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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 @08:26PM (#38693520)

    My first thought as well. Women's best path if they look at least as good as her is to learn the ways of being sweet to and pleasuring male clients, and exploiting their best years (starting at her age) as escorts. Marry a sucker around 30, maybe sooner if she's hooked a good prospect, all the while saving for her future. Have a kid, divorce the guy, collect alimony.

    This "talent contest" is cute, and a nice way to get PR for Intel. It, of course, works for those who win the contest, but it suffers from a major problem of scope in terms of being something to aspire to.

    That problem is the superstar mentality. It's seen in sports, and it's being brought into all other areas as well. The slightest hint of musical talent? Maybe your son will be the next Curtis Jackson! Your son tops the scoreboards of a public server in Quake? If Jonathan Wendel can brand himself into a success, why can't your little Jimmy?

    The problem, though obvious and following directly from material in the first day of Econ 101, must still be explicitly spelled out and repeated again and again: expected value. Either you take the +EV move and build a comfortable life, or you roll the dice. Ever the worse for instilling the rationality of the choice, too, if that 1 in 10,000 chance actually pays off, because, behold, there the camera is: focused on the winner, and not the 9999 Walmart employees.

  • by ghn (2469034) on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:43PM (#38693676)
    Canadian speaking here.. An entire homeless family is not something that should be considered "normal" or a consequence of some unfortunate chain of event that we just have to accept. Our society and economy, laws and culture are not that different from the US on most issues, but when I hear about homeless children and families in USA, that's where I truly grasp how vastly different our countries are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2012 @08:56PM (#38693822)

    I work in a public education institution that uses data points to determine student's homeless (and other demo. stats) status. It is not what most people think, The key way this is determined in most cases is if the student's resident address mortgage/rental agreement is not in their parent/guardian's name.

    In other words if their parents go over-seas for work for several months and leave them at their brother's $1.2M home and list that address, since the parent's names are not listed for the property address the state/fed govt. will classify them as homeless and in poverty and they can collect all kinds of benefits/payments since they are "homeless" (and not the living on the street kind)

    I don't trust these type of generic stats without some serious detail of what definition is used. There are still too many scamming the system and these BS data definitions too even remotely take those labels seriously

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:24PM (#38694064)

    Let's hear your great idea on how to fix homelessness. The GP made a very valid point: It is everywhere, including countries that are far more socialist than the US. It seems that humans haven't figured out a way to fix it. So maybe we shouldn't whine so much about needing to fix it because maybe we can't. That doesn't mean we should ignore it, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have safety nets (like, say, shelters) but this crap of "Oh how come America hasn't fixed homelessness?" is stupid.

    If you've got some magic fix for it, then let's hear it. If not then quit with the "America should be able to fix it!"

    It is one of those things that you can work on, we should work on, and we do work on. It isn't something you can solve. So bitching that it hasn't been is stupid.

  • by deanklear (2529024) on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:54PM (#38694286)

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/absolute-poverty/ [nytimes.com]

    In terms of absolute poverty, we're one of the highest in the West, and all of the other nations on the list provide universal health care.

    In either case, it's safe to stay that Americans have some of the worst income inequality out of any country, and among similar Western nations, are in the bottom 10% when it comes to relative poverty rates, absolute poverty rates, child poverty rates, health care, and education. If you'd like to be proud of that, you're welcome to, but I'm certainly not.

    Patriotism is doing meaningful things to improve the lives of your fellow citizens, not pretending a problem doesn't exist to make yourself feel better about your country.

  • Re:The truth? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by forkfail (228161) on Friday January 13, 2012 @10:44PM (#38694604)

    Really?

    The homeless rate amoungst school kids is about 2.2%:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2011/1213/Homeless-children-at-record-high-in-US.-Can-the-trend-be-reversed [csmonitor.com]

    There were 300 semifinalists. This means that all other things considered equal, there should be 7 homeless semifinalists.

    Of course, given the situations that homeless kids are in, I wouldn't at all expect that other things should be considered equal, and that it would be extremely surprising to find the same distribution for such achievers between homeless and non-homeless kids.

    With that said, though, one semifinalist is not at all surprising.

    Especially with what's being done to the middle and working classes in this nation.

  • by Jiro (131519) on Friday January 13, 2012 @11:58PM (#38694960)

    No one wants to see women and children on the street and there really isn't any excuse for it.

    Fortunately nobody cares about men on the street. Maybe that's why over 3/4 of homeless are men.

  • by quax (19371) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @12:17AM (#38695030)

    I might add especially the 1%ers who inherited their wealth.

    If everybody started from a level playing field the wealth disparity would be much easier to tolerate.

    The way it is, the US turns into a neo-feudal society.

  • by sjames (1099) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @03:05AM (#38695638) Homepage

    Actually, figures demonstrate that income isn't keeping up with productivity for the vast majority of the population, but for the super rich, income is skyrocketing. That means that MOST people aren't getting out what they're putting in. That isn't some lame excuse like 'the way it is', 'reality', 'probability', or 'evil polka-dotted leprechauns', it is a systematic inequity in our society that needs to be addressed. Many people strive, don't suck, and things don't work out anyway.

    Though none are perfect, the vast majority of 1st world countries make a better effort than the U.S. to address this.

    Nobody has worked out how to stop bad things from happening but most civilized countries have figured out how to reduce the impact of those things or at least maximize the odds of recovering from them.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:12AM (#38696008)

    I recall being told the exact same thing about real estate in 2006.

    FYI, I'm in the upper class myself. Around the 94th percentile if Wikipedia's stats are accurate. And I've done quite well for myself by investing in gold, Amazon, Netflix, Sirius radio, and a whole lot of companies you've never heard of. Graham Corp was my favorite.... see that peak on its chart in '08? That's when Cramer was screaming on Mad Money for people to buy it. A sure sell signal if ever I saw one, and I bailed out immediately.

    But unlike a lot of upper class people, I wasn't born into it, and I'm nowhere near wealthy enough to support friends and family. So I get to see childhood friends lose their jobs and homes. And I get to see my siblings and cousins struggle to make ends meet. And I get to reminisce about waking up one morning and finding my dad literally weeping because he had been laid off and we were going to lose our home, back when I was too young to understand any of that. And I'm literate enough to look at statistics and see that the bottom 80% has been in decline for over thirty years, while the top 1% has seen their incomes quadruple over the same period. And I'm good enough at arithmetic to figure out that if this nation's "rising tide" had indeed "lifted all ships", then the average individual would be making an additional $8k a year, which would mean a hell of a lot to people, considering that the median income is $24k. But instead, all of that money ($8k per person times 155 million workers = $1.24 TRILLION per year) went to the top 1%, who use it to bribe politicians into giving them even more advantages.

  • by eggstasy (458692) <jorge.manuel @ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:41AM (#38697356) Journal

    How did people know they could not actually afford their home when everybody had one and banks were all too eager to tell them otherwise?

    You must think people are all some kind of OCD mathematicians that spend their lives meticulously calculating their best course of action. Studies have shown that 80% of people blindly trust recommendations instead of comparing prices or informing themselves about technical specifications with the local computer wizard. And economists, unlike hackers, are not really abundant.

    You should read a book called Descartes' error, where a prominent psychiatrist reports the case of a brain damaged man, formerly an intelligent, successful professional, who could not feel emotion anymore, but was perfectly capable of purely rational thought. He could not decide on anything - enter the concept of emotional intelligence, and the fact that people actually decide based on their feelings, and can not decide on anything otherwise. After all, what seems "logic" to you, may not be another man's "logic".

    You can argue that being unwise is undesirable, but if you think the fundamental nature of Man can be changed, I'd like to know where I can get some of that delicious kool-aid you've been drinking. If you're a financial wizard, know that the rest of the world is not YOU. Most people have had no contact with math of any kind since high-school, they don't need it and they should not be bothered with it.

    If people could somehow become immune to marketing and aggressive salesmen, the whole economy would grind to a halt. The world moves on the backs of stupid people spending lots of money. Two main components of what goes into calculating GDP are domestic consumption and exports.

Entropy requires no maintenance. -- Markoff Chaney

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