Maryland Moments, May 2011
UM Drops Opposition to Central Campus Route for Purple Line
Washington Post: "University of Maryland officials have dropped their long-held opposition to running Purple Line light rail trains through the heart of the College Park campus, giving a major boost to the project as Maryland transit officials seek federal funding for its construction. The university has fought the Maryland Transit Administration’s plan to run trains along Campus Drive since at least 2007. University leaders have said trains would ruin the campus’s pedestrian-friendly feel, endanger walkers and cyclists, and create electromagnetic interference for sensitive lab equipment. The university had proposed a tunnel or other setups farther from the campus core. Frank Brewer, the university’s vice president for administrative affairs, said Wednesday that the MTA had addressed those concerns. 'We wanted to make sure the university is not in MTA's way in any way, shape or form to make the Purple Line happen,' Brewer said. 'We’ve always wanted the Purple Line to come across campus. It was just a question of where.' After meetings with university officials over the past year, the state agreed to bury part of a light rail system’s overhead electrical wiring on campus and to install equipment that would reduce electromagnetic interference in particularly sensitive nearby labs."
Gary Williams Has Last Goodbye at Maryland Graduation
Associated Press: "Gary Williams got to say one last emotional goodbye -- and deliver one more fist pump -- thanks to a successful Facebook campaign by students to add the retired basketball coach as a speaker at the University of Maryland's graduation. His name wasn't even in the program, but Williams was by far the big attraction Thursday before thousands of students, guests and families inside a packed Comcast Center. He was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of "Gary" as he stood behind the podium inside the building that he essentially built over 22 years and a school-record 461 wins. But it was the mention of the Terrapins' former home that had him fighting back tears during his short but nostalgic speech. 'We all have some talent, and we have to put it to use. I was fortunate to be able to do it here at Cole Field House,' Williams said. He then paused to gather himself. The crowd cheered. Someone yelled 'We love you, Gary.' Williams went on to reference the three men's basketball seniors who were graduating, ending with: 'I thought I'd go out with you guys. Beat Duke!' 'It was hard. It was hard to put into words,' Williams said afterward. 'I was always considered an emotional coach, so I tried to get into that mode because you're in Comcast Center. A lot of times when you're coaching you're right on the edge of doing something really stupid, so I was able to use that today to get through that. But that was probably one of the tougher speeches I've ever given.' "
Maryland Men's Bid for NCAA Title Ends with 9-7 Loss to Virginia in Final
Baltimore Sun: "In the end, Maryland's gritty postseason roll ended short of the goal. After a regular season punctuated by resiliency and a postseason that included three victories over seeded opponents, the unseeded Terps dropped a 9-7 decision to seventh-seeded Virginia in the NCAA tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium Monday afternoon. An announced crowd of 35,661 watched as Maryland's championship drought continued for another year. The program is 0-6 in title games since capturing its last crown in 1975. The loss capped a roller-coaster year that began with the dismissal of coach Dave Cottle, and included the school's first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship since 2005, a loss to Colgate in the regular-season finale and NCAA tournament wins over No. 1 seed Syracuse, No. 5 seed Duke and No. 8 seed North Carolina. The team also had to deal with the death of senior attackman Ryan Young's mother, Maria, who lost her four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. 'We've had the highest highs and the lowest lows,' Maryland senior defenseman Brett Schmidt said. 'It [stinks] that we came up a little bit short today. We thought we had it; we thought we were going to come do it.'
Instead it was Virginia -- which also overcame its share of adversity to reach the championship game -- that ended its season on top. The Cavaliers (13-5) captured the school's fifth national championship -- the fourth under coach Dom Starsia. Virginia, which has won crowns in 1972, 1999, 2003 and 2006, became the lowest seeded team to claim the title."
Northwestern Edges Maryland, 8-7, to Win NCAA Women's Lacrosse Title
Baltimore Sun: "It's about the most basic principle in sports: If you don't have the ball, you can't score, and Northwestern played that to near perfection against defending champion Maryland in the second half of Sunday's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse final. The Wildcats had possession for about 90 percent of the half, working a steady, patient offense to create the only three goals they would need for an 8-7 victory and their sixth national championship in seven years before an announced 8,011 at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium. The nation's leading scorer, Shannon Smith, got the jump on two defenders behind the crease and rolled around to slip the game-winner past Maryland junior goalkeeper Brittany Dipper for an 8-6 edge with 4:36 left in the game. In a low-scoring contest in which the No. 1 Terrapins (21-2) struggled to get -- and to maintain -- possession, that would be enough for the second-seeded Wildcats (21-2) to avenge last year's 13-11 title-game loss. ... The Wildcats' defense held Maryland's top three scorers -- Sarah Mollison, Laura Merrifield and Katie Schwarzmann (Century) -- to just one goal among them, and that came with 1:17 left in the game. Senior playmaker Mollison, face-guarded much of the game by freshman Kerri Harrington, was held without a point for the first time in 68 games."
O'Shea: Matters When it Comes to Research Impact: New UMd VP of Research
UM release: "The University of Maryland's new vice president for research, Patrick O'Shea proposes an aggressive plan to build the school's regional, national and global research profile, with an emphasis on multidisciplinary, large-scale collaborations with industry and government, as well as closer ties with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and other University System institutions. Also, O'Shea promises greater rewards for faculty innovation, and new initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship, tech transfer and commercialization. Currently chair of the University's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, O'Shea will assume the new post July 1. 'This is a critical position for Maryland, with responsibility for more than a half-billion dollars in research funding,' says University President Wallace D. Loh, announcing the appointment. 'Pat brings that rare blend of academic expertise, vision, administrative excellence and entrepreneurial spirit to this pursuit. He is well-equipped to increase the University's research and educational impact internationally and within this region.' An alumnus of University College Cork, Ireland, and the University of Maryland, O'Shea has been active in interdisciplinary research and management for decades, both in government and academia. He has served as a project leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and director of the University of Maryland Institute for Research and Electronics and Applied Physics. For the past six years, O'Shea has led the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the largest department in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. He directs a new strategic relationship with Lockheed Martin, and the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, or MC-Squared, a cross-campus initiative launched last fall. Previously, he played a leading role in launching the Maryland NanoCenter and the Center for Applied Electromagnetics."
UMd Names First Woman Dean of Arts-Humanities
Women’s Studies Chair Serving Two-Years; Embraces 'Inclusive Excellence'
Newswise: "The University of Maryland is appointing Bonnie Thornton Dill dean of one of its largest colleges, Arts and Humanities. Dill, long-time chair of women’s studies, is expected to serve until June 30, 2013. She is the first woman to hold the post, and succeeds James Harris, who is stepping down after 14 years as dean. Dill’s term begins August 1. Internationally known for her cross-cutting scholarship on race and gender, Black and Latina women in higher education, as well as issues such as work, family and poverty, Dill has led women's studies at Maryland to national prominence -- it is one of a select few universities in the United States to offer a doctoral degree in the field; it serves as the base for the National Women's Studies Association and editorial home of the pioneering journal, Feminist Studies. Courses on women and gender are now regularly offered by 26 departments and programs throughout the university. Dill has spent two decades in the department, first as professor and later as chair. She is also the founding director of the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at Maryland, which promotes 'intersectional' research. Her scholarship includes three books, most recently, Emerging Intersections: Race, Class, and Gender in Theory, Policy and Practice (2009), and numerous articles. 'Bonnie’s scholarly life has been defined by intersections and cross-disciplinary work -- excellent preparation for the challenges of leading such a diverse college as Arts and Humanities,' says Senior Vice President and Provost Ann G. Wylie, on announcing the appointment. 'Under her leadership, our women’s studies program has grown in both size and stature. She is a pioneer in her field, and a number of colleagues in the college recommended her highly. President Loh and I are confident that she will bring further distinction to the invaluable work of the College of Arts and Humanities.' "
UMd's $75M, LEED Gold-Designed Oakland Hall Dorm Complete
City Biz List: "Clark Design/Build, LLC, has reached substantial completion on the Oakland Hall Dormitory and Satellite Central Utility Building at the University of Maryland. The $75 million residence hall is part of the Denton Community on the campus' north side and will open to student residents this fall. Oakland Hall is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Named for the city of Oakland, Md., the eight-story, 232,000 square-foot cast-in-place concrete structure is the first newly constructed residence hall on the university's College Park campus since New Leonardtown opened in 1982. The building provides 650 additional beds for undergraduates and consists primarily of two-bedroom 'semi-suites' to be shared by four students. The dormitory also has 23 double rooms and seven single rooms. Oakland Hall's amenities include air conditioning, a laundry room, two study rooms, and a lounge on each floor as well as a multipurpose room with an outdoor patio, prefunction and seminar spaces, an open lobby with a 24-hour service desk, interior bicycle storage, and landscaped outdoor leisure spaces. To unify the building with the surrounding dorms, Oakland Hall's exterior incorporates elements of the campus' aesthetic: brick and punched aluminum windows with cast stone accents and prominent vertical window walls."
Governor Martin O'Malley Launches New Space Business Development Initiative
MD Dept. of Business & Economic Development: "Governor Martin O’Malley today unveiled a bold new initiative to increase the business development and commercialization opportunities of the state’s space industry at the Maryland Space Business Roundtable in Greenbelt. Speaking before over 500 members of the Roundtable, the Governor reinforced the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s commitment to this vibrant sector and outlined new policy initiatives and investments in Maryland: The Business of Space Science. 'Working side-by-side with our congressional delegation and our 'Space Senator,' Barbara Mikulski, we will pursue program policies to leverage our federal facilities and institutions of science and discovery to unlock the enormous economic and employment potential of Maryland’s space sector,' Governor O'Malley said. 'The breakthroughs and innovations occurring in Maryland at NASA, NOAA, Johns Hopkins, APL and other institutions represent new frontiers for commercialization and business development in areas like carbon monitoring, manufacturing and life sciences.' Joining Governor O’Malley were the state’s top public, private and academic leaders including NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Rob Strain and Associate Administrator Ed Weiler, MSBR President and Raytheon Scientist Dr. Philip Ardanuy, NOAA’s Office of Systems Development Director Gary Davis, Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels, Space Telescope Institute Director Dr. Matt Mountain, Applied Physics Lab Chief Technology Officer John Sommerer, and University of Maryland System Chancellor Dr. Brit Kirwan. During his remarks, the Governor pledged to create a Space Development office within the Department of Business & Economic Development, establish a space-related business incubator, advocate for a proposed National Center of Climate & Environmental Information and expand manufacturing of satellite instruments and their components."
Stem Cell Panel Awards $10.4 Million for Research
Baltimore Sun: "The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission announced Wednesday that it will fund 36 new projects worth $10.4 million. The competitive grants, funded by the legislature, will focus this year on regenerative medicine by including research that addresses conditions such as osteoporosis, traumatic brain injuries, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, ALS, autism, DNA damage and intestinal tissue generation. Ten awardees have proposed collaborations with private biotech companies. Two of the projects are collaborations with the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine studying red blood cell production and traumatic axonal injuries, which are common and potentially deadly brain injuries. The largest number of awards, 27, was given to researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Kennedy Krieger researchers won 3 awards, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, won 5, and the University of Maryland, College Park, won 1. Last year, the panel funded 42 projects totaling $11.7 million. The program was created in 2006 to fund cutting edge research in the state involving human stem cells."
Once a Campus Outcast, ROTC Is Booming at Universities
Helped by the recession, more active recruiting and a sea change in student perceptions of the military, ROTC programs on college campuses are thriving. And some elite schools like Stanford and Harvard are welcoming ROTC back for the first time in decades.
Los Angeles Times: "At schools with the ROTC, students and administrators say the program has become just another strand in the fabric of campus life. 'It's just another thing that's here, that's available,' said Michelle McGrain, a student government leader at the University of Maryland. The student response 'is kind of neutral,' she said. 'It's not a huge issue.' "
At UM, New Faces in High Places Face Tough Financial Challenges
Raising money is critical for recently hired president, athletic director, head coaches
Business Gazette: "The University of Maryland, College Park's new men's basketball head coach Mark Turgeon was hired this week to draw up X's and O's on the sidelines, but the symbol that matters most to the school and the state are the dollar signs he draws in off the court. When Turgeon took the podium Wednesday at his introductory news conference, he seemed to embrace that fact. If you have tickets, keep 'em,' he said. 'If you don't, buy 'em because we're going to do some great things here.' Turgeon is the newest of several fresh faces at the College Park campus who will be expected to maintain and even expand revenues within the athletics department and beyond. In August, Wallace D. Loh was tapped as the new university president, succeeding C. Daniel Mote Jr., who held the post for nearly 12 years. One month later, Kevin Anderson was named the university's new athletic director, replacing Deborah Yow, who had the job for 16 years. Within several months, Anderson fired head football coach Ralph Friedgen and replaced him with former University of Connecticut head man Randy Edsall. The hiring of Turgeon to succeed legendary Coach Gary Williams, who surprisingly announced his retirement last week, completed the transition at the top. The pressure now rests on them to retain support from current contributors and to expand the athletics program's donor base. 'It's a great opportunity to take the university and the athletic program to the next level,' Loh said Wednesday, expressing confidence that a growing economy and renewed enthusiasm will bolster the program's financial posture. 'We're building upon the successes of the past.' Anderson's background lends itself to raising money. In the mid-1990s, he was the director of annual giving at Stanford University and held two roles in development in the University of California, Berkeley's athletic department. During five years as Army's athletic director, he turned a more-than-$1 million operating deficit into a $2.73 million surplus and saw fundraising increase during his tenure."
College Coaches, University Doctors Earn Highest State Salaries
More than 1,300 university employees out-earn the governor
Baltimore Sun: "If Gov. Martin O'Malley wants to make some real money when his second term ends, he might want to apply for work at the University of Maryland System. The great majority of the 1,346 workers who match or beat the governor's $150,000 annual salary, including the 15 highest earners, work for the university system, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis of state employee salaries for 2010. Most of the exceptions are doctors for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a few judges and a scattering of others who out-earn the governor. Retiring Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams was the highest-paid state employee in 2010 with $2.3 million in total compensation. That included a base salary of $450,869 and additional earnings from television and radio appearances, camps and academic and performance incentives. Former Terps football coach Ralph Friedgen earned $1.1 million, including a base salary of $280,842. The university has not disclosed what their replacements are earning. The next-highest earners were physicians in leadership at the university. Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the medical school and vice president for medical affairs made $799,547 in salary. Dr. Bartley Griffith, a top heart surgeon, earned $790,621. Dr. Stephen Bartlett, chief surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical System took home $739,060. 'You're talking about superstars here,' University of Maryland Regent Francis X. Kelly said. 'I think to the average citizen these salaries would look high in some cases, but in other states, they're not so high.' To get the $800 million in research grants the Maryland system attracts, the flagship system must have the best people, he said. A spokesman for O'Malley said the governor — an attorney who runs a $34 billion operation with nearly 88,000 employees -- has no beef with making far less than medical and academic stars."
University of Maryland Hosts Odyssey of the Mind World Finals
UMd release: "For the eighth time, the University of Maryland will host the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, May 27-30, 2011 -- just one of many programs offered at Maryland this summer. Nearly 18,000 people, including 858 teams from 33 states and 14 countries, will descend on Maryland's 1,200-acre campus for the World Finals, the largest international creative problem-solving competition. Teams, which consist of seven members ranging from elementary through college-age students, all earned a spot to represent their hometowns in the competition. These students, who represent the world's best problem solvers, tackle mind-bending challenges through the arts, performance, science, storytelling and engineering -- to name a few. During the competition, participants, their families and coaches will occupy more than 7,000 beds in 32 university residence halls and enjoy more than 600 events conducted in an Olympic Village atmosphere utilizing more than 100 campus venues. Approximately 200 University of Maryland students will be employed to assist with this event. Odyssey of the Mind generates more than $3 million in auxiliary revenue for the university. Income generated from dining services and housing during Maryland's 130 summer programs, such as Odyssey of the Mind, helps reduce student fees. World Finals activities are free and open to the public (opening and closing ceremonies are ticketed). Scheduled events include the opening ceremony, creativity and international festivals, float and banner parade, coaches competition, awards ceremony and NASA activities. The opening ceremony will be held on Friday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. and competitions and events will be held Saturday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The World Finals will culminate with an awards ceremony on Monday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. For a detailed schedule of events, visit Odyssey of the Mind or Maryland's Conferences & Visitor Services."
Purple Line Costs Rise as Construction Delayed
Start date now targeted for 2020
Washington Examiner: "The Purple Line is going to take longer to build, carry fewer riders and cost more than initially expected, according to new projections from Maryland officials. The proposed 16-mile light rail line extending from Bethesda to New Carrollton won't begin construction until 2015, with an expected opening date of 2020 -- some four years later than the most optimistic timeline. It also now has a $1.925 billion price tag, up from $1.5 billion estimates made two years ago. The new figures represent one more delay for the transit line, which has been decades in the making. The state updated its projections as it readies a request for federal construction money. But additional details could still surface. 'The proposal is not yet even in the design phase, so it's a work in progress,' said Maryland Transit Administration spokesman Terry Owens. The project is delayed because the application for federal funding has been more time-consuming than expected, said Henry Kay, MTA's executive director of transit development and delivery. He said the state hasn't applied for such federal New Starts funding in a long time. 'It got a lot more complicated while we were out of the room,' Kay said. That, in turn, has caused the costs to rise, he said. Some of the increase also comes as officials are changing the way they measure the cost, he said, moving from 2009 dollars to a cost based on 3 percent assumed inflation as of about 2017. Still, $13 million of the increased cost comes from outright changes to the line as officials refine the plan for where it crosses existing roads or goes above them, he said."
UM Students' Human-Powered Helicopter Becomes Airborne
Engineering students in contention for world record with Gamera project
Baltimore Sun: "Engineering students at the University of Maryland are claiming a world record after successfully lofting their human-powered Gamera helicopter a few inches above a gymnasium floor Thursday afternoon at the Comcast Center in College Park. The flight came during the team's final attempt, after two days of tests and near-misses. But just before 5:30 p.m., with pilot Judy Wexler, 24, pedaling furiously with her hands and feet, the gangly craft's rotors bent and pulled Gamera perhaps a foot into the air. In seconds it was over. 'Not even a question. We don't have to review the videotape. … Absolutely amazing,' said team leader Brandon Bush, 29. It wasn't immediately clear how long Gamera was airborne, or how high it got. Kristan R. Maynard, the judge assigned by the National Aeronautic Association to certify the record attempt, said, 'As is always the case in these types of efforts, any attempt is a pending result' until the video and other data can be reviewed by the NAA and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland. 'It sure looked good to me,' Maynard said, but at this point it's unofficial.' The flight was greeted by whoops, cheers and applause in the gym. Team members crowded the cockpit to congratulate each other and Wexler, who becomes the first female pilot to fly a human-powered helicopter. Gamera had appeared to lift off the floor during one attempt earlier in the day. But one of the judge's official cameras -- trained on landing posts under the cockpit of each of four rotors -- was out of focus. 'We believe we had a successful flight,' said Darryll Pines, dean of the university's A. James Clark School of Engineering. 'But the faulty camera won't allow us to prove it.' So the team of 52 graduate and undergraduate students kept trying. Gamera, named for a giant flying turtle in Japanese monster movies, has a central cockpit surrounded by four 43-foot rotors. While Wexler pedals at 120 rpm, the giant blades spin at 18 rpm, just inches off the floor of the center's auxiliary gym."
It's Official: National Aeronautic Association Awards Two U.S. National Records for Clark School's Human-Powered Helicopter Flight
Federation Aeronautique Internationale to Begin Evaluation of Flight for World Records
UM release: "The National Aeronautic Association has certified that on May 12, 2011, the human-powered helicopter Gamera, designed and built by graduate and undergraduate students of the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering and piloted by biology student Judy Wexler, achieved lift-off and hovered for 4.2 seconds, thereby establishing the U.S. national records for the duration of a human-powered helicopter flight and the duration of a human-powered helicopter flight by a female pilot. The NAA has submitted information to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale to permit evaluation of the flight for world records in the same categories. The NAA states that this process may take two to three months. 'Capturing two U.S. national records is a magnificent accomplishment for our student team, and a significant first step toward winning the Sikorsky Prize,' stated Clark School Dean Darryll Pines. 'In fact, the team has now developed a plan for a prize attempt in the fall of 2011. First, based on the May 12 flight, we believe that Gamera may already be sufficiently stable so as to achieve the prize requirement of remaining within a 10 square meter area during flight. Second, in the next several weeks we will make improvements to Gamera's transmission and weight, and attempt a second flight to achieve the required 60-second hover. Finally, in the fall, we will put it all together—a flight that lasts at least 60 seconds, achieves a 3-meter height at some point, and remains within the required area.' One of the Gamera team leaders, graduate student Brandon Bush, noted that the team wished to acknowledge the debt they owe to two previous teams, one from the California Polytechnic Institute and one from Nihon University in Tokyo. The Cal Poly team, according to the NAA, set a 'special category' record in a different flight classification."
Students Build Space Habitats at NASA's Johnson Space Center
NASA: "University students are helping NASA develop potential habitats for future space missions. Three teams from across the country will visit NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston during June to show off the inflatable space lofts they've designed and built for the inaugural eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge. One of the habitats will be chosen to participate in NASA's annual Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert-RATS) field test in September, where it will be tested as part of a simulated astronaut mission to an asteroid. The winning team will receive $10,000 to offset costs associated with its participation.
The three university teams will each spend one week in Houston setting up their habitat for judging. News media representatives are invited to see the student innovations from 2 to 4 p.m. CDT during the next three Thursdays. The schedule is:
-- June 9: Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
-- June 16: University of Maryland, College Park
-- June 23: University of Wisconsin, Madison
To RSVP for any of these opportunities, reporters must contact Lynnette Madison at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on each preceding Wednesday. In June 2010, NASA invited university teams to submit inflatable loft concepts for the X-Hab Challenge. Three competing universities were chosen, and those teams received $48,000 of seed funding to assist with their projects. The competition is designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, which in turn will help develop the next generation of innovators and explorers. It could also result in new concepts and solutions that NASA could apply to later exploration habitats."
HuffPost Greatest Person of the Day: Ola Ojewumi Increases Transplant Awareness with Sacred Heart
Huffington Post: "Odunola 'Ola' Ojewumi, quite possibly the most optimistic college junior in America, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart defect, at a young age. 'Do you want me to spell it for you?' Ola asked, politely, in an interview with HuffPost on Monday. 'They taught me how to do that in the hospital.' Ola remembers being flown by helicopter at age 12 from her home in Prince George’s County, Md., to a hospital in Washington, D.C. As they flew, she and her parents prayed that she'd make it through the ride. 'I was fading in and out of consciousness,' she said. 'When I woke up in the hospital I had a million tubes down my throat. I didn’t know where I was; I just saw this nurse shining a flashlight in my eyes. It was like that show, "ER," or something.' The helicopter ride came after months of difficult treatments for Ola's heart condition, which had begun to affect the rest of her body, as well. … Ola's showing no signs of slowing down. She's also digging deep into her politics studies at the University of Maryland., trying to make a few changes. 'I’m trying to make public transportation free for all low-income students,' she said. 'If they were able to afford transportation then they could take part in mentoring programs and keep themselves off the streets.' And thanks to a recent grant from MTVU, Ola is working toward establishing a scholarship program for Sacred Heart, providing money to recent transplant recipients and their families. 'When I was in the hospital I received a grant from a family with a child who’d had a transplant,' Ola said. 'That money helped my family so much. They were basically working just to pay for my insurance at the time. And I’d love to be able to assist families with children with medical needs; low-income students coming from my neighborhood.'"
US Goes on Offense Against Digital Piracy
NBC Nightly News: "Amid growing calls for more government regulation of the Internet, the United States is conducting what it calls 'a sustained law enforcement initiative aimed at counterfeiting and piracy' -- an effort that already has resulted in arrests and the seizure of 125 websites. Ask anybody who uses a computer if they've ever downloaded or streamed media content for free on the Internet, and the answer most likely will be yes. The U.S. government and the American media industry say as much as a quarter of this kind of media traffic violates U.S. copyright law, and both are getting serious in their attempts to turn off the spigot. But detractors of the crackdown say that the government shouldn’t side with industry and attempt to restrict what flows across the Internet. The most recent skirmish in the escalating conflict occurred this week, when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced that its Homeland Security Investigations unit had seized the domain names of five websites that it said were being used to sell counterfeit goods or illegally distribute copyrighted materials, including media content. ... As the government and industry crack down on supply, what will happen to demand -- the computer users who aren't distributing unauthorized media content but are consuming it, who initiate all those unauthorized downloads and streams? NBC News recently discussed these issues with six college students at the University of Maryland. 'I think it's common, especially among college students,' said one, 'because it seems anonymous and it seems like something you can get away with.' All six students we talked to at the University of Maryland/College Park agreed that hosting or providing access to copyrighted content without the permission of the copyright holder was illegal. They made a distinction between illegal and wrong, however, with only one saying it was wrong. 'If it violates the law,' the student said, 'then, yeah, I think it should be enforced.' But while five of the six thought that consuming copyrighted media content without the permission of the copyright holder was illegal, none thought that was wrong. 'I just don't think that it's wrong enough for me to stop doing something that's so easy and so available to me,' said another, expressing the view of the majority. 'I just don't feel it's wrong.' "
Dylan Rebois Named 2011 University of Maryland Medalist
Newswise: "The University of Maryland has announced Dylan Rebois will be awarded the 2011 University Medal at the spring Commencement ceremony on May 19, 2011. The medal, awarded each year at May commencement, honors the graduating senior who best exemplifies academic distinction, outstanding character and extracurricular contributions to the university or public communities. Rebois, an honors student with a 4.0 GPA, has made extraordinary accomplishments in all aspects of his undergraduate experience at Maryland, including academics, leadership and civic engagement. 'The leadership that Dylan Rebois has exhibited over four years embodies the University's highest ideals,' said University President Wallace Loh. 'Dylan has used his remarkable talents in the service of several worthy causes, advancing the University's mission of tackling society's most challenging problems. Dylan's extraordinary academic and extracurricular achievements have earned him this very distinguished award.' A mechanical engineering major in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, Rebois has been an active member of Engineers Without Borders since his freshman year. As a project leader with the organization's chapter at Maryland, Rebois developed and led a team of 30 students in designing and constructing a sustainable youth center in Addis Alem, Ethiopia in January 2010. Two years ago, he worked with a team that designed and built a solar-powered drive system for water pumps in Dissin, Burkina Faso."
Business Rx: Cleaning Up a Business Model
Washington Post: "With hundreds of students sharing a few washers and dryers in high-rise dormitories, the hassle of searching for quarters, lugging laundry to the basement and praying to find an open machine is something many would rather not have to deal with. University of Maryland student Ryan Smith saw a business opportunity in those undergraduates who don’t have the luxury of living close to home — and Mom’s laundry help. He developed his idea as a class project and has been operating Drayton Laundry Services for the past two years, expanding beyond campus."
Len: At Last, a Breakthrough for DREAMers
The Hill: Andy Len, president of the Asian American Student Union, writes: "Following the events of last week, DREAM Act supporters have much to cheer. They can let out a sigh of relief and know that the fight for the DREAM Act is moving in the right direction. On Tuesday morning, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed the DREAM Act into state law, granting undocumented students equal opportunity to achieve higher education. This marked a historic event that will hopefully lead to more support for the cause. State DREAM Acts have been gaining momentum as state legislative chambers in Illinois, Connecticut and California have approved their respective bills. Hours later, President Obama, during his speech on comprehensive immigration reform, announced his full support for passing the federal DREAM Act in Congress. He noted that undocumented immigrants are people who present an opportunity for future job creation in America. Some of our most successful companies, such as Intel, Google, Yahoo and eBay, were founded by immigrants. Obama firmly stated, “What matters is that you believe in the ideals on which we were founded; that you believe all of us are equal and deserve the freedom to pursue happiness.” Unfortunately, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) disagrees. Instead of promoting an educated workforce, he would rather lose out on the fierce entrepreneurial spirit that these talented immigrant youth possess. In his editorial, Smith claims that the DREAM Act is “causing, not solving, a problem,” but provides scant analytical research or statistical data to support his claim. He also fails to suggest any form of solution to this so-called “problem” and simply reiterates his previous claims. It seems he has many negative things to say about the DREAM Act, but no answers. Smith exaggerates his claim that the President was unable to pass the DREAM Act because of 'bipartisan opposition.' The truth is, 39 Republican senators, including Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), to name a few who previously supported the bill, decided to vote against the bill or abstained from voting. This is what you call voting along party lines."
McGarry: It's Time for U.S. to Pass an energy Bill
America needs a new vision for powering the future, so let's pass an energy bill
Baltimore Sun: James S. McGarry, a candidate for a master's degree in environmental policy, writes: "For all our flaws, the U.S. is still an innovative nation that is at its best when trying to do big things. Leading our nation on a long-term path toward energy sustainability is something that we can and should do. The private market has already shown that it wants to spend large amounts of money on this. What we need is a signal from the top showing that America is ready to see the green energy revolution through to the end. If chimps can write Shakespeare, surely Congress can write energy policy."
Yemi Hopes to Break Into GB Team
Guardian UK: "Yemi Oyefuwa is hoping to break into the Great Britain basketball team in time to make an impact at the London 2012 Olympics, writes Ziad Chaudry. But the 21-year-old Brixton-born centre, who currently plays for University of Maryland in the United States, is aware Britain need to make major improvements to make an impact at the games. Only last week, she sat on the bench as GB were brushed aside 82-51 by classy WNBA outfit Atlanta Dream at the MEN Arena in Manchester. 'These are the type of teams we need to play on a regular basis,' she said. 'It is the perfect preparation for playing the likes of Czech Republic and Belarus or the European Championships. We are aware that we need to improve between now and the Olympics. I am back here after a year of not really playing because of injury but GB has invested in me and I would love to compete in the Olympics. You never know what could happen because basketball is an up and down sport.' Oyefuwa, who only started playing four years ago, has faith in coach Tom Mayer to find the right blend. 'Everyone knows what he expects and no one has issues with his rotation system because he does it really well and knows it is working well. Even when we were losing badly we grew as a team. We have been working together for the past few weeks and have shown signs of what we have been working on.' "
CIA Trying To Hire More Diverse Agents
Agency Says Language Skills Are At The Forefront
CNN: "The CIA's job market for secret operatives has never been more open. If you speak a language or two, are culturally aware and even better, if you are a first- or second-generation American, you've greatly enhanced your chances of landing a job at the nation's spy agency. Diversity is the name of the game at the agency. As CIA Director Leon Panetta recently put it, 'We have to be an intelligence agency that looks like the world we have to engage in.' The agency is seeking Americans from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The diverse work force goes beyond race, ethnicity and heritage. The CIA chief recruiter, Patty Brandmaier, said, 'It's also background. It's also education. It's also life experiences or different professional experiences, different ways of thinking to bring to bear on our mission.' Language skills are at the forefront. CIA Director Panetta put it bluntly, 'I don't think you can be a good intelligence officer unless you have a language capability.' ... Students are a top recruiting priority for the agency, but if University of Maryland junior Maryam Elbalghiti is any indication, it has long way to go to convince them the CIA is a desirable occupation.
Elbalghiti, who is studying advanced Arabic in hopes of joining the State Department, said, 'I would have moral qualms with working with the CIA, for example because I would not want to be directly or indirectly involved with anything that would be of violent origin or have violent effects.' Competition also is a battle for the CIA. The key demographic groups -- Americans of Mideast and South Asian backgrounds -- are heavily recruited by the State Department, FBI, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency among others. CIA recruitment efforts must also contend with what Brandmaier calls the myths, everything from the glamorous lifestyle portrayed in the James Bond movies, to spying on your family and friends. There is a myth-busters advertising campaign just to dispel those misperceptions about the agency."
Job Outlook Looking Up for College Graduates
WTTG-TV: "Nearly 7,500 University of Maryland students celebrated graduation day Thursday. They flipped their tassels, shared hugs, and then walked out of the Comcast center and into their futures. Among the graduates is Elvin Peprah. 'It actually feels very relieving, a little scary at the same time, too...' he admitted. Elvin nailed down his job with W.L. Gore in Elkton, MD months ago, evidence of the improving job market for the Class of 2011. Steve Saah, Director of Permanent Placement for recruiter Robert Half International has seen it ticking up. 'It's getting better...especially in finance, accounting, and IT, we've seen an increase in demand for new grads.' In its spring update, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found a 19% increase in plans to hire college grads -- the best outlook since 2007. 'I'm going to work for the USDA doing research, I'm going to be studying pathogenic bacteria and the environment,' said Ryan Blaustein, 'Not everyone I know has a job yet, but I'm confident my friends will be successful.' NACE's survey shows jobs in utilities, electronics, accounting & finance are way up. Improving prospects -- still doesn't mean it's easy. Government hiring, as you might expect, is down 25%. 'Everyone I've talked to is having such a hard time trying to find a job, but we're optimistic,' said new grad Sarah Au as she shared congratulations with her classmates. Saah tells students on the hunt to get practical work experience: internships, part time or temp work. He also pushes them to do more than just network."
Greek Recruits Looks to Expand Its reach
Washington Post: "When coming to college, most freshmen worry about the workload, their new roommates, moving away from their families and whether they’ll be able to sneak into the downtown bars. Daniel Noskin, a freshman lacrosse player at the University of Maryland, was concerned about a different aspect of his new environment: Where did he and other freshmen fit in socially? He began thinking about joining a fraternity and realized that there was a lack of information readily available to freshmen interested in pledging fraternities and sororities on campus. So, he started Greek Recruits."
Ross: The U.S. Mint's Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee: They Don’t Just Flip a Coin
Washington Post: "America: The contents of your pockets -- all that jangles, jingles and gets mixed in with lint and Tic-Tacs -- are decided right here. 'I have a problem with the proportion,' says Heidi Wastweet, examining a slide projection that depicts a soldier on the march. The arms are too short, she says. 'It doesn’t look like a real, human gesture.' 'As a historian, I like [design] five because of the World War II' component, says Michael Ross. He thinks design five emphasizes a continuum of service. We are in a standard, gray conference room at the U.S. Mint’s downtown offices. We are here with the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the people whose job it is to debate how your money looks. ... The CCAC -- which reports to the secretary of the Treasury, who makes the final coin decisions based on the committee’s recommendations -- was founded in 2003, replacing another committee that was similar in function but smaller in scope. That’s when the Lewis and Clark nickels were conceptualized; Congress decided a committee should discuss the nickels and all future coins. Since then there have been the presidential silver dollars and the accompanying first spouse coins. There are the America the Beautiful quarters -- five national parks every year, the newest depicting Oklahoma’s Chickasaw National Recreation Area. ... At the CCAC meeting, a mildly tense debate has erupted. It is about American Indians. The Native American $1 Coin program was founded in 2009 to honor the contributions made by American Indians to United States history. The first featured a woman farming in a field, the second depicted the Hiawatha Belt, and the current design recognizes a treaty that the Wampanoag tribe made with Puritan settlers in 1621. For the 2012 design, representatives from the Mint are presenting a proposal to commemorate another pact, the Delaware Treaty of 1778. 'I can’t be silent while the government rewrites history,' says outraged committee member Donald Scarinci. 'I thought this series was supposed to be about the American Indian ... but we are once again focusing on us' -- the people who violated the treaties they proposed. 'As a historian of the 19th century, treaties and I don’t get along,' adds Ross, the CCAC’s designated historian, who teaches at the University of Maryland. The chair of the committee, Gary Marks -- whose wife is part Native American -- thinks Scarinci and Ross are getting ahead of themselves. This coin depicts a singular event of historic import. It is not meant to be a commentary on an entire history. An employee of the U.S. Mint points out that the written narrative accompanying the coin will provide the treaty’s context."
Mission - Integrating Physical and Natural Sciences
eScienceNews: "Distinguished physicist Jayanth R. Banavar, whose research frequently involves interdisciplinary collaboration in the life sciences, has been named dean of the University of Maryland's newly integrated College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. For the past 12 years, Banavar has led the physics department at Penn State University."
Read the whole article on Newswise - Science News (UMd release):
"Distinguished physicist Jayanth R. Banavar, whose research frequently involves interdisciplinary collaboration in the life sciences, has been named dean of the University of Maryland's newly integrated College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). For the past 12 years, Banavar has led the physics department at Penn State University. He will assume the Maryland post in August. 'With an integrated scientific college, Maryland is well-positioned to prepare the next generation of scientists for the types of challenges they are likely to encounter,' Banavar says. ... A condensed-matter theorist, Banavar has authored or co-authored more than 250 journal articles on topics as diverse as metabolic scaling in living organisms, river networks, patterns underlying gene expression profiles, continuum deductions from molecular hydrodynamics, biodiversity and ecology, the geometry and physics of proteins, the physics of porous media, and the nature of ordering of spin glasses. 'Jayanth Banavar's blend of wide-ranging scientific curiosity, collaborative spirit, distinguished achievement and academic leadership is a perfect match for the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences,' says University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. 'So many of our new initiatives are cross-campus, interdisciplinary projects, precisely because major scientific questions and critical world issues demand this approach. Dr. Banavar's leadership will help us excel in these efforts, and we are most fortunate to welcome him.' "
UM Police Officers Honored for Heroic Acts
Gazette Newspapers: "As the ambulance carrying 10-month-old Layla Domergue sped off to an area hospital, Joseph Lilly said his mouth felt like it was full of cotton balls. The adrenaline rush from performing CPR to keep Layla alive was finally beginning to subside -- and he was able to comprehend his life-saving actions. 'I was in complete disbelief. It's a crazy thing,' said Lilly, 28, a University of Maryland, College Park, police officer. 'Any time you're dealing with kids, it's a lot tougher.' Lilly was one of four UM police officers honored April 30 at UM's Maryland Day spring game at Byrd Stadium for his work in helping to save Layla's life. UM Police Officers Marc Bona, Shawn Brown and Keith Galster were also recognized. 'We helped prolong her life until she got in the hands of qualified doctors. It's our job,' Lilly said. Layla's mother, Marleah Domergue, 32, of Odenton said she and her husband Chris, 33, and son Dominic, 3, entered the stadium Oct. 30 and headed to their seats for UM's homecoming football game when Marleah noticed Layla's lips and tongue were blue, her head was down and her body was limp. At the time, Lilly, Bona, Brown and Galster had left the stadium's parking lot on alcohol patrol and were headed to the stadium's concession stand when they heard screaming, Lilly said.
Layla had surgery Oct. 31 to decompress swelling at the base of her skull and the top of her spine, Domergue said. Layla is now 16 months old and has made a full recovery. 'You always train for infant CPR. Every time you do infant CPR [in a training class] you think, "There's no way I'm going to be doing this on a kid," ' said Lilly, who is also a volunteer firefighter with Burtonsville Fire Station 15 in Burtonsville. 'The training kicks in. I reverted back to what had been drilled in me.' "
Maryland Coach Gary Williams Retires
Terps coach says 'it's the right time' to walk away
Baltimore Sun: "Gary Williams -- the animated coach who helped resurrect Maryland men's basketball and led the team to its first national championship in 2002 -- stunned players and the university community by abruptly retiring Thursday after 22 seasons at his alma mater. The timing of his decision surprised even his close friends. They had known that, at 66 and recently remarried, Williams had accomplished his main goals in the profession and was nearly ready to move to something less taxing. They knew he had grown frustrated at competing with coaches who straddled or violated NCAA guidelines in wooing high-maintenance recruits. But they didn't know the moment had arrived for him to walk away. Williams said in a statement that it felt like 'the right time' to step down. ... Williams is the latest and perhaps the best-known figure to leave Maryland in the past year. Wallace Loh was announced as university president in August, replacing C.D. 'Dan' Mote Jr., who retired. Loh hired Anderson from Army to replace Debbie Yow, now at North Carolina State. Anderson's first high-profile move was to dismiss football coach Ralph Friedgen after last season. Friedgen's ouster led some fans to wonder whether Williams -- whose team did not make the postseason for the first time since 1992-93 -- could be next. ... But Anderson told The Baltimore Sun after the regular season that Williams' job was not in jeopardy. 'Gary and I have a good relationship,' the athletic director said. Anderson on Thursday called Williams 'a legend' and said the coach's accomplishments -- he compiled a 668-380 (.637) record in 33 seasons at Maryland, Ohio State, Boston College and American -- 'have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history.' "
Maryland Coach Hanna Announces Retirement
Tom Hanna has announced his retirement as the head men’s coach at the University of Maryland.
"Hanna has been the head coach at his alma mater for 20 seasons. Under his direction, the Terrapins made a school-record six consecutive appearances in the NCAA postseason (2002 through 2007), nine times in all. 'I have enjoyed a wonderful experience having the opportunity to coach at my alma mater for the last 20 years,' said Hanna in a statement. 'With my son graduating this month and finishing up his career as a Terp, I felt like it was the right time. I have fond memories of my time at Maryland and want to thank all of the student-athletes who have worked hard over the years on the course and in the classroom.' Hanna was instrumental in the fundraising and development of the Holman Short Game Facility, which opened at the University of Maryland Golf Course in 2008. 'We appreciate what Tom has done for the men’s golf program at Maryland,' said athletic director Kevin Anderson. 'His commitment to the program and to the University has been outstanding. We wish him well in his retirement.' During his playing career at Maryland, from 1968 to 1971, Hanna competed in three NCAA tournaments. After a brief stint on the PGA Tour, Hanna was a head professional at three country clubs on the East Coast. In 1991, he returned to his alma mater to become the Terrapins’ head coach. In 1994, he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year after the Terps finished fifth at the ACC Championships, marking the team’s highest finish in 16 seasons. That year, Maryland made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament, ending a drought of 18 years."
Turgeon Takes Over at Maryland
New Maryland men's basketball coach promises 'great things' at his introductory press conference
Baltimore Sun: "New Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon made it clear from the moment he stepped to the podium at his introductory news conference on Wednesday that failure is not an option. 'My style of play?' he said. 'Winning.' Turgeon and his family were welcomed to Comcast Center by a large group of Terps supporters and proved immediately he could play to a crowd, hitting all the right notes for Terrapins fans still stunned by the sudden retirement of Gary Williams and hungry to bounce back quickly from a disappointing 2010-11 basketball season. 'If you have tickets, keep 'em,' he said. 'If you don't, buy 'em, because we're going to do some great things here.' Athletic director Kevin Anderson, charged with the task of replacing both his long-time football coach and basketball coach in the same six-month period, seemed very comfortable with the outcome of his basketball search, though he clearly would prefer to return to the more mundane business of running the Maryland athletic department. 'Like Yogi Berra said, this seems like déjà vu all over again,' Anderson said. 'I hope that it's a long time before we have to announce another coach again.' Not surprisingly, Anderson delivered a glowing testimonial to the former Texas A&M coach who is credited with turning around a struggling Wichita State program before taking the Aggies to four straight NCAA Tournaments in his four years at College Station."
Charles Clark Named Co-Director of Joint Quantum Institute
NIST: "Physicist Charles Clark of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been named a co-director of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a research collaboration that includes NIST and the University of Maryland. Clark joins UM's Steve Rolston in leading JQI. He succeeds Carl Williams, who recently completed a five-year term as the founding NIST co-director. 'JQI owes its spectacular success to Carl Williams as much as to anyone else," said Clark. "Foundation of joint institutes between federal agencies and research universities always seems like a good idea, but there are immense practical difficulties in settling the details. We all owe much to Carl for his sustained hard work in making JQI possible, sealing the deal within complex and shifting multi-institutional constraints.' The JQI brings together scientists who study physical systems that obey the counterintuitive rules of quantum physics, which, for example, cause atomic and subatomic objects such as electrons to behave as either particles or waves depending on how they are viewed. Typical research areas at JQI include the fundamental physics of superconductors that enable the flow of electrons without resistance; ultracold atomic gases that can simulate the behavior of more complex quantum systems that are impossible to model with today's supercomputers; and quantum information, which aims to use the unique properties of quantum systems for more powerful and secure computation and communication than can be achieved with the realm of classical physics. Clark was chief of the NIST Electron and Optical Physics Division for 20 years before being appointed a NIST Fellow in 2010, thereby joining the ranks of NIST and JQI Fellows Paul Lett, Paul Julienne and Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips. His research activities are focused on theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics. Among his signal accomplishments to date are the co-development of the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (http://dlmf.nist.gov), accompanied by the Cambridge University Press publication of "The NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions" in 2010, and supervising five University of Maryland Ph.D. theses while serving as a full-time employee of NIST. He is actively engaged in spreading physics research news through social media such as Facebook and Twitter."
Local Freedom Riders Recall Yesterday’s Fright, Today’s Pride
Washington Post: "This month, as Freedom Riders across the country celebrate the 50th anniversary of their activism, Diamond and other D.C. residents reflected on the movement and the special place the city holds in its history. Howard, part of the black Ivy League, was a hotbed of student activism at the time. The first bus of Freedom Riders departed May 4, 1961, from the District. Marion Barry, the city’s four-term mayor and now a D.C. Council member, remains perhaps the movement’s most famous alumnus in the area. He was a student in Nashville when he signed on. But other Freedom Riders who now live in the area, such as Diamond, led more private lives. There’s Paul Green, 72, who spent his career as a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland. He and Diamond lived a few blocks from each other for years in the District without realizing it until recently. ... Paul Green, a New York native, was earning a graduate degree in math at Cornell when he and a few friends heard about the call against segregation in Mississippi. 'We had talked about sending money, and then somebody suggested that we put our money where our mouths were and go down to volunteer,' said Green, who is white. They headed to New Orleans in a friend's car, then got on a train to Jackson. When they arrived, they were arrested and jailed."
A Modern Sports Success Story Meets a Historic Racing Farm
New York Times: "Kevin Plank’s sports apparel empire was built on sweat -- a lot of it. After warm-ups and at halftime, Plank, a fullback and linebacker at the University of Maryland in the 1990s, would remove his jersey and pads, and change his soaked cotton undershirt. 'It just seemed like a ridiculous practice, that there had to be a better way,' he said. 'And there was.' Just like that, the seeds were sown for Under Armour, the company he founded in 1996 to manufacture gear that wicks perspiration from the body; it now has about $1 billion in annual revenue. That Plank, 38, was able pull off such a feat is no surprise. Winning -- on the football field, in the business world and even on a horse farm -- comes naturally to him. His love of Maryland and his penchant to fix what is broken led him to his latest project: restoring the state’s horse racing industry. 'I thought someone should do something to help put Maryland racing back on the map,' Plank said. 'And I looked around, and frankly I fit the profile. I love broken things, and I love big ideas, and I love long shots. So when everybody’s saying racing’s the worst thing, it’s going away, to me that’s usually the best time to get involved.' Hampered by failed slot-machine legislation, dwindling purses and threats of losing the Preakness Stakes, Maryland racing was in need of a jolt. 'Kevin is a huge supporter of racing in general, and he’s an avid supporter of Maryland racing,' Tom Chuckas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, said. 'He’s active specifically around the Preakness with hospitality and so on. And he is available to help as we move forward in the horse industry. We’re trying to right the ship.' Plank’s foray into racing began in earnest in 2007, when he bought a symbol of the sport’s storied past, Sagamore Farm, once owned by the industry titan Alfred G. Vanderbilt."
Jeff Kinney: Diarist of a Wimpy Kid
Forget Harry Potter – Kinney's books have sold more than 50 million copies and spawned a major film franchise. James Mottram meets him
London Independent, UK: "Last month, Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch got -- for want of a better way of putting it -- sucker punched. Expected to bow at the top of the US movie charts, this noisy CGI effort was beaten to the coveted No 1 spot by a cheeky upstart, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. The second film inspired by the bestselling book series by Jeff Kinney, it's little wonder that the 40-year-old author has such a smile on his face. 'For it to go up against a special-effects juggernaut and to come out on top was enormously satisfying,' he says. If all this doesn't mean much to you, you probably don't have young children. But Kinney is right up there with J K Rowling as one of the bestselling children's authors on the planet. In the US alone, 50 million Wimpy Kid books have been printed, while American books giant Barnes & Noble recently listed Kinney's works as the most popular series for children aged 9 to 12, above even Harry Potter. Kinney's series has been translated into 33 languages, and close to 9 million copies have been sold in the UK. Last November, when the latest installment, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, was published, it was selling at a rate of one copy every 11 seconds. So revered has he become, Time magazine even named Kinney one of the 100 Most Influential people of 2009. 'I actually thought that was a practical joke,' he tells me. 'In fact, I did a lot of work towards trying to track down the source of the joke. I was very surprised to find out that was a real thing. But I'm on the bottom right-hand corner of the cover, so I'm probably at great risk of falling off!' Modesty aside, it shows that Kinney -- who only published the first of his five Wimpy Kid books in 2007 -- can't quite believe what's happened to him over the past four years. It's an understandable reaction from a cartoonist who started his career inking strips for the University of Maryland student paper. But the truth is that the Wimpy Kid books have become a full-blown phenomenon. At their core is a likeable hero -- the pre-pubescent Greg Heffley -- whose epistolary accounts make him teen literature's most beguiling diarist since Adrian Mole. With each book filled with hand-written notes and cartoon illustrations of his day-to-day activities, as Kinney puts it, they look 'very inviting to a kid pulling them off the shelves.' "
Mtech Announces Winners of the 2011 University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition
Business Journals: "The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) today announces the winners of the 2011 University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. Winning student and faculty teams were selected from 71 initial entries and eight finalists, who gave investor presentations on May 6 to teams of expert judges as well as a public audience of hundreds of students, faculty, alumni, and others from the regional startup venture community at the University of Maryland.
PolyVec Systems, led by bioengineering doctoral student Irene Bacalocostantis and Peter Kofinas, Keystone Professor and associate chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, won $45,000 across three categories. PolyVec is developing a synthetic polymer carrier that delivers therapeutic genes to breast and other cancer cells. ... PolyVec won $25,000 and the Lockheed Martin Grand Prize in the high technology/biotechnology category, the $10,000 Maryland Biotechnology Center Best Biotechnology Company prize, and a $10,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award.
Advanced Suture Device for Scarless Wound Healing won first place and $10,000 in the undergraduate division. The company, whose team is comprised of mechanical engineering undergraduate student Jin Xiao, economics major Sharon Liu and Yang Tao, biological resources engineering professor and director of the Bio-imaging and Machine Vision Laboratory, is developing a novel wound closure device that does not leave scars.
Trade Assurance International won second place and $5,000 in the undergraduate category. The company, led by finance major and Hinman CEO Program student Daniel Sperling-Horowitz, civil engineering major and Hinman CEOs Program student Sam Winter and David Wortman, is developing a high-definition video platform to mitigate trade risk for the international B2B trade and procurement industry.
HemeCentric, a company developing anti-parasite drugs and iron supplements based upon groundbreaking discoveries in heme biology and iron regulation, won the $15,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award. HemeCentric's team includes animal and avian sciences professor Iqbal Hamza, Gregory J. Feulner and Steven L. Hubert."
Mtech TAP Company CosmosID Wins Best Life Sciences Company in the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards
UMd release: "CosmosID, a company in the Mtech Technology Advancement Program (TAP) incubator developing comprehensive pathogen identification technologies, was named company of the year in the life sciences company category during the 2011 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards. In all, eight Mtech-affiliated companies were finalists for the awards. Three additional TAP incubator companies and one in TAP's fast-track, early admission program, called VentureAccelerator, were finalists. WellDoc Inc., a company that used Mtech Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) funding to develop its next generation of technology solutions to support chronic disease management, won the graduate company of the year award. Two additional MIPS funding recipients, Plant Sensory Systems and Emerald Sky Technologies, were also finalists. Companies were recognized at a ceremony held June 2 at The Center Club in Baltimore, Md. 'We are honored to be recognized among the very exciting technology startups in Maryland," said Distinguished University of Maryland Professor Rita Colwell, who founded CosmosID. 'I am pleased to have the support of Tom Cebula, our chief technical officer, and Doug Brenner, our chief executive officer, who are both playing significant roles in developing CosmosID to be a leading company in pathogen diagnostics. We hope to continue the tradition of successful companies, including Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation, that have emerged from TAP.' CosmosID has developed patent-pending software called GENIUS (Genomics Identification Universal System) that drives its end-to-end, metagenomics process, Cloud SequencingTM, for identifying pathogens present in clinical (medical), environmental (water, soil, biofuel or food), or other research (laboratory) samples. Cloud Sequencing™ is a single, rapid and accurate test that is universal for all types of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi."
UMd Extension: Field Day Offers Farmers Latest Wheat-Growing Tips
Frederick News-Post: "About 40 farmers got pointers on growing several wheat varieties at Frederick County's first Wheat Field Day, held May 27. Frederick County has more than 230 wheat farms -- the most in the state. Though Queen Anne's County plants the most acres, Frederick County is first in the number of wheat farms, said Colby Ferguson, the county's agriculture development specialist. The day was sponsored by the Maryland Crop Improvement Association, Syngenta AgriPro/Coker Seed in cooperation with the University of Maryland Extension, Maryland Department of Agriculture and Eddie Mercer Agri-Services Inc. 'This was intended to educate farmers about wheat-growing practices, disease management and variety selection,' said Todd Mullineaux, a seed salesman at Eddie Mercer Agri-Services, based in Frederick. The annual event, often held on the Eastern Shore, came to Frederick County thanks to cooperation from the University of Maryland Extension Service, Mullineaux said."
Group Wants Market on Metro Parking Lot
Washington Post: "Nectarines at the Naylor Road Metro station? If a group of volunteers has its way, the juicy fruit, as well as heads of lettuce, cartons of eggs and other produce, would be available near the platform. Bringing a farmers market to the Metro station is part of a larger effort to bring vibrancy back to the struggling Capital Beltway community of Temple Hills in Prince George’s County, infuse pride in the area and attract new businesses and shoppers along the St. Barnabas Road commercial corridor. The effort is called 'Branch Avenue in Bloom,' after the street that runs by the Metro station and intersects with St. Barnabas Road nearby. 'It will be a great way to revitalize the area — at least to start the revitalization process,' County Council member Karen Toles (D-Suitland) said of the proposed farmers market. 'It’s a farmers market. We’re talking eggs and tomatoes. What are people going to do? Make an omelet [on the train]?' said Glenna Cush, director of training and marketing for the Maryland Small Business Development Center Network at the University of Maryland. The network is sponsoring the Branch Avenue project. Jennifer Funn, the project coordinator, said the market would offer healthful produce to an underserved area."
Gelfand: Uptight or Laid-Back, Cultural Differences Shows
Associated Press: "The sale of marijuana is largely tolerated in the Netherlands, but can get you the death penalty in Malaysia. Chewing gum is widely popular in the United States and strictly regulated in Singapore. Conformity has high value in South Korea, not so much in Brazil. While it's obvious that social and public values differ widely between countries, an international team of researchers has taken an intriguing new look at which cultures are more or less restrictive and perhaps identified some reasons why. 'There is great potential for cultural and moral conflict between the two' types of cultures, said University of Maryland psychologist Michele Gelfand, lead researcher of the new study. The more people understand the differences, the more we know what to expect, she said. 'It helps us to become less judgmental.' Understanding what the researchers called "tight and loose" cultures is critical in a world of increasing global interdependence, they wrote. 'From either system's vantage point,' the authors said, 'the other system could appear to be dysfunctional, unjust and fundamentally immoral, and such divergent beliefs could become the collective fuel for cultural conflicts.' The researchers conducted 6,823 interviews in 33 countries, asking about the strength of social norms, how well people understood what behavior was expected and how people react when someone behaves in an inappropriate way. They defined tight nations as those where everyday practices limit permissible behavior and loose ones as places that encourage a wide range of allowable behavior. Threats to security, frequent natural disasters and high population density tend to be factors in a country having a more restrictive culture that places more restraints on its citizens, the researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science."
Daly: A Nobel Economist Says Globalism Is Costly For Americans
Offshoring has destroyed the economy
"These are discouraging times, but once in a blue moon a bit of hope appears. I am pleased to report on the bit of hope delivered in March of 2011 by Michael Spence, a Nobel prize-winning economist, assisted by Sandile Hlatshwayo, a researcher at New York University. The two economists have taken a careful empirical look at jobs offshoring and concluded that it has ruined the income and employment prospects for most Americans. ... For a decade, I have warned that US corporations, pressed by Wall Street and large retailers such as Wal-Mart, to move offshore their production for US consumer markets, were simultaneously moving offshore US GDP, US tax base, US consumer income, and irreplaceable career opportunities for American citizens. Among the serious consequences of offshoring are the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an 'opportunity society,' an extraordinary worsening of the income distribution, and large trade and federal budget deficits that cannot be closed by normal means. These deficits now threaten the US dollar's role as world reserve currency. I was not alone in making these warnings. Dr. Herman Daly, a former World Bank economist and professor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Charles McMillion, a Washington, DC, economic consultant, and Dr. Ralph Gomory, a distinguished mathematician and the world’s best trade theorist, understand that it is strictly impossible for an economy to be moved offshore and for the country with the offshored economy to remain prosperous. ... The other deserving recipient of the Nobel Prize is Herman Daly. On the trade issue, Daly's point is different from and less revolutionary than Gomory's. Daly makes the same point that I make, which is that the classic theory of free trade is based on comparative advantage, not on absolute advantage, and that offshoring is based on absolute advantage. Thus, offshoring is not free trade.
Daly’s revolutionary contribution to economics comes from his realization that the production function that is the basis of economic science is wrong."
Levine: 'AIPAC Doesn't Represent the Jewish People'
PRESS TV, Iran: "Andrew Levine, a research professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland says the Israeli lobby AIPAC does not represent the will of the Jewish people. 'Jews don't care much about Israel ... When you have a small minority that is very intensely organized, and other people who all don't care that much … generally they (AIPAC) are a very intensely-organized group,' Levine told Press TV's U.S. Desk in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. 'That's very common in all areas. For instance probably in the United States today, most people would savor reasonable gun control laws, but as you might know there is a minority that's very intent on having people armed to the teeth, and they are the most organized ones … In fact the National Rifle Association is probably a stronger pressure group than AIPAC is, at least in most venues and certainly in Congress,' Levine added. 'So I think it's just the way the pressure groups work … Now in this case, the people who are the most obdurate are also very well-organized, and they apply a lot of political and financial pressure especially on the Democratic Party. But that's the particular mechanism and the general phenomenon is just that when there is intense caring, that often carries,' he concluded."
Peri: Israelis Split About Arab World's Uprisings
USA Today: "Menachem Ben Meir, a teacher in the Jewish Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak in Tel Aviv, looks at the uprisings against autocrats in the Middle East and sees the possibility of a new age of peace for Israel. Israeli businessmen would gladly invest in places such as Egypt, where labor is cheap, says Ben Meir, 50. Israeli engineers could create high-tech opportunities for some of the millions of unemployed young people in the region. 'We could do business with them even if they hate us,' he says as a young couple dressed entirely in black walks by with six children toward a bus to Jerusalem. But many Israelis see something less promising. They look at the popular uprisings that began in Tunisia and have burned across the military-backed dictatorships of North Africa and the sheikdoms of the Arabian Gulf and see the resurrection of the Arab dream of destroying Israel. ... Israel's war planners were not preparing for a worst-case scenario before Mubarak's fall, says Yoram Peri, director of the Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland. They are now. Various threatening scenarios, such as full-fledged war with Egypt, regime collapse in Jordan, Hamas taking over in the West Bank and thousands of Palestinians marching from Ramallah toward Jerusalem, are seen as possible."
Saab: Obama's Middle East speech: Good but irrelevant
Christian Science Monitor: Bilal Saab, PhD candidate in government and politics, writes: "President Obama’s Middle East speech at the State Department today is likely to be positively received in Washington. Middle Easterners, however, will probably find it disappointing, or worse, irrelevant. First off, to avoid major disappointment, it is always wise to lower expectations. Despite its eloquence, the speech was simply not going to wash away the reality that the United States has been irrelevant throughout this Arab Spring. It was also not going to remove or ease the enduring and profound tension between America’s short-term security interests and its long-term aspiration to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Mr. Obama can say all he wants that the two objectives are not incompatible. But until he makes a compelling case to Middle Easterners as to how the United States intends to achieve both goals simultaneously, and until he explains why the United States continues to fall short in reaching them, it is just empty rhetoric. Without any doubt, the chief question that Obama asked in his speech – and that the entire world was waiting for – was what role the United States will play in this historic episode in the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, there was no clear or persuasive answer to that question. Obama insisted that the 'status quo was unsustainable' in the Middle East and in US foreign policy toward that region, but he did not flesh out a new, bold vision that breaks with the past. And he did not call for a road map for the future."
Morici: Europe Should Keep Top Job
Asian Times: Peter Morici, professor of business, writes: "The debate over whether a European or Asian should lead the International Monetary Fund (IMF) involves more than symbolism. An Asian leader could be bad for free markets and the progress of the global economy. After World War II, the World Bank was established to provide long-term financial and technical assistance to developing countries, and the IMF was created to manage a system of fixed exchange rates. Essentially, the dollar was pegged to gold and other currencies to the dollar. The Americans got the head of the World Bank and the Europeans the IMF. With the demise of the fixed exchange rate system in the 1970s, the IMF mission evolved to providing short-term loans to countries with sovereign debt issues -- that is why it is currently involved in Greece’s debt problems -- and advocating transparent, market determined exchange rates. Too many Asian governments on too many occasions have flaunted the system of market determined exchange rates, and violated World Trade Organization (WTO) rules against manipulating exchange rates to accomplish competitive advantages and trade surpluses - the WTO defers policing such abuses to the IMF. Notable abusers have included China, India and Japan, who constitute the lion share of Asian gross domestic product. Were the Asians permitted to capture the IMF bureaucracy, its role could easily morph into sustaining exchange-rate relationships that greatly disadvantage US and European growth. Slow growth caused by the global trade imbalances, created by undervalued Asian currencies, make worse sovereign debt problems in Europe and US federal and state budget challenges. Asian growth has been remarkable but it has come in some measure from Asian governments breaking the rules -- now we should not put them in charge of enforcing those rules."
Telhami: Obama's Arab-Israeli Options
Does it matter if the White House has a strategy for the so-called peace process? If it does, what should that plan be?
Only Washington Can Lead
New York Times: Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development: "The Arab awakening has created new prisms through which Arabs view the world. The most striking example has been the Arab public’s seeming embrace of Western intervention in Libya, in contrast to the furious opposition to the intervention in Iraq. As President Obama lays out his approach to the Middle East, he will need to be mindful of this prism for a newly empowered generation of Arabs seeking freedom and dignity. But there should be no doubt that the old prism of pain through which Arabs view the world, the Israeli-Palestinian will only be magnified in the months ahead. It cannot be avoided, and kicking the can forward is unlikely to make addressing this conflict any easier. While the Arab awakening is not about the Arab-Israeli conflict as such, it would be a mistake not to see that at the core of the demand for dignity are multiple issues including foreign policy. Even though the Arab-Israeli issue is not the top priority for most Arabs, Arab public opinion has been angrier with Israel than Arab governments. As democratic debates grow, this issue will undoubtedly be a visible factor, especially if there is some escalation in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In the absence of credible negotiations, there will be no one to restrain the debate. In no place will this be more visible than in Egypt, where parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place just about the time the U.N. General Assembly is likely to take up the issue of Palestinian statehood."
Hoffmann: Talking About the Taboo: Women's Menstrual Practices and Sanitation in Africa
"University of Maryland researcher Vivian Hoffmann has studied poverty, migration, and economic development in Africa and elsewhere, and she has first-hand experience with issues facing women in the developing world. Now, through a $1.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she will lead a team of researchers in a project that will shed light on women's menstrual practices, needs, and product demands and help to inform sanitation planning in developing countries. Although expanding and improving access to sanitation services is recognized as a critical challenge to improving global public health, little attention has been paid thus far to women's menstrual management practices. 'There is anecdotal evidence that menstrual management issues have a real impact on the lives and opportunities of girls and women in low-income countries,' said Hoffmann who is a professor in the University of Maryland's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 'This study will give us reliable insight into those impacts and may spur innovation in the design and marketing of menstrual management products for low-income markets,' she added. Beliefs and behaviors related to menstrual management are an important factor: 'They will make up an important part of our comprehensive literature review, and we expect to see an emphasis on the existing stigma, taboos, and secrecy that continue to exist around this topic, all of which pose challenges for adolescent girls and women's management of menstruation in public spaces – such as the marketplace, or the school,' Hoffmann noted. The project represents a mammoth undertaking. No fewer than five other organizations will mobilize resources to bring off the study, which is scheduled to be completed within two years. It will involve detailed case studies, focus groups, household surveys, interviews with experts, and clinical studies in one of the selected communities."
Kangas: Cleaning the Waters with the Power of the Sun
Earth Times: "Algae could be the key to cleaning large bodies of water cheaply, using the sun as their fuel, says an article in the new issue of Bioscience. Walter H. Adey of the Smithsonian Institution, Patrick C. Kangas of the University of Maryland, and Walter Mulbry of the US Department of Agriculture, believe they have identified an urgent world-wide need to bring life back to waters polluted by agricultural, domestic and industrial runoffs. The algae -- described as turf scrubbers -- are used in areas the size of fields and can 'clean' water contaminated with nitrogen and phosphorus. Furthermore, the scientists believe that there could be commercial use for the by product of the cleaning process as world supplies of phosphorus -- vital for fertiliser manufacture -- are in danger of running out. Using just natural light as a power source, the screen-like devices are floated on contaminated waters and restore oxygen levels as they remove nitrogen and phosphorus which can be used in fertilisers, biofuels or even high-value nutraceuticals -- combined nutrition and medicinal products. Even contaminated oceans can be cleaned by the scrubbers where conditions are suitable."
Salawitch: Close Call: Ozone Hole Nearly Opens Over Arctic
Live Science: "The loss of ozone over Antarctica has been well-known since the late 1970s, when a major report exposed the crisis happening on the continent. But this spring, an Arctic hole in the ozone nearly opened up over the northern United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Russia. Unusually cold temperatures in the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth's atmosphere, caused the Arctic near-miss, according to a statement by Jonathan Shanklin, the head of meteorology and ozone monitoring for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Most years, Shanklin wrote, the Arctic stratosphere is too warm for ozone-depleting chemical reactions to take place. This year, however, temperatures dove enough to destroy more than 40 percent of Arctic ozone. Without the protective sheeting of ozone, more ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaches the Earth's surface. That makes ozone levels important for public health, said Ross Salawitch, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Maryland who studies atmospheric chemistry."
A'Hearn: At the Heart of Comet 103P/Hartley, a New Breed of Comet?
While studying the comet, researchers saw for the first time an entire suite of cometary gases change amounts in the same way at the same time.
NASA: "What surprised the researchers was this: As the amount of water went up, so did the amounts of the other gases. And as the amount of water went down, the others did, too. 'This is the first time anyone has seen an entire suite of these gases change in the same way at the same time,' said [NASA's Michael] Mumma. This result is important for astronomers, he notes, because they often study the gases in a comet’s coma one at a time. 'But this suggests that if you look at one gas on one night and another the next night, the production rates might change quite a bit. The findings could be different than if you measured the two gases together,' he said. 'And in the worst case, you could get the wrong idea about the composition of the comet.] 'This tells us that the overall composition of the gas in the coma did not change,” Mumma said. Taken by itself, this might seem to imply that the core of the comet is uniform. But when the findings of the EPOXI science team are considered, the picture gets more complicated. 'The fact that the gases all vary together is somewhat puzzling because EPOXI found a large variation in the release of carbon dioxide relative to water,' said Michael A’Hearn from the University of Maryland. 'At this point, the interpretation is pretty speculative.' EPOXI’s Deep Impact spacecraft had a rendezvous with the comet in November 2010. The rich images taken then of the comet’s surface revealed small, volcano-like 'jets' spewing out carbon dioxide gas and water ice at one end. The jets activate when sunlight warms that end of the comet, turning the frozen carbon dioxide — dry ice — below the surface into gas that escapes through open holes. The researchers think that chunks of water ice are glued together in the comet’s core by the frozen carbon dioxide, which evaporates before the water ice. 'The carbon dioxide gas drags with it chunks of ice, which later evaporate to provide much of the water vapor in the coma,' A’Hearn said. Researchers had never seen this before. 'In other comets that have been visited, most of the water appears to be converted into gas below or at the surface,' said A’Hearn. 'We have not seen icy grains, or at least, very few, being dragged into the coma.' "
Share: Fermi Gamma-Ray Image Updates 'Extreme Universe' View
BBC News: "The Fermi space telescope has yielded the most detailed gamma ray map of the sky - representing the Universe's most violent and extreme processes. The telescope's newest results, as well as the map, were described at the Third Fermi Symposium in Rome this week. Gamma rays are the highest-energy light we know of, many millions of times more energetic than visible light. The Fermi collaboration will soon release a full catalogue of all the gamma ray sources discovered so far. The space telescope was launched in 2008, and the Rome meeting gathered together the hundreds of scientists who worked with the data it produces. Every three hours, the telescope gathers up a full scan of the sky, spitting out 40 million bits of information each second that it beams back to the Earth. ... Fermi can lend its expert view to physics closer to home; several presentations at the meeting focused on gamma rays from the Sun that could shed light on events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The shock wave that propagates outward from the Sun during such outbursts can also accelerate particles that can potentially endanger satellites and astronauts -- but the details of such processes remain poorly understood. 'The point with Fermi is that it's so sensitive it's likely going to pick up events never seen before,' said Gerald Share, a high-energy astrophysicist from the University of Maryland. 'It's just opening up a whole new window to monitor the flares and solar energetic particles at a weaker level than we normally see,' he told BBC News."
PIPA, BBC: Survey Ranks Canada as No. 3 Country for Entrepreneurs
CTV, Canada: "A new survey suggests Canada is one of the top three places in the world to start a business, with a culture that admires its entrepreneurs and the risks that they take. Canada ranks just behind Indonesia and the United States, according to the newly released survey, which was conducted by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland for the BBC World Service in 24 countries around the world. More than 24,000 survey participants were asked a series of questions about their perceptions of how hard it was to start a business and the way innovation was valued in their country. The BBC survey said that Canadians generally took a favourable view of entrepreneurs, with 74 per cent of survey participants saying they believed people who started their own businesses were highly valued individuals. Similarly, 72 per cent of those surveyed said they believed innovation and creativity were also highly valued in Canada. And two-thirds (66 per cent) of the Great White North survey participants said they believed that people with good ideas were able to put them into practice, suggesting that Canadian entrepreneurs face few barriers when developing something new. But Canadians were divided on how difficult it is to get a new business going, with 55 per cent agreeing that it is hard to start a new business and 41 per cent disagreeing with the same statement. These same Canadians were comparatively more modest about their personal entrepreneurial ambitions, with only 53 per cent reporting that they had an idea for starting their own business. With the high marks afforded to both Canada and the United States, the BBC noted in its survey summary that "North America has among the most entrepreneur-friendly culture of any region.""
Society & Culture
Milkie: Do School Cuts Lead to Stressed Students?
Wall Street Journal: "Researchers have looked at how bad jobs affect adults’ mental health. One of the first studies to turn a similar lens on schools suggests a bad classroom climate can shape children’s emotional well-being too. (We discussed how many schools are facing cash shortfalls in our previous posts today.) First graders whose teachers are exhausted or lack needed materials show more signs of stress, says a study of 10,700 first-grade parents and teachers published recently in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Students in more negative environments, such as classrooms where teachers feel disrespected by their co-workers, also have more behavioral and emotional problems, after controlling for other factors, according to the study, led by Melissa Milkie, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. 'This may occur because teachers become more harsh or frustrated' when they lack the resources they need to teach properly, the study says. They may be discouraged that they can’t create a better environment. Or 'it may also be,' the study says, 'that dilapidated surroundings and insufficient materials symbolically devalue children in those spaces.” Researchers chose to focus on first-grade kids because they are at an especially vulnerable stage of development. The research comes amid growth in average public-school class sizes nationwide. Over the past two years, budget problems have led several states to loosen restrictions on class size, to stretch teaching staff farther and cut costs. Before 2008, the latest year for which data is available, class sizes had been declining for many years in response to widespread public opinion that small classes are important to educational quality. More school funding cuts are likely in many states and local districts. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, among others, has proposed deep cuts in aid to schools. And Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also appears poised for a showdown with teachers’ unions in his state over proposed education cuts."
Haltiwanger: A Healthy Dynamic in Job Creation: Destruction
Washington Post: Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Steve Pearlstein: "John Haltiwanger thinks he may have discovered one reason why the private sector is not creating more jobs this far into the so-called recovery, and if he’s right, it is cause for concern: The U.S. economy has become less dynamic and entrepreneurial. Haltiwanger is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland and one of the best economists around, particularly when it comes to the subject of job creation. A former chief economist at the Census Bureau, he’s constantly mining, aggregating and analyzing the data at the level of the individual firm. He’s also a straight shooter, without a trace of ideological bias, as far as I can tell. For years now, Haltiwanger has been trying to set things straight on the question of which firms are creating jobs, most recently in a paper with the catchy title, 'Job Creation and Firm Dynamics in the U.S.' Haltiwanger starts out by noting that in an economy with about 110 million private sector jobs, firms create and destroy 15 to 17 million jobs in a typical year. This churning goes on in all industries and all sizes of firms -- it even goes on within the same firm -- and what drives it is the the constant shifting of work from the least productive firms and factories and stores to the more productive. For many decades, the U.S. economy has been more effective at this process of 'creative destruction' than almost any other country in the world. And what Haltiwanger and his collaborators have found over the years is that young firms -- business startups and a small number of new firms that grow very quickly -- have played an outsize role in that process. In job creation, it turns out, it is not size that matters but the age of the firm. Small businesses don’t create all the new jobs -- young ones do."
Duggan: America's Hidden Unemployment Problem
CNN Money: "Want to know how the job market is doing? Just look at the disability rolls. The Great Recession has created a growing underclass of millions of unemployed who are unlikely to ever re-enter the labor force. Instead, they're relying on government support that they qualify for because of health issues. There are 8.3 million workers receiving disability payments, an increase of 1.2 million, or 17% from when the recession began, according to the Social Security Administration. While it might seem like more people are trying to file illegitimate claims, experts say that's not the case. The percentage of claims being approved is about the same as in a good economy. The real culprit: Workers with modest health problems are usually willing to take jobs when they can get them. But when they can't, they turn to the government. That's why the number of people who apply for -- and get approved for -- disability payments typically increases during bad economic times. ... The program is disguising just how bad unemployment really is. If those 1.2 million new post-recession beneficiaries were still counted as unemployed, the national unemployment rate would be nearly a full percentage point higher than it currently is. Another problem is that workers on disability often become dependent on the lifeline, and never return to work. Only 0.4% of workers in the program return to labor force each year. Though the benefits are relatively modest -- only about $1,000 a month -- getting approved for disability can be a difficult process of appeals and hearings that typically lasts a year or more. Few who have qualified want to risk those benefits for a job that might not last. 'It's certainly not as good as earning wages,' said Mark Duggan, an economics professor at University of Maryland, and a leading expert on the program. 'But if they're on disability, they're anxious about saying, "I'm going to try to go back to work and give up this sure thing." There's a good chance you may not get back on. It's a long and uncertain process.' Because of the year-long delay from initial application to granting of benefits, there's still a large backlog of applicants filed in 2010 and earlier, still set to hit the rolls in the coming months. There are 734,666 cases pending as of April."
Pearsall: Goal-Oriented Teams More Likely to Break the Rules
Vancouver Sun: "The goal of any organizational team is to be high functioning -- to get results. Unfortunately, as teams come under increasing pressure in the work world to handle highly complex problems and undertake evermore critical decision making, research shows that high-functioning teams can act unethically. Look no further than the scandals associated with Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia Communications. These organizations relied on teams, especially upper-management groups, to guide company choices. Teams that behave unethically display certain characteristics, according to researchers Matthew Pearsall of the University of Maryland and Aleksander Ellis of the University of Arizona. They recently studied the behaviour of 378 management school students, divided into 126 three-member teams, who were engaged in a class project in which the opportunity to cheat was made easily available. They identified two key elements of teams with a tendency to cheat ... "
"Teams more likely to cheat include members who tend to be focused on the end result of decisions, especially when those decisions result in benefits to the individual and the team. The tendency to overlook acceptable behaviour is higher in these groups. These teams exemplify the "ends-justify-the-means" way of thinking. Also, these groups tend to be forwardlooking and innovative, seeking the best way to take advantage of opportunities. In some cases, these teams appear to be the epitome of a high-performing group, coveted by many organizations. However, scratch the surface of such teams and you might find that they have reported profits to hide poor returns or losses, or keep poor-quality products on the market. What makes an otherwise high-performing team stoop to these levels to appear successful? The answer is that they lose sight of the long-term consequences of their behaviour. Being creative and proactive are only beneficial to teams that have a firmly articulated set of corporate values that guide decision making. Companies with management that lacks a longterm method on which to base decisions are like high-performance cars without steering wheels -- they inevitably crash."
Pearson: Robert Johnson At 100, Still Dispelling Myths
NPR: Weekend Morning Edition: "Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Johnson. Although he recorded just 29 songs, the bluesman had a huge influence on guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Johnson is one of the most studied of all country blues musicians, and he's been the subject of many books, films and essays. But the mythology surrounding his life just won't go away. If you know anything about Johnson, chances are it's the story that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for his musical talent. That legend reached a mainstream audience with the 1986 movie Crossroads, starring Joe Seneca and Ralph Macchio. But according to folklorist Barry Lee Pearson, it didn't happen. 'The popular mythology has him as a total loner,' Pearson says, 'and kind of lived this life in regret as a repayment for his alleged sin of making a contract with Old Scratch.' Pearson, a professor at the University of Maryland and the co-author of the book Robert Johnson: Lost and Found, says none of it is true. In the absence of any real biographical information, Pearson says early blues writers got a little carried away. 'Everybody was so anxious to make this devil story true that they've been working on finding little details that can corroborate it,' he says.
Gordon: Who's Best at Cutting State Spending?
Which governors are the most successful at managing the budget gap, and which are overrated trimmers?
New York Times: Tracy Gordon is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland and the Okun-Model Fellow for the Economic Studies program at The Brookings Institution.
Unlock State Budgets
"Despite the recession’s official end, state governors – like businesses and families – continue to struggle making ends meet. In the near term, taxes are up but remain below pre-recession levels. Federal stimulus funds have largely run out, and so have quick fixes such as borrowing from special funds and deferring major expenses. Looking ahead, states face structural imbalances between revenues and spending as well as major unfunded pension and other retiree liabilities. To their credit, governors ranging from California’s Jerry Brown to New Jersey’s Chris Christie have been making hard choices to address their states’ long-term budget problems. While some (Brown as well as Minnesota’s Mark Dayton and Connecticut’s Dan Malloy) have pursued revenue increases, others (Christie, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Florida’s Rick Scott) have emphasized spending cuts. Presumably, each is pursuing the platform on which he or she was elected. Regardless of approach, many governors will come up against the same problem: Huge swaths of state budgets that are fixed or off limits. Analogous to the federal level, state tax systems and spending programs are often insulated from the annual budget process. This may be because of federal mandates, voter initiatives, or restrictive fiscal rules like California’s Proposition 13. More often, however, there are simply political obstacles to raising taxes or reducing spending on popular areas. Recently, with huge state budget gaps, even perennial favorites such as K-12 education have not escaped the budget axe. However, tax increases and spending cuts are often made across the board or without attention to what works. We need more information on the drivers of revenues and spending."
Kendall: Overwhelmed Internet Users Choose to Unplug — for a Little While
More people are discovering the joys of powering down (and then they blog about it)
Baltimore Sun: "The idea of taking periodic breaks from the Internet has been around in various forms for most of the past decade. Smartphones and online social media, however, have brought the power of the Internet and hyper-connected networks into people's palms in the past few years. Bloggers and 'knowledge workers' -- those who work mostly with computers, information and data -- are, unironically, blogging about taking periodic vacations from the Internet on blogs including 'Rowdy Kittens' and 'Zen Habits.' In most cases, people who take such breaks recognize that their online and digital habits are somehow off-kilter and that they need periodic breaks. ... Jonathan Kandell, a psychologist at the University of Maryland, College Park's student counseling center, says he advises students to strive for balance in their daily lives, but recognizes that computers are part of their daily lives in college. 'People need to feel like they're not missing out on something, to always be connected,' he said. 'Everybody feels like they want to be part of something. And I think [heavy use] comes from a deep-seated feeling of loneliness and disconnection.' "
Haltiwanger: Was LinkedIn's IPO Bad for America?
Wall Street Journal: "Let’s leave the talk about LinkedIn’s valuation to others (It’s bubblicious! No, it’s not!) and think about what it means for the economy. If it helps rekindle investors’ interest in start-up companies, it could be a good thing. Start-ups have long been the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. They have historically been a huge source of jobs. Indeed, without them, the U.S. would experience no net job creation, according to research from from John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau. Start-ups are a key source of innovation, which has historically been the source of about half of U.S. economic growth. The recession cut into start-up activity in a way that past downturns — even severe ones — didn’t. According to Census data, there only 403,765 new firms were started in the 12 months ended March 2009, down 17.3% from a year earlier and the fewest on records that begin in 1977. That decline came about largely because of a lack of funding. Investing by angel investors and venture capital funds fell sharply during the recession. And with the IPO market moribund, much of the investing they did do went toward keeping companies they’d already invested in afloat, rather than putting it into new businesses. Successful IPOs like LinkedIn’s get more people interested in investing in start-ups, boosting angel and venture-capital coffers. They also free up money: VCs that were in LinkedIn can put the money into earlier stage, angel-funded companies, and then the angels can put money into garage-level start-ups. The whole process got out of hand in the late 1990s, of course, but a little touch of the old dot-com fever might not be such a bad thing for the economy right now."
Uslaner: The Teacher Gets Schooled
CQ Politics: "Gingrich's performances can be so mesmerizing that when he was in the House, colleagues sometimes invited him to their news conferences just to draw a crowd. His appearance at a breakfast for journalists guaranteed good attendance. The political flaw in all this is that Gingrich's language and tactics become the story, instead of his or his party's message. 'Gingrich's great advantage is also his greatest problem,' says Eric M. Uslaner, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. "He is a master of rhetoric, and he is also a master of getting attention. When he suggests that the president is disloyal or that Paul Ryan is radical, he makes himself more the center of attention than his targets," Uslaner says. 'He takes aim at his political rivals but winds up shooting himself in the foot.' Way With Words Indeed, Gingrich's style was a source of periodic friction with other members of his party throughout his House career. When in midst of the Jim Wright investigation in the summer of 1988 Gingrich suggested he had a list of nine or 10 other Democrats the House ethics committee should investigate, his friend Vin Weber of Minnesota winced at the echo of the McCarthy era."
Parks: Goodbye to Oprah and Her Strong Arms
Washington Post: "I called Sheri L. Parks for an answer. Parks, an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland and a mother, is an avowed Oprah fan. I asked her why Oprah connected so often with American mothers. 'She very much played the role of mother writ large,' said Parks, author of 'Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture,' (Random House 2010). 'When she started, she covered domestic topics: women done wrong. She was a fierce protector of women. Her size is important, too. Those arms, they’re not fat, they were muscle. They were strong. Everybody wanted an Oprah hug. She was a protector and a defender.' Parks said Oprah also changed the cultural view of the stay-at-home-mother. Pre-Oprah, most people thought SAHMs 'sat around and played bridge.' Parks said Oprah projected an idea that 'women had a station in their community and were acting on it, that they were smart, interested and efficacious. She was empowering.' ...”
Galston: Jared Loughner and Our Crazy System for Trying the Insane
New York Daily News: "Under federal law, an insanity defense requires showing that the defendant 'was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts' due to 'a severe mental disease or defect.' According to the diagnosis on which Burns relied, Loughner does suffer from a severe mental disease, schizophrenia, so the question becomes whether it prevented him from understanding the nature of his actions. Since the vast majority of people diagnosed as schizophrenics never commit violent crimes, the relevance of this label in explaining Loughner's behavior or in justifying a policy of preventively detaining people like him is open to question. Yet University of Maryland political scientist William Galston says the Tucson shooting spree illustrates the need to eliminate the requirement that 'seriously disturbed individuals constitute a danger to themselves or others' before they can be confined to mental hospitals. Instead, he says, 'a delusional loss of contact with reality should be enough' to justify involuntary treatment. The clear implication here is that Loughner's loss of contact with reality, as demonstrated by his weird YouTube videos and strange comments in college classes, led him to do things he otherwise would not have done. While advocates of forcible psychiatric treatment such as Galston, syndicated columnist Mona Charen and Time essayist Joe Klein diagnosed Loughner from a distance, the government-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist who judged him too crazy for trial concurred, after five weeks of in-person evaluations, that he suffers from "delusions" and "disordered thinking" caused by schizophrenia. Yet this judgment, too, was ultimately based on the odd things Loughner said and did, not on any medical test that pinpointed an underlying defect in his brain -- a defect that supposedly caused him to gather guns and ammunition, drive to the shopping center where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was meeting with constituents and methodically shoot 19 people."
Paoletti: Raising a Genderless Child: Possible?
Discovery News: "With the decision not to tell people the gender of their 5-month old baby, a family in Toronto has evoked everything from passionate support to hostile criticism. The parents, who named the baby Storm, say their goal is to promote freedom, choice and a more progressive future, according to news reports. And while some experts support the idea of offering children an opportunity to grow up free of gendered expectations, others challenge the notion that such a thing is even possible. After all, each generation of parents develops a new set of rules and styles and ways of talking about gender and everything else. Yet, each new crop of kids manages to grow up, form identities, get jobs, marry and procreate. So, Storm's parents are sure to make a statement. But it is far less clear what the effects on the baby's life will be, or even if the experience will affect him or her much at all. 'My guess is that Storm is going to figure out who she or he is pretty much on schedule,' said Jo Paoletti, a University of Maryland fashion historian who explores the relationship between children's clothing and gender in her upcoming book 'Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America' and on her blog. 'No matter what parents try to do,' she said, 'children learn what is between their legs and what it's called and the results of that by age two or three.' The public's reactions about Storm parallel the response to a recent J. Crew ad, Paoletti added, which showed a boy getting his toenails painted pink. 'Both people who thought it was terrible and people who were supportive saw the parents as being these really powerful decision-makers who were going to shape their children's lives,' she said. 'I thought, "You know, you can shape some of it, but I think we tend to overestimate the range of things we can do."' Storm's parents, Kathy Witteric and David Stoker, are not the first people to try to raise a child free of gender stereotypes. A family in Sweden earned its share of media attention in 2009 when news came out that they were doing the same thing with their two-and-a-half year old child, named Pop. Both cases illustrate how deeply gender is woven into everything we do, said Naomi Scheman, a professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in the departments of philosophy and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. Gender affects the pronouns we use, the bathrooms we choose and the expectations we put on children to be either sweet or tough.
Swagel: Bernanke Faces a Crucial Decision as Economy Teeters
The Hill: "The Federal Reserve is at a crossroads. With its controversial second round of quantitative easing wrapping up at the end of June but the economic recovery losing momentum, many are wondering what the next move is for the central bank -- or if it even has one to make at all. When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the buying spree of $600 billion in Treasury bonds last year -- dubbed QE2 -- it was because the bank had already lowered interest rates as far as it could and was looking for another way to pump life into the economy. But the end of the effort is now in sight, and new economic data paint a disheartening picture of the economy. Economic indicators over the last two weeks have consistently come up short of analysts’ expectations, leading many to worry that the economy is losing steam. That has also given rise to fresh speculation that another bond buyback -- dubbed QE3 -- could be in the works at the secretive institution. 'Everyone thought a few weeks ago it was impossible to have QE3, and now it becomes a real possibility,' said Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer at Merk Investments. 'I’m sure they’re debating this furiously,' said Phillip Swagel, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland and former Treasury official under President George W. Bush. Absent a major downturn and a significant threat of deflation, many Fed-watchers are skeptical a third round of easing is in the works, if only because the second round apparently didn’t accomplish much. 'It probably didn’t have a huge positive effect on the economy,' said Swagel. 'The upsides to QE3 are very smal ... the downside is that the Fed could potentially lose its credibility.' "
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