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Harvard

Harvard Divinity Professor Karen King – who caused a worldwide controversy in 2012 when she unveiled a 4th Century papyrus fragment that implies Jesus was married – has now come out saying the parchment is legit, that it has stood up to tests to ensure it’s not a forgery.

Newser reports:

” … extensive testing by professors from Columbia, Harvard, and MIT in the fields of electrical engineering, chemistry, and biology has found no indications that it is a modern forgery, per an article by King published today in the Harvard Theological Review. The Boston Globe says it most likely dates to eighth-century Egypt, and the chemical composition of its ink is in line with the carbon-based inks the people of that country used at the time. But the Globe cautions that a master forger could have accessed the proper materials.”

King, in previous statements on the fragment as well as in the Harvard Theological Review, is careful to hedge her comments by saying no one knows for sure whether Jesus was really married. Although she has argued that her controversial evidence, in which Jesus supposedly refers to his “wife,” proves that the debate is far from over – despite the Vatican and other scholarly experts’ rejection of the papyrus scroll and its text as a fake and forgery.

The 1.5-by-3 inch, honey-colored scrap of papyrus paper hails from Egypt. It states in Coptic: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . . I dwell with her…’ ”

Read more.

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Commencement Controversy Watch 2014 continues with its latest installment:
A contingent of Harvard University students are bridling about campus officials’ decision to choose former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as the 2014 commencement speaker, The Harvard Crimson reports.
At issue is his support of stop-and-frisk policies and proactive anti-terrorism policing programs.
Stop and frisk has been criticized for disproportionately affecting minorities.
“Bloomberg’s policies have deeply affected minority groups in a discriminatory way,” student Gabriel Bayard told the Crimson.
“Harvard’s bringing him to deliver the commencement address could be taken as either an endorsement of this policy or as simple ignorance thereof … To be honest, I’m not quite sure which is worse,” Harvard College Black Men’s Forum President Rodriguez Roberts, a student, also told the Crimson.

Other students lamented Bloomberg’s policies targeted at the Muslim community in New York while mayor. Under the Bloomberg regime, the New York Police Department used its forces to crack down and spy on 16 student organizations throughout New York City.

Islamic Society member Shehryar Sheikh told the Crimson that, as a Muslim, he was disturbed by Bloomberg’s selection because of his perception of the former mayor’s treatment of Muslims in New York City.

The concern comes at a bad time for Harvard, as racial tensions heated up after a group of students created a campaign entitled I, Too, Am Harvard, which placed race animosity and discrimination concerns at the forefront of the Ivy League institution.

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IMAGE: Center for American Progress/flickr

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Via FoxNews:

If the aroma of sweet, buttery coffee is something you want to share with friends – even friends who live miles away – you soon may have the option of doing so through a device called the “oPhone.”

Harvard researcher David Edwards and a team of his students are developing a technology that, once completed, will allow scents to be passed along through a text message, phone call or social media application via a Bluetooth-capable smartphone, tablet or computer.

“The oPhone is in development. It will be available for use notably in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from July and commercially from later this year,” Edwards told FoxNews.com via email from Italy.

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A University of Texas law professor says we need to trash our nation’s founding document, and come up with a new, more modern constitution.

The Houston Press reports:

University of Texas law professor Sandy Levinson (he’s also a visiting professor at Harvard) is one of the most respected constitutional law scholars in the country, and, increasingly, one of the most iconoclastic. Levinson’s scholarly crusade been calling attention to the Constitution’s “hard-wired” features (e.g., the Senate, life tenure for Supreme Court justices, the difficulty of removing presidents) that he believes makes America fundamentally undemocratic. Levinson has come to the .conclusion that “the system just does not work anymore. The output fails. It’s not a government that can solve problems…”

Of course he’s “also” a visiting professor at Harvard. With such a blatant dislike of the constitution, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Read the full story here.

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Do you know who is hacking into your email account? Maybe a better question would be–Who isn’t these days?

Obama and the NSA are doing it. Harvard got caught doing it. And today I can report that Yale University is doing it too.

Yale officials have claimed the right to search student email accounts without notice or consent, according to a report in the Yale Daily News. According to a survey conducted by the Daily News, only 3 out of 73 students were aware that the university had the claimed the power to access their private university email accounts.

According to the Yale administration, reading student email accounts may be done for such vague reasons as complying with  “federal, state, or local law or administrative rules,” or whenever “there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of law or a significant breach of University policy may have taken place.”

The Daily News reports that the right to probe student email accounts is “outlined in a publicly available but little-publicized document,” entitled “University’s Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy.”

Judging from the broad and vaguely-defined causes for search outlined in the statement, it might as well be called the “We Can Read any Email You Send or Receive any Time We Want Policy.”

The policy not only allows for search anytime officials suspect you have breached university policy, but it promises full access for government officials–not just the feds, but for state or even local government officials.

Who would have imagined that a local police department could have access to the private emails of students under their jurisdiction without notice or consent? Could that actually happen? Has it happened? It’s hard to say for sure, but the snooping powers outlined in the university policy are so broad that it’s impossible to rule out.

In the year 2013, America has awakened to the reality of the surveillance state we live in. Every phone call, every email–private conversations we might have assumed could not be accessed without a warrant in the past. We now know that at any time the government could be, and probably is, listening and recording every word.

And gradually we have come to realize that the culture of surveillance doesn’t end there. In fact employers increasingly claim the right to read employee emails. And even our nation’s elite colleges and universities, premised as they are on the lofty principles of free speech and academic freedom, no longer respect the privacy of their own students.

Without a reasonable expectation of privacy, free speech is a sham. You can say whatever you want–sure. So long as you don’t mind someone listening in or reading over your digital shoulder.

In claiming the power to read student emails, Yale has shown that it values its own power and interests above the interests and freedoms of its students.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image: amysphere.flickr)

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Did you know that some Harvard students feel dumb, and that they feel sooooo badly about themselves because of it? Neither did I, but that’s the premise of a recent article published by the Harvard Crimson–a student newspaper at that lofty, storied campus.

The article identifies a problem: Namely, because Harvard students are surrounded by so many smart people, they feel dumb. Citing a recent campus visit by author Malcolm Gladwell, the article spells it out this way: “If you’re last in your class at Harvard, it doesn’t feel like you’re a good student, even though you really are.”

Poor Harvard students, feeling dumb precisely because they are so smart! That must be hard.

The article then identifies a number of solutions for Harvard students who feel dumb and badly about themselves. According to the recommendations put forward in article, if you are a Harvard student who needs to improve your self esteem, you should take the following steps:

Step 1.) Buy yourself a new pair of shoes.

Step 2.) Watch a Miley Cyrus video on YouTube. (I’m not making these up, I promise.)

Step 3.) Look at old photos on Facebook.

Step 4.) Don’t look at Facebook. (Steps 3 & 4 were offered successively and, apparently, without irony.)

Step 5.) “Vent” your feelings to a close friend or, even better, “a dining hall worker.” (Venting at the hired help is a great emotional outlet for the elite ruling class!)

Step 6.) Remember that you were “chosen” to be at Harvard because you were “special enough” to stand out from everyone else.

Again, I remind you, these recommendations were intended for students with low self-esteem, not too much self-esteem, as you might assume from reading step number 6.

I hope any Harvard students out there who happen to be reading this article and feeling all-around lousy about themselves will find these tips helpful. Boosting delicate Harvard egos is, after all, a difficult task.

Oh, Harvard! There is a light at the end of your solipsistic darkness! A beacon shining through the misty cloud of fear and self-doubt! Above all, there is hope! Feeling dumb at Harvard is a problem from which you can be delivered! (With help from Miley Cyrus.)

There were a few other recommendations, but you’ll have to go check out the article yourself to see them all. I can’t write anymore today because I just now realized that I’m not “special enough” to have been “chosen” to be a Harvard student, and I simply feel awful about myself now as a result. Awful, I say.

Excuse me while I go look for a dining hall worker. I feel the need to vent…

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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