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Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption

BEIJING – Chinese universities are plagued with corruption. Last November, the clique around Cai Rongsheng at Renmin University got busted. The 48-years old ‘Chief of the Student Admissions Office’ tried to flee China from an airport in Shenzhen with a fake passport and a wish for Canada.


As the South China Morning Post reported, Mr. Cai allegedly embezzled “hundreds of millions of yuan.” He wasn’t a lone wolf. A senior secretary, Hu Juan, came under investigation too. Hu was close to the former president of Renmin University, Ji Baocheng. Mr. Cai apparently left a note in which he accused Ji Baocheng of fraud. Mr. Ji had been tipped off for corruption before, back in 2010, but was not investigated.

Fighting Flies and Tigers

The new government led by president Xi Jinping pledged to “go after flies and tigers” – (yao jianchi laohu, cangying, yiqi da). Recent prominent ‘fly’ cases involved Guo Youming, a vice governor of central Hubei province, Xu Jie, a deputy head of the national petitions office, and Liu Tienan, a former deputy head of China’s top planning agency. All were removed from offices, the Shenzhen Daily reported.

The most prominent ‘tiger’ cases of 2013 involved Bo Xilai, the former politburo member and governor of Chongqing; and the gang around Liu Zhijun, the former railway minister, which include Bai Zhongren, president of China Railway Group Ltd. (who jumped from a building and died on Jan. 4); and Ma Junfei, the vice director for railway in Inner Mongolia. According to state media, over 108,000 officials were caught in China’s anti-corruption web between January and December 2013.

Elite Universities in the Focus

Peking University, the mother lode of Chinese education, recently expelled Xia Yeliang, an economics professor and advocate for democracy. The school terminated his contract over his bad conduct and poor teaching quality. Mr. Xia retaliated in a notorious interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he accuses the sages of routinely falsifying invoices and misappropriating research funds.

Here’s a quote from WSJ: “Some 70% of research funds, he [Mr. Xia] says, goes to personal use—"travel, hotels, meals, computers, mobile phones, iPads, printers, all things you can imagine […]"

State media reports that the government is closely investigating the entire ‘C9 League’ – the alliance of China nine top universities. Xi Jinping’s massive crackdown on corruption has finally reached the ivory towers.

Image credit: lzf/Shutterstock.com

Is the universe a graveyard? This theory suggests humanity may be alone.

Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?

According to the Great Filter theory, Earth might be one of the only planets with intelligent life. And that's a good thing (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team [STScI/AURA]).
Surprising Science

Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.

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The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

Future of Learning
  • Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
  • One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
  • "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Personal Growth

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

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