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Obama: Change in Egypt ‘must begin now’

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President Barack Obama called in a televised address Tuesday night for an “orderly transition” in Egypt to “begin now,” signaling the administration’s acceptance that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s days are numbered.

The president’s call for immediate change may have been a challenge to Mubarak, who announced in a speech several hours earlier that he would not seek another term in office, but would remain as president until the election in September.

Obama commended the Egyptian military for its restraint in dealing with protesters, and in an apparent dig at Egypt’s attempts to shut down Internet and wireless communications, the president said the US stood for “universal values” such as “freedom of assembly, freedom of speech [and] freedom of information.”

The transition to a new government “must be meaningful, must be peaceful and it must begin now,” Obama said.

The president added he wanted to see a new Egyptian government that reflects “a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties” and that leads the country to free and fair elections.

The US will continue to extend a hand of “friendship and partnership” to Egypt, the president said, and assured the Egyptian people that in America, “we hear your voices.”

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This video is from Reuters, published Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011.

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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Quantum physics experiment shows Heisenberg was right about uncertainty — in a certain sense

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The word uncertainty is used a lot in quantum mechanics. One school of thought is that this means there’s something out there in the world that we are uncertain about. But most physicists believe nature itself is uncertain.

Intrinsic uncertainty was central to the way German physicist Werner Heisenberg, one of the originators of modern quantum mechanics, presented the theory.

He put forward the Uncertainty Principle that showed we can never know all the properties of a particle at the same time.

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Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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