Post recession, college degree is key to even entry-level jobs

With the competition for new jobs as fierce as ever, a college diploma is no longer an asset job seekers can do without, new research shows, LiveScience reports. A study by CareerBuilder discovered that employers are looking for educated applicants to fill not only highly skilled positions, but also lower-skilled jobs. More than 30 percent of the hiring managers and human resources professionals surveyed are hiring more employees with college degrees for positions that were historically held by high school graduates. The research shows the trend is most prevalent among financial services companies, but also spans a variety of industries, including manufacturing, transportation and utilities, information technology, professional and business services, retail and hospitality…

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Math careers just don’t add up for women

Having skills suited for a variety of careers helps explain why few women pursue math and science jobs, new research finds, LiveScience.com reports. A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan revealed that women may be less likely to want careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) because they have more career choices, not because they have less ability.

“Our study shows that it’s not lack of ability or differences in ability that orients females to pursue non-STEM careers, it’s the greater likelihood that females with high math ability also have high verbal ability,” said Ming-Te Wang, one of the study’s co-authors and developmental psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. “Because they’re good at both, they can consider a wide range of occupations.”

As part of the study, researchers examined data from 1,490 college-bound U.S. students that were surveyed in both their senior year of high school and then again at age 33. The two surveys combined to question participants on SAT scores, various aspects of their motivational beliefs, and values and their occupations……Read More

Shakespeare stored in DNA files

Floppy disks, jump drives, DNA? Scientists have developed a way to encode music and text files into DNA, the molecules that normally hold the instructions for life, LiveScience reports. The new method, described today (Jan. 23) in the journal Nature, is extremely expensive right now, but eventually it could be used to store digital files without electricity for thousands of years. And since DNA is so compact, vast amounts of data could be stored in one test tube, said study author Nick Goldman, a geneticist at the European Bioinformatics Institute in the U.K…

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Study: Minority students get less critical feedback from teachers

Black and Latino students may be getting less critical, but helpful, feedback from teachers than their white counterparts, a new educational study indicates, LiveScience reports.

“The social implications of these results are important; many minority students might not be getting input from instructors that stimulates intellectual growth and fosters achievement,” study researcher Kent Harber, a Rutgers-Newark psychology professor, said in a press release.

This positive bias in feedback to minority students may be contributing to the achievement gap between white and minority students, a stubborn national problem, Harber said. The study “tested” 113 white middle-school and high-school teachers in two public school districts, one middle class and white, and the other working class and racially mixed……Read More

Universities weigh in on the science of Tweeting

A lot can be said in 140 characters but, according to new research, a quarter of people aren’t paying attention to most of it, LiveScience reports. At least that is what researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, MIT and Georgia Institute of Technology found in a study that examined whether people liked or disliked the 200 million tweets that are sent each day.  According to the researchers, a quarter of tweets are rated as not worth reading.  

“If we understood what is worth reading and why, we might design better tools for presenting and filtering content, as well as help people understand the expectations of other users,” said Paul André, lead author of the study.

To investigate those expectations, the researchers set up “Who Gives a Tweet?” a website which encouraged users to rate their like or dislike of other people’s tweets……Read More

College students would give up sex to not lug textbooks

Many college students would go to great lengths to avoid carrying textbooks, with some even willing to give up sex and dating for a year, according to a new survey, LiveScience reports. Education software company Kno found that students would make surprising sacrifices to get out of lugging around heavy textbooks. In fact, 34 percent would prefer to stay in every Saturday night for a semester and half of the respondents said they would eat boxed macaroni and cheese for a month rather than carry textbooks every day of school for a semester…

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A tougher, greener battery could power phones in Africa

One of the problems facing developing countries is that people in rural communities tend to walk around with dead cell phones. That is because mobile devices are cheaper than ever, but power plants are still expensive. But as a work-around in off-the-grid communities, phone owners have learned to run charge cords off of used car batteries. Now, Fenix International, a San Francisco-based design firm, may have a better solution for these communities: a new ruggedized battery and generator system called ReadySet, LiveScience reports. The device, its designers believe, could put more electricity in off-the-grid homes, create jobs, reduce indoor air pollution by replacing kerosene lanterns with LEDs, and eliminate car battery acid leaks. Plus, the telecom industry is hooked on it. Network carriers can make 10 to 14 percent more money from users who can keep their phones charged, and an estimated 500 million cell phone users worldwide live off the grid, according to a report from the mobile communications group GSMA…

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Water-cooled supercomputers on the way

Around the world, engineers are searching for energy-efficient ways to cool down racks of computers in warehouses that get as hot as an oven while powering the internet, LiveScience reports. A new study suggests warm water might just be the wave of the future for cooling these energy-hogging data centers–and recouping some of their waste heat as useful energy. Early next month, IBM and a Swiss university plan to test out this concept with an innovative water-cooled supercomputer called Aquasar that will cut energy costs and contribute to campus heating needs. At 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 70 degrees Celsius), the liquid chilling the electronic guts of Aquasar will be hot by human standards. But this “warm” cold water will keep the computers’ components below a performance-hurting 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius) and pack enough energy for other purposes. “Essentially [Aquasar] will be a thermal power plant,” said Ingmar Meijer of IBM Research-Zurich in Switzerland, who wrote an article on the water-cooling of servers appearing today in the journal Science. “You feed your electrical energy in there…but the electrical energy is not lost, it is just converted to thermal energy that you can use for building heating…”

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