College President Cuts Own Salary to Pay Low-Wage Workers. Why Can't He Be a Role Model For Other Executives?
Dr. Raymond Bearse, the interim president of Kentucky State University, cut his salary $90,000 (to a paltry $259,745) in order to raise the minimum wage on campus to $10.25.
What's the Latest?
Recently, the lowest paid workers on campus at Kentucky State University were compensated at the state's meager minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The university president, on the other hand, earned a salary of almost $350,000. No one would argue that a university president isn't worth more to his/her institution than, say, a student worker or a gardener. But is there an ethical or moral element in play when an administrator of an institute of higher learning (and, by extension, a values-based organization) is compensated at a rate 25 times that of the lowest head on the totem pole? What about larger not-for-profit organizations like the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, whose executive receives a salary well above $1 million? Can colleges bloated with highly-paid administrators provide an adequate defense for supporting a class of well-compensated executives in an age where income inequality has become such a glaring issue? What is the actual market for people filling senior leadership positions?
What's the Big Idea?
I'm ruminating on these topics because I recently came across a story on Business Insider about Dr. Raymond Bearse, the interim president of Kentucky State University, who cut his salary $90,000 (to a paltry $259,745) in order to raise the full-time minimum wage on campus to $10.25. Bearse is still well-compensated (as Chris Rock would say, he can still afford extra cheese on his Whopper) but his selfless act makes a huge difference to those who benefit from the decision. When taken in context, the impact that $120 more per month will have on those getting raises is much, much larger than the relatively meager $1875/wk pay cut taken by the interim president. Money that may have gone toward Bearse's savings or investments will now be put toward putting food on tables and sustaining the local economy. It also potentially means less of a need for government assistance to subsidize the lives of those paid too little to live. This move makes sense from both an ethical standpoint and an economic one -- the money serves the most good in the hands of those more likely to spend it.
What's fascinating here is that usually when people in similar seats of power make these types of decisions, the cuts necessary to sustain pay raises are rarely taken from their own pockets. Instead you see price hikes on tuition or slashed departmental budgets or some other form of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Very rarely do you see a highly-paid executive say, "you know, I can still live comfortably with less money," and do such a thing.
Bloated executive and administrative salaries are partly the result of a flawed system that depends on the whims of regents, trustees and other board members. More often than not, these board members hail from a similar social class of executives and therefore benefit when they inflate the salaries of CEOs, administrators, and directors.
Without delving too deeply into public and private corporations, the concerning issue exists in the nonprofit sector where various organizations like colleges and charities should conceivably be battling income inequality rather than contributing toward it. But all you have to do is check the salary of a dean and compare it to a lowly adjunct -- who's really benefiting from the outrageous price of higher education? What good does it do to overpay the people at the top and stiff those on the bottom?
It's not a sustainable solution, at least not in the long term. We have to hope more leaders like Dr. Bearse emerge; the only people who can reverse this trend are in positions of power. Doing the right thing may involve pulling a George Washington and giving up some of that power.
But power is a small price to pay in closing the widening chasm between the haves and the have nots.
What do you think?
Read more at Business Insider
It's just the current cycle that involves opiates, but methamphetamine, cocaine, and others have caused the trajectory of overdoses to head the same direction
- It appears that overdoses are increasing exponentially, no matter the drug itself
- If the study bears out, it means that even reducing opiates will not slow the trajectory.
- The causes of these trends remain obscure, but near the end of the write-up about the study, a hint might be apparent
Through computationally intensive computer simulations, researchers have discovered that "nuclear pasta," found in the crusts of neutron stars, is the strongest material in the universe.
- The strongest material in the universe may be the whimsically named "nuclear pasta."
- You can find this substance in the crust of neutron stars.
- This amazing material is super-dense, and is 10 billion times harder to break than steel.
Superman is known as the "Man of Steel" for his strength and indestructibility. But the discovery of a new material that's 10 billion times harder to break than steel begs the question—is it time for a new superhero known as "Nuclear Pasta"? That's the name of the substance that a team of researchers thinks is the strongest known material in the universe.
Unlike humans, when stars reach a certain age, they do not just wither and die, but they explode, collapsing into a mass of neurons. The resulting space entity, known as a neutron star, is incredibly dense. So much so that previous research showed that the surface of a such a star would feature amazingly strong material. The new research, which involved the largest-ever computer simulations of a neutron star's crust, proposes that "nuclear pasta," the material just under the surface, is actually stronger.
The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.
Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv
Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.
The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.
While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.
One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.
"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"
Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.
The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.
Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.
Scientists think constructing a miles-long wall along an ice shelf in Antarctica could help protect the world's largest glacier from melting.
- Rising ocean levels are a serious threat to coastal regions around the globe.
- Scientists have proposed large-scale geoengineering projects that would prevent ice shelves from melting.
- The most successful solution proposed would be a miles-long, incredibly tall underwater wall at the edge of the ice shelves.
The world's oceans will rise significantly over the next century if the massive ice shelves connected to Antarctica begin to fail as a result of global warming.
To prevent or hold off such a catastrophe, a team of scientists recently proposed a radical plan: build underwater walls that would either support the ice or protect it from warm waters.
In a paper published in The Cryosphere, Michael Wolovick and John Moore from Princeton and the Beijing Normal University, respectively, outlined several "targeted geoengineering" solutions that could help prevent the melting of western Antarctica's Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier, whose melting waters are projected to be the largest source of sea-level rise in the foreseeable future.
An "unthinkable" engineering project
"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.
One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.
The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.
Source: Wolovick et al.
An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.
But other, more feasible options could also be effective. For example, building a smaller wall that blocks about 50% of warm water from reaching the glacier would have about a 70% chance of preventing a runaway collapse, while constructing a series of isolated, 1,000-foot-tall columns on the seafloor as supports had about a 30% chance of success.
Still, the authors note that the frigid waters of the Antarctica present unprecedently challenging conditions for such an ambitious geoengineering project. They were also sure to caution that their encouraging results shouldn't be seen as reasons to neglect other measures that would cut global emissions or otherwise combat climate change.
"There are dishonest elements of society that will try to use our research to argue against the necessity of emissions' reductions. Our research does not in any way support that interpretation," they wrote.
"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume."
A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine illustrates the potentially devastating effects of ice-shelf melting in western Antarctica.
"As the oceans and atmosphere warm, melting of ice shelves in key areas around the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet could trigger a runaway collapse process known as Marine Ice Sheet Instability. If this were to occur, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could potentially contribute 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) of global sea level rise within just a few centuries."
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