Archive for July 13th, 2010

Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admission?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 13, 2010 10:21 am

photo_6185_portrait_largeThe talented professors/writers Claudia Dreifus and Andrew Hacker have a new book coming out in August called Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—and What We Can Do About It. It’s a topic CM and I frequently explore here so I’m very much looking forward to this one. Yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Eduction included an interesting article adapted from their book entitled, Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admission? Good question.

Hacker and Dreifus begin:

Tuition charges at both public and private colleges have more than doubled—in real dollars—compared with a generation ago.

For most Americans, educating their offspring will be the largest financial outlay, after their home mortgage, they’ll ever make. And if parents can’t or won’t pay, young people often find themselves burdened with staggering loans. Graduating with six figures’ worth of debt is becoming increasingly common.

So are colleges giving good value for those investments? What are families buying? What are individuals—and our society as a whole—gaining from higher education?

So after years of interviews with policymakers, students, and university leaders… Their conclusion? Read More

The Super-Hot Atlantic

By Chris Mooney | July 13, 2010 7:58 am

atlanticsst_ams_2010152-415pxAnd no, I don’t mean sexy.

This is a NASA image from the start of hurricane season, showing the sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and especially in the main hurricane development region.

I got the image from this great analysis over at the WWF Climate Blog, which is mainly devoted to summarizing a recent congressional briefing on why we very likely have a really bad hurricane year to look forward to.

Some observations that emerged from that meeting:

* We’ve never had a pre-season forecast of 23 storms before. Let’s hope that is an overshot, rather than an undershot.

* The Atlantic is even hotter than it was before the devastating 2005 hurricane season.

* Oh yeah, and there’s oil out there. (The title of the briefing was “Hurricanes and Oil Will Mix: Managing Risk Now.”)

How much of the Atlantic’s current, alarming temperature has to do with global warming? Well, listen to Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research:

When asked about the degree to which rising greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere were contributing to the trend of rising  sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, Holland said the temperatures could not be explained without accounting for rising GHG concentrations.  He said that while some researchers thought the rising GHG levels might account for 60-80% of the temperature anomaly, he estimated that about half was due to rising GHGs.

I get the feeling we may have a summer for climate change coming, just as 2005 was, and just as 1988 was.

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