Police: Motive unknown in Wisconsin office shooting
By TODD RICHMOND and SCOTT BAUER
Thursday, September 20
MIDDLETON, Wis. (AP) — Authorities said they still don’t know why an employee at a Wisconsin software company went to his office with a pistol and extra ammunition and began firing on his colleagues, seriously injuring several, before he was fatally shot by police.
Middleton Police Chief Chuck Foulke said the shooting happened Wednesday morning at WTS Paradigm. Officers were alerted to an active-shooter situation at 10:26 a.m. and arrived to find a man armed with a semi-automatic pistol and extra ammunition. The man fired at officers before he was shot, and he later died at a Madison hospital.
Foulke said four officers fired their weapons within eight minutes of getting the call, preventing more bloodshed.
“I think a lot less people were injured or killed because police officers went in and neutralized the shooter,” Foulke said.
Foulke released few details about the suspect: that he was an employee of WTS Paradigm and lived in nearby Madison.
The chief said he didn’t know if victims were targeted, adding that investigators were following all leads.
“We have reason to believe the suspect was heavily armed with a lot of extra ammunition, a lot of extra magazines,” Foulke said.
Judy Lahmers, a business analyst at WTS Paradigm, said she was working at her desk when she heard what sounded “like somebody was dropping boards on the ground, really loud.” Lahmers said she ran out of the building and hid behind a car.
She said the building’s glass entrance door was shattered.
“I’m not looking back, I’m running as fast as I can. You just wonder, ‘Do you hide or do you run?’” she told The Associated Press.
She said she knew one co-worker had been grazed by a bullet but was OK. She didn’t have any other information about the shooting but said it was “totally unexpected. We’re all software people. We have a good group.”
WTS Paradigm Marketing Manager Ryan Mayrand said in a statement Wednesday evening that the company was “shocked and heartbroken” and was working to set up counseling for workers. He asked the media to respect the privacy of the workers, particularly those who were among the victims.
University Hospital in Madison confirmed Wednesday evening that it was still treating three victims from the shooting, saying one was in critical condition and two were in serious condition.
Police conducted a secondary search of the office building after the shooting to ensure there were no more victims or suspects — and officers discovered some people still hiding in the building, which also houses Esker Software.
Gabe Geib, a customer advocate at Esker Software, said he was working at his desk when he heard what “sounded like claps.” He said he then saw people running away from the building at “full sprint.”
“We knew at that point that something was going down. A ton of people were running across the street right in front of us,” he said.
Geib said he and his colleagues were still huddled in their cafeteria, away from windows, more than an hour after the shooting.
Jeff Greene, who also works at Esker, said police told those gathered in the cafeteria to go to a nearby hotel to make a statement about what they saw.
Three yellow school buses full of more than 100 people, including witnesses, were unloaded at a hotel about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the office building. Some people hugged as they were reunited with loved ones. Others stopped to pet a dog that had been brought by someone picking up a worker.
WTS Paradigm makes software for the building products industry. A Wisconsin State Journal profile from 2014 listed company employment at about 145 employees and noted the company was looking to move to a larger location at the time.
The company’s website was down Wednesday.
A shopping center next to the building was temporarily put on lockdown at the direction of police.
Middleton is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Milwaukee.
Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee, and Amy Forliti and Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis contributed to this report.
Here’s how Trump-era politics are affecting worker morale – and what managers can do about it
September 20, 2018
Author: Wayne Hochwarter
Professor of Organization Behavior, Florida State University
Disclosure statement: Wayne Hochwarter does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Florida State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Pundits are projecting this year’s midterm elections to be nasty, polarizing and “epic.”
They’re also expected to stress a lot of Americans out in every part of their lives. And that includes at the office.
I recently conducted a study on a broad range of workplace issues, including how the stress of our increasingly divisive politics is affecting worker health, productivity and relationships with colleagues. I also wondered: Is there anything company managers can do about it?
Political divisiveness in America is hardly new.
Historians have traced its history all the way back to the founding founders. But politics seem to be dividing Americans more and more.
In a recent article in Scientific American, psychologists Cameron Brick and Sander van der Linden explained that individuals of different political ideologies “not only disagree on policy issues, they are also increasingly unwilling to live near each other, be friends, or get married to members of the other group.”
Consequences include marital stress, divorce, family separations and even sharp divides over national pastimes like football.
There is a bright side – if you’re a therapist and benefiting from an uptick in business perhaps as the result of a malady described as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.”
Politics at work
I wanted to see just how bad it’s getting in the workplace.
My field study, conducted this past summer and part of a larger project I intend to have peer-reviewed and published on the anxiety-inducing properties of political conflict, conjoins my interests in the areas of incivility, entitlement, worker self-serving behavior and bullying.
I asked 550 full-time workers whose email addresses I obtained through my undergraduate students to react to hundreds of statements about a wide variety of work issues, from abusive bosses and workplace relationships to incivility and health. I also asked about the pervasiveness and impact of unwelcome partisan exchanges.
Participants were asked to indicate how much they agreed with each statement, from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Most of the workers were based in the eastern or southeastern United States, but some were scattered throughout the country. Key characteristics of the data such as age, gender and ethnicities are broadly in line with national statistics.
Using students to solicit participants in a survey has become an increasingly common and important research tool. As such, although the data aren’t entirely representative of the U.S., I believe they still offer meaningful insights.
Twenty-seven percent of the participants agreed or strongly agreed that work had become more tense as a result of political discussions, while about a third said such talk about the “ups and downs” of politicians is a “common distraction.”
One in 4 indicated they actively avoid certain people at work who try to convince them that their views are right, while 1 in 5 said they had actually lost friendships as a result.
And all this has serious consequences for worker health and productivity.
Over a quarter said political divisions have increased their stress levels, making it harder to get things done. Almost a third of this group said they called in sick on days when they didn’t feel like working, compared with 17 percent among those who didn’t report feeling stressed about politics. A quarter also reported putting in less effort than expected, versus 12 percent. And those who reported being more stressed were 50 percent more likely to distrust colleagues.
These percentages represent fairly high increases from similar surveys taken before the 2016 election. For example, back in September 2016, 17 percent of those surveyed by the American Psychological Association said they felt tense or stressed out as a result of political discussions at work.
The association did a follow-up survey in May 2017 already revealing increased stress levels, a drop in worker productivity and other consequences following the election of Donald Trump. My findings, however, suggest things have gotten even worse. That 2017 survey, for example, reported 15 percent of respondents saying they had difficulty getting work done. My data put it at 26 percent.
What managers can do
After conducting this study, I wondered what company managers are doing about politics-related stress in the workplace. So I reached out to 20 business leaders from a variety of industries whom I have become acquainted with over the years in my role as a professor.
I discovered a few common themes.
One was that the problem often began with a higher-level employee sharing his or her political views with others, whether welcome or not, making underlings feel they could engage in similar behavior in the office. A manager of a publishing company, for example, noted that he had to fire one of his unit leaders because he could not put his political beliefs away during his shift despite a series of reprimands.
Another was that banning all political discussions was also bad policy, since it opened the door to lawsuits over free speech issues.
What the “right” policy about what boundaries to set for political chatter at work remains an open question. The key point is that the business leaders I spoke with tended to agree that managers need to get their heads out of the sand and address the problem head on. They seemed to think a lot of managers appeared to be ignoring the problem and hoping it would go away.
Also, a number of them added that they are now investing in programs that help manage conflicts and disagreements at work – among employees and with customers.
At the end of the day, there’s little companies can do about how politically divided the nation becomes. But keeping it from stressing out employees at work and causing productivity and other problems is primarily about effective leadership and being proactive, and showing employees a level of civility that is often absent outside of the workplace.
Comment: Christopher Anderson
more nonsense by the alt-lefters and Globalists. More minorities are working today than in 39 years. The economy is doing much better under Trump. Stop lying and go back to work.
The lies we tell on dating apps to find love
August 22, 2018
Assistant Professor of Social Media Data Analytics, University of Oregon
Disclosure statement: David Markowitz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: University of Oregon provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
Nearly one-fourth of young adults are looking for love through dating websites or apps.
This relatively new form of courtship can give you access to a large pool of potential partners. It also presents a unique set of challenges.
For example, you’ve probably heard about – or have personally experienced – a date that was planned online but didn’t go well for one of the following reasons: He was shorter than his profile said he was, she looked different in person than she did in her photos, or he was talkative over text but it was like pulling teeth at dinner.
In other words, a person’s profile – and the messages sent before a date – might not capture who a person really is.
In a recent paper, my colleague Jeff Hancock and I wondered: How often do people who use dating apps lie? What sort of things are they prone to lie about?
‘My phone died at the gym’
Our studies are some of the first to address these questions, but others have also examined deception in online dating.
Past research focused largely on the dating profile. Studies have found, for example, that men tend to overstate their height and lie about their occupation, while women understate their weight and tend to have less accurate photos than their counterparts.
But profiles are only one aspect of the online dating process. Only after messaging your match will you decide if you want to meet him or her.
To understand how often people lied to their partners and what they falsified, we evaluated hundreds of text messages exchanged after daters swiped right, but before they met – a period we call “the discovery phase.” We recruited an online sample of over 200 participants who provided us with their messages from a recent dating conversation and identified the lies, with some participants explaining why these messages were deceptive and not jokes.
We found that lies could be categorized into two main types. The first kind were lies related to self-presentation. If participants wanted to present themselves as more attractive, for example, they would lie about how often they went to the gym. Or if their match appeared to be religious, they might lie about how often they read the Bible to make it seem as if they had similar interests.
The second kind of lies were related to availability management, with daters describing why they couldn’t meet, or giving excuses for radio silence, like lying about their phone losing service.
These deceptions are called “butler lies” because they’re a relatively polite way to avoid communication without completely closing the door on the connection. If you’ve ever texted, “Sorry I went AWOL, my phone died,” when you just didn’t want to talk, you’ve told a butler lie.
Butler lies don’t make you a bad person. Instead, they can help you avoid dating pitfalls, such as appearing always available or desperate.
Purposeful or pervasive lies?
While deceptions over self-presentation and availability accounted for most lies, we observed that only 7 percent of all messages were rated as false in our sample.
Why such a low deception rate?
A robust finding across recent deception studies suggests that the majority of people are honest and that there are only a few prolific liars in our midst.
Lying to appear like a good match or lying about your whereabouts can be completely rational behaviors. In fact, most people online expect it. There’s also a benefit to lying just a little bit: It can make us stand out in the dating pool, while making us feel we’ve stayed true to who we are.
However, outright and pervasive lies – mentioning your love for dogs, but actually being allergic to them – can undermine trust. One too many big lies can be problematic for finding “the one.” There was another interesting result that speaks to the nature of deception during the discovery phase. In our studies, the number of lies told by a participant was positively associated with the number of lies they believed their partner told.
So if you’re honest and tell few lies, you think that others are being honest as well. If you’re looking for love but are lying to get it, there’s a good chance that you’ll perceive others are lying to you, too.
Therefore, telling little lies for love is normal, and we do it because it serves a purpose – not just because we can.
Should all Nobel Prizes be canceled for a year?
September 20, 2018
Professor of Physics, University of California San Diego
Disclosure statement: Brian Keating receives funding from NSF, Simons Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.
Partners: University of California provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
If you ever meet someone who claims to have nearly won the Nobel Prize in mathematics, walk away: You’re dealing with a deeply delusional individual. While there isn’t, and has never been, a Nobel in mathematics, the desire to claim Nobel-worthiness is sensible, for no matter the field, it is the world’s most prestigious accolade.
The annual prizes are Sweden’s most sacred holiday, bringing out royalty in the arts and sciences and a worldwide audience of millions to witness an event featuring the pomp and circumstance typically associated with the naming of a new pope. Indeed, the prizes are so important to Sweden’s national identity that the king of Sweden recently took the unprecedented step of canceling the Nobel Prize in literature for 2018. What would cause King Gustaf to take such an extraordinary step? Simply put, he did so for the same reason that Alfred Nobel founded the awards to begin with: public relations.
Chemist and inventor Alfred Nobel was once called “the merchant of death” for his arms dealership’s role in “killing more people faster than ever before.” To rehabilitate the Nobel name, Alfred created the eponymous prizes with a mission that the awards be “for the benefit of mankind.”
The 2013 Nobel Prize winners from left to right: Francois Englert, physics; Peter W. Higgs, physics; Martin Karplus, chemistry; Micheal Levitt, chemistry; Arieh Warshel, chemistry; James E. Rothman, medicine; Randy W. Schekman, medicine; Thomas C. Sudhof, medicine; Eugene F. Fama, economics; Lars Peter Hansen, economics; Robert J.Shiller, economics, at the Nobel Prize award ceremony, Dec. 10, 2013, in Stockholm, Sweden. TT, Fredrik Sandberg/AP Photo
King Gustaf wisely decided that the literature Nobel take a one-year hiatus to investigate the allegations of horrific sexual misconduct by a key member of the committee that awards the prize in literature. This “stand-down” period will hopefully also allow for a reevaluation of the process by which the prizes are awarded.
While the two science prizes, in chemistry and physics, have so far not succumbed to scandal, they have had their fair share of controversy. (See Haber’s chemistry Nobel for the invention of, and later advocacy for, chemical weapons.) Still, I believe it might behoove the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to take a year off as well.
As an astrophysicist and an invited nominator of Nobel laureates in years past, I have studied the prize and the organization that awards them. My investigations revealed a bevy of biases that still remain within the esteemed physics prize (my specialization). If it were to “stay the course,” I fear the prestige of the Nobel, and perhaps the public’s perception of science itself, could be irreparably harmed.
Eyes on the prize
To win science’s top prize an individual must meet three main criteria, according to Alfred Nobel’s will. First they must make the most important invention or discovery in physics or chemistry. Secondly, it should be made during the previous year. And the final requirement is that it benefits all of mankind. This last outcome is the most nebulous and subjective – and frequently violated. How can the degree of the worldwide beneficence of a scientific discovery be adequately judged?
For example, given the enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons around the world, is nuclear fission, the winning achievement of the 1944 Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to Otto Hahn, and not to his female collaborator Lise Meitner, of sufficient benefit to warrant a Nobel?
And what about the lobotomy? This discovery, rewarded with the 1949 Nobel Prize in physiology, caused widespread and disastrous outcomes until it was banned a decade later. Gustav Dalen’s lighthouse regulator, awarded the prize in 1912, didn’t exactly enjoy the longevity of many subsequent prizes.
Even some recent prizes have raised eyebrows. Corruption charges brought up in 2008 threatened to sully the reputation of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine after drug company AstraZeneca allegedly influenced the selection of that year’s laureate for its own gain.
This points to another issue with the prize: It can misrepresent the way science is done. Science is a team sport, and no one truly goes to Stockholm alone. Yet the current restriction to at most three laureates distorts the perception of science by reinforcing the layperson’s impression that science is done by “lone geniuses” – typically “white, American males” – working without vast support networks behind them.
And what if, in contrast to these scientific innovations, the Nobel Prize itself harms rather than helps mankind, or at least the slice of it devoted to the sciences?
While it’s true that Nobel’s titular prize bequeathed a fortune to scientists, activists, physicians and writers, scientists are rarely impelled to their trade for personal enrichment. In fact, science prizes such as the Templeton and Breakthrough are worth far more than the 9 million Kroner, or about US$983,000, cash purse of the Nobel Prize. Some physicists speculate that every winner of these more munificent awards would gladly forgo the extra cash for a Nobel. But Alfred Nobel’s intent wasn’t to swell scientists’ wallets. Instead, he wanted to bring attention to their beneficial work and incentivize new inventions. In this regard, the Nobel Prize has vastly exceeded Alfred’s modest expectations.
It wasn’t always this way. When the inaugural Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901, Wilhelm Röntgen, who won the physics prize for his discovery of X-rays, which surely improved the lives of billions around the world, was so unmoved by the accolade that he didn’t even show up to collect his medallion.
Yet, by the mid-1900s, Burton Feldman claims science became “increasingly incomprehensible to the public…when the media began its own expansion and influence.” These factors conspired to elevate the stature of the Nobel Prize along with the prominence of the laureates who are bestowed it.
Generally, most of my colleagues believe that Nobel winners in chemistry and physics deserved their prizes. Yet, is it the scientist laureates, all mankind, or the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences – the entity charged with laureate selection – that benefits the most from the Nobel Prize?
A noble vision
The Nobel Prizes have seen many radical changes in nearly a dozen decades since they were first awarded. Despite their lofty status, my investigation into the history of the Nobel Prizes shows that they have not always lived up to the objective of benefiting mankind.
A lawsuit by Alfred Nobel’s great grandnephew, Peter Nobel, alleging use of the Nobel name for political purposes forced a name change: The prize formerly known as “the Nobel Prize in Economics” – a prize not endowed by Alfred – bears the winsome new title “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.”
Peace prize winners have sued the Nobel Foundation over grievances in the awardees past, including leaders considered by some to be terrorists, such as Yassir Arafat, or to be warmongers like Henry Kissinger.
Rosalind Franklin, the physicist who helped reveal DNA’s double helix structure using X-ray crystallography. Contemporaneously, James Watson and Francis Crick were coming to a similar conclusion but didn’t have the hard data to support their claim. Unbeknownst to Franklin, Watson and Crick got access to Franklin’s data, allowing them to complete their model of DNA. Later the duo, along with Franklin’s male collaborator Maurice Wilkins, went on to win the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images
While the two physical science prizes have not been plagued by the horrific allegations being brought against the literature prize, they are hardly the redoubts of gender equality: Fewer than 1 percent of the prizes in the sciences have gone to women.
I suggest that it’s time that all the Nobel Prizes, including the science prizes, take a year off to reevaluate and reflect on Alfred Nobel’s lofty vision.
Resurrecting the Nobel
How can a yearlong hiatus restore the Nobel Prizes to their past luster? First off, a reevaluation of the mission of the prizes, especially the stipulation that they benefit all mankind, should be paramount.
We need to revise the statutes, untouched since 1974, to allow for new prizes and rectify past injustices. This could be achieved by allowing both posthumous Nobels, and prizes for past awards that failed to recognize the full cohort of discoverers. Unless we do so, the Nobels misrepresent the actual history of science. Examples of such omissions, unfortunately, abound. Ron Drever died mere months before he likely would’ve won the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics. Rosalind Franklin lost her fair share of the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Lise Meitner was denied her status as a 1944 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry for nuclear fission, which was awarded solely to her collaborator Otto Hahn. Jocelyn Bell, discoverer of pulsars, lost her Nobel Prize to her Ph.D. advisor. Many others – mostly women – living and deceased had also been overlooked and ignored.
To initiate the reform process, with help from colleagues and interested laypeople, my colleagues and I have established a new online advocacy forum that encourages the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to rectify past wrongs, prevent old mistakes from causing new harm, and more accurately reflect the broad panorama that is modern science. The Losing The Nobel Prize forum is open to scientists and nonscientists alike to submit proposals to reform and improve the Nobel Prizes.
Thoughtful action now is crucial and has tremendous potential far beyond academia. Revisiting and revising the Nobel Prize process, correcting past mistakes and making the process more transparent in the future will redound to the benefit of all mankind, reinstating the Nobel to its legendary stature.