National Security Agency (NSA) violated personal privacy rules more than 2700 times audit finds

Personal privacyIn June 2013 Americans first learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) engages in programs that violate the personal privacy of U. S. citizens. Ever since, President Obama has made efforts to persuade citizens that any such programs are conducted with oversight that ensures a balance between security and privacy. Yet those claims are coming under close scrutiny in light of recent revelations that the NSA overstepped its authority and violated privacy rules more than 2700 times from April 2011 to March 2012. Read more

Prince George, future king of England: Choosing a royal baby name

Prince William All parents have important decisions to make when choosing baby names, but for parents like Kate Middleton and Prince William, whose son will one day be the king of England, there’s far greater pressure to get it right. Young Prince George doesn’t have 15 minutes of fame to look forward to: instead, his whole life will be under the watchful eye of the press. Luckily, with the pressure there were also a limited number of acceptable choices for the young royal couple. The royal children of England often have between three and seven first names, but the list of names to choose from is relatively short, as the kings and queens of England reuse their names over and over again. Read more

Unscripted: From Candid Camera to today’s Reality TV bullying and narcissism

Reality TV

Reality TV (Flickr photo by leunix)

Who doesn’t love to escape from reality? Increasingly, over the last decade and change, television viewers escape their own realities by watching other people’s. Unscripted reality television programs have grown from a handful of shows in 2000 to around 320 programs in 2010. Reality television isn’t new – shows that featured real people and real reactions are a long-time staple, and pioneer Candid Camera has been around for 65 years. But the growth in reality television programming has some researchers concerned about the impact reality TV has on the American viewing audience, from claims that it encourages narcissism to concerns that it glorifies bullying. Read more

Blackfish: Killer whale as animal entertainment or animal cruelty?

English: Tilikum as "Shamu" at SeaWo...

Tilikum as “Shamu” at SeaWorld Orlando. 

Anyone who has ever enjoyed an afternoon of animal entertainment at SeaWorld or a similar attraction will come away from the documentary Blackfish with a new perspective. After watching footage that documents the effects of captivity on killer whales, it’s hard not to think of the words, “animal cruelty.” The documentary film reveals a behind-the-scenes world where this powerful and majestic species is deprived of food and subjected to other inhumane conditions. Read more

Crowdfunding academic research — Funding projects through the Internet

CrowdfundingIt seems like wherever you turn today in tech news there is another successful crowdfunding story. Funding projects through the Internet has garnered a great deal of attention because of platforms such as Kickstarter. But can the same idea for generating money to give small businesses or creative types a head start work for academic research as well? Some universities and researchers are testing the waters as increased competition and decreasing federal funding leave academia searching for ways to pay for their scholarly endeavors. Read more

Law journals discuss court cases on diversity in the classroom

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building

Racial diversity on college campuses has had a lengthy judicial history. Several cases have upheld or struck down affirmative action used in college admissions policies. Law journals and civil liberties organizations are weighing in on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas. Some, including an author in Vanderbilt Law Review, are still debating whether race should even be a factor in admissions policies and if diversity really does enhance a study body.

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Education reform throughout the decades: Free reading on top education reform content

Education reformEducation reform is the ongoing process of improving the public education. Historic issues have ranged from funding, to integration, and the merits of public versus private education for the millions of children in America’s elementary and high school system.

Playing such an important role in our society, it’s no wonder that it is a hot topic for debate on the political level as well as in classrooms and school boards. Education reform aims to make the highest quality public education available to as many citizens as possible, but with varying opinions, classes, cultures and needs to be considered, finding the best solution is no easy task. Read more

Honoring heroes, creating social change for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Monument

Martin Luther King Jr. Monument

Since 1986, the U.S. federal government has observed a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights activist whose nonviolent message and words of hope helped to create a vision for a future of racial equality. Martin Luther King Jr. also advocated for social change and justice, and a great number of people list him among their heroes. In 2011, the Martin Luther King Memorial monument was erected on the Washington National Mall.

Since their establishment, some have wondered: does a holiday or a monument honor King’s legacy, or undermine his message by normalizing it? And just how do people identify heroes? Read more

Political science term paper: From current events to global policy — the choice is yours

Whether you’re interested in historical events and personalities or current events and global policy, political science is the study for you. From past presidents to the inner workings of a democracy, you can indulge your curiosity and explore any number of subjects that interest you. If you are working on a term paper or research project for a political science course, when it comes to topics, the choice is yours! Read more

Questia Reading Room: Honoring 2012’s election season with free books on popular US presidents

Popular US presidentsElection season 2012 has come and gone as the United States welcomes a familiar face back into The White House. To celebrate America’s leaders past and present, we’re sharing books on the 15 most researched US presidents on Questia for free for a month. We were even able to quickly create a perfect APA bibliography using Questia’s handy bibliography tool! Did you know Questia will automatically generate your bibliography in MLA, APA or Chicago format? Be sure to try it out as you work on your next research paper or project. (You could even consider a presidential topic with all this free, librarian-selected research.)

Enjoy! Read more