Maryland Moments, August, 2010
Baltimore Sun: "Wallace Loh arrived in Iowa by himself, a 15-year-old with 200 dollars in his pocket and not too many more English words in his vocabulary. It was 1961 and he knew only that an American education promised opportunities that weren't available in Peru, where his father was a diplomat, or in his native China, where the Communist Party had claimed his family's fortune. 'I was too awestruck to worry about how I would get by,' he recalled. Loh did more than get by. He immediately started college and earned a psychology degree from Grinnell College and a law degree from Yale. He began a steady rise through academia and university administration that brought him back to Iowa, where he became provost of that state's flagship university in 2008. On Tuesday morning, he was named the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park. He considers his job a calling. 'The American dream still lives,' he said in reflecting on his story. 'I want to make sure the opportunities are available to the next generation that were available to me.' Loh, 65, was appointed by the university system's Board of Regents after a six-month search to replace C.D. Mote Jr., who in 12 years led the university to new plateaus of academic prestige, research funding and student interest. He was chosen from among three finalists and will start his $450,000-a-year job on Nov. 1, with Provost Nariman Farvardin serving as interim president until he arrives. Chancellor William E. Kirwan said Loh is the perfect modern president given his multinational background, his experience in state politics in Washington and his work leading a comparably sized university through budget and other crises. ... .Loh promised to be open with students and listen to their concerns as he weighs difficult budget decisions. Student body president Steve Glickman said Loh had already e-mailed him to say he was looking forward to hearing student perspectives on the university. 'I was very impressed that he showed that kind of interest right away,' Glickman said. 'I always like to meet people in person but on paper, he's a very interesting and appealing choice.' "
Business Gazette: New president of College Park campus says he will continue emphasis on entrepreneurship "State business leaders applauded the message of Wallace D. Loh, the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park, who this week spoke about making the university more efficient, innovative and entrepreneurial during a time of tight budgets and economic uncertainty. The university system board of regents this week named Loh, 65, currently executive vice president and provost at the University of Iowa, as the successor of C.D. "Dan" Mote Jr. Loh plans to start Nov. 1 at a salary of $450,000. 'No campus can rest on its current reputation, no matter how good,' said Kathleen T. Snyder, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. 'An entrepreneurial approach will bring [the university] even greater success in the future.' During his 12-year tenure -- the fourth longest presidential stint in university history -- Mote oversaw a significant boost in research funding and the growth of business programs such as technology transfer under the university's technology arm, the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, known as Mtech. Research funding sponsored by the university more than doubled under Mote, from $205 million in fiscal 1998 to $518 million in fiscal 2009. It goes without saying that every institution should strive to be as efficient as possible, said David F. Barbe, executive director of Mtech and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. 'Finding effective ways of achieving efficiency is the trick,' Barbe said. Benjamin Wu, technology policy adviser at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said he was impressed with Loh's experience and commitment to research and programs such as technology transfer. 'He sees the importance of job creation,' said Wu, who was among the officials at a reception for Loh on Wednesday in College Park. 'He has an impressive background, to say the least, with four degrees.' At a news conference following the reception, Loh said he planned to review not just business programs but all academic areas for ways to make them more efficient and innovative. 'We have to be leaner and stronger,' he said."
Iowa City Press-Citizen: "University of Iowa Provost Wallace Loh will become president of the University of Maryland on Nov. 1. ... Loh came to UI as provost in August 2008 in the midst of some of the most difficult times the university has faced. The waters of the floods of 2008 had just receded, leaving behind a decimated arts campus that has yet to fully recover. The university is currently appealing a decision by FEMA to not pay for a new facility for the UI Museum of Art, which was destroyed by the flooding. Then, the recession hit in 2009, prompting UI to make tough budget choices. In April of that year, Loh made headlines in the Press-Citizen by declaring that 'there will be layoffs' at UI, but UI President Sally Mason -- in the same article -- stopped short of supporting Loh's claim. Later on, federal stimulus money helped lessen the effects of the cuts. Most recently, Loh has helped lead UI's charge to combat binge drinking in concert with Iowa City government and Iowa City police. Loh is co-chairman of the Partnership for Alcohol Safety, a joint committee between the university and city, and is a co-chair of the 21 Makes Sense committee with numerous community and state leaders. The partnership led to the passage of an Iowa City ordinance that prohibits those under age 21 from being in Iowa City bars after 10 p.m. Loh's departure comes just before a November vote to repeal that ordinance."
Business Journals: "University of Iowa administrator Wallace D. Loh will assume the presidency of the University of Maryland, College Park on Nov. 1. A university search committee chose Loh, Iowa's executive vice president and provost, after a national search that began in February. University President C.D. 'Dan' Mote Jr. will step down Aug. 31 after 12 years leading the state's flagship university. University officials said Loh was among 300 candidates for the position. ... Loh said he wants to develop a closer relationship with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, especially since that school also has a new president, Dr. Jay Perman. 'I think College Park will be a better university if it works in better collaboration with the programs at Baltimore and vice versa,' Loh said in an interview Tuesday. Loh said a closer partnership between the two schools could help life sciences research at College Park transfer to development in Baltimore. 'Research universities have a very important role to play in catalyzing the economic vitality of a community and state,' he said. Loh added that there is also room for collaboration between College Park's School of Public Policy and Baltimore's law school."
Associated Press: "Dr. Wallace D. Loh was appointed Tuesday as president of the University of Maryland's flagship campus in College Park. Loh, the provost of the University of Iowa, will succeed C.D. 'Dan' Mote Jr., who has served as president for 12 years. Loh starts Nov. 1; until then, provost Nariman Farvardin will serve as interim president. Loh, 65, has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and will become the first Asian to serve as UM president. He was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated with his family to Lima, Peru, where he graduated from high school. He then moved alone to Iowa, graduating from Grinnell College with a degree in psychology. He later earned degrees from Yale University, the University of Michigan and Cornell University."
"Maryland is among 18 universities to be named by The Princeton Review to its 'Green Rating Honor Roll,' an elite list of colleges that received the highest possible score ( 99 ) in its Green Ratings. UM was also selected as having the Best Athletics Facilities in the country as Princeton Review released its annual "The Best 373 Colleges" guidebook today. A sampling of other top 20 ratings/rankings for UM included Best College Newspaper ( No. 3 ), Students Pack the Stadium ( No. 7 ), and Best College Library ( No. 17 )."
"Maryland further cemented its status as one of the world's top research universities and its place among the top U.S. public universities with the release of two long-time barometers of academic success: the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and U.S. News & World Report's list of America's Best Colleges. The ARWU, which is maintained by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, reports that Maryland advanced from No. 37 to No. 36 among the world's research universities, its highest status in the eight years the rankings have been released. UM is No. 12 among U.S. public universities, (UM is No. 28 among all U.S. universities). Separate ARWU rankings by "Subject" and by "Field" place Maryland among the top 10 U.S. public universities for each of the selected subjects and fields for which it was rated and among the top 25 among world universities for those areas. In the U.S. News rankings, Maryland retained its No. 18 status among the top U.S. Public Universities. The magazine also ranked undergraduate programs in engineering and business: the Clark School of Engineering ranked No. 19, the first undergraduate top 20 ranking for the school, and the Smith School of Business ranked No. 19.
Popular Science: University of Maryland: Space Systems Laboratory
Career: Spacesuit designer
Learn to: Test out new astronaut gear in zero gravity
"Students don space suits and climb into a neutral buoyancy tank to conduct low- and zero-gravity tests on next-gen astronaut gear, as well as space- and deep-sea-bound robots. Maryland's 50-foot-diameter, 367,000-gallon tank is one of only two in the U.S., and the only one at a university. Students have gone on to work on the International Space Station and the Cassini and Magellan planetary probes, among others." Web site: ssl.umd.edu
More on Campus
Maryland Daily Record: "Determining how many of the 148,000 students at Maryland's public universities can be counted as non-residents is worth more than $100 million to the University System of Maryland. Of those full- and part-time students, about 34,000 are not Maryland residents and pay two to three times as much in tuition, according to university data. At the system's two largest campuses -- the University of Maryland, College Park, and Towson University -- where the majority of out-of-state undergraduates go (about 9,200), these students pay $65 million more in tuition than they would if they came from Maryland. Figuring out who is and who isn't a Maryland resident is an important financial mission for university admissions officers and registrars. In the past year, legislative auditors have found significant problems with how both Towson and Coppin State universities determine residency status. System administrators are doing a follow-up review at these two universities. On the whole, the other universities adhere to the Board of Regents statewide policy, and errors are few and far between, said Teri Hollander, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. The university system leaves it up to individual campuses to make sure that their residency determinations are correct. Legislative auditors pay close attention to the process in their review of each institution every three years, and they have not found the kind of systemic problems that they did at Towson and Coppin. ... Residency change petitions are much more intensive than the forms filled out with applications. The University of Maryland, College Park, has a nine-page form to be filled out to change residency. This form requires students to write at least one essay and provide detailed documentation regarding income and expenses. Students are also required to submit copious supporting documents. Among the items that must be submitted are canceled rent or mortgage checks -- to prove continuous residency in the state -- leases or titles, immigration documents and tax forms. These petitions are reviewed closely, and give students a chance to explain any mitigating factors, and allow for several appeals .... If a student had an out-of-state driver's license in order to be covered under a parent's car insurance policy in Pennsylvania, for example, his residency could be changed."
Washington Post: "College dorm rooms, with their notoriously skimpy dimensions, are getting more cramped. With the annual buying frenzy of extra-long twin sheets, bed risers and bean bag chairs in full swing, the search is on for stylish and innovative products that squeeze in multiple functions. New dorm furnishings, including mini-fridges with dry-erase boards and step stools that double as seats, reflect student housing's shrinking reality. Former doubles might now be triples or quads. 'As the economy was taking twists and turns, lots of colleges were trying to estimate how many students would return and how many new ones would come,' says James A. Baumann, spokesman for the Association of College and University Housing Officers. 'When you exceed your occupancy, the first step is to turn a double into a triple or take a study lounge at the end of a hall and put four students in it.' The square footage per student in new residence-hall construction has been declining for a decade, according to American School & University magazine. ... When she entered the University of Maryland, College Park as a freshman, Lindsey Kopacz, 20, of Frederick was apprehensive about her double-room assignment -- she's an only child -- and misjudged the floor plan. 'It was shocking to see how small it was when I actually got there,' recalls Kopacz, now a senior. 'Eventually you figure we're all going through this together and it's not your fantasy mansion.' Stores such as Ikea, the Container Store and Bed Bath & Beyond have added lots of college offerings: storage ottomans to hold out-of-season clothes and laptop desks with cooling fans. Pottery Barn Dorm launched this spring with a focus on space-saving and multi-tasking products. A favorite: the dorm trunk, with or without peace symbols, which provides storage, can be a coffee table and adds seating."
Washington Post: "The University of Maryland has reopened Campus Drive to all vehicles after an eight-week summer experiment that turned the College Park campus's primary road into a pedestrian mall. University officials said the road will remain open to traffic while they analyze data collected during the pilot study, including whether the closure had any impact on bus ridership. A decision on whether to close Campus Drive to all or most traffic long term will be made in 2011, university officials said. Maryland transit officials are following the issue closely because any long-term closure could interfere with state plans to run Purple Line light rail trains along Campus Drive. Turning Campus Drive into a pedestrian-friendly mall free of all or most traffic has been part of the university's master plan since 1991, university officials said. To test that plan, they said, private vehicles and most buses were rerouted north of campus between June 19 and Aug. 13. Dave Cosner, assistant director of operations and maintenance, said a decision about whether to close the road to traffic long-term will be based on data collected this summer -- during the first four weeks, when private vehicles were banned but buses were allowed, as well as during the second four weeks, when most buses also were rerouted."
Baltimore Sun: Apple's hit consumer device increasingly getting tested at colleges across the country this fall "This fall, the hit course on some college campuses may very well be iPad 101. At the University of Maryland, administrators plan to hand out Apple iPads to about 60 students, part of a new two-year program called Digital Culture and Creativity that immerses students in new technologies and focuses on the potential of the iPad to shake up the campus experience. The iPad has experienced early success in the consumer market, with more than 3 million sold since April, and it's already going back to school. On college campuses across the country this fall semester, some students are getting iPads upon admission while professors and administrators are trying to determine if this latest digital gadget will have a place in the world of academia, with its dusty libraries and lecture halls. The College Park program 'is really aimed at the student who is a so-called digital native, who grew up doing interesting things online,' said Matthew Kirschenbaum, associate English professor and director of the digital cultures program. 'The iPad isn't just a tool or instrument for the classroom. It's also going to be an artifact, an object of study.' The iPad isn't even a year old but is expected to popularize tablet computers. Its benefits include a vibrant touchscreen and media presentation, long battery life, and mobile Internet accessibility. The device, which starts at $499, does not print, which means college students would need to use another computer to produce their college papers. (But why waste the paper, kids? Just email your work to your professor.) Technology experts and college officials expect the iPad -- and other electronic readers and tablet computers yet to debut -- to help reshape higher education."
International Business Times: "Asian Americans are increasingly shifting away from traditional professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and into the fields of law (politics) and business. While this statement is true in a broad sense, the reality is deeper and more nuanced. This shift also brings new challenges and implications for Asian American and immigrant Asian professionals." Immigrant Asians vs. Asian Americans
"Larry Shinagawa, director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, said that second (and third and fourth) generation Asian Americans make markedly different career choices compared to first-generation, or immigrant Asians (many of whom are not yet citizens). Shinagawa pointed out another interesting phenomenon; later generation (second, third, fourth, etc.) Asian Americans on average have markedly lower education and income compared to immigrant Asians. First-generation immigrant Asians typically pursue STEM careers -- fields that are secure, prestigious, pay well, and have low barriers to entry, explained Shinagawa. He added that two generations ago, Asian Americans (even those born and raised in the U.S.) also largely pursued stereotypical STEM careers. However, Asian Americans (second-, third-, or fourth-generation) have recently begun to defy the STEM stereotype. Now, a greater number of them study humanities and social sciences versus STEM disciplines. And after completing their studies, an increasing number of them are entering into law and business. Shinagawa said that many Asian Americans feel more "Americanized" and believe they have a broader range of occupational choices. As to why they choose business and law specifically, he explained that many Asian Americans do not feel they can compete with immigrant Asians in STEM fields, so they opt for law and business, which offer the same or better pay and prestige compared to STEM jobs."
Washington Post: "In football, where the collisions grow more bone-jarring by the season, determining the severity of concussions is fairly straightforward: Bigger plus faster plus strong equals a greater opportunity for head injuries. Determining when an athlete has recovered from a concussion, however, is far more complex. Clinicians and athletic trainers have found that an athlete's balance - in addition to his ability to think and reason - should be among the components measured, though the best method for doing so remains up for debate. Athletic trainers at the University of Maryland and a handful of other college programs have turned to Nintendo's Wii Fit, an objective and practical - if unproven - method of balance assessment. For the past year, Maryland and Ohio State have partnered to conduct research into the reliability of Wii Fit - an exercise video game - as an effective concussion management instrument. Darryl Conway, Maryland's head athletic trainer, said this will be the third year the school has used components of the exercise video game to conduct baseline testing of its athletes' balance. But while proponents of using Wii Fit as a tool to examine concussions praise its simplicity and affordability - not to mention its popularity with patients - others are cautious to accept it as a valid means of treating such a serious injury."
Business Journals: "The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business will launch a new Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change (CLIC) on Oct. 1 with a daylong event in Washington, D.C. Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO Bob Stevens will keynote the event. The new center is focused on producing vanguard research and programs to foster effective leadership, build organizational capabilities for innovation and change, and promote social stewardship in organizations. The center is supported by BB&T, which pledged $1.5 million over 10 years in this effort. 'Effective leadership that encourages innovation is more critical than ever, especially for organizations operating with constrained resources and with the global economy in flux,' said G. 'Anand' Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change will translate our faculty's scholarly research and practical expertise into insights all leaders can use -- whether they lead corporations, government agencies or nonprofits.' "
"The Executive Committee of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation will seek approval from the USM Board of Regents to build a much-needed University Events Center and either upgrade or replace the newly vacated President's Residence. The Events Center will create an appropriate venue for institutional fundraising, cultivation and related campus activities and initiatives, while upgrading the president's home will address longstanding safety, infrastructure and building code issues.pending approval by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, the Foundation will raise private support to fund the two projects. The University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., a private 501.c3 corporation, was established to raise and manage private support to advance the University's mission and goal to become one of the top public research universities in the nation. The University of Maryland is in the last two years of its ambitious $1 billion capital campaign, Great Expectations: The Campaign for Maryland, one-third of which is committed to raising much-needed student scholarships and other types of student financial aid. The University has raised more than $750 million to date. A new president, anticipated this fall, will be a significant asset in raising the funds to successfully close out the campaign."
New York Times: "At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site's frequently asked questions page about homelessness -- and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information. At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student's copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive -- he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black. And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries -- unsigned and collectively written -- did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge. Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that. But these cases -- typical ones, according to writing tutors and officials responsible for discipline at the three schools who described the plagiarism -- suggest that many students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed."
Washington Post: "Instead of rulers and folders with brads, local parents are going to be shelling out more this season on items like laptops, extra-long twin bedsheets, coffee makers and mini refrigerators. Despite the amount of advertising devoted to selling back-to-school gear, parents wind up spending vastly more on back-to-college items, making it a $33.7 billion market nationwide. ... With rising tuitions and living expenses, Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, long considered the low-cost alternative to public universities and private colleges in the area, has tried to keep costs down, knowing just how much the economy is stretching families' budgets. Campus officials said tuition has remained consistent with last year's price, with just a few increases for some lab and educational services fees ... Tuition at the local school costs $1,320 per full-time semester, and students spend about $1,374 on room and board, whether staying at home or living in an apartment, while they attend. That's about 70 percent lower than the costs for in-state students at the University of Maryland, according to the College Park bursar's office."
Inside Higher Ed: "Despite the field's burgeoning popularity on the undergraduate level, students who want to continue their education in kinesiology may be hard-pressed to do so. Although the number of students enrolled in kinesiology master's programs has increased 20 percent and the number of doctoral students 29 percent, only about 1 percent of the undergraduates go on to get a higher degree in the field, said Jane Clark, chair of the kinesiology department at the University of Maryland. That discrepancy results in part from the students' own interests -- many of the brightest go to medical school, she said -- but other reasons include low funding and a dearth of professors. Clark says her department has the same number of tenure-track faculty as it did 10 years ago, although the number of students has approximately doubled, to 825. Two years ago the department shut down its minor because of an inability to staff it. The lack of resources to train new professors is one of the biggest challenges facing the field: currently there are only 60 Ph.D. programs in the country for kinesiology -- a sharp decline from two decades ago."
Forbes: "One culprit: easy access. Research from the University of Michigan found that most college students get prescription drugs from friends and family, not dealers or the Internet. Another factor seems to be overmedication. 'We are finding that a significant portion of [college students] are being prescribed powerful drugs' for minor medical problems, says Amelia Arria, a researcher at the University of Maryland. 'We are seeing increased nonmedical use that is the downstream effect of a lot of prescription pills lying around.' Get your wisdom teeth pulled and you'll probably have leftover painkillers that mix acetaminophen with a narcotic -- Vicodin or Percocet, for example. ... Overprescribing could be the result of underfunded health centers, suggests University of Maryland's Arria. At schools with populations of 20,000-plus, there are only 1.5 doctors and 5 other health professionals for every 10,000 people; that compares with a national average of 26 doctors for every 10,000 people, according to the American Medical Association and the U.S. Census Bureau. Campus clinics 'do the best they can with their resources,' says Arria. That's not good enough."
Washington Post: "With tens of thousands of applicants at many institutions, colleges are more desperate than ever for any scrap of intel that might distinguish one straight-A student from another. As a new admission cycle begins this summer, colleges are finding there's nothing like an interview to bring out revelatory details. ... Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth reach more applicants than ever through their global alumni networks. Stanford University launched an alumni interview program two years ago in six cities and is offering its first interviews in the Washington region this year. The effort will reach about 5,000 students, a fraction of Stanford's 32,000 applicants. In 2008, Wake Forest University in North Carolina began offering interviews via webcam, using the Internet telephone service Skype. ... Some schools, including the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia, do not offer formal interviews. Others, including American University, offer 'non-evaluative' interviews that are said to be for informational purposes only. Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities offer interviews and use them in admission decisions. Georgetown University requires them."
Baltimore Sun: "As of July, federal law requires colleges to give advance notice of required textbooks and prices in course schedules so that students have time to shop around. Many college students buy discounted books through Half.com, Bookfinder.com and Amazon.com. Even private high school students who must buy their own books are finding deals through Amazon. But a growing trend is renting college textbooks from sites such as Chegg.com or CampusBookRentals.com. Felicity Davenport, a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, says she saves a few hundred dollars each semester by buying used books. 'I have lab and science classes. The books are $200 apiece (new),' says the 20-year-old public health major. She'll save even more by renting this fall semester. One used book runs about $80, but Davenport plans to pay $30 to rent it from Chegg, which offers more than 4 million book titles. And Davenport likes that she won't have to worry about reselling the book when the semester is over; she can ship it back for free. Campus bookstores also are entering the rental business, including the College Park campus. The University of Maryland bookstore started renting books earlier this year as well as offering a digital version at discounts of more than 50 percent, says manager Michael Gore. It has more than 700 titles for rent, and at least that many eTextbooks, he says."
Chicago Tribune: So-called 'impractical' degrees actually can reap financial and other rewards "Anbar Asghar recalls the indignation she felt as a biochemistry major walking into her first philosophy class at the University of Maryland, College Park. An overachieving premed student with little patience for what she scorned as a foolish and time-wasting prerequisite, Asghar, now 23, was in for a surprise. 'I was very bitter walking into the classroom that first day, asking myself, "Why does a science major have to take philosophy?' Asghar said. 'But after just one class session, I was completely taken aback. I fell in Platonic love with philosophy, and the rest is history.' Of course, like many a star-crossed love affair, Asghar's sudden passion for philosophy had its detractors -- in particular, her parents, who questioned their daughter's change of heart, fearing she was heading down a path with scant financial rewards, and even fewer job prospects. 'There was never any anger from my parents, but they were disappointed at first,' says Asghar, who had set her sights on medical school since childhood. 'I had to kind of warm them up to the idea of me majoring in philosophy. But in the end, they were happy for me, because they could see the sparkle in my eyes.' The family support Asghar received after changing her major is not uncommon; most parents understand the wisdom of granting children the freedom to select a major based on their interests and talents. Nevertheless, today's bleak economy and the increasingly difficult feat of financing a college education have even the most benevolent parents wringing their hands over a child's decision to major in the arts or humanities. ... When Jacqueline Ravenet learned her son, Jaime Harrell, was seeking an undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, she decided to set aside any skepticism about his choice. 'I asked him what he wanted to do with a philosophy degree, and when he told me he hopes to teach one day, I decided this major made perfect sense,' Ravenet says. 'He was a gifted artist in high school, and when I didn't encourage him, he became disengaged about school for years, which I feel partially to blame for. The second time around, I'm doing it right.' "
WUSA-TV, Washington: "Back-to-school time can mean racking up a lot of debt for college students. The average student spent more than $1,000 on books in the 2009-10 school year. But now they have new options that won't bust the bank. The University of Maryland's book center is operated by Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers regional manager Chris Colbert says a multitude of price points are available to students. He offers this example '$100 on the shelf for new, $75 for used, the rental, if it's available, is at $45 and the digital around $60.' The new rental program is already proving popular with budget-minded college students. When it was launched as a pilot program in January at the University of Maryland book center, rentals became about 40 percent of total textbook revenue. Colbert predicts that number could hit as high as 60 percent this academic year. University of Maryland psychology major Ellen Noha has her own secret for keep costs down. She rents from Chegg.com. Noha says 'if I got all of my textbooks here (at the book center), it would be like $800 this semester, used would be $600 and I got them at Chegg for $350." Other online rental options include BookRenter.com, CampusBookRentals.com, ECampus.com, Textbookrentals.com and collegebookrenter.com. Rather buy then rent? Campusbooks.com and Bigwords.com help you find the best price for your text books across many sites."
Washington Examiner: "Higher tuitions this fall at Washington-area universities reflect a nationwide trend, but remain higher than the average, according to a Wednesday report by the U.S. Department of Education. In-state tuition and fees at public universities in the United States averaged about $6,400 in the 2009-10 school year, up about 8 percent from $5,900 in 2007-08, according to the report. It did not analyze data for the starting school year. Plenty of local families, though, already have. Students preparing for the start of classes at the University of Maryland will face a relatively small 4.5 percent tuition and fee increase, to $8,400 for residents, up from about $8,100 for the past four years. At George Mason University, an 8 percent increase will bring in-state tuition and fees to $8,700. And at the University of Virginia, students will pay 10 percent more than last year, bringing costs to $10,600. According to the Department of Education, tuition and fees at private colleges nationwide rose about 7 percent to $21,300 in 2009-10, up from $20,000 in 2007-08. Four-year, for-profit universities saw a 5 percent increase to about $15,700 as their share of students continued to rise, as well.
ESPN: "This is a pretty cool note from Maryland's sports information department: 'The University of Maryland Archives has recovered a rare film which shows portions of the first-ever game between the Terps and Navy at brand-new Byrd Stadium on Sept. 30, 1950. Maryland won the game, 35-21. Archivist Anne Turkos says that finding this previously unknown film 'is particularly remarkable' since the rare footage captures highlights of future All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Jack Scarbath leading the Terps to victory and Maryland's stalwart defense on that auspicious day. Maryland Archives is currently working to preserve more than 400 reels of game films, dating from 1946 to 1989. Great history. Yet another reason these teams should be playing each other every year."
WUSA-TV, Washnington: "The annual pilgrimage of parents moving students in to the University of Maryland tied up traffic from the campus all the way to the Beltway Thursday, and provided some signs for retailers that an economic thaw is on when it comes to back-to-school spending. The National Retail Federation predicts back-to-school spending will rise by 16% in 2010. Among the most popular high-dollar items with students at Maryland are flat-screen TV's, mini-refrigerators and futon-style couches. Meanwhile, carpet seller Scott Krueger was on campus with a loaded rental truck doing a brisk business in new rugs for dormitory room floors. 'Parents are spending money and sales are up this year compared to last,' Krueger said. Many parents did not hesitate to splurge on new items, rather than second-hand furnishings, despite the costs of $800 to more than $2000 some families spent. 'I feel like it's an investment in his future,' said Marcie Jordan, the mother of an incoming freshman. 'I want him to be comfortable and happy and if that means I don't get to buy something for home and spend on this instead, that's OK with me.' Even so, families willing to shop online for used furnishings stood to save hundreds of dollars. For instance, a new mini-refrigerator selling for $123 at Home Depot could be found on Craig's List for only $25. A new futon that sells for $129 on Nextag was found for only $40 used. A new flat screen television cost $360. But a student willing to settle for an older, bulkier used television could purchase one used for as little as $40. At the University of Maryland there is dormitory space for more than 8,200 students in 36 residence halls."
Community Impact, Austin: "During his first appearance in Austin as the President of the United States, Barack Obama displayed the hook 'em horns to a crowd of nearly 3,000 people roaring and waving in response at the University of Texas. Higher education was the highpoint of his speech, calling the need for education improvements 'the economic issue' of this century.... Obama challenged all university presidents across the country to try and fight rising tuition costs without diminishing quality, in ways other public universities such as the University of Maryland and North Carolina have begun to do. UT student government president Scott Parks said today was an exciting moment for the student body to be able to see the president in a very private setting. He said the campus is facing similar problems as other students across the nation. Without properly financed schools, it will be difficult to push beyond the limitations of the current education issues, he said."
CNN: "Steve Murawski, chief scientist for the fisheries program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the effects on future generations of fish and marine mammals may prove to be more important in the long term than the carcasses found so far. His agency is collecting samples of fish larvae and plankton to see what the next generation of creatures in the Gulf will look like. If the larvae of a vulnerable fish species like the bluefin tuna are completely wiped it, it may not matter that many of the adults appear to have survived. 'We're going to see if we have a missing generation,' he said. None of that data have been released yet, but likely will be in the coming month, he said. ... Millions of dollars have been dibursed to independent researchers studying the effects of the spill, but so far no formal scientific papers have been published, according to Murawski, from NOAA, and Suatoni, of the NRDC. The National Science Foundation so far has funded $6.9 million in independent research projects to study the ecological impacts. And BP in May pledged $500 million for independent research, of which only $30 million has been allocated so far, said Rita R. Colwell, a University of Maryland professor who chairs the independent panel managing those funds.
IT News Online: "Squarespace Inc. and Lurn Inc., two companies founded by former Hinman CEOs students while in the program, have been named to the Inc. 500 list of the country's fastest growing companies for the second straight year. Squarespace, an industry-leading Web publishing platform founded by alumnus Anthony Casalena (2005), is ranked 416th overall and 30th in the software category. The company reported $5.4 million in revenue for 2009, with a 713 percent three-year growth rate. ... Lurn, a company offering a broad range of e-learning technologies and services founded by alumnus Anik Singal (2005), is ranked 493rd overall and sixth in the education category. The company reported $7.1 million in revenue for 2009, with a 609 percent three-year growth rate."
UM Co-sponsors International Conference (in Ireland) on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life
Eureka Alert: "More than 250 scientists, engineers, government advisers and groups concerned with environmental change are meeting in Cork, Ireland from August 15-20, 2010 to consider the impact of human-generated underwater noise upon aquatic life. The University of Maryland is co-sponsoring the conference, The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life, (http://aquaticnoise.org/), which is co-organized by University of Maryland Biology Professor Arthur Popper, a leading expert in aquatic bioacoustics. The goal of the conference is to draw together new knowledge on the importance of underwater sound to animals and to consider the effects of sounds upon them; whether those sounds occur naturally, are made by the animals themselves, or result from human activities. ... Arthur Popper, Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland in the USA pointed to the strong support from industry and from government agencies for the conference. From the industry side the Oil and Gas Producers Organisation, Exxon Mobil, Simrad, JASCO (Canada), Greenridge Sciences and Simrad (Norway) have provided support for the meeting. On the government side, the US National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Office of Naval Research--Global, and the US Marine Mammal Commission have all given their support.
Washington Post: "Carol Espy-Wilson holds three degrees from some of the nation's most elite universities, none of them in business. An electrical engineer by training and University of Maryland professor by occupation, Espy-Wilson took on a new role last fall: founder and chief executive of a company that markets a technology she developed to block out background noises on cellphones. 'I realized I don't have the skills of a CEO,' Espy-Wilson said in an interview last week. 'I know that I need to hire really good businesspeople to help me make this company very successful.' But Espy-Wilson has found success without yet hiring a business staff. Her company, OmniSpeech, has claimed first place in two business plan competitions, most recently a contest hosted by Rockville Economic Development Inc. called 'StartRight.' Espy-Wilson said the road to where her business now stands has been filled with learning curves, but it began unintentionally. 'I knew we had a good product, that we were onto something, but I was more so thinking about getting people to license the technology through the University of Maryland,' she said. 'I wasn't thinking about doing a company per se.' But then Espy-Wilson was among a select number of professors asked to present her research to a panel of engineers, businesspeople and venture capitalists. Dean Chang, director of the Mtech Venture Program, became her coach. "More often than not, the researcher has done a lot of academic presentations at research conferences, but they've typically not given a presentation in front of VCs [venture capitalists],' he said."
Washington Post: "Archaeologists involved in the excavations say they are helping to rewrite an incomplete history -- adding evidence of resistance, not just physical oppression; evidence of integration, not just segregation. They are, they say, unearthing evidence not only of lives endured in slavery, but also of whole communities of escaped slaves hiding in small, self-sufficient communities. 'Historical records are biased and written from a certain perspective. People we are working with haven't had control over the narrative of the past,' said Paul Shackel, professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland. 'People wrote about them, but wrote from their perspective. If you read the diary of what people thought of African Americans, it is atrocious. It's racist. . . . We are . . . helping to provide the story of the oppressed and helping to make it public.' ... Some sites offer evidence of the business acumen of freed black men. In Illinois, archaeologists are unearthing New Philadelphia, one of the earliest towns in the country founded by a black man. In 1836, Frank McWorter, who was born into slavery, purchased his wife's freedom for $800 with money he earned from extra work in a mine. He then purchased his own freedom at $800 and went on to buy 42 acres of land in Pike County, Ill. McWorter subdivided the land, sold lots and used the proceeds to buy the freedom of 16 more family members. New Philadelphia, which had an integrated school, faded after 1869 when a new railroad bypassed the town, an act some researchers attribute to racism. In 2004, Shackel and archaeological students began digging to investigate issues of race and class in New Philadelphia, which was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
USA Today: "Update 1:25 p.m. A group of University of Maryland students protested Beck's decision to hold the rally on the anniversary of King's speech. David Strohecker, 24, started a Facebook group that attracted dozens of students, called 'Protect your children from Glenn Beck' to coordinate a small protest against the event. 'I heard about this and I did not agree with Beck using MLK's legacy for his own ratings,' he said. 'Beck uses scare tactics.' About 10 students stood under a tree near the Washington Monument, holding signs saying, 'Beck is a racist,' and debating supporters of the rally. 'There are some people that are nice. There are some people that are not,' he said. Strohecker said when his group tried to walk toward the rally at about 10:15 am, people started booing them and would not let them pass until the police came. 'We were going to walk through and hold our signs, voice our opinions,' he said."
Gazette Newspapers: "Rick Weldon, executive assistant to Mayor Randy McClement (R), said earlier this year that he wanted to put together a task force to study the issue again, with a focus on rewarding good landlords and punishing those who have the most violations. Weldon, however, put off organizing a task force when he found out that a Maryland Municipal League intern would be available to the city who could gather necessary data. Jeff Smith, a graduate student in public policy at the University of Maryland, spent most of his summer analyzing information from the city's code enforcement office and the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, focusing on both the city code and the universal property maintenance code. The results, Weldon said in an e-mail, indicate that there are fewer cases than he expected that could be classified as overcrowding."
Baltimore Sun: "After a yearlong, mostly volunteer restoration effort, Back River in eastern Baltimore County is rid of more than 170 tons of debris, 2,000 tires and just last week, eight huge conduit pipes from a construction site. The river, long considered one of Maryland's most degraded waterways, is showing signs of life. Volunteers are finding crayfish, turtles and even a few crabs. 'People are actually stopping and seeing how much work we have done,' said Brian Schilpp, a county teacher who coordinates the cleanup. 'But there is more to do, like education, recycling and management of trash.' ... County officials on Tuesday honored Schilpp, several other volunteers and the four college students who spent this summer on cleanup duty for minimum wage. They worked in the smelly mud, in searing heat and hip-high boots. 'I definitely felt good every day and never frustrated,' said Robby Feehley, a Jacksonville resident who will soon start his sophomore year at University of Maryland, College Park."
Chronicle of Higher Education: "Two decades of championing administrators' global exchange led to the founding this year of the International Association of Student Affairs and Services. Iasas, as 234 members in 33 countries variably pronounce it, seeks to serve as a clearinghouse for theories and strategies to promote the success and welfare of university students. ... The charge of Iasas, then, is to identify common goals and standards for student success and help members develop appropriate strategies on their own campuses. 'That's what the conversation has to be about: how to take these models and adapt them to the local context,' says Dennis C. Roberts, assistant vice president for faculty and student services at the Qatar Foundation, which oversees seven universities in the country's Education City. This summer in Education City, higher-education graduate students from the University of Maryland and the University of San Diego collaborated with Qatari administrators on a possible program for commuter students and another in parent relations. The University of Botswana, meanwhile, has successfully adapted models for living-learning communities, as well as a first-year-experience program to support new students, says Lydia Nyati-Ramahobo, deputy vice chancellor for student affairs there."
Baltimore Sun: The News21 team at UM's Merrill College of Journalism writes for the Sun: "Jack Brooks watches as 60 of his employees use short, quick strokes to pick meat from piles of freshly steamed blue crabs. As they place the meat into plastic containers, men steer in wheelbarrows to shovel more crabs onto the long metal tables. 'We try to get everything out of the crab we can,' says Brooks, co-owner of J.M. Clayton Co., a 120-year-old seafood distribution company founded by his great-grandfather. Just outside this room, in the waters of the Chesapeake, blue crabs appear to be making a comeback, raising hopes that after years of decline, the industry that harvests them may rebound, too. Annual counts show the bay's crab population has jumped sharply in the two years since Maryland and Virginia imposed major restrictions on catching females."
Washington Post: "Daniel Horowitz, Sam Winter and Brian Peisach are on a mission to dispel the negative perceptions regarding the quality of items produced in China. The trio, as undergraduates at the University of Maryland's Hinman CEOs entrepreneurship program, hatched a business idea last fall specifically geared toward small to mid-size U.S. companies, such as those in the electronics industry. They would offer a one-stop shop for companies to get their products manufactured in China. Their company, Trade Assurance International (TAI), officially launched in January, after a two-week visit to the Far East as the only undergraduate competitors in the 2010 China MBA Business Plan Competition, organized by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. On their trip, Horowitz and Winter were able to firm up partnerships with key manufacturers, financiers, quality-control firms and shippers. A recent month-long trip to Hong Kong and China allowed them to further establish their rapidly expanding network of strategic alliances. Now they are building a Web platform designed to set TAI Group apart from its peers."
Associated Press: "The original Kermit the Frog, his body created with an old dull-green coat and his eyes made of pingpong balls, has returned home to the nation's capital, where the puppet got his start. The first Kermit creation from Jim Henson's Muppet's collection appeared in 1955 on the early TV show 'Sam and Friends,' produced at Washington's WRC-TV. Henson's widow Jane Henson on Wednesday donated 10 characters from the show to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. She said the original characters provided five minutes of fun each night after the local news. 'I think people realized that if you put Kermit's face up there, it was just as powerful,' Jane Henson, 76, said. 'We were mostly just doing it to entertain ourselves.' The Hensons attended the University of Maryland and got into the TV business with Willard Scott and other pioneers while in college. Their connection to the area makes the Smithsonian a perfect home for Henson's original puppets, friends said. 'It's not just the puppets coming home, but in a way it's Jane and Jim coming home,' said Arthur Novell, executive director of the nonprofit Jim Henson Legacy in New York City. 'They started their careers, their lives in Washington.' Even though they were in Washington, Kermit deliberately did not do politics or dabble in religion, Jane Henson said."
Baltimore Sun: "Domonique Foxworth has created a foundation to serve teenage boys in Baltimore, taken kids from his own holiday party to a local bookstore, and helped raise funds to build a teen center in Denver. So it's no surprise that the Ravens cornerback was honored Monday morning as the first recipient of the Tim Wheatley Award. The Tim Wheatley Award, to be given annually, was created by the Baltimore Sun Media Group to honor a local athlete whose contributions off the field are as important as the ones on the field. Wheatley, Baltimore Sun sports editor from 2006 to 2009, was tragically killed in a car accident while driving his daughter, Sarah, to school on Oct. 5, 2009. Wheatley was a strong believer in community service."
Business Journals: "A biotechnology lab affiliated with the University of Maryland said Wednesday it will expand into Montgomery County, doubling its square footage and staff. The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute's Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility, located in College Park, is part of the university's Biotechnology Research and Education Program. Using a $200,000 Shared Resource Grant from the Maryland Biotechnology Center, the lab will hire two additional staff members to run its Shady Grove facility and purchase $200,000 in new equipment. The grant will also be used to create a pilot plant for biofuels in College Park. The laboratory helps companies manufacture biotechnology products and processes. The lab also provides training for the region's work force and students. The lab has worked with companies like Gaithersburg-based MedImmune and Columbia's Martek Biosciences Corp. (NASDAQ: MATK). The new facility will be located in what was formerly part of the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology. That space is now part of the new Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research. The current lab occupies 2,400 square feet at the University of Maryland, College Park. The new facility will occupy 3,000 square feet. Paul Allenza, director of the Biotechnology Research and Education Program, said in an interview that Mtech is currently making upgrades to the Shady Grove facility and plans to move the new equipment and employees into the space in the next two months. The Mtech lab expects to offer more bioprocessing and protein purification training programs and courses at both sites."
Baltimore Sun: "The device that Mehdi Kalantari hopes will revolutionize monitoring of the structural integrity of bridges around the world is about as small and flat as a credit card and is powered by the sun, by ambient light or even by stray radio waves it can pick out of the atmosphere. An Iranian immigrant and electrical engineer at the University of Maryland, College Park, Kalantari has devised what he calls a lightweight, low-power, wireless sensor that he hopes will detect weaknesses in bridges and other infrastructure before they can turn into calamities such as the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge that killed 13 people in Minneapolis in 2007. If they work as imagined, the devices would detect anomalies in the structure of even the most inaccessible parts of bridges and send alerts via cellular frequencies to its human masters. Among the things it would measure would be stress loads, vibration, temperature and the creation and growth of cracks. 'You will have a complete, real-time picture of what's happening on the bridge," said the 35-year-old UM researcher who has lived in the United States since 2001. Like all new technologies, Kalantari's sensor faces enormous hurdles in finding a market. It would need to win acceptance from the engineers who maintain the nation's transportation infrastructure and it would have to prove itself against the competition that could arise from other universities and corporate laboratories anywhere in the world. But Kalantari's colleagues and advisers at UM's Technology Advancement Program believe the entrepreneur and his business partner, fellow UM electrical engineer Arash Takshi, might be on to something big."
First Science: "Technological advances developed by University of Maryland researchers promise significant reductions in urban runoff polluting the Anacostia watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. The researchers say their work represents the next generation of 'low impact development' technologies. In the laboratory, the researchers have dramatically improved the removal of phosphorous, nitrogen and other prime urban pollutants from runoff. To achieve these results, they've re-engineered bioretention projects, also known as rain gardens -- special strips of greenery that capture and filter storm runoff before it enters the watershed. Now, in partnership with the Prince George's County Government, the researchers will demonstrate the effectiveness of their new approaches by improving the capture and treatment of University of Maryland campus runoff that would eventually end up in Chesapeake Bay waters. 'Runoff from urban development represents a growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake watershed, and we believe we can help curb this,' says Allen P. Davis, a University of Maryland professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the lead researcher on the project. 'Our technologies offer major improvements, and could one day be used by housing developments or businesses to reduce their environmental footprint.' With a new grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Prince George's County Government totaling nearly $600,000, Davis's team will conduct a three-part demonstration project near parking lots at the university's Comcast Center. The project is designed to reduce phosphorus, nitrogen, sediment and the volume of runoff from the university into the Anacostia watershed, one of the rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay."
The Street: "The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program (MIPS), an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) at the University of Maryland, has awarded $3.3 million to 16 teams of Maryland companies and faculty developing commercially promising technology products, program officials announce today. All funding goes to the faculty members conducting the research and development on company products. 'Programs such as MIPS are critical to our 21st-century technology economy in Maryland,' says Governor Martin O'Malley. 'Blockbuster companies in Maryland like MedImmune, Martek, and Hughes Network Systems have leveraged MIPS to create thousands of jobs in the region, generate $19.5 billion in revenue and develop products that enhance, protect and save lives.' Projects for this round of funding include floating wetlands to clean the Chesapeake Bay, bolts that change color as they are tightened, faster Internet-via-satellite upstream, wireless sensors for monitoring home energy use, bioremediation for restaurant oil, and a backup mass-emergency electrical system. Treatments, vaccines or tests for anthrax, malaria, influenza, staph infections and infertility are also included. Worth $3.3 million, the projects combine $1.9 million from participating companies and $1.4 million from MIPS. Funding supports research in the laboratories of participating university faculty, who work closely with partner companies to advance their products. Nine company partners are in Montgomery County; four are in the Baltimore area, one is in Howard County, one is in Frederick and one is in Frostburg." Seven of the 16 awards involve UM faculty.
RedOrbit: "The faculty of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, A. James Clark School of Engineering have developed an online master's degree program to better meet the needs of working bioengineers in the Washington, D.C., Metro area, across the United States and world-wide. 'Long before recent news articles listed bioengineers as one of the highest demand jobs for the next decade, we saw the signs and began the process to create this new master's program in bioengineering to meet the national need for exceptionally skilled engineering and technology professionals,' said William Bentley, Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering. 'Being located inside the Capital Beltway and so close to major biotechnology research institutions gives us a unique opportunity to understand their needs and to service the large number of engineers, researchers, and medical professionals who have a desire to further their education in bioengineering and add more specialization to their background.' Industries and institutions served by the new program include: the chemical and materials, healthcare, biotechnology, electronics and devices, and defense and security industries, as well as federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization and various intelligence agencies."
Washington Post: "The University of Maryland will receive a federal grant to help develop solutions for some of the nation's transportation problems. UM Center for Integrated Transportation Systems Management will receive $926,700 to develop technology and processes that improve the 'operation of transportation facilities and corridors.' The center was founded in 2008, and works on a variety of projects, such as ways to minimize congestion on the Beltway and researching the willingness of drivers to pay for using high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the award of $13.8 million in grants to eight university transportation centers on Thursday. 'By investing in research at our nation's universities, we are helping to address today's transportation needs while we train tomorrow's transportation professionals,' LaHood said. The grants are administered under the Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Grants were also awarded to programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of California at Berkeley, Purdue University, the University of Michigan, the University of Tennessee (plus a center at the University of Tennessee that is a consortium of nine universities) and the University of Vermont."
Red Orbit: "The University of Maryland has received a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation to acquire a superconducting 800 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer that will help scientists and engineers to solve complex problems in biology and medicine. The instrument will be the highest field NMR spectrometer to be located on the College Park campus and will enable scientists to investigate the three-dimensional structure of biological molecules and study their interactions with a degree of resolution and sensitivity not previously possible. Kwaku Dayie, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is the principal investigator on the grant, and will utilize this technology to advance his research on the biophysics of RNAs (ribonucleic acids). RNAs are biological molecules that are critical to life, and that play a role in many diseases for which effective treatments are still sought. 'RNAs do a lot more in cells than we have given them credit for,' explains Dayie, who is associated with the university's Center for Biomolecular Structure and Organization (CBSO). 'They can speed up chemical reactions by up to 100 billion fold without the need of protein enzymes, and they can regulate gene expression just as proteins can. Being able to map out their 3D architecture using this high field NMR technology means we'll be able to see more clearly how we could target them for drug discovery and delivery.' "
Southern Maryland News: "The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a $600,000 grant award to the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to implement a statewide remote sensing adaptive management tool that will routinely measure winter cover crop productivity and nutrient uptake. This project will provide valuable information to help make management of the winter cover crop program more effective in protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. ... Project partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Maryland, Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District along with many local conservation agencies and organizations."
Wall Street Journal: India's spat with the maker of the Blackberry underlines a broader technological challenge for intelligence agencies. ... V.S. Subrahmanian, director of UM's Laboratory for Computational Cultural Dynamics, and Aaron Mannes, a researcher at the lab, write an op/ed
"The war on terror came closer to home this month, when the Indian government pressured Canadian company Research in Motion to hand over encryption keys for its popular Blackberry device. New Delhi claims terrorists are using the company's secure networks for covert communications. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia -- all of which face significant terror threats -- have also expressed concern. But such moves may do more harm than good. India's concern is clearly justified: Terrorists are using new media sources to facilitate covert communications that -- directly or indirectly -- have led to numerous deaths. According to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center's Worldwide Incident Tracking System, Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), perpetrator of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, is responsible for over 700 fatalities in India during the last five years. But publicly browbeating RIM into providing its encryption keys is a Pyrrhic victory. Terrorist organizations can only survive if they study the capabilities of their adversaries and adapt. Terrorist organizations backed by intelligence agencies tend to be even more sophisticated. If terrorists know that Blackberries are monitored, terrorists will not employ them -- or will do so only in combination with other channels of communication in order to evade intelligence agencies. The much-publicized nature of India's threat to Blackberry thus may well have compromised potential operational gains."
Foreign Policy: The citizens of the Middle East aren't looking for lofty speeches -- they want U.S. support for their preferred policies. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Developement, writes an essay:
"A few months ago, I appeared on a popular Egyptian television talk show -- al-Qahira al-Youm -- that addressed front-page stories in the press. One of the questions I was asked surprised me. The Egyptian press had apparently translated a Washington Post article about President Barack Obama's private spiritual life and his regular consultation with Christian ministers. Seemingly alarmed, the host asked me to provide comment. Immediately, I saw where the question was headed. During the George W. Bush's presidency, there was considerable focus, at home and abroad, on Bush's Christian faith and the role of evangelicals in U.S. foreign policy. This played squarely into the hands of those Muslims who preferred to frame foreign-policy issues as a struggle between Islam and the 'crusaders,' and Obama seemed to provide a fresh start. But could Obama be instead a closet evangelical Christian? It was not hard to deal with the question on Egyptian TV, pointing out that all presidents benefit from being recognized as men of faith and that being a Christian in the United States does not automatically provide predictions of your Middle East policy -- as is well-demonstrated by perhaps the most religious U.S. president of the 20th century, Jimmy Carter. But the very fact that this issue had to be addressed in the Arab media was itself an indication of the times, of the decline in Arab public opinion of a president who a year ago opened many hearts and minds even before he delivered a memorable and historic speech in Cairo. It was also a reminder of how frequently the discourse about U.S. foreign policy produces blinding fog. Even among the many who never bought that Obama's Muslim father or his childhood years in a Muslim-majority country had predictable impact on his Middle East policy, some assumed that many Arabs and Muslims were bound to evaluate him on these terms."
Telhami: Poll: 56% of Arabs Prepared for Peace
Jerusalem Post: "Fifty six percent of Arabs in the Middle East say they are prepared for peace if Israel is willing to return all 1967 territories including East Jerusalem, according to a recent poll published Thursday.This is compared with only 45% agreeing with statement in 2009. Even though optimism was expressed over a willingness for peace, 54% of those questioned said they don't believe a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians will ever happen. The poll, titled '2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll,' was published by Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and nonresident senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. The poll surveyed 3,976 people in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, during the period of June 29--July 20, 2010 in order to gain an understanding of Middle Eastern Arab's opinions on a number of issues including Israel, Obama and Iran. According to the poll, 44% of Arabs in the Middle East say that Israel is not as powerful as it looks."
Science & Technology
Washington Post: "Struggling for survival, showing themselves off and even contributing to the national defense, bees have produced a fair bit of buzz this summer in two locations in the Washington area. On Connecticut Avenue NW, the National Zoo is trying to maintain its hive in the face of many obstacles that burden present-day beekeeping. In College Park, on the campus of the University of Maryland, researchers are eyeing the flight of the bumblebee to glean tips for designing tiny aerial robots. The flying robots, researchers said, might safely gather information in dangerous environments such as the battlefield. According to a news release from the university's A. James Clark School of Engineering, researchers at Maryland have even built a small-scale wind tunnel to study in detail how bees keep flying amid strong gusts. The idea, said biologist and researcher Jason T. Vance, is to 'identify mechanisms that enable insects' robust flight performance' and find the aspects of bee flight that can be used in 'micro air vehicles.' At the zoo, staff members have tried again this year to set up a honeybee colony. Such efforts in the past have had what the zoo described as 'varied success.' The exhibit is designed to allow visitors to 'get up close,' zoo entomologist Donna Stockton said in a news release. But over the years, problems have arisen. Varroa mites attacked. Worker bees brought back pesticides. Outsider bees made off with the colony's wax and honey. 'Sometimes it's a challenge to start and keep a colony,' Stockton said. Nevertheless, she said, 'we learn something new about these important insects and are grateful to share the experience with our visitors.' "
NPR, All Things Considered: " 'Quantum entanglement' may sound like an awful sci-fi romance flick, but it's actually a phenomenon that physicists say may someday lead to the ability to teleport an object all the way across the galaxy instantly. It's not exactly the Star Trek version of teleportation, where an object disappears then reappears somewhere else. Rather, it 'entangles' two different atoms so that one atom inherits the properties of another. 'According to the quantum theory, everything vibrates,' explains Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and frequent guest on the Science and Discovery channels. 'When two electrons are placed close together, they vibrate in unison. When you separate them, that's when all the fireworks start.' This is where quantum entanglement -- sometimes described as 'teleportation' -- begins. 'An invisible umbilical cord emerges connecting these two electrons. And you can separate them by as much as a galaxy if you want. Then, if you vibrate one of them, somehow on the other end of the galaxy the other electron knows that its partner is being jiggled.' This process happens even faster than the speed of light, physicists say. Quantum entanglement isn't a new idea -- Einstein once famously referred to it as 'spooky action at a distance' -- but it wasn't until the past 30 years that scientists were first able to observe this process. ... The work is being pioneered at places like the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland. In a basement lab, scientist Christopher Monroe has successfully managed to 'entangle' two atoms approximately one meter away from each other. 'It's fun being on the fringe,' Monroe says. 'This discipline, we don't know where it's going. And that drives me every day.' But Monroe's work is a long way from being able to teleport a living being. The problem with such an act, Kaku says, is that 'you have to be destroyed in order to have your body teleported to the other side of the room. So if you've been destroyed and teleported, then who is that person there? They have the same memory, the same jokes, the same everything, except the original was destroyed in the process of being teleported.' So if one was to be teleported, would he or she simply be re-created but not able to tell the difference? Stay tuned to the Joint Quantum Institute website to see if they ask for volunteers."
Science News: "A new gel may provide a cheap means of stanching blood flow on the battlefield or in any other situation where there isn't time for stitches. Estimates suggest that the gel would cost less than $10 per application, a fraction of the cost of other gels in use today, researchers reported August 23 at the American Chemical Society's fall meeting. The new blood-clotting material is a hydrogel, a Jell-O-like mixture of water and a fibrous polymer, in this case acrylamide decorated with positively charged nitrogen-containing groups. Experiments with blood plasma reveal that the gel kicks into gear a blood-clotting protein known as factor VII, a key player in the cascade of events that leads to coagulation, said biomedical engineer Brendan Casey of the University of Maryland, College Park. 'You can just slap it on a wound,' Casey said. In experiments in which Casey and colleagues made incisions in sheep lung and liver tissue, the hydrogel stopped the lung from bleeding in about two minutes, the liver in four to five minutes. The research team suspects that the polymer's positive charge and stiffness induce the clotting."
Discovery News: "Batteries, built by viruses, could someday be sprayed onto military uniforms as wearable power sources. Teams of researchers, one from MIT, one from the University of Maryland [http://www.ece.umd.edu/mems/projects/battery.html], have used two different viruses to create the cathode and anode for a lithium ion battery. If the Maryland research pans out, the parts for lithium ion batteries could be grown in and harvested from tobacco plants. If the MIT research pans out, lithium ion batteries could be woven into clothing to power a wide range of electronic devices, from unmanned aerial vehicles to cell phones. 'Typical soldiers have to carry several pounds of batteries. But if you could turn their clothing into a battery pack, they could drop a lot of weight,' said Mark Allen, a postdoc in Angela Belcher's lab at MIT. 'The same could be true for frequent business travelers, the road warriors.' As anyone with a bad case of the flu knows, viruses are amazingly efficient at breaking into cells, hijacking their machinery, and then using that machinery to make new copies of themselves. For centuries doctors have done everything in their power to stop or slow viruses. Now scientists are turning viruses' extraordinary ability to produce large amounts of identical, microscopic structures to the benefit of humanity. Scientists can already build similar structures, but not as quickly or as efficiently as viruses. 'Normally it takes some top-down process like lithography to produce these structures,' said James Culver, a scientist from the University of Maryland and co-author of a recent paper in the journal ACS Nano, which details the creation of a silicon anode for a li-ion battery. 'We have a solution of the virus, we let it sit overnight, and the virus does everything.' The MIT and Maryland scientists used two viruses that are harmless to humans. The MIT scientists used M13, a virus that infects bacteria. The Maryland scientists used the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), a common pathogen of tobacco plants. The viral hosts might be different, but the shapes of each virus are similar; long, thin and cylindrical."
Times Alive, South Africa: The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation launched Wednesday an online platform to monitor fires around the world [http://geonetwork4.fao.org/firemap/] through satellite information as wildfires have been ravaging Russia for two weeks now. ... "The Global Fire Information Management System, developed in collaboration with the University of Maryland in the northeastern US, aggregates information sent by the satellites of US's space arm NASA, FAO said in a statement. The free website displays fire hotspots on a map within 2.5 hours of their start and allows users to receive email alerts on specific areas affected by fires. It is available in Spanish, English and French. The GFIMS has been launched at a time when the incidence of megafires tends to increase,' said FAO Forestry Officer Pieter van Lierop, who is responsible for the organisation's activities in fire management. Following what meteorologists have called the worst heatwave in the 1,000 years of recorded history, wildfires in Russia have burned hundreds of thousands of hectares of land, killed at least 54 people, ravaged villages, military bases and threatened nuclear sites and cities."
Medical News Today: "The term 'macrophage' conjures images of a hungry white blood cell gobbling invading bacteria. However, macrophages do much more than that: Not only do they act as antimicrobial warriors, they also play critical roles in immune regulation and wound-healing. They can respond to a variety of cellular signals and change their physiology in response to local cues. David Mosser, Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland's College of Chemical and Life Sciences, discussed the three primary duties of macrophages at the 2010 American Physiological Society conference, Inflammation, Immunity, and Cardiovascular Disease. 'There has been a huge outpouring of research about host defense that has overshadowed the many diverse activities that these cells do all the time,' said Dr. Mosser. 'We'd like to dispel the narrow notion that most people have that macrophages' only role is defense, and expand it to include their role in homeostasis.' "
Society & Culture
New York Times: "The American economy could experience painfully slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment for a decade or longer as a result of the 2007 collapse of the housing market and the economic turmoil that followed, according to an authority on the history of financial crises. That finding, contained in a new paper by Carmen M. Reinhart, an economist at the University of Maryland, generated considerable debate during an annual policy symposium here, organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which concluded on Saturday. The gathering, at a historic lodge in Grand Teton National Park, brought together about 110 central bankers and economists, including most of the Federal Reserve's top officials. In 2008, the symposium occurred weeks before the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy nearly shut down the financial markets. At the symposium last year, officials congratulated themselves on weathering the worst of the crisis. But the recent slowing of the recovery cast a pall on this year's gathering. As economists (some wearing jeans and cowboy boots) conferred on a terrace with a sweeping view of the 13,770-foot peak of Mount Teton, or watched a horse trainer tame an unruly colt at a nearby ranch, they anxiously discussed research like Ms. Reinhart's. (Participants pay to attend the event, which is not financed by taxpayers, a Kansas City Fed spokeswoman emphasized.)"
International Business Journal: Obama wants to restore U.S. to world lead in college graduates ... "Since Obama took office in 2009, the government has renovated the student loan system, done away with using and compensating banks as lending middlemen and redirected about $60 billion to increased Pell Grants for college students. The government has also increased funding for the community college system, created a new tax credit for college tuition and simplified the student aid process. 'We've seen a 20 percent jump in financial aid applications, because we're going to make it easier and make the system more accessible,' Obama said. The Dynarski/Deming study supports the importance of lessening the paperwork. 'The results suggest that increases in educational attainment could be achieved at virtually no cost by making existing aid programs simpler and more transparent,' the study said. Obama also challenged universities to manage their affairs more efficiently and bring tuition costs down. Educators say the improvements help but fall short of the need. 'Pell grants are not enough,' said Noah D. Drezner, assistant professor at the University of Maryland. 'They are an important aspect to helping students from working class families to afford to go to college,' Drezner said. 'However, even with the recent increases in individual Pell grants, they do not cover as much as they did in the past. A few decades ago a Pell grant could cover up to 60 percent of a student's tuition and fees. Today it covers half of that.' Drezner noted that, according to Obama's reform, After this academic year, Pell grants will increase annually in relation to the consumer price index-something they had not done in the past. 'However, if tuition and fees across the country continue to rise faster that the CPI, the impact of the Pell grant will continue to fall,' Drezner said."
CCTV, China: "It's one of the biggest mysteries of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill: What happened to all the oil? Despite the leak of millions of barrels of crude -- most of it seems to have disappeared. Reporter Jeff Napshin has some answers from Washington. Despite months of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico -- it's recently become hard to tell if the oil is still there. But many scientists, like University of Maryland Distinguished Professor Rita Colwell -- a former Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation, thinks it is. Prof. Rita Colwell, University of Maryland, said, 'Yes.. there probably are layers of an oil water mixture that may be submerged.' Dr. Colwell supports a recent study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which found up to 3/4s of the oil still in the Gulf. The report shows a huge plume of oil, about the size of Manhattan -- nearly 4,000 feet underwater, flowing southwest from the BP well. But a previous government report from the National Incident Command, the group responsible for directing the response, suggested most of the oil is in fact gone -- either dissolving from dispersants, evaporating, or being eaten by micro-organisms. ... Professor Colwell believes the Gulf could return to normal within a few years."
PBS: The Good News in Foreclosures ... "The biggest positive in the August index is in the wealthy Monied 'Burb locales. The places saw foreclosures increase by some 13 percent between May and July, but that was actually down sharply from the period between April and June when foreclosures spiked by 21 percent. 'These are better scores, mostly on account of less volatile jumps in foreclosures throughout the summer,' says University of Maryland professor James Gimpel, a consultant to the Patchwork Nation project. 'It might mean that the worst is over for the housing part of the recession, at least in some places. The Monied Burbs look much better, for instance. And we'd expect them to recover faster, I think, than lots of other places.' That earlier improvement in the 'Burbs is likely because many people there live on the upper end of the income scale and when things improve they tend to improve for the people at the top first. And, Gimpel says the number of counties seeing improvement in foreclosures nationally in the past few months has been noteworthy. From February to April, some 835 counties saw falling foreclosure rates. From May to July 1, 200 saw their foreclosure rates drop. Without question, that is good news. Improvement in the 'Burbs could help restart the consumer-spending engine. But foreclosures are only one part of a picture that is far from clear. Unemployment also rose slightly in the 'Burbs in this index."
CNBC: Peter Morici, professor of business, writes: "Americans may be dissatisfied with the economy but don't look for Republicans to sweep control of the House and Senate. Voters have good reason to be disenchanted with both parties. Democrats have pushed through President Obama's agenda. More than $800 billion in stimulus spending, health care reform and new financial regulations, yet the economy remains sluggish and Treasury Secretary Geithner tells us unemployment will linger near 10 percent for many months. The Republican chant of less regulation and lower taxes is just not credible after the Wall Street meltdown of 2008 and with a $1.5 trillion budget deficit. Voters want a clear plan to balance the budget and create decent jobs, and to win their confidence, one or the other party must come clean about what that takes. Spending is more the problem than taxes -- Congress has no self discipline. In 2012, after most stimulus money is spent and the economy is three years into the recovery, the Office of Management and Budget estimates the deficit will stand at about $829 billion. Spending will be 23.2 percent of GDP, as compared to 19.6 percent in 2007, the last year before the Great Recession. The difference comes to $535 billion -- more than half the budget gap -- caused by new, permanent extravagance."
"Beginning with the upcoming gubernatorial primary election in September, voters in Maryland will have a new convenient method of voting available to them. The On Demand Ballot System, developed by the Center for American Politics and Citizenship( CAPC ) in partnership with the Maryland State Board of Elections, is a revolutionary system that will allow voters to print their official absentee ballot and mailing label from the internet. The On Demand Ballot Project has the potential to drastically lower the costs that some voters face in casting their ballot, including college students away from home, members of the armed forces, and overseas voters. These voters cannot vote in person, may not know what address they will be at on election day, and until now have had to wait for the postal system to deliver their absentee ballot, which can pose problems for overseas voters. By getting their ballot from the internet, voters no longer have to worry where their ballot should be mailed to or how long it will take to arrive. 'Voting is the most important form of participation available to citizens in a democracy,' said CAPC Director Paul Herrnson. 'I'm glad that we were able to develop the On-Demand Ballot System. It has the potential to increase voter turnout and satisfaction among those citizens that face the biggest hurdles when trying to cast a vote.' "
Wall Street Journal: "The U.S. anthrax attacks were ultimately blamed on a U.S. scientist with access to military bioweapons programs. That's why many experts caution that, despite scientific advances, it is still exceedingly tough for terrorists to isolate or create, mass produce and deploy deadly bugs. Tens of thousands of Soviet scientists spent decades trying to weaponize pathogens, with mixed results. Though science has advanced greatly since the Cold War, many of the same challenges remain. 'I don't think the threat is growing, but quite the opposite,' said Milton Leitenberg, a biological-weapons expert at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. Advances in biological science and the proliferation of knowledge are a given, he said, but there has been no indication they are being used by terrorists. 'The idea that four guys in a cave are going to create bioweapons from scratch -- that will be never, ever, ever,' he said."
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