Maryland Moments, October, 2010
President LohLoh May Face Another Alcohol Battle at Maryland
Daily Iowan: "Outgoing University of Iowa Provost Wallace Loh will face a situation similar to the one he's dealt with in Iowa City when he begins his presidency at the University of Maryland on Nov. 1: high-risk drinking. Officials there have implemented a number of efforts to combat underage and binge drinking, including a coalition focused on the issue and educational programs. But Loh -- who has been actively involved in attempting to change the alcohol culture in Iowa City - said he has not yet talked to anyone at Maryland about high-risk drinking and has no current plans for the situation in Maryland. No officials raised the issue during his "listening and learning" tours around campus, he said. 'I need to be informed as to whether there is a binge-drinking issue at [Maryland] and, if so, what is the scope and adverse effects of that problem on the safety, health, and academic success of students,' Loh wrote in an e-mail. Mark Srour, the owner of Cornerstone Grill and Loft -- one of the university city's most popular bars -- said the bar entry age is 21-only and has been since 1986. Despite this, officials said the bars in College Park are breeding grounds for underage drinkers who are able to gain entry with relative ease. 'There's a common joke that you could get into the bars with a library card,' said University of Maryland senior Lisa Crisalli, who serves on the school's Senate Executive Committee. While at the UI, Loh has increased collaboration with the city of Iowa City and the university to reduce binge-drinking. He headed the 23-person Alcohol Steering Committee for the Partnership for Alcohol Safety and publicly supports the 21-ordinance. 'There is no magic bullet,' Loh told The Daily Iowan last fall regarding the UI's drinking culture. 'It will take the involvement of everybody. This is everybody's problem.' "
UI Bids Loh Fond Farewell
Daily Iowan: "University of Iowa President Sally Mason recalled on Tuesday night when outgoing Provost Wallace Loh walked into her office with some news. 'I have an opportunity,' Loh told her. He'd just taken a call from University of Maryland officials about their open presidency. Despite knowing she could lose the UI's second-in-command, she told him it was a great opportunity. Roughly 30 faculty and other members of the UI community listened earnestly, champagne glasses in hand, to the Loh's farewell Tuesday. 'Barbara and I will always carry this place, and you, in our hearts with undying gratitude for what you have given us,' Loh said in the Wyrick Rotunda in the Levitt Center, choking back emotion. He will begin his new job as the president of the University of Maryland on Nov. 1. In his parting speech, Loh reflected upon the situations he and the UI faced during his two years: the 2008 floods, the plunging economy, and the plan to recover from both. 'We have been tested in the crucible of crisis,' he said, and he went on to note that 'great crisis also creates great opportunity.' President Sally Mason also spoke, lauding Loh's efforts with the many obstacles he faced and how he did so with 'enthusiasm and ambition.' 'He came eager and ready to serve,' Mason said. ... It has been a rapid transition for the soon-to-be president of the University of Maryland, who grinned and said his next big initiative will be packing. The reception wrapped up Loh's final engagements at the UI, which began the first day of October as his transition began."
RankingsUniv. of Maryland's Smith School of Business EMBA Program Ranks No. 15 in the U.S.
Business Journals, UM release: "The executive MBA program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business is ranked No. 15 in the United States and No. 36 in world, according to the 2010 Financial Times executive education rankings published today. The influential rankings place the Smith Schools' EMBA No. 1 in the world for corporate strategy and No. 9 globally for entrepreneurship and for faculty research, an area of strength for which the school is consistently recognized as a leader. 'We are proud to be the No. 1 program in the world for corporate strategy -- a recognition we've worked hard to achieve since starting our EMBA program less than 10 years ago,' said G. 'Anand' Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'We are the highest ranked program in the Baltimore-Washington region, following a previous great ranking by the Wall Street Journal. This ranking is a testament to the strength of our faculty and the real-world leadership development and applied research they bring into the classroom. With our emphasis on action learning and entrepreneurial problem solving, our students emerge as leaders and innovators in their organizations.' Smith's EMBA program was ranked No. 22 in the world by the Wall Street Journal in September 2010, which also ranked Smith No. 15 for how well it imparts management skills to students and No. 16 according to alumni rating. In addition to the EMBA degree program, Smith's top faculty share their expertise through the school's several non-degree programs. Executives can take part in the recently launched miniMBA 2.0 certificate program, which emphasizes practical skills development and professional networking for the increasingly technology- and analysis-focused business environment."
Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Students by Type of Institution, 2010-11
Chronicle of Higher Education:
College Awards Applicants U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor 40 144 Yale U. 31 111 Brown U. 24 96 Stanford U. 24 73 U. of Chicago 23 123 Northwestern U. 20 111 Arizona State U. at Tempe 19 50 Princeton U. 19 66 U. of California at Berkeley 19 90 Columbia U. 18 112 Cornell U. 18 76 Harvard U. 17 84 Johns Hopkins U. 17 65 Tufts U. 17 63 Boston College 16 62 Rutgers U. at New Brunswick 15 51 U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 15 83 U. of Washington 15 65 U. of Arizona 14 53 U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 14 56 U. of Louisville 14 31 U. of Wisconsin at Madison 14 60 College of William and Mary 13 43 Duke U. 13 57 George Washington U. 13 55 Washington U. in St. Louis 13 57 Georgetown U. 12 56 Ohio State U. 12 38 U. of Maryland, College Park 12 55 U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities 12 54 U. of Pittsburgh 12 34 Wake Forest U. 11 45
Goucher, UM climb Green campus Ratings, Hopkins Slips
"Goucher College and the University of Maryland, College Park rank among the greenest institutions of higher learning in the nation on the latest College Sustainability Report Card, boosting their grades to A- on the annual rating of everything from campus food and recycling to green building and the handling of their endowments. Greenest seven in the nation -- with 'A' grades -- were Brown University, Dickinson College in Carlisle PA, University of Minnesota, Oberlin College, Pomona College, University of Wisconsin - Madison, and Yale University. Goucher and UM got top marks on the green-ness of virtually all aspects of campus life and operations, but got marked down, respectively, for their lack of endowment transparency and 'shareholder engagement,' the latter term referring to whether the school uses its stock ownership to take public stands at shareholder meetings on issues like climate change. Johns Hopkins University, meanwhile, saw its grade slip to a C-plus this year, with just middling scores for food, recycling and green building and similarly poor assessments of its endowment operations. Loyola University, the only other Maryland school rated, improved its grade this year to a C. For more on the Maryland ratings or the college sustainability report card, go here."
UM College Sustainability Report Card
A- Overall, University of Maryland
Climate Change & Energy A
Food & Recycling A
Green Building A
Student Involvement A
Endowment Transparency A
Investment Priorities A
Shareholder Engagement F
Thirty-Two Colleges and Universities Chosen To Participate in Project on General Education for a Global Century
AACU: "The Association of American Colleges and Universities announced today the names of thirty-two colleges and universities chosen in a competitive process to participate in General Education for a Global Century, a curriculum and faculty development project that is part of AAC&U's Shared Futures initiative and is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. 'It was gratifying to see how many campuses applied to be part of this initiative," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. "It is testament to how seriously today's academy takes the challenge of preparing college students to participate effectively and responsibly in an interdependent global community. Both their future employers and our society need students with much higher levels of global knowledge and skill. This initiative will help the higher education community graduate students with these critical capacities. The Shared Futures initiative and this work on general education are important foci for AAC&U's ongoing work to connect liberal education with the needs of a fast-changing world.' The institutions selected are from all regions of the country and include institutions of many different types-including two-year and four-year, public and private institutions. Institutions selected include..."
California State University - San Marcos (CA)
Rider University (NJ)
Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
San Jose State University (CA)
Central College (IA)
Southern Connecticut State University (CT)
College of William and Mary (VA)
Spring Hill College (AL)
Delaware State University (DE)
St. Edward's University (TX)
Haverford College (PA)
St. Lawrence University (NY)
John Carroll University (OH)
The College of Wooster (OH)
Keene State College (NH)
University at Albany, SUNY (NY)
Kennesaw State University (GA)
University of Maryland College Park (MD)
Lynn University (FL)
University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
Miami University (OH)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (NC)
Michigan State University (MI)
University of South Florida (FL)
Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MN)
University of Wisconsin Colleges (WI)
Monroe Community College (NY)
Utah Valley University (UT)
Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA)
Oregon State University (OR)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)
Around 18 New Members Join GreenTouch Consortium
"Around 18 new organisations from across the telecommunications and energy sectors have joined the GreenTouch consortium. The new members such as equipment vendors, service providers, research institutions, and universities, will serve to sustain the momentum GreenTouch has generated since its launch in January and play a critical role in enabling the consortium to achieve its goal to demonstrate the enabling technologies that will achieve 1000 fold improvement in the energy efficiency of ICT networks. The new members, representing 11 countries and four continents, include Athens Information Technology (AIT) Center for Research & Education from Greece, Columbia University from the US, Draka Communications from The Netherlands, Dublin City University in Ireland, Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI) from Korea, Emerson Network Power, Energy Systems, North America, United States, Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT vzw) in Belgium, KT in Korea, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, Seoul National University in Korea, University of Cambridge in United Kingdom, University of Leeds in United Kingdom, University of Maryland in the US, University of New South Wales in Australia and Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland."
UM More Talented, Diverse Than Ever Before
UM release: "The University of Maryland has welcomed this fall its most academically prepared, talented and diverse freshman class. Maryland also welcomed a diverse new group of faculty that boasts nationally recognized talent and expertise. New Students According to Barbara Gill, assistant vice president for undergraduate admissions and enrollment planning, the university received more than 26,000 freshman applications, admitting 11,676 students for an admit rate of nearly 45 percent. Most admitted students earned an A/B+ average in their high school courses and have taken the most challenging courses available to them, including honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. 'For the University of Maryland, success is about finding ways to match great students with a great university,' said Gill. 'We have been very creative in our recruitment efforts, and they are coming to fruition now. But, more important, the incredible opportunities available here, coupled with affordability, make it very difficult for our top high school graduates to look out of state for a good college.' The university also enrolled an incoming class in which approximately 38 percent classified themselves as students of color (African American, Asian American, Native American and Latino). The majority of students are Maryland residents -- well-prepared academically, talented, with a passion to serve their communities. Half of the incoming students, for example, participate in one of the university's selective first year experience programs. Approximately 45 percent of the entering class will be enrolled in one of the university's prestigious programs for academically talented students -- Honors College and College Park Scholars."
Why College Park Draws the Best of the Best
Maryland Daily Record: Provost Nariman Farvardin writes an op/ed: "The University of Maryland, College Park is helping the state stanch one of its most costly leaks: the 'brain drain' that carries many of our most promising high school graduates to other states for a college education. This year's freshman class is demonstrating that we are keeping more of our best and brightest in Maryland, a benefit for the students themselves and for the entire state and its taxpayers. We have systematically created a pathway that is yielding strong results for you. Our strategic plan, now in its third year, holds us to a high standard of preparing our students to compete successfully in the global economy. Your investment of tax dollars is generating an excellent return. As Maryland's flagship university, we have the responsibility to attract the state's most talented students and provide them with an exceptional education so that as graduates they can serve their communities by starting and leading businesses, playing leadership roles in law, medicine, education and other professions, and tackling the state's most pressing challenges while contributing to our high quality of life. Why is that important? Your investment in our K-12 system has made it the best in the nation. But the State of Maryland has traditionally been one of the biggest exporters of talent in the nation. To be precise, more than 65 percent of the state's high-achieving high school graduates -- the products of our outstanding K-12 system -- pursue their college education elsewhere. National studies confirm that students are likely to look for jobs and remain in the state where they attend college. As these students leave Maryland, our talent pool and its wealth-generating and problem-solving capacity are diminished. We must ratchet up our efforts to keep our most talented students in Maryland, and we are determined to do so."
New UM Cybersecurity Center Aims at Public-Private Partnerships
UM release: "The University of Maryland is launching a new cybersecurity initiative that aims to stimulate public-private partnerships and address national vulnerabilities, including those facing industry. The idea is to help connect the dots in the region's burgeoning federal and private cyber sector. The focal point of the initiative, the new Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2), will adopt a holistic approach to cybersecurity education, research and technology development, stressing comprehensive, interdisciplinary solutions. MC2 will bring together experts from engineering and computer science with colleagues from across campus in fields such as information sciences, business, public policy, social sciences and economics to develop new educational and research programs. It will also draw on the university's technology commercialization resources. 'The nation's information systems have outgrown our ability to assure their security, and no one institution or sector can undertake a task of this magnitude alone,' said Nariman Farvardin, interim president of the University of Maryland, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. 'As one of the nation's top research universities, and with our strategic location, we are perfectly positioned to provide the education, expertise and collaboration that will help advance national and regional cybersecurity efforts.' The university's proximity to the nation's capital and close interactions with key federal agencies make College Park a unique place for cybersecurity education, research and technology development. Maryland leads the nation in information technology jobs, while more than half of the nation's internet traffic passes through the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area."
Academic Advantages and Critical World Problems Drive UM Integration of Two Science Colleges
UM release: "The University of Maryland today officially integrated its College of Chemical and Life Sciences with its College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences to create the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. The move is the culmination of a year-long effort by the two colleges and the university's administration. And it is in line with a growing trend among leading universities to integrate different areas of science as a way of strengthening the interdisciplinary education and research that now is seen as essential to effectively address major questions in science at the interface between the classical disciplines, as well as critical world issues such as climate change and the environment, and the application of genomics to human health. A 2009 National Academy of Sciences study has accelerated this trend with its call for 'the emergence of a New Biology,' that integrates biologists with physicists, chemists, computer scientists, engineers, and mathematicians 'to create a research community with the capacity to tackle a broad range of scientific and societal problems.' The University Senate voted on September 16, 2010 to integrate the two separate colleges and to approve a name for the new combined college. Those votes were followed in less than a week by approval of the changes, first by University of Maryland Acting President and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Nariman Farvardin, and then by University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan. On September 22 acting President Farvardin announced to campus that the formation of the new College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences would become effective on October 4."
UM Athletics Graduation Rate at Record 80 Percent
Baltimore Sun: "Maryland athletics increased its latest graduation success rate to a school-record of 80 percent, the university said. The information released by the NCAA and individual schools Wednesday covers the four entering freshman classes from 2000 through 2003. Maryland football improved to 64 percent from 60 a year ago. Men's basketball was still below 50 percent -- it was 31 this year. But the team was up from 8 percent a year ago and should show further improvement in future reports because 12 of the last 14 seniors have graduated, according to the school. The Graduation Success Rates counts incoming transfer students and midyear enrollees. It does not penalize schools for transfers who leave in good standing. The overall rate for Division I athletes was 79 percent, according to the NCAA."
University of Maryland Receives Inaugural Funding for Robertson Foundation Fellows
Newswise, UM release: "The University of Maryland's School of Public Policy has been selected as one of the inaugural homes for a major new fellowship program to help provide the federal government with future policy leaders in international relations and foreign affairs. The new Robertson Fellows program launches one of the biggest private investments in government service in recent years. The university is one of four universities awarded grants from the newly established Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG), a nonprofit family foundation dedicated to fulfilling the decades-long mission of Charles and Marie Robertson to equip young men and women for federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs. The initial grant of $340,800 will establish the Robertson Fellows Program within the School of Public Policy. Four Maryland students will receive full financial support during the two-year Master of Public Policy Program. Over the next three entering classes, a total of 12 students will receive full funding for their graduate studies through a combination of RFFG and School of Public Policy funding. Dean Donald F. Kettl, says the school is ideally suited for taking on the Fellows program. 'The Robertson Foundation for Government and the Maryland School of Public Policy share the same mission to identify talented individuals and provide them with the skills needed to address the pressing challenges facing our nation,' Kettl said. 'We are one of a few select programs in the country that provide graduate-level professional training in both public policy and international affairs.'
University Education Programs Brace for Impact of K-12 Reforms
Baltimore Sun: "Caitlin Krebs wants to teach in Baltimore City. Money isn't terribly important to the Westminster native, an early childhood education major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She wants to work where she feels most needed. But Krebs and other future educators are nervous about the prospects of a new teacher contract in Baltimore and about the national reform movement encapsulated by the Race to the Top for federal funding. They know they're more likely than their predecessors to be judged on the test scores of their students. And the promise of bigger raises is not enough to wipe away their misgivings. Baltimore contract has future teachers and their instructors nervous about how performance will be judged. 'On paper, it can sound like a really good idea,' Krebs says of reform measures like the Baltimore contract, which didn't pass a ratification vote in October but will be reconsidered by city teachers this month in similar form. 'But I don't feel that judging teachers' performance solely on assessments is appropriate. It's an easy way out.' Krebs' concerns are shared by many of the university professors and administrators charged with preparing the next wave of teachers. As teachers prepare to be evaluated on the performance of their students, education programs are readying for an era when they will be judged much more directly on the performance of their graduates. 'These new approaches are going to hold education schools accountable,' says Jennifer King Rice, a professor of education at the University of Maryland, College Park. 'Simply passing out a master's degree isn't going to be enough anymore, and I think that's a good thing.' But she and others caution that progress on accountability can be made only if the method of evaluating teacher performance is sound."
Playing Catch-up in Foreign Language Education
Kiplinger's: Firms -- and students -- that use new language-learning programs can get a leg up on their international competition. "Many language-learning firms offer versions of their programs tailored specifically to business needs. The programs not only capitalize on consumers' appetite for interactivity and social networking, but also target the interests of younger students and workers whose expertise will be crucial in coming years. In fact, employees in their 20s and 30s are generally the ones who push for more language help from their employers, says Pete Rumpel, a vice president at Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone does about 25% of its business with private companies and educational institutions. Enrolling in the programs is a resume builder for employees, too. When companies make relocation decisions today, 'they're not necessarily choosing between Kansas and Nebraska. They're deciding between Kansas and China,' says Rosemary Lahasky, director, communications and education/workforce policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce. 'The workforce of today and the future workforce will have to be able to speak foreign languages and be competitive. They're not going to rely on translators to get the work done.' Businesses should also focus on educating workers about a country's culture, a feature many of the programs, including Mango, make part of their curricula. What's more, learning just one foreign language can help a worker be more sensitive to cultural differences in many different countries, says Shuhan Wang, deputy director of the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. 'It's impossible to predict which will be the "hot" language or whether a company will send you to Russia or China,' Wang says. 'But if you have studied a language, you pay attention to a lot of cues on what is not being said versus what is being said.' "
At U.S. Colleges, Chinese-Financed Centers Prompt Worries About Academic Freedom
Chronicle of Higher Education: Professors keep watch for political interference at 61 Confucius Institutes, but there is scant evidence of meddling from China
"A little bit of China can be found on the University of Maryland's main campus here, tucked away in the basement of Holzapfel Hall. There, in Room 0134, sits the university's Confucius Institute, where the walls are draped with Chinese etchings and calligraphy, scenes from the Beijing Opera play out on a large computer screen, and people sit around a table learning Mandarin. The institute focuses on teaching Chinese language and culture. But it also wants students to feel good about China as a nation. Like the 60 other Confucius Institutes that have cropped up at colleges around the United States since 2004, the Maryland facility was established with the blessing, and the money, of the People's Republic of China. The Chinese government continues to give it about $100,000 in financial support annually, and to pay the instructors from China who teach there. Such arrangements allow colleges to provide a lot more instruction and programming related to China. Some faculty members and experts on Chinese politics worry, however, that the rapid proliferation of the institutes poses a threat to academic freedom and shared governance because of the way they involve the Chinese government in colleges' affairs. Professors at the University of Chicago protested its decision to open an institute there, and University of Pennsylvania faculty members cited concerns about Chinese-government involvement in opting not to seek to establish one. ... The Maryland institute has encountered 'no interference and no pressure at all' from the Chinese government or from China's Nankai University, which sponsors the institute, says Chuan Sheng Liu, a professor of physics who has served as director of Maryland's Confucius Institute since 2006. 'We are an American university, and the most important value is academic freedom,' Mr. Liu says. 'We don't want anything to interfere with that, and we stand very firm on that ground.' "
Maryland's Anderson Seeks New Era of Civility from Students
New athletic director makes public call for end to profanity at games
Baltimore Sun: "One of Kevin Anderson's first actions last week as Maryland's athletic director was to author a guest column for the campus newspaper challenging students to be "respectful" to opposing teams during sports events. After several days on the job, Anderson had already received messages from families complaining that Maryland fans' behavior was offensive. Anderson said he had been bothered by profane slogans he saw on T-shirts during recent football and men's soccer games against Duke. 'To be quite frank with you, I don't want my kids around that,' he said in an interview. Anderson's immediate foray into a divisive campus debate -- the issue of how to curb student profanity at Maryland games is a longstanding one -- did not surprise those who know him. The former Army athletic director, who began at Maryland on Oct. 1, wants to win games as much as any sports administrator. But friends and colleagues say Anderson, 55, is also guided by values that he calls 'old school.' ... Depending on how hard he pushes, Anderson may encounter student resistance. 'It doesn't seem as though students are too concerned about fixing this problem,' student body president Steve Glickman said in an interview. 'If the new athletic director were to try to combat this himself, I think he's going to face some backlash. If this is something we're going to overcome, it has to be completely student led.' "
Details of Contract for Terps Athletic Director Kevin Anderson Released
Baltimore Sun: New AD has five-year deal that could be extended each year; he will be paid $401,015 annually "Kevin Anderson's Maryland athletic director contract is for five years at $401,015 annually, but it contains a provision that could potentially keep him at the university much longer, according to a copy of the document obtained Tuesday. The contract says the five-year term shall be automatically extended each Sept. 30 by one year unless either party -- Anderson or Maryland -- 'informs the other in writing that ... it does not want to extend this contract for an additional year.' In addition to the base salary, the contract offers up to $50,000 collectively in incentives for athletes' graduation rates and academic achievements, athletic fundraising, and team success. There are also payments for such things as public appearances and moving expenses. The contract, signed by Anderson and acting president Nariman Farvardin on Oct. 13, is similar to the one held by former athletic director Debbie Yow, who left during the summer to assume the same position at North Carolina State. The Baltimore Sun obtained both contracts under a public records request filed with the university. As of now, Anderson's contract would expire on Sept. 30, 2015. Yow also began with a five-year contract but remained at the school 16years. Her base salary was nearly $400,000. Her contract was structured largely the same way as Anderson's, with add-ons for such items as athletes' graduation rates and fundraising success."
Maryland Reacts To Marching Band's Big Win
WJZ-TV: "A CBS hit helped the University of Maryland Marching Band win big. The band won $25,000 for its rendition of the 'Hawaii Five-0' theme song. Jessica Kartalija spoke with the band about the win. Everyone on campus is so excited for the marching band, and thanks to that hit CBS show, the band is taking center stage. 'It was up there on the screen,' said a band member 'We won. Wow.' Members of the University of Maryland Marching Band celebrated Monday as the winner of CBS' 'Hawaii Five-0' contest was announced during the hit show. 'Everyone was like, "Whoa, what just happened?" ' said one Maryland student. 'It was really insane.' "
Flying Robot, Unmanned Boat Put to Test at UM Robotics Center
Prince George's Sentinel: "The silver, foil robot rises swiftly above the field, flapping its wings and whirring like the Snitch in a game of Quidditch. Meanwhile, its human controllers below watch the trees for signs of a lurking hawk, worried the bird might mistake the robot for prey and attack. The robot, designed for aerial surveillance, is one of the many research projects underway at the University of Maryland's new Maryland Robotics Center, which brings together 25 faculty members in 18 labs for interdisciplinary robotics research. The center's opening this year puts the University of Maryland in the company of universities that include Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which already have well-established robotics programs. The goal at the University of Maryland is to eventually use large teams of researchers to address the "grand challenges" in the robotics field, said center Director Satyandra K. Gupta. The UM center, based within the College of Engineering in the Institute for Systems Research, has five research concentrations: medical robotics; robotics for extreme environments; miniature robotics; collaborative, cooperative, networked robotics; and unmanned vehicles. ISR Director Reza Ghodssi noted that these key areas are 'not unique to Maryland,' but work in each 'will eventually make this center very strong.' "
U.S. Science & Engineering Festival Premieres with Songs this Weekend
USA Today: "A concert of science songs kicks off the the nation's first science & engineering festival this weekend. Free of charge, the festival will feature everything from Nobel laureates demonstrating experiments to lessons on outsmarting robots. The 'US Science & Engineering Festival' events nationwide culminate Oct. 23-24 with thousands of hands-on science activities and all-day performances on four stages at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Satellite events at 50 sites in 20 cities nationwide, starting with the science song concert at the University of Maryland, will lead up to the grand event. 'With science and engineering education a priority, we hope the festival shows kids and adults just how much excitement there is in science,' said Larry Bock, who visited USA TODAY to talk about the festival in July. 'Science is fun, and we are going to let people have an opportunity to see how science works in the nation's capitol.' At this year's festival, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Institutes of Health, National Academies of Science and the Science Channel will host stage shows at the festival. Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the festival builds off the popularity of last year's San Diego science festival, which drew 200,000 people to a one-day event."
Archivist Compiles University of Maryland Pictorial History
Gazette Newspapers: "Finding indelible images that define the University of Maryland, College Park's history was easy for Jason Speck of Gaithersburg. Choosing from half a million photos was the hard part. Through more scrolling and sifting and digging than he cares to remember, Speck selected 209 pictures from the university's archives and created a pictorial history, 'University of Maryland,' part of Arcadia Publishing's Campus History Series.
The 127-page book was released Oct. 11, after about nine months of arranging the selected photos and writing text tracing the campus' 154-year development, from an institution with 34 students to one teeming with 35,000. Speck, an assistant archivist who came to the university in 2006 seeking his master's degree in library science, said compiling the book would have been impossible if he had flipped through all the archived images. Instead, he chose crucial points in the university's history and built from there. 'I sat down and looked at what stories I wanted to tell,' he said. 'I asked myself, "what do we think people should really be aware of about the [school's history]?" And then the goal was to find evocative photos that could fit those stories.' 'If you approach it from the story angle, it's a lot easier to whittle down 500,000 photographs,' Speck said with a laugh. The images in the book range from photos of the 1812 fire that destroyed much of the school's records and two main buildings to snapshots of Terrapins basketball star Len Bias gliding over defenders, dunking the ball and bringing thousands of fans to their feet in Cole Field House."
Admission to Top B-Schools Gets Easier
BusinessWeek: "The economic crisis that has already laid waste to the endowments and reputations of elite business schools now threatens to transform them yet again, this time by making them, well, a little less elite. A third of the top 30 U.S. business schools became less selective when admitting applicants to their full-time MBA programs in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek. While many schools, including the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Booth Full-Time MBA Profile), Harvard Business School (Harvard Full-Time MBA Profile), and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (Kellogg Full-Time MBA Profile), became more selective or reported no change, many others did something that top MBA programs rarely do: They became easier to get into. The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business (Ross Full-Time MBA Profile), UCLA's Anderson School of Management (Anderson Full-Time MBA Profile), Indiana University's Kelley School of Business (Kelley Full-Time MBA Profile), and the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business (Smith Full-Time MBA Profile) all admitted a significantly larger percentage of applicants in 2010 than they did in 2008, when the recession-era B-school application boom was at its peak."
Off CampusGoing 'Beyond the Genome'
Genome Web: "BioMed Central's Beyond the Genome conference in Boston this week -- which was held in conjunction with Genome Biology's 10th anniversary -- showcased the work of several researchers whose ideas go beyond just sequencing. The University of Maryland's Steven Salzberg kicked off the conference with a keynote speech about the work he and others are doing to try and accurately estimate exactly how many genes a person has. In 1964, F. Vogel wrote a letter to Nature estimating that humans have 6.7 million genes. He was way off, Salzberg said, but it hasn't gotten any easier over the years to make the estimate more accurate. In the mid-1990s, three different papers estimated the count to be 50,000 to 100,000, 64,000, and 80,000. Even after the draft genome was published, the estimates widely varied. The public consortium estimated the count to be between 30,000 and 40,000, while Celera and its private partners estimated 26,588, with 12,000 other additional 'likely' genes. So far, the most accurate estimate is 22,333 human genes, Salzberg said, but there is still much of the human genome that not much is known about, and RNA-seq is still revealing a lot of new genes that may have previously been overlooked. In the end, Salzberg said, it's not as important to know how many genes there are as to know what they are and what they do."
UM Professor to Review Baltimore Police Arrests
Role in checking compliance with legal settlement is Charles Wellford's third time auditing city police efforts
Baltimore Sun: "As a young man just out of graduate school in 1969, Charles Wellford approached the Baltimore Police Department with a pitch: to let him do a survey of citizens who called 911 to find out whether residents were satisfied with the police response. To his surprise, then-Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau enthusiastically said yes. Forty-one years later, Wellford, 71, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park will again be reviewing the Police Department's effectiveness -- this time as an auditor as part of a court settlement in which police vowed to distance themselves from 'zero tolerance' policies and better track citizen complaints. Wellford, along with former state appellate court judge and longtime Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew L. Sonner, are awaiting final approval to begin a three-year review of the department's compliance with the terms of the settlement.
Smith School: Leaders on Leadership
Washington Post: "Top executives from some of the region's biggest companies shared their insights on leadership with an audience of more than 200 businesspeople Oct. 1 during the inaugural conference of the Robert H. Smith School of Business's new Center for Leadership, Innovations and Change at the University of Maryland. Several talked about the secrets to their success. Here are some of the big takeaways: Attract the very best, diverse talent. Offer stimulating work, great benefits and leadership development. The millennial generation coming into the workplace now really values work-life balance, but its members will give you a creative energy that can lead to great innovations for your organization. Bob Stevens, chairman and chief executive of Lockheed Martin, discussed how Lockheed is dealing with the challenge of a workforce that is aging, with an increasing number of its employees near retirement. He said the company is committed to hiring the best talent available and that it is working hard to bring diversity of backgrounds, opinions, culture and ethnicity into its workforce."
Pioneers of American Electronic Media Named Giants of Broadcasting
Epoch Times: "Media personalities and pioneers gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (New York City) on Oct. 6 to commemorate life-long achievements of the frontmen of American broadcasting. Eleven men and women who once played or are still playing critical roles in the industry were honored at the eighth annual Giants of Broadcasting Awards. The Library of American Broadcasting created the awards to recognize dedicated individuals who have helped advance electronic media. The library, located inside the University of Maryland, is the biggest maintainer of historical broadcast materials. Among the winners was Hal Jackson, one of the first African-Americans to host radio and TV programs in the United States. An aspiring musician and a determined young man, Jackson was not discouraged when he was told by WINX-AM in 1939 that he would not be able to broadcast on their station because he was black. With a friend's help, he purchased 15 minutes of broadcasting time and started a show called 'The House That Jack Built.' "
BRAC Boom at Andrews May Have Lesser Impact in Prince George's
Washington Post: "The federal base realignment and closing plan will transfer thousands of new employees to Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, but the jobs are unlikely to result in the kind of economic boom that will take place near other military installations across the Washington region, including Fort Meade. 'This is one of the things that no one is talking about,' said David Byrd, deputy chief administrative officer for economic development for Prince George's. Andrews, which is home to more than 20,000 civilian and active-duty military personnel and families, will gain 400 new jobs from BRAC and an additional 2,600 jobs as a result of the Air Force and Air National Guard moving part of their headquarters from Virginia. The number of BRAC and non-BRAC employees at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County will increase by 20,000. Andrews will become Prince George's largest employer over the next decade, but county officials say they cannot speculate on whether the increase in jobs will have a significant impact on the county's economy. Many of the new employees may not move to the county, and all of the jobs will be on the base, said Byrd, the county's BRAC liaison. Currently, the University of Maryland at College Park is the county's largest employer."
Engaged StudentsWissahickon High School Grad O'Donnell Is Honored (National Sportswoman of Year)
Philadelphia Inquirer: "Katie O'Donnell, a graduate of Wissahickon High School, was honored as national sportswoman of the year Tuesday night by the Women's Sports Foundation. A member of the national field hockey team and a University of Maryland star, O'Donnell was one of five finalists. She beat out a fellow Terrapin, lacrosse player Caitlyn McFadden; USA softball star Jennie Finch; Olympic hockey gold medalist Meghan Agosta; and USA water polo goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong. 'I am still pinching myself to see if this is real,' O'Donnell said in a statement. 'I was alongside some of the most amazing names in women's sports, and it is just such an honor to be recognized amongst them.' O'Donnell has won numerous athletic awards throughout her high school and collegiate career. At 16, she became the United States' youngest field hockey national team player to compete in an international competition."
Festival on the Mall Challenges Young and Old to Think Scientifically
Washington Post: "More than 1,500 free, interactive exhibits drew about 500,000 people to downtown Washington this weekend to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. 'It's really important to reinvigorate the interests of young people in science and engineering,' said Larry Bock, the man behind the event. 'There's been this dramatic decline in the number of Americans going into advanced science positions ... and unless we can turn that around in one generation, the game will be over.' Inspired by a science festival organized by the University of Cambridge in England, Bock, an entrepreneur interested in science education, decided to organize a regional event in San Diego in April 2009. Farther down the Mall, at a tent hosted by the University of Maryland, graduate students presented their ongoing research on the use of real-time, high-resolution organ imaging to enhance organ transplantations. 'This technology is used in ophthalmology right now, but you can use this in kidney transplantations, too,' said Jeremiah Wierwille, a PhD student in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland. 'You can see if the donor kidney's damaged before you transplant it.' As parents listened to the students talk about how this research will soon be used in clinical trials at nearby hospitals, children got their hands scanned by the research group's original hand-held imaging tools. People could see the layers of their skin in real time without the mess of ultrasound imaging."
President Obama Says Cyberbullying 'Gets Out Of Hand,' At MTV Forum
MTV: 'The law is a powerful thing, but the law doesn't always change what's in people's hearts,' Obama says of what can be done." 'A Conversation With President Obama,' MTV's forum with the commander in chief to discuss issues important to young voters, kicked off with broad-spectrum questions about bipartisanship and the controversial stimulus package to address the economic downturn. But the live chat quickly drilled down to a subject uniquely affecting young people: cyberbullying. Ali von Paris, a junior at the University of Maryland, revealed that she has been a victim of harassment on the Internet. In light of the recent teen suicides as a result of Web bullying, she wanted to know if there were anything that could be done to stop the anonymous torment. President Obama talked about concrete measures his administration has taken to address the issue, the challenges of policing the Web and the importance of respecting personal differences rather than mocking them. 'Obviously, our heart breaks when we read about what happened at Rutgers, when we read about some of these other people who are doing nothing to deserve the kind of harassment and bullying -- just completely gets out of hand,' the president said, referencing the recent suicide of a gay college student following Internet harassment."
Integrity Provides Real-World Experience for UM Students
Frederick News-Post: "College students may learn a lot in a classroom, but real-world experience is always better. Integrity Consulting, 7360 Guilford Drive, Frederick, is providing that experience for five University of Maryland students and a professor. Through the university's Quest Program, participants are working with Integrity executives and staff on a project involving social media in emergency management. The goal is to provide a better way for collaboration and communication for emergency management and Homeland Security professionals. Pat Wheeler, CEO and co-owner of Integrity Consulting, said his firm has worked with universities in the past, but this is the first year with the Quest Program. 'We would like to establish a campus development center with Frostburg State University, a center for excellence,' Wheeler said. 'The goal would be to bring offshore jobs back on shore, creating technical capabilities in rural areas.' Integrity will be working with the University of Maryland participants for four months, Wheeler said. The program will also include on-campus work at College Park. Mike Fried, project manager for Integrity and a University of Maryland graduate, said participants will make a presentation on Dec. 3 as part of the overall Quest Program at the university. Quest is a three-year honors program for students in business, engineering and technology. The program is designed to teach students quality management, process improvement and system design in a team environment."
UM Students Will Study If Shells & Clay Can Clean Algae Blooms
Associated Press: "Could crab shells and clay help clean oxygen-robbing algae blooms from the Chesapeake Bay? That's the idea of a group of students at the University of Maryland that will be studied with the help of an $880,000 federal grant. Dr. Allen Place of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science will test the efficiency of the process. Place says the mixture of clay and a crab shell polymer known as chitosan causes the algae to clump together and fall to the bottom. Seeds for underwater grasses are also added to the mix so the grasses will help absorb the decomposing algae. Place says similar work has already been done in China and the Maryland researchers plan to test the approach on small lakes and the upper reaches of some tributaries."
Maryland Women Ruggers Find Life in a Club Sport Is a Full Ride
Washington Post: "The pregame ritual for Maryland's women's rugby team starts the night before when players gather to cook the meal they'll serve the visiting team after they've battered one another for 80 minutes. Two hours before kick off, the Terrapins arrive at the grassy field on Route 1 that's ringed by fraternities to set up the steel goal posts, erect the sideline barriers and braid each other's hair (French braids are best for securing tresses during battle). Steeped in two centuries of tradition, rugby -- a sport in which teams try to carry an oblong ball over the goal line by passing it backward and kicking it forward -- is classically contested by men. But on the campus of the University of Maryland, that's hardly the only convention that's being turned on its head. Unlike the university's 650 varsity athletes, whose perks include treatment from top-flight athletic trainers, access to state-of-the-art weight rooms, academic tutoring if needed and, in most cases, scholarships that cover tuition and fees, Maryland's women's rugby players pay for the privilege of competing. In return they get bruises and, in some cases, scars and concussions that attest to the sport's physicality. They also get a sisterhood that lasts a lifetime and a profound sense of empowerment."
Competitive Cheerleading Fights For Official Status
NPR Morning Edition: "Inside the pavilion on campus, the University of Maryland's competitive cheer team warms up with tumbles. Two young women take to the mat from opposite sides, looking all set for collision. 'Round off with back handspring, handspring full -- that's how they tumble all the time, crossing each other. They're not going to hit,' says Jarnell Bonds, head coach of competitive cheer at the university. They're known to many as cheerleaders - those pint-sized, superstrong women who flip, twist and hurl themselves into the air, wearing a smile while doing it. But they want you to know they're athletes, too. An all-female squad, the Terrapins -- more commonly called the Terps -- have won the national competition four times in its seven-year history. With their high ponytails, braids and red-and-black uniforms, the squad is all-business. Each member was scouted for the squad, and some study at the University of Maryland on scholarships. They strength-train and lift three times a week, and they practice stunts and tumbles, as they are called, for three hours a night, four nights a week. To Bonds, their schedules are no less punishing than any other serious athlete's on campus."
UM Senior Selected Federal Service Student Ambassador
UM release: "University of Maryland senior Aisha Hasan has been selected to serve as a Federal Service Student Ambassador -- a selective program run by the Partnership for Public Service. Hasan is one of 47 students across the country participating in this innovative program designed to increase interest in federal jobs and internships on college campuses through passionate student advocates actively promoting public service. Through the ambassador program, the Partnership strives to educate young people about the ways in which government affects our lives and how they can make a difference by working to solve some of the most pressing issues facing our country today. This fall, Hasan and the other ambassadors have been planning events, coordinating activities with career services, and holding office hours in order to become students' go-to resource on campus concerning internships or careers in the federal government."
James Rieck and Jonathan Monaghan at Hamiltonian Gallery
Washington Post: "On view alongside Rieck's works are those of University of Maryland student Jonathan Monaghan, 24, an able manipulator of 3D Studio Max, the video-making tool used for car and Coke commercials. That Monaghan's efforts here engage the same strategies as those used to create Coke's animated polar bears only enhances the wryness of his riff. In Monaghan's HD video 'Life Tastes Good' (yes, that's a Coke ad slogan), a massive white bear walks up, lies down and dies a Shakespearean death over three long minutes. He's an imposing figure (5 feet tall when on all fours) with a creepy red eye that's half Pepsi roundel and half Coke emblem. A red Coke ribbon rings his waist. His ghostly white form emerges against a black background as if he's in the gallery with us. His final minutes are a riveting evocation of global warming, capitalist suffocation and grief over a furry creature's agony."
This Fantasy League Gets a Stage in New York, for Real
Wall Street Journal: Harry Potter's 'Quidditch' Game Grows Up; Making Do With Brooms That Don't Fly "Like freshman everywhere, Xander Manshel and his Middlebury College classmates found themselves in their first year of college pondering some of life's biggest mysteries-like how to play Quidditch if you can't, like Harry Potter, fly? The solution: race around in capes and goggles with broomsticks between your legs, while shooting balls through mounted hula hoops. Their version of the game, first played in 2005, was modeled on matches described in J.K. Rowling's novels. 'Quidditch was this bridge between the fantasy world of the books and the more concrete world of college,' says Mr. Manshel, who has graduated and now teaches English. 'For us [playing] was a way to have both.' But now Harry has grown-up -- and so has the sport. There are tournaments, new rules and special brooms for competitive play. The 'Quidditch World Cup' is moving this year to the Big Apple from Middlebury's idyllic campus. More than 60 college and high school teams have registered to compete Nov. 13 and 14 -- up from 20 last year -- at a park in Manhattan. 'Our hope is that it will be a real coming out party for the league,' says Alex Benepe -- one of the sport's founders and president of the newly formed nonprofit International Quidditch Association. It's now played at hundreds of schools, he says. But just as Harry experienced growing pains, so has the 'muggle' version of the game. (Muggle is the books' term for nonmagical people.) Some players want it to become more serious -- with coaches, training and cuts to make the team. Others prefer to retain its innocence and inclusiveness, even for the un-athletic. The game is 'organized, but has a free spirit,' says Kate Olen, a senior at Middlebury and its Quidditch commissioner. Initially, the game was more popular with Potter fanatics, but now, 'more athletes are coming up,' she says. Valerie Fischman, who plays Quidditch at the University of Maryland, would like to see it go much further. She's been finding out what needs to be done to get the sport NCAA status. That, she says, could "be a stepping stone" to becoming an Olympic sport. The National Collegiate Athletic Association says typically 40 to 50 schools need to sponsor a varsity sport for it to consider sponsoring a national championship. The most recent sport to gain such status: women's bowling."
Planners Pick Favorites
Washington City Paper: "The National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association had its annual wing ding yesterday to honor the best plans and the planners who plan them. The honors skew a bit towards Maryland, but D.C. public and private entities scored a few accolades. Here's the list ...
Sherwin Greene Award, Leadership by a Student Planner: Stacie L. West, University of Maryland."
Three Win Prestigious HRI Scholarships
Garden Center Magazine: "The Horticultural Research Institute, the research affiliate of the American Nursery & Landscape Association, recently awarded three prestigious scholarships to students pursuing degrees in horticulture-related fields. The 2010 Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow, Jr. Scholarship went to Amanda Lilly of Salem, Mass. Lilly, a second year graduate student at City College of New York, received a $2,000 scholarship in support of her Master of Science in Landscape Architecture. Additionally, HRI awarded the 2010 Carville M. Akehurst Memorial Scholarships in the sum of $1,000 each to Lucy Wang and Julia Kriz. ... Wang is a resident of Lutherville, Md., and a junior at the University of Maryland majoring in landscape architecture. 'I am very honored to be a recipient of the Carville M. Akehurst Memorial Scholarship for 2010 and will continue to work hard to contribute to a more sustainable and green future,' she said."
PeopleNASA Leaders Receive Awards From Women in Aerospace
NASA:"Four current NASA leaders and one retiree were recognized for their work by Women in Aerospace at the organization's annual awards ceremony and banquet on Tuesday, Oct. 26. The event celebrates women's professional excellence in aerospace and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the aerospace community. ... In addition to the NASA recipients, Alison Flatau, associate dean and professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, received the Aerospace Educator Award, and Donna K. Collins, director, Program Management, at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Ft. Worth, Texas, received the International Achievement Award."
Fall Institute Fellows Selected
Harvard Crimson: "Harvard's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research announced the selection of fourteen new Institute Fellows for the fall of 2010 last Wednesday. The Fellows, including both established and emerging scholars who hail from four different countries, will be in residence at Harvard for either the fall semester or the entire academic year to conduct individual research projects. Their research, to be presented as part of a weekly colloquium at the Barker Center, covers a wide range of topics in the study of the African-American experience, including the movement for racial equality in the 1940s and 50s, the relationship between blacks and Asians, and African-American theatre and literature. ... [F]or the first time, two of the Du Bois Fellows are teaching courses in the Department of African and African American studies open to both Harvard undergraduate and graduate students. Grey Gundaker, a professor at the College of William and Mary, is teaching 'African Americans and the Politics of Home Ground' this fall and will teach another course in the spring. University of Maryland curator Adrienne L. Childs is teaching 'Imaging Blacks and Blackness in Western Art from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century'; this fall."
Dye Is cast in New Role at University of Maryland
Business Gazette: University program fosters lab-to-market initiatives "The new director of a University of Maryland program that tries to convert university research into marketable products hopes to use his vast networking experience to help entrepreneurs take their ventures to the next level. Craig Dye, 51, has succeeded Jim Chung as director of the university's VentureAccelerator program, part of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute in College Park. The program helps university researchers prepare to shift their products from the lab to the marketplace by helping them establish funding, an executive management team and a clear business plan. Dye formerly was director of venture investments at the university's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, an initiative for enterprise creation and funding. He also worked with Chung before joining the university, offering mentoring and investments to VentureAccelerator companies and later helping judge Mtech's $75K Business Plan Competition. 'When Jim left, it opened up a much clearer path for my helping entrepreneurs,' Dye said. 'When I started my own business, I never thought to come to the university. Since I've been here, it's been amazing what's going on.' The VentureAccelerator has graduated eight companies since it began in 2005, including Resensys, which develops sensors for monitoring critical infrastructure; Video Semantics, which develops video search systems to retrieve only relevant segments; and Zymetis, which develops systems for converting cellulose into energy. Current participants include Remedium Tech, which develops innovative products to treat bleeding, and OmniSpeech, which develops speech extraction technology for cell phones."
Barnes Brings Expertise from Ohio to UM Program
New director to stress �differentiation' to help manufacturers
Business Gazette: "For years, the University of Maryland's Manufacturing Assistance Program has focused on improving companies through their operational aspects. But the arrival of the program's newest director could signal a significant shift in that policy. Bill Barnes, 56, took over the position in Baltimore last month, having worked on a similar program, the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network in Cleveland, Ohio. Both programs are part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and are supported by both federal and state money, as well as service fees. Barnes took over the post from Martha Connolly, who was the interim director for the past two years. Barnes wants to maintain the program's efforts to encourage Lean practices among manufacturers, but he also plans to supplement those efforts with greater attention to differentiating products among companies. Lean is a systematic process that emphasizes eliminating non value-added activities to improve productivity, quality and delivery, according to the university."
Vibrant StateAn Assist for Absentee Voters
Baltimore Sun: State's new process makes it easier for Marylanders to vote from out of town Paul Herrnson, director of the Center Center for American Politics and Citizenship, writes an op/ed: "Imagine being a soldier fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq so that citizens there have the right to vote, but not being able to vote yourself. This is a reality for many in our nation's armed services. Fortunately, Maryland now has a new way to make sure its citizens who are serving overseas in the military and the diplomatic corps -- or who are away on business or at college -- can exercise their precious right to vote. Along with senior citizens and the disabled, these groups often experience great difficulty voting because of the challenges in getting to their polling place. What's changed is the state's system for handling absentee ballots: It is among the first in the nation to distribute these via the Internet. We hope it will serve as a model for other states. Until now, absentee ballots were sent in the mail. Too often, they never reached voters in time, if at all. The Internet-based absentee ballot delivery system promises to return the vote to citizens who have faced these difficulties in the past. The On-Demand Ballot System, developed by the University of Maryland's Center for American Politics and Citizenship (which I direct), in partnership with the Maryland State Board of Elections, is an automated Internet-based ballot delivery system that got its first trial run in last month's primary and is now in operation for next month's general election."
Md. Is First in Nation to Put Absentee Ballots Online
Associated Press: "Maryland is becoming the first state in the nation to make absentee ballots available online. The University of Maryland's Center for American Politics and Citizenship announced it is making the ballots available on Friday, in a partnership with the Maryland State Board of Elections. The ballots will be available on the Maryland Elections Center website. The On-Demand Ballot System automatically creates a document including the ballot file for the voter, instructions and an oath of absentee voting. It assigns a security number and creates a personalized mailing label with a barcode to ensure only one ballot is counted per person.
UM Study Sees Promise, Pitfalls of Offshore Wind
Baltimore Sun: "Building commercial wind turbines off Maryland's Atlantic coast could well produce enough electricity to meet the state's goals for generating renewable energy -- but significant hurdles must be overcome to realize that potential, a new study says. So says a new study by the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research. 'Offshore wind is not a slam dunk for Maryland, but the potential remains very strong,' says Matthias Ruth, the study's principal investigator and director of the UM center. 'It's economically feasible and environmentally advantageous, but will require some tough trade-offs, compromise and collaboration between public and private sectors.' Offshore turbines are increasingly common in Europe and elsewhere, but have yet to be built in the United States. Various economic, political and technical issues must be resolved the study says. The recent pullback by Constellation Energy from seeking to build a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs may boost the momentum for offshore wind, the report says. Also helping was the recent announcement by a Google-led investment group of its plans to underwrite development of an offshore wind transmission grid along the East Coast. Maryland has joined with neighboring Mid-Atlantic states in seeking to coordinate its wind development. Getting electricity from wind turbines off Maryland appears to be much less costly if the transmission lines come ashore on the Delaware coast - an estimated $20 million at Bethany Beach versus $200 million near Ocean City, the report says. There's also potential for turbines off Maryland's coast to interfere with radar operations at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, and with radar on military ships and planes in the area, the report notes."
Grant Could Help Make Tarnish History
Baltimore Sun: University of Maryland and the Walters work to develop a technique that slows blackening on silver to a nearly undetectable rate "Don't throw away the blackening silver tea service that you inherited just yet. A new microscopic coating being developed by the University of Maryland and the Walters Art Museum might get you sparkling sterling -- without hours of elbow grease. The university's A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Walters have received a three-year grant to develop a technique to slow the tarnishing of silver objects to a nearly undetectable rate. The $500,000 project, which would involve refining a process called 'atomic layer deposition,' is being designed primarily to benefit museums such as the Walters, which have extensive collections of ancient silver statues, jewelry and drinking vessels. But somewhere down the road -- possibly far, far down the road -- that same process could have everyday applications. Homemakers might start using their prized silverware on days other than Thanksgiving. Tiffany & Co. could apply the coating to its line of sterling jewelry to persuade consumers to splurge on a costly bangle. 'I can easily imagine that there could be an application to the jewelry industry,' said Ray Phaneuf, a professor of materials science for the engineering school. 'Silver is famous for tarnishing, polishing an intricate necklace can be a nightmare and polishing removes some of the silver metal. There's a lot of evidence that aluminum oxide may be a good choice for standing up to wear and tear. It's already used on bicycle rims, and they're constantly being abraded by the pedals.' "
Univ. of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship Awarded for Excellence in Teaching, Student Activities
Business Journals, UM release: "The University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business won the top award for innovative teaching methods from the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC). The organization recognized the Dingman Center with the 'Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovation' award at its annual conference at Pennsylvania State University on Oct. 23. This year, the center marks its 25th year of helping students and regional entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into successful startups. The award is given to the entrepreneurship center committed to maximum current and future student benefit through excellence in teaching and pedagogy, demonstrated by activities to change and improve the way entrepreneurship is taught and learned. The awards committee pointed to the Dingman Center's international student programs. Each year, the center sponsors international entrepreneurship experiences for students with a China Business Plan Competition in Beijing and a summer technology transfer program in Israel. 'This award is so exciting because it validates our curricular design for global collaborative learning environments,' said Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. 'Our partnerships in China and Israel bring Smith MBA students to two of the most dynamic global entrepreneurship environments. Additionally, this is another wonderful recognition of the innovation and leadership the Dingman Center has demonstrated for 25 years.' The GCEC recognizes top entrepreneurship centers at its annual conference with its 'Excellence in Entrepreneurship; awards, selected by a panel of peer center directors."
NASA to Demo 40/100-Gigabit Networking at SC10
NASA: "NASA and a team of federal, university and vendor partners will be demonstrating significant local- and wide-area file transfers using 40- and 100-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) network technologies at SC10, the international conference on high-performance computing, networking, storage and analysis, November 15-18, 2010. The 'Using 100G Network Technology in Support of Petascale Science' demonstrations will cut across several exhibits connected to SC10's SCinet inside New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., and other US locations. The demonstrations are part of the SCinet Research Sandbox (SRS) featuring four large-scale networking projects. 'For supercomputing applications such as climate modeling, users need to be able to copy data files that are expanding at an ever-increasing rate,' said J. Patrick (Pat) Gary, project manager for GSFC's High-End Computer Networking (HECN) Team. 'A current case is the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, for which modeling centers will produce tens of petabytes of data that need to be available at multiple sites around the globe. To tackle such challenges, we are purposefully working with files as large as 128 gigabytes using a variety of file-copying applications.' The NASA team's SC10 demonstrations will feature different approaches to full-duplex 40- and 100-Gbps networking across the SRS infrastructure among the exhibits of NASA (booth # 3839), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (booth # 3639), the University of Illinois at Chicago Laboratory for Advanced Computing/Northwestern University International Center for Advanced Internet Research (booth # 3521) and the SCinet Network Operations Center (booth # 3351). These connections will be load-stressed by sets of HECN Team-built, relatively inexpensive, network-test workstations. ... Several of the NASA team's SC10 demonstrations will be conducted between the StarLight exchange facility in Chicago and SC10 across 8x10-Gbps and 1x100-Gbps 'for SC10 only' network pathways enabled respectively by the National LambdaRail (NLR) and Internet2, and then on to GSFC via a standing 4x10-Gbps network pathway enabled by NLR and the University of Maryland, College Park's Mid-Atlantic Crossroads."
Cultivating a New Future for Chesapeake's Oyster Industry
Bay Journal: "If you want to get into the oyster business, you need nerves of steel. Over the last decade, close to a dozen oyster farms have cropped up in Maryland and Virginia. Everything that could go wrong for them has gone wrong. One farmer's oysters were stolen when he put them in an unmarked bed. Another tells of losing much of his early crop to cownose rays. Another encountered the parasite Dermo, which wiped out thousands of dollars of profits in a single season. Still others talked of long waits to acquire the permits to build their operations, or battles with neighbors who were not keen to see oyster floats interrupting their view. But they stuck it out. Today, they are pioneers in oyster aquaculture, an industry that both Maryland and Virginia want to see grow. Getting into the industry isn't an easy sell, especially to the Chesapeake Bay's dwindling number of watermen. The wild harvest they pursue can be unpredictable, but it's nothing compared with the uncertainty of aquaculture, where oyster farmers sink thousands of dollars into a crop they hope will be around next year. 'That's probably going to be the most difficult thing for some watermen, to go from being a harvester who gets up in the morning and takes what Mother Nature gave them to someone who is thinking ahead,' said Don Webster, an extension agent at the University of Maryland who has been working to promote aquaculture for the last three decades. 'It's farming, but it's more like planting an orchard.' "
Group Aims to Help Farms achieve Nutrient Goals in Doable Increments
Bay Journal: "Like many farmers, Kevin Craum is worried that state and federal agencies - people who know little about how his farm operates - will soon increase regulatory controls on his and other farms and write rules for him, his brother and other farmers to follow. In a step they hope could fend off such rules, the Craums last year began participating in a pilot program started by Water Stewardship, an Annapolis-based nonprofit group, aimed at bringing their farm into compliance with state nutrient reduction goals over a 12-year period. The program encourages farmers to commit to continuous improvement programs that set a series of two-year goals spread out over a period of 12 years. In exchange for their commitment, Water Stewardship would provide plans, monitor progress and vouch for the farmers' achievement. The organization's independent observation would give state and federal regulators a third-party's validation that pollution reduction goals were met. That third-party validation is important. As part of its Bay cleanup plan, the EPA is pressing states to establish enforceable and accountable agricultural programs to provide 'reasonable assurance' that nutrient reduction goals will be met. Tom Simpson, a retired soil scientist from the University of Maryland who is executive director of Water Stewardship, said the independent validation is a contrast to the past, when self-reported, but unconfirmed, activities sometimes counted as progress toward goals. 'The days of saying "trust me, I did it," are kind of past,' Simpson said. 'We absolutely think this (validation provided by Water Stewardship) should constitute reasonable assurance.' The incentive for farmers, he said, is 'we will stand behind them.' The organization will vouch that the farmer is delivering promised improvements, and will have its independent records to prove it. Simpson isn't necessarily against new regulation, but he thinks they should be written to guarantee the performance of Water Stewardship and other third-party evaluators."
USDA Report Says Farms Aren't Doing Enough to Protect Water Quality
Eight out of 10 acres of cultivated land need better nutrient management
Bay Journal: "A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that farmers aren't doing nearly enough to prevent pollution from cropland entering the Chesapeake Bay. The draft report, 'Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,' was put together by the USDA's Conservation Effects Assessment Project. It was released at a time when farm advocacy organizations from Virginia to New York have said their members are doing enough to control pollution from fertilizers, and resisting efforts that could force more, and faster, action. 'The report is so significant because it comes from USDA,' said Gerald Winegrad, a former Maryland state senator and chairman of the 58 Senior Bay Scientists and Policy Makers for the Bay. 'It's the acknowledgement of what people have known all along, that one, agriculture is the biggest source of pollution, and two, that agriculture is far from doing all that it can.' The report found that eight out of every 10 acres of cultivated farmland still needs better nutrient management. On two out of three of the acres, excessive levels of nitrogen are lost in subsurface pathways. On slightly more than one in four acres, not enough is being done to control erosion from sediment. ... Russ Brinsfield, executive director of the University of Maryland's Harry Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, agrees that the focus needs to be not just on the application rates, but also their timing and method. For example, science has shown that injecting fertilizer into the soil is "really important," Brinsfield said. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service has developed several manure-injecting techniques for farmers using dry poultry litter. But a lot of farmers in the Bay watershed still prefer to broadcast manure, because it takes less time. Brinsfield, who is a farmer as well as a small-town mayor and scientist, understands well the farmer's predicament, especially in light of new limits coming from the TMDL. But he says the farmers can't continue to say they're doing all they can when the USDA has evidence to the contrary. 'I think it's going to be difficult for the agricultural community to keep saying "we're doing our part" when a top agricultural regulator is saying we have got to do more,' he said. 'It's pretty remarkable, particularly coming from the USDA -- I'm sure it wasn't planned this way, but I think the timing is really important.' "
UM to Lead $5 Million NSF-Funded Research Partnership to Develop Drought-Tolerant Canola Crops
Scientific Computing, UM release: "The University of Maryland has received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a multi-institutional research partnership that will aid in developing agricultural crop plants able to withstand drought conditions. The project will focus on guard cells in the canola plant (Brassica napus). Canola is an important oilseed crop grown for both human consumption and biodiesel production. June Kwak, associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, will lead the research group that will analyze the cellular activity and gene expression in guard cells that influence how plants respond to drought. Plants lose water through microscopic pores on their leaves that allow water to evaporate and carbon dioxide to enter for photosynthesis. The pores, called stoma, are regulated by 'guard cells' which surround each pore and close under drought conditions, thereby promoting plant water conservation. 'Our ultimate goal is to understand how guard cells, and thus plants, respond to drought,' says Kwak. 'We also want to translate this knowledge to generate plants and crop species that are tolerant of drought, plants that could use water more efficiently.' "
2030 Group -- A Glimpse Into the Future
Business Leaders Offer a Wake-up Call on the Region's Economic Future
270 Inc Magazine: 'The center is looking at different models of governance [for the 2030 Group] to get the 20-plus regional governments to work more cooperatively and tackle some of the issues from a regional standpoint,' said William Lucyshyn, director of research for University of Maryland's Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise. 'It's not clear that there's been a strong leadership focus or governance structure in place to take advantage of [our regional] strengths.' The gauntlet thrown, will the road to 2030, then, bring blessings to area arteries and local infrastructures -- or curses? Will it be the best of times, or a worsening of times, with greater gridlock, poorer air quality and standards of living and school systems unequal to the task of 21st century workforce development? ... It's a problem (political parochialism) that the 2030 Group has asked UMD's Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise (CPPPE), which will host the next 2030 Group workshop, to explore from the standpoint of workable models of regional governance. It's also a problem that CPPPE's Lucyshyn likens to the birth pangs of the European Union. 'We've actually talked to several of the political leaders in the area," he said. "I think most of them understand the need for a regional approach. But most of them will tell you that there's a lot of political roadblocks. If there's a regional tax, for example, it may be viewed as a transfer of income from, say, one county or jurisdiction to another. How do you sell that?' "
GE Scientists Employ Jet Engine Cooling Technology in Prototype LED Bulb
GE news release: "Scientists from GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Company, GE Lighting, and the University of Maryland -- as part of a two-year solid-state lighting program with the U.S. Department of Energy -- have announced the successful demonstration of a 1,500-lumen LED bulb (a standard 100-watt halogen PAR38 bulb produces 1,500 lumens) that addresses key barriers to more widespread adoption of LED bulbs for general lighting. The prototype provides a snapshot of the future: 'The scientists and technology leaders involved in this collaboration are dissolving some major barriers to the commercialization of general lighting LED bulbs,' says John Strainic, global product general manager for GE Lighting. 'We're taking swings at issues such as higher light output options, thermal management, and bulb size and weight. This kicks open the door to the solid-state age that is upon us.' This LED technology achievement was announced today during a future of lighting symposium that GE hosted at its Global Research headquarters in Niskayuna, NY. As part of the DOE project, GE and the research team of Professors Bongtae Han and Avram Bar-Cohen at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering have developed and demonstrated novel cooling technologies that effectively manage the heat and promote lower system costs by reducing the number of LED chips required, when compared to conventional cooling technologies. Mehmet Arik, a mechanical engineer at GE Global Research and principal investigator on the LED project, says, 'This is a revolutionary cooling technology with great promise. It has the potential to help us take LED lighting performance and efficiency to new heights. Through further research and improvements, we may be able to increase performance without compromising the efficiency or lifetime of an LED bulb.' "
Federal Report Faults Farmers' Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Efforts
Baltimore Sun: Despite progress, most croplands need more pollution controls "Seeming to contradict assertions by farmers that they're doing their share to protect the Chesapeake Bay, a new federal report finds major shortcomings in what crop growers are doing across the six-state region to keep from polluting the troubled estuary. While farmers have made "good progress" in reducing the amount of soil and fertilizer washing off their fields into the bay and its rivers, more pollution controls are needed on about 81 percent of all the croplands, says the draft report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And nearly half of the region's 4.3 million acres of croplands are 'critically undertreated' to keep pollutants from running or seeping into nearby ditches and streams. The 161-page federal report -- the most comprehensive analysis of farm conservation practices in the bay region to date - relies on computer modeling and hundreds of soil and other samples taken across the region, plus a survey of farmers. It has not been officially released, but an Internet link to a 'review draft' was distributed Tuesday to news media and to environmental groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service released a statement late Tuesday saying that the draft report, though still under review, "suggests that conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay are working but 'more work remains to be done.' ... The new report comes a month after another by the U.S. Geological Survey, which found the bay restoration effort to date has made uneven progress and that water quality in the Choptank River, which drains mostly agricultural land, has actually worsened. 'It doesn't surprise me that we need to do more,' said Russell B. Brinsfield, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Agro-Ecology and an Eastern Shore farmer himself. Brinsfield suggested that the problem is that state and federal officials aren't requiring enough controls on how and when farmers apply fertilizer to their crops. 'It's not that farmers aren't doing what they're asked,' he said. 'They just need to be asked to do more.' "
Global CommunityA Common Harvest of Hate
Lebanon Daily Star: "At the impressive annual conference of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University near Boston that I was privileged to attend last week, a range of American scholars, public servants and journalists showed that more nuanced and accurate knowledge of the Middle East is alive and well in the United States. It tends not to shape national policy or public sentiment very much, however, because it is overwhelmed by the more virulent forces of anger, ideological bias, ignorance, demagogic political expedience, and plain old revenge after the 9/11 attack. Speaker after speaker clarified accurately the true range of sentiments and political forces that confront each other across the Middle East, outlining the many contested issues that Americans, Arabs, Turks, Israelis and Iranians need to address and resolve, and the underlying sentiments that fuel the various conflicts all around the region. Arabs for their part also see trouble when they view the United States, whether for good reason or not. Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University quoted a new Gallup Muslim World Poll showing that 63% of Muslims polled in the Mideast region feel that Islamic societies respect the West, but just 28% feel that the West respects Islam in return. Dr. Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland said that his polling in six representative Arab countries showed that 61% of Arabs say their negative views of the United States are a consequence of American policies towards the Arab-Israeli conflict. Former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas W. Freeman summed it up succinctly with his statement that, 'All you have to do to be hated is to do hateful things.' "
Science & TechnologyMaryland-Led Spacecraft Encounters Hartley Comet
EPOXI spacecraft flies within 435 miles of nucleus
Baltimore Sun: "It looks like a big peanut. The first close-up images of the nucleus of Comet Hartley 2 showed a lumpy, elongated hunk of gray ice and dust, with traces of gas and dust emerging from one end into the sunlight. The images were transmitted from NASA's EPOXI spacecraft and displayed just after 11 a.m. on screens at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. It is only the fifth time that a spacecraft has sent back close-up photos of a comet's nucleus. It is also the smallest of the five, barely a half-mile long. The first close-up pictures were greeted with exclamations, cheers and applause in the JPL control center. The EPOXI mission is being led by scientists at the University of Maryland College Park, and principle investigator Michael A'Hearn. 'Thanks to all, Great Job!' A'Hearn told the JPL controllers. Also on hand was Malcolm Hartley, the Australian astronomer who discovered the comet as a "smudge" on photographic plates in 1986. After the first high-resolution images were received, he began a circuit of the control room, shaking hands with everyone. 'It's absolutely awesome. I've been awed by everything that's happened in the last couple of weeks,' he said. JPL engineers reported the spacecraft made 199 successful images of the comet during the close pass, with no failures. Thousands of images taken before, during and after the encounter will be transmitted to Earth later Thursday. The flyby was within a kilometer of the predicted path, about 435 miles from the comet. The events were covered live on NASA TV."
Gene Patent Ruling Raises Questions for Industry
New York Times: "When the Justice Department declared in a court filing late Friday that genes should not be eligible for patents because they are products of nature, Harold C. Wegner, an influential patent lawyer in Washington, did not mince words. 'Eric Holder Hijacks the Patent System, Flunks Patents 101,' Mr. Wegner wrote in an e-mail to 1,250 people, referring to the attorney general. Sharp reaction greeted the declaration that human and other genes are not patentable, a reversal of what had been the government's policy for decades. One patent lawyer characterized the new position as dumb. The Biotechnology Industry Organization warned that such a policy, if carried out, would 'undermine U.S. global leadership and investment in the life sciences.' But the new stance cheered those who believe that such patents retard rather than spur medical progress and interfere with people's access to information about themselves. 'If you want to look at your own genome and see if you have a mutation, you should be able to do that without paying a license fee to someone else,' said Steven Salzberg, a professor of computer science and genetics at the University of Maryland. The government's new policy was outlined in a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit challenging patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation on two genes that are linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The government's new policy was outlined in a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit challenging patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation on two genes that are linked to breast and ovarian cancer. ... Professor Salzberg of the University of Maryland has developed a computer program that can analyze a person's genome for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. 'We did it to show how it would be easy today for someone to get their genome sequenced and to do their own genetic testing,' he said. Right now, it costs $10,000 or more to get a personal genome sequence. But in a few years, it is expected to cost only $1,000 or so. It might then be possible to have one's DNA sequenced and analyzed for mutations in hundreds of genes for less than Myriad charges for two genes."
Computational Model of Swimming Fish Could Inspire Medical Prosthetics
Asian News International: "Scientists at the University of Maryland and Tulane University have developed a computational model of a swimming fish that will help design medical prosthetics for humans, which work with the body's natural mechanics, rather than against them. The study is the first to address the interaction of both internal and external forces on locomotion in large, fast animals like fish. The interdisciplinary research team simulated how the fish''s flexible body bends, depending on both the forces from the fluid moving around it as well as the muscles inside. 'The devices may one day help people regain control over their legs and walk again,' Professor Avis Cohen, Department of Biology said. 'We understand to first order the neural circuit that controls the muscles for swimming or walking. Now, for neuroprosthetics, we need to understand how the muscles interact with the body and the environment -- our model helps us do that,' he added. This research is published in the October 18, 2010 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
UM Neuroscientists Discover Nicotine Could Play Role in Alzheimer's Disease Therapy
UM release: "A team of neuroscientists has discovered important new information in the search for an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, the debilitating neurological disorder that afflicts more than 5.3 million Americans and is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Hey-Kyoung Lee, associate professor in the University of Maryland Department of Biology, and her research team have shown that they may be able to eliminate debilitating side effects caused by a promising Alzheimer's drug by stimulating the brain's nicotine receptors. Scientists believe that an over-production of a peptide called A-beta in the brain is the cause of Alzheimer's and are developing drug treatments that prevent the action of the enzyme BACE1, which produces A-beta. But Lee and her team, including University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University researchers, previously demonstrated that eliminating - or 'knocking out' - the BACE1 enzyme in laboratory mice caused some of the test animals to become confused and aggressive. 'The mice exhibit signs of schizophrenia and memory loss when you block the enzyme,' says Lee. 'BACE1 is a very promising drug target, but you have to overcome these obviously debilitating side effects to effectively treat Alzheimer's disease.' Lee and her colleagues have been searching for a solution that could circumvent the abnormal brain function and behavioral side effects caused by BACE1 inhibition, and they think they may have found it. They pinpointed the receptor that is targeted by nicotine, the Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, as a potential therapeutic target. A paper describing their breakthrough appears in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience."
Identifying Enzymes to Explode Superbugs
Institute of Physics: "With the worrying rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA, scientists from a wide range of disciplines are teaming up to identify alternative therapies to keep them at bay. One long-considered solution is the use of lytic enzymes which attack bacteria by piercing their cell walls. Lytic enzymes are proteins that are naturally present in viruses, bacteria and in body fluids such as tears, saliva and mucus. However, until now, largely ad-hoc methods have been used to calculate the enzymes' killing abilities. New research published October 4, in IOP Publishing's Physical Biology, shows how a group of US researchers have developed a pioneering method that can identify lytic enzymes for optimum bacteria killing characteristics. In 1923, five years before discovering penicillin and laying the path for the development of antibiotics, Alexander Fleming had already noticed that a substance in mucus samples, lytic enzymes, could kill bacteria. However, the success of antibiotics left the development of this finding in the shadows. With the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, partially a result of antibiotics being a 'one-size-fits-all' therapy, Fleming's early discovery has been reinvigorated and lytic enzymes are back in the spotlight. Encouragingly, most lytic enzymes kill only a limited range of bacteria, unlike antibiotics, which allows researchers to target superbugs while potentially leaving beneficial bacteria intact. To identify the bacteria-killing characteristics of lytic enzymes Joshua Weitz and Gabriel Mitchell, quantitative biologists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, teamed up with Daniel Nelson, a biochemist from the University of Maryland, to identify, on a microscopic scale, the rate at which these enzymes pierce cell walls leading to bacterial death."
Saving Tropical Forests -- Value Their Carbon and Improve Farming Technology
"In a warming 21st century, tropical forests will be at risk from a variety of threats, especially the conversion to cropland to sustain a growing population. A new report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition shows that crop productivity improvements and carbon emission limits together could prevent widespread tropical deforestation over the next 100 years -- but if relying on either one alone, the world is at risk of losing many of its tropical forests. 'We're often concerned with agriculture encroaching on forests,' said research scientist Allison Thomson of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 'This study shows that encroachment can be managed to a certain extent by increasing crop productivity -- boosting the amount of food or energy that can be produced on a given piece of land.' But the study clearly shows that improving crop productivity alone will not prevent tropical deforestation. Also needed is some form of economic incentive to store carbon in forests, for example, a plan to limit all carbon emissions -- from burning fossil fuels, biofuels or whole forests to make way for crops or other land uses -- through economic methods such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade program. Combined with farming improvements, this tactic not only preserves tropical forests but increases their extent. ... Much of the public discussion about reducing carbon emissions revolves around reducing the use of fossil fuels. But this study showed that improving crop productivity is also important, Thomson said. Without farming improvements, the model projected loss of tropical forests, even when there is a high economic cost for those carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, improvements in crop productivity in a world that emits carbon freely -- and lacks the associated economic incentive to preserve forests -- also failed to prevent widespread tropical deforestation. Twenty-first century tropical forests fared well only when both crop productivity improved and limits to carbon emissions provided an extra economic inventive to keep land forested. The assumptions that went into that simulation were that farming technology continues to improve at the same rate as the last 50 years, and that carbon emission reductions included the full range of options -- everything from electric vehicles to capturing carbon from fossil fuel emissions and developing bio-based fuels. The model showed that under those conditions, tropical deforestation not only stopped but reversed, particularly in Africa and South America. 'Viewed spatially, it's clear that carbon pricing and agriculture improvements are potential keys to saving sensitive tropical forest areas in this future scenario,' said UM geographer George Hurtt, a co-author of the study."
Astrophysics: Weighing in on Neutron Stars
Nature: M. Coleman Miller, astronomy, writes a review of research appearing the journal Nature..
The more massive a neutron star is, the greater the constraints it places on the nature of the matter at its core. The discovery of a new mass record holder has strengthened those constraints considerably. "Large mass is a touchy subject among humans, but for neutron stars it is greatly desirable. This is because high mass places strong constraints on the matter in these stars' cores, which exists in a state that cannot be probed in laboratories and could be dominated by anything from neutrons and protons to exotica (such as quark matter that is not confined inside nuclei, hyperons or condensates). On page 1081 of this issue, Demorest et al.1 report measurements of a neutron star with a mass nearly 20% greater than any previous, precisely measured value. The object studied by Demorest and colleagues is a millisecond pulsar with a companion star. A millisecond pulsar is a rotating neutron star that emits a beam of radio waves at regular millisecond intervals. For this particular source, known from its sky coordinates as J1614-2230, the authors use a felicitous orientation of the binary system, along with the extreme timing stability characteristic of millisecond pulsars, to measure the 'Shapiro delay'. This delay, predicted in 1964 by Irwin Shapiro2 using general relativity, occurs when light passes through the gravitational field of an object during its journey to Earth (Fig. 1)."
Cells In Operation -- A Closer Look
Sandia National Laboratories: "Measuring a fuel cell's overall performance is relatively easy, but measuring its components individually as they work together is a challenge. That's because one of the best experimental techniques for investigating the details of an electrochemical device while it's operating is x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Traditional XPS works only in a vacuum, while fuel cells need gases under pressure to function. Now a team of scientists from the University of Maryland, the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, and DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has used a new kind of XPS, called ambient-pressure XPS (APXPS), to examine every feature of a working solid oxide electrochemical cell. The tests were made while the sample cell operated in an atmosphere of hydrogen and water vapor at one millibar pressure (about one-thousandth atmospheric pressure) and at very high temperatures, up to 750degrees Celsius (1,382 degrees Fahrenheit). 'Our team, led by Bryan Eichhorn of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, combined the expertise in fuel cells at U Maryland, the experience of our Sandia Lab colleagues in collecting electrochemical data, and Berkeley Lab's own development of a method for doing x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy in situ,' says Zahid Hussain of Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS). 'Together we were able to measure the fundamental properties of a solid oxide fuel cell under realistic operating conditions.' The researchers report their results in the November, 2010 issue of Nature Materials."
Metamaterials may offer windows into other world
Science News: "Move over Harry Potter, and take your invisibility cloak with you. Alice's looking glass may be the latest bit of literary magic worthy of physics laboratories. Rather than using substances known as metamaterials to hide objects in plain sight, some scientists instead want to use the strange materials to build windows into worlds with fundamentally different physics. Peering in may reveal how other universes operate and how this universe -- the one that avid J.K. Rowling and Lewis Carroll readers reside in -- could have begun. Metamaterials can be engineered to have features very different from those of everyday matter. By altering electric and magnetic properties, scientists can make metamaterials that bend, twist or otherwise manipulate light. The power to turn light in unusual ways brought about a cloaking craze and introduced the possibility of superlenses with unprecedented focusing power. Last year, a group of physicists at the University of California, Berkeley proposed a type of metamaterial that, if built, could trap light the way a black hole does (SN: 10/10/09, p. 10). The math describing processes in that material resembles the equations governing black holes. Now Igor Smolyaninov of the University of Maryland in College Park has developed additional 'strange schemes,' as he calls them. Metamaterials, it turns out, can serve as broader cosmic dio-ramas, manipulating light to replicate the shape of spacetime. 'In metamaterials, we have a situation in which we have optical spacetime,' Smolyaninov says. 'And we can engineer the properties of spacetime.' Joseph Polchinski of the University of California, Santa Barbara's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics says he was skeptical after first reading about the work. He is not convinced that the analogs Smolyaninov proposes would include enough detail to probe the questions that he and others in his field really care about. But Polchinski's doubt soon became tempered by curiosity. 'Without being able to say where this is going, I think it is interesting,' he says. 'There is nothing like having a real physical system in your hands to start thinking about things in a new way.' "
NASA Mission to Asteroid Gets Help From Hubble Space Telescope
Business Journal, NASA Video: "NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured images of the large asteroid Vesta that will help scientists refine plans for the Dawn spacecraft's rendezvous with Vesta in July 2011. Scientists have constructed a video from the images that will help improve pointing instructions for Dawn as it is placed in a polar orbit around Vesta. Analyses of Hubble images revealed a pole orientation, or tilt, of approximately four degrees more to the asteroid's east than scientists previously thought. This means the change of seasons between the southern and northern hemispheres of Vesta may take place about a month later than previously expected while Dawn is orbiting the asteroid. The result is a change in the pattern of sunlight expected to illuminate the asteroid. Dawn needs solar illumination for imaging and some mapping activities. 'While Vesta is the brightest asteroid in the sky, its small size makes it difficult to image from Earth,' said Jian-Yang Li, a scientist participating in the Dawn mission from the University of Maryland in College Park. 'The new Hubble images give Dawn scientists a better sense of how Vesta is spinning because our new views are 90 degrees different from our previous images. It's like having a street-level view and adding a view from an airplane overhead.' The recent images were obtained by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 in February. The images complemented previous ones of Vesta taken from ground-based telescopes and Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 between 1983 and 2007. Li and his colleagues looked at 216 new images -- and a total of 446 Hubble images overall -- to clarify how Vesta was spinning. The journal Icarus recently published the report online."
Dinosaur Discoveries Shake Up Sauropod Story
USA Today: " 'The specimens are phenomenal, among the best, if not the best-preserved sauropods yet found,' says paleontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park, who brought attention to the draft report to an e-mail discussion list frequented by vertebrate paleontologists last week. 'But I would find it hard to believe that all the ideas they have in their report would make it through review to scientific publication.' What ideas? For starters, the 'Amphicoelias' study suggests the massive sauropods were 'filter feeders' who feasted on vegetation floating atop the lakes and ponds they frequented, based on the lack of chewing teeth in their skulls. The conventional picture is that sauropods dined on vegetation from trees and bushes, Holtz says. 'It's difficult to support the idea that bodies that massive subsisted on organic matter floating on top of ponds.' Next, Galiano and Albersdorfer say that two of the best-known sauropod species, Diplodocus and Barosaurus, are simply the female and male variants of 'Amphicoelias,' based on the discovery. 'The skulls are the same,' Galiano argues, saying that what paleontologists thought were two distinct species were likely just examples of sexual 'dimorphism' in one species, where one gender is larger than other. They top it off by adding that five other well-known sauropod species Apatosaurus (once known as Brontosaurus) and Supersaurus, Suuwassea, Tornieria and Eobrontosaurus, basically a whole mess of sauropods known to have lived in the Late Jurassic period, are also just variants of the new species. In other words, Galiano thinks paleontologists have been incorrectly splitting one species into many for approximately a century. 'Well, that would simplify things,' Holtz jokes. 'None of the things they are proposing are 100% crazy. But most paleontologists would likely want to see a more careful diagnosis of the specimens.' "
Society & CultureDownloadable Facebook Profiles Await Historians of the Future
Tech News Daily: "Yesterday, Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to download and save their profiles to personal hard drives. While this addition will certainly please digital packrats who archive every document they generate (you know who you are), another group may benefit from this development even more: historians. Current historians believe that future researchers tasked with studying our contemporary society will face significant difficulty when attempting to access emails, instant messages or blog postings protected by a company's confidentiality. By taking Facebook information out of the restrictive hands of the corporation, the new download feature helps eliminate a major obstacle to prospective digital scholarship. 'My sense is, within the archiving community, this is seen as a positive first step from Facebook," said Matthew Kirschenbaum, the associate director of the University of Maryland's Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. 'HTML and zip formats are not terribly useful from an archiving perspective. But it's better than we were two days ago' before the new download feature was announced. However, it also adds a new problem. Whereas any data from Facebook would arrive meticulously organized and searchable, this new feature gives users the power to arrange the information any way they wanted. That leaves historians with the additional difficulty of sorting through the randomness of personal clutter to find what they want. 'Sometimes the owner has self organized it diligently, and some people just have piles of stuff,' Kirshenbaum told TechNewsDaily. 'But it's interesting to see how people organize their information.' "
Legalising Marijuana in California Would Not Substantially Cut Cartel Revenues, Study Finds
RAND Corp: "Legalising marijuana in California will not dramatically reduce the drug revenues collected by Mexican drug trafficking organisations from sales to the United States, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The only scenario where legalisation in California could substantially reduce the revenue of the drug trafficking organisations is if high-potency, California-produced marijuana is smuggled to other U.S. states at prices that are lower than those of current Mexican supplies, according to the study from the RAND Drug Policy Research Centre. RAND is a nonprofit research organisation. The study calculates that Mexican drug trafficking organisations generate only $1 billion to $2 billion annually from exporting marijuana to the United States and selling it to wholesalers, far below existing estimates by the government and other groups. ... Researchers examined other examples of organised crime groups losing substantial revenues to assess how drug-related violence in Mexico might be affected. 'Projections about the effect of a large revenue decrease on violence in Mexico are particularly uncertain, but there are some scenarios that suggest a large decline in revenues might provoke increased violence in the short run and a decline after some years,' said study co-author Peter Reuter, a professor of public policy and criminology at the University of Maryland."
Pelosi's Effectiveness Is Not Rewarded
She is booted from her seat as House speaker after making many enemies by pushing to passage the far-reaching healthcare overhaul, an economic stimulus program and the revamping of financial regulations.
Los Angeles Times: "Historians predict she will go down with the likes of Sam Rayburn and Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill as one of the country's most effective, albeit partisan, speakers. Even Republicans, who relentlessly bashed Pelosi in campaign ads as a symbol of what's wrong with Washington, consider her an able leader -- they just didn't like the direction in which she led. ... With a comfortable majority and a firm hand, Pelosi drove a progressive agenda. With her at the helm, the House played hare to the Senate's tortoise, churning out more than 400 bills this session that still await Senate action. Some say she overreached, pushing vulnerable Democrats in conservative districts to cast politically risky votes for bills that had little chance of becoming law. A case in point: climate change legislation that pleased her environmentally conscious base but has languished in the Senate. Republicans framed it as an energy tax that would cost jobs. As a result, veteran Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher came under attack for putting 'Pelosi's job-killing agenda ahead of Virginia coal."\' He lost Tuesday. 'Pelosi threw a lot of sharp elbows,' said Donald F. Kettl, dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Added Cain: 'She belongs to that school of thought that you're not just in power to hold power; you're in power to do certain things.' But the measure of a leader in Washington isn't how much gets done, it's who holds power in the end. On that scale, Pelosi failed. 'Traditionally, the report card for a leader is, "Did we get our members reelected?" That's what's wrong with the whole system,' said ex-Virginia congressman Tom Davis, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee."
Now Comes the Tough Part: Fixing the Economy
Fox News: Peter Morici, professor of business, writes and op/ed: "American capitalism is broken, and little that newly-empowered Republicans and surviving Democrats offer is likely to fix it. ... Americans must address the world as they find it, and not as they wish it would be. The World Trade Organization and many other institutions of global governance have failed and do not serve U.S. interests. It is not isolationist to say the U.S. government should start looking out for Americans likeBeijing and other governments look out for their citizens. It's high time to require many products patented and sold in the United States be made here. The adventurers on Wall Street don't need to be taxed more -- they need their toys taken away. Once again, separate the banks from the Wall Street casinos and bust up the biggest banks to restore competition. Don't hold your breath. Both parties are too focused on 2012 to do any heavy lifting."
Hoping for Gridlock Light
Financial Post, Canada: "With Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and making big gains in the U.S. Senate in Tuesday's elections, Washington is about to enter an era of compromise -- or gridlock. Either outcome will likely have huge implications for the country as it continues to emerge from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. First up on the agenda will be whether to extend the multibillion-dollar Bush era tax cuts, with the Democrats led by U.S. President Barack Obama arguing households making above US$250,000 a year should no longer be eligible for the tax breaks while Republicans argue the cuts should be extended for all, including the very rich. If lawmakers fail to reach a compromise by the end of the year on the issue, the cuts will expire, resulting in a tax hike for three quarters of Americans and potentially sending the U.S. economy slumping into another recession. And that's only one of many contentious issues facing U.S. politicians who also will be grappling with what to do about expiring unemployment insurance benefits, how to revive the sputtering economy, how to balance an unsustainable budget shortfall, how to rein in spiraling costs for social security and health care, how to tackle a ballooning trade deficit and the future international trade. 'Republicans don't have a mandate to impose a rigid conservative agenda,' said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland. 'Voters want less government and smaller deficits, but polls indicate upwards to 80% want Republicans to compromise with Democrats to get things done.' "
Flight Delays Cost Fliers Nearly $17 Billion in 2007
USA Today: "Flight delays cost U.S. society $32.9 billion a year, the bulk of that borne by travelers who miss business meetings or arrive home late, a comprehensive study released Monday finds. The study by researchers at five universities says traditional measures of delay dramatically underestimate the effect on passengers. All told, people on airline flights were delayed by more than 28,000 years during 2007, the year the researchers studied. The cost to individuals in lost time and inefficiency was $16.7 billion, the study says. Only a small fraction of travelers -- ones who miss connections or whose flights are canceled -- suffer about half of that cost. 'We call those guys disrupted passengers,' says Cynthia Barnhart, interim dean of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of the study. The research, which was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, also finds that when the aviation system gums up, it creates a significant drag on the economy. Delays reduced the nation's gross economic output by $4 billion in 2007. They also cost airlines $8.3 billion. The airline industry says the report underscores the need to expand airports and improve the air-traffic system. ... The study -- by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland, George Mason University and Virginia Tech in addition to MIT -- will likely provide fodder for some of the most hotly debated issues in aviation, such as how to prevent massive delays from strangling New York's three congested airports, where flights are currently capped by the government. It found that the costs of capping the number of flights at congested airports are less significant than the costs of delays caused by overloading the airports, says Michael Ball, a University of Maryland business professor and co-author of the study. The costs of delays outweigh the estimated expense of improving the air-traffic system. The federal government figures it will cost about $100 billion to move to a more efficient satellite-based traffic system and add additional runways by 2025."
Do Not Let the Environment Go to Waste
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia: "I sympathise with the calls from ecologists and others for an end to economic growth. But that doesn't mean I'd like to see no further increase in gross domestic product. Huh? Let me explain. There's a lot of confusion between scientists and economists on exactly what is meant by 'economic growth'. Each side uses the words to mean something different. As Professor Herman Daly, of the University of Maryland, a founder of ecological (as opposed to environmental) economics, has explained, what many ecologists want an end to is growth in the use of natural resources. Actually, he says an end to the 'throughput' of natural resources. This is a reference to the first law of thermodynamics, which says matter and energy can't be destroyed, just have their form changed. So when we use natural resources as an input to the economic machine, so to speak, what comes out the other end (apart from the goods and services we sought to create) is various forms of waste -- sewage, landfill, polluted air and waterways, not to mention greenhouse gases. Thus from a scientific perspective, what economic activity does is convert natural resources into waste. Daly's point is that we have to worry about both ends of the process: not just the exhaustion of non-renewable resources and the over-exploitation of renewable resources, but also the unending stream of waste we're pumping into the environment."
Threat of Global Warming Sparks U.S. Interest in Geoengineering
Washington Post: "For years it was considered downright wacky in official Washington to discuss geoengineering: altering the climate by reflecting sunlight back into the sky, sucking carbon dioxide from the air - or a host of other gee-whiz schemes. But in the past year the wacky has won a following, spurred in part by the recent collapse of climate legislation as well as by growing interest among private entrepreneurs and foreign officials. At this point, many scientists argue that it is worth scrutinizing different geoengineering techniques to see what could work and what will not. ... At a conference last week sponsored by Arizona State University, the New America Foundation and Slate magazine, University of Maryland distinguished professor of economics Thomas Schelling said 'field experiments are going to be essential' to determine whether humans can manipulate the climate in a responsible and effective way. 'If solar radiation management is a bad idea, the sooner we discover that the better,' said Schelling, who serves on the National Commission on Energy Policy task force."
Welfare's Safety Net Hard to Measure Among States
Washington Post: "The welfare rolls have absorbed relatively few of the Americans who have tumbled lately into poverty or unemployment. The number of families getting welfare checks, federal figures show, increased by about 185,000 between the start of the recession in late 2007 and this spring. During roughly the same period, the number of families living in poverty rose by more than 400,000 to record levels, according to the Census Bureau, which reported this week that, in Washington, three out of 10 children were poor last year. State by state, welfare programs are a patchwork, with little connection between the condition of a state's economy and the number of people who have gone onto welfare. Taken together, this new portrait of welfare answers a central question that hovered over the impassioned debate of the mid-1990s, when Congress and the Clinton administration transformed welfare from a federal entitlement into a state-run program of temporary assistance that emphasized work. How would the reshaped welfare system respond, policymakers and advocates wondered then, if the economy plunged into long, serious trouble? Nearly three years after the start of a grave economic downturn, it now is clear that 'despite extremely high levels of employment, that has not translated into welfare increases as much as many people expected,' said Douglas J. Besharov, a University of Maryland professor who has studied welfare for years."
Attack Ads Aren't Going Away Anytime Soon
Maryland Daily Record: "There are some widely divergent views of the advertising in the governor's race, but one thing most experts agree on is voters should expect to see lots of negative ads as we get closer to Election Day. As we covered in Friday's story on negative advertising, it was inevitable in the Ehrlich-O'Malley rematch and it tends to work. But that doesn't mean Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Martin O'Malley like doing it. One very interesting point Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Crenson pointed out was that in the attack ads, the candidates often don't use video of themselves during the obligatory "I'm so and so and I approved this message" clip at the end of every ad. Crenson's theory is they do this to distance the candidate from the attacks on his opponent, to keep them above the muck as much as possible. Still, Crenson said, 'It's really standard negative adverstising.' The campaigns have also been careful to mix in ads that are lighter and more cheerful. O'Malley started with a set of spots about his pro-business achievements, then hit Ehrlich hard on the taxes vs. fees issue and then came back with ads on the state of the schools. Ehrlich, on the other hand, started off with forward-looking pieces about wanting to "get back to work" before criticizing O'Malley on the economy, and then returning to the first message with his first media buy in the DC burbs. 'I think that alternating positive/negative ads is predictable, especially for the O'Malley campaign,' said Shawn-Parry Giles, director of the Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland. 'Often, campaign ads juxtapose futuristic messages of dystopia versus utopia. Ehrlich has so few ads posted at this point to get a clear sense of the pattern. But, not unexpectedly, Ehrlich is on the attack, trying to take advantage of O'Malley's vulnerabilities.' "
IRS Change May Make Maryland Nonprofits Pay
Capital News Service : "As many as 1 in 5 Maryland nonprofit businesses could be stripped of their tax-exempt status tomorrow because of filing rules that changed three years ago, but still caught them unaware. The Internal Revenue Service in June listed 6,788 Maryland nonprofits as 'at risk of automatic revocation' effective Oct. 15 because of failure to file proper tax forms. Organizations affected will have to pay taxes on their income starting immediately after the deadline. To get their exemption reinstated, groups would have to reapply as if they were new businesses, IRS spokesman Jim Dupree said. Before regulations changed in 2006, nonprofits making less than $25,000 annually didn't have to file annual tax returns. Congress, however, passed legislation mandating almost all tax-exempt organizations except churches file annual forms starting in 2008. ... Because the organizations affected are all relatively small, their sudden transition to for-profit business isn't expected to make much of an impact on state revenue, according to Maryland comptroller's spokeswoman Caron Brace, though she said there was only "preliminary" research done on the issue. She said the freshly for-profit businesses would be taxed just like any other. 'It's a level playing field,' Brace said. 'If they don't have that status, everybody has to pay it.' The effect on the organizations, however, is not as negligible, according to University of Maryland finance professor Elinda Kiss. 'It's certainly going to have an impact. If you are taxable, that reduces your profits,' Kiss said. 'You have less available to do whatever it is you do.' "
Has the Tea Party's Influence Slowed?
PBS News Hour: "In an election year where voter anger has been the topic on everyone's minds, the loose confederation of groups and interests known as the Tea Party movement has been a star attraction for political analysts. Hailed by some as a new populist movement and decried by others as a simple manifestation of the far right of the GOP, the question about the grassroots group was the impact it would have on the midterms. A Patchwork Nation analysis of meet-ups organized by Tea Party groups suggests the influence of the groups may have slowed. The scheduled meet-ups indicate that the groups remain a force in the 56 districts Patchwork Nation identifies as Booming Growth (those are places that have been hit hard by foreclosures), but interest in the Tea Party groups is more mixed in the rest of the district types. Some have increased slightly as Election Day approaches, others have decreased slightly. In July and August, there were about 1,980 Tea Party events scheduled around the country, according to an analysis by Jim Gimpel, a University of Maryland professor. In September and October, there are about 2,380 (completed and scheduled). That's a decent bump, but remember that first number came during the dog days of summer and the second comes on the eve of Election Day. In short, the numbers may not be showing a gathering Tea Party wave -- as one might expect as November approaches -- but rather a steady stream of anger, and one emanating most forcefully from districts where voters are experiencing the worst of the housing crisis."
News HourHigh Level of Practical Intelligence a Factor in Entrepreneurial Success
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology: "General intelligence is not enough. Practical intelligence can mean the difference between entrepreneurial success or failure. Psychologists have identified multiple kinds of intelligence, but a University of Maryland researcher's study has found one -- practical intelligence--to be an indicator of likely entrepreneurial success. J. Robert Baum, Director of Entrepreneurship Research at the University of Maryland, defines practical intelligence as 'an experience based accumulation of skills and explicit knowledge as well as the ability to apply that knowledge to solve every day problems,' he said. In other words, practical intelligence can be referred to as 'know-how' or common sense. Learning orientation has an impact on entrepreneurship success. Some people learn little from their experiences and therefore don't acquire the practical intelligence necessary to begin a successful business venture, said Baum. Practical intelligence is the result of an experimental hands-on operating style that leads to specific learning. 'Those with high practical intelligence tend to develop useful knowledge by doing and learning, not by watching or reading,' he said. People with strong general intelligence sometimes fail at business. Conversely, there are plenty of examples of those with comparatively lower IQs who are successful in business. Practical intelligence helps explain this surprising phenomenon, says Baum."
Female Voters Flock to O'Malley for Social Stances, Poll Shows
Washington Examiner: "Women overwhelmingly favor Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in his re-election bid against Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich because they view O'Malley as friendlier to families, teachers and social welfare programs, according to political analysts. O'Malley is charging ahead of Ehrlich with a 10-point lead, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll released on Monday. O'Malley has a 22-point lead among likely female voters, while the candidates' support among male voters tips slightly in favor of Ehrlich, according to the survey taken on Sunday. The poll has a 4-point margin of error. In 2006, O'Malley carried female voters by 20 points over then-Gov. Ehrlich and unseated the incumbent with 53 percent of votes overall. 'Women are more concerned about family and health care and education,' said Frances Lee, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland. 'The Democratic Party overall has a stronger reputation in those areas.' ... Ehrlich supporter Tammy Larkin says business and domestic interests are codependent. 'People think that if you are a Republican and pro-business that you are anti-family,' said Larkin, a White Marsh Democrat and founder of grassroots groups Women for Ehrlich and Moms for Ehrlich. 'What families need is financial stability,' which she said Ehrlich would deliver first by rolling back O'Malley's 20 percent increase in the state sales tax. O'Malley only has 'sweet talk and swagger' to offer voters, Larkin said. That may be all he needs, said University of Maryland assistant communication professor Kristy Maddux. O'Malley's popularity among women is driven by his expensive ads and has nothing to do with his -- or Ehrlich's -- policy proposals, Maddux said. 'I have a hard time thinking this disparity [between male and female voters] is about policy at all,' she said. 'This campaign has been far from substantive. ... It's hard to believe either of them anymore.' "
Teens Are Still Reading for Fun, Say Media Specialists
Washington Post: "That's how it looks here in a Rockville library, where 14-year-old Olivia Smith is propped in a comfy chair, deep into a Japanese novel genre called manga. She has already been reading on the computer for an hour, and later, when she texts her friends, she will still be turning pages between messages. 'I'm sort of a bookworm,' she says. Recreational reading has changed for teens in an era of ebooks and laptops and hours spent online, but experts and media specialists say there are signs of promise in spite of busy lives and research findings that show traditional book reading is down. 'It's not that they're reading less; they're reading in a different way,' says Kim Patton, president of the Young Adult Library Services Association. A detailed analysis into the trend on reading for fun -- in books, newspapers and magazines -- comes from researcher Sandra Hofferth, of University of Maryland, who analyzed the detailed daily time-use diaries of a nationally representative sample of children 12 to 18. Pleasure reading dropped 23 percent in 2008, compared with 2003, from 65 minutes a week to 50 minutes a week -- with the greatest falloff for those ages 12 to 14. Still, she says: 'They could be reading on the cell phone, in games, on the Web, on the computer. It doesn't meant they're not reading, but they're not reading using the printed page.' "
Do Allies' Experiences Matter?
Washington Post: "David Segal, a University of Maryland sociologist who has studied military personnel policies, says the U.S. military is unique in its use of expeditionary forces to fight far-flung, long-lasting wars - yet he believes the experiences of U.S. allies in allowing gays to serve openly are instructive. 'Many of the nations that lifted their bans heard the same arguments,' he said. 'They all expected it would undermine unit cohesion, hurt recruitment and retention. ... None of that happened.' Some of them did encounter complications related to benefits and housing for same-sex couples, said Segal, who commended the Defense Department for examining these issues as part of an ongoing review. I do not anticipate it being perfect,' Segal said. 'Our military resisted racial integration, it resisted gender integration,' he said. 'In both cases, the military kicked and screamed and said it would undermine our effectiveness. Once the decision was made, they saluted and followed in line.' "
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