In the Know: March 7, 2014

  • In the Know Reporter: Laicie Heeley
  • In the Know Reporter: Brooke Klauer

“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Lupita Nyong’o, in her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards on March 2, 2014. She won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave’s.

Nation: The new “old” SAT.
In a major overhaul of education’s most debated test, the College Board is changing the SAT again. The college admission test will return to the 1600 point scale, no longer require a timed essay, and will dwell less on fancy vocabulary — all in an effort to open higher education doors to students who are now shut out. The changes will take effect in early 2016 and aims to strip many of the tricks out of a test now taken by more than 1.5 million students. The College Board also pledged to offer new test-preparation tutorials for free online, enabling students to bypass pricey SAT-prep classes previously available mostly to affluent families looking to give their children an edge.

World: Ukraine crisis escalates.
President Obama urged his Russian counterpart Thursday to embrace a diplomatic solution as Ukraine lurched toward breakup when lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declared they wanted to join Russia and would put the decision to voters in 10 days. In a phone call that lasted around an hour, Obama again told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and urged him to instead to support direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian governments, the White House said. Obama condemned the planned Crimean referendum, saying it “would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.”

Politics: Military still in control.
A bid to wrest control of sexual assault cases in the military away from commanders and replace them with career prosecutors was denied in the Senate on Thursday. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand failed to gain enough votes for her proposal to strip commanders of the authority to decide if sexual assault cases go to trial. “I always hoped we could do the right thing here — and deliver a military justice system that is free from bias and conflict of interest — a military justice system that is worthy of the brave men and women who fight for us,” Gillibrand said. “But today the Senate turned its back on a majority of its members.”

Technology: Another addictive app.
Remember Flickr? Co-founder Caterina Fake has a new idea: Findery. Unveiled on Thursday, Findery is a free app that posts tens of thousands of notes on historical events globally, based on precise locations. Fake describes the app as, “If these walls could talk.” The so-called participatory app acts as a sort of personal tour guide. As you roam a city, you can view significant events on the streets you walk. “The app offers a rich experience no matter where you are,” says Fake, who helped start Flickr in 2002 before selling it to Yahoo in 2005 for reportedly $35 million.

Health: Advancements in fight against AIDS.
Doctors announced Wednesday that they may have possibly cured a second baby born with AIDS by administering antiretroviral treatment within hours after birth. The baby’s signs are different from what doctors see in patients whose infections are merely suppressed by successful treatment, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins University physician who led the testing. In another AIDS-related development, scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of a dozen adults to help them resist HIV. The results give hope that this approach might one day free at least some people from needing medicines to keep HIV under control, a form of cure. 

Women’s Affairs: Who run the world?
Forbes just released the 28th annual World’s Billionaire issue with record number of women making the list this year: 172 versus 138 in 2013, an increase of 25%. The U.S. boasted the most women billionaires on the 2014 list, with 58, followed by Germany with 16, and Brazil with 14. Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, and the highest ranked woman on the list (#9) Christy Walton joined ranks with notable newcomer, heiress, and youngest billionaire on the list, Perenna Kei, age 24, of Hong Kong.