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Weekend Reads 3/14/15

The Side of the Oklahoma Racist Frat Story That Nobody Is Talking About

We've gotten pretty good at spotting racists in America, and we're okay at punishing them too. But the structures and systems that produce the racists still elude us. Instead, they embed themselves in our psyche and masquerade as the natural order. It's why incidents like the SAE debacle seem to come out of nowhere and shock us out of our post-racial revery.

Expulsion of Two Oklahoma Students Over Video Leads to Free Speech Debate

Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, and prominent legal blogger, wrote that “similar things could be said about a vast range of other speech,” including praise for Muslim groups like Hamas that call for destruction of Israel, which could make Jews uncomfortable, or calls by black students for violent resistance to white police officers, which white students could interpret as hostile.

Unlike Temperatures, Climate Change Deniers Are Falling Fast

Right now, Google uses various methods to rank search engine results, including the number and “authority” of sites that link to other sites. But this method is easy to game, giving pseudo- or anti-science sites higher credence in Google’s results page. Researchers at Google have published a paper proposing instead using “knowledge-based trust,” where the facts of the site are compared to what is commonly known to be true among trusted sources.

 The Secret to How Chameleons Change Color: Nanocrystals

Milinkovitch thinks the new research could help point out a natural method for developing materials, fabrics and surfaces change color in response to external stimuli. Smolynoniv points out that the technology could be developed in a way that allows for more efficient detection of specific materials, like blood sugar in diabetics or oil spills in the ocean.

 

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