Thursday, March 22, 2012

C2ST Event, March 29th - China's Clean Energy

Chicago Council on Science and Technology presents:


Thursday, March 29, 2012
Northwestern University, Hughes Auditorium
303 East Superior, Chicago
5:00pm Registration & Reception
6:00pm Program

Speakers: Mr. Jianye Cao, Conselor and Director of Science & Technology Office and Mr. Qingqing Zhao, Consul at The Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Chicago

Diplomats of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago will discuss China’s current research and development program to produce energy in an environmentally benign fashion. The discussion will cover Chinese activities in the alternative energy arena including hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, clean coal and other green energy production endeavors. The program will also highlight China’s objectives and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions by 2020 as well as China – US intergovernmental cooperation in clean energy production, particular attention paid to collaborative activities in the Greater Chicago area.

Nonmember Fees: $10 Advance Reg / $15 Door / $5 Student
Parking: Discounted parking will be made available at the 222 E. Huron St. garage
General Info: Please visit for detailed program description and registration. 

What kinds of online information should an employer have access to?

I was sitting having dinner yesterday when a story on NPR made me pause. Robert Collins was re-applying for his job with the Maryland Department of Corrections after taking a leave of absence, and during the interview he was asked for his Facebook username and password. The interviewer told him that this had become a part of the interview process because they had become concerned that some staff may have gang affiliations, and these ties had led to gang infiltration in its facilities.

Collins gave the interviewer the information requested and the interviewer looked over his profile with the screen facing away from Collins. Since then, the Maryland has suspended the practice and changed its policy so that is no longer mandatory for job applicants to supply their Facebook username and password. Collins and the  American Civil Liberties Union are now working with state legislators to pass a bill that would prevent employers from even requesting that kind of information.

Facebook profiles fall somewhere in the middle of the public/private divide.  On one hand, most students I have talked to seem to take it for granted that any employer is likely to do a Google search of them before they are hired, and if they left their Facebook profile settings as public, then it is fair game. In a recent discussion about an ethics bowl case with IIT's ethics bowl team, however, many students took a different view, arguing that in a job interview an applicant should have a chance to put their best face forward, and employers should not be digging into an applicants personal life that happens away from the office.

This case, of course, goes a step farther. While a Facebook profile seems not to be as private as, say, a phone conversation, allowing a prospective employer to access your account seems to in some way violate not only your own privacy but also all your Facebook friends' privacy, as the majority may have their profile set to be viewed only by other Facebook friends.

Should this kind of practice be banned for all employers, or is it just an extension of the more routine online search that is already being performed by many companies?

When interviewing for a position that normally requires background checks or involves some level of security clearance, are practices such as this allowable?

What do you think?

 "A Job at What Cost? When Employers Log in to Dig In" NPR, All TecConsidered Blog . Interview by Robert Siegel, Article by Dana Farrington. March 21, 2012.

Monday, March 12, 2012

C2ST Event : About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang

C2ST asked us to share info about this event with our readers, it should be an interesting time!

The Chicago Council on Science and Technology presents:
About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang
Northwestern University Chicago Campus,
Hughes Auditorium,
303 East Superior
Friday, March 16, 2012
11:30 am Registration & Box Lunch
12:30 pm Presentation

Speaker: Adam Frank, Author & Assistant Professor of Astrophysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, NY.

According to astrophysicist Adam Frank, specific human conceptions of time don’t last forever and our “modern” version is already in the midst of a radical change. In his new book, About Time, Dr. Frank argues that new ideas in cosmology are pushing the revolution in time to its final stage.

Just as a “clockwork universe” followed the invention of the clock 500 years ago, scientists are now moving beyond the Big Bang to talk about universes built from information pushing time into mind-boggling new territory. Imagine: An eternal “multi-verse” made of infinite, parallel universes with infinite versions of you, lots of little bangs but no big bang beginning, a string theory universe in 10 dimensions of ever-repeating cycles, or a universe where time doesn’t exist at all. It’s impossible to say which of these new ideas will become the foundation for a new time because the science is still in flux. We do know we’re living at the twilight of the Big Bang. It’s the end of time as we know it now and as we live it now.

Fees: $20 with Boxed Lunch (limited supply) / Free General Admission without lunch
General Info: Discounted parking will be made available at the 222 E. Huron St. garage. For detailed program information and registration visit For additional information call 312-567-5835.