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“At 12% of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren.

“As snow survey crews worked, Gov. Antonio Marras Short Dresses Black 53hU7
met with Southern California water leaders as part of a series of drought meetings he is holding around the state.

“Every day this drought goes on, we’re going to have to tighten the screws on what people are doing,” Brown said in brief remarks before the private meeting with regional water managers at the downtown Los Angeles headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times

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“Northern California is finally getting wet weather after some areas have gone without measurable rain for weeks. But the precipitation won’t help much to ease the drought that plagued the region.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website predicted just 0.1 inch of rain in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. But more than 2 inches were expected in parts of Sacramento and as much as 2 feet of snow at higher elevations in the northern Sierra, where snow was falling on Thursday morning and drivers were required to have chains on their vehicles.

“The San Francisco Bay Area has had only about 10-20 percent of the precipitation that it usually gets this time of year, said National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson.”

Read more: Foxnews

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Retrieved from PhD Comics

Piled Higher and Deeper into the Nexus

by Miles Ten Brinke

The life of a 1st year PhD candidate at Manchester Business School is a study in contradictions. The environment you suddenly find yourself in seems to tear in opposite directions, demanding of you a level of knowledge and expertise you never expected to possess and yet ever humbling with just how little you actually know. On the one hand you’re a semi-accomplished student engaged in intensive research training and analysis (everywhere from the most obscure specialist papers only you and a half dozen other people have read to the fundamental epistemology of social science) and on the other you’ve generally no idea what you’re on about and just make it up as you go.
Then there’s the time you spend with your supervisors. The you in that office stumbling over the simplest of analytic details couldn’t be a further contrast from the confident bombast of the Friday intellectual pub talk. Yet you’ve probably said exactly the same thing, only your supervisor knows just how nonsensical it is. Getting to be a PhD candidate tends to mean you do actually know about your subject, can talk up a bit of the arcane and esoteric. Soon as you enter supervisor zone though, at least in my case and with nearly everyone I know, you’re back down to a 1st year undergrad in competency. Every little victory, i.e. saying something moderately inciteful, is hard won and celebrated.
Doesn’t stop there though, MBS adds another layer- oscillating between exhausting frustration and excitement. The wrenching tug of war between the demands of your own research development and research training, having a life and working hard enough to not be a charade of an academic. An MBS PhD is very uncommon for Britain, a three year PhD where you still have considerable course work. In roughly the first year you work through three assessed core modules, eight research methodology seminars of which three are assessed, and a doctoral conference. Its a hell of a lot of work, and a challenge to balance just right. You’re told at induction to expect spending at least half your time on the work, its often far more time-consuming. Hours go by staring at screen trying to grasp positivism or paradigm shifts, or rational choice theory. Hours you wish you’d spent reading more about your subject because after all you tell yourself that’s the whole reason you’ve come in to slave away for three or four years on an epic work no one will ever read. There’s something you’re curious about, something you think you can shine a little light on. That alchemy of transformation from clueless student to proper academic you think you’ve set yourself up for did not include knowing the difference between epistemological and ontological relativism…
Annoying as it can get though, taking classes like Epistemology forces you to think much more broadly and deeply than you would otherwise. It gives you perspective about where you and your own tiny contribution to knowledge fit in the history of social scientific endeavour, brings to the surface your epistemic assumptions and the under-examined intellectual baggage of your previous training. It means, well who knows if it’ll really happen but its supposed to, we can go into our theses well aware of how we fit into the academic literature and exactly why we make the choices we do on our underlying choice of theories and the methods we’ll use to gather and analyse our data. Might even make that viva somewhere down the line just a little bit less scary, who knows.
For the especially foolhardy among us, its even worse. RTP and suddenly diving into the deep end of the academic pool not enough for ya, why not take on a part-time job too. Soon enough a fair number of us are obliged or volunteer for teaching positions, often confirming in a few short weeks every little pearl of wisdom Jorge Cham has for current and prospective TAs. Everything from the expectations of spoon-fed answers to the exceedingly creative deadline extension excuses to the lazy obstinacy have been on offer. Marking seems especially haunted . Something to look forward to for us all.
I haven’t yet taken up the privilege, instead convincing myself that continuing to work a day a week as a policy analyst (at least for a little while, ya know just to see how it goes) will be a brilliant way to keep sharp on that ever more worshiped totem of research excellence- . Here we’ve the final contradiction. Academics now must engage with the material effects of their research, the end-product valued as much for its benefit to society or commercial potential as its scholarship. Yet to aim for this you spend years with one tiny slice of social phenomena under the microscope, all to fill a minute theoretical gap in the literature . The more interdisciplinary and practical your aims the more incomprehensible you get as you cross-specialise. Holistic policy research can be especially maddening for this, and its all pervasive.
Anyone who’s applied for research funding or done teaching these days will know what I mean, but I’d like to think in my pursuit of comprehending the Nexus I’ve gone beyond the box-ticking. I’m obsessed with praxis in academic work, so giving up a day a week now to continue honing those skills and get a chance to apply my ideas (I’m even getting in more practice on using scenario methodology in a practical policy setting) seems a fair trade. Hopefully the sum total of what I produce in my PhD is read by more than just me, my supervisors, my evaluators and any poor sap I get to help me think through my ideas. We’ll see. It’s a struggle, constantly being challenged in new and ever uncertain terms , but no pain no gain.
I love what I’m doing. Let the learning flow, I’ll slog my way through to the end.
~Miles On Water
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Ever had a student who exhibits behavioral issues in morning meeting on some days but not on others? Had a student who on some days has a great day at recess with no problems and on other days, recess is a behavioral nightmare? How about a student who you look at him when he gets off the bus and think to yourself, “I knew I should have called in sick today!”? Frequently I encounter these students and their teachers tell me that there is not reason for their challenging behavior, that there is no pattern, or that there was no antecedent to the behavior. When people tell me that the individual’s behavior is variable with good days and bad days or that there is no discernable pattern to the behavior, one of the things Iimmediatelythink about is thepresence of one or more setting events. So, in continuing to talk about data collection in naturalistic settings, I wanted to spend a full post talking about what setting events are (and aren’t) and how they work.

What Are Setting Events?

Setting events are events that happen BEFORE the antecedent or trigger for the challenging behavior. They essentially are more global types of events (e.g., lack of sleep, illness) that make an antecedent more likely to trigger a challenging behavior than it might be if the setting event didn’t exist. They don’t cause a challenging behavior, but they make it more likely. I think of them like a cloud that rains on the connection between the immediate antecedent to a challenging behavior and the challenging behavior.

Let’s take a couple of examples. This morning my coffee maker was broken and I didn’t get to drink my coffee before working on the computer. When I started working on the computer, it started doing weird things like freezing when I was working on a video. On most days, I just reboot the computer and try again and just keep doing this until it gets done. But today, I was really irritated with it, didn’t feel like waiting for it to reboot, and kept trying to make it work. There may have been some cursing involved. On most days, I accept that if I want to use that old computer for video, I’m going to have to reboot it, but without having my coffee, it just wasn’t going to happen without some challenging behavior.

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By Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports

If heaven for you is lush purple plum mountains, hills of orange, green, red and yellow peppers, and paths pebbled with ruby radishes, you probably judge your supermarket on the quality of its fruits and veggies.

You’re not alone. Good-quality produce, along with a wide variety and low prices, are among the factors that Consumer Reports readers consider most important when choosing a particular grocer, according to our recent survey .

For those reasons, supermarkets give their fresh produce departments particular prominence, placing them near the front, where shoppers enter the store. A well-managed produce section can be very profitable, experts say.

To inspire shoppers, many stores use machines that spray a fine mist and even employ theatrical spotlights to show their bounty at its best.

“Those oranges, rutabagas, and eggplants will look better in the store than they ever will in your kitchen,” saysPaco Underhill, chief executive officer of Envirosell, a New York City-based research and consulting firm focused on consumer behavior.

Wegmans Is Tops for Fresh Produce

For produce lovers living near a Wegmans supermarket, heaven is a little closer than it is for the rest of us. The East Coast family-owned grocer, with stores from Massachusetts to Virginia, was the only store in our recent Divine Follie Ankle Boots Platinum LWXCpK1WI
(available to subscribers) to score top marks in the categories of produce quality, produce quantity, and quantity of local produce.

“Wegmans produce is the freshest in town, and the selection is huge,” says Barbara Goldenberg of Frederick, Md., of her local store.

What makes Wegmans veggies superior? For one, it turns over its produce—that is, sells or moves out the old stuff and brings in the new—about 150 to 200 times per year, explains Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of the Strategic Resource Group, a consumer industry consulting firm based in New York City. Competing grocers turn over their produce only 35 to 45 times per year, he notes.

The company also has a strong network of local sources, even in colder northern areas. “They’re the leaders working with hydroponic, natural, and organic greenhouse produce growers,” Flickinger says. “Whether the temperature is 92 degrees or 9 degrees below zero, their produce is typically local.”

Only Dierbergs, a Missouri-based supermarket chain, came close to Wegmans. It garnered top marks for the quantity of local produce it sells. The family-owned store shows a photo gallery of local partner farms on its website.

“They know there is interest in locally grown foods,” explains James Fisher, a professor of marketing at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University. “They understand the local market and adapt to expectations.”

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