Twitter is enlisting its users to help combat misinformation on its service by flagging and notating misleading and false tweets. The pilot program, called Birdwatch, allows a preselected group of users who sign up through Twitter. People who want to sign up must have a U.S.-based phone carrier, verified email and phone number and no recent Twitter rule violations. Twitter says it wants both experts and non-experts to write Birdwatch notes. Twitter, along with other social media companies, has been grappling how best to combat misinformation on its service. Despite tightened rules and enforcement, falsehoods about the U.S. presidential election and the coronavirus continue to spread.
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TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Conservationist groups are urging the Albanian government to rescind a decision to build a airport they say would seriously damage the country’s western wetlands. A coalition of 37 Albanian and international organizations on Tuesday said the construction of the airport near the protected area of Vjose-Narte ”would irreversibly damage its eco-system sheltering many birds.” The government has launched an international tender to build the 86 million euro ($104 million) airport in Vlora, 140 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of the capital Tirana.
When senior Katie Snyder had to learn all of the countries in Africa for a political science class last semester, she knew where she would turn to study. She was one step ahead of her professor when he suggested several websites to the class, including social gaming website Sporcle. “I had been planning on using it before he mentioned it,” Snyder said. “I always play the map games on Sporcle.” In fact, Snyder is using the site again this semester to help learn the countries of the Middle East for a history class. Sporcle, which features games in which players fill in blanks in response to categories or trivia questions, is popular among workplaces and on college campuses, Sporcle’s vice president of products Derek Pharr said. A recent upswing in usage by college students led the website to make college rankings. Notre Dame has held steady at No. 5 each week of the rankings, which are calculated from factors including number of visits, number of page views and time spent on the site, Pharr said. The first rankings were released based on data from Nov. 14-20. In the fourth list of college rankings, released Tuesday and reflecting usage statistics from the past week, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State and Boston College were ahead of Notre Dame. While Snyder used the site to study, many students said it is more of a good distraction. Pharr said the site could be both. “We can be an educational, mentally stimulating diversion, but on the other side we can be the destination to spend a little time and get away from things,” he said. Juniors Shane Owens, Robert Cahill and Jake Hubbard agreed their favorite game category is Sports. “[Hubbard] did all the NFL teams in a minute and a half,” Owens said. “Yeah, I’m pretty special,” Hubbard said. However, students agreed the intellectual nature of the site allows them to feel better about taking a study break. “I delude myself into thinking I’m learning,” sophomore Stephanie Jones said. “But the motivation is purely recreational.” Snyder said she wouldn’t have used the site to learn if it didn’t have fun quizzes as well. “The fun is the only thing that makes you want to do the academic part of it,” she said. “And then I could procrastinate on other things by playing Sporcle because it’s academic, so I could feel like I was being productive.” Pharr said the timing of the release of rankings leading up to most colleges’ study days and finals weeks was not a total coincidence. “We hoped we could hit college students at a time when they could use it to study for finals and to get away from finals,” he said. Jones, who said she goes on Sporcle at least one day a week, predicted her usage would go up as finals approach. The release of the rankings also coincided with the weekly updates of college football’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings, which Sporcle references as a joke on the website to explain its mathematical formula, saying its formula is “simpler than the BCS” but that they might “change the formula from time to time, just like the BCS.” “We wanted to explain what we were doing without too much detail,” Pharr said. “We figured ‘It’s complicated what we’re doing, but there are systems that are more complicated, like the BCS.’” Like the BCS, though, Pharr said the rankings play off of the competitive nature of colleges to attract more students to the website. “College football, college basketball has a rich rivalry history,” he said. “We’ve already seen a very positive and spirited response to what we’ve been doing. We’d love to see that grow. “Those play out on a big stage, and we’d like Sporcle to be a stage for that as well. We see it all as one big healthy debate.” The feeling of competition definitely stirred when students found out Notre Dame was behind traditional rivals Michigan and Boston College. “I’d rather beat them in football,” Hubbard said, “but Sporcle would be next.”
Notre Dame’s 53rd annual Collegiate Jazz Festival will unite professional and student musicians this weekend. The two-day, student-run festival, sponsored by the Notre Dame Bands and the Student Union Board, routinely attracts world-class judges and ensembles, director of jazz studies and faculty advisor Larry Dwyer said. This year’s edition of the country’s oldest collegiate jazz festival features nine collegiate bands and one ensemble comprised of the festival’s judges. “The festival is nationally known as one of the best festivals bands can come to, so we always get really great college bands to play here,” Dwyer said. “We’ve also been able to attract a who’s who of great jazz names to serve as judges over the past 50 years.” Dwyer said prominent jazz musicians, including this year’s judges, The Clayton Brothers Quartet, are attracted to the festival because it provides a unique opportunity to work with college-age amateur musicians at an entirely student-run festival. “When we ask former judges why they like coming to this festival, the most common answer is because it’s student-run,” Dwyer said. “They really appreciate that there’s not some professional guy telling them what to do, and they love to work with excellent college musicians to get a chance to impart some expertise and methods to them.” Festival co-programmer senior Theresa Gildner said the world-class professional talents who judge the festival each year amaze her. “It always fascinates me to see how many famous jazz musicians have been judges in past years,” Gildner said. “It’s a really cool aspect of the festival.” Although the festival is noncompetitive, the judges provide detailed critiques and scores for each band, including clinics immediately following their performances, Dwyer said. Judges also perform at the festival each year, and Friday’s “Judges’ Jam” will feature the Grammy-nominated Clayton Brothers. Among the groups performing over the weekend are the University of Notre Dame Jazz Band I, the University of Illinois Concert Jazz Band and the Alma College Percussion Ensemble. The festival will also feature the University of Western Ontario Jazz Ensemble, marking the first performance by an international band in the festival’s 53-year history, Dwyer said. For the first time, Notre Dame’s Jazz Band I will perform a song with the Voices of Faith gospel choir, Dwyer said. Sophomore jazz vocalist Allison Jeter will also perform with the Notre Dame ensemble. Gildner said she is excited to hear her peers perform a wide variety of jazz music at the festival. “The Alma College Percussion Ensemble will open the show on Friday, and they have a really unique sound that you don’t usually hear in jazz,” Gildner said. “They use steel drums and several other percussion instruments, and sometimes they use string bows on their marimbas, so it’s really cool.” Dwyer said he hopes the high caliber of this year’s performances will draw a large number of students to the festival, in spite of what may be an unfamiliar genre. “A lot of people don’t know a lot about jazz, so if they come to the festival, they might not know what they’re going to hear,” Dwyer said. “But it’s always an exciting show because every band comes to the festival with their killer stuff, and students get to hear their peers play at a high level.” Gildner said she hopes the festival will help introduce her classmates to a genre of music they are not used to listening to. “We want to get more students involved with the festival because there’s a generation gap with jazz,” Gildner said. “It’s a great art form, so it’s cool to have the opportunity for students to experience it on campus.” Performances begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Washington Hall. Admission is free for all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, but advanced ticketing is recommended and available in the LaFortune Student Center box office. For the general public, tickets are $5 per night or $8 for both nights. An individual ticket is required for each night of the festival.
Questions of property and ownership are central to human history, and Leo Burke, director of Integral Leadership at the Mendoza College of Business and the Global Commons Initiative, said he believes the concept of common ownership will be increasingly important in the future. Burke gave a lecture entitled “Global Commons” as part of the “10 Years Hence” lecture series Friday in the Jordan Auditorium of the Mendoza College of Business. Burke said it was important to understand the idea of commons, goods and resources shared by communities for common benefit, in order to make informed decisions regarding global issues with major consequences. “The world 10 years from now is going to be dramatically different, you’ll barely recognize it,” Burke said. “One of the questions as a business school, as a university, as citizens that we have to face is: What kind of world do we want to unfold? Do we want a world that works for everyone? Do we want a world that is restricted?” Burke said the role of the commons in shaping this future lies in finding ways for the commons and the current capitalist, free-market system to work in concert. “Things that we share together are commons, things with historical laws and traditions of private ownership can be owned privately,” Burke said. “Some stuff we need to own, some stuff we can’t own and some stuff we need to talk about. The commons have characteristics that you might say complement the market. That will be important going forward. We have to be able to have commons structures that coexist with private property.” In explaining the concept of commons, Burke structured his presentation around five key words: ancient, diverse, commoning, stewardship and enclosure. He said the first two are attributes of commons – commons are ancient and diverse. He offered water as one example of an ancient commons, citing the Roman law of water usage under the Code of Justinian. As examples of the diversity among commons, he mentioned languages, family recipes, MIT’s open courseware, Linux and community gardens. Burke said the next word, commoning, is the action of sharing together in commons. He said the modern examples of commons demonstrate that commoning is found in collaborative efforts for common benefit. “People are finding common grounds to serve the common good,” Burke said. Stewardship relates to using commons and resources generally in a sustainable manner, he said. Burke said mankind uses 50 percent more of the world’s resources than it naturally produces each year. He said if humans continue on this trajectory of increasing resource consumption, the yearly usage will reach three worlds’ worth by the year 2050. Burke said humanity is more aware of this need for stewardship than ever before because technological advancement has increased mankind’s ability to monitor consumption. “This is the first time in human history when humanity can see itself in totality,” he said. The final word Burke discussed was enclosure. Burke said the term comes from the enclosure acts passed by Parliament during the Tudor period in England. Burke said, for his purposes, enclosure means privatizing commons. “Enclosure is the expropriation and commercialization of shared resources for personal gain,” he said. Burke said two current examples of enclosure are the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, as well as other efforts to extend copyright protections, and the 1981 patent on a microorganism awarded to General Electric. Burke said in the future it may be the case that water goes through the same process of being made a commodity rather than a commons. He said our modern way of thinking about property reflects this idea of enclosure. “We tend to think of enclosure as the only way to manage things,” he said. “Right now, if you can’t put a price on it, it doesn’t have value.” Contact Christian Myers email@example.com
Tags: Chinese diversity dinner, Diversity Dinner, IC, international committee, international students at Saint Mary’s, sga, Student Government Association Courtesy of Catherine Sullivan Ngoc Truong and Catherine Sullivan, co-chairs of the Saint Mary’s International Committee, host the second Diversity Dinner.Stare said the 12 committees encompass aspects of the College community such as Alumnae, Athletic, Community, First-Year Concerns, Food Services, Market Research and Media, Mission, Social Concerns, Sophia Program, Sustainability and Technology. But one of the committees worth spotlighting, having established and accomplished noteworthy goals during the fall semester, is the International Committee, Stare said.The International Committee is spearheaded by co-chair and senior Catherine Sullivan and co-chair and sophomore Ruby Truong, who is an international student from Vietnam, Sullivan said.“As committee chairs, we arrived back on campus a week early than everyone else in August to work on first-year orientation, and even before that, we did group bonding time where we broke into groups and talked about our goals for the year,” Sullivan said. “Those goals are still posted in the SGA office, and we check them off as we go along.”Along with her co-chair Truong, Sullivan said she established early on in the year that the International Committee would focus on three major goals.“One of the first goals we worked towards was the Diversity Dinners, which bring together different cuisines and groups of international students to celebrate the diversity of our student body,” she said. “We wanted to have four or five the first year (this school-year), which highlight different aspects of the culture that represents Saint Mary’s and also the tri-campus community.”Sullivan said the two Diversity Dinners that were held during the fall semester were very successful — more successful than she and Truong had predicted.“The Italian Dinner, which took place in September, was the kickoff Diversity Dinner event, and then we had the Chinese Diversity Dinner in November,” she said. “They both sold out, so to speak, because each dinner is limited to 50 people, and we had some extras sneak in.”In the spring semester, Sullivan said the International Committee has planned a Tunisian dinner and a Vietnamese dinner.“It’s great because all of the food is either cooked by our students, by our faculty or is donated by local restaurants,” she said. “So we are also helping local restaurants in the South Bend community, alongside our international community.” Photo courtesy of Catherine Sullivan Saint Mary’s international students share food and friendship at the Chinese Diversity Dinner, which took place in November.According to Sullivan, the committee’s second goal for the year was to help the international students at Saint Mary’s make their way into the bigger community as a whole.“At Saint Mary’s, we have that issue that the international students are sort of on their own. Even at orientation, the international group is separated,” she said. “We wanted to work on integrating them as best as we could, so the Diversity Dinners work towards this goal — in that anyone can come to them, and it also teaches non-international students about other cultures.“At the Chinese dinner, we were actually taught about the seven different areas of China and the different cuisine that come with each region and why that happened and how that developed. One of our Fulbright scholars did the presentation on it, so that was really great.”The third and final goal of the committee is the International Buddy Program, which pairs each new international student with a returning student, Sullivan said.“Basically, you sign up to be a roommate for an international student and end up rooming with the person,” she said. “This way, the international students can easily feel apart of the community and have a friend base, which intertwines with our second goal.”This program will begin during the spring semester or next fall and will be organized under an application process facilitated by the International Committee and Residence Hall Association.“This will majorly help with the rooming situation for international students because oftentimes these students are juniors or seniors who get randomly paired with first-year students, and it doesn’t work out so well,” Sullivan said. “And single [dorms] are a bad idea because they don’t get to practice English or meet anyone.” Within the Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) is the Council of Committee Chairs (CCC), headed by senior Katie Stare and made up of 18 committee chairs and co-chairs who lead 12 different committees.
Joan Dubinsky, director of the United Nations Ethics Office, wrapped up the Mendoza College of Business’s Ethics Week by sharing stories from her professional experience that contained lessons about business ethics in a world of mixed cultures and experiences.Dubinsky said in today’s world, ethics must be clearly defined, and people must not have arguments about what ethics is.“Ethics is about how we make tough choices,” Dubinsky said. “Or, put more eloquently, ethics is the set of criteria or principles that we use when selecting a course of action in the face of competing values.”Dubinsky said honesty in business is important, and her field was recently created to ensure that morality occupies the proper place in the realm of business.“We ethics officers, well, we’re the experimental philosophers,” Dubinsky said. “We creatively solve everyday problems and challenges. We look at rights, duties and obligations. We consider the perspectives of multiple stakeholders, and we examine how to exercise moral judgment in the every day challenges of business.”Dubinsky said while her particular field of work is relatively new, it has roots in the early history of humanity and civilization.“The Hammurabi code of Babylon dates roughly to 1772 B.C.E.,” Dubinsky said. “It represents, as far as archaeology can tell us, the first written evidence of a legal system. In today’s knowledge it’s a bit draconian, an eye for an eye. But it set forth basic principles of justice like the presumption of innocence or the right of the accused to give evidence or speak.“From this very early example, we learn that the rule of law matters,” she said. “As part of the United Nations, we reinforce every day the importance of the rule of law, because in our world, might does not make right.”Dubinsky said never to assume people share the same ethical realities because an individual’s perception of ethics can be influenced by culture and other factors.“We are guests in the world,” Dubinsky said. “As imperfect as our world is, there might not always be a best, or even a good, answer to a moral choice that we face.“Because we are an international and diverse organization, I have to ask if our conflicts of interest are absolute or if they are influenced by the countries in which they arise or by the nationality of the people in the drama,” she said.Dubinsky said there is a fine line between a genuine gift and gift given for reasons other than generosity.“Sometimes I wonder if you can you ever exchange gifts in a business setting without strings attached,” Dubinsky said. “Conflicts of interest are not always absolute, and detecting them requires a great deal of finesse and empathy.”Ethical action is not always the obvious or easy solution, and it takes real courage and prudence to act in a moral fashion, Dubinsky said.“Your ethical compass, as a business person and citizen of the world, permeates your choices,” she said. “You hold a mirror through which you can reflect your ethical self, and my prayer for you is that this mirror is not distorted.”Dubinsky said United Nations ethics is a “contact sport” that is not purely theoretical.“To do ethics, we must be willing to engage in the world as we find it, with all its imperfections, and not the world that we wish it to be,” Dubinsky said.Tags: Ethics week, Joan Dubinsky, mendoza college of business, United Nations Ethics Office
Tags: Saint Mary’s Career Crossings Office, saint mary’s career fair Wednesday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saint Mary’s will host its first ever on-campus career fair in Rice Commons. Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office said Wednesday’s fair would host the largest group of employers the Career Crossings Office had ever brought together on the College’s campus.“We have employers from all different industries looking for full time, internship and summer opportunities,” she said. “The employers are nonprofit, for profit and from all different industries.”Jeffirs said the fair is open to all Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Notre Dame students and is intended for all majors and all class years. First-years are strongly encouraged to come to experience a professional setting, she said. Jeffirs stressed that students who had attended Notre Dame’s career fair earlier in the year should still consider attending this Wednesday.“You should take advantage of all opportunities to meet with different employers, regardless of what time of year it is,” she said. “We wanted to have ours a little bit later in the semester to give students who didn’t go to Notre Dame’s fair another opportunity. We wanted to do one that was a little bit smaller a little bit more focused on the employers who we have more relationships with. It is a smaller more intimate career fair. “I’m hoping that by hosting it at Saint Mary’s, it will feel a little less intimidating,” she said. “We also didn’t want to front load everything at the beginning of the year.”Jeffirs said that the Saint Mary’s career fair is meant to supplement — not replace — Notre Dame’s Fall Career Expo.“We still have a really good relationship with the Notre Dame [Fall Career Expo], and we will continue to promote those opportunities,” she said. “We’ve been getting the requests from students to have our own career and internship fair, so this year we just said let’s make this happen. We decided to take a leap and do it and see what we can add on to it this year.”James Stano, assistant director of the Careers Crossings Office, stressed that students should come to the career fair prepared and should research the organizations and companies extensively.He said one of the benefits of the College’s career fair is that it will provide a smaller forum for students to talk with potential employers.“You’ll be able to spent more time talking with employers,” he said. “Part of Saint Mary’s institution is much more intimate in the work that we do. They won’t have as many people to remember.”
This Thursday, Friday and Saturday actors from Notre Dame’s own Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company will be storming the local stage and bringing the classic Shakespeare play “The Tempest” to life. Part of the play’s popularity stems from the variability with which it can be performed, and the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company’s production promises to put a unique spin on an old classic focusing on making the show accessible to a modern viewer, Caitlin Crosby, senior and director of the production, said. “It’s a company that’s been around for close to two decades now, and in the past few years we’ve been working really hard to make Shakespeare more accessible,” Crosby said. “A lot of people’s only experience with Shakespeare is the kind of stiff English accent, ruffled neck, Elizabethan clothing. And with our mantra of ‘not-so-royal’ comes that dedication to exploring Shakespeare’s plays in ways that people might not have seen or expected.”This will be Crosby’s first experience directing a production solo with the company. She said she sees her job as the director as less the role of a boss and more the role of a collaborator with the actors and crew.“It’s a really collaborative experience, everyone is there because they want to be, everyone’s there because they have an enthusiasm for Shakespeare,” she said. “Rather than telling people how to make that happen its working with people to make that happen.”Another unique aspect of this production is the location, sophomore Mary Elsa Henrichs, who is playing Ariel said. While in the past the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company has performed in venues like Washington Hall’s main stage, this time they are performing in a much smaller space on the third floor of Washington Hall called the Lab Theater. The Lab is a black box theater with a maximum seating capacity of 100 people, so the play is taking place in a much more intimate space. The actors see the smaller setting as both a benefit to the performance. “I really enjoy the intimacy we have up in the black box,” Henrichs said. The actor playing Prospero, Michael Vaclav, said he also feels the location of the performance adds to it. Vaclav is a second-year graduate student who has been with the company since 2013. “For the Lab, it’s really fun because you can just sort of have a conversation with someone on stage and not have to worry about doing a 3/4 turn and projecting to the back of the house,” he said. “Unless you really whisper, people are going to hear what you’re saying. It’s a very real space.”For Vaclav in particular, this performance is more than just an extracurricular. It being his final performance with the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company, the role of Prospero gains a deeper meaning. “Prospero is kind of seen as Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage, especially his epilogue,” Vaclav said. “So for me being able to give the epilogue and also have that be my send-off is a really special moment.”While Not-So-Royal Shakespeare has performed other Shakespeare classics like “Hamlet,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “Macbeth” over the past couple of years, “The Tempest” is sure to stand out in part because of the themes and ideas it contains that makes it unlike Shakespeare’s other work in terms of the themes and ideas it deals with, Henrichs said.“I think it’s so unlike any other Shakespeare play, in that we’re all on this island stripped of any of the trappings of society or civilization,” Henrichs said. “It’s this sort of examination of what humanity is when were removed from society.”This examination of humanity is a theme central to the production, Vaclav said. “For a modern audience, it’s interesting to see what the characters do when society is stripped away,” Vaclav said. “It’s also interesting to see characters, like Prospero, grapple with what’s human and what’s not.” The performances will take place in the Washington Hall Lab Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will be sold at the door but are also available for purchase at the LaFortune Box Office. Tags: Not-So-Royal Shakespeare, Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare, the tempest
Shannon Valley | The Observer Fr. Joe Corpora speaks Tuesday night at the “Faith and Human Development Discussion” hosted by BridgeND.Tong, the daughter of immigrants, stressed the importance of grassroots change in showing compassion for refugees and migrants. She also spoke about the impact of climate change as an important issue that everyone should be concerned about.Corpora, director of university-school partnerships in the Alliance for Catholic Education, spoke about the need to reform education. Calling it “the civil rights issue for today,” Corpora said there needs to be a level playing field.“What zip code you are born into today will pretty much determine the rest of your life,” Corpora said.Corpora described how the poor are unable to have a choice in where their children attend schools, which means their children often have less preferable public schools as the only option. He advocated for tax credit and vouchers as options to help the lower class have a greater say in education.“Parents need and have a right to choose where their children can go to school,” Corpora said. “A good education can make the biggest difference in the life of a child and a family.”Gerson concentrated on the topic of faith in global development. As chief speechwriter and senior policy advisor for President George W. Bush, Gerson was greatly involved in human development policy in the early 2000s — his favorite experience coming from Pres. Bush’s emergency passing of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR.“Thirty to 40 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa were HIV positive while I was working for the President, all of whom were going to die,” Gerson said.Gerson visited many of these African shanty towns during this time period and still travels there several times a year through his work as a policy fellow with the ONE Campaign, an organization that fights preventable disease and poverty in Africa.In terms of human development, policy is “not only the result of faith, but it is often the result of faith,” Gerson said.He also spoke of the many ways in which faith can be a guiding principle in this field, including that it motivates great leaders and sparks an important movement of conscience and philosophical thought about human rights.Specifically, the anecdotes of his journeys in Africa and the people he met reinforced his beliefs about faith and the necessity for its involvement in human development.“You go to these places and you think that you are going to serve them, but you find such admirable people that they end up instructing you,” Gerson said.Tags: Alliance for Catholic Education, BridgeND, human development BridgeND hosted a discussion titled “Faith and Human Development” in the Hospitality Room of South Dining Hall on Tuesday night. The speakers included Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and former aide to President George W. Bush, Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C. and Andie Tong, senior and officer in Right to Life at Notre Dame.Tong focused her discussion on human development, specifically her pro-life beliefs and her experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in her hometown of Houston, Texas.“For me, Catholic social teaching — an inherently pro-life lens — offers a framework that calls us and our country to action,” Tong said.