Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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Karen Cyphers - page 2

Karen Cyphers has 421 articles published.

Karen Cyphers, PhD.

Rep. Hudson’s bill to help Alzheimer’s patients is a big deal

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Every 68 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. One in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. It is the only top cause of death with no known treatments or cures. Alzheimer’s is the most costly disease to federal and state governments. To families, too. Federal dollars for Alzheimer’s fall dramatically short of funding studies the research community has queued up. Florida Rep. Matt Hudson stepped up last week with a plan for Florida to…

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Throwback Thursday: Jan. 23 a good day to ratify constitutional amendment

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Today, January 23, is a good day to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Especially ones about elections. On this day in 1933, the 20th Amendment was ratified by Missouri, the 38th state to do so, satisfying the requirement that three-fourths of the then-48 states do so. Florida, for its part, was the last state to do so on April 26, 1933, as an unnecessary but symbolic move. The 20th Amendment, dubbed the “Lame Duck” amendment, moved presidential and…

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Election forecasting and the Facebookpocalypse

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This week, at least two academic reports have been released on Facebook… With very, very different messages. On one hand, Princeton researchers forecasted that Facebook will be 80 percent obsolete by 2017, using epidemiological models of infectious diseases and anecdotes on MySpace to arrive at this unlikely conclusion. Then, UMass researchers suggested that Facebook itself can be used to predict political election outcomes — circumventing more costly methods of forecasting such as polling or econometric analysis. This analysis, published Tuesday…

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Tallahassee makes Top 10 ‘drunkest cities’ list; only one outside Midwest

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Which U.S. cities are the “drunkest”? Using data from the Centers for Disease Control on Americans’ drinking habits, Bustle.com determined which communities tip glasses the most. The Top 10 cities have higher rates of binge drinking and heavy drinking rates — and all but one is in the Midwest. That one exception city, in the South: Tallahassee, Florida. Fargo, N.D. was dubbed the drunkest, with 28 percent of residents deemed “heavy drinkers,” which means drinking more than five drinks on…

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Throwback Thursday: A giant tree, its demise, and the rising of its baby clone

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Florida has two elected U.S. senators, and one giant tree that bears the same name. The demise of “The Senator” came today, Jan. 16, two years ago. A fire started by a woman doing drugs within its hollow walls burnt down what had been the world’s biggest and oldest pond cypress tree, located in Big Tree Park in Longwood. The Senator had once stood at 165 feet tall, and has a trunk diameter of nearly 18 feet.  In 1993, it…

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Don’t ‘scratch’ Florida Lottery bills, but work to make them better

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A pair of creative, well-purposed bills have been drafted and filed for at least the fourth time this year. These bills, SB 466 and HB 361, would create a special State Lottery scratch-off ticket for funding breast cancer research.   The “Ticket for a Cure” would be available for a limited period of five years, with proceeds going equally to each Florida university that has medical research capabilities. It is an interesting idea, but if history predicts, the measures are…

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Oscar-grubbing movies and lobbyists deploy similar tactics, says new study

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Lobbyists seeking pork and Oscar-hopeful filmmakers share the same risk-and-reward structure, according to a study released a day before the Academy of Motion Pictures releases the 2014 Oscar nominees. UCLA sociologists Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilke analyzed records of 3,000 Oscar-nominated films released between 1985 and 2009 using the same models used to analyze political lobbying. Their empirical findings validate what viewers and critics easily identify as a movie’s “Oscar-ness” — characteristics that go beyond the movie’s quality or enjoyment,…

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