Maryland Moments, September, 2010
On CampusNew UM President Gives $100,000 to University
Washington Post: "Incoming University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and his wife Barbara have pledged $100,000 to help U-Md. students with financial needs stay in school, according to chief university spokesman Millree Williams. According to an announcement posted late Tuesday, the gift will be spread over four years, and $10,000 of the first-year donation will go toward Keep Me Maryland, an emergency fund to help struggling students continue. According to the release, the university received more than 900 emergency aid appeals from students in the 2008-09 academic year, and aid appeals exceeded 1,500 in 2009-10. The Keep Me Maryland fund typically dispenses small aid awards -- $500 to $1,500 -- to keep students afloat. The Keep Me Maryland fund has raised more than $500,000, including a student-initiated program that raised $22,000 from students in dining halls. Loh was named to the UM presidency last month. He is finishing a tenure as provost of the University of Iowa and starts his new job Nov. 1, at a salary of $450,000. The gift comes from a man who worked his way through college after immigrating alone from Peru, reportedly with $200 in his pocket."
Loh Donates $100,000 to University of Maryland
Daily Iowan: "Outgoing University of Iowa Provost Wallace Loh has pledged $100,000 to help need-based University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students stay in school, according to a press statement released Tuesday. Loh -- who will become the University of Maryland president Nov. 1 -- and wife Barbara will spread the gift out over four years. The first year's $10,000 donation will go to Keep Me Maryland, a program that appeals for alumni support for 'scholarship and student assistance.' 'America is still the 'land of opportunity' for many just like me. I could not have obtained an education had it not been for support and encouragement of too many people to name,' Loh said in the press release. 'Barbara and I want do something to help today's talented Maryland students pursue their dreams.' The Lohs also became members Lifetime Members of the University of Maryland Alumni Association after donating $1,000."
President Loh, Appointment of AD Anderson
Kevin Anderson to Be Introduced as New Maryland Athletic Director
Washington Post: "Army Athletic Director Kevin Anderson will be introduced as the next athletic director at Maryland on Tuesday, making him just the fourth African American to actively hold the position at a Bowl Championship Series conference school. The 55-year-old Anderson, who has led the athletic department at West Point since December 2004, will succeed Debbie Yow, who left after nearly 16 years to take the same position at North Carolina State in July. 'Kevin has built a solid program of competitive and academic success at the U.S. Military Academy, supporting the student-athlete and demonstrating that academics and athletics can go hand in hand,' Wallace D. Loh, Maryland's recently appointed president, said in a statement. 'I am convinced that his leadership will raise Maryland Athletics to even greater heights. We are delighted to welcome Kevin into the Terrapin family.' Terrapins men's basketball Coach Gary Williams said one of the most important factors for him was that Anderson is the 'type of person who can make an athletic department a cohesive unit. I'm the basketball coach, but I am also a Maryland grad and I think there is a great deal of potential we can get to.' "
Arts and Humanities Dean Resigning After 14 Years at University of Maryland Post
UM release: "James F. Harris, dean of the University of Maryland's College of Arts and Humanities, will resign his post on June 30, 2011, marking 14 years on the job. The dean says he is not retiring and will remain on the history faculty. He made the announcement at the annual faculty staff convocation. 'It's time,' Harris explains. 'In the past decade we have seen a tremendous upsurge in the quality of the student body, our faculty, and our offerings, significantly raising the College's profile. It has been a wonderful period of growth, and I've had the pleasure of leading a phenomenal group of faculty, staff and students.' Harris came to the University of Maryland in 1967. He became history chair in 1993 and dean of the college in 1997. As dean, he has worked to raise the visibility and impact of the college by implementing a series of innovative programs responding to social and academic challenges. 'He has been an outstanding and dedicated member of our community, leaving the College in a much stronger position than the one he inherited,' says Nariman Farvardin, acting president and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. 'Jim has put Arts and Humanities on a trajectory for achieving even more significant accomplishments in the years to come,' Farvardin adds.'I want to thank him for his thoughtful and visionary leadership of the College of Arts and Humanities and for being such a wonderful member of the leadership team. We are also happy that he will remain at Maryland as a distinguished faculty member.' "
Government OKs College Loans to Struggling Parents
DOE: "The U.S. Department of Education is approving big PLUS loans for some parents who cannot afford to repay them, several college financial aid officers and financially strapped parents say. 'We were dumbfounded, just dumbfounded,' when the government approved a $5,000 PLUS loan application this fall, says Tammy Turner, of Ruskin, Fla. Her husband is disabled, and can only work part time. She also works part time because they have a son with several health challenges, including diabetes and Tourette syndrome. The Turners applied for the federal parent loan because they didn't have enough savings to pay the bills at their daughter's college, Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. The college's financial aid officers had told them that students whose parents get rejected for PLUS loans can get up to $5,000 in extra Stafford student loans. Many families prefer to take out larger student loans because parent PLUS loans charge a higher fixed annual percentage rate of up to 8.3 percent. Student Stafford loans charge a maximum of 6.9 percent (including fees), and offer many more affordable repayment and forgiveness options. ... Sarah Bauder, assistant vice president of enrollment services and financial aid at the University of Maryland, College Park, said the PLUS approval rate for parents of her students has jumped from about 80 percent to 97 percent since the switch to the federal direct lending program. She says she knows at least a few of the parents who have been approved are jobless or teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. 'Look at the housing market scenario. Five to seven years down the road, we're going to be in the same situation for parent loans,' Bauder warns."
Classroom iPad Programs Get Mixed Response
Chronicle of Higher Education: "As students and faculty members around the country feel around for new ways to integrate the iPad into academic life, a handful of programs are taking a more formal approach to finding its place in the classroom. Students in the Digital Cultures and Creativity program at the University of Maryland at College Park will turn a critical eye on the iPad as a study tool while integrating it into their curriculum. 'I think [students are] taking a sort of wait-and-see approach,' said Matthew Kirschenbaum, the program director and an associate professor of English. Similarly, the faculty at Indiana University has formed a 24-member focus group to evaluate iPad-driven teaching strategies. The groups have started meeting this month to assess how their iPad experiments are going, with a preliminary report due in January. 'It's meant to be a supportive, collaborative, formalized conversation,' said Stacy Morrone, Indiana's associate dean of learning technologies. 'We don't expect that everything will go perfectly.' " Kirschenbaum posts a correction in Comments: "I spoke with the Chronicle's report for almost half an hour and related many positive aspects of the iPad experience here at U. Maryland, including what is definitely overall student enthusiasm. The 'wait and see' remark was, I believe, offered in the specific context of whether students thought the iPad would help them perform better in their classes, which seems fair, given that our program is exactly three weeks old."
UM to Begin Forging Updated Facilities Master Plan
College Park Patch: "As it does every five years, the University of Maryland is updating its Facilities Master Plan. Members of the plan's seeing committee met with the city council at Tuesday night's work session to introduce some of this year's larger themes, notably environmental preservation and sustainable development. Though the update is only in its nascent stages -- a final draft won't be solidified until next June -- the university has amassed a team of consultants to move the process along. Oehme van Sweden, a landscape architecture firm based in D.C. who also worked on the campus at the University of Virginia, will be leading the charge. J. Frank Brewer, the chair of the Facilities Master Plan Seeing Committee, said it is important that the city and the public to be aware of the university's plans. He said he intends to meet with the city at least twice more in the coming year, once after a tentative plan is developed, and once again to iron out the fine details. 'It's going to be a large process, and a very transparent process, and I want you all involved in it,' he said to the council. Despite the fact that the plan pertains specifically to campus, like many things, it has considerable implications for the city as well. Issues such as this summer's closure of Campus Drive fell under the auspices of the master plan, and many council members are anxious to see the campus develop in a way that will positively impact the city of College Park."
Purple Line: $90 Million Proposed for New Light Rail Lines
Baltimore Sun: Transit money stands out in flat spending plan
"The O'Malley administration is proposing an infusion of almost $90 million for engineering of two new transit systems -- including Baltimore's east-west Red Line -- as part of an otherwise flat $9.4 billion transportation spending plan for the next six years. Unlike plans of the past two years, the 2011-2016 Consolidated Transportation Program is not a litany of recession-related deferrals of transportation expansion and maintenance projects. ... While the spending plan doesn't return Maryland to the heady days of three years ago, when it made plans for $10.6 billion in transportation funding, it does represent a modest rebound. Two years ago, with the recession cutting deeply into revenue, Maryland was forced to slash more than $2 billion in planned spending. Last year, it managed a modest increase to $9.1 billion, but only because of the federal stimulus program. ... Transportation officials pointed to the new spending on the Red Line in Baltimore and the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs as the highlight of the new plan. For preliminary engineering work, the plan calls for spending $41.5 million on the 14.5-mile Red Line from Woodlawn to Bayview, and $48 million on the 16-mile Purple Line between New Carrollton and Bethesda. ... If Ehrlich were to win the election and rescind the plans, the proposed funding would not be wasted, because most of it is not scheduled to begin flowing until the 2013 and 2014 budget years."
Purple Line: Obama's Plan Could Alter Md.'s Transportation Funds
Washington Post: "President Barack Obama's plan to create a government-run 'nfrastructure bank'could have a major impact on how Maryland pays for projects and on the people who invest in the state's bonds. Obama, in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, touted the proposal as a way to help states and local governments fund needed improvements to roads, rails and airports. The idea is to pool federal dollars and private funds and lend them to states and municipalities to pay for these projects. The plan's details have yet to be spelled out and must eventually be approved by Congress. The infrastructure bank would give Maryland an alternative to issuing its own bonds to pay for transportation projects such as the proposed Red Line on Baltimore's Metro and the Purple Line linking Montgomery and Prince George's counties, transportation advocates say. But as Steven Isberg, an associate professor of finance at the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore points out, it has yet to be determined how much the federal government would charge states to borrow from the infrastructure bank. That makes it difficult to know whether it would be cheaper for Maryland to issue its own bonds or borrow from the government-run bank, Isberg said. Maryland's AAA bond rating enables it to issue its own bonds at an interest rate lower than states that are not as solvent. Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, said an infrastructure bank will not result in states tackling more transportation projects, just changing how they fund those projects. 'All this will do is shift around where they borrow their money,' Morici said."
How 'Difficult' Parents Look From the Counselor's Side of the Desk
New York Times: "Some parents guide their children through college admissions. Other parents stand to the side and hope for the best. Still others charge ahead as if they're the ones applying. 'They cost me the most time and the most hair color,' Karen Felton, an admissions officer at the University of Maryland, told an appreciative crowd Friday at the annual conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling in St. Louis. Tevera Stith, director of college counseling at St. Paul's School for Girls near Baltimore, admitted that she made a point of e-mailing certain overly involved parents rather than answering their calls. 'They're going to talk for a long, long time,' she said. Ms. Felton and Ms. Smith didn't mince words in their observations, or in the title of their popular session, 'Turning the Most Difficult Parents Into Your Greatest Asset.' Between them, they have several decades of experience in admissions. Before joining the staff at Maryland, Ms. Felton worked in admissions at Syracuse, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown. She also worked as a college adviser at Friends Academy in Baltimore. Ms. Stith used to work at the College of William and Mary, Swarthmore and Kenyon. Ms. Felton recalled one of her early days at the Friends school, making small talk to put a family at ease about the college applications process ahead. 'The mother said, "All right, I'm not interested in the chit-chat - let's get down to business." ' ... The two counselors said they had identified four categories of involved mothers and fathers: Helicopter parents who hover around their children and offer too much help; Rolls-Royce parents who demand the absolute best for their children; Subway parents who lurk underground 'and surface at the most awkward times, asking the most peculiar questions'; and Junker parents who let personal dramas subsume their child's college quest. The most aggressive parents expect guidance staff and admissions offices to respond to any whim. 'They might call on a Sunday night,' Ms. Stith said, 'and be appalled you don't have an engineering major with a minor in dance to give a tour.' "
Admissions Q & A: Maryland
BusinessWeek: Smith is looking for applicants who are "hungry for an MBA degree," says admissions director Sam Kang Q & A: "Sam Kang says there are many reasons to pursue an MBA at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business (Smith Full-Time MBA Profile). Kang, director of admissions and recruitment for Smith's full-time MBA program, points out that the school is located near Washington, a thriving metropolitan area. And he says that its small full-time MBA program-- about 150 students per class -- creates an atmosphere of collaboration among students. Kang expects getting into Smith to become more difficult in the coming years as applications to the school continue to increase. Candidates who want to get into Maryland should think carefully about their career goals and how a Smith MBA could help achieve them, Kang told Bloomberg Businessweek's Zachary Tracer in a recent interview. In the interview, Kang discussed how applicants can put together a strong application and described changes to the school's Career Resources Center."
Univ. of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship Marks 25 Years, Names New Board Chair, Members
UM release: "The University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business kicked off its 25th year of helping students and regional entrepreneurs turn their business ideas into successful startups with a visit yesterday from benefactor Michael Dingman, an international investor, businessman and philanthropist. The center also named a new board chair, Mark Walsh, CEO and chairman of GeniusRocket, a leading provider of user-generated advertising media. The Dingman Center appointed the following new members to the board: Miles Gilburne, managing member of ZG Ventures Inc.; Bill Greenblatt, founder and CEO of Sterling Infosystems and 1976 University of Maryland graduate; Elizabeth Sara, managing director of Best Marketing LLC; and Michael Schwab, co-president of D&H Distributing. 'Entrepreneurship is a key driver in the global economy and we remain committed to fostering business creation and research in this area,' said G. 'Anand' Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'The Dingman Center spearheads our activity and is a great campus and regional resource, continuing the legacy Michael Dingman helped us create 25 years ago.' "
Robot Invasion at University of Maryland
WUSA-TV: Video: "Imagine robots that drive your car, rescue people in the middle of a hurricane, or surge through your bloodstream in search of disease. Scientists are working on all those things at the University of Maryland Robotics Labs. Kids got a chance to run robots around a track in the plaza of the engineering school during the university's robotics open house, but this is not child's play. The cart is a prototype that could take cruise control to another level. "It just looks for the cones and heads straight for them," says doctoral student John Karvounis. Using store-bought web cams, the robot follows are 200 foot track. 'How does cruise control work in you car?' asks Karvounis. 'It just keeps the same speed. What if it could also follow the lanes, keep up with traffic as well.' Then there's the helicopter you can fly with your brainwaves. All you have to do is focus to push it into the air; or relax, to bring it down. 'I imagine myself putting my hand underneath the vehicle,' says Paul Samuel of Daedulus Flight Systems, who got his PhD at Maryland. 'You can imagine a soldier might be controlling this vehicle with his thoughts, or his eyes, but would still be able to have his hand on his weapon,' says graduate student Greg Gremillion. A few doors down, a autonomous tandem rotor helicopter so powerful, they had to tie it down. Build it big enough and it might be able to fly itself into a huge storm and rescue people without any human pilots on board. 'Lots of times in search and rescue, the weather is poor, it's dark, it's nighttime,' ys engineering and computer science professor Gilmer Blankenship. Robots are poised to take over some of our most dangerous, most difficult -- or just most boring -- tasks. And Maryland's become a national center for the research."
Police Aim to Mend Relations in College Park
Washington Post: "That was the message Prince George's County police officers hoped to send to University of Maryland students Thursday night at a 'Welcome Back' event in College Park. The event was half education, half public relations, and police acknowledged that it was intended to mend police-student relations damaged in the wake of a videotape that showed three county officers beating an unarmed University of Maryland student after a basketball game in March. Students donned beer goggles and drove around in a golf cart -- an effort to show the dangers of drunk driving. They took a ride on the Maryland State Police's 'Convincer,' a device that straps people in and thrusts them forward to demonstrate the effectiveness of a seatbelt. And they simply chatted with cops. 'Something needed to be done for a while, but that was the impetus for it,' said Maj. Robert Liberati, commander of the police department's district 1 station, referring to the riot and apparent police beating in March. 'That's not what we are. That's not what the University of Maryland is 'We're a part of this community.' Only a few dozen students made their way through the event -- which also featured information booths and the police department's band -- and some complained it was not well advertised. Mark Shorr, 21, a senior studying finance, said he made his way over to the police cars because he thought there had been a murder, but he thought the event generally helped mend relations between police and students. 'It's a pretty strategic move by the county to put themselves back in the student's good graces,' Shorr said. 'You can kind of tell they're trying to come across as friendlier 'I think generally, cops, they're people, too. At certain moments anybody in a position of power can get ahead of themselves.' "
More Women Than Men in U.S. Earned Doctorates Last Year for First Time
Washington Post: "For the first time, more women than men in the United States received doctoral degrees last year, the culmination of decades of change in the status of women at colleges nationwide. The number of women at every level of academia has been rising for decades. Women now hold a nearly 3-to-2 majority in undergraduate and graduate education. Doctoral study was the last holdout - the only remaining area of higher education that still had an enduring male majority. Of the doctoral degrees awarded in the 2008-09 academic year, 28,962 went to women and 28,469 to men, according to an annual enrollment report from the Council of Graduate Schools, based in Washington. Doctoral degrees, which require an average of seven years' study, are typically the last to show the impact of long-term changes. ... Women approached parity with men in law and medical studies in recent years, said Jacqueline E. King, an assistant vice president at the American Council on Education. 'Doctoral fields couldn't be far behind,' she said. Liz Nguyen, 25, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland in chemistry, a field in which women have made gains but remain outnumbered. Many of her classmates are women, but the older generation of senior faculty is made up virtually of all men. 'It was always just a male-dominated field,' she said. Nguyen said the women she has met in doctoral study are 'very strong-willed women. I never saw women like that growing up.' "
Campaigning on Campus? Leave the Signs at Home
College Park Patch: "A dispute has arisen between electioneers and the University of Maryland over whether campaign signs can be placed on a polling center on university property. The night before Election Day, it is common practice for campaigners to go out in trucks and vans and remove the large campaign signs that have been erected in the area. Once the signs are collected, they are placed at polling locations around town, ready to greet voters throughout the day. The first voters had just begun to trickle in to Ritchie Coliseum when an employee from UM's facilities department began removing the signs that lined the lawn beside the road. When campaigners scrambled over to ask him what he was doing, he said that the university did not allow campaign signs on the property. Joe Cook, the facilities employee charged with removing the signs, said he was unsure of the specific policy, but knows that the rule against campaign signs has always existed. He said that typically the university asks campaigners to remove their signs, and if no one is on hand to do so, the facilities department removes the signs themselves. However, Cook began removing signs without mention to the campaigners, who immediately rushed over when they saw the signs being collected. Some conversation ensued, and Councilman Bob Catlin (Dist. 2) began making calls to Sen. Jim Rosapepe, a former regent at UM. Cook stalled his work to allow the campaigners to get more information on the policies, but said that removing signs was a yearly event at the polls on campus. 'Every year, somebody puts political signs up, and every year we remove them,' he said. 'This is not a public area. It belongs to the University of Maryland.' "
Antiabortion Exhibit Comes to U. of Maryland
Washington Post: "Antiabortion activists at the University of Maryland are hosting a two-day exhibit on campus called the Genocide Awareness Project, a photo mural with 16 panels, each measuring 6-feet by 12-feet and depicting an aborted fetus. The point is to portray abortion as genocide. The exhibit compares abortion to historic genocides in Nazi Germany and Cambodia as well as the American institution of slavery and the civil rights era. We're showing the reality of what happens to the pre-born when they go through an abortion,' said Kurt Linnemann, executive director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform in Maryland. (Be forewarned, the Web site features graphic abortion footage.) Linnemann said the exhibit, on display until 4 p.m. Tuesday, has drawn many UM students, with a roughly 60-40 split opposed to the display, 'either because they're pro-choice or they protest the comparison to genocide.' "
Alcohol-Related Hospital Trips Double at UM
Washington Post: "The semester has only just begun at the University of Maryland, College Park, but already 19 students have been transported to the hospital for alcohol-related reasons, according to The Diamondback student newspaper. That's more than double the number of transports at this time last year. Police and other officials aren't sure why there has been a spike, although it could be because more students are calling help for friends that need it. In April 2009, the university created a policy that protects students from 'disciplinary sanctions for violating the University's alcohol policy' if they summon help for a friend who has had too much to drink, according to the Diamondback. Students are not, however, protected from police charges. University and Prince George's County police say they plan to continue to crack down on partying and underage drinking on or near campus. District 1 Commander Robert Liberati told the Diamondback: 'When you have teenagers that are drinking so much that they end up in the ER or walking out into the highway or doing something else that's dangerous, obviously we have to act. It's a huge concern for us.' "
'The Very Queer Portraits of Heyd Fontenot' at UM Art Gallery
Washington Post: "A visit to the current exhibition at the University of Maryland's Art Gallery might have you thinking about 'The Joy of Sex.' Don't worry. 'The Very Queer Portraits of Heyd Fontenot' is not an erotic art show. But, yes, there's lots nudity, including one picture of a man in an obvious state of arousal. No one is having sex, though parents might want to think twice about taking the kids. It's just that the paintings and drawings by the Austin-based artist -- depicting, for the most part, the defiantly average bodies of his friends -- are rendered in a style that's more than slightly reminiscent of Charles Raymond and Chris Foss's once-controversial illustrations for the 1972 sex manual (illustrations that were based, incidentally, on photos of the then-hirsute Raymond making love to his wife). There's a matter-of-fact, almost clinical ordinariness to the fleshy folds and occasional bulging tummies in Fontenot's art."
Clarice Smith: UM's Concert Calendar Filled with Energy This Fall
Washington Examiner: "The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is an architectural jewel on the University of Maryland College Park campus, but beyond its breathtaking appearance, it is yet another area beacon for the exploration and enjoyment of inexpensive, professionally presented music, dance and theater in a state-of-the-art performance venue. The Dekelboum Concert Hall, (one of six major halls and theatres in the complex) is home to the University School of Music, under the direction of Robert Gibson. the fall schedule of live performance features an outstanding and diverse student and faculty concert calendar. 'There's energy from the young people that is really like no other experience because they are playing this great literature and also new works for the first time,' said Gibson. 'The level of [orchestral] excitement is palpable.' The University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of music director James Ross, is one of the country's premiere collegiate orchestras presenting a mix of time-honored traditional repertoire with cutting-edge contemporary pieces. 'White Heat,' offered Oct. 1, features Sibelius' 'Violin Concerto,' Tchaikovsky's 'Fourth Symphony' and a new fanfare by University of Maryland faculty composer Lawrence Moss, written as a conversational response to Janacek's original work which is also performed. A second offering in October pairs the Symphony Orchestra with the UM Concert Choir, under the direction of Ed Maclary. 'Paradise and the Peri' is Schumann's superior cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra. In November, the UM Symphony Orchestra teams up with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in a show of support for the Chesapeake Bay. Britten's 'Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes' and Debussy's 'La Mer' form a musical celebration of water."
Clarice Smith: Brainy Entertainment
Gazette Newspapers: Clarice Smith's fall shows seek to engage the audience's minds as well as their emotions "Audience members might leave Lauren Withhart's dance performance this fall with unanswered questions. Others might leave satisfied. It all depends on where you sit. 'I'm hoping that there will be 100 people there, and 100 different experiences in the theater," Withhart said of 'They are of Threaded Glass,' a choreographed exploration of voyeurism, perspective and the thin line between public and private life scheduled for Oct. 14-15 at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park. Withhart, a graduate student in the university's School of Theatre Dance Performance Studies who will present 'Threaded Glass' as her thesis project, said glass beads, walls, a reflective floor and pillars that will impede the view of some audience members will make for a unique experience, even for people who sit together. And the stage architecture, she said, is paramount to the questions that'll bother you on the drive home, such as the nature of the relationship between the show's main characters. 'Threaded Glass' is just one of the art center's fall shows centered around complex issues that could easily serve as the focal point of professors' lectures on the sprawling campus. 'It's more about their relationship with the architecture - that's what I'm hoping the audience will focus on,' said Withhart of Baltimore, who works as a therapist. 'They'll see that what they see depends on where they are. ... They might find it dissatisfying in some ways, but I'm perfectly fine with those answers not being addressed.' "
Dance Review: Liz Lerman Achieves Sublime Fusion of Art and Physics
Washington Post: "There's a two-page bibliography for Liz Lerman's new dance, "The Matter of Origins," and extensive program notes on such things as the Manhattan Project and dark energy. At the show's premiere Friday at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Center, the audience was given questionnaires to fill out before and after the performance. But peel away the heavily freighted context -- the research and history and consultation with academics that went into it -- and what you have in this hour-long contemplation of the universe is a work of expansive range, emotional depth and singular beauty. The expressive possibilities of unartful realms is Lerman's passion, and that sensibility infuses "The Matter of Origins." Are you turned off by physics? Hate math? Here is none of the dryness but plenty of the inquiry and mystery that fuels this branch of science, so impenetrable to most of us."
Innovation Center to Open
Washington Post: "Last week, The Download shared how executives from five local companies or agencies define and implement innovation. Well, academics aim to have a voice in the conversation, too. The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business plans to launch the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change at a daylong event on Oct. 1. The center aims to help companies put into practice the research that's been conducted about effective organizational structure and leadership during periods of change and innovation. 'It's not just the new product development firms. It's not just the high-tech companies. I don't think you can name an industry or name a sector where innovation isn't required,/ said Paul Telsuk, a professor and one of the center's three directors. But how to lead innovation often proves to be a sticking point, Telsuk said. Sometimes change requires substantial structural modifications, with some companies going so far as to remove conventional job titles and share leadership. 'The challenges that lots of organizations are facing right now are opportunities, if they look at it that way,' he said. 'The problem is too many organizations look at it and say we'll make systematic reductions across the board.' "
Tweeting to a 'Mini MBA'
Business Journals: "Your kids may be onto something. Twitter and Facebook might soon be up there with math and science. OK, that might be exaggerating a bit. But the two social marketing sites and their like are now the subject of a new 'mini MBA' program at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Robert H. Smith School of Business is offering a miniMBA 2.0 certificate program for those who have yet to become well-versed in social media marketing. Five courses (a total of 60 in-class hours) are being taught at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C., on Fridays and Saturdays. The certificate program costs $5,440, with individual classes $800 each."
UM Governor Debate: Gubernatorial Campaigns Continue to Squabble Over Debates
Gazette Newspapers: "The two rivals for Maryland governor say they are eager to debate, but with six weeks until the general election, the campaigns of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. have yet to reach agreement and are pointing fingers over who is to blame. ... O'Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said they have agreed to an Oct. 29 debate on WTOP, as well as one hosted by WTTG in Washington, D.C., and another to be put on by the Washington Post in collaboration with WRC-TV and WAMU-88.5 FM at the University of Maryland. 'The governor is looking forward to robust discussions, similar to the debates we had in 2006 that requires the candidates to answer the questions,' he said. The Ehrlich campaign has also agreed to the Post debate, as well, but Massoni said he has received no confirmation that the O'Malley campaign has accepted or any indication of an agreed-upon format."
Rankings and Awards
The Wire' Creator David Simon Wins MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Grant
Los Angeles Times: "Proof that television makes you smarter: (UM alum) David Simon, the rabble-rousing creator of 'The Wire' and 'Treme,' just won the 'genius grant.' This morning, the MacArthur Foundation announced that it had awarded a fellowship to Simon, who shares the honor with some pretty high-brow company, including a quantum astrophysicist and a computer security scientist. Each recipient will get $500,000 in 'no strings attached' support over the next five years. Which got us wondering: How will Simon spend all that money? Seriously, think about what Stringer Bell could've done with that check! We talked to Simon about future projects he'd like to kickstart, charities he'd like to fund, and why he thinks that, genuis grant or no genius grant, TV writers will never change the world. ... " If you did put it toward charity, which ones would you invest in? "I've been associated with Ella Thompson Fund of the Parks and People Assn. of Baltimore since I did 'The Corner.' It's an inner-city social program for kids, and Ella Thompson is a character in 'The Corner' who has passed away. She was a very good soul who did a lot of good work. There's a couple of other scholarships we've started, one at the University of Maryland in the name of my partner David Mills, who died tragically. Beyond that, I haven't really thought about it."
NIST to Award Up to $15 Million to UM to Support Nanotechnology Research
NIST: "The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) will award a five-year cooperative agreement totaling $15 million to the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., to develop and implement a Postdoctoral Researcher and Visiting Fellow Measurement Science and Engineering Program. This program will advance the CNST's mission to support the development of nanotechnology by providing as many as 100 researchers with one- to two-year appointments at the CNST. ... Visiting researchers supported by the grant will aid in the development of measurement and fabrication methods, standards and technology in a wide range of areas including future electronics; nanofabrication and nanomanufacturing; energy transport, storage, and conversion; and bionanotechnology. In addition to providing new research opportunities for U.S. industrial, university, and government scientists, the grant will provide training for the next generation of nanotechnologists by providing recent Ph.D. recipients postdoctoral research opportunities to work under the mentorship of CNST project leaders and have access to a state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility, the CNST NanoFab. Under the terms of the cooperative agreement, UM will identify candidates for the available research projects based on cooperatively developed criteria. The positions are open to all qualified applicants, including non-U.S. citizens."
UM Receives Millions to Help Women Faculty Advance
NSF: "The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Maryland at College Park a $3.2 million grant to assist the academic progress of women faculty members, especially those interested in interdisciplinary research. The project's official start date is Oct. 1. The initiative is designed to help advance women -- particularly women of color -- on the faculties of science, technology, engineering and mathematics colleges. The grant will be spread over a five-year period. 'Almost all STEM colleges at universities nationwide have had limited success with attracting and retaining both women and faculty of color,' said interim University President Nariman Farvardin, who is the grant's principal investigator. 'We're trying to address both of those issues with the grant.' Even though the NSF designated the grant for women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math colleges, Farvardin said his office and other colleges will provide matching funds to help women advance in other programs. The grant will promote interdisciplinary research through seed grants of $20,000, and it will provide mentoring for women faculty so that they can learn how to present their work in a way that will draw outside funding, said Dr. Avis Cohen of the Department of Biology, the project director and a co-principal investigator. The grant will support instructing Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure committees on how to evaluate interdisciplinary work by female faculty members or candidates, Cohen said. 'Traditional departments in science and technology don't know how to evaluate interdisciplinary work,' she said. Six other American universities-University of Maine, Lehigh University, West Virginia University, Texas A&M University, Syracuse University and Jackson State University-received multi-million dollar grants with October start dates as part of NSF's ADVANCE IT program. Speaking excitedly after hearing the news Thursday, Cohen said, 'We're going to change the culture of the campus.' "
University of Maryland Receives Inaugural Funding for Robertson Foundation Fellows
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.'
Wall Street Journal Recruiter Rankings
UM ranked in Top 10 of business schools by corporate recruiters. Companies Favor Big State Schools With One-Stop Shopping for Graduates With Necessary Skills "State universities have become the favorite of companies recruiting new hires because their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills gives the companies more bang for their recruiting buck."
The WSJ's Top Recruiter Rankings
1. Penn State University
2. Texas A&M
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
4. Purdue University
5. Arizona State University
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
7. Georgia Tech University
8. University of Maryland, College Park
9. University of Florida
10. Carnegie-Mellon University
11. Brigham Young University
12. Ohio State University
13. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
14. Cornell University
15. University of California - Berkeley
16. University of Wisconsin, Madison'
17. University of California - Los Angeles
18. Texas Tech
19. North Carolina State University, Raleigh
19. University of Virginia
21. Rutgers University
22. Notre Dame University
23. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
24. University of Southern California
25. Washington State University
25. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
WSJ Profile of UM:
University of Maryland, College Park
This Maryland school's campus, stretching 1,250 acres, is about 10 miles from Washington D.C. It enrolls 67% in-state students; the student body is made up of 47% women. There are 13 colleges and schools within the university, which offers 127 undergraduate majors.
How majors match up
* Engineering (3)
* Accounting (7)
* Computer Science (10)
* Business (21)
Newsweek College Education Rankings
The magazine ranked schools in 12 categories; UM is ranked among the 'The 25 Most Desirable Large Schools'
1. Harvard University
2. University of Pennsylvania
3. Cornell University
4. University of Southern California
5. University of California, Berkeley
6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
7. University of Virginia
8. University of California, Los Angeles
9. University of Florida
10. New York University
11. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
12. University of Texas at Austin
13. Brigham Young University
14. George Washington University
15. University of Maryland, College Park
16. Kansas State University
17. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
18. University of Miami
19. Northeastern University
20. University of Georgia
21. Clemson University
22. Baruch College, City University of New York
23. University of Central Arkansas
24. Texas A&M University
25. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Profile, University of Maryland, College Park
"At No. 15 on Newsweek's list of most desirable large campuses is the University of Maryland at College Park. 'It's universities like this that have contributed to the popular expression of college being four of the best years of your life,' writes one student on CollegeProwler.com. Founded in 1856, the school had 24,583 undergraduates enrolled as of the fall of 2009. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. Male students are the majority here, with 47 percent of students at the school being female. Whites make up 58 percent of the student body, Asian-Americans 15 percent, African-Americans 12 percent and Hispanics six percent. The majority of students--76 percent--come from within Maryland. In-state students will pay $22,115 in tuition for the 2010-2011 school year, while out-of-state students can expect to pay $38,530 in tuition and fees."
QS World Rankings of Universities
Formerly under the label of both QS and the Times of London, the QS rankings have been adopted by U.S. News & World Report as an authoritative world ranking, matching its own rankings of U.S. universities. (This is the first year that UM, College Park, is rated as an individual school.)
UM's Rankings No. 104 in the world
No. 13 among among US Public Universities
No. 96 in Technology and Engineering
No. 16 among US Public Universities
No. 72 in Citations per faculty
No. 24 among US Public Universities
Wall Street Journal Ranks Smith School Executive MBA Program Among the World's Best
Business Journals, UM release: "The Executive MBA program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business ranks No. 22 in the world, according to a Wall Street Journal report released today. Smith's program ranked No. 15 for how well it imparts management skills to students and No. 16 according to alumni rating. 'The Smith School is committed to providing executives with the professional development experience they need to lead through uncertain times and take their organizations to the next level,' said G. 'Anand' Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'Our executive MBA program has continued to grow and we're introducing additional programs to make our thought leadership accessible to business leaders throughout the region and the world.' "
Hopkins Again Leads U.S. Universities in Research Spending
Baltimore Sun: Paced by the Applied Physics Laboratory, university has topped rankings for 31 straight years "Johns Hopkins again led all U.S. universities in research and development spending in 2009, according to rankings released Wednesday by the National Science Foundation. With $1.85 billion in spending on medical, science and engineering research, Hopkins far outpaced second-place University of Michigan's total of $1 billion. Hopkins also led the rankings with $1.58 billion in federally funded research. The University of Maryland, College Park placed 41st in the rankings and the University of Maryland, Baltimore placed 52nd."
UM, Hopkins Doctoral Programs Ranked Near Top in Study
Baltimore Sun: "Dozens of doctoral programs at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Johns Hopkins University rank near the top in their respective fields, according to a long-awaited report released Tuesday by the National Research Council. College Park ranks 16th and Hopkins 23rd in the number of doctoral degrees awarded, according to the report, which covers more than 5,000 programs in 62 fields. The report, based on data collected from 212 universities during the 2006-2007 academic year, defies easy explanation. Each program was given two scores. The 'S' ranking reflects how well its characteristics lined up with those deemed most important by academics in the field, such as number of publications per faculty member, the amount of time needed to complete a doctoral degree and diversity of faculty. The 'R' ranking grades a program's reputation among faculty members in the field. The council ranked each program within a range based on its statistical formulas. For example, the physics program at Hopkins ranks between No. 16 and No. 59 in the 'S' rating and its counterpart at College Park ranks between No. 23 and No. 66. In mechanical engineering, College Park ranks between No. 11 and No. 31, while the University of Maryland, Baltimore County ranks between No. 48 and No. 89. ... A news release from College Park said that 'as many as 36 out of 56 ranked Maryland programs were among the top 25 programs in their fields.' The release went on to say that programs in aerospace engineering, agricultural and resource economics, comparative literature, computer science, geography, linguistics, atmospheric and oceanic science, and public policy seemed to rank highly no matter how the data were interpreted."
Maryland's Ph.D. Programs Achieve Strong Rankings In New National Academies' Study
UM release: " A long-awaited National Research Council study of Ph.D. programs at 212 of the nation's best universities gives many University of Maryland graduate programs high marks. As many as 36 out of 56 ranked Maryland programs were among the top 25 programs in their fields based on one of the study's two general assessment methods. By design, the National Research Council study provides only ranges of rankings and cannot be used to establish a definitive ranking for universities or their programs. However, among the many well-rated Maryland programs were a number that were very highly rated by almost any of the analytical measures. These programs include aerospace engineering, agricultural and resource economics, comparative literature, computer science, geography, linguistics, atmospheric and oceanic science, and public policy."
Women in Aerospace Announces 2010 Award Recipients
"Women in Aerospace is proud to announce the winners of its 25th Annual Women in Aerospace Awards. This year, WIA will honor eight outstanding women for their contributions to the aerospace industry and to the advancement of women in the field. These women will be honored at a reception and dinner to be held on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The 2010 recipients are ... AEROSPACE EDUCATOR AWARD: Professor Alison Flatau, Associate Dean and Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, for her exceptional leadership and dedication to aerospace education and for her unwavering commitment to the advancement of women in the Aerospace Engineering field."
Colwell: Stockholm Water Prize for US Researcher on Cholera
Earth Times: "The devastating floods in Pakistan where millions of people need clean water, food and shelter are but one illustration of the importance of water quality -- the overriding theme at the ongoing World Water Week. US researcher Rita Colwell, known for her work on infectious waterborne diseases like cholera, will Thursday accept the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize at a ceremony at Stockholm City Hall. 'Bad water kills more people than HIV, malaria and wars together, affecting the lives of families and the economic development of many countries around the world,' said Anders Berntell, head of Stockholm International Water Institute that manages the award. Colwell, 76, a professor at the University of Maryland and John Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, was cited for 'pioneering research,' including 'exceptional contributions to control the spread of cholera.' The annual award, worth 150,000 dollars, was created in 1990 to recognize achievements in water science, water management, water action or awareness building. Cholera is estimated to cause some 120,000 deaths each year and infects 3 to 5 million people. Colwell in a keynote speech Monday gave delegates including researchers and government members an overview of her research."
Colwell: Senator Lugar Announces Three New Science Envoys
U.S. Department of State: "At Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's request, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) announced three new science envoys yesterday at an event hosted by the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF): Dr. Rita Colwell, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, and Dr. Alice Gast. In their capacity as science envoys, they will travel to South and Southeast Asia; Africa; and the Central Asian/Caucuses region in coming months. The Science Envoy program, announced by President Obama in Cairo in June 2009, is a centerpiece program to implement U.S. global engagement in science and technology. These preeminent scientists will seek to deepen existing ties and foster new relationships with foreign counterparts and gain insights from other nations about potential areas of collaboration that will help address global challenges and realize shared goals. Dr. Colwell is a Distinguished Professor at both the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has focused her research on global infectious diseases, water and health, and is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Dr. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation from 1998-2004. She is recipient of the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded on September 9, 2010 by the King of Sweden."
Nobelist Walter Kohn to Receive 2010 Prange Prize
UM release: "Nobel laureate Walter Kohn, who invented the density-functional theory of matter, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Richard E. Prange Prize and Lectureship in Condensed Matter Theory and Related Areas. Kohn will receive a $10,000 honorarium and deliver a public presentation at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Oct. 19, 2010. Kohn's work on the density-functional theory has had transformative impact on physics, chemistry, engineering, and medicine. The award, established by the UM Department of Physics and Condensed Matter Theory Center (CMTC), honors the late Professor Richard Prange, whose distinguished career at Maryland spanned four decades (1961-2000). The Prange Prize is made possible by a gift from Dr. Prange's wife, Dr. Madeleine Joullie of the University of Pennsylvania."
The Washington Chorus Set to Honor Twelve Great Chorus Founders Nov. 9
Washington Examiner: "The Washington Chorus will mark the beginning of its 50th Anniversary with a special reception at the La Maison Francaise at The Embassy of France Tuesday, November 9, 2010. This special reception will honor twelve great chorus founders. They are: Tom Beveridge-founder of The New Dominion Chorale and The National Men's Chorus , Paul Callaway (1909-1995)-who most notably served for thirty eight years as organist/choirmaster at The Washington National Cathedral, Joyce Garrett-celebrated for her outstanding work with the Eastern High School Choir for twenty seven years, Joan Gregoryk-founder and artistic director of the Childrens Choir of Washington, Hugh Hayward (1930-2008)-founding conductor of the Oratorio Society of Washington that would later become The Washington Chorus, Paul Hill (1934-1999) founder of the Paul Hill Chorale, Jack Langstaff (1920-2005) music director of The Potomac School and world-renowned for his Christmas Revels, J. Reilly Lewis founder and conductor of The Washington Bach Consort, Bernice Johnson Reagon founder of Sweet Honey and the Rock, Norman Scribner founder of The Choral Arts Society of Washington, Robert Shafer-founder of the City Choir of Washington and formerly music director of The Washington Chorus for 36 years and Paul Traver, founder of The University of Maryland Chorus."
Bauder Before Congress: A Plea for Perkins
Inside Higher Ed: "Hoping to gain momentum for an amendment that would delay the upcoming demise of the federal Perkins Loan Program, the House Democrat leading the effort held a hearing here on Wednesday to declare the program's importance. And although Representative John Spratt (D-S.C.), the amendment's sponsor, says it won't pass this year without a 'miracle,' he is optimistic that with the support of some members of the House Budget Committee, as well as the colleges that rely on the loans, the amendment has a shot at approval next year. ... Sarah Bauder, assistant vice president of enrollment services and student financial aid at the University of Maryland at College Park, testified Wednesday that despite its comparatively small distribution -- the university awards $1.5 million in Perkins funds, compared to $90 million in Stafford loans and $30 million in Pell Grants -- the program is 'the David among the Goliaths of other aid.' 'By its very nature, the Perkins Loan Program provides schools the flexibility to provide additional aid to needy students. The importance of this flexibility cannot be overstated,' Bauder said. 'Financial aid administrators work where the rubber meets the road and have a unique perspective that allows them to assess students' and families' ability to pay for college in ways that aid applications will never be able to assess. When aid administrators see students and families struggling with unique circumstances, they need some flexibility to deliver funds to ensure the success of these students.' The hearing of the House Committee on the Budget was sparsely attended, as people made their way in and out throughout, but a couple of representatives did declare their support for extending Perkins. Some are pushing not only for the extension, but for a more permanent solution to funding the program. 'A tough budget means we're going to have to make tough decisions,' Representative Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) said. 'But education is not an expenditure. It's an investment.' The program, created in 1958, often awards loans to students who are "just beyond Pell-Grant eligible," Bishop said, making it an indispensable source of funding for the students who fall between the financial aid cracks. "I don't mean to engage in heresy here, but I sometimes think that we focus too much on Pell and not enough on the campus-based programs."
Smith School of Business Works to Solve Supply Chain Challenges with New Book and Practitioner Roundtable
Business Journals, UM release: "The Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business is bringing together top industry and government leaders to address inefficiencies in today's supply chain and come up with innovative ways to manage risk. The center spearheaded a recently released book, "X-Treme Supply Chain Management: A Guide to Mastering Business Volatility," and yesterday hosted an executive roundtable discussion among senior government and business leaders on the implications of the global economic crisis for supply chain management. 'With constant change, economic challenges and the havoc that events such as Gulf oil spills, natural disasters and terrorist threats can create, old models of balancing supply and demand are no longer effective,' said Sandor Boyson, research professor and co-director of the Supply Chain Management Center at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'It is critical that industry and government leaders work together to address extreme business volatility issues in the global supply chain, and we are happy we can provide the thought leadership to help guide some of those conversations.' Leaders from the U.S. Department of Transportation, NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, National Institutes of Health and other organizations met to discuss supply chain management at the Smith School's classroom space in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center."
Pioneers of American Electronic Media Named Giants of Broadcasting
Epoch Times: "Media personalities and pioneers gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel 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.' "
College Park Collects More Than 49 Pounds of Pharmaceuticals
College Park Patch: First annual event collected unused or expired prescription drugs Saturday. "The first annual Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) 'National Take Back Initiative' collected more than 49 pounds of unused and expired prescription drugs at the College Park event Saturday. The event, which took place at several locations in Washington, D.C. metro-area, went from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The University of Maryland Department of Public Safety and the University of Maryland Mid-Atlantic Water Program hosted the College Park event at the Department of Public Safety's headquarters, which was the closest location to Greenbelt. The 'Take Back Initiative' was organized by Sgt. August Kenner of the UM police department, Daphne Pee of the UM Mid-Atlantic Water Program and Agent Don Hibbert of the DEA. Several members of the community came out to the event to relinquish their unwanted prescription drugs including residents of College Park, Odenton, Riverdale, Upper Marlboro and University Park. Special guest, DEA Special Agent in charge of the D.C. area, Ava Cooper-Davis also attended the event."
Learning Where Food Comes From
Southern Maryland News: Connection to farmers highlighted at schools "Local farmers, school staff and members of the Maryland Cooperative Extension brought farm education to school recently as part of Maryland's Farm to School initiative. 'The goal is to teach the kids about agriculture and the importance of agriculture in our lives,' said Liat Mackey, family and consumer sciences extension educator with the University of Maryland Extension office in Leonardtown. Many children today have no concept of where food comes from or what farms are really like, Mackey said. The goal of the program is to educate children about that and boost healthy eating habits in the process. Students at George Washington Carver Elementary School on Wednesday got to watch how to plant beans, learned about recycling programs and got an up-close look at a variety of farm animals. Donald Strickland brought some of his farm animals to Carver. 'They all like the pigs, chickens and goats,' he said of the children. 'Some of them don't have a clue about the animals. At least they're learning where they get the food from. Our job is to try to get them to care,' Strickland said. 'I think its well worth it.' "
Combining Wheat in Washington -- D.C.
American Agriculturist: "Imagine a stand of wheat and a combine in front of the U.S. Capitol. Well, you don't have to imagine. On Thursday and Friday, the Wheat Foods Council staged a wheat field event on the national mall, in front of the U.S. Capital Building. They did so with the help of Jose Costa, an agronomist for University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was funded in part by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board. The exhibit included all phases of the wheat growing process, from green grass to full maturity ready to harvest. It was staged to help urban considers learn from the mini 'farm-to-fork' experience about where their food comes from and to help them make more informed nutrition choices. The Wheat Foods Council event was staffed by wheat growers from around the country and experts in milling, baking and nutrition -- with demonstrations -- about wheat, baking and nutrition. They also hoped to draw the attention of government workers. How do you draw politicos? With food, of course!"
College Park Student Housing Development Meets Resistance
Washington Examiner: "A proposed development for more student housing in College Park is meeting heavy opposition from local officials who would rather entice more young professionals to the area. The proposed 334-unit apartment building and ground-floor retail space would be built on the 2.6-acre site across the street from the University of Maryland on Route 1 now occupied by the Maryland Book Exchange and its parking lot. The apartments would be geared toward housing students while one-third would be marketed toward visiting professors, researchers and graduate students, said developer Ilya Zusin. About two-thirds of the retail space will house a new Book Exchange. But the project, which would add hundreds of students to Old Town College Park, might not get built at all if officials succeed in blocking the proposal. City Councilwoman Stephanie E. Stullich said Tuesday that "building more student housing has been a priority" but noted major new and planned projects will add more than 4,300 beds in off-campus housing within the next few years. 'We've seen such an increasing dominance of student housing that we need more development to serve other parts of the population to support a more diverse mix of business,' she said. According to campus housing data, the campus itself has roughly 11,500 beds. Maryland's undergraduate enrollment totals about 26,500. But Zusin said his site -- just south of sorority and fraternity row -- is better suited for students than young professionals. He believes building more housing on Route 1 will entice students now living near the College Park Metro Station to move closer to campus. 'Young professionals then may be attracted closer to the Metro,' he said. 'But that's not going to happen if you have students living there.' "
Nonprofits May Hold the Key to Preserving Affordable Housing in Langley Park Affordability may depend on partnerships with nonprofit organizations
Gazette Newspapers: "Prince George's planners say the key to preserving affordable housing in the Langley Park area may rest in the hands of nonprofit organizations, but a lack of funding could keep such efforts from getting off the ground. Residents and community activists have worried the sector plan for the Takoma/Langley Crossroads area, which overlaps the border between Montgomery and Prince George's counties, will result in the displacement of low-income residents and small businesses. The plan provides recommendations for redevelopment that will coincide with the construction of two proposed Purple Line stations over the next 10 years. The plan calls for replacing multifamily housing and retail space along University Boulevard between Riggs Road and New Hampshire Avenue with mixed-use development. 'As of this point in time, there is no guarantee that one affordable apartment will replace what would be torn down,' said Bill Hanna, executive secretary of Action Langley Park and a professor of urban planning at the University of Maryland, College Park, at a community meeting Sept. 21 in Langley Park to update residents on the plan."
College Park Renews UM Resident Shuttle Service, for Now
Gazette Newspapers: "Officials from the city and the University of Maryland, College Park, have worked out a deal to prevent the university from doubling the cost for non-student use of university shuttles, but City Council members said they doubt the agreement will be a long-term solution to the city's public transportation needs. The council approved a compromise Tuesday night that will allow the city to pay $6,000 this year for the university's Shuttle-UM service to be available at no cost to non-student residents. The city paid $5,000 for the service last year, but the university wanted to charge $10,000 this year, citing added costs of expanded service. The council voted 5-3 in favor of the $6,000 agreement, but several members said the program's costliness and low ridership could soon force the city to look in a different direction for free resident bus service. The city and UM first partnered for free shuttle service in 2008, as a three-year pilot program approved by the state legislature. The city paid $10,000 in 2008, but just $5,000 in 2009 after UM discontinued a route along the southern part of the city's Route 1 corridor. The university asked for $10,000 this year after restoring the route. J. David Allen, UM's director of transportation services, said Wednesday that he and city officials have discussed continuing the program at the $10,000 rate next year. He said the university hopes to continue the partnership, as it provides a revenue source for the school and helps city residents."
QUEST: 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."
Students Help Shrink Satellite To Football Size
International Business Times: "A couple of students helped to develop a small satellite named 'Firefly', which was literally the size of a football, designed to study the most powerful natural accelerator on the Earth, lightning. Firefly is a collaborative effort, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, working with Siena College, Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, the Hawk Institute for Space Sciences in Pocomoke City, Maryland, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. A couple of University of Maryland, College Park students applied for an internship to help construct a satellite instrument with scientists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The satellite that Saman Kholdebarin and Lida Ramsey helped to develop was literally the size of a football. 'I had no idea you could make these satellites so small. I was astounded,' said Saman Kholdebarin, recalling his surprise when his Goddard mentors explained the project to him. The pint-sized satellite will study lightning, when it launches from the Marshall Islands aboard an Air Force Falcon 1E rocket vehicle next year. In particular, Firefly will focus on Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs), a little understood phenomenon first discovered by NASA's Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory in the early 1990s. Firefly will make simultaneous measurements of escaping energetic electrons accelerated over thunderstorms, the gamma rays produced by the electrons, and the radio wave and optical signatures of the lightning discharge."
NASA Selects University Finalists for Inflatable Loft Competition
NASA: "NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected university teams from Maryland, Oklahoma and Wisconsin as finalists in a competition to design, manufacture, assemble and test an inflatable loft. NASA is challenging college students to design and rapidly develop prototype concepts for inflatable habitat lofts for the next generation of space explorers. The loft will be integrated onto an existing NASA operational hard-shell prototype habitat. The winning concepts may be applied to space exploration habitats of the future. 'This competition gives these students the opportunity of a lifetime,' said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'They'll design and build new hardware. If their team wins, they'll get the chance to integrate their designs into a NASA hard shell habitat and see it field tested next summer.' The inaugural eXploration Habitat, or X-Hab, Academic Innovation Challenge finalists are: Oklahoma State University
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Maryland
The competition is a university-level challenge designed to encourage studies in spaceflight-related engineering and architecture disciplines. This design competition requires undergraduate and graduate students to explore NASA's work to develop space habitats, while also helping the agency gather new and innovative ideas to complement current research and development."
Do-It-Yourself Bioengineers Bedeviled by Society's Paranoia
Genetic Engineering News: Zachary Russ, UM undergraduate ad Goldwater scholar, writed for Genetic Engineering News: "Gather up a few thousand people and you will find, without fail, that several of them have some very impressive hobbies. There are overclockers, pushing their computers to the limit by employing sophisticated refrigeration and coolant; rocketeers, sending everything from cameras to GPS trackers to remarkable heights; and fusioneers, building tritium reactors for fun. Joining the club are the amateur bioengineers, or DIYbio enthusiasts, who cultivate and modify all sorts of organisms. These bioengineers have enjoyed a remarkable amount of media coverage, and student-outreach programs such as iGEM and summer recombinant DNA classes are gaining in popularity. This grass-roots interest in scientific advancement is not new. Independent research has produced several landmark discoveries, including Edward Jenner's work that led to the smallpox vaccine. Some creative innovations such as extremely low-cost gel electrophoresis boxes, agarose gels in plastic straws, and hardware-store-derived thermocyclers have already come out of today's movement. Much has been made of the possibility of these hobbyists (or perhaps some more maliciously intentioned types) rebuilding the smallpox virus or accidentally creating an invasive or harmful organism. It is certainly possible, but its credibility as a threat depends more on whether it is probable."
Miss College Park Supplies Help for Hollywood Elementary Students
Gazette Newspapers: "Not every student was prepared for the first day at Hollywood Elementary School in College Park, said principal Barbara Caskey. It was often through no fault of their own, as some families just couldn't afford new school supplies, she said. Help arrived Friday for many of the school's 450 students, as the school received about 10 boxes and bags full of pencils, crayons, notebooks, backpacks and other items as a gift from the Miss College Park pageant program and College Park American Legion Post 217. The supplies were gathered during a donation drive that started in July. 'I'm trying to make it an annual thing,' said 18-year-old Devin Fendlay, a University of Maryland, College Park, freshman who was named Miss College Park in April. 'They said a lot of students are having trouble getting supplies, so it's really big if the community can help them.'
Maryland State Fair Welcomes New Calf Named 'Justin'
Kids chose to name baby Holstein after pop star Baltimore Sun: "Move over, Justin Bieber -- another Justin has trumped your arrival in Timonium. A Holstein calf was born Sunday afternoon at the University of Maryland birthing center at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, and fair officials said there were no surprises when a group of more than 100 children were tasked with naming the newborn. 'Justin,' the calf -- named after Bieber, who will play a sold-out show at the fairgrounds tonight -- was born just after 3:20 p.m. and weighed in at 80 lbs. Justin's mother, who had been in labor since around noon, doesn't have a name. (Student) Victoria Lake, of the University of Maryland birthing center, said the name overwhelmingly beat out four others: Sam, Buddy, Milky and Miracle. 'Yesterday, we were discussing the possibility of this calf being born -- and we figured, no questions asked, it was going to be Justin,' Lake said, adding that every year, animals born are bestowed the namesake of what's popular for kids."
NCAA: Making Her Points
NCAA: "University of Maryland senior Katie O'Donnell became the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time leading point scorer, contributing an assist on the Terrapins' second goal of a 4-2 victory over then-No. 11 Boston College in the team's league-opener on Sept. 18. O'Donnell, who is also the ACC's career assist leader, added to her record point total with a goal in No. 2 Maryland's 3-0 defeat of then-No. 20 Massachusetts, boosting her total to 232 career points."
University of Maryland Joins Marching Band Mania
WJZ-TV: " 'Hawaii Five-0' is one of the most recognizable themes in television history. Now the University of Maryland hopes its band's rendition will win it some big bucks from CBS. Ron Matz has more on Marching Band Mania and the excitement building in College Park. 'Hawaii Five-0's' music is unmistakable and no one does it better than the University of Maryland Marching Band. 'I think the whole band is excited. We're all very hopeful our video will get a lot of votes, and I think we're excited to come together as a band and try our best,' said Shana Ferguson, University of Maryland band member. The mighty Maryland musicians have been practicing hard and they are now competing against bands from 33 other states."
Immigration Advocates Seek Passage of DREAM Act, Other Reforms
Catholic News Service: "Participants at a Sept. 15 rally near the U.S. Capitol were invigorated in their fight for immigration reform by the previous day's announcement of an upcoming Senate vote on a measure to help children of undocumented immigrants work toward legal status and get a college education. About 500 people gathered at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation applauded and cheered as several speakers encouraged them to keep pressing forward on reform and not lose their momentum. Many who spoke from the church podium described the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act, as a crucial step in their fight. The proposed measure would allow children of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States at an early age to become legal residents and qualify for in-state college tuition. It has long been a separate piece of legislation, first introduced in 2001, that has failed to advance in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced Sept. 14 that he will offer the measure as an amendment to a major defense bill expected to receive a Senate vote the week of Sept. 20. ... One of the rally speakers, Yves Gomes, a freshman at the University of Maryland, is very familiar with the challenges facing immigrant college students. Gomes was given a last-minute reprieve from his expected deportation this past August. The student, born in India, came to the United States when he was 14 months old. His mother and his father were deported in 2008 and 2009, respectively. This year, five days before his own pending deportation, Gomes pleaded with fellow parishioners at St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., for petitions and prayers. Two days later, he received a phone call from immigration officials informing him of his two-year deferral. 'With the deportation now on hold, I can continue my life here in the U.S.,' he wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to President Barack Obama. He said he was grateful for the second chance, but he was saddened to realize that thousands in 'similar and worse situations' did not have access to resources to help them. 'Mr. President, it is clearly wrong that there continue to be so many promising young adults who are prevented from achieving their full potential simply because they don't have the right papers.' "
Washington Gears Up for Turkish Festival
Hurriyet Daily News: Volunteers Reconnect With Turkey -- "A small group of Turks, Americans and Turkish-Americans, a collage of people from different backgrounds, prepares to organize the 7th annual Turkish Festival in Washington, DC. Demet Cabbar, one of the organizers, says the festival attracts more than 15,000 people every year, about three quarters of whom are Americans. ... At the meeting, Pinar Guvenir, 25, and Catherine Jaffee, 24, stand up to make a presentation on the progress they have made planning out the logistics required to coordinate the more than 200 volunteers who come out every year for the festival. ... During the meeting, Catherine slips into Turkish sometimes. An American from Colorado, she came to Turkey in 2008 on a Fulbright Scholarship. 'Since I've been back from Turkey, all I can think of is going back. I love Turkish food, wine, culture. The people, in all their diversity and differences -- they're it,' she said. Guvenir, a Turk from Istanbul, moved to America shortly after getting her green card at the age of 21. She has just begun an MBA at the University of Maryland, but she helps out with planning the festival in her spare time. 'I thought it was cool to be part of it, to help my country, to introduce Turkey to the U.S,' she said. 'It's a good way to introduce Turkish culture, to say we're here, this is our food, this is our culture.' "
Mascot Tensions High as Capital One Announces 2010 All-America Mascot Team
Capital One: "While hoards of oversized, fuzzy characters waited with baited breath on what has become one of the most anticipated days on the annual mascot calendar, Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) today announced its ninth annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team (www.capitalonebowl.com) who are in the running for Capital One National Mascot of the Year. This year's team represents the breadth of college football teams and their fans -- ranging from the glitz of UCLA's Joe Bruin and the history of Ohio State's Brutus Buckeye to the mononymous mascots Smokey (University of Tennessee), Duck (University of Oregon) and Testudo (University of Maryland). 'With the field now set, I look forward to defending my crown," the University of Cincinnati's Bearcat, the defending champion, said through a mascot interpreter. "And while I expect to prevail, for the sake of sportsmanship let me add that may the best horse, cat, gopher, bear, bird, bruin or turtle win."
UM Student 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."
Ronald Walters, Rights Leader and Scholar, Dies at 72
New York Times: "Ronald W. Walters, who organized one of the nation's first lunch-counter sit-ins to protest segregation as a young man and went on to become a leading scholar of the politics of race, died Friday in Bethesda, Md. He was 72 and lived in Silver Spring, Md. The cause was cancer, his wife, Patricia Turner Walters, said. Dr. Walters was 20 and president of the local youth chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. when he and a cousin, Carol Parks, organized a sit-in at the Dockum Drug Store in downtown Wichita, Kan. That was in July 1958, two years before students in Greensboro, N.C., staged the sit-ins that are often credited with starting the movement in many Southern cities. Every morning for three weeks, the protesters in Wichita returned to the drugstore, sitting silently until closing time, despite constant taunting. Finally the owner relented and agreed to serve black customers, saying he was losing too much money as a result of the sit-in. That protest received scant national attention, and it was only in 2006 that Dr. Walters received an N.A.A.C.P. award for his role in organizing it. By then he had made a significant mark on the civil rights movement -- as a teacher, an author, a television commentator and an adviser to activists and politicians. "He was an indispensable part of the brain trust of the movement," Vernon E. Jordan, the civil rights leader and lawyer, said on Monday. 'He was there for all of us, at the other end of the phone, if we needed his thinking, his synthesis of racial issues, political issues, economic issues. And he was always at the ready to get on the train to help the cause.' Dr. Walters, who for 13 years until his retirement last year was director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, was a deputy campaign manager and debate adviser for the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson's presidential bid in 1984. In the early 1970s, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Congressional Black Caucus, and he subsequently served as a staff adviser to Representative Charles Diggs, Democrat of Michigan, the first chairman of the caucus. Dr. Walters wrote 13 books and scores of articles on racial politics. In 'White Nationalism, Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community' (2003), he analyzed the resurgence of conservatism among whites. Sixteen years before, in 'Black Presidential Politics in America: A Strategic Approach,' Dr. Walters had envisioned the possibility of an African-American president and laid out the steps that such a candidate would have to take to reach the White House."
Presidential Advisory Group Makes STEM Education Recommendations
Super Computing Online: "America is home to extraordinary assets in science, engineering, and mathematics that, if properly applied within the educational system, could revitalize student interest and increase proficiency in these subjects and support an American economic renewal, according to a new report from an independent council of Presidential advisors. The new report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) -- 20 of the Nation's leading scientists and engineers appointed by the President to provide advice on a range of topics -- makes specific recommendations to better prepare America's K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and also to inspire those students -- including girls, minorities, and others underrepresented in STEM fields -- to challenge themselves with STEM classes, engage in STEM activities outside the school classroom, and consider pursuing careers in those fields. 'Getting America back to the top of the pack in math and science achievement is going to require everyone's involvement. The Federal Government has a critical role to play, especially through a partnership between the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation,' said Eric Lander, a co-chair of PCAST, which is administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 'The recommendations in this report have great catalytic potential and, if implemented, could transform STEM education in America,' said Lander, who is also President of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. ... All told, said Jim Gates, co-chair of the PCAST Working Group on STEM Education, the report provides a practical roadmap for significantly improving Federal coordination and leadership on STEM education so American students today will grow into the world's science and technology leaders of tomorrow. 'I think of this report as giving my generation a guidebook for how to step up to its "greatest generation moment",' said Gates, who is also Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland and Director of the University's Center for String and Particle Theory. While recognizing that improvements in STEM education will require input by educators, the private sector, non-profits, and philanthropies, the report's recommendations focus primarily on the Federal Government -- primarily the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. Its release coincides with an event today in which the President will announce an expansion of his 'Educate to Innovate' initiative, with new public-private partnerships to improve STEM education and expand opportunities to better prepare all students to thrive in, and contribute to, the 21st century economy."
The Science of NFL Football
NFL, NSF: "In America, the autumn season means two things -- back to school and back to football. To celebrate both events, NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn, is teaming up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Football League (NFL) to release the 'Science of NFL Football' -- an informative 10-part video series that explores the science behind America's most beloved sport. Narrated by NBC News' Lester Holt and made especially for students and teachers as they head back to the classroom, these videos are aligned to lesson plans and national state education standards, and are available to the public cost-free. ... For each piece of the series, an NSF-supported scientist explains the selected scientific principle, while NFL athletes describe how these principles apply to their respective positions. Series scientists supported by NSF are: University of Florida aerospace engineer Tony Schmitz, Clemson University mechanical engineer John Ziegert, University of Maryland physicist Sylvester 'Jim' Gates and Bryn Mawr College mathematician Rhonda Hughes. Also participating in the series are two scientists from the University of Connecticut, kinesiologist Douglas Casa and nutritionist Nancy Rodriguez."
The Tehran Tangle in Middle East Peace
Guardian, UK: A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians could turn out to be the best way to neutralise Iran's nuclear ambitions Manuel Hassassian and Edward Edy Kaufman, colleagues at UM's Centre for International Development and Conflict, write an op/ed for one of the UK's largest newspapers, The Guardian. The article produces hundreds of reader comments. "We -- an Israeli and a Palestinian -- believe there's a way out of this tangle. As the risks grow, so do the benefits of bold thinking. We teach our students at the University of Maryland: 'The Israelis and Palestinians are doomed to live together.' This summer, we added to this formulation, ' or are doomed to die together'. This state of affairs demands a striking paradigm shift, through which an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement could actually neutralise the Iranian nuclear peril. This kind of linkage may be the only way to achieve results in which all the parties -- Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and Iranians -- can 'win'."
Craig Dye Named Director of Mtech Venture Accelerator
UM release: "Craig Dye, an accomplished entrepreneur, business executive and investor with 15 years of experience in building and mentoring start-up companies, is the new director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) VentureAccelerator Program, university officials announce today. VentureAccelerator is a fast-track, early admission program tied to Mtech's Technology Advancement Program (TAP), the first technology company incubator in Maryland. VentureAccelerator helps University of Maryland inventors speed the process of creating ventures from their technologies by systematically guiding and coaching them through new business processes such as sound business planning, understanding customers and markets, setting goals and priorities, acquiring skills and recruiting talent, and raising capital. 'VentureAccelerator is perhaps the most critical component in the University of Maryland innovation ecosystem in terms of harnessing the half-billion dollars of research here on campus each year and systematically launching and growing successful new high-tech ventures,' says Dean Chang, director of Mtech's Venture Programs and director of the TAP incubator."
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."
A Long Ago Cold Case: UM Registrar Fatally Stabbed in Her D.C. Home
Washington Examiner: "This week's cold case dates back more than 50 years and involves the slaying of the popular registrar of the University of Maryland. Alma Preinkert was born in the District, graduated from George Washington University and received a master's from Maryland. In 1936, she became the first female registrar of the university in College Park. She was much beloved on campus. Students said Preinkert always found time for those seeking information or help, even though by 1954 she was handling the records of some 42,000 Maryland students around the world annually. In the morning of Feb. 28, 1954, a prowler broke into Preinkert's home at 1436 Chapin St. in Northwest Washington next to Meridian Hill Park in what today is on the border of Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. The intruder used a ladder stolen from a nearby rooming house to climb to the second floor, then broke a glass window to reach in and unfasten the lock. Preinkert awoke to the man ransacking her bedroom. Preinkert apparently startled the intruder and he fatally stabbed the 58-year-old woman. Preinkert's sister, who lived next door, heard the commotion and tried to help Alma Preinkert, but the intruder stabbed her, too. Neighbors could hear the screams and the man escaped on foot. He left behind another clue, though, a gold tie clip. The sister survived, but police believe Preinkert was killed in a burglary gone bad because her pocketbook had also been rummaged through. Hundreds of people attended Alma Preinkert's funeral, including Maryland Gov. Theodore McKeldin. Dozens of police detectives tried to solve Preinkert's slaying and the entire Metropolitan Police Department combed the neighborhood looking for her killer, according to reports at the time. Investigators interviewed hundreds of people, and a $1,500 reward was offered, but no arrest was ever made. Today, a building on campus, the Preinkert Field House, is named after Alma Preinkert. Preinkert Drive takes students to the Robert H. Smith Business School and South Campus Dining Hall. A painting of Preinkert is in the archives of Maryland's Hornbake Library."
Vibrant State and Research
A Festivus for the Rest of Us: Previewing the USA Science & Engineering Festival
Scientific American: "Mark your calendars: for two weeks in October, the U.S. celebrates science with a nationwide effort. Festivities kick off on October 10 with a concert of science songs performed by 200 children and adults at the University of Maryland. Events follow on each day -- see the calendar here -- and culminate in the free, two-day Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas on October 23 and 24. The expo will feature some 1,500 fun, hands-on science activities and more than 75 stage shows and performances on four stages. Exhibitors will host talks and performances. The festival represents a collaboration of 500 of the nation's leading science organizations. As a media sponsor, Scientific American is proud to be a part of the collaboration. For the expo, we will have a booth at the Wilson Plaza area focused around photosynthesis, using algae as plant of study to see if it can serve as a means to generate biomass fuel."
Science Wednesday: Gearing Up for the USA Science & Engineering Festival
EPA: "Back to school season always seems so refreshing. I find the excitement my kids show as they crack open new books and get reacquainted with long-lost schoolmates infectious. And this year, I'm happy to feel like we here at EPA are part of it. The science communication team that I work with has been enlisted to help plan the Agency's exhibition at the Inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival. The Festival is a grassroots collaboration of over 550 of the nation's leading science organizations -- including the U.S. EPA -- to spark the interest of the nation's students in science, technology, engineering, and math by producing and presenting compelling, exciting, educational, and entertaining science gatherings. Opening on 10/10/10 with a concert of science songs performed by over 200 children and adults at the University of Maryland, the Festival promises to be the ultimate multi-disciplinary celebration of science in the United States. The culmination of the Festival will be a free, two-day Expo on the National Mall here in Washington, DC that will feature over 1500 fun, hands-on science activities and over 50 stage shows and performances on four stages."
Algae Eyed to Clean Chesapeake Bay
Baltimore Sun: Scientists say 'scrubbers' can reduce pollution, produce fuel "Soft and stringy, a mat of green clings to the bottom of the long metal trough as warm water courses down it to the Susquehanna River. 'There it is - green gold!' says Patrick C. Kangas, as he scoops up a clump of blue-green algae growing in the sluiceway he's set up at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant, just across the Maryland line. Kangas, a University of Maryland ecological engineer, sees a bright green future in such lowly pond scum -- a solution to the Chesapeake Bay's water-quality woes, and possibly even a clean, renewable energy source to boot. With the help of Exelon Corp., the Chicago-based power company that owns Peach Bottom and other energy facilities along the lower Susquehanna, Kangas hopes to demonstrate the year-round pollution-scrubbing potential of the algae he's cultivating in heated discharge water from the nuclear plant. Kangas' Peach Bottom project is one of a small but growing handful of tests around the bay of a technology that's been around for decades, but only lately has drawn interest in this region as a tool for ecological restoration. It also comes, coincidentally, at a time of renewed interest in seeing if algae can be cultivated on an industrial scale to produce some form of renewable energy. Similar experiments are under way on a farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore and in Virginia. A Baltimore firm is preparing to test the technique in the Inner Harbor, one of the most degraded spots in the bay. NASA scientists, meanwhile, are working on an ambitious project to produce jet fuel from algae used to treat municipal wastewater, and they hope to try it out in the bay, too. It's ironic, as algae are often seen as a symptom of the bay's pollution."
UM. Researcher Links Kids' Computer Use with Test Scores, Behavior
Washington Post: "A University of Maryland researcher has a message for parents who fret about how much time their preteen children spend on computers: Worry not. In what researchers describe as one of the first long-term looks at the effects of media use during childhood, a study released Wednesday linked hours at the computer with achievement test scores and behavior and found little sign of harm for children ages 6 to 12 as they increased their screen time over a six-year period. Moreover, the study found benefits for girls and black boys. 'Generally, adolescent achievement and adjustment showed benefits from the use of the computer, and it didn't have to be studying. It could be playing games,' said Sandra L. Hofferth, a family science professor and director of the Maryland Population Research Center. Hofferth's results, published in the journal Child Development, showed that African American boys' reading scores improved by four points, considered significant, as they increasingly logged more time on the computer. Girls' achievement test scores for reading and math notched upward by a point. Socially, there was another positive effect: White girls were less likely to be withdrawn as they played more on the computer. In 2008, children ages 10 to 12 were messaging, playing games, studying and surfing Web sites an average of 3.4 hours a week. Those ages 16 to 18 sppent 6.3 hours a week at the keyboard that year."
Haltiwanger: To Create Jobs, Nurture Start-Ups
New York Times: "Modern tools of data analysis -- fast computers, smart software and vast troves of digital information -- often open the door to new insights. Consider the subject of jobs in America. For decades, the assumption has been that small business is the economy's dynamic engine of job generation. Look at the numbers broadly, and that is the irrefutable conclusion: two-thirds of net new jobs are created by companies with fewer than 500 employees, which is the government's definition of a small business. But research published last month by three economists, working with more recent and detailed data sets than before, has found that once the age of the businesses is taken into account, there is no difference in the job-producing performance of small companies and big ones. 'Size plays virtually no role,' says John C. Haltiwanger, a co-author of the study and an economist at the University of Maryland. 'It's all age -- start-ups are where the job-creation action really occurs.' Start-ups account for much job destruction as well. Within five years, half of these businesses have folded. Yet the survivors are prime candidates to join the young, dynamic companies that make an outsize contribution to innovation, productivity gains and job growth, Mr. Haltiwanger says. So any serious discussion of job creation, it seems, should look at the business tactics and policy steps that are most likely to nurture more of these promising corporate upstarts. Doing that can be tricky, however, and government small-business initiatives are often misguided, according to Josh Lerner, a professor at the Harvard Business School. Government programs to stimulate bank lending, he says, are not geared to entrepreneurial start-ups. Those new companies need equity investment to fund risk-taking, free of the financial burden of paying interest on loans."
2030 Group Raises $2 Million to Push for Regional Transportation, Economic Initiatives
Washington Post: "A group of 20 powerful local business leaders has raised more than $2 million aimed at funding research, focus groups, polls and forums to encourage local officials to make a greater commitment to regional transportation and economic concerns as the region grows. Led by Robert E. Buchanan, principal of Gaithersburg-based development firm Buchanan Partners, the 2030 Group has added other executives, including developer Tom Bozzuto, chief executive of the Bozzuto Group; Warren M. Thompson, chairman of hotel giant Thompson Hospitality; and Robert M. Pinkard, co-founder of the commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley. The group has already funded research by two top local economic and policy researchers, Stephen S. Fuller, director of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis, and Jacques S. Gansler, who directs the Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise at the University of Maryland."
Should Government Tax Debt?
Wall Street Journal: "Certain economists, most notably Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw, have long advocated so-called Pigovian taxes aimed at discouraging pollution and other socially costly activities. Now two academics are suggesting such a tax might be applied to a dangerous behavior that has become popular in the U.S.: Taking on too much debt. In a new paper, Olivier Jeanne of Johns Hopkins University and Anton Korinek of the University of Maryland build a model designed to determine what kind of tax would best smooth out the credit booms and busts that can cause so much economic damage. The result: We could all be better off if, during booms, the government placed a tax of 0.56% on the borrowings of small and medium-sized businesses, and 0.48% on the borrowings of U.S. households. The tax would fall to zero in busts. To be sure, such a tax would be politically tough to implement in a system that has long encouraged the opposite behavior. Homeowners enjoy an income-tax deduction on mortgage interest, and companies don't owe taxes on the interest they pay on their debt. That gives them an incentive to take on as much debt as they can handle, and a vested interest in the status quo. That said, a Pigovian tax on debt wouldn't be unprecedented. Chile, for example, has long levied a tax on short-term foreign loans as part of a broader effort to limit speculative capital flows. The jury is still out, but some economists believe the measures have helped protect Chile from the kind of foreign-investor panics that tend to hit emerging economies."
Recession Deflates Small Business Marketing Initiatives
Business News Daily: "The recession hasn't only impacted bottom lines, it's also dampened small businesses' enthusiasm for creative marketing. That's the finding of new research from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Only 37 percent of small businesses recently surveyed say they are highly successful at coming up with new ideas to grow their business, compared to 47 percent last year. Companies that do report finding new marketing techniques credit the Internet as a key component. 'Creative thinking and the determination to push the limits on innovation are the hallmark characteristics of entrepreneurs,' said Tim Kelly, CEO of Network Solutions, which co-sponsored the research. 'Having a strong presence on the Web gives business owners a great launch pad to showcase their innovative spirit and build brand awareness for the products and services they offer.' Web sites remain the main marketing priority for small businesses. Still, only 67 percent of small businesses have or are likely to have a web site in two years. Of those small businesses that use social media, 30 percent are likely to increase their investment in their website because of social media, the survey found, while 60 percent do not plan to change their website investment in the next year. ... 'Small business owners who hit roadblocks on marketing and innovation should turn to social media," said Janet Wagner, director of the Center for Excellence in Service at the Smith School. "Tools such as Twitter and Facebook have made it faster, cheaper, and easier for even the smallest business to communicate with its customers and get ideas for new products and services. Technology-savvy small business owners who leverage the Internet will be in a strong position to compete going forward.' "
Threat of Global Warming Sparks U.S. Interest in Geoengineering
"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."
In New Project, Russian Universities Tap American Expertise in Tech Transfer
Chronicle of Higher Education: "Universities in Russia could soon be adopting American-style innovations like business incubators and spin-off companies to help commercialize their research, thanks to an effort to promote greater ties between Russian academe and industry. The project, which goes by the acronym Eureca -- for Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity -- will bring together several of Russia's newly designated 'national research universities' to work with teams from four American institutions to learn the nuts and bolts of technology transfer and other approaches for collaborating with industry. A consortium of foundations from the United States and Russia is backing the project. ... 'They have good science, it's clear. They don't necessarily have a culture of entrepreneurship,' said Brian Darmody, associate vice president for research and economic development at the University of Maryland, College Park, one of the four American institutions taking part in Eureca. The others are Purdue University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Washington. Eureca, which is to be announced today, will start with a 10-day program in October that includes intensive training, site visits to the American institutions, and a Washington, D.C., reception for American and Russian academic, political, and business leaders."
Eight US Universities to Launch Study Programs in Israel
Jerusalem Post: "Eight of the US's top universities, including Columbia's Barnard College, will launch study-abroad programs in Israel in 2011 and 2012 as part of a new initiative to encourage study abroad and academic exchange here, the Jewish Agency announced Tuesday. Currently, some 1,500 American university students study in Israel each year. The Masa program, which is part of the Jewish Agency, hopes to boost those numbers considerably so that one day they are on a par with places like London and Paris, where tens of thousands of young Americans go to spend a semester abroad each year. 'We want to double the number of students from abroad studying in Israel from 1,500 to 3,000 in the next two to three years,' Avi Rubel, Masa Israel North American director, told The Jerusalem Post. 'Universities in the US are increasingly trying to set up programs in other countries so that more of their students have a diverse menu of studying abroad. Up until now the program has mostly been open in Jewish studies, but not business [studies], for example. So what we're trying to do is create partnerships that will bring new students in these initiates.' In recent years, higher education has seen a trend toward "global universities," networks of institutions and branches providing opportunities for study worldwide. Although Israel's universities and colleges produce an unusually high number of innovators, the country's higher education system lags behind many other countries in creating these overseas partnerships. Working closely with the Institute of International Education (IIE), Masa has selected eight institutions that will receive a total of $400,000 ($50,000 each) in seed grants to develop study programs with Israeli institutions. The partnerships include Washington University's Olin Business School with IDC Herzliya; Columbia's Barnard College with Hebrew University; and the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business with the University of Haifa. The other participating universities are Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, Michigan State University, the New Jersey state university system and the University of Florida."
FDA, U. Of Md. Train Bangladeshis On Aquaculture Safety
FDA: "Seafood safety experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the University of Maryland Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) are training 10 scientists from Bangladesh on how to eliminate health hazards from aquaculture - the controlled production of seafood, much of which is exported to the United States. The trainees are among a group that participated in a Good Aquacultural Practices (GAqPs) train-the-trainer program in Khulna, Bangladesh, in November 2009 and who are committed to furthering their country's ability to further improve aquaculture safety there over the next five years. The training, by experts from the FDA and JIFSAN was occurring Sept. 15-18, 2010, at College Park, Md., and from Sept. 20-24, 2010, at university facilities in Princess Anne, Md., and Cambridge, Md. The emphasis is on hazards associated with shrimp production and on FDA regulations regarding safety of seafood imports. 'Collaborating with other countries in this way not only helps to improve the quality and safety of their domestic product, but also what they export to the United States and other countries around the world,' said FDA Deputy Commissioner for International Programs, Murray M. Lumpkin, M.D."
Eight Hurdles on the Track to a Green Energy Future
The future envisions a technological road that leads to an infinite supply of power
MSNBC: "The green energy future envisions a technological road that leads to an infinite supply of power, independence from potentially hostile nations and an atmosphere cleared of the excess heat-trapping gases that are blamed for warming the planet. The track to this future, however, is full of technological and policy hurdles. Statistics show that the vast majority of the energy used today, about 90 percent, comes from fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. When burned, these fuels emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that scientists believe is forcing the global climate to change. But these fuels are also cheap, energy-dense and abundant -- reasons why they won't go away anytime soon, according to Jim Dooley, a senior research scientist with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland. One way to keep using these fuels, but cleanly, is to capture the carbon dioxide and store it in the ground. Critics say the technology is unproven and prohibitively expensive. Dooley disagrees. 'This class of technologies exists, full stop. No caveats needed,' he says. For example, Statoil's Sleipner natural gas facility off the coast of Norway, shown here, strips excess carbon dioxide from the recovered gas and injects it underground. What's needed to clear the hurdle to widespread implementation of this type of technology is a public policy that puts a price on carbon emissions, says Dooley. 'We as a species, by and large, have assigned a price of zero dollars to CO2 that is vented to the atmosphere. The class of technologies, carbon dioxide capture and storage, has no other use than large-scale greenhouse-gas mitigation.' "
Obama's Peacemaking Effort Faces Steep Odds for Success
McClatchy Newspapers: Anwar Sadat Professor Shibley Telhami serves as an informal U.S. advisor for the current Middle East peace talks. "In 2010, 'you obviously cannot say the odds are great. ... Is this just another round, let's try again anyway?' said Shibley Telhami , a University of Maryland professor who informally advises the Obama administration. Telhami argued that two things have changed: Both sides realize this may be the last chance for a 'two-state solution' to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama, believing U.S. security interests are at stake, has gotten involved earlier than his predecessors. Israelis and Palestinians 'have reached the end of the line on the pursuit of a two-state solution. They're either going to do it or not,' Telhami said. Secondly, 'you have a president of the United States who, at least in principle, understands that Israeli-Palestinian peace is an American national interest,' he said. 'There's a seriousness ... this is not just a superficial engagement.' Mitchell, asked what the administration was doing differently than its predecessors, cited only one specific: It's starting earlier. Other presidents 'ran out of time at the end,' he said. Telhami and others said progress will demand aggressive intervention by Obama himself when the talks threaten to break down."
Bush Contrast Will Give Obama Warm UN Reception Even As U.S. Support Wanes
Bloomberg News: "President Barack Obama will receive a far warmer response in the United Nations General Assembly hall today than his party is likely to get from U.S. voters in November's mid-term elections. 'I am not sure there is any region where he is not popular,' Vanu Menon, Singapore's ambassador to the UN, said in an interview. 'It's because the U.S. is seen to be engaging with the world, and the response is positive even if there is not always agreement.' While the sluggish U.S. economy has cut into Obama's popularity at home, and may lead to loss of the Democratic majority in one or both houses of Congress, he remains admired overseas and at UN headquarters in New York. Opinions of the U.S. also are more positive than under President George W. Bush, according to the Washington-based Pew Research Center. ... A Zogby International poll conducted by Shibley Telhami, professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland in College Park, last month said only 16 percent of Arabs in six nations expressed optimism about U.S. policy on the Middle East, compared to 51 percent last year. 'When we asked what they disliked most, 61 percent said the Arab-Israeli issue,' Telhami said in an interview. Obama is attempting to ease that tension by mediating direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that resumed this month. 'I don't think we are going to spend a lot of time worrying about the ups and downs of polls here or abroad,' Rice said. 'The president is governing in a fashion that is aimed at supporting and advancing America's interests. That won't always satisfy every country and constituency around the world, nor is it intended to.' "
9/11 Conspiracy Theory Not as Popular as Ahmadinejad Says
New York Times: "As my colleagues Neil MacFarquhar and Liz Robbins report, at the United Nations on Thursday, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claimed that 'the majority of the American people, as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree 'that 'some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated' the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to Mr. Ahmadinejad, the attacks were staged "to reverse the declining American economy" and to justify a military presence in the Middle East 'to save the Zionist regime' of Israel. Mr. Ahamdinejad, who has also questioned the reality of the Holocaust, has apparently endorsed this conspiracy theory about the 9/11 attacks on at least two occasions earlier this year. In March, he reportedly told intelligence officials in Tehran, 'The September 11 incident was a big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan.' The following month, he wrote to the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to ask him to open an investigation into the attacks, claiming that they were 'carried out as the main pretext to attack the Middle East.' The prepared text of Mr. Ahmadinejad's remarks (embedded below) released by his government did not carry any footnotes, so it is unclear where he got the idea that majorities of Americans, or the citizens of other nations, endorse the conspiracy theory that Al Qaeda was not responsible for the attacks. The most comprehensive international poll on the subject was carried out in 2008 by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative project of research centers in various countries managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which asked more residents of 17 countries the question, "Who do you think was behind the 9/11 attacks?" Their answers were grouped into four categories: Al Qaeda; the U.S. government; Israel; other.When the poll findings were published, Reuters reported, 'the survey of 16,063 people in 17 nations found majorities in only nine countries believe Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.' But there were also no countries in which a majority blamed the American government. The researchers found the most support for the idea that the U.S. government was responsible for the attacks in Turkey and Mexico -- but just 36 percent of Turks and 30 percent of Mexicans endorsed the theory."
Remittances on the Rise
Financial remittances to the Central Asian Republics by millions of both undocumented and legal migrants working in Russia have increased substantially, labour experts say. Inter Press Service: "Prof. Timothy Edmund Heleniak from the geography department at the University of Maryland in the United States, who has researched labour migration in the ex-Soviet republics for the World Bank (WB), told IPS in an email interview that there is considerable brain drain from these ex-Soviet republics. 'However, much of it is not permanent and most consists of temporary labour migration. Most would prefer to live permanently in their countries along with their ethnic kin. Their economies cannot supply enough jobs to keep them employed and Russia, with its declining population, can. In the longer term, it might benefit these countries from having a temporary brain drain as their workers gain skills that could be used at home later.' When the global economic downturn became inevitable in mid-2008, Russian experts argued that a shrinking volume of remittances from labour migrants would be one major implication of the crisis in Central Asia. Yet, while remittances dropped significantly in the fourth quarter of 2008, now more Kyrgyz, Kazahk, Tajik and Uzbek citizens and those from Ukraine and Belarus seeking jobs in Russia are pushing up the volume of remittances. Head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) Konstantine Romodanovsky said at a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last month that an estimated four million undocumented migrants from the ex-Soviet republics now live in Russia."
Global Impact and ResearchUSDA Scientists, Cooperator, Create First Genomic Map of Domesticated Turkey
USDA: "U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers and their university colleagues have sequenced the majority of the genome of Meleagris gallopavo, the domesticated turkey, creating the first-ever turkey genome map. The nearly complete map could help growers to more efficiently produce bigger, meatier turkeys. The research is reported today in PLoS Biology, an online journal of the Public Library of Science. Americans consume about 17.6 pounds of turkey per capita every year, and the U.S. produces nearly 6 billion pounds of turkey meat annually. 'Turkey is the fourth most popular meat in this country,' said Edward K. Knipling, adminstrator of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). 'The information gleaned from these genetic studies will help breeders develop improved commercial turkey breeds to meet consumers' demands in the United States and worldwide.' The research was a partnership led by Curtis Van Tassell and Julie A. Long with ARS; Otto Folkerts and Rami Dalloul of Virginia Tech University's Bioinformatics Institute (VBI); and Steven L. Salzberg of the University of Maryland's Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, at College Park. Van Tassell works in the ARS Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory at Beltsville, Md., while Long works in the ARS Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, also at Beltsville. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA."
Adapting to Darkness: How Behavioral and Genetic Changes Helped Cavefish Survive Extreme Environment
UM release: "University of Maryland biologists have identified how changes in both behavior and genetics led to the evolution of the Mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) from its sighted, surface-dwelling ancestor. In research published in the August 12, 2010 online edition of the journal Current Biology, Professor William Jeffery, together with postdoctoral associates Masato Yoshizawa, and Spela Goricki, and Assistant Professor Daphne Soares in the Department of Biology, provide new information that shows how behavioral and genetic traits coevolved to compensate for the loss of vision in cavefish and to help them find food in darkness. This is the first time that a clear link has been identified between behavior, genetics, and evolution in Mexican blind cavefish, which are considered an excellent model for studying evolution. Worldwide, about 80 different species of cave-dwelling fish have evolved from surface-dwelling fish, but in most cases the surface-dwelling ancestor has disappeared. 'The Mexican blind cavefish is one of the only cases where a similar ancestor still exists,' explains Professor Jeffery. 'Except for the loss of eyes and pigment seen in the cave-dwelling form, the surface and cave-dwellers are hard to tell apart. You can study evolution very nicely if you have both the ancestral and derived forms of evolving animals.' "
NASA Satellite Data Helps Detect Global Fire Hotspots
NASA: "In the midst of a difficult fire season in many parts of the world, the United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization has launched a new online fire detection system that will help firefighters and natural hazards managers improve response time and resource management. The Global Fire Information Management System (GFIMS) delivers fire data from an imaging sensor aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites to generate daily fire maps and images through a freely accessible Web interface. The system also dispatches detailed email alerts of the quantity and coordinates of fires, and it does so less than three hours after a satellite passes over burning land. 'Man has been harnessing fire since prehistory. In fact, some refer to humans as the fire species,' said program scientist Woody Turner of NASA's Headquarters in Washington who oversaw funding for the system's development. 'But now we've got a daily overview of large fires around the world, enabling us to manage fire -- and our uses of fire -- better. ... 'When I worked at Etosha National Park in Namibia -- before the MODIS imager existed -- we had to painstakingly process satellite data manually, which took many hours on some days,' said Diane Davies, a University of Maryland, College Park researcher and former principal investigator for the system. The time-consuming process often led to inefficient deployment of fire and rescue resources and inconsistent communications between officials. With funding from NASA's Applied Sciences Program, scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park began developing the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) in 2006 to test whether they could quickly convert satellite snapshots of wildfires into user-friendly formats."
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."
Levitating Graphene Is Fastest-Spinning Object Ever
New Scientist: "A flake of exotic carbon a few atoms thick has claimed a record: the speck has been spun faster than any other object, at a clip of 60 million rotations per minute. Graphite is made of stacks of carbon sheets. Separate these, and the result is graphene, which shows a suite of novel properties, including incredible strength. Bruce Kane at the University of Maryland, College Park sprayed charged graphene flakes a micrometre wide into a vacuum chamber. Once there, oscillating electric fields trapped the flakes in mid-air. Kane then set them spinning using a light beam that is circularly polarised, meaning it passes its momentum to objects in its path. As a result, the flakes started spinning at 60 million rotations per minute, faster than any other macroscopic object."
Saving Tropical Forests -- Value Their Carbon and Improve Farming Technology
Pacific Northwest Laboratory: "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."
Cells In Operation -- A Closer Look
Sandia National Laboratory: "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 750 degrees 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."
Space Telescopes Spot Incoming Comet
Hubble and WISE snap pictures in advance of probe's flyby
Space.com: "This Space.com Comet Hartley 2 skywatching guide describes how to see the celestial event. The WISE photo of Comet Hartley 2 was taken on May 10 but released on Tuesday. The comet has been displaying an increasing amount of activity in recent months, with gas and dust erupting from jets as it draws closer to the sun. 'Comparing the dust early on to what we see later with Epoxi helps us understand how the activity started on Hartley 2,' said EPOXI mission principal investigator Michael A'Hearn of at the University of Maryland, College Park. But the observations from Hubble found no evidence of the types of outgassing jets typically seen in the so-called "Jupiter family" of comets, a group that includes Hartley 2. Instead, the comet appears to have a more uniform nucleus, suggesting that the material on its surface is relatively young, researchers said."
Deep Impact Spacecraft Eyes Comet Target
Astronomy Magazine, UM release: "Some 5 years after its July 4th 2005 'comet shot' was seen around the world, the Deep Impact spacecraft has begun regular imaging of a second comet target, Hartley 2. The spacecraft will continue imaging Hartley 2 during and after its closest approach November 4, providing an extended look at the comet. However, there won't be any fireworks this time as the Deep Impact's secondary probe craft was destroyed in its deliberate 2005 collision with comet Tempel 1. The flyby of Comet Hartley 2 is the second leg of the Deep Impact spacecraft's two-part extended mission known as EPOXI. During the flyby of Hartley 2, the University of Maryland-led science team will study the comet using all three of the spacecraft's instruments -- two telescopes with digital color cameras and an infrared spectrometer. 'These first images mark the beginning of the EPOXI mission's encounter campaign and the beginning of the Deep Impact spacecraft's stretch run toward Hartley 2,' said University of Maryland astronomer Michael A'Hearn, principal investigator for the EPOXI mission and its predecessor mission, Deep Impact. 'From here on, we expect to get better and better observations of the comet, culminating in images and data taken in the days just before and just after the November 4 flyby.' "
NASA's EPOXI Mission Sets Up for Comet Flyby
NASA: "Earlier yesterday, navigators and mission controllers for NASA's EPOXI mission watched their computer screens as 23.6 million kilometers (14.7 million miles) away, their spacecraft successfully performed its 20th trajectory correction maneuver. The maneuver refined the spacecraft's orbit, setting the stage for its flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4. Time of closest approach to the comet was expected to be about 10: 02 a.m. EDT (7:02 a.m. PDT). Yesterday trajectory correction maneuver began at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT), when the spacecraft fired its engines for 60 seconds, changing the spacecraft's velocity by 1.53 meters per second (3.4 mph). 'We are about 23 million miles and 36 days away from our comet,' said EPOXI project manager Tim Larson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. 'I can't wait to see what Hartley 2 looks like.' On Nov. 4, the spacecraft will fly past the comet at a distance of about 700 kilometers (435 miles). It will be only the fifth time in history that a spacecraft has been close enough to image a comet's nucleus, and the first time in history that two comets have been imaged with the same instruments and same spatial resolution. 'We are imaging the comet every day, and Hartley 2 is proving to be a worthy target for exploration,' said Mike A'Hearn, EPOXI principal investigator from the University of Maryland, College Park. EPOXI is an extended mission that utilizes the already 'in flight' Deep Impact spacecraft to explore distinct celestial targets of opportunity. The name EPOXI itself is a combination of the names for the two extended mission components: the extrasolar planet observations, called Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh), and the flyby of comet Hartley 2, called the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI). The spacecraft will continue to be referred to as 'Deep Impact.' "
Kuiper Belt Dust Could Tell Aliens We're Here
Wired: "A hole in the dust disk surrounding our solar system would tell alien observers there are planets here, a new simulation shows. The new model, which tracks thousands of tiny particles beyond the orbit of Neptune, could help astronomers work out the properties of planets in other stars' dust disks. 'We're trying to create a new planet search technique, and we're practicing on the solar system,' said NASA exoplanet scientist Marc Kuchner, lead author of a paper describing the results in the September 7 Astrophysical Journal. The cloud of dust comes from the Kuiper Belt, the region beyond Neptune that contains small, icy bodies, including Pluto. These giant snowballs sometimes smack into each other, sending up flurries of ice grains. These tiny clots of ice and minerals get tugged around by the gravitational influence of giant planets, as well as the solar wind and small nudges from sunlight. Similar clouds of dust has been spotted around several other stars, including Fomalhaut, the first star to have its planets directly photographed. Most extrasolar planets are too dim to have their portraits taken directly, but their presence can warp the disk of dust and debris around their stars into distinctive shapes, telling outside observers the planets are there. Kuchner and coauthor Christopher Stark of the University of Maryland wondered how much information these dust clouds can offer. 'This field of studying shapes of debris disks has been around for a while, but it's been qualitative,' Kuchner said. 'We're trying to make it quantitative. We want to get to where you can give us a picture of a debris disk, and we can say bam -- here are the planets, and here's how massive they are.' "
First a Bunch of Matter Went 'Dark.' Now the Visible Stuff Is Invisible, Too.
Discovery Magazine: "Astronomers have long inferred that most of the material in the universe is invisible, existing as mysterious dark matter. But a recent study suggests that most ordinary matter is hidden as well. Widely accepted studies of the cosmic microwave background -- the afterglow of the Big Bang -- indicate that for every pound of normal matter in the universe, there are about six pounds of dark matter, unseen particles that are known only from their gravitational pull. Because galaxies spring from dense clumps of both types of matter, researchers assumed that on average, the makeup of galaxies should exhibit a similar 1 to 6 ratio. 'The parts should sum up to the whole,' says University of Maryland astronomer Stacy McGaugh. But when he examined more than 100 galaxies, he found that all had substantially less ordinary matter than predicted. The Milky Way showed just a quarter of the expected amount. Smaller galaxies yielded even scantier quantities, with visible matter making up only about 0.05 percent of the least massive galaxies studied, Willman 1 and Segue 1. Most of the universe's normal matter was nowhere to be found."
You Are What You Touch -- How Tool Use Changes the Brain's Representations of the Body
Scientific American: "All our experience of the world, and ability to act on it, are channelled through our body. The pioneering computer scientist, Alan Turing, correctly realised the human mind is special not particularly because of its computing power, but because the body provides it with a unique interface to the world. Current research in psychology and neuroscience is probing how the brain represents the body. Recent advances have revealed that body representation is fundamentally multisensory, arising from the combination of many different sensory signals. These include classical 'senses,' such as touch and vision, and also much more specific signals, such as the flexion or extension of each muscle, which define the body's posture in space. ... A common illustration of just how flexible the sense of our body is comes from changes in the brain's representation of the body due to tool use. Humans, and some other animals, are able to use tools as additions to the body. When we use a long pole to retrieve an object we couldn't otherwise reach, the pole becomes, in some sense, an extension of our body. Is this merely a poetic way of speaking, or does the brain actually incorporate the tool into its representation of the body? Studies of monkeys learning to use a rake to obtain distant objects show that this may be more than a mere metaphor. Multisensory brain cells respond both to touch on the hand or visual objects appearing near the hand. When the monkeys used the rake, these cells began to respond to objects appearing anywhere along the length of the tool, suggesting the brain represented the rake as actually being part of the hand. A recent paper in Psychological Science elegantly illustrates the plasticity of body representation, and provides further evidence that representations of the body really do expand to include 'external' objects we hold. Thomas Carlson of the University of Maryland and colleagues at Harvard University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands used an unusual subjective experience of the body first reported by Franklin Taylor of Princeton University in 1941."
Science & Technology
What's Behind All The Extreme Weather? Hurricanes, floods, and record heat. Is the recent spate of extreme weather conditions the result of climate change? As VOA's Rebecca Ward reports, the verdict is still out.
Voice of America: "You don't need to be a climatologist to know things aren't as they should be. 'We're having our hottest year on record in a hundred and fifty years,' says Jay Gulledge, senior scientist on global climate change at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. 'We know there's a long term warming trend that's been going on for the past century. The largest warming has occurred in the last half-century.' Gulledge says no one weather event can be specifically linked to climate change. But he says the trend indicates a relationship between weather and warming. 'If we put more heat in there, we will get more extreme weather, which means droughts, floods, hurricanes, etc. If we put less in, then the problem will not be as bad.' James Carton at the University of Maryland agrees, noting that the latest studies indicate as global warming progresses, the world will likely see extreme hurricanes - categories three, four and five - becoming more frequent. 'The science behind that is quite simple,' says Carton. 'Hurricanes draw their energy from the evaporation of surface temperatures from the ocean. And as the ocean warms up, and the ocean has been warming up, you can expect more evaporation, therefore more intense hurricanes.' "
Renaissance: Big Decade For Dino Research
NPR: "It's been a big year for a big dinosaur: Tyrannosaurs rex. Scientists have identified six new species of the animal, recently discovered T. rex feathers and maybe even the remains of some soft tissue. What I find really interesting is what you can do with sort of an eclectic and diverse group of scientists all focused on one animal. Mark Norell, curator of fossil reptiles, American Museum of Natural History Scientists say the T. rex renaissance is partly due to new techniques and partly due to its telegenic charisma -- one that scientists are not immune from. 'I would love to see hunting T. rex,' says Tom Holtz, a paleontologist at the University of Maryland. In between writing sober, clinical studies of carnivorous dinosaurs, he sometimes gets carried away. 'Tyrannosaurs are sort of bruiser skulls, these deeply rooted thick teeth and so forth, but these dinky little forelimbs,' he says. 'So it appears that they are just grabbing on with their jaws, crunching down, crushing through meat, crushing through bone, twisting and tearing and ripping out big chunks of flesh.' That's just the way the T. rex did it in the first Jurassic Park movie, for example, when eating the lawyer -- among my own favorite scenes. This week, a group of scientists has published a paper in the journal Science laying out all the fun things they've recently learned about the capo di capi of carnivores. Among them is Mark Norell, curator of fossil reptiles at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City."
Maryland Farmers Besieged by Stink Bugs Scientists seek ways to cope with increased population
Baltimore Sun: "The brown marmorated stink bug -- a dime-sized Asian invader that has been besieging Maryland homes in recent years -- has now become a serious farm pest. Agricultural scientists say the insect's populations have 'exploded' this year, and they've demonstrated an unexpected ability to feed during all their developmental stages on a wide variety of crops. Maryland farmers -- especially fruit and vegetable growers in Western and Central Maryland -- are seeing a sharp increase in costly damage from the insects. ... Agricultural specialists saw stink bug populations rising on Maryland farms last year, toward the end of the growing season. 'They were causing some damage, but the population wasn't high enough to be concerned,' said Joe Fiola, a fruit specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Keedysville. Now everyone's concerned. ... It's not clear why the population grew the way it did. 'We're split on it as entomologists,' said Jerry Brust, an integrated pest management and vegetable specialist at UM's Central Maryland Research and Education Center, in Upper Marlboro. 'Some of us think the snow cover we had over the winter acts as a blanket and actually keeps them warm,' at least those that over-winter in the open, he said. 'And then, because it got so hot, they reproduced much more quickly.' And because populations were so high, the bugs might have "spilled out" from the weeds and trees where they'd been feeding, and moved onto the relatively well-watered farms. Everyone seemed surprised at how voracious these newcomers have proved to be. The Asian stink bugs, unlike their native cousins, feed on fruits and other plant parts during each of five development stages, called 'instars.' And they like just about everything they encounter. 'Not in my history, or in any of the growers' history, have we ever seen something come on this quickly and cause this much damage,' Fiola said. 'There is continuous pressure in the orchard. And it's not limited to orchards. There are hundreds of acres of sweet corn infested, major losses in vegetables.' "
Mining Social Networks; Untangling the Social Web
Software: From retailing to counterterrorism, the ability to analyse social connections is proving increasingly useful From social to societal networks
The Economist: "Where is network analysis headed? The next step beyond mapping influence between individuals is to map the influences between larger segments of society. A forecasting model developed by Venkatramana Subrahmanian of the University of Maryland does just that. Called SOMA Terror Organization Portal, it analyses a wide range of information about politics, business and society in Lebanon to predict, with surprising accuracy, rocket attacks by the country's Hizbullah militia on Israel. Attacks tend to increase, for example, as more money from Islamic charities flows into Lebanon. Attacks decrease during election years, particularly as more Hizbullah members run for office and campaign energetically. By the middle of 2010 SOMA was sucking up data from more than 200 sources, many of them newspaper websites. The number of sources will have more than doubled by the end of the year. Once these societal networks of influence can be accurately mapped, they can be used to promote the spread of particular ideas -- those that support stability and democracy, for example. Last year America's army, which jointly funds SOMA with the air force, began disbursing about $80m in five-year research grants for network analysis to promote democracy and national security. An authoritarian government, for instance, may have difficulties slowing the spread of a new idea in a certain medium -- say, internet chatter about a book that explains how corruption undermines job creation. Diplomatic services can use this information to help ideas spread. Brian Uzzi of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who advises intelligence agencies on democracy-promotion analytics, says diplomatic services are mapping the 'tipping point' when ideas go mainstream in spite of government repression."
NASA Ending Space Shuttle Missions After 30 Years Of Flights
Voice of America: "The U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery is set to lift off from Florida on November 1 for a mission to the International Space Station. It will be one of the final missions for the shuttle; NASA is ending the program and will retire its remaining fleet of the reusable spacecraft next year. But, the U.S. space agency is charting a new course for future human space exploration. Since the early 1980s, the space shuttle has been carrying astronauts and cargo into space. ... NASA now wants to direct millions of dollars towards private companies like Boeing to develop so called 'space taxis' that could take tourists for short space flights by 2015. NASA Administrator Bolden says helping private companies provide inexpensive transport services is a proper path for the agency to take. 'The commercial space industry will be a very vital part of NASA going forward it means we are going to change the way we acquire services to get us into to space to get humans to space,' said Bolden. 'If it works well there's a good possibility that people could go to space even if it's just for a few seconds.' 'NASA is clearly at a cross road right now. Big decisions are being made that will affect its future for not only years to come but perhaps for decades to come,' said Mark Lewis, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Maryland. Lewis says NASA's plan to rely entirely on the commercial space industry to transport humans and supplies into orbit could be a setback for the space agency. 'I think it is very important that as we start to look at new opportunities opening up space for new commercial sectors it is also important that we not lose the ability that we have worked so hard to build,' he said."
The New Science of Network Archaeology
A new way of excavating the past structure of networks reveals important information about their evolution
Technology Review: "The study of networks has exploded in recent years. One of the more important discoveries is that many networks share common growth patterns. So if researchers grow a model network at random using these rules, the model will have the same topological structure as the network under study For example, the world wide web tends to grow according to a process known as preferential attachment in which new links to a page depend on the number it already has (otherwise known as the rich get richer effect). By contrast, the growth of networks associated with protein interactions in cells is best described by another process known as 'duplication-mutation with complementarity'. Here new nodes become copies of old ones by connecting to all their neighbours, then a process of mutation occurs in which connections can be removed. And social networks tend to grow according to the same model that describes the way forest fires spread. That has given network specialists all kinds of insights into network dynamics, how they evolve, the relative importance of specific nodes, how communities change over time and how information propagates through them. But this information is entirely generic rather than specific to a real network. So a snapshot of the Last.fm social network will tell you who the central players are now and the forest fire model will give you an idea of how this structure evolved. But ask who the central players were three years ago, given the structure that exists today, and network scientists will scratch their feet and stare at the floor. Now that looks set to change thanks to a new approach from Saket Navlakha and Carl Kingsford at the University of Maryland at College Park. Instead of using these growth patterns to study how networks evolve, their idea is to look at the process in reverse. 'Instead of growing a random network forward according to an evolutionary model, we decompose the actual observed network backwards in time, as dictated by the model,' they say. 'The resulting sequence of networks constitute a model-inferred history of the present-day network.' This is network archaeology. That's significant because the result depends specifically on the network under investigation, rather than solely on the growth model used to generate it. They go on to show the power of this idea by inferring the history of several networks. For example, they are able to accurately estimate the time at which users of last.fm joined the network simply by looking at the structure today. Navlakha and Kingsford quite rightly point out that the possibility of inferring past behaviour from current network structures raises certain privacy issues. These will now need to be addressed by the owners this data."
Society & CultureDon't Look to the Business World to Replace Summers
Baltimore Sun: Peter Morici, professor of business, in an op/ed: "The Chairman of the National Economic Council is the gatekeeper to the Oval Office for economic information and principal advisor to the president of policies for economic recovery. He prepares the daily brief on all the economic data journalists and analysts report and write about. Hence, replacing him with someone from industry, for example Anne Mulcahy, former chief executive of Xerox, would be a mistake, even if that is likely to happen. Simply, Ms. Mulcahy does not have the background to effectively advise the president on the intricacies of topics ranging from the Consumer Price Index to the effects of inventory purchases on actual and sustainable GDP growth. Think of it like an NFL team -- you want a running back to be a running back, not a wide receiver. The administration needs private industry expertise, but other vacancies will emerge in the cabinet -- for example, commerce secretary -- and it would be better to put Ms. Mulcahy there, or at Health and Human Services to implement national health care. She is currently chairwoman of Save the Children. Whoever the president picks, he (or, more likely, she) will be liberal. Economists know that temporary investment tax credits and jobs tax credits only have temporary and quite limited effects, but this president likes those sorts of things. Mr. Summers' replacement must be an economist who will go along with those policies or an industry leader who can provide them with a gloss of respectability or be excused for not knowing better. This person, if it is an economist, must soft peddle the limitations of policy tools the president likes. Often mentioned Laura Tyson is the perfect fit. She is a champion of industry and manufacturing, liberal and an accomplished economist -- though rather flexible in her interpretation of economic evidence. She is not the Harvard theoretician northeastern liberal establishment economists would recommend -- a.k.a. Alan Blinder from Princeton -- but the establishment can't oppose her because of her tour of duty as President Clinton's chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors."
On Leadership: Tea Party -- No Leader, No Problem?
Washington Post: Donald F. Kettl is dean of the School of Public Policy, writes an op/ed: "The days of encyclopedia salesmen are long gone. They used to be a fixture across the country -- super-cheerful invaders of living rooms everywhere, who camped out on the couch until parents signed up for a set of bookcase-bending books to help their kids through school. The salesman has been replaced by Wikipedia, where a few quick keystrokes can help users find out almost anything. It's the grass-roots supply of research that has, since 2001, become an indispensable first source for tough questions. The grass-roots power of Wikipedia is the secret of the tea party. Take a large number of very alienated voters. Add the worst recession since the Great Depression. Spice with super-heated rhetoric, and produce a game-changing political movement. Only the distributed leadership of thousands of truly angry individuals, building on each other, would have fueled so much action, moving so far and so fast. No leader could have done it, any more than a centrally directed online encyclopedia could tell us all we want to know about Lady Gaga (with a bibliography and 111 footnotes). Just how far can a broadly distributed movement like the tea party go? We're about to find out."
On Leadership: Tea Party -- No Leader, No Problem?
Washington Post: Donald F. Kettl is dean of the School of Public Policy, writes an op/ed: "The days of encyclopedia salesmen are long gone. They used to be a fixture across the country -- super-cheerful invaders of living rooms everywhere, who camped out on the couch until parents signed up for a set of bookcase-bending books to help their kids through school. The salesman has been replaced by Wikipedia, where a few quick keystrokes can help users find out almost anything. It's the grass-roots supply of research that has, since 2001, become an indispensable first source for tough questions. The grass-roots power of Wikipedia is the secret of the tea party. Take a large number of very alienated voters. Add the worst recession since the Great Depression. Spice with super-heated rhetoric, and produce a game-changing political movement. Only the distributed leadership of thousands of truly angry individuals, building on each other, would have fueled so much action, moving so far and so fast. No leader could have done it, any more than a centrally directed online encyclopedia could tell us all we want to know about Lady Gaga (with a bibliography and 111 footnotes). Just how far can a broadly distributed movement like the tea party go? We're about to find out."
What do the Polls Say About the Mid-Term Elections?
Xinhua News Service: "Polls, polls, everywhere polls. In the run up to the November congressional elections, there are polls on who is ahead in Congress; on how Americans view the economy; and on how the public views U.S. President Barack Obama' s healthcare overhaul virtually all the issues the Obama administration has dealt with in its nearly two years in office. And that makes it easy to get lost in the abundance of information. But which polls are most important, and what do they say about the outcome of the November congressional elections? ... Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, said Americans' feelings on the nearly 1 trillion U.S. dollar stimulus, which Obama passed last year in an effort to stave off economic disaster, are likely to play a role in November. Indeed, a USA Today/Gallup survey conducted in August found that 52 percent of Americans disapproved of the stimulus and 43 percent approved of it. While Democrats tout the stimulus as helping to create jobs, Republicans say the opposite, and voters are more persuaded by the latter group, he said. That has hurt Democrats significantly, as has the GOP drumbeat over the ballooning deficit has also hurt Democrats, who believe the rising U.S. debt is manageable in the long run, he said."
Terror Fight Turns Toward Deradicalizing
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Egypt was the first country to use deradicalization successfully. Egyptian clerics counseled imprisoned members of the al-Gama'a al-Islamiyah, and al-Jihad, two jihadi groups behind a series of deadly attacks in the 1980s and '90s. Afterward, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyah leaders wrote some 25 volumes -- known as 'The Revisions' -- rejecting violence, according to Arie Kruglanski, a University of Maryland professor who co-directs the National Institute for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism. Egyptian officials responded by releasing thousands of Islamists from prison. (Islamic Jihad leader Ayman al-Zawahiri did not undergo deradicalization while in prison. After his release, he merged his group with al-Qaida and became Osama bin Laden's lieutenant.) Whom to target for rehabilitation -- terrorist leaders or followers -- depends on the group, Kruglanski says. 'Leaders can have a more wide-ranging and long-term impact, while foot-soldiers are more likely susceptible to recidivism.' He says extremism feeds on the disgruntled. The three main pillars needed to radicalize an individual are a seemingly rational argument, an emotional transformation and respected leadership, he explains."
The New Normal: What to Expect of Our Economy
CBS News: "The timing was ironic . . . The announcement on Monday that the Great Recession is over. Just as President Obama got an earful at a Washington, D.C. town hall meeting broadcast on CNBC. 'My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives, but quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again,' said Velma Hart, who described herself to the president as 'one of your middle class Americans.' Hart dared to say what a lot of Americans are thinking: 'Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly, is this my new reality?' Call it what you like .. the new reality, the new normal. If you're middle class, the answer is probably yes. The debt-driven boom we came to think of as normal isn't coming back any time soon. University of Maryland economics professor Carmen Reinhart says, 'We are dreaming if we think the solution is a quick one.' Reinhart co-authored 'This Time Is Different,' an 800-year survey of financial crises. Recoveries from severe financial crises have historically not been swift,' she told (CBS's Martha) Teichner. 'It's not a matter of months; it's not a matter of even a couple of years.' Reinhart and her husband Vincent, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, recently compared major global meltdowns since the 1929 stock market crash. 'The message was basically pretty grim,' Vincent Reinhart said, 'that economies after a big financial crisis that we just went through tend to grow about a percentage point slower than in the previous decade, and that the unemployment rate tends to be much higher, for an entire decade. 'Typically, in a business cycle we get back to the same economic path we were on -- people get their old jobs back, or nearly their old jobs. But this time around, very much like the Great Depression, we are not going to be able to go back on the same road.' "
Many news outlets are doing far less accountability reporting than in the past, bad news indeed for the public. New nonprofit investigative ventures have emerged, but they can't pick up the slack by themselves.
American Journalism Review: "In 1999, Tom Brune joined Newsday's Washington bureau to cover the U.S. Justice Department and do investigations. With a dozen or more reporters in the office, he had time to look into racial disparity in death row prosecutions, post-9/11 anti-terrorism strategies and relations between Muslim communities and law enforcement. Today, Brune is the Washington bureau, holed up in an 8-by-8 office in the E.W. Scripps suite. When I spoke to him, he had spent 12 of the previous 14 days reporting on the Times Square bomber. 'Last year I don't think I even came close to a project,' he says. In 2001, Brune's wife, Deborah Nelson, was at the Washington Post, running a metro I-Team, when then-Los Angeles Times Editor John S. Carroll lured her to his Washington bureau with an offer to head an eight-member investigative unit. Nelson arrived with a deep reservoir of experience from investigative reporting at five papers. A past president of IRE, she had won a Pulitzer while at the Seattle Times for uncovering widespread irregularities in the federal Indian Housing Program. But four years later, unable to stem a tide of cutbacks at the paper, Carroll stepped down, and Nelson left in 2006. After the 2008 election, Tribune Co., which owns the L.A. Times, merged the Washington bureaus of its eight newspapers into a single operation that today employs 34 journalists, fewer than were in the Times bureau alone. Just one is a full-time investigative reporter. Nelson now writes books and teaches at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. At the time she left, 'Everybody was so hung up on looking backward and holding on to what we had,' Nelson says. 'And I thought, "We're not going to be able to hold on to what we've had. So where can I be where I can make a difference?" I wanted to figure out how to keep the craft alive.' "
The Mood on Main St. as Midterm Elections Loom
Christian Science Monitor: "As director of Patchwork Nation, a journalism project funded by the Knight Foundation, I have been dropping into different cities and towns across the country to probe the current state of the American experience. My colleague, Professor James Gimpel of the University of Maryland, and I have identified 12 types of places across the US that represent distinct voter communities. They include 'Military Bastions' and 'Monied 'Burbs,' 'Service Worker Centers' and 'Emptying Nests,' 'Immigration Nation' and 'Minority Central.' In the 2-1/2 years I've been visiting Eagle, Colorado, one of Patchwork Nation's 'Boom Towns,' the story has gone from being one of a land-grabbing gold rush to one of many people just trying to hang on. And that transformation, while magnified here in a state with a long history of boom-bust cycles, mirrors what we have found in much of the nation at large. It's a common theme in the national conversation and one that Mr. Gimpel and I examine at length in 'Our Patchwork Nation,' a book from Gotham Press being released this October. The simple truth is, despite any thoughts you might have about American 'exceptionalism' or the nation's resilience, many reasons exist for the uncertainty in Eagle and nationally. The American psyche seems to have undergone a make-over in the last few years. People sense something fundamental has changed, and while it may be too early to define the precise nature of it, we can explore what underlies the new ennui and what it means for a nation struggling to regain a sense of itself."
Obama On Government: Results Bigger Than Size
NPR: "The Obama administration has tried using technology to improve accountability. On the Web site Recovery.gov, people can type in a ZIP code and see the exact projects that recovery act money has funded in any neighborhood. Those who judge government by its size may not like the amount of money being spent on the Recovery Act, but people who evaluate government by its effectiveness see this as a step forward. 'What we really care most about is whether or not government works for us where we live,' says Don Kettl, dean of the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. 'We don't really care much about Social Security or health programs per se. We want to get our checks when they're due, and we want to be healthy.' Kettl gives the Obama administration 'enormous credit for, I think, framing exactly the core of the question. Their struggle is trying to figure out how to put together results that they can demonstrate, that people care about, and that ultimately produce some kind of political effect as well.' Those who visit Recovery.gov and see projects happening in their area may be happy about it. But such high-tech tools reach only those who reach out for them, and the president's speeches may not be convincing many more. Most Americans are still waiting to see the kind of results that Kettl is talking about before they believe again in the kind of government effectiveness the president is talking about."
Welfare's Safety Het 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."
Empty Threats Toward China
Amid all the talk of 'getting tough,' the benefits of its undervalued currency are overlooked Baltimore Sun: Michael Justin Lee, a lecturer in international business at the Smith School, disagrees with Smith professor Peter Morici on China's undervalued currency. "It's silly season again when holders of high office fulminate about various bogeymen to demonstrate appropriate indignation ahead of elections. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's recent testimony before both houses of Congress was a case in point, as is the bill just passed in the House of Representatives naming China a currency manipulator. Stop me if you've heard this one before. A large Asian nation rises to wealth on the strength of its exports. As a result, it builds a tremendous amount of dollar reserves - along with the increasing ire of its trading partners. Concerns are raised about how those exports are hurting the U.S. economy. Politicians call on that country to fairly revalue its currency upward in order to stem continued rise in its exports. Does this sound at all contemporary? It is, but readers of a certain age will also see Japan as the protagonist in this political mise-en-scene. Precisely for this reason, calls for China to revalue its currency will fall flat."
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