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Twenty-two years after a Ross’s goose hatched from an egg in Saskatchewan, Canada, it was shot somewhere in California. Scientists collected the metal leg tag to have it added to a searchable database—one of 77 million entries for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Laboratory.
The fact that we can learn the story of a 22-year-old goose today is due to a large effort to digitize millions of avian profiles from paper and microfilm. Contractors did much of the labor, but a group of college-aged students also played a significant role by uploading 500,000 Bird Banding Laboratory records. The contractors made $1 per record. The students, who were autistic, earned nothing.
Launched in 2012, the USGS STEP-UP program uses students on the spectrum for a myriad of projects, including typing up records from tagged birds, sorting microfossils, identifying species on trail-cam
era images, cataloging rock cuttings, and more. The program has expanded its bounds in recent years, from a single school to partners in Denver, Salt Lake City, Monterey, and other cities across the country. To date, it’s enrolled 195 individuals.
The students, aged 18 to 22, spend up to five days a week for a year or longer on their volunteer gigs. Many are simultaneously earning non-standard high school diplomas with their school districts; some are working on post-secondary certificates.
But while STEP-UP is meant to help pave the way to science-based careers, the unpaid program could prove to be a setback for those it serves. The period after high school is a particularly challenging time for young adults with autism: Many social services are cut off, and opportunities for employment and higher education are often limited. Nation-wide surveys show that two-thirds of autistic high school graduates can’t find a job or enroll in college within two years. Only 35 percent eventually head off to college, and a smaller fraction earn their degrees and end up in the work force.
“The fact that the existence of autistic adults was not acknowledged by the psychiatric establishment in America until the early 1990s means that there is still shockingly little infrastructure already in place to help young autistic people make the transition from education to the workplace,” says Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.
Transitional programs like STEP-UP are designed to teach participants job skills. The USGS states that the program increases volunteers’ “future financial independence”—but Silberman notes that “many existing programs are framed as forms of charity, rather than as training for creative, rewarding, and fairly compensated careers.” This, he says, is “despite the fact that some autistic employees may perform better than their neurotypical colleagues when doing the same jobs.”
David Craig, a professor at Willamette University who runs a community science project tracking Caspian terns, draws information from the very BBL database that the autistic students helped to digitize. He recognizes the “particular talents, skills, and energy” that those on the spectrum can bring to scientific research.
“We need a neurodiverse workforce,” Craig says. “The STEP-UP program is making unique contributions in training talented people that can join us in the joys and struggles of bird research and conservation.”
There are few institutions that train autistic students in STEM fields (despite the youth’s interest), making unpaid opportunities more alluring. The USGS also offers the prospect of hiring volunteers once they age out of the program at 22. So far, nine of the 45 students who have completed this program have come on permanently, while 20 others have found employment elsewhere, says Hannah Hamilton, a public affairs specialist with the agency.
The issue, however, is the lack of pay during prolonged training. When the USGS’s volunteer program came to light on social media, many people expressed outrage at what they perceived to be exploitation of a vulnerable, adept community. But the problem of low or unpaid labor is a regular dilemma for individuals with disabilities, both in and outside of the scientific sphere.
“It’s a pervasive problem in society as a whole when accommodations for employees with disabilities are seen as favors for people with ‘special needs’ or expressions of the employer’s benevolence, rather than as ways to tap the most skilled workforce and ensure that every employee is given what they need to succeed,” Silberman says.
Given the right paid opportunity, STEP-UP students could go from translating cryptic numbers and notes to being the scientists who band fluffy goslings in the Canadian wilds.
You're reading Government Workers With Autism May Go Unpaid, Despite Their Valuable Contributions To Science
A quality that results from our comfort level after becoming accustomed to a particular environment or stimulation is complacency. For instance, a motorist may be too cautious when driving on rugged terrain for the first time. He is very calculated. Therefore, it makes sense that he would move slowly. The motorist would move quickly after repeatedly driving through that same terrain since he would have grown accustomed to it. As his confidence grows, he may become complacent that he disregards obvious and fundamental safety precautions, endangering his safety. I once overheard a boss discussing his thoughts about the difference in workplace productivity between contractual and regular employees.
Contract workers always gave their jobs their utmost effort since they knew that failing to do so could endanger their ability to remain with the organization. However, after they are employed and regularized, they tend to lose interest in their work due to the comforting thought of job security, familiarity with their surroundings, and mastery of the activity with its predictable and routine nature. However, rather than producing a more effective outcome, ironically, performances move slowly and produce low-quality results. Human error and disregard for health and safety regulations inevitably harm processes and procedures. When workplace complacency becomes an entrenched habit difficult to eradicate, end users are short-changed with subpar service.Redefining industries with Blockchain
As taxpayers, we are entitled to quick and effective services that we know governments long to provide but cannot do due to ingrained practices and established norms. Every year, bureaucracies cost a lot of money and squander many people’s money. Governments can investigate the potential for introducing blockchain technology to service sectors that most need it by adopting it, saving a significant amount of money from their budget.Election
The controversy surrounding elections just doesn’t seem to go away, does it? Why? They are very unreliable because you will always hear accusations that they have been rigged from the start and because there is a lack of transparency. So, how can blockchain help to solve this issue? Technology has been purpose-built to make it impossible for anyone to hack it, and security breaches have become a thing of the past. Not only will the possibility of fraud be eliminated, but the level of authenticity will also increase significantly simultaneously. Blockchain-based voting eliminates any opportunities for identity theft and makes it impossible to tamper with the results.Taxes
Millions of people struggle to understand taxes and related procedures since they are a subject of never-ending debate. Smart contracts will eliminate any chance of human error by introducing smart contracts, which will change the entire industry. Additionally, you simply cannot avoid paying taxes, which significantly reduces the rate of fraudulent operations. As a result, the entire process of collecting and reporting taxes becomes much more streamlined and customizable.Virtual Identity
The main goal of blockchain technology is to speed up and greatly improve government transactions. It is simple to gather and verify the whole database of public documents in real time, and it is also very secure.Healthcare
Blockchain technology has revolutionized the healthcare sector as a whole, making it simpler to diagnose illnesses and treat them effectively. As a result, the system has been strengthened and made more effective, which is somewhat lacking in this industry.Why don’t governments adopt technology?
Despite its explosive growth, blockchain technology must reach a critical mass of mass usage before it can persuade governments to follow suit. Governments, no matter how conservative, will opportunistically watch from the sidelines until widespread mass adoption occurs, there are sufficient use cases to base decisions on, and problems and solutions reach a plateau.
Due to the vast amounts of data that needs to be safeguarded and protected, the bureaucratic procedures of the government have, in some ways, been working to their benefit. Human involvement in the processes ensures that they are managed successfully and efficiently. The deployment of smart contracts is the dreaded scenario in which the impending blockchain encroachment will occur. What would happen to the wave of employees swarming every department and protected by law by the security of tenure if smart contracts eliminated human intervention? That was the same attitude we had when the Internet and all its enabling technologies entered our complacent lives and began to disrupt them.
Fear was fully eliminated when our well-founded concerns turned out to be unfounded. Because of the Internet, we have improved our lives and found greater fulfillment in our employment than ever before. According to a Deloitte and Oxford study on the effects of technology on occupations in the UK over the past 15 years, technology has eliminated 800,000 jobs while creating 3.5 million new ones that demand high levels of ability and creativity.Blockchain countries to look up to The UK and Ukraine
The land registries of each of these nations are about to adopt blockchain technology.Estonia
Estonia created the KSI blockchain to create an efficient and immutable system for citizen-state transactions. It consists of financial, healthcare, and other public services.Korea
All of the population’s personal data is operated and stored in Korea for blockchain administration. In addition, used car records and unemployment benefits are also included. Furthermore, municipal administrations are adopting the operation of the blockchain.Whether or not to use blockchain, Final Remarks
Nations’ governments will eventually have to accept reality. At this time, blockchain technology is the only practical technology that can alter how they serve its population. Developers are working around the clock to address any outstanding issues preventing blockchain technology from operating at its full potential, particularly data protection, privacy, and transparency. In addition, any country that adopts blockchain technology would benefit immensely from the quick service delivery it allows due to the enormous amounts of time and money it may save.
Going to the bathroom is different for every creature. Tigers and penguins are known for projectile excretion that shoots out a fire hose, whereas wombats poop in cubes, sloths only poop once a month, and some wood-boring clams use poop chimneys to build a home.
All animals, even insects need to get rid of their waste. What goes in, afterall, must eventually come out. After Georgia Tech biomechanics specialist Saad Bhamla caught the rare sight of an insect urinating in his backyard, he was curious what mechanisms the critter used to relieve itself. He watched as the bug formed an almost perfectly round droplet on its tail before quickly launching away, a pattern repeated for hours.
[Related: These clams use poop to dominate their habitat.]
To learn more, Bhamla and bioengineering graduate student Elio Challita studied glassy-winged sharpshooters– an insect the size of a millimeter known notorious for spreading disease among crops like almonds, wine, and citrus. While they are smaller than the tip of a pinky finger, the mechanism behind their excrement can produce superpropulsion– a feat of physics and bioengineering. Their study, published February 28 in the journal Nature Communications, describes the first observation and explanation of this phenomenon in a biological system.
A sharpshooter insect forming a urine droplet before it catapulting it high acceleration. CREDIT: Georgia Institute of Technology.
“Little is known about the fluid dynamics of excretion, despite its impact on the morphology, energetics, and behavior of animals,” said Bhamla, in a statement. “We wanted to see if this tiny insect had come up with any clever engineering or physics innovations in order to pee this way.”
Sharpshooters eat an almost zero-calorie diet of a nutrient deficient liquid called plant xylem sap. It only has water and a trace of minerals and they drink up to 300 times their body weight in xylem sap per day. To survive, they need to constantly drink and efficiently excrete their mostly-water fluid waste.
In this study, the team used high-speed videos and microscopy to watch precisely what was happening on the insect’s tail.
“We realized that this insect had effectively evolved a spring and lever like a catapult and that it could use those tools to hurl droplets of pee repeatedly at high accelerations,” Challita said.
[Related: These insects have 80 times the suction power of an elephant and pee at an alarming rate.]
To figure out why sharpshooters urinate in droplets, Bhamla and Challita studied micro CT scans of their morphology and took measurements from inside the insects. They calculated the pressure that is required for sharpshooters to push the fluid through a very small anal canal and found that peeing in droplets is the most energy efficient way for them to excrete waste.
The team hopes that better understanding how excretion affects animal size, behavior, and evolution can be used to prevent crop losses. Sharpshooter excretion could possibly be a vector surveillance tool infestations from bugs like the sharpshooters will likely get worse with climate change.
“This work reinforces the idea of curiosity-driven science being valuable,” Challita said. “And the fact that we discovered something that is so interesting–superpropulsion of droplets in a biological system and heroic feats of physics that have applications in other fields–makes it even more fascinating.”
As part of the Games with Gold program, Microsoft has revealed the next four titles that “Xbox Game Pass” and “Xbox Live Gold” members are getting throughout May 2023. In this rollout, the software giant is making available $79.96 worth of games, including Armello and Dungeons 3. Also, through Backwards Compatibility, you will be able to play Lego Batman and Tropico 4.
On Xbox One and Xbox Series X (and Series S), throughout May 2023, subscribers will be able to download Armello ($19.99 ERP). And from May 16 through June 15, Dungeons 3 ($29.99 ERP) will be available at no extra cost.
You can also see the April 2023 games here.
In addition, Microsoft has now removed the Xbox Live Gold subscription requirement to play free-to-play multiplayer games on the Xbox network. This means you can now play a variety of games on Xbox One and Xbox Series X or S online with other gamers without a Gold subscription.
Furthermore, the company is also making Xbox party chat and the Looking For Groups (LFG) feature available without a subscription.
Although you won’t be able to play every game in the catalog, you will no longer need to pay to play games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Destiny 2, Fortnite, Rocket League, Warframe, Apex Legends, and many others.Xbox Live Gold vs. Game Pass Ultimate
An Xbox Live Gold membership gives you exclusive access to free games through the “Games with Gold” program every month. Also, the subscription gives you full access to online gaming and game discounts. If you are not a subscriber, you can always find good deals at the Microsoft Store.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is a monthly subscription service that includes the same benefits as the Xbox Live Gold membership. However, you also get unlimited access to download and play over 100 high-quality games on your Xbox One or gaming PC. You can join the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate following this link.
Microsoft recently announced a new price increase on its Xbox Live Gold subscription twice as much as the PlayStation subscription (to $120 per year) on what seems to be a strategy to lure customers into switching to the Game Pass subscription. However, shortly after the announcement and customers complain, the company backtracked the hike and said that the pricing would continue to stay the same as before. Furthermore, the software giant is also working to make the Xbox network more accessible, like Sony and Nintendo, by ending the subscription requirement for freely available games (free-to-play) that you can play online with other remember.Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
Xbox Series X is the next-generation console from Microsoft that features AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures and 16GB of memory, offering 12 teraflops of processing power, allowing up to 4K resolution and up to 120fps gameplay. The Series X costs $499.99, and you can order it now at the Microsoft Store.
Alongside the Xbox Series X, Microsoft also offers the smaller Xbox Series S, a slightly less powerful version of the console targeted at 1080p and 1440p gaming. However, it plays next generations games, and it only costs $299.99. The console is available now, and you can order it at the Microsoft Store. If you cannot decide which one you should buy, this guide will help you determine the best console for you.
Since Microsoft has now shifted to the next generation of game consoles, it has already discontinued the Xbox One X and Xbox One All-Digital edition production. Production of the Xbox One S will continue, and you can order it from the Microsoft Store.
You need to through the cryptocurrency timeline to find the most valuable cryptocurrencies
If you are looking to invest in the10 Most Profitable Cryptocurrencies of September Bitcoin
Despite facing many back-to-back hits, bitcoin still rallies at a remarkable price and stays at the top of the list. The framework of bitcoin first came out in 2008 through Bitcoin White Paper, which was written by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous person. Later, a team worked on the blockchain network and unleashed the first bitcoin in 2009. Besides becoming the first cryptocurrency that survived the cold wind of investors, bitcoin has a long history of other struggles that it conquered on its way. The recent one is bitcoin mining’s impact on the global ecosystem. China has banned bitcoin mining owing to the extreme consumption of electricity and Elon Musk also showed the red flag to accepting bitcoin payments due to the same. However, despite experiencing a brief price fall, bitcoin is now back on track.Ethereum
People who know the digital currency market well choose ethereum over bitcoin because it is more than just a cryptocurrency, it is a network. Ethereum allows developers to create their own cryptocurrency with the help of ethereum network and also provides easy transaction options. Although ethereum is far behind Bitcoin in market capitalization, experts predict an approaching wave of ethereum adoption, which could push down the top cryptocurrency.Dogecoin
Dogecoin started as a joke over the internet featuring a Shina Inu dog. Over the popularity of the meme, a group of people created the Dogecoin cryptocurrency. However, it is not a laughing stock anymore. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin has its own set of star people like Elon Musk and Mark Cuban who hype the digital token. Musk has once called Dogecoin one of the ‘three meaningful assets’ he owns besides his company.Binance Coin
Initially developed over the ethereum-based token, Binance Coin later moved to its won blockchain network. Binance Coin was the first cryptocurrency to transact solely with other cryptocurrencies and not with fiat money. Launched in 2023, Binance Coin is placed as the fifth biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.Ripple
Ripple company developed XRP as a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS). Created in 2012, XRP offers a way to pay in many different real-world currencies. It can also be useful in cross-border transactions and uses a trust-less mechanism to facilitate payments. Unlike other cryptocurrencies that don’t have a central authority to monitor the price, XRP has its parent company, which owns over half of the total XRP available.Tether
Launched in 2014, the tether is the first stablecoin that introduced the concept of less volatility in the digital currency sphere. Although many investors are after the most profitable cryptocurrencies that pump up their investment in a brief period, some prefer long-term investments that take slow, yet, steady growth. Tether is pegged to the US dollar, making it the third-strongest and one of the most valued cryptocurrencies.Bitcoin Cash
The core motto of bitcoin cash is to make transactions easy and quick. Although bitcoin is the gold of the digital currency sphere, it is not practically quick when it comes to delivering day-to-day payments. In 2023, bitcoin took four days to process a payment unless a fee is paid. Crypto investors can’t wait that long or pay an extra fee for small transactions. Therefore, they opted for a rapid mode called Bitcoin Cash.Litecoin USD Coin
USD Coin is another famous stablecoin that is backed by the US dollar. The blockchain pattern of USD Coin is very similar to that of ethereum, stellar, algorand, and Solana. Launched in 2023, USD Coin made it to the top 10 cryptocurrency list real quick with its stable investment feature. It is managed by a consortium called Centre that was founded by Circle and other members of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Bitmain, a bitcoin mining company.Polkadot
You just wrapped up an invigorating conversation with your 10th-grade students. They contributed brilliant ideas, and you’re looking forward to reading the written reflections you assigned for homework. But when you log into Google Classroom the next day to grade their work, you find that nearly half of your students didn’t submit the assignment. Only two-thirds of them even opened the document.
So many students who are engaged in real-world learning activities struggle to complete assignments in the digital world. Digital work is often out of sight and out of mind the moment they leave our classrooms. It can cause teachers and parents to wonder if being organized is even possible in our tech-focused society.
1-to-1 Devices are Permanent Fixtures in Today’s Classroom
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic pushed most schools into a virtual teaching model, students spent much of their instructional time on a device. A 2023 study out of Arlington Public Schools found that middle school students spent 47 percent of their time and high school students spent 68 percent of their time on a device. Findings from the study suggest that devices are frequently used for “reference and research, presentations and projects, and feedback and assessment.”
By the return to in-person learning, 90 percent of students had access to a one-to-one device for school, and it’s evident that technology in the classroom (and workplace) is here to stay.
Teaching Digital Organization Skills is Key
Although they have access to a myriad of digital organization tools (myHomework, Evernote, Google Keep, and Coggle, to name a few), students may still struggle to organize their assignments and complete them from start to submission. We often assume that students can transfer organizational skills from the real world to the digital world, and we often ask them to quickly and seamlessly transition from hard-copy work (reading a chapter in a novel, completing a science experiment) to digital work, such as writing a reflection in Google Docs and submitting it to a learning management system (LMS).
Digital files are perceivable to the human brain, but they aren’t tangible in the same way that binders, notebooks, and folders are. And while an LMS may aid students’ access to information, it doesn’t do the heavy lifting of organizing information and prioritizing tasks. These actions are highly demanding cognitive skills that students can be taught and practice in the digital world—even if students have already perfected them in the analog world.
Teachers can prioritize strategic, direct instruction of organizational and other executive functioning skills for a tech-focused world.
Streamline Your Classroom Resources
The first step in helping students organize digital work is to organize your classroom resources on the back end. In coordination with your department, grade level, or district, choose one LMS and three to four instructional resources, and stick with them for the entire year. For example, you could select Google Classroom as your LMS and use PearDeck, Google Calendar, and EdPuzzle as instructional resources.
Though it’s tempting to adopt new and exciting technology as it evolves, a revolving door of programs is difficult for students to juggle and can lead to app fatigue.
Teachers can further streamline their classroom resources by color-coding folders and files in their chosen LMS, posting log-in directions in easily accessible locations, and offering a landing page in their LMS that holds all of the links to digital resources.
Create Predictable Routines Around Digital Work
Next, it’s important for teachers to create clear and predictable routines around organizing digital assignments.
One routine that I’ve developed in my classroom is a living table of contents document. I create and print out a blank table of contents for each unit, and students house them in their binders. I then project the table of contents at the start of each class with the day’s newest assignments, and students fill in these new items on their hard copies when they settle in. Each assignment is numbered, and assignments located online that won’t appear in their binders are labeled with an “S” (for us, that stands for Schoology) to note that the assignment is in our LMS.
Another predictable routine is entering homework assignments into Google Calendar or agenda books together at the end of every class. Prompting students to write down their homework may seem elementary, but even older students appreciate the predictability and consistency of this routine because it reduces anxiety (rushing to write it down before the teacher moves on) and frees up brain space for critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving.
Model a Variety of Organizational Strategies
Similar to the process of how academic skills are acquired, teachers can model organizational skills for students. Consider creating opportunities to demonstrate strategies such as how and where to save documents, how to sync information across devices, how to share calendar events with peers and parents, and how to plan for long-term projects.
You can also help students get more comfortable with organizational strategies by sharing “think-alouds” for task initiation, task prioritization, and time management. Consider using common language for reminding and prompting. For example, at the start of every new assignment, you could say something like, “Now that I’m ready to start, I’m going to open up Schoology, Google, and a Word document and close out of other tabs.”
Because executive functioning skills are not innate, providing language for them allows students to identify them, replicate them, and use tools to do them more quickly. Prioritizing these skills can improve student outcomes and prepare students for an increasingly tech-focused world.
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