Digital Privacy Matters

Supreme Court bans warrantless cellphone searches

  • The U.S. Supreme Court, offering a sweeping endorsement of Americans’ right to digital privacy, unanimously declared Wednesday that police must obtain a warrant before searching a suspect’s cellphone.
  • Cellphones today are not just “another technological convenience,” Roberts wrote in the ruling, which displayed rare unanimity on a major issue.
  • police-scoop-up-cellphone-data

  • “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life. The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”
  • “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cellphone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the main opinion for eight of the nine justices.
  • The justices acknowledged that their decision will affect the ability of law enforcement to combat crime, but they said warrants today can be obtained with greater speed and efficiency when justified. » The Boston Globe article – By Tracy Jan – June 26, 2014.

  • The New York Times – Learning Network – 6 Questions About the News | Major Ruling Shields Privacy of Cellphones
    Overview | Students read the article then answer the questions » Go to this Law Lesson.

Update: Trust in courts continues to drop

Same sex Marriage supreme court ruling Image source

Russia’s top court upholds decree to make army losses a secret

  • Russia’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Kremlin decree to classify troop deaths during peace time, seen as an attempt to cover up Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
  • The court ruled against a complaint by several activists and journalists that the decree was illegal and aimed at preventing any information about Russia’s military role in eastern Ukraine from being made public.
  • On Thursday, the SBU published a video with a man who identified himself as Russian major Vladimir Starkov. The man was arrested by Ukrainian border guards in July while transporting ammunition in eastern Ukraine.
  • He had said earlier that officers end up in Ukraine after being sent to Russia’s southern Rostov region, where they are ordered to go across the border after agreeing to a pseudonym and leaving real identification documents behind. » The AFP article – August 13, 2015.

U.S. Supreme Court Does Away With a Major Restriction on Big-Spending Campaign Donors

  • The Supreme Court knocked down one of the two main limits on federal campaign contributions, a move that could let more money flow into elections through complicated webs of donations and place greater pressure on enforcing the laws still on the books.
  • After today’s Supreme Court ruling, the limits on influence will be even more dependent on the increasingly remote chance of getting caught. » The full Bloomberg article By Karen Weise – April 2, 2014.

Americans’ opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court

  • Public confidence in the judiciary provides a critical foundation for a society committed to the rule of law. As America’s unelected justices confront controversial questions, the legitimacy of their decisions depends on public support for the institution. The court must rely on other government officials, including elected leaders and law enforcement officers, to implement its rulings. Examples around the world suggest that obedience to judicial decisions may well depend on the level of respect that the courts enjoy.
  • Last month, the Pew Research Center reported that for the first time in its nearly 30 years of polling, the favorability rating of the US Supreme Court fell below 50 percent. Only 48 percent of the public has a positive view of the court. Perhaps more disturbing, the current level reflects a steady trend. The court’s approval fell below 60 percent in 2010 and has been sliding ever since.
  • The problem is that the rhetoric of the chief justice does not match the reality of much of the court’s record. The Roberts court has a habit of picking and choosing among hot-button issues, then deciding the cases along ideologically predictable lines. Both the selection of issues and their divisive resolutions signal a thoroughly political court in the eyes of many Americans. » The full Yahoo news Christian Science article – By Robert A. Schapiro – August 5, 2013.

Marriage is a Civil institution

Same sex Marriage supreme court ruling Image source

  • The Supreme Court has ratified the view that marriage is a civil institution that can be made available to all citizens, no matter what their sexual preference may be. The justices did not go so far as to legalize same-sex marriage in every state, but the majority in the DOMA case did say that all marriages are equal under the law and, if a state chooses to expand the definition of marriage, the federal government cannot discriminate between married couples.
  • Once regarded as an abomination that would never find acceptance, marital unions of a man with a man and a woman with a woman are being normalized in state after state. Even more powerful, the force of law is now heavily weighted against traditionalists who, only a few years ago, were comfortably in the mainstream of public opinion. » The full LA Times article – By David Horsey – June 27, 2013.

  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Democracy in Action
    Overview | Students consider words that reflect their knowledge and opinions about democracy. They then work in groups to research countries that have recently transitioned to democratic forms of government. Their learning is further enhanced by reflecting on what has transpired in these countries to date. Go to this Building Society and Law Lesson.
  • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Political is Personal
    Overview | Students explore their own personal political philosophies by identifying events, people and experiences that have helped shape their beliefs and writing an essay. Go to this Building Society and ESL Lesson.
  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Justices for All
    Overview | In this lesson, students examine the role of Supreme Court justices in the American political process. Students will research the qualities of the current Supreme Court justices and write opinion papers evaluating the current justices and recommending future nominations. Go to this Law and Society Lesson.

Modern Addictions

Modern addicions original image

Twitter and Facebook ‘addicts’ suffer withdrawal symptoms

  • But Dr David Giles, a reader in media psychology who led the study, said that heavy use of social networks is not necessarily dangerous.
  • “Some people would argue this addiction to social media is eating away at people’s lives, but what most of these so-called addicts are doing online is profoundly social,” he said.
  • “The average internet user today is not the bedroom hermit of the 1990s but a savvy individual with a smartphone who openly manages his or her entire social life and personal relationships online.” » The full Telegraph UK article – By Matthew Sparkes – April 11, 2013.

  • The New York Times – Learning Network – Promoting Awareness of Modern Addictions
    Objectives: Students will: consider their understanding of addiction, brainstorm and research ’modern ’addictions, such as food, shopping, the Internet, and video games, create public service announcements promoting awareness of different modern addictions and resources available to help. Go to this Health and ESL Lesson.
  • The Learning Foundation – Simplified Mock Trial Case – “I really want to play!”

Which religion is the most violent?

Generalizations: How Accurate Are They?

    Fighting intolerance

  • The Boston Marathon attacks have revived old claims that Islam is inherently violent and all Muslims should face heightened scrutiny.
  • Christianity can keep up with anybody in the murder contest. You can still find Christians today who will passionately defend the slaughters of the Medieval Crusades. You can use Christianity to kill abortion doctors, massacre Muslims in Bosnia or Kosovo, Jesus is more flexible than some people might think.
  • (Editor: Nazi Germany could not have systematically annihilated Jews without the help of the German general public and Germany’s civil servants and courts. » more here. )
  • Go find the most peaceful, passive religious ethic in the world and you will still find violence. Buddhist teachings are so fanatically pacifist they probably couldn’t stomach football, but Sri Lankan Buddhists will rack up piles of dead Tamil civilians like nobody’s business. Nirvana can wait.
  • And Atheists have no room to gloat. Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung tallied tens of millions of kills between them in the 20th Century alone. The absence of a religion is no more protection against fanatical rampages than blind faith.
  • No matter what a religion teaches, some bloody-minded believers will twist it to justify their own dark urges. Religion does what people tell it to do. There is a clear connection between religion and violence – human beings.» The full Washington Post article – Chris Ladd – May 1, 2013.

  • World Wise School – “How Accurate is It?”
    This activity introduces students to the difficult concept of generalization so that they will challenge generalizations made about people. » Go to this Building Society Lesson Worksheet.

No Place for Bullies

Cyberbullying. Original image source

  • Bullying can happen to anyone at any age. Being bullied at school, home or online might involve someone pushing you, hitting you, teasing you, talking about you or calling you names.
  • No one has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad, and if you are being bullied you don’t have to put up with it, you can talk to someone about it.
  • If you are being bullied or worried about a friend who is being bullied, there are different ways that ChildLine can help. » More in this UK childline link

  • The New York Times – Learning Network – No Place for Bullies
    Overview | Students reflect on the bullying in their community, hold an anonymous discussion about bullying and suggest solutions to the problem. » Go to this Building Society and Internet Lesson.

How to deal with global deflation risks

Domestic spending can only increase when more people have money to spend

  • Janet Yellen has a message for European central bankers struggling to decide whether more bond purchases are needed to stave off deflation: Do whatever it takes.

    Japan’s stimulus spending target will finally reach the average Japanese worker

  • Massive monetary and fiscal stimulus inaugurated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the last two years have mainly benefited big corporations and wealthy investors.
  • In the first nine months of 2014, profits for companies on the broad Topix exchange were more than double the same period two years earlier.
  • The government added to the push with another $29 billion fiscal stimulus approved Saturday, including spending vouchers and coupons for consumers, welfare checks for low-income families with small children and heating-oil subsidies. It’s all meant to put more spending power in the economy. » The Wall Street Street Journal article – By Aaron Back – December 29, 2014.

  • As crude oil leads a collapse in commodity prices, a German gauge of the outlook for inflation over the next five years has fallen below zero. With no increases in consumer prices in sight, bondholders’ interest and repayments are worth more, inflaming demand for fixed income. The longest maturities are setting the pace from Europe to the U.S.
  • Adding to the momentum is the prospect that central-bank measures to rekindle inflation would involve efforts to keep down borrowing costs, including so-called quantitative easing from the European Central Bank. » The Bloomberg article – By David Goodman – December 13, 2014.
    • Yellen, who succeeded Ben S. Bernanke in February as Fed chair, said the global crisis and slow recovery have underlined the importance for governments of improving their finances in good times so they can spend money stimulating their economies during downturns.
    • Another lesson, she said, was the importance of a stable financial industry backed by “effective regulation and supervision.”
    • Yellen was optimistic about the economic outlook, saying that “headwinds associated with the financial crisis will wane.”
    • As central banks step away from extraordinary policies, markets may see more volatility.
    • “The Federal Reserve will strive to clearly and transparently communicate its monetary policy strategy in order to minimize the likelihood of surprises that could disrupt financial markets,” she said. » The Bloomberg article – By Christopher Condon November 7, 2014.

    American Growth Fueled by U.S. Consumers, Businesses Despite Concerns on Overseas Economies

    • One question now is how the economy will fare amid a global growth slowdown that has strengthened the dollar, hurting U.S. exporters, even as a broad swath of industry and consumers benefit from falling oil prices.
    • Thursday’s report showed that trade during the third quarter strongly boosted the economy, adding 1.32 percentage points to GDP growth, as imports fell and exports rose.
    • The 18-nation eurozone risks entering its third recession in five years, while concerns are also mounting about a slowing Chinese economy and Japan’s struggle to escape decades of stagnation. » The WSJ article – By Nick Timirads and Eric Morath – October 30, 2014.

    Yellen resists pressure to tighten monetary policy more quickly

    • Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen said there was no “simple recipe” for central bank policymakers in deciding when the labor market had improved enough to handle a rise in interest rates.
    • She expressed continued concern about the job situation and said that the sharp drop in the unemployment rate over the last year “somewhat overstates the improvement in overall labor market conditions.”
    • Yellen cited as negative factors the “sluggish pace” of wage growth, the large number of people who can find only part-time jobs and the historically low level of the working-age population that is employed.
    • “There is no simple recipe for appropriate policy in this context,” Yellen said.
    • Fed policymakers “will be closely monitoring incoming information on the labor market and inflation in determining the appropriate stance of monetary policy,” she said. » The Latimes article – By Jim Puzzanghera – August 22, 2014.

    Global economic activity should strengthen but momentum could be weaker than expected

    • because potential growth is weaker and investment … remains subdued,” IMF chief Christine Lagarde told an economic conference in southern France.
    • Lagarde made a plea for more public investment, saying the “investment deficit” in both the public and private sectors was dragging down growth in most countries.
    • “We must therefore take steps to boost efforts to strengthen growth,” she added. “This is the opportunity in a number of countries to relaunch investment, without threatening the viability of public finances.” » The Reuters article – By Ingrid Melander and Alexandre Boksenbaum-Granier – July 6, 2014.

    Here are five reasons the United States is outpacing other major economies:

    • An Aggressive Central Bank
      “The Federal Reserve acted sooner and more aggressively than other central banks in keeping rates low,” says Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group.
    • Stronger Banks
      The United States moved faster than Europe to restore its banks’ health after the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The U.S. government bailed out the financial system and subjected big banks to stress tests in 2009 to reveal their financial strength. By showing the banks to be surprisingly healthy, the stress tests helped restore confidence in the U.S. financial system.
    • A more flexible economy
      Economists say Japan and Europe need to undertake reforms to make their economies more flexible — more, in other words, like America’s.
    • Less budget-cutting

      Weighed down by debt, many European countries took an ax to swelling budget deficits. They slashed pension benefits, raised taxes and cut civil servants’ wages. The cuts devastated several European economies. They led to 27 percent unemployment in Greece, 14 percent in Portugal and 25 percent in Spain. The United States has done some budget cutting, too, and raised taxes. But U.S. austerity hasn’t been anywhere near as harsh.

    • A roaring stock Market

      The Fed’s easy-money policies ignited a world-beating U.S. stock market rally. Over the past five years, U.S. stocks have easily outpaced shares in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong. That was one of Bernanke’s goals in lowering rates. He figured that miserly fixed-income rates would nudge investors into stocks in search of higher returns. Higher stock prices would then make Americans feel more confident and more willing to spend — the so-called wealth effect. » The AP article – By Paul Wiseman – July 4, 2014.


    The risks of chasing higher interest rates

    • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said so far the Fed doesn’t see a “systemic threat” from the high-yield loan market since broad measures of credit growth don’t suggest excessive debt, and improved capital and liquidity positions at banks “should ensure resilience” against losses.
    • Yellen delivered a comprehensive salvo in the global debate among central bankers over whether interest rates should be a first-order tool to curb financial excess, saying supervision should be “the main line of defense” against turmoil.
    • Yellen and her Fed colleagues are debating when to raise the benchmark lending rate for the first policy tightening since 2006. The long period of low interest rates may have increased risk in the financial system as investors seek higher returns. » The Bloomberg article – By Craig Torres and Jeff Kearns – July 3, 2014.

    Bank Stress Tests Original image source

    The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for the United States

    • In its annual health check of the U.S. economy, the IMF also urged the United States to boost the minimum wage, which is below most international standards, to fight poverty, which lingers above 15 percent.
    • “Given the substantial economic slack in the economy, there is a strong case to provide continued policy support,” the IMF said.
    • It said its forecasts show the U.S. economy would only return to full employment by the end of 2017, with inflation remaining low, suggesting the Fed could keep rates at zero for longer than the middle of 2015.
    • The IMF urged the United States to increase spending on infrastructure and education and change parts of its tax system, including boosting the federal gasoline tax and reinstating the tax credit for research and development, to help spur growth. » The full Reuters article – By Anna Yukhananov – June 16, 2014.

    “Only a strong economy can deliver persistently high real returns to savers and investors.”

    • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled he will keep the Fed’s target interest rate low to support the economy, even as some colleagues warn the policy risks triggering financial market instability.
    • “Premature rate increases would carry a high risk of short-circuiting the recovery, possibly leading — ironically enough — to an even longer period of low long-term rates,” Bernanke said. » The full Bloomberg article – By Joshua Zumbrun & Aki Ito – March 2, 2013.

      Looking Back:

      Links between trade and currency values (Jupiter images)

    • Mexico. Brazil. Argentina. Mexico, again. Thailand. Indonesia. Argentina, again. And now, the United States.
      The story has played itself out time and time again over the past 30 years. Global investors, disappointed with the returns they’re getting, search for alternatives. They think they’ve found what they’re looking for in some country or other, and money rushes in.
      But eventually it becomes clear that the investment opportunity wasn’t all it seemed to be, and the money rushes out again, with nasty consequences for the former financial favorite. That’s the story of multiple financial crises in Latin America and Asia. And it’s also the story of the U.S. combined housing and credit bubble. These days, we’re playing the role usually assigned to third-world economies. Read the Column » By – Paul Krugman, New York Times – January, 2008

    • The New York Times – Learning Network – Examining Key World Economies and Comparing Their Current Volatility
      Overview: Students review key economic terms and ideas necessary for understanding world economies. They then research the economies of countries in the Group of 8 (20) and present how their economies have changed over the past five years and how the relationships among these countries affect each other in light of world events. » Go to this Economy and Society Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – Nowhere to Go but Up? Analyzing Economic Measures in a Downturn
      Overview | How do we know when the economy is in a recession? How do key economic indicators perform in a downturn? In this lesson, students create graphs of various economic measurements, using quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills to compare, contrast and correlate the performance of measures like gross domestic product, unemployment and personal income. » Go to this Economy and Society Lesson.

    Cervical Cancer Vaccine

    HPV Vaccination

    • By aggressively vaccinating girls against HPV (which is responsible for 90 percent of genital wart diagnoses), Australia appears to have offered considerable protection not just to its female population but also its men as well.
    • Vaccine against cervical cancer.
      The cancer vaccine could be given to girls as young as nine. – Image and article

    • Commenting on the report, Dr. Jocylen Glassberg, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Scott and White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, said that “the take-home message is the vaccine is obviously working.”
    • “It will take many more years to see the same decline in cervical cancer rates due to the naturally slow progression of that disease process,” she said.
    • “But the vaccine works. The fact that genital wart rates were virtually zero after such a short time in women and men, even in a program just aimed at vaccinated women, is a phenomenal result.” » The full health news article – By Alan Mozes – April 19, 2013.

    In Thailand, a simple test for cervical cancer uses vinegar

    • Nurses using the new procedure, developed by experts at the Johns Hopkins medical school in the 1990s and endorsed last year by the World Health Organization, brush vinegar on a woman’s cervix.
    • It makes precancerous spots turn white. They can then be immediately frozen off with a metal probe cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide, available from any Coca-Cola bottling plant. » The full New York Times article – By Donald G. McNeil.Jr. – Published: September 26, 2011.

    The Cervical cancer vaccine – who needs it, and how it works:

    • The cervical cancer vaccine is the first vaccine ever designed to prevent a cancer. In the United States – where cervical cancer strikes about 10,000 women a year and causes up to 4,000 deaths – the impact of the cervical cancer vaccine will be tremendous.
    • Worldwide, the impact may be even greater. According to the World Health Organization, there were 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer in 2005. » Mayo Clinic: questions and answers article.


    • Related article: HPV Virus to blame for rise in throat cancer:
    • Cancer of the back of the mouth and throat is on the rise, primarily because of more cases stemming from a viral infection called human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a U.S. study.
    • The number of people who were diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer in 2004 was triple the number diagnosed in 1988 — due largely, researchers suspect, to changes in sexual behavior that have helped spread the virus. » The full Reuters article – By Kerry Grens – October 4, 2011.

    • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Vaccination Question:
      Overview | Students share opinions about common vaccines, then consider facts and opinions about the HPV vaccine and hold a “fishbowl” discussion. They then survey members of the community to determine their perspectives on the issue. » Go to this Health and Science Lesson.

    Causes and ways to avoid breast cancer

    • Breast cancer is in the headlines: Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy when she learned that she carries a gene that puts her at high risk for the disease.
    • We spoke to experts Powel H. Brown and Marisa Weiss to learn more about the genetics of breast cancer.
      Powel H. Brown is a breast medical oncologist and professor and chair of the department of clinical cancer prevention at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

      • Not every breast cancer is due to a gene?
        – – There are two kinds of breast cancer: the common kind, which is called a sporadic kind, which most people get. It usually occurs over the age of 50. And the strongly inherited kind.
      • What percentage of breast cancers are linked to a gene?
        – – It’s only about 5 to 10 percent—and probably 3 to 5 percent [are] BRCA1 or 2 associated.
      • How to lower the risk
        – – For the average-risk person, breast cancer occurs something on the order of one in seven or one in eight women in this country.
        – – The average-risk person should have a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet, low in red meat, high in chicken, fruit, fish, and vegetables. Alcohol also puts you at risk: As little as three glasses per week increases your risk of breast cancer.
      • How are people responding to the news that Angelina Jolie was at risk for breast cancer?
        – – I think it really shocked people. I think people expect that someone who looks so sexual and beautiful and young and fancy and with so much celebrity is immune or has some free pass.» The full national Geographic article – By Mark Silver – May 15, 2013.

    More and more evidence is demonstrating that even just 15 minutes a day of physical activity can have a significant impact on longevity.

    • The benefits applied to all age groups and both sexes, as well as to those at risk for heart problems.
    • “If the minimum amount of exercise we suggest is adhered to, mortality from heart disease, diabetes and cancer could be reduced,” the researchers wrote.
    • “This low volume of physical activity could play a central part in the global war against non-communicable diseases, reducing medical costs and health disparities.” » The full Washington Post article – By Rod Stein – Published: August 17, 2011.

    Vigorous Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

    Exercise Reduces breast cancer risk Image Source

    • The findings suggest that exercise itself protects against breast cancer, regardless of whether it leads to weight loss, note Michael F. Leitzmann, MD, and colleagues at the National Cancer Institute.
    • The researchers analyzed data on more than 32,000 postmenopausal women collected over 11 years as part of the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project. » The Article from WebMD – By Daniel J. DeNoon

    • The New York Times – Learning Network – What Will You Do With Your Life?
      Overview | Students consider what it means to live a life well-lived by creating life lists of goals they would like to accomplish and analyzing patterns in the lists of their peers. » Go to this Life’s Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – Talking about Breast Cancer:
      Overview | Students share words and associations related to cancer. They then investigate and participate in dialogues about the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. » Go to this Health, Science and Life’s Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Science of Aging
      Overview | Student reflect on the lives of older people they know, then research and debate the key issues surrounding scientific experimentation in anti-aging. (Related NYT article: » Even more reason to get moving – By Jane E. Brody) » Go to this Health and Science Lesson.

    Update: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 81

    She said she will retire when she feels she can no longer write and think as sharply and as quickly as she can now.

    • Ginsburg played a huge role in tearing down arbitrary gender distinctions that prevented women from entering certain professions (the law, for one). But she told News Anchor Katie Couric that one of the most important things a woman needs to get ahead professionally is a caring life partner who is willing to share the work.
    • She was married to her husband, Marty Ginsburg, a tax attorney, for 56 years before he died of cancer in 2010.
    • “I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his,” she said. “And I think that made all the difference for me, and Marty was an unusual man. In fact, he was the first boy I knew who cared that I had a brain.”
    • They shared housekeeping chores and child-­rearing duties, while both attending law school.
    • “You can’t have it all, all at once,” Ginsburg said, referencing the controversial magazine article about work-­life balance by academic and former Obama administration official Anne-­ Marie Slaughter. “Who — man or woman — has it all, all at once? Over my lifespan I think I have had it all.
    • But in different periods of time things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it.” » News Yahoo article – By Liz Goodwin – August 1, 2014.

    This Supreme Court is ‘One of Most Activist,’ Ginsburg Says, Vowing to Stay

    • The last two terms, which brought major decisions on Mr. Obama’s health care law, race and same-sex marriage, were, she said, “heady, exhausting, challenging.”
    • She was especially critical of the voting rights decision, as well as the part of the ruling upholding the health care law that nonetheless said it could not be justified under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.
    • In general, Justice Ginsburg said, “if it’s measured in terms of readiness to overturn legislation, this is one of the most activist courts in history.” » The full New York Times article – By Adam Liptak – Published: August 24, 2013

    Her age has required only minor adjustments.

    • “I don’t water-ski anymore,” Justice Ginsburg said. “I haven’t gone horseback riding in four years. I haven’t ruled that out entirely. But water-skiing, those days are over.”
    • Justice Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, said she intended to stay on the court “as long as I can do the job full steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable.” » from the above article.
    • “When I started, I looked like a survivor of Auschwitz,” Ginsburg said. Now I’m up to 20 push-ups.”
    • Personal trainer Bryant Johnson watches his tiny client pump her body up and down on a green yoga mat, spotting her with his hands at her waist in case she falls.
    • “Exercise is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter what size, shape or color you are,” Johnson said in his office cubicle at the federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue, about a half-mile down the hill from the Supreme Court.
    • “A push-up is a push-up, no matter how you look at it.” » The full Washington Post article – By Ann E. Marimow, Published: March 20, 2013.

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg receives a warm welcome at the State of the Union – Image source and article.

    How Ruth Bader Ginsburg has moved the Supreme Court.

    • There is some irony in Ginsburg’s reputation for reserve, because she is, by far, the current Court’s most accomplished litigator.
    • Ginsburg, during the nineteen-seventies, argued several of the most important women’s-rights cases in the Court’s history.
    • She has always prided herself on knowing which fights to pick. (Ginsburg won that 1976 case, as well as four of the five other cases she argued before the Justices.)
    • As an advocate, Ginsburg had exquisite timing; she brought women’s-rights cases at precisely the moment the Supreme Court was willing to decide them in her favor. . . . For Subscribers the full New Yorker article “Heavyweight” – By Jeffrey Tobin – March 11, 2013.

    The U.S. Constitution

    • Appearing on Egyptian television before concluding a four-day trip in Egypt (in February, 2012) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg extolled the virtues of the U.S. Constitution but urged Egyptians to look to other countries’ newer constitutions for guidance as they craft their own in the coming months.
    • “We were just tremendously fortunate in the United States that the men who met in Philadelphia were very wise,” Ginsburg said. “Now it is true that they were lacking one thing,” she continued with a chuckle. “And that is that there were no women as part of the Constitutional Convention.”
    • When asked by her interviewer how best to draft a constitution and protect it from contemporary political pressures (perhaps alluding to Islamic parties’ dominance in the new parliament’s lower house), Justice Ginsburg answered, “A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom.”
    • “If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference,” she said.
    • “The spirit of liberty,” she continued, “has to be in the population.” » The full Huffington Post article – First Posted February 1, 2012.

    • The New York Times – Learning Network – What Will You Do With Your Life?
      Overview | Students consider what it means to live a life well-lived by creating life lists of goals they would like to accomplish and analyzing patterns in the lists of their peers. Go to this Life and Building a Health Society Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Political is Personal
      Overview | Students explore their own personal political philosophies by identifying events, people and experiences that have helped shape their beliefs and writing an essay. Go to this Building Society and ESL Lesson.
    • The New York Times – Learning Network – The Science of Aging
      Overview | Student reflect on the lives of older people they know, then research and debate the key issues surrounding scientific experimentation in anti-aging. (Related NYT article: » Even more reason to get moving – By Jane E. Brody) Go to this Health and Science Lesson.

    Have we become Sugar Addicts?

    Are you a secret sugar addict?

      sugar addiction Image source

    • It makes us fat, rots our teeth and has been linked to heart disease and cancer, yet sugar is found in just about everything we eat – and in rapidly rising amounts.
    • Indeed, for many of us sugar has become our drug of choice, helping us through the afternoon energy crash in the form of a handful of biscuits, chocolate or cereal bars, and going without it makes us tired, grumpy and downright miserable.
    • To top things off, studies have suggested that sugar could be as addictive as drugs and alcohol, which earlier this year led academics in the journal Nature to call for sweet stuff to be taxed and restricted like booze and cigarettes. The full New research suggests excess sugar could be deadlier than fat and more addictive than heroin.» The full UK Mirror article – By Caroline Jones.

    • The New York Times – Learning Network – Investigating Science and Health Questions About Sugar and Our Bodies
      Overview | In this series of lesson ideas, which can be done individually or together as part of a larger unit, we’ll help students investigate the science and myths about added sugars. How unhealthy are they? What happens to sugar when ingested? How much sugar do we actually consume? Is there a real difference between sugar and corn syrup? And what has the public health response been, and how could it be better? » Go to this Health and Science Lesson.