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A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

March 27, 2015 Comments off

A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of problematic Internet use (PIU) with the goal of informing Air Force policies aimed at mitigating PIU’s negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen. The report is motivated by a recent RAND study estimating that 6 percent of Airmen have PIU. Individuals with PIU, similar to people with substance addictions, suffer from excessive and compulsive online activities, symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal, and functional impairment. PIU is also strongly associated with other mental health problems including major depression. However, at present there is no single accepted definition of PIU, and no up-to-date estimates of the prevalence of PIU in the general U.S. population are available. A range of prevention and treatment approaches have been developed, but none has been rigorously tested in clinical trials. Prevention programs rely on workplace Internet policies and strategies to help individuals self-regulate their Internet use. Treatment approaches that have proven feasible and acceptable to patients with PIU include adaptations of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety, to the specific symptoms of PIU. Based on our findings, we recommend: (1) increasing awareness of PIU among organizational leadership and mental health professionals, (2) incorporating content related to PIU into existing trainings related to mental health, (3) providing support for self-regulation of Internet use on the job by incorporating PIU management principles into Internet use policies, and (4) continuing monitoring of the emerging scientific literature on PIU.

Training Cyber Warriors: What Can Be Learned from Defense Language Training?

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Training Cyber Warriors: What Can Be Learned from Defense Language Training?
Source: RAND Corporation

As the importance of cyber operations in national security grows, the U.S. military’s ability to ensure a robust cyber workforce becomes increasingly important in protecting the nation. A particular concern has been the growing need for cyber warriors: highly trained and specialized individuals who engage in offensive and defensive operations. The authors seek to help those planning future training for cyber warriors by highlighting what can be learned from another specialty: defense language. While there is no perfect analogy between cyber personnel and another segment of the national security workforce, a number of similarities exist between the need for language skills and cyber warrior expertise, including the need for a highly specialized skill that requires extensive training, the critical role of the skill in mission effectiveness, a need to quickly build capacity, and a potentially limited pipeline of qualified candidates. In this exploratory study, the authors examine what the military services and national security agencies have done to train linguists — personnel with skills in critical languages other than English — and the kinds of language training provided to build and maintain this segment of the workforce. They draw from published documents, research literature, and interviews of experts in both language and cyber. Among key findings, the authors find that shared definitions and metrics are an important first step, training must be closely aligned with mission needs, efforts should focus on building a strong pipeline of candidates, and training must be aligned with overall workforce management efforts.

Criminal Justice Technology Taxonomy Web Tool

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Criminal Justice Technology Taxonomy Web Tool
Source: RAND Corporation

Institutional and community corrections agencies face increasingly complex tasks and challenges today. It is important, therefore, to identify opportunities where changes in tools, technology, practices, or approaches can help agencies respond more effectively to solve problems and mitigate risks in their role to protect the public. Identifying and prioritizing possible corrections innovations was the goal of this research effort, the results of which are described Fostering Innovation in Community and Institutional Corrections: Identifying High-Priority Technology and Other Needs for the U.S. Corrections Sector. The starting point for considering future technological and other innovations is the baseline that exists today. As a result, the effort developed a map or taxonomy of technologies and populated it based on information on tools and practices that are already in use. This tool presents that map in dynamic form, allowing the user to explore the different areas of corrections technology and practice and to make comparisons between community and institutional corrections.

Costs of Selected Policies to Address Air Pollution in China

March 9, 2015 Comments off

Costs of Selected Policies to Address Air Pollution in China
Source: RAND Corporation

Air pollution has been one of the most pernicious consequences of China’s last three decades of economic transformation and growth. Concentrations of pollutants exceed standards recommended by the World Health Organization in virtually every major urban area. The large costs of air pollution are driven by health impacts and loss of productivity, running 6.5 percent of China’s gross domestic product each year between 2000 and 2010, and rising as China’s population becomes more urbanized and productive. This report estimates the costs of three measures to reduce air pollution in China: replacing coal with natural gas for residential and commercial heating, replacing half of China‘s coal-fired electric power generation with renewables or nuclear power, and scrapping highly polluting vehicles. The recurring annual costs of replacing coal with natural gas for residential and commercial heating could run from $32 billion to $52 billion, and replacing half of China‘s coal-fired electric power generation with renewables or nuclear power would run about $184 billion, for total recurring costs ranging from $215 billion to $235 billion annually. China could also incur one-off costs of $21 billion to $42 billion for scrapping highly polluting vehicles. Subtracting the value of the coal ($75 billion) for which these fuels would substitute, net annual costs in aggregate would run $140 billion to $160 billion annually, less than one-third of the annual cost of air pollution in China, which was roughly $535 billion in 2012.

Are Changing Constituencies Driving Rising Polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives?

February 18, 2015 Comments off

Are Changing Constituencies Driving Rising Polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Source: RAND Corporation

This report addresses two questions: first, whether the spatial distribution of the American electorate has become more geographically clustered over the last 40 years with respect to party voting and socioeconomic attributes; and second, whether this clustering process has contributed to rising polarization in the U.S. House of Representatives. We find support for both hypotheses and estimate that long-term geographical clustering of voters is responsible for roughly 30 percent of the increase in polarization in the House between the 93rd and 112th Congresses. An important ancillary finding is that the within-district percentage of adults who are married dwarfs other socioeconomic variables — including those measuring race, education, income, and urbanicity — as a predictor of local partisanship, as measured by both the party affiliation of the House representative and the presidential vote share.

EU — Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey

February 17, 2015 Comments off

Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT’s pan-European Survey
Source: RAND Corporation

This study reports public preferences for security, surveillance and privacy across 27 European Member States measured using a stated preference survey. It focuses on three real life contexts: train/metro travel, internet use and storage of health records — each exploring different dimensions of privacy.

Over 26,000 responses were collected using internet and face-to-face surveys in autumn of 2013. The questionnaire included questions on respondent’s demographics, questions measuring trust in institutions, general distrust, and attitudes to risk taking. Depending on familiarity to travel by train/metro and internet, each respondent was presented with five stated preference questions from two out three of the above mentioned contexts. The stated preference experiments were designed to understand preferences relating to surveillance, amount of data collected, access to data, storage of data, and cost of security, surveillance and data handling. In the travel context experiment also collected preferences for presence and type of security personnel and physical security checks. Preferences in all three contexts were analysed using discrete choice modelling.

Clear differences in preferences for privacy, security and surveillance are found, depending on the context. The study finds that preferences for security and privacy are surprisingly consistent across the EU. Attitudes and demographic characteristics also influence preferences. This study which is one of the largest applications of discrete choice modelling in this domain, provides an important missing element on public perceptions to the debate on security and privacy.

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Quantifying the Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity and Health: Introducing SOPARC
Source: RAND Corporation

As important venues for physical activity, public parks contribute to the health and well-being of the communities that surround them. It is therefore in the best interests of park administrators to have a method to measure this contribution. This paper introduces the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), a reliable, valid, and easy-to-use tool for quantifying park use and park-based physical activity. Park administrators should understand how to use SOPARC to collect data that justify expenditures in parks and recreation departments. To that end, this paper lays out in some detail what SOPARC is and how it is used, as well as provides background information on the importance of physical activity to health.

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