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Homeless Student Is Intel Talent Search Semifinalist 464

Posted by Soulskill
from the dedication-to-science dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Samantha Garvey, a senior at Brentwood High School, has managed to become one of the remaining 300 semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search this year. Her research focused on mussels and on her discovery that they change the thickness of their shells if a predator such as crabs are introduced. Why is Garvey's achievement so impressive? Because she and her entire family are homeless, and rely on a local homeless shelter. Such a situation would stop many students from being able to focus on studying, let alone a research project, but Garvey has instead used her situation as motivation."
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Homeless Student Is Intel Talent Search Semifinalist

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2012 @07:58PM (#38693256)

    The linked article kind of doesn't mention that her family was in the shelter for all of a week earlier this month. Still a nice accomplishment, but none of the work she did was done while she was in the shelter.

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:02PM (#38693290)
    America (I'm addressing you as a whole).
    How is it that you allow young people, let alone whole families, to be homeless, to live in "shelters".


    Name the country that does not have homeless people. Not saying the US does not have problems (oh hells yes we do!), but there are homeless everywhere.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:03PM (#38693298) Homepage Journal

    America (I'm addressing you as a whole).

    How is it that you allow young people, let alone whole families, to be homeless, to live in "shelters".

    WTF is wrong with you people?!

    You are supposedly the most powerful nation on earth, the wealthiest, the nation that is spoken to exude opportunity and success from every pore.

    And you have whole families, school children, living in homeless shelters.

    I don't care how they came to be in the situation, it doesn't matter how that happened, what matters is resolving it, providing the social, housing, and financial support to ensure that every body can call somewhere home.

    For every one remarkable individual like this who manages to overcome the adversity, I hate to think how many are dragged down by the circumstance.

    There are those who are homeless in America by choice (live in one of the larger cities in California and you'll know what I mean), many of them prefer the freedom to ru(i)n their own lives for substances or alcohol. I'll give them food, but no money.

    There are those who are homeless due to misfortune - lost of job, breadwinner in family, foreclosure of house loan, etc. These people are not at the bottom of the barrel, but without some form of assistance they could be there. There are shelters and federal and state programs to help them - often those still living in their cars are due to some failure to abide rules or restrictions of shelters. Where I work we track about 1,000 of these families. It's not a small issue, but those people, like this student have a good chance of getting back into a place they can call their own when the economy bounces back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:04PM (#38693308)

    My mother works at one. These families do get everything they need to get back on their feet, they really do. No one wants to see women and children on the street and there really isn't any excuse for it. Unfortunately, not every mother is worth anything. I wish we could take more children away from some of these women sometimes. Some of them are great mothers and manage to make it into government subsidized homes, but some are on the run from CPS and run from shelter to shelter to shelter. The shelter gives every child a free breakfast before class and the mothers are required to take them to it, but some just don't seem to give a damn about their own kids and send them to class late and hungry. It's a tough situation indeed. Very depressing.

    It's good to see a homeless kid trying her best. So many of them just give up on school completely and barely learn to read with no support from any parent. Hopefully her parents are pushing her.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:22PM (#38693468) Homepage Journal

    In all probability, homeless people will follow the same distribution curve as everyone else. That would imply that 2% of all homeless people have an IQ of 148 or above (UK's IQ scale, use your local Mensa entry requirement to figure out what's equal to that) and that 30.9% [conferenceboard.ca] would be able to complete a degree program if given the opportunity.

    The Great Source of Wisdom [wikipedia.org] says that there's up to 2 million people in the US who are homeless at any given time, some on a more permanent basis than others. It's a fair bet that even the transients aren't really able to get into a university though.

    That would give you 40,000 people of Mensa-level intelligence and around 618,000 people who would be able to complete further education. Finding one person of either level of ability shouldn't be that hard or even unusual - 40,000 people can't be easy to miss and well over half a million should be blatantly obvious.

    Now, the median income of people with a bachelor's degree [ed.gov] was 40K in 2009. That's the 25% tax bracket. So, the government is losing 10K per year per person who could have a degree but doesn't, which works out to $6.18 billion just from lost income tax revenue. That's ignoring anything such people might invent or contribute to society (and it's clear from even the one example that these are people who are just as able to contribute as anyone) along with all the money the government could collect from businesses as a result of such contributions. That's a hell of a lot of money to be throwing away. I like pragmatic socialism (note the "pragmatic" part) and social justice, so naturally I want fewer homeless people for those reasons. Particularly because I'm pragmatic - that's over half a million potential innovations that won't happen, over half a million potential entrepreneurs that won't get to start anything... Yes, there will always be homeless and the country can't afford to take care of everyone, we all know that, but this goes well beyond what is sane or rational. The desire to be seen as anti-socialist has become moronic and self-destructive.

    Nobody can help everybody, but $6bln aught to be more than enough to cover the costs of helping far, far more than we are.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:46PM (#38693714)

    Wrong.


    Garvey and her family have lived in shelters and hotels since she was a little girl. Seven years ago, they were able to move into a house, but in February 2010, her parents were involved in a car accident. They were forced to leave.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/01/homeless-teen-could-win-100000-science-prize-and-new-future-for-family/ [go.com]

  • by deanklear (2529024) on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:12PM (#38693972)
    http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=poverty [oecd.org]

    40% of Median Income:
    =======================
    14.9% Mexico
    13.2% Israel
    11.3% United States
    11.2% Chile
    10.1% Japan
    10.0% Turkey
    =======================
    7.0% Canada
    5.9% UK
    4.9% Switzerland
    4.2% Germany
    3.4% France

    Thanks for reinforcing the stereotype that Americans don't think about facts before they start screaming "We're #1!"

    In this case, we are 33rd out of 36.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:17PM (#38694010) Homepage Journal

    You are correct about the mental disorders, but bipolar people are famous for unusually high IQs as are people with HFA and LFA, and all of these have mental disorders that cause considerable problems with social interactions of any kind (including keeping a roof over their heads).

    Mental disorder rates by State [ca.gov]

    90% of homeless in UK excluded from education [bbc.co.uk]

    IQ study in US [nih.gov] shows "WAIS-R scores were comparable to population means".

  • by sjames (1099) on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:22PM (#38694046) Homepage

    I sincerely doubt she (or practically ANY of the others) are living in someone's 1.2M mansion. Especially since TFA specifically said she and her family rely on a homeless shelter. Did you think they were just slumming?

  • by The Moof (859402) on Friday January 13, 2012 @10:35PM (#38694542)
    And the very critical part of the story which takes the wind out of the whole "overcoming her drastic odds" part is she wasn't homeless 13 days ago. She and her family were evicted on Jan 1st, 2012.

    Of course, that doesn't make for a good human interest story, most news outlets initially failed to mention that fact.
  • by GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @12:09AM (#38695000)
    Actually her family had been homeless since she was young, but were able to move into a house recently for some time. Then the parents got into a car accident, and they had to leave. So yes, she has been homeless for much longer than 13 days. (this information was included in the yahoo article about her, which was on their site a days or two ago)
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:22AM (#38696362) Journal

    Generally speaking, though, you get out what you put in. That's not a flaw of the system just because you've decided you want the high life for middling input.

    Not in the USA, where social mobility is essentially dead:

    Several studies have been made comparing social mobility between developed countries. One such study (âoeDo Poor Children Become Poor Adults?")[10][11][12] found that of nine developed countries, the United States and United Kingdom had the lowest intergenerational vertical social mobility with about half of the advantages of having a parent with a high income passed on to the next generation. The four countries with the lowest "intergenerational income elasticity", i.e. the highest social mobility, were Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Canada with less than 20% of advantages of having a high income parent passed on to their children. (see graph)

    From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

  • by KozmoStevnNaut (630146) <henrikstevn.gmail@com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:39AM (#38696394)

    You have around 3.5 million homeless people in the US. In a population of ~300 million, that's about 1.7%.

    Europe has around 3 million homeless people. In a combined European population of ~730 million, that's about 0.4%. That includes Eastern Europe and formerly Soviet bloc countries, most of which are still struggling with massive corruption. In Scandinavia and Northern Europe in general, the number is around 0.15%.

    You have more than four times as many homeless people compared to your population as the average European/Scandinavian social democracy-based "socialist hellhole" and the countries who were mercifully untouched by the "fascism with a communist face" of the Eastern bloc have less than a tenth the amount of homeless people that you do.

    Social democracy (or "socialism" as you yanks erroneously call it) works.

    I'll be watching when your so-called "greatest nation on Earth" implodes on itself. Hopefully, you'll build something sensible out of the ashes.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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