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Why Your Race Matters on Ebay

A new study shows that if you're black and selling things on eBay, you should probably have your white friend hold the merchandise.


At the advent of the internet, proponents of the new technology cheered that the web's anonymity would foster a world in which differences like gender and race would no longer matter. People of all ethnicities and political perspectives—at least ones who could afford a computer—would be able to mingle online and throw off the prejudices that tainted their real-world lives. But while the internet has indeed connected people from around the world in ways far superior to those of the past, alas, it hasn't yet been able to totally eliminate bigotry from its borders. And we're not just talking about YouTube comments.

In a new study called "Race Effects on Ebay," researchers from Harvard and Yale tested the difference experiences of black and white people selling things on eBay. One might think that, everything else being equal, there wouldn't be a discernible disparity in the online marketplace, where the only thing that should matter is the quality of the goods for sale. One would be wrong.

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Firewall, What Firewall? The Top Four Tech Hacks For Teachers

Districts block plenty of sites that are handy in the classroom. Here's how to get around those restrictions.


If you're a teacher, you've probably read about all the great ways Google+ can be used in the classroom, or how to use Twitter to engage shy students, and if you're a teacher working at a school that bans all those sites, you might feel a little frustrated. Some schools even ban educationally useful sites like National Geographic—after all, no district wants to get sued by an irate parent because their child saw nude pictures taken in a remote village halfway across the globe. But even if your school district bans sites that are educational, there are ways around those firewalls. Whether you're a techie or a novice, we've found four hacks that will get you online in a jiffy.

1) Buy your own VPN: A virtual private network runs on the internet but keeps all of your transmissions secure and away from prying eyes, like that of your district's IT administrator. My friend James teaches in Qatar, where sites that "could potentially show the Middle East in a bad light" or "go against Islam (any site that might have a woman in a bikini or something)" are blocked. To get around this, he says educators simply band together to buy a VPN. You can get a good VPN router on Craigslist or eBay for about $200. Just install it on a home computer, and then you and your colleagues can login remotely from your school site and access the resources you need for your students.

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Not Your Mother's Battery: Are Fuel Cells the Future? Bloom Box, MiniPak, and the other Fuel Cells That Will Power Our Future

Fuel cells are incredibly efficient, and they're starting to catch on. In the near future, they may power your laptop, and more.

The world may start moving away from fossil fuels, but our energy needs are still increasing. Developing new ways to power the planet is of paramount importance. We recently looked at the merits and pitfalls of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, many of which are set to roll out in the coming years. Beyond cars, fuel cells have an important role in our energy future. In the coming years, they may do everything from power our electronic gadgets to keep the lights on in our homes.

Fuel cells come in a number of different varieties, but all feature three main components: an anode, an electrolyte, and a cathode. Chemical reactions at the interface between the three components consume a fuel that a user inputs, creating steam or carbon dioxide (depending on the fuel being used), and generating an electric current. It's like having a small power plant at your fingertips. Unlike batteries, fuel cells don't store energy; they're always running. While batteries are recharged, fuel cells are simply refuelled.

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