years ago, three mathematicians came up with a graph theory problem that they thought they might solve on the spot. A team has finally settled it.
2021-04-18 08:15:02 preview's
Ecobee’s Ecosystem Is an Easy Way to Embrace the Smart Home

For the past six months, this Alexa-integrated security and thermostat platform made my house feel safer and more comfortable.
2021-04-18 08:15:02 preview's
The Pandemic Proved That Our Toilets Are Crap

The core technologies for sewage systems were developed over a hundred years ago. It's time to get better, healthier updates in the pipeline.
2021-04-18 08:15:02