Rich mainland parents are paying thousands of Hong Kong dollars to private investigators to spy on their children studying in Hong Kong, including PhD students and kindergarteners.
Four detective agencies said they handled on average “a few” to “a dozen” week-long investigations for mainland parents every month.
“The number has more than doubled compared to a few years ago,” said Kar Liu, a private eye at Wan King On Investigations.
Philic Man Hin-nam, founder and director of Global Investigation and Security Consultancy, an all-woman detective agency, said that mainland student cases accounted for about 40 per cent of the more than 100 requests made by parents last summer for information on their children.
The majority of family cases were instigated by Hong Kong parents who had reason to fear their children were involved with drugs or being led astray.
“Many mainland students studying in Hong Kong are single children from rich families,” Liu of Wan King On Investigations said. “Those parents attach great importance to their children’s behaviour.”
…Typically, a team of three agents monitor a student, taking photos and reporting back to parents daily.
There is more here, via Mark Thorson.
One of them is gathering steam (and more detail here):
The National Council of the American Studies Association announced Wednesday that it has unanimously endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities and other Israeli institutions — and urged its members to vote to make the boycott official policy of the association.
The move by the council, even if awaiting approval by the membership, is seen as a major victory for the movement for an academic boycott of Israel.
And yet I have a better idea. If one is going to boycott institutions of Israel, should one not also boycott strong, powerful nations which have supported much of what Israel has done, especially strong, powerful nations which stole a lot of land from the original inhabitants, refuse to give it back, and have recently practiced torture, aggressive military intervention, and the murder of innocent civilians, and which spy upon much of the world, mostly without apology?
That’s right, they might consider boycotting the United States, starting with their very own name, which now would read “Council of the Studies Association.” Cynical advocates of “self-deportation” (I am not one of them) might suggest a more general boycott of the nation as it relates to their choices of residence and employment, but I will settle for the group boycotting academic conferences in America.
I am in in Tel Aviv — albeit briefly — and happy to be here. I am reminded of David Brooks’s recent column on the creeping politicization of life. That is one trend we all ought to oppose.
Addendum: Here is a good dissent from the boycott.
In some recent work, Bosquet and Combes look at French data (only) and correlate the quality of economics departments with some of their underlying features. Why did they chose France?: “The most frequent way of becoming a full professor is via a national contest that allocates winners to departments in a largely random way.”
So what do we learn? First, large departments are in per capita terms not so much more productive and not at all doing better in terms of quality. Proximity to other economics departments also does not matter.
Heterogeneity among researchers in terms of publication performance has a large, negative explanatory power.
I suspect some of this is causal. It is good for departments to get rid of their dead wood and good when departments insist that everyone produce.
There is also this:
The second department characteristic that has the highest explanatory power of individual publication performance is the diversity of the department in terms of research fields (within economics).
I wonder there how much the allocation of researchers is truly random. I find the reverse causality story more plausible, namely that the strongest departments have the resources and heft to cover a larger number of fields, as it is less likely that having people scattered across many fields makes the department as a whole more productive.
In your spare time, you might also ponder this:
Finally, other department characteristics have interesting properties.
Contrary to common intuition, more students per academic do not reduce publication performance.
Women, older academics, stars in the department and co-authors in foreign institutions all have a positive externality impact on each academic’s individual outcome.
For the pointer I thank Mills Kelly.
Arlington-based Strayer Education Inc., hoping to curb declining enrollment, will cut tuition for new undergraduate students by as much as 40 percent.
Strayer will give all new students 20 percent off tuition at enrollment, and is offering a program called Tuition Awards, which will cover the cost of one class for every three a student successfully completes.
…Total enrollment at Strayer University for the fall term fell 17 percent, while new enrollments were down 23 percent.
Strayer (NASDAQ: STRA) is also reducing its workforce by 20 percent and closing 20 physical campuses within the next six months.
It is no surprise for many of these changes to start at the lower end of the market, just as the financial crisis started with subprime. Here is more, and for the pointer I thank Carrie Conko.
That is a new paper by Chiara Franzoni, Giuseppe Scellato and Paula Stephan, and the abstract is this:
Migrant scientists outperform domestic scientists. The result persists after instrumenting migration for reasons of work or study with migration in childhood to minimize the effect of selection. The results are consistent with theories of knowledge recombination and specialty matching.
The university-gated version is here. There are more new immigration papers here, via Kevin Lewis.
By the way, over sixty percent of the scientists and engineers of Silicon Valley were born outside of the United States. By the way, here is a new Swiss paper (pdf) on attitudes toward immigrant foreigners.
We will be complementing our classes on Development Economics, Mexico’s Economy, The Eurozone Crisis, and International Trade with a class on International Finance. What topics would you like to see us cover?
Jason Kottke suggests:
I could imagine Glass Concierge becoming a future job title, basically a personal assistant who looks in on your Google Glass video feed to make helpful suggestions and advice, basically a rally co-driver for your life.
Most of the post is about using Google Glass to cheat at poker. In response to inquiries, I will review the product once I can get one.
From Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst:
I see these findings as devastating for advocates of the expansion of state pre-k programs. This is the first large scale randomized trial of a present-day state pre-k program. Its methodology soundly trumps the quasi-experimental approaches that have heretofore been the only source of data on which to infer the impact of these programs. And its results align almost perfectly with those of the Head Start Impact Study, the only other large randomized trial that examines the longitudinal effects of having attended a public pre-k program. Based on what we have learned from these studies, the most defensible conclusion is that these statewide programs are not working to meaningfully increase the academic achievement or social/emotional skills and dispositions of children from low-income families.
There is much more at the link at the Brookings blog, including the major details of the Vanderbilt study, with some very useful pictures. For the pointer I thank Michelle Dawson.
From Sarah O’Connor and Chris Giles, this one is a bruiser:
The earnings of recent English graduates have deteriorated so rapidly since the financial crisis that the latest class is earning 12 per cent less than their pre-crash counterparts at the same stage in their careers. They also owe about 60 per cent more in student debt.
As Britain starts to emerge from the downturn, a Financial Times analysis of student loan data exposes the damage done to a generation of graduates, for whom a degree has all but ceased to be a golden ticket to a decent job. Tuition fees in England almost tripled last year to a maximum £9,000 a year.
…Each cohort of graduates since the financial crisis is earning less than the one before. New graduates who earned £15,000 or more in 2011-12 – enough to start repaying their loans – were paid on average 12 per cent less in real terms than graduates at the same stage of their careers in 2007-08.
This real terms fall is three times as deep as the decline in average pay for all full-time workers over the same period.
From the FT there is more here.
He is one of my favorite pianists, try his Chopin Preludes. The blog Ionarts reports:
After this residency at the Cité de la Musique, he will take a vacation of three months, during which he will move into a new apartment, with a view of the Seine. He will still not have a piano at home, which he offers as advice to many young musicians. Most important, he says, is not to play on a beautiful piano, because it does not encourage you to work.
Tharaud only practices on pianos in the homes of his friends.
From Greg Toppo:
It’d be easy to conclude that school has never been a more dangerous place, but for the USA’s 55 million K-12 students and 3.7 million teachers, statistics tell another story: Despite two decades of high-profile shootings, school increasingly has become a safer place.
…By nearly every measure, safety has improved and violence has dropped for students and teachers, according to recent findings issued jointly by the Justice Department and Education Department.
The data do not include post-2011, but still the overall trends, as outlined in the longer article, seem pretty clear.
Companies, academics and individual software developers will be able to use it at a small fraction of the previous cost, drawing on IBM’s specialists in fields like computational linguistics to build machines that can interpret complex data and better interact with humans.
That is a big deal, obviously. The story is here.
All you authors out there, read this carefully and recall the words of Samuel Johnson:
Reading a book can change your mind, but only some changes last for a year: food attitude changes in readers of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York Albany, NY, USA.
Attitude change is a critical component of health behavior change, but has rarely been studied longitudinally following extensive exposures to persuasive materials such as full-length movies, books, or plays. We examined changes in attitudes related to food production and consumption in college students who had read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma as part of a University-wide reading project. Composite attitudes toward organic foods, local produce, meat, and the quality of the American food supply, as well as opposition to government subsidies, distrust in corporations, and commitment to the environmental movement were significantly and substantially impacted, in comparison to students who had not read the book. Much of the attitude change disappeared after 1 year; however, over the course of 12 months self-reported opposition to government subsidies and belief that the quality of the food supply is declining remained elevated in readers of the book, compared to non-readers. Findings have implications for our understanding of the nature of changes in attitudes to food and eating in response to extensive exposure to coherent and engaging messages targeting health behaviors.
Hat tip goes to Neuroskeptic.
Maybe your boss (or spouse?) will want you to wear it:
And then there’s the lie-detector feature. “Optionally,” the filing muses, “the electronic skin tattoo can further include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user. It is contemplated that a user that may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual.”
There is more information here. The pointer is from Charles C. Mann.